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viting, and it has possibly deterred many from examining its contents, and identifying its varied materials with the history of the writer. It has been the endeavour of the present volume to supply that defect; and it is hoped that the writer's researches have enabled him to throw some of the features of More's character into bolder relief.
Some particulars in the life of More,” says Sir J.Mackintosh, “I am obliged to leave to more fortunate inquirers.” To the praise of having accomplished this the present endeavour can hardly hope to aspire ; all the merit to which it can lay claim is that of patient labour and diligent research.
Desirous of re-producing a faithful picture of the time, he has taken pleasure in weaving into his narrative the many simple traits of domestic manners with which the pages of More's family biographers abound. In these faithful records Sir Thomas is brought before us “in the habit in which he lived,” and we are transported to the very hearth-stone of his domestic circle. Good taste will not be offended at these household scenes, and will readily teach us to make the necessary distinction between delicacy and fastidiousness. In several recent biographical works, evidence has been given of a disposition to admire and to adopt the simplicity of an earlier age; and, in place of a display of pompous and elaborate authorship, to allow the graphic and less artificial narration of our forefathers, to find its place. In a word, the truth has been recognised, that, in order faithfully to pourtray the manners of an age, due attention should be had to the costume of thought by which it was characterized.
With respect to the historical portion of the volume—the rise of the reformation, the origin and progress of Henry's divorce, &c., it would have been presumption to go over the same ground with Dr. Lingard. All the writer has done has been to avail himself of the “ State Papers,” and other documents that have recently come before the public, in order to carry out some parts of the subject more fully; as, for instance, the details of Wolsey's embassy to France, the judicial proceedings in the divorce, Cranmer's termination of that affair, the dignified resistance of Queen Catharine to the injustice of her persecutors, &c. To the youthful reader in particular, it is hoped that these graphic details of manners and character will prove acceptable.
The present volume will be immediately followed by a second, containing “THE BEAUTIES of Sir Thomas More, or Selections from his Writings in prose and verse.” Such a collection is a necessary sequel to the volume now before the reader, in order to enable him fully to enter into More's character, and appreciate his genius and acquirements. Sir Thomas's views, moral and political, are allowed to have been in advance of his age. “Those who know only his Utopia," observes Sir James Mackintosh, “ will acknowledge that he left little of ancient wisdom uncultivated, and that it anticipates more of the moral and political speculation of modern times, than can be credited without a careful perusal."
In conclusion, the writer wishes it were permitted him to address his readers in the language of that great master of his art, whose genius has imparted an additional interest to this portion of English history:
Then, in a moment, see,
SHAKSPEARE, Prologue to Henry VIII.