Page images

olde age and syckenes, being nedye, poore, and indigent of all thinges, then forgettyng their so manye paynefull watchinges, not remembring their so manye and so greate benefites, recompenseth and acquyteth them moste unkyndly 5 with myserable death. And yet besides this the riche men

not only by private fraud, but also by commen lawes, do every day pluck and snatche awaye from the poore some parte of their daily living. So whereas it semed before

unjuste to recompense with unkindnes their paynes that 10 have bene beneficiall to the publique weale, nowe they have

to this their wrong and unjuste dealinge (which is yet a muche worse pointe) geven the name of justice, yea and that by force of a lawe. Therfore when I consider and


in my mind all these commen wealthes, which now a dayes 15 any where do florish, so God helpe me, I can perceave

nothing but a certein conspiracy of riche men procuringe theire owne commodities under the name and title of the commen wealth. They invent and devise all meanes and

craftes, first how to kepe safely, without feare of lesing, that 20 they have unjustly gathered together, and next how to hire

and abuse the worke and laboure of the poore for as litle money as may be. These devises, when the riche men have decreed to be kept and observed under coloure of the

comminaltie, that is to saye, also of the pore people, then 25 they be made lawes. But these most wicked and vicious

men, when they have by their unsatiable covetousnes devided among them selves al those thinges, whiche woulde have sufficed all men, yet how farre be they from the welth

and felicitie of the Utopian commen wealth ? 30 Contempte of Out of the which, in that all the desire of money

with the use thereof is utterly secluded and banished, howe greate a heape of cares is cut away! How great an occasion of wickednes and mischiefe is plucked up


by the rotes ! For who knoweth not, that fraud, theft, rauine, brauling, quarelling, brabling, striffe, chiding, contention, murder, treason, poisoning, which by daily punishmentes are rather revenged then refrained, do dye when money dieth? And also that feare, griefe, care, laboures and 5 watchinges do perish even the very same moment that money perisheth? Yea poverty it selfe, which only semed to lacke money, if money were gone, it also would decrease and vanishe away. And that you may perceave this more plainly, consider with your selfes some barein and unfruteful 10 yeare, wherin manye thousandes of people have starved for honger. I dare be bolde to say, that in the end of that penury so much corne or grain might have bene found in the rich mens bernes, if they had bene searched, as being divided among them whome famine and pestilence then 15 consumed, no man at al should have felt that plague and penuri. So easely might men gette their living, if that same worthyė princesse, lady money, did not alone stop up the waye betwene us and our lyving, which a Goddes name was very excellently devised and invented, that by her the way 20 therto should be opened. I am sewer the ryche men perceave this, nor they be not ignoraunte how much better it were too lacke noo necessarye thing, then to abunde with overmuche superfluite; to be ryd oute of innumerable cares and troubles, then to be beseiged and encombred with 25 great ryches. And I dowte not that either the respecte of every mans private commoditie, or els the authority of oure savioure Christe (which for his great wisdom could not but know what were best, and for his inestimable goodnes could not but counsel to that which he knew to be best) wold 30 have brought all the worlde longe agoo into the lawes of this weale publique, if it wer not that sayinge, one only beast, the princesse and mother of all mischiefe,

A mervelous

[ocr errors]

pride, doth withstande and let it.

She meaPryde.

surethe not wealth and prosperity by her owne commodities, but by the miserie and incommodities of other;

she would not by her good will be made a goddesse, yf 5 there were no wretches left, over whom she might, like a

scorneful ladie, rule and triumph, over whose miseries her felicities mighte shyne, whose povertie she myghte vexe, tormente and encrease by gorgiouslye settynge furthe her

richesse. Thys hellhounde creapeth into mens hartes, and 10 plucketh them backe from entering the right pathe of life,

and is so depely roted in mens brestes, that she can not be plucked out. This fourme and fashion of a weale publique, which I would gladly wish unto al nations, I am glad yet

