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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 hym, 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 it 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 judgementes so corrupte, that they which leade a merie and a jocounde lyfe, folowynge theyr owne sensual 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 commen 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. An other 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 iiii. 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 he (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 Countreyes, 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 iiii. 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 way to 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 Countreye, nothynge lesse then looked for.
All this when Peter hadde tolde me: I
thanked him for his gentle kindnesses that he had vouchsafed to brynge me to the speache of that man, whose communication he thoughte shoulde be to me pleasaunte and acceptable. And therewith I tourned me to Raphaell. And when wee hadde haylsed eche other, and had spoken these commune woordes, that bee customablye spoken at the first meting, and acquaintaunce of straungers, we went thence to my house, and there in my gardaine upon a bench covered with greene torves, we satte downe talkyng together. There he tolde us, how that after the departyng of Vespuce, he and his fellowes that taried behynde in Gulicke, began by litle and litle, throughe fayre and gentle speache, to wynne the love and favoure of the people of that countreye, insomuche that within shorte space, they dyd dwell amonges them, not only harmless, but also occupiyng with them verye familiarly. He tolde us also, that they were in high reputation and favour with a certayne great man (whose name and Countreye is nowe quite out of my remembraunce) which of his mere liberalitie dyd beare the costes and charges of him and his fyve companions. And besides that gave theim a trustye guyde to conducte them in their journey (which by water was in botes, and by land in wagons) and to brynge theim to other Princes with verye frendlye commendations. Thus after manye dayes journeys, he sayd, they founde townes and Cities and weale publiques, full of people, governed by good and holsome lawes. For under the line equinoctiall, and on bothe sydes of the same, as farre as the Sonne doth extende his course, lyeth (quod he) great and wyde desertes and wildernesses, parched, burned, and dryed up with continuall and intollerable heate. thynges bee hideous, terrible, lothesome, and unpleasaunt to beholde: All thynges out of fassyon and comelinesse, inhabited withe wylde Beastes and Serpentes, or at the leaste wyse, with people, that be no lesse savage, wylde, and noysome then the verye beastes theim selves be. But a little farther beyonde that, all thynges beginne by litle and lytle to waxe pleasaunte. The ayre softe, temperate, and gentle. The grounde covered with grene grasse. Lesse wildnesse in the beastes. At the last shall ye come agayne to people, cities and townes wherein is continuall entercourse and occupiyng of merchandise and chaffare, not only among themselves and with theire Borderers, but
also with Merchauntes of farre Countreyes, bothe by lande and water. There I had occasion (sayd he) to go to many countreyes on every syde. For there was no shippe ready to any voyage or journey, but I and my fellowes were into it very gladly receyved. The shippes that thei founde first were made playn, flatte and broade in the botome, trough wise. The sayles were made of great russhes, or of wickers, and in some places of lether. Afterwarde the founde shippes with ridged kyeles, and sayles of canvasse, yea, and shortly after, havying all thynges lyke oures. The shipmen also very experte and cunnynge, bothe in the sea and in the wether. But he said that he founde great favoure and frendship amonge them, for teachynge them the feate and the use of the lode stone. Whiche to them before that time was unknowne. And therfore they were wonte to be verye timerous and fearfull upon the sea. Nor to venter upon it, but only in the somer time. But nowe they have suche a confidence in that stone, that they feare not stormy winter: in so dooynge farther from care then daunger. In so muche, that it is greatly to be doubted, lest that thyng, throughe their owne folish hardinesse, shall tourne them to evyll and harme, which at the first was supposed shoulde be to them good and commodious. But what he tolde us that he sawe in everye countreye where he came, it were very longe to declare. Neither it is my purpose at this time to make rehersall therof. But peradventure in an other place I wyll speake of it, chiefly suche thynges as shall be profitable too bee knowen, as in speciall be those decrees and ordinaunces, that he marked to be well and wittely provided and enacted amonge suche peoples, as do live together in a civile policye and good ordre. For of suche thynges dyd wee buselye enquire and demaunde of him, and he likewise very willingly tolde us of the same. But as for monsters, bycause they be no newes, of them we were nothyng inquisitive. For nothyng is more easye to bee founde, then bee barkynge Scyllaes, ravenying Celenes, and Lestrigones devourers of people, and suche lyke great, and incredible monsters. But to fynde Citisens ruled by good and holsome lawes, that is an exceding rare, and harde thyng. But as he marked many fonde, and folisshe lawes in those newe founde landes, so he rehersed divers actes, and constitutions, whereby these oure Cities, Nations, Countreis, and Kyngdomes may take ex
ample to amende their faultes, enormities and errours. Wherof in another place (as I sayde) I wyll intreate. Now at this time I am determined to reherse onely that he tolde us of the maners, customes, lawes, and ordinaunces of the Utopians. But first I wyll repete oure former communication by thoccasion, and (as I might saye) the drifte wherof, he was brought into the mention of that weale publique.
