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is truly a Primate, not only in dignity, but in everything worthy of praise."1

Erasmus returns to this same subject in writing to a Roman Cardinal about this time. When I think, he says, of the Italian sky, the rich libraries, and the society of the learned men of Rome, I am tempted to look back to the eternal city with regret. "But the wonderful kindness of William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, to me mitigates my desire to return. Had he been my father or brother he could not have been more kind and loving. I have been accorded, too, the same reception by many other bishops of England. Amongst these stands preeminent the Bishop of Rochester, a man who, in addition to his uprightness of life, is possessed of deep and varied learning, and of a soul above all meanness, for which gifts he is held here in England in the highest estimation."8

Erasmus certainly had reason to be grateful to Warham and his other English friends for their ready attention to his, at times, importunate requests. Warham, he writes at one time, "has given me a living worth a hundred nobles and changed it at my request into a pension of one

1 Ibid., Ep. 144.

2 In one of his works Erasmus gives the highest praise to English ecclesiastics for their single-minded devotion to their clerical duties. He contrasts them with clerics of other nations in regard to worldly ambitions, &c. "Those who are nearest to Christ," he writes, "should keep themselves free from the baser things of this world. How ill the word 'general' sounds when connected with that of 'Cardinal,' or 'duke' with that of' bishop,' 'earl' with that of'abbot,' or 'commander' with that of ' priest.' In England the ecclesiastical dignity is the highest, and the revenues of churchmen abundant. In that country, however, no one who is a bishop or abbot has even a semblance of temporal dominion, or possesses castles or musicians or bands of retainers, nor does any of them coin his own money, excepting only the Archbishop of Canterbury, as a mark of dignity and honour, which has been conferred on him on account of the death of Saint Thomas; he is, however, never concerned in matters of war, but is occupied only in the care of the churches." {Consultatit> tie Bello Turcica. Opera, ed. Leclerc, torn, v., p. 363).

hundred crowns. Within these few years he has given me over four hundred nobles without my asking. One day he gave me one hundred and fifty. From other bishops I have received more than one hundred, and Lord Mountjoy has secured me a pension of one hundred crowns." In fact, in the Compendium Vita, a few years later, he