Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/681

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Foxe, Bishop of Winchester, founded Corpus Christi, Oxford, in 1516, with special reference to the study of Greek. Three years later, sermons and speeches were made against this innovation, but More and Pace engaged the King easily on their own side, and the "Trojans" were laughed out of court. At Cambridge, Fisher, the Chancellor, recalled his protege Richard Croke from Leipzig in 1519 to carry on the work of Erasmus, who had taught Greek in the University between 1511 and 1513. In the great humanist's flattering judgment, Cambridge had become equal to the best academy abroad since it had discarded the old exercises in Aristotle and put away Scotus. On the appearance of his New Testament, Warham assured Erasmus in an all but official letter that it had been gladly received by all the bishops to whom he had shown it. Fisher and More in 1519 helped in the correction of the second edition. Leo X accepted its dedication. The alarm which was raised in some parts, as if Greek studies were a prelude to Lutheranism, found no echo in England. Few signs of an approaching catastrophe in Church and State can be noted until the fall of Wolsey. The Lollards were extinct. Benevolence still continued to flow in ecclesiastical channels. As in Germany, schools, colleges, and gilds were multiplied. The people, who had during the last fifty or sixty years rebuilt so many parish churches, now adorned, endowed, and managed them. Printing-presses were set up under clerical patronage. Religious literature was in constant demand. Missals, manuals, breviaries, for the use of the clergy; special treatises like Pars Oculi, dealing with their duties; and primers, prayer-books, Dives et Pauper, for the laity, were printed in great abundance. Sermons were much in request. Paul's Cross attracted famous preachers and vast audiences. But there was another side to the picture.

That religious men in England had somewhat degenerated from their ancient strictness and fervour of spirit, is one reason alleged by Cresacre More why Sir Thomas did not join the Carthusians or Franciscans. Unlike Erasmus, who suffered from the intemperate zeal which thrust vows upon him in his youth, More was a devoted adherent of monasticism. His biographer's judgment, however, is far too mild; on the other hand, the sweeping inferences which have been drawn from the indictment laid before Cardinal Morton in 1489 against the Abbot of St Albans, cannot be accepted without proof.

Disorder and dilapidation enough were shown to justify Wolsey in taking out the Legatine commission in 1518, which later on was turned against the clergy, whom it did not amend, as bringing them into a praemunire. Wolsey could have reformed others, himself not at all,—or not until his dignities were stripped off and death stared him in the face. A magnificent pluralist ill-famed for his unclerical living, and a Cardinal who did not shrink from proposing to buy the papal tiara, he had always been the friend of learning since he completed Magdalen