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Реферат: Thomas More

     
     About Sir Thomas More
Thomas More rose from humble origins to achieve the highest political and
judicial office of England, second only to that of the king. He was
recognized throughout early sixteenth-century Europe as one of the great
lawyers, Christian humanists, and classical scholars of his day. ,Even at a
very early age, More gave clear evidence of his uncommon gifts. Because of
this, a family friend successfully persuaded his father to allow him to
attend Oxford University. More so enjoyed his studies there that his father
became alarmed. Two years into the program, he decided that his son should
learn something useful. Under what seems to have been considerable coercion,
Thomas returned to London to study law at New Inn. Although this law program
was among the best and most demanding in London, More found time to continue
his study of Greek, philosophy, literature, and theology with such world-
renowned teachers as Linacre, Grocyn, and Colet, as well as with the pious
and learned Carthusians.
Meanwhile, More excelled at his legal studies at the New Inn. Once finished,
he read through the law again at Lincoln's Inn for two more years, after
which he was chosen as reader at Furnivall's Inn and reappointed for three
successive years - a considerable honor for such a young man. During these
years of studying and teaching, More continued an intense life of prayer,
during which time he sought to discern his vocation in life. By the age of
25, More was convinced that his place was with city and family, not monastery
and cell. At 26 he was elected to Parliament; at 27 he married Jane Colt and
fathered four children in the next five years. Jane died when More was 33,
leaving him with four young children during the height of his career as a
lawyer. Despite his deep sorrow, he married again within one month for the
sake of his children. He married the best woman he knew, Alice Middleton, who
had neither his interests nor his playful temperament and who was six or
seven years his senior. As Erasmus recounts, she was "neither a pearl nor a
girl ... but a shrewd and careful housewife."He marvels that More's" life
with her is as pleasant and agreeable as if she had all the charm of youth,
and with his buoyant gaiety he wins her to more compliance than he could by
severity."
With his gifts of intellectual genius and endearing wit plus his reputation
for virtue, More was much sought after as a lawyer and diplomat. He was
chosen, for example, by the London merchants to represent them on three major
embassies to foreign countries. At the age of 32, he began his work as a
judge, a position that made him well-known and loved among the general London
citizenry.
Throughout these years, More was also active in the areas of literature and
philosophy. The Utopia, a work considered by some to be one of the finest
Socratic dialogues of all time, has long been recognized as his masterpiece.
After fifteen years of prosperous civic life, More was called to serve the
King at court, a position he did not and would not seek out. Early on, he was
well aware of the dangers of political life; he valued his freedom for family
and writing, and he knew that giving up his lucrative law practice to enter
public service would cost him a considerable portion of his income. Yet as a
loyal citizen, More considered it the "duty of every good man" to contribute
to the service of his country.    Once in the King's service, More commanded
Henry VIII's friendship and trust, serving primarily as his personal
secretary, but with some administrative and diplomatic responsibilities. He
rose steadily over the next ten years, finally becoming Chancellor in 1529,
at the age of fifty- one. As Chancellor, More concentrated on two major
tasks: (1) streamlining and improving the judicial system; (2) addressing and
personally refuting errors which he considered seditious and destructive of
both state and church. In fulfilling this latter task, he collected evidence
which resulted in the execution of three persons. Although these executions
have captured the imagination of many scholars today, More spent most of his
working hours trying to fulfill his function as chief justice of the land. In
the assessment of Tudor historian John Guy, More made substantial
contributions in this area, reforming the legal system far more effectively
than Cromwell would later, in his far reaching legislative reforms of the
1530s. More was Chancellor for only thirty-one months. He resigned on May 16,
1532, the day after Henry VIII and Cromwell manipulated the Parliament to
take away the traditional freedom of the Church, a freedom that had been
written into English law since the Magna Carta. At issue was the survival of
the Church as well as the nature of law and the scope of the state's
legitimate authority. Imprisoned in the Tower of London for fifteen months
before his execution, More was heavily pressured by his family and friends to
sign the oath accepting Henry VIII as the Supreme Head of the Church in
England. More steadfastly refused but never expressed animosity towards those
who complied. During this time, he wrote a number of devotional and
exegetical works, including A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation, A
Treatise on the Passion, and The Sadness of Christ. That More was God's
servant first and foremost was readily seen in his life of prayer and
penance. From the time he was a young man, More started each day with private
prayer, spiritual reading, and Mass, regardless of his many duties. He lived
demanding mortifications in his characteristically discreet and merry manner.
