Thomas More At the last debating whereof he made such arguments and reasons there against, that the King’s demands were thereby overthrown.
So that one of the King’s privy chamber, named Mr. Tyler, being present thereat, brought word to the King out of the Parliament house, that a beardless boy had disappointed all his purposes. Whereupon the King conceiving great indignation towards him could not be satisfied until he had some way revenged it. And forasmuch as he nothing having, nothing could lose, his grace devised a causeless quarrel against his Father, keeping him in the Tower until he had paid him an hundred pounds fine.Shortly hereupon it fortuned that this Sir Thomas More coming in a suit to Dr. Fox, Bishop of Winchester, one of the King’s privy council, they called him aside, and pretending great favour towards him, promised him that if he would be ruled by him, he would not fail but into the King’s favour again to restore him, meaning, as it was after conjectured, to cause him thereby to confess his offence against the King, whereby his Highness might with better colour have occasion to revenge his displeasure against him. But when he came from the Bishop, he fell in communication with one Mr.
Witford, his familiar friend, then chaplain to that Bishop and after a Father of Sion, and showed him what the Bishop had said unto him, desiring to have his advice therein, who for the passion of God prayed him in no wise to follow his counsel “for my Lord my Master (quoth he) to serve the King’s turn will not stick to agree to his own father’s death.” So Sir Thomas More returned to the Bishop no more when Sir Thomas More had remained in the Tower a little more than a month, my wife, longing to see her father, by her earnest suit at length gat leave to go to him. At whose coming (after the seven psalms and litany said, which whensoever she came to him, ere he fell in talk of any worldly matters, he used accustomably to say with her) among other communication he said unto her, prolific letter writer Since More was a practising lawyer and politician for most of his adult life he was allowed to correspond with his eldest daughter Margaret Roper (who was also allowed to visit him in prison) Within two weeks of More’s death (6 July 1535), an eye-witness account of More’s final trial and execution written , for a different view of the relationships between the various accounts of More’s execution.] More served Henry faithfully in some of the most trying times the English court has ever known, and when he refused to attend Anne Boleyn’s coronation ceremony he knew what was in store. He was later requested to take an oath acknowledging Henry the supreme head of the Church in England, and when he (as a loyal Roman Catholic) refused he was tried and convicted of treason.This essay has indicated that the humanists were concerned with developing a noble style in their oral and written communication.
They were also concerned with their style of behavior. They valued witty behavior, and especially a witty jest ; and they immensely admired a quality of polished urbanity when it was manifest in difficult situations. One way of summing this up would be to say that the humanists admired a man who never “lost his cool.” According to William Roper, More’s son-in-law and biographer, Sir Thomas More even quipped at the time of his death. To one of his attendants at the foot of the shaky scaffold More said, “I pray you, Master Lieutenant, see me safe up, and for my coming down let me shift for myself.” And when the executioner begged his pardon, More embraced him and said to him “pluck up thy spirits, man, and be not afraid to do thine office.” Finally, as he was laying his head upon the block, he begged the executioner stay until he had removed his beard, saying that it had never committed any treason.
The execution of More in 1535 shocked and dismayed humanists throughout Europe. Their hopes blasted by nationalism, religious faction and royal pride, it became impossible for men like More and Erasmus, to prevail.The succeeding generation of humanists tended, like Francis Petrarch earlier, to be more cautious, more deferential to established power and doctrine. Sir Thomas More considered becoming a Carthusian monk, but chose instead the active life of law and public service. After writing Utopia, Sir Thomas More served in the court of Henry VIII, and his service there, as some of you know, cost him his life. One can hardly blame earlier and later humanists, then, for seeking political accommodation. The end of Henry’s VIII’s reign brought complete frustration to the humanists.
In addition to More, Henry slew Dr.Richard Reynolds and John Fisher, both very prominent churchmen, as well as John Houghton and a whole monastery of Carthusian monks under Houghton’s care. As a young man More had seriously considered joining the Carthusian order. Henry also imprisoned two of his country’s greatest humanist, courtier poets, Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey.
Wyatt he imprisoned and broke; Surrey he killed.