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Not afraid to lose his head

It's hard to stand against a king, but Thomas More "did not look upon the severing of his head from his body" as others might.

Thomas More's belief that a man who lacked a conscience lacks everything is a welcome contrast with many politicians and their followers.

As a member of Parliament, More fought Henry VIII's large and unjust exactions of money. Henry later engaged his services as Chancellor, and became quite friendly, but as More wryly observed in 1525 -

"If my head should win him a castle in France, it should not fail to go".

More was known for his faith, his merry sense of humour, his legal acumen and defence of the law and the writing of Utopia.

It has always seemed tragic to us that as Henry's Chancellor, observing the law, he persecuted William Tyndale and other so-called heretics.

More is remembered for his courageous affirmation of his conscience and his refusal to bow to Henry when he named himself Head of the Church of England. More risked all he owned and his life. Imprisoned in the Tower of London, he continued to be the same merry and faithful man.

He was executed on July 6th 1535.

Addison wrote in the Spectator (No. 349) - "that innocent mirth which had been so conspicuous in his life, did not forsake him to the last . . .his death was of a piece with his life. There was nothing in it new, forced or affected. He did not look upon the severing of his head from his body as a circumstance that ought to produce any change in the disposition of his mind".

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