He generously cared for the poor and needy, and involved his own children in
this same work. He had special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, to frequent
meditation on the Passion, and to the rosary. More was executed on July 6,
1535, and canonized on May 19, 1935. He has become a symbol of professional
integrity, famous for the balanced judgment, ever-present humor, and
undaunted courage that led him to be known, even in his own lifetime, as the
"man for all seasons.
     The Trial of Sir Thomas More, 1535
The following, sadly, is a true story. It is the story of Sir Thomas More,
beheaded in London in 1535.
Thomas More was born in London on February 7, 1478. He was educated at St.
Anthony's School in London, then the best in the city. More managed to get a
placement with the family of the Archbishop of Canterbury through his
father's influence. Sir Thomas More, Senior, was a prominent local barrister.
Thomas Junior went on to study at Oxford where he wanted to learn Greek. But
Greek was frowned upon by the elite because it was thought that it would give
young people access to "novel and dangerous ways of thinking." Couldn't have
that. More's father removed him from Oxford and sent him to tutor in law.
More soon became a lawyer (barrister) like his father but he did not lose his
interest in Greek studies and he read all the Greek books that he could. When
he was about twenty, he toyed with the idea of becoming a monk, fasting every
Friday, sleeping on the ground with only a log as pillow. But he soon bored
of that and then befriended Erasmus, then an "prince of learning" and More
renewed his learning of Greek. He began to translate Greek publications in
English. He also continued his career as a barrister and was elected to
Parliament in 1504. In 1515, Thomas More published Utopia, in which he
theorized about the perfect world. In Utopia, More foresaw cities of 100,000
inhabitants as being ideal. In his Utopia, there was no money, just a monthly
market where citizens bartered for what they needed. Persons engaged to each
other were allowed to see each other naked before marriage so that they would
know if the other was "deformed". Six years before Utopia was published,
Henry the 7th died and he was replaced by son, Henry the 8th. King Henry took
a liking to Thomas More although More did not reciprocate. The King was known
to put his arm around More. "This growing favour, by which many men would
have been carried away," writes the Encyclopedia Britannica "did not impose
upon More. He discouraged the king's advances, showed reluctance to go to the
palace and seemed constrained when he was there. Then the King began to come
to More's house and would dine with him without previous notice." Privately,
More did not like Henry the 8th and told his oldest son-in-law that "if my
head would win him a castle in France, it should not fail to go." More was
right. Henry the 8th failed miserably as King. He divorced his first wife
(and his brother's widow), Catherine of Aragon, the daughter of the King of
Spain and married Anne Boleyn, without the blessing of the Pope. More was a
devout Catholic and believed deeply in the supremacy of the Pope and the
impropriety of this marriage. It would be his downfall.
Henry promoted More until More became Lord Chancellor. As such he was master
of equity law and of the Court of Chancery, the most powerful judicial office
in the land. But, in 1532, when he saw that King Henry was determined to
marry Anne Boleyn and that divorce was in the air, rather than stay in the
King's cabinet, he claimed ill health and was allowed to retire from the
bench.
That's when things started to deteriorate for him. The King invited him to
the marriage with Boleyn and More declined to attend. His refusal was a kiss
of death. Once it became public knowledge, all the king's brown-nosers kicked
into high gear. He was summoned to the court to answer an obscure charge of
accepting a bribe while Lord Chancellor. When his daughter brought him news
that the charge was dismissed, he said "quod differtur, non aufertur" or
"that which is postponed is not dropped." Sir Thomas More was a marked man.
