Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/More, Sir Thomas
, an English statesman; born in London, England, Feb. 7, 1478. He was the only son of Sir John More, a judge of the Court of King's Bench. A portion of his youth was spent in the family of Cardinal Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, and chancellor; and he was then sent to Oxford, and afterward entered at Lincoln's Inn. He had already formed an intimate and lasting friendship with Erasmus. About 1502 he became a member of Parliament, upholding the privileges of the House of Commons to treat all questions of supply as their own exclusive business. On the accession of Henry VIII, he was made under-sheriff of London. In 1514 he was envoy to the Low Countries, soon after a privy-councillor, and in 1521 was knighted. In 1523 he became speaker of the House of Commons, and in 1529 succeeded Wolsey in the chancellorship. When Henry began his attacks on the papal supremacy More supported the old system. Henry marked him out for vengeance as an opponent of his matrimonial views. He was requested to take the oath to maintain the lawfulness of the marriage with Anne Boleyn. His refusal led to his committal to the Tower and execution, July 6, 1535. His chief work is the "Utopia" (in Latin), a philosophical romance describing an ideal commonwealth.