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wherein every man perchance will be ready est means to be best, when it should be the to yield himself a disciple, till he see the fittest. difficulty; for fortune layeth as heavy im- As for the true marshalling of men's purpositions as virtue; and it is as hard and suits towards their fortune, as they are severe a thing to be a true politique, as to more or less material, I hold them to stand be truly moral. But the handling hereof thus: first the amendment of their own concerneth learning greatly, both in honor minds. For the remove of the impediments and in substance: in honor, because prag
of the mind will sooner clear the passages matical men may not go away with an opin- of fortune, than the obtaining fortune will ion that learning is like a lark, that can remove the impediments of the mind. In mount, and sing, and please herself, and the second place, I set down wealth and nothing else; but may know that she holdeth means; which I know most men would have as well of the hawk, that can soar aloft, placed first, because of the general use and can also descend and strike upon the which it beareth towards all variety of ocprey: in substance, because it is the perfect casions. But that opinion I may condemn law of inquiry of truth, that nothing be in with like reason as Machiavel doth that the globe of matter, which should not be other, that moneys were the sinews of the likewise in the globe of crystal, or form; wars; whereas, saith he, the true sinews of that is, that there be not any thing in being the wars are the sinews of men's arms, that and action, which should not be drawn and is, a valiant, populous, and military nation: collected into contemplation and doctrine. and he voucheth aptly the authority of Neither doth learning admire or esteem of Solon, who, when Cræsus showed him his this architecture of fortune, otherwise than treasury of gold, said to him, that if another as of an inferior work: for no man's fortune came that had better iron, he would be can be an end worthy of his being; and master of his gold. In like manner it many times the worthiest men do abandon may be truly affirmed, that it is not their fortune willingly for better respects: moneys that are the sinews of fortune, but nevertheless fortune, as an organ of but it is the sinews and steel of men's virtue and merit, deserveth the considera- minds, wit, courage, audacity, resolution.
tion, temper, industry, and the like. In Another precept of this architecture of the third place I set down reputation, befortune is, to accustom our minds to judge cause of the peremptory tides and currents of the proportion or value of things, as it hath; which, if they be not taken in their they conduce and are material to our par- due time, are seldom recovered, it being ticular ends: and that to do substantially, extreme hard to play an after game of repuand not superficially. For we shall find the tation. And lastly, I place honor, which is logical part, as I may term it, of some more easily won by any of the other three, men's minds good, but the mathematical much more by all, than any of them can be part erroneous; that is, they can well judge purchased by honor. To conclude this preof consequences, but not of proportions cept, as there is order and priority in matand comparisons, preferring things of show ter, so is there in time, the preposterous and sense before things of substance and placing whereof is one of the commonest effect. So some fall in love with access to errors: while men fly to their ends when princes, others with popular fame and ap- they should intend their beginnings, and plause, supposing they are things of great do not take things in order of time as they purchase: when in many cases they are but come on, but marshal them according to matters of envy, peril, and impediment. So greatness, and not according to instance; some measure things according to the labor not observing the good precept, Quod nunc and difficulty, or assiduity, which are spent
instat agamus. about them; and think, if they be ever moving, that they must needs advance and
4. This Third Period of Time proceed; as Cæsar saith in a despising man- Thus have I concluded this portion of ner of Cato the second, when he describeth learning touching civil knowledge; and with how laborious and indefatigable he was to civil knowledge have concluded human philno great purpose; Hæc omnia magno studio osophy; and with human philosophy, philagebat. So in most things men are ready osophy in general. And being now at some to abuse themselves in thinking the great- pause, looking back into that I have passed
through, this writing seemeth to me, si nunquam fallit imago, as far as man can judge of his own work, not much better than that noise or sound which musicians make while they are tuning their instruments: which is nothing pleasant to hear, but yet is a cause why the music is sweeter afterwards: So have I been content to tune the instruments of the Muses, that they may play that have better hands. And surely, when I set before me the condition of these times, in which learning hath made her third visitation or circuit in all the qualities thereofas the excellency and vivacity of the wits of this age; the noble helps and lights which we have by the travails of ancient writers; the art of printing, which communicateth books to men of all fortunes; the openness of the world by navigation, which hath disclosed multitudes of experiments, and a mass of natural history; the leisure wherewith these times abound, not employing men so generally in civil business, as the states of Græcia did, in respect of their popu
larity, and the state of Rome, in respect of the greatness of their monarchy; the present disposition of these times at this instant to peace; ; the consumption of all that ever can be said in controversies of religion, which have so much diverted men from other sciences; the perfection of your Majesty's learning, which as a Phænix may call whole vollies of wits to follow you; and the inseparable propriety of time, which is ever more and more to disclose truth–I cannot but be raised to this persuasion that this third period of time will far surpass that of the Grecian and Roman learning: only if men will know their own strength, and their own weakness both; and take one from the other, light of invention, and not fire of contradiction; and esteem of the inquisition of truth as of an enterprise, and not as of a quality or ornament; and employ wit and magnificence to things of worth and excellency, and not to things vulgar and of popular estimation.