In 1534, Henry enacted a law which declared him supreme ruler of the world,
bar none, including the Pope. All citizens were to accept this by oath. More
said thanks, but no thanks. Henry threw him into the Tower of London where
for a whole year he was locked up, denied pen, paper or books. His wife and
children visited and begged him to submit to the oath but More refused on
principle. More was questioned several times by friends of the king but he
was always careful never to say anything against the King personally; just
that he could not stomach the oath required by the Act of Supremacy. It was
on May 7, 1535 that More was dragged to trial, charged with treason for
failing to take the oath. He could barely walk from his 14-month confinement.
There were seven judges including the new Lord Chancellor, Thomas Audley.
More was immediately told that he could even yet take the oath and beg the
King's pardon and be saved. Sir Thomas More declined. More, still one of the
country's best barristers, complained first of his long imprisonment and how
he was in no condition to defend himself. A chair was brought in for him and
he was allowed to sit down. More made an impassioned defence, saying that he
had always told the King his personal opinions when asked. He then complained
about the Act which seemed to allow conviction from silence. "Neither can any
one word or action of mine be alleged or produced to make me culpable. By all
which I know, I would not transgress any law, or become guilty of any
treasonable crime for no law in the world can punish any man for his silence.
This God only that is the judge of the secrets of the hearts." And then Sir
Thomas More's trials took a dramatic turn. The King's solicitor general was
sworn in as witness and testified that More has "confessed" to him, in a
private conversation in the Tower of London several months earlier. According
to Richard Rich, More had linked the King's supposed "supremacy" with the
right of Parliament to depose of the sovereign. How, then, could Parliament
depose of a King if he were supreme, More had allegedly asked? This was
sensational testimony and would suffice to convict More. More was taken by
surprise but put on his bravest face and went on the offensive. "If I were a
man, my lords, that has no regards to my oath, (and) I had no occasion to be
here at this time, as is well known to every body, as a criminal; and if this
oath, Mr. Rich, which you have taken, be true, then I pray I may never see
God's face which, were it otherwise, is an impression I would not be guilty
of to gain the whole world." More did not seem to have a mean bone in his
body. Erasmus once said that "What did nature ever create milder, sweeter and
happier than the genius of Thomas More? All the birds come to him to be fed.
There is not any man living so affectionate to his children as he, and he
loveth his wife as if she were a girl of fifteen." But More faced perjury
which could convict him. "In good faith, Mr. Rich, I am more concerned for
your perjury than my own danger," he rebutted. "I must tell you that neither
myself nor anybody else to my knowledge ever took you to be a man of such
reputation that I or any other would have anything to do with you in a matter
of importance. I am sorry I am forced to speak it (but) you always lay under
the odium of a very lying tongue." More's efforts to discredit Rich were part
of the package the jury of 12 took with them to consider. But they soon
returned with a verdict: guilty. The Lord Chancellor began to read the
sentence when More interjected. "My lord, the practice in such cases was to
ask the prisoner before sentence whether he had any thing to offer why
judgment should not be pronounced against him." The Lord Chancellor abruptly
stopped his sentence reading and asked More what he was "able to say to the
contrary." More was now on borrowed time. He protested against the charge as
best he could. "A son is only by generation. We are by regeneration made
spiritual children of Christ and the Pope." The sentence for treason was then
handed down: "That he should be carried back to the Tower of London and from
thence drawn on a hurdle through the City of London to Tyburn there to be
hanged till he should be half dead; that then he should be cut down alive,
his privy parts cut off, his belly ripped, his bowels burnt, his four
quarters set up over four gates of the City, and his head upon London
Bridge." When the sentence was read out, More said he may as well speak
freely now and revealed that he was totally unable to see the sense of the
oath of supremacy. To this, the Lord Chancellor replied that why, then, had
so many bishops and academics taken the oath of supremacy? "I am able to
produce against one bishop which you can produce, a hundred holy and Catholic
bishops for my opinion; and against one realm, the consent of Christendom for
a thousand years." And upon those desperate words, More rejoined that "albeit
your lordships have been my judges to condemnation, yet we may hereafter meet
joyfully together in Heaven to our everlasting salvation." Thomas More was
then led back to London Tower, but this time with the Tower's axe before him,
pointed edge leading the procession and towards the convict as was the
custom. Henry the 8th later commuted the sentence to a quick beheading. The
day of execution was July 6, 1535 and the procession left London Tower at
nine in the morning. This was a big spectacle for Londoners, a parade of
sorts. Persons who had lost law suits before him when he was Lord Chancellor,
seized the opportunity to heckle the condemned man. To one wretched woman he
yelled back: "I very well remember the case and if I were to decide it now, I
would make the same decree." Brought up to the scaffold, Thomas More said to
his executioner. ""Pluck up thy spirits, man, and be not afraid to do thine
office. My neck is very short. Take heed, therefore, thou not strike awry for
saving thine honesty."
