Thomas More thoughts

Sir Thomas More thoughts, quotes and words of wisdom
Sir Thomas More thoughts, quotes and words of wisdom

Sir Thomas More, son of Sir John More, a justice of the King’s Bench, was born in 1478, in Milk Street, in the city of London. After his earlier education at St. Anthony’s School, in Threadneedle Street, he was placed, as a boy, in the household of Cardinal John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Chancellor. It was not unusual for persons of wealth or influence and sons of good families to be so established together in a relation of patron and client. The youth wore his patron’s livery, and added to his state. The patron used, afterwards, his wealth or influence in helping his young client forward in the world. Cardinal Morton had been in earlier days that Bishop of Ely whom Richard III. sent to the Tower; was busy afterwards in hostility to Richard; and was a chief adviser of Henry VII., who in 1486 made him Archbishop of Canterbury, and nine months afterwards Lord Chancellor. Cardinal Morton—of talk at whose table there are recollections in “Utopia”—delighted in the quick wit of young Thomas More. He once said, “Whoever shall live to try it, shall see this child here waiting at table prove a notable and rare man.
Thomas More, Utopia

God said, “Thou shalt not kill” – does the theft of a little money make it quite all right for us to do soIf it’s said that this commandment applies only to illegal killing, what’s to prevent human beings from similarly agreeing among themselves to legalize certain types of rape, adultery, or perjuryConsidering that God has forbidden us even to kill ourselves, can we really believe that purely human arrangements for the regulation of mutual slaughter are enough, without any divine authority, to exempt executioners from the sixth commandmentIsn’t that like saying that this particular commandment has no more validity than human laws allow it- in which case the principle can be extended indefinitely, until in all spheres of life human beings decide just how far God’s commandments may conveniently be observed.
Thomas More

Until you put these things to right, you’re not entitled to boast of the justice meted out to thieves, for it’s a justice more specious than real or social desirable. You allow these people to be brought up in the worst possible way, and systematically corrupted from their earliest years. Finally, when they grow up and commit the crimes that they were obviously destined to commit, ever since they were children, you start punishing them. In other words, you create thieves, and then punish them for stealing.
Thomas More

Why do you suppose they made you king in the first place?’ I ask him. ‘Not for your benefit, but for theirs. They meant you to devote your energies to making their lives more comfortable, and protecting them from injustice. So your job is to see that they’re all right, not that you are – just as a shepherd’s job, strictly speaking, is to feed his sheep, not himself.
Thomas More

To tell you the truth, though, I still haven’t made up my mind whether I shall publish at all. Tastes differ so widely, and some people are so humourless, so uncharitable, and so absurdly wrong-headed, that one would probably do far better to relax and enjoy life than worry oneself to death trying to instruct or entertain a public which will only despise one’s efforts, or at least feel no gratitude for them.
Thomas More

The Utopians call those nations that come and ask magistrates from them Neighbours; but those to whom they have been of more particular service, Friends; and as all other nations are perpetually either making leagues or breaking them, they never enter into an alliance with any state. They think leagues are useless things, and believe that if the common ties of humanity do not knit men together, the faith of promises will have no great effect; and they are the more confirmed in this by what they see among the nations round about them, who are no strict observers of leagues and treaties.
Thomas More

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