that it hath chaunced to the Utopians, which have folowed 15 those institutions of life, whereby they have laid such foun

dations of their common wealth, as shal continew and last not only wealthely, but also, as far as mans wit may judge and conjecture, shall endure for ever. For, seyng the chiefe

causes of ambition and sedition with other vices be plucked 20 up by the rootes and abandoned at home, there can be no

jeopardie of domisticall dissention, whiche alone hathe caste under foote and brought to noughte the well fort[i]fied and stronglie defenced wealthe and riches of many cities. But

forasmuch as perfect concorde remaineth, and wholsome 25 lawes be executed at home, the envie of al forein princes be

not hable to shake or move the empire, though they have many tymes long ago gone about to do it, beyng evermore driven backe.

Thus when Raphaell hadde made an ende of his tale, 30 though many thinges came to my mind, which in the maners

and lawes of that people semed to be instituted and founded of no good reason, not onely in the fashion of their chevalry, and in their sacrifices and religions, and in other of their lawes, but also, yea and chiefly, in that which is the principal foundation of al their ordinaunces, that is to say, in the communitie of their life and livynge, withoute anye occupieng of money, by the whiche thinge onelye all nobilitie, magnificence, wourshippe, honour and maiestie, the true 5 ornamentes and honoures, as the common opinion is, of a common wealth, utterlye be overthrowen and destroied; yet because I knew that he was wery of talking, and was not sure whether he coulde abyde that anye thynge shoulde be sayde againste hys mynde; speciallye remembrynge that he 10 had reprehended this faulte in other, which be aferde lest they should seme not to be wise enough, onles they could find some fault in other mens inventions; therfore I praising both their institutions and hys communication, toke him by the hand, and led him in to supper; sayinge that we 15 woulde chuese an other time to waye and examine the same matters, and to talke with him moore at large therin. Whiche woulde God it might ones come to passe.

In the meane time, as I can not agree and consent to all thinges that he saide, beyng els without doubt a man singularly well 20 learned, and also in all worldelye matters exactly and profoundly experienced, so must I nedes confesse and graunt

that many thinges be in the Utopian
weale publique, whiche in our
cities I maye rather

25 wishe for, then

hope after.
C Thus endeth the afternoones talke
of Raphael Hythlodave concer-
ning the lawes and institu-

30 tions of the #lande

of Utopia

c To the right honourable Hierome Buslyde, prouost of Arienn, and counselloure to the catholike kinge Charles, Peter Gyles,

Citijein of Antwerpe, wisheth health 5

and felícitie. HOMAS MORE the singular ornamente of this

our age, as you your self (right honourable Buslide) can witnesse, to whome he is perfectly

wel knowen, sent unto me this other day the 10 ylande of Utopia, to very few as yet knowen, but most

worthy; which, as farre excelling Platoes commen wealthe, all people shoulde be willinge to know; specially of a man most eloquent so finely set furth, so conningly painted out

and so evidently subiect to the eye, that as oft as I reade it, 15 me thinketh that I see somwhat more, then when I heard

Raphael Hythloday himselfe (for I was present at that talke as well as master More) utteryng and pronouncing his owne woordes. Yea, though the same man, accordinge to his

pure eloquence, did so open and declare the matter, that he 20 might plainely enough appeare, to reporte not thinges which

he had learned of others onelye by hearesay, but which he had with his own eyes presently sene and throughly vewed, and wherin he had no smal time bene conversant and abid

ing; a man trulie, in mine opinion, as touching the know25

ledge of regions, peoples and worldly experience, muche passinge, yea even they very famous and renowmed travailer Ulysses; and in dede suche a one, as for the space of these viij. c. yeres past I think nature into the worlde

brought not furth his like; in comparison of whome Ves30 puce maye be thought to have sene nothing. Moreover,

wheras we be wont more effectually and pitthely to declare

« PreviousContinue »