IV. IDEAS OF THE STATE
THE IMAGINARY COMMONWEALTH OF
SIR THOMAS MORE
1. Thomas More to Peter Giles, of
Antwerp I am almoste ashamed, righte wellbeloved Peter Giles, to send unto you this boke of the l'topian commen wealth, welniegh after a yeres space, whiche I am sure you looked for within a moneth and a halfe. And no marveil. For you knewe well ynough that I was alreadye disbourdened of all the laboure and studye belongynge to the invention in this worke, and that I had no nede at al to trouble my braines about the disposition, or conveiaunce of the matter: and therfore had herein nothing els to do, but only to rehearse those thinges, whiche you and I together hard maister Raphael tel and declare. Wherefore there was no cause why I shuld study to set forth the matter with eloquence: forasmuch as his talke could not be fine and eloquent, beynge firste
not studied for, but suddein and unpremeditate, and then, as you know, of a man better sene in the Greke language, then in the latin tonge. And my writynge, the neigher it should approche to his homely plaine, and simple speche, somuche the niegher shuld it go to the trueth: which is the onelye marke, whereunto I do and ought to directe all my travail and study herin. I graunte and confesse, frende Peter, myselfe discharged of so muche laboure, havinge all these thinges ready done to my hande, that almooste there was nothinge left for me to do. Elles either the invention, or the disposition of this matter myghte have required of a witte neither base, neither at al unlearned, both some time and leasure, and also some studie. But if it were requisite, and necessarie, that the matter shoulde also have been wrytten eloquentlie, and not alone truelye: of a sueretie that thynge coulde I have perfourmed by no tyme nor studye. But now seynge all these cares, stayes, and lettes were taken awave, wherein elles so muche laboure and studye shoulde have bene employed, and that there remayned no other thynge for me to do, but onelye to write playnelie the matter as I hard it spoken: that in deede was a thynge lighte and easye to be done. Howbeit to the dispatchynge of thys so lytle busynesse, my other cares and troubles did leave almost lesse then no leasure. Whiles I doo dayelie bestowe my time aboute lawe matters: some to pleade, some to heare, some as an arbitratoure with myne awarde to determine, some as an umpier or a Judge, with my sentence finallye to discusse. Whiles I go one waye to see and visite my frende: another waye about myne owne privat affaires. Whiles I spende almost al the day abrode emonges other, and the residue at home among mine owne: I leave to my self, I meane to my booke no time. For when I am come home, I muste commen with my wife, chatte with my children, and talke wyth my servauntes. All the whiche thinges I recken and accompte amonge businesse, forasmuche as they muste of necessitie be done: and done muste they nedes be, onelesse a man wyll be straunger in his owne house. And in any wyse a man muste so fashyon and order hys conditions, and so appoint and dispose him selfe, that he be merie, jocunde, and pleasaunt amonge them, whom eyther nature hathe provided, or chaunce hath made, or he hym selfe hath chosen to be the felowes, and companyons, of hys life: so that with to muche gentle behavioure and familiaritie, he do not marre them, and by to muche sufferaunce of his servauntes, make them his maysters. Emonge these thynges now rehearsed, stealeth awaye the daye, the moneth, the yeare. When do I write then? And all this while have I spoken no worde of slepe, neyther yet of meate, which emong a great number doth wast no lesse tyme then doeth slepe, wherein almoste halfe the life tyme of man crepeth awaye. I therefore do wynne and get onelye that tyme, whiche I steale from slepe and meate. Whiche tyme because it is very litle, and yet somwhat it is, therfore have I ones at the laste, thoughe it be longe first, finished Utopia, and have sent it to you, frende Peter, to reade and peruse: to the intente that yf anye thynge have escaped me, you might put me in remembraunce of it. For thoughe in this behalfe I do not greatlye mistruste my selfe (whiche woulde God I were somwhat in wit and learninge, as I am not all of the worste and dullest memorye) yet have I not so great truste and confidence in it, that I thinke nothinge coulde fall out of my mynde. For