For, when Raphael had very prudentlye touched divers thyngs that be amisse, some here and some there, yea, very many on bothe partes; and againe had spoken of suche wise lawes and prudente decrees, as be established and used, bothe here amonge us and also there amonge theym, as
man so perfecte, and experte in the lawes, and customes of every severall Countrey, as though into what place soever he came geastwise, there he had ledde al his life: then Peter muche mervailynge at the man: Surely maister Raphael (quod he) I wondre greatly, why you gette you not into some kinges courte. For I am sure there is no Prince livyng, that wold not be very glad of you, as a man not only hable highly to delite him with your profounde fearnyng, and this your knowledge of countreis, and peoples, but also mete to instructe him with examples, and helpe him with counsell. And thus doyng, you shall bryng your selfe in a verye good case, and also be of habilitie to helpe all your frendes and kinsfolke. As concernyng my frendes and kynsfolke (quod he) I passe not greatly for them. For I thinke I have sufficiently doone, my parte towardes them already. For these thynges, that other men doo not departe from, untyl they be olde and sycke, yea, whiche they be then verye lothe to leave, when they canne no longer keepe, those very same thynges dyd I beyng not only lustye, and in good helth, but also in the floure of my youth, divide among my frendes and kynsfolkes. Which I thynke with this my liberalitie ought to holde them contented, and not to require nor to loke that besydes this, I shoulde for their sakes geve myselfe in bondage unto kinges.
Nay, God forbyd that (quod Peter) it is notte my mynde that you shoulde be in bondage to kynges, but as a retainour to them at your pleasure. Whiche surely I thinke is the nighest waye that you can devise howe to bestowe your time frutefully, not onlye for the private commoditie of your frendes and for the generall profite
of all sortes of people, but also for thadvauncement of your self to a much welthier state and condition, then you be nowe in. To a welthier condition (quod Raphael) by that meanes, that my mynde standeth cleane agaynst? Now I lyve at libertie after myne owne mynde and pleasure, whiche I thynke verye fewe of these great states and pieres of realmes can saye. Yea, and there be ynow of them that sue for great mens frendeshippes: and therfore thinke it no great hurte, if they have not me, nor iii. or iiii. suche other as I am. Well, I perceive playnly frende Raphael (quod I) that you be desirous neither of richesse, nor of power. And truly I have in no lesse reverence and estimation a man of your mynde, then anye of theim all that bee so high in power and authoritie. But you shall doo as it becometh you: yea, and accordyng to this wisdome, to this high and free courage of yours, if you can finde in your herte so to appoynt and dispose your selfe, that you mai applye your witte and diligence to the profite of the weale publique, thoughe it be somewhat to youre owne payne and hyndraunce. And this shall you never so wel doe, nor wyth so greate proffitte perfourme, as yf you be of some greate princes counsel, and put into his heade (as I doubte not but you wyl) honeste opinions, and vertuous persuasions. For from the prince, as from a perpetual wel sprynge, commethe amonge the people the floode of al that is good or evell. But in you is so perfitte lernynge, that withoute anye experience, and agayne so greate experience, that wythoute anye lernynge you maye well be any kinges counsellour. You be twyse deceaved maister More (quod he) fyrste in me, and agayne in the thinge it selfe. For neither is in me the habilitye that you force upon me, and yf it wer never so much, yet in disquieting myne owne quietnes I should nothing further the weale publique. For first of all, the moste parte of all princes have more delyte in warlike matters and feates of chivalrie (the knowlege wherof I neither have nor desire) than in the good feates of peace; and employe muche more study, how by right or by wrong to enlarge their dominions, than howe wel, and peaceablie to rule, and governe that they have alredie. Moreover, they that be counsellours to kinges, every one of them eyther is of him selfe so wise in dede, that he nedeth not, or elles he thinketh himself so wise, that he wil not allowe another mans counsel, saving