Sir Thomas More was no more.
His head was stuck on London Bridge where it stayed for several months (his
daughter later bought it). When news came of More death, King Henry abruptly
left his game of cards and scowled at his new wife Anne Boleyn: "Thou art the
cause of this man's death." But Henry the 8th, then 44 years old, was still a
child and as good an argument one can make against monarchy as can be found
in history. He quickly confiscated all of More's property and forced More's
wife and family to start anew. He even negated special legal assignments that
More had devised to provide for his family in case he was executed.
Anne Boleyn was beheaded eleven months after More, on charges of adultery.
Henry the 8th went on to marry four more wives, another of which was also
beheaded. Henry died in 1547. During his rein, there had been an average of
120 executions a month in England. More was named a Catholic saint in 1866.
     A Chronology of More's Life
1477, Feb. 7 - Born in London to John and Agnes More
1484-1489 - Attends St. Anthony's School, London (More's age: 7-12)
1489-1491 - Page for Archbishop and Chancellor Morton (12-14)
1491-1493 - Student at Oxford (14-16)
1493-1495 - Pre-law student, New Inn, London (16-18)
1496-1501 - Law student, Lincoln's Inn; called to bar (18-23)
1499 - Meets Erasmus for the first time (22)
1501-1504 - Frequents Charterhouse (Carthusians) (24-27)
1501 - Lectures on St. Augustine's City of God; begins Greek (24)
1503-1506 - Reader at Furnival's Inn (26-29)
1504 - Elected to Parliament (27)
1505 - Marries Jane Colt; Margaret born (28)
1506 - Studies intensely; visits Coventry; Elizabeth born (29)
1507 - Financial secretary of Lincoln's Inn; Cecily born (30)
1508 - Visits universities at Paris and Louvain (31)
1509 - Member of Mercers' Guild; John born; Henry VIII crowned (32)
1510 - Elected to Parliament (33)
1510-1518 - Undersheriff of London (33-41)
1511 - After Jane's death, marries Alice Middleton; Autumn Reader at
Lincoln's Inn (34)
1512 - Governor and treasurer of Lincoln's Inn (35)
1513 - Henry VIII leads an army against France; to Henry, Erasmus dedicates
his translation of Plutarch's essay on flattery (36)
1514 - Elected to Doctors' Common; serves on sewers commission (37)
1515 - Embassy to Bruges and Antwerp for commercial treaties; Lenten Reader
at Lincoln's Inn; refuses royal pension (38)
1516 - Continues to study history and political philosophy (39)
1517 - Embassy to Calais; counsel to pope's ambassador in England; Evil May
Day; Wolsey's Treaty of Universal Peace; Luther's "Ninety-five Theses" (40)
1518 - Joins King Henry's service; Master of Requests (41)
1520 - Field of Cloth of Cold: peace with France (43)
1521 - Knighted; undertreasurer; ambassador to Bruges and Calais; cautions
Henry not to exaggerate the pope's secular authority; Margaret marries Roper;
Buckingham executed (44)
1522 - Gives public oration welcoming Emperor Charles V; serves as Henry's
secretary and cautions against war; war with France resumed (45)
1523 - Speaker of the House of Commons, proposes free speech; leases Crosby
Hall; truce with France (46)
1524 - High Steward, Oxford; moves to Chelsea; war with France resumes: "If
my head could win [the King] a castle in France, . . . it would not fail to
go." (47)
1525 - High Steward, Cambridge; chancellor of Lancaster; Peasants' Revolt;
peace treaty with France; Cecily marries Heron; Elizabeth marries Dauncey
(48)
