Thomas More's Works

Thomas More's Works is in Tudor Books.

Lettes of Thomas More

628. 19 Aug 1517. London. Deventer MS. 91, f, 94. E. p. 177: F. p. 317: HN: Lond. vii, 4 : LB. 522.

Thomas More Eramus. S.P.D.

Dilatus ad procrastinatus Polgrani nostri quotidie iturieiltis discessus effecit ut et meas literas et aliorum serius multo quam aut ego volebam aut tu debebas acciperes, Videbatur enim commodissime relaturus ad te meas, qui tuas ad me attulisset. Sic necesse fuit prioribus praesentes addere, quibus constare tibi dilationis ratio possit, simul uti quid nunc agatur apud nos intalligas: qui si unquam alias, nunc maxime in maerore et peiculo versamur, multis undique morientibus, omnibus fere qui Oxoniae, qui Cantabrigiae, qui Londini, sunt, intra paucos dies decumbentibus, amissis plurimis optimis atque honestissimis amicis; atque in his (quod tibi quoque dolori esse doleo) Andrea nostro Ammonio, in quo et literae et omnes boni magnam fecere iacturam. Is valde sibi videbatur adversus contagionem victus moderatione munitus; qua factum putauit ut, quum in nullum pene incideret cuius non tota familia laborauerat, neminem adhuc e suis id maluin attigerit: id quad ipse et mihi et multis praeterea iactauit non admodum multis horis antequam extinctus est. Nam hoc sudore nemo nisi primo die perit.

Ego uxorque ac liberi adhuc intacti, reliqua familia tota reualuit. Hoc tibi affirmo, minus periculi in acie quam in urbe esse. Nunc, ut audio, seuire Caleti incipit, quum nos eo extrudimur legatione functuri; tanquam parum sit in contagione vixisse, nisi sequamur etiam. Sed quid facias? Quod sors feret, ferendurn est. Ego animun mihi in omnem euentum composui. Tu vale.

Raptim Londini 19th Angnsti, [M.D.XX.]

In translation ....

The procrastination of our Polgrani's departure every day caused you to receive both my letters and those of others much later than either I wanted or you ought, for it seemed most convenient to relate mine to you, who had brought yours to me. Thus it was necessary to add to the former those present, by whom the reason for the delay may be apparent to you, and at the same time to understand what is now going on with us: who, if ever else, we are now most engaged in sorrow and distress, with many dying on every side, almost all who are at Oxford, who are at Cambridge, and who are in London , are, within a few days, prostrate, having lost many of their best and most honorable friends; and in these (which I am sorry to be a pain to you also) our Ammonius Andrew, in whom both letters and all good things will do a great loss. He seemed to himself greatly protected against the contagion of his diet by moderation; by which act he thought that, when he fell into almost no one whose whole family had not labored, no one of his own had yet touched that evil: which he boasted to me and to many besides, not very many hours before he was extinguished. For in this sweat no one perishes except on the first day.

I and my wife and children were still untouched, and the rest of the family were all recovered. I assure you that there is less danger in the battle than in the city. Now, as I hear, he begins to follow Caleti, when we are pushed out to him to serve on the mission; as if it were little to have lived in the contagion, unless we also follow. But what should you do? What the lot will bring is ferendurn. I put my mind to everything that happened. Goodbye

Note. Ammonius' death can be dated in 1517 from. Ep. 642 and many other lettorg. From evidonce now available it is possible to decide between 17 and 18 August as the precise day (cf. Ep. 218 intro). On 17 August he signed his will (Knight, Life of Cole p. 213), presumably at Westminator. A letter from Vannes (p. 76) to Wolsey states that his death occurred, after twenty hours' illness (of, Ep. 639. 22n) at 9 pm. (hesterna nocte hora nona; Brewer ii. 3602. Cf. also Ep. 624.). This must have been 17 August; for his death was to Foxe at St, Cross, by Winchester, on 18 August; when he wrote to Claymond, President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, informing him of the fact, and conferring upon him the living of Bishop's Cleve, in Gloucostershiro, which he had givon to Ammonius only fifteen days before, on a vacancy arising through the sweating-sickness (Orig. letter at C.C.C.). It may be noted that Ammonius' canonry ab Westminster was filled with almost equal promptitude, being conferred by Henry upon Linnacre on 19 August. (Brewer ii. 3624). And the purpose of Vannes' letter cited above (clearly 18 August) to ask for one of Ammonius' benefices.


In 1516 Thomas More (age 37) published Utopia or to give it its full title "A little, true book, not less beneficial than enjoyable, about how things should be in a state and about the new island Utopia". Originally in Latin.