|About the Book|
THIS little book is not the work of a historian. I should not have ventured to undertake it, if the life of Sir Thomas More had not been already written by a member of the craft. Father Bridgetts work is soundly critical- I have followed it step byMoreTHIS little book is not the work of a historian. I should not have ventured to undertake it, if the life of Sir Thomas More had not been already written by a member of the craft. Father Bridgetts work is soundly critical- I have followed it step by step and sometimes simply abbreviated it. Needless to say I have carefully re-read Mores works and the contemporary documents which the monumental collection of the Letters and Papers renders universally accessible. My object in doing so was not to gather a few trifling discoveries, forgotten or overlooked by scholars like Father Bridgett and Mr Gairdner, but to give a lively and fresh impression of the events, and to become as familiarly as possible acquainted with Sir Thomas More. His nature, for all its limpidity, is difficult to know thoroughly. Ever in earnest and ever in fun, its very transparence adds to its mystery, and the extreme variety of its gifts is disconcerting. I flattered myself that I could paint More exactly as I saw him, but my ambition was greater than my strength. The most delicate chapters of this life would have to be rewritten, and the rest indefinitely retouched. I have not sufficient confidence in myself to begin the work again, and I must be content to call the readers attention to the documents that will enable him to draw a portrait of Sir Thomas More for himself. To anyone who cares to make the attempt I can promise plenty of edification and pleasure. A man of letters, a family man, a statesman, and, in addition, a man of constant faith and exemplary piety, More may become for us all a friend for all hours, as Erasmus calls him: omnibus omnium horarum homo. Wit and goodwill, wisdom and courage, there is nothing that this saint of modern times lacks to be enrolled among our dearest patrons and models.