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passing forth with two great crosses of silver borne before him ; with also two great pillars of silver, and his pursuivant-at-arms with a great mace of silver gilt. Then his gentlemen ushers cried and said, "On, my lords and masters, on before ! make way for my lord's grace !” Thus passed he down from his chamber to the hall, and when he came to the hall door, there was attendant for him his mule, trapped altogether in crimson velvet and gilt stirrups. When he was mounted, with his cross-bearers and pillar bearers also upon great horses trapped with fine scarlet, then marched he forward with his train and furniture, in manner as I have declared, having about him four footmen with gilt pole-axes in their hands; and thus he went until he came to Westminster Hall door, and there alighted and went after this manner up through the hall into the chancery; howbeit he would most commonly stay awhile at a bar made for him a little beneath the chancery on the right hand, and there commune some time with the judges, and some time with other persons. And that done, he would repair into the chancery, sitting there till eleven of the clock, hearing suitors and determining of divers matters. And from thence he would divers times go into the Star Chamber, as occasion did serve, where he spared neither high nor low, but judged every one according to their merits and deserts."
As to his last public judicial appearance, Lord Campbell observes : "On the first day of Michaelmas term, which then began in the middle of October, he headed the usual grand procession to Westminster Hall, riding on his mule, attended by his crosses, his pillars and his pole-axes, and an immense retinue to defend the great seal and the cardinals hat. It was remarked that in the procession, and while sitting in the Court of Chancery, his manner was dignified and collected, although he, and all who beheld him, knew that he had touched the highest point of all his greatness, and from the full meridian of his glory he hastened to his setting.”
Sir Thomas More, being neither cardinal, archbishop, nor a dignitary of the realm, but simply a wise man and a learned lawyer, though very popular among those who could appreciate his character and qualifications, it was thought necessary to induct him into the chancellor's office, with state and dignity, for the purpose of impressing the vulgar mind, which had been dazzled with the pageantry * of his predecessor. The procession was headed by the Duke of Norfolk, the first peer, and the Duke of Suffolk, the king's brother-in-law: the nobles and courtiers in and about London, together with the most distinguished members of the legal profession, followed in order. On reaching Palace Yard, the new chancellor in his robes was conducted by the two great dukes to the marble chair, when Norfolk, by the king's command, made an oration in honour of More, vindicating the royal choice of a man who belonged to neither the church nor the nobility, but was one who had both
wife and children. A speech is there reported as having been delivered by Sir Thomas, in the course of which, turning to the marble chair, he made the following remarks :
"But when I look upon this seat-when I think how great and what kind of personages have possessed this place before me, when I call to mind who he was that sat in it last of all-a man of what singular wisdom, of what notable experience, what a prosperous and favourable fortune he had for a great space, and how, at last, dejected with a heavy downfall, he hath died inglorious—I have cause enough, by my predecessor's example, to think honour but slippery, and this dignity not so grateful to me as it may seem to others; for both it is a hard matter to follow with like paces or praises a man of such admirable wit, prudence, authority, and splendour, to whom I may seem but as the lighting of a candle when the sun is down; and also the sudden and unexpected fall of so great a man as he was doth terribly put me in mind that this honour ought not to please me too much, nor the lustre of this glittering seat dazzle mine eyes. Wherefore, I ascend this seat as a place full of labour and danger, void of all solid and true honour, the which by how inuch the higher it is, by so much greater fall I am to fear, as well in respect of the very nature of the thing itself as because I am warned by this late fearful example."
This speech looks too much like one made for the hero; and we share in the suspicion that
Master Roper, the reporter, had more to do with it than his grandfather the chancellor. However that may be, no one before had so worthily filled that seat of honour and responsibility as he who was now installed. In days when the saying, as true as ever, had grown old, that "no one could hope for a favourable judgment, unless his fingers were tipped with gold,” he administered justice with as much impartiality as diligence. “Having heard causes in the forenoon between 8 and II, after dinner he sat in an open hall, and received the petitions of all who chose to come before him, examining their cases and giving them redress where it was in his power, according to law and good conscience; and the poorer and the meaner the suppliant was, the more affably he would speak unto him the more heartily he would hearken to his cause, and with speedy trial despatch him.”
“It happened on a time that a beggar-woman's little dog, which she had lost, was presented for a jewel to Lady More, and she had kept it some se'nnight 6 very carefully; but at last the beggar had notice where her dog was, and presently she came to proclaim to Sir Thomas, as he was sitting in his hall, that his lady withheld her dog from her. Presently my lady was sent for, and the dog brought with her, which Sir Thomas, taking in his hands, caused his wife, because she was the worthier person, to stand at the upper end of the hall and the beggar at the lower end; and saying that he sat there to do every one justice, he bade each of them call the dog; which, when they did, the dog
went presently to the beggar, forsaking my lady. When he saw this he bade my lady be contented, for. it was none of hers; yet she, repining at the sentence of the Lord Chancellor, agreed with the beggar, and gave her a piece of gold, which would well have bought three dogs; and so all parties were agreed, every one smiling to see his manner of inquiring out the truth.”
Never since his time, we may add, has anything of the kind been seen more morally beautiful in Westminster Hall than the well known demeanour of More towards his aged father, then puisne 7 judge in the Court of King's Bench. “Every day during term time, before the chancellor began business in his own court, he went into the Court of King's Bench, and, kneeling before his father, asked and received his blessing. So, if they met together at readings in Lincoln's Inn, notwithstanding his high office, he offered the pre-eminence in argument to his father, though, from regard to judicial subordination, this offer was always refused,"
The heart of the man Wolsey is seen in the gay pageant of his installation, as the heart of the man More is seen in the filial love and reverence which he cherished for his aged parent. With all More's infirmities and errors, making due deduction for his sympathy with a persecuting age—for alas ! he did by his severity to some Protestants brought before him, practically deny the principles of tolerance which, with such fair and beautiful eloquence, he had illustrated in his Utopia 8—this upright chancellor, in the reign of the most tyrannical of