that they do shamefully and flatteringly geve assent to the fond and folishe sayinges of certeyn great men. Whose favours, bicause they be in high authoritie with their prince, by assentation and flatterie they labour to obteyne. And verily it is naturally geven to all men to esteme their owne inventions best. So both the Raven and the Ape thincke their owne yonge ones fairest. Then if a man in such a company, where some disdayne and have despite at other mens inventions, and some counte their owne best, if among suche menne (I say) a man should bringe furth any thinge, that he hath redde done in tymes paste, or that he hath sene done in other places; there the hearers fare as though the whole existimation of their wisdome were in jeoperdye to be overthrowen, and that ever after thei shoulde be counted for verye diserdes,1 unles they could in other mens inventions pycke out matter to reprehend, and find fault at. If all other poore helpes fayle, then this is their extreame refuge. thinges (say they) pleased our forefathers and auncestours: wolde God we coulde be so wise as thei were: and as though thei had wittely concluded the matter, and with this answere stopped every mans mouth, thei sitte downe againe. As who should sai, it were a very daungerous matter, if a man in any pointe should be founde wiser then his forefathers were. And yet bee we content to suffre the best and wittiest of their decrees to lye unexecuted: but if in any thing a better ordre might have ben taken, then by them was, there we take fast holde, findyng therin many faultes. Manye tymes have I chaunced upon such proude, leude, overthwarte and waywarde judgementes, yea, and once in England: I prai you Syr (quod I) have you ben in our countrey? Yea forsoth (quod he) and there I taried for the space of iiii. or v. monethes together, not longe after the insurrection, that the Westerne English men made agaynst their kyng, which by their owne miserable and pitiful | slaughter was suppressed and ended. In the meane season I was muche bounde and beholdynge to the righte reverende father, John Morton, Archebishop and Cardinal of Canterbury, and at that time also lorde Chauncelloure of Englande: a man, Mayster Peter, (for Mayster More knoweth already that I wyll saye) not more honourable for his authoritie, then for his prudence and vertue. He was of a meane stature, and
though stricken in age, yet bare he his bodye upright. In his face did shine such an amiable reverence, as was pleasaunte to beholde, Gentill in communication, yet earnest, and sage. He had great delite manye times with roughe speache to his sewters, to prove, but withoute harme, what prompte witte and what bolde spirite were in every man. In the which, as in a vertue much agreinge with his nature, so that therewith were not joyned impudency, he toke greate delectatyon. And the same person, as apte and mete to have an administratyon in the weale publique, he dyd lovingly embrace. In his speche he was fyne, eloquent, and pytthye. In the lawe he had profunde knowledge, in witte he was incomparable, and in memory wonderful excellente. These qualityes, which in hym were by nature singular, he by learnynge and use had made perfecte. The kynge put muche truste in his counsel, the weale publyque also in a maner leaned unto hym, when I was there. For even in the chiefe of his youth he was taken from schole into the courte, and there passed all his tyme in much trouble and busines, beyng continually tumbled and tossed in the waves of dyvers mysfortunes and adversities. And so by many and greate daungers he lerned the experience of the worlde, whiche so beinge learned can not easely be forgotten. It chaunced on a certayne daye, when I sate at his table, there was also a certayne laye man cunnynge in the lawes of youre Realme. Who, I can not tell wherof takynge occasion, began diligently and earnestly to prayse that strayte and rygorous justice, which at that tyme was there executed upon fellones, who, as he sayde, were for the moste parte xx. hanged together upon one gallowes. And, seyng so fewe escaped punyshement, he sayde he coulde not chuse, but greatly wonder and marvel, howe and by what evil lucke it shold so come to passe, that theves nevertheles were in every place so ryffe and so rancke. Naye, Syr, quod I (for I durst boldely speake my minde before the Cardinal) marvel nothinge here at: for this punyshment of theves passeth the limites of Justice, and is also very hurtefull to the weale publique. For it is to extreame and cruel a punishment for thefte, and yet not sufficient to refrayne and withhold men from thefte. For simple thefte is not so great an offense, that it owght to be punished with death. Neither ther is any punishment so horrible, that it can kepe them from stealynge, which have no other craft, wherby