1526 - Appointed to royal council's subcommittee of four; urges Erasmus to
complete writings against Luther; Turks invade Hungary; Tyndale's New
Testament secretly distributed (49)
1527 - Accompanies Wolsey to France; sack of Rome; Henry consults More about
divorce; More's daughters' dispute before Henry; Holbein paints the More
family (50)
1528 - Tunstall asks More to defend Church in English; Margaret almost dies;
More chosen as alternate Master of Revels, Lincoln's Inn; More's three great
wishes (51)
1529 - Delegate, Peace of Cambrai; fire at Chelsea; appointed Lord
Chancellor; addresses Parliament; John marries Anne Cresacre (52)
1530 - More almost dismissed for his opposition to Henry; Cranmer completes
his defense of caesaropapism (53)
1531 - Henry declared Supreme Head of the Church in England (54)
1532 - Counters Cromwell's and St. German's attacks on the clergy; reports
universities' approval of royal divorce; Henry enraged by undiplomatic
clerics; Submission of Clergy (May 15); More resigns his office (May 16) (55)
1533 - Restraint of Appeals to Rome; England declared an empire (April);
Cranmer authorizes royal divorce (May); Anne Boleyn's coronation (June 1);
Pope Clement VII condemns the divorce (July); to defend his reputation, More
writes to Erasmus (56)
1534 - Henry asks for More's indictment (Feb. 21), but House of Lords refuses
three times; More questioned by royal commission (March), interrogated at
Lambeth Palace (Apr. 13), and finally imprisoned (illegally) for refusal to
take Cromwell's oath regarding the Act of Succession (Apr. 17); Chancellor
Audley sends a warning to More (August) (57)
1535 - Margaret visits while monks are led to execution (May 4); More
interrogated on May 7, June 3, and June 14; Richard Rich removes writing
materials (June 12); More's trial (July 1) and execution July 6) (58)
     A Chronology of More's Writings
English poems (c. 1496-1504)
Correspondence (Latin and English, 1499-1535)
Latin verses to Holt's Lac Puerorum (c. 1500)
"Letter to John Colet" (c. 1504)
The Life of John Picus (c, 1504; published 1510)
Translations of Lucian (1505-1506; published 1506)
Latin poems, Epigrammata (1496-1516; published 1518)
Coronation ode (1509)
Epigrams on Brixius (1513)
The History of King Richard III (c. 1513-1518)
"Letter to Dorp" (1515)
Utopia (1516)
Poem and letters to his children, and letter to their tutor (1517-1522)
Letters to Oxford (1518), to a Monk (1519), and to Brixius (1520)
Quattuor Novissima (The Four Last Things] (c. 1522)
Responsio ad Lutherum (1523)
"Letter to Bugenhagen" (1526; published 1568)
A Dialogue Concerning Heresies (June 1529)
Supplication of Souls (September 1529)
A Dialogue Concerning Heresies, 2nd edition (May 1531)
Confutation of Tyndale's Answer I-III (March 1532)
"Letter against Frith" (December 1532; published December(1533)
Confutation of Tyndale IV-VIII (Spring 1533)
The Apology of Sir Thomas More (April 1533)
The Debellation of Salem and Bizance (October 1533)
The Answer to a Poisoned Book (December 1533)
A Treatise upon the Passion; A Treatise to Receive the Blessed Body; A
Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation; "A Dialogue on Conscience" (1534)
"Imploring Divine Help against Temptation"; "A Godly Instruction [on How to
Treat Those Who Wrong Us]'; "A Godly Meditation [on Saving One's Life]"; "A
Godly Meditation [on Detachment]" (1534-1535)
De Tristitia Christi (The Sadness of Christ) (1535)
"A Devout Prayer [before Dying]" (July 1535)