i The word means “nowhere." The selections are taken from the English translation, 1551. The first edition, in Latin, appeared in 1516.
John Clement my boye, who as you know was there presente with us, whome I suffer to be awaye frome no talke, wherein maye be any profyte or goodnes (for oute of this yonge bladed and new shotte up corne, whiche hathe alreadye begon to spring up both in Latin and Greke learnyng, I loke for plentifull increase at length of goodly rype grayne) he I saye hathe broughte me into a greate doubte. For whereas Hythlodaye (onelesse my memorye fayle me) sayde that the bridge of Amaurote, whyche goethe over the river of Anyder is fyve hundreth paseis, that is to saye, halfe a myle in lengthe: my John sayeth that two hundred of those paseis muste be plucked away, for that the ryver conteyneth there not above three hundreth paseis in breadthe, I praye you hartelye call the matter to youre remembraunce. For yf you agree wyth hym, I also wyll saye as you saye, and confesse myselfe deceaved. But if you cannot remember the thing, then surelye I wyll write as I have done and as myne owne remembraunce serveth me. For as I wyll take good hede, that there be in my booke nothing false, so yf there be anye thynge doubtefull, I wyll rather tell a lye, then make a lie: because I had rather be good, then wilie. Howbeit thys matter maye easelye be remedied, yf you wyll take the paynes to aske the question of Raphael him selfe by woorde of mouthe, if he be nowe with you, or elles by youre letters. Whiche you muste nedes do for another doubte also, that hathe chaunced, throughe whose faulte I cannot tel: whether through mine, or yours, or Raphaels. For neyther we remembred to enquire of him, nor he to tel us in what part of the newe world Utopia is situate. The whiche thinge, I had rather have spent no small somme of money, then that it should thus have escaped us; as well for that I am ashamed to be ignoraunt in what sea that ylande standeth, wherof I write so long a treatise, as also because there be with us certen men, and especiallie one vertuous and godly man, and a professour of divinitie, who is excedynge desierous to go unto Utopia: not for a vayne and curious desyre to see newes, but to the intente he maye further and increase oure religion, whiche is there alreadye luckelye begonne. And that he maye the better accomplyshe and perfourme this hys good intente, he is mynded to procure that he maye be sente thether by the hieghe Byshoppe: yea, and that he himselfe may be made Bishoppe of Utopia, beynge nothynge scrupulous herein, that he muste obteyne this Byshopricke with suete. For he counteth that a godly suete, which procedeth not of the desire of honoure or lucre, but onelie of a godlie zeale. Wherfore I moste earnestly desire you, frende Peter, to talke with Hythlodaye, yf you can, face to face, or els to wryte youre letters to hynı, and so to woorke in thys matter, that in this my booke there maye neyther anye thinge be founde, whyche is untrue, neyther any thinge be lacking, whiche is true. And I thynke verelye it shal be well done, that you shewe unto him the book in selfe. For yf I have myssed or fayled in anye poynte, or if anye faulte have escaped me, no man can so well correcte and amende it, as he can: and yet that can he not do, oneles he peruse and reade over my booke written. Moreover by this meanes shall you perceave, whether he be well wyllynge and content, that I shoulde undertake to put this woorke in writyng. For if he be mynded to publyshe and put forth his laboures, and travayles himselfe, perchaunce he woulde be lothe, and so woulde I also, that in publishynge the Utopiane weale publyque, I shoulde prevent him, and take frome him the flower and grace of the noveltie of this his historie. Howbeit, to saye the verye trueth, I am not yet fullye determined with my selfe, whether I will put forth my booke or no. For the natures of men be so divers, the phantasies of some so waywarde, their myndes so unkynde, their judgementeş so corrupte, that they which leade a merie and a jocounde lyfe, folowynge theyr owne sensuall pleasures and carnall lustes, maybe seme to be in a muche better state or case, then they that vexe and unquiete themselves with cares and studie for the puttinge forthe and publishynge of some thynge, that maye be either profett or pleasure to others: whiche others nevertheles will disdainfully, scornefully, and unkindly accepte the same. The moost part of al be unlearned. And a greate number hathe learning in contempte. The rude and barbarous alloweth nothing, but that which is verie barabrous in dede. If it be one that hath a little smacke of learnynge, he rejecteth as homely geare and eommen ware, whatsoever is not stuffed full of olde moughteaten termes, and that be worne out of use.” Some there be that have
pleasure onelye in olde rustie antiquities. And some onelie in their owne doynges. One is so sowre, so crabbed, and so unpleasaunte, that he can awaye with no myrthe nor sporte. Another is so narrowe betwene the shulders, that he can beare no jests nor tauntes. Some seli poore soules be so afearde that at everye snappishe woorde their nose shall be bitten of, that they stande in no lesse drede of everye quicke and sharpe woorde, then he that is bitten of a madde dogge feareth water. Some be so mutable and waverynge, that every houre they be in a newe mynde, sayinge one thinge syttinge and an other thynge standynge. An other sorte sytteth upon their allebencheis, and there amonge their cuppes they geve judgement of the wittes of writers, and with greate authoritie they condempne even as pleaseth them, everye writer accordynge to his writing, in moste spitefull maner, mockynge, lowtinge, and flowtinge them; beyng them selves in the meane season sauffe, and as sayeth the proverbe, oute of all daunger of gonneshotte. For why, they be so snugge and smothe, that they have not so much as one hearre of an honeste man, whereby one may take holde of them. There be moreover some so unkynde and ungentle, that thoughe they take great pleasure, and delectation in the worke, yet for all that, they can not fynde in their hertes to love the Author therof, nor to aforde him a good woorde: beynge much like uncourteous, unthankfull, and chourlish gestes, whiche when they have with good and daintie meates well fylled theire bellyes, departe home, gevyng no thankes to the feaste maker. Go your wayes now, and make a costlye feaste at youre owne charges for gestes so dayntie mouthed, so divers in taste, and besides that of so unkynde and unthankfull natures. But nevertheles (frende Peter) doo, I pray you, with Hithloday, as I willed you before. And as for this matter I shall be at my libertie, afterwardes to take newe advisement.
Howbeit, seeyng I have taken great paynes and laboure in writyng the matter, if it may stande with his mynde and pleasure, I wyll as touchyng the edition of publishyng of the booke, followe the counsell and advise of my frendes, and speciallye yours. Thus fare you well right hertely beloved frende Peter, with your gentle wife: and love me as you have ever done, for I love you better then ever I dyd.
2. England Through Utopian Eyes
I in the meanetime (for so my busines laye) wente streighte thence to Antwerpe. Whiles I was there abidynge, often times amonge other, but whiche to me was more welcome then annye other, dyd visite me one Peter Giles, a Citisen of Antwerpe, a man there in his countrey of honest reputation, and also preferred to high promotions, worthy truly of the hyghest. For it is hard to say, whether the young man be in learnyng, or in honestye more excellent. For he is bothe of wonderfull vertuous conditions, and also singularly wel learned, and towardes all sortes of people excedyng gentyll: but towardes his frendes so kynde herted, so lovyng, so faithfull, so trustye, and of so earnest affection, that it were verye harde in any place to fynde a man, that with him in all poyntes of frendshippe maye be compared. No man can be more lowlye or courteous. No man useth lesse simulation or dissimulation, in no man is more prudent simplicitie. Besides this, he is in his talke and communication so merye and pleasaunte, yea and that withoute harme, that throughe his gentyll intertaynement, and his sweete and delectable communication, in me was greatly abated and diminished the fervente desyre, that I had to see my native countrey, my wyfe and my chyldren, whom then I dyd muche longe and covete to see, because that at that time I had been more then ini. Monethes from them. Upon a certayne daye when I hadde herde the divine service in our Ladies Churche, which is the fayrest, the most gorgeous and curious Churche of buyldyng in all the Citie, and also most frequented of people, and the service beynge doone, was readye to go home to my lodgynge, I chaunced to espye this foresayde Peter talkynge with a certayne Straunger, a man well stricken in age, with a blacke sonneburned face, a longe bearde, and a cloke cast homly about his shoulders, whome by his favoure and apparell furthwith I judged to bee a mariner. But the sayde Peter seyng me, came unto me and saluted me. And as I was aboute to answere him: see you this man, sayth be (and therewith he poynted to the man, that I sawe hym talkynge with before) I was mynded, quod he, to brynge him strayghte home to you. He should have ben very welcome to me, sayd I, for your sake. Nay (quod he) for his owne sake, if you knewe him: for there is
no man thys day livyng, that can tell you of so manye straunge and unknown peoples, and C'ountreyes, as this man can. And I know wel that you be very desirous to heare of such newes. Then I conjectured not farre a misse (quod I) for even at the first syght I judged him to be a mariner. Naye (quod he) there ye were greatly deceyved: he hath sailed in deede, not as the mariner Palinure, but as the experte and prudent prince Ulisses: yea, rather as the auncient and sage Philosopher Plato. For this same Raphaell Hythlodaye (for this is his name) is very well lerned in the Latine tongue: but profounde and excellent in the Greke language. Wherein he ever bestowed more studye then in the Latine, bycause he had geven himselfe wholy to the study of Philosophy. Wherof he knew that ther is nothyng extante in Latine, that is to anye purpose, savynge a fewe of Senecaes, and Ciceroes dooynges. His patrimonye that he was borne unto, he lefte to his brethren (for he is a Portugall borne) and for the desire that he had to see, and knowe the farre Countreyes of the worlde, he joyned himselfe in company with Amerike Vespuce, and in the iii. last voyages of those ini. that be nowe in printe and abrode in every mannes handes, he continued styll in his company, savyng that in the last voyage he came not home agayne with him. For he made suche meanes and shift, what by intretaunce, and what by importune sute, that he gotte licence of mayster Americke (though it were sore against his wyll) to be one of the xxiiii whiche in the ende of the last voyage were left in the countrey of Gulike. He was therefore lefte behynde for hys mynde sake, as one that tooke more thoughte and care for travailyng, then dyenge: havyng customably in his mouth these saiynges. He that hathe no grave, is covered with the skye: and, the heaven out of all places is of like length and distaunce. Which fantasy of his (if God had not ben his better frende) he had surely bought full deare. But after the departynge of Mayster Vespuce, when he had travailed thorough and aboute many Countreyes with v. of his companions Gulikianes, at the last by merveylous chaunce he arrived in Taprobane, from whence he went to Caliquit, where he chaunced to fynde certayne of hys Countreye shippes, wherein he retourned agayne into his Countreve, nothynge lesse then looked for.
All this when Peter hadde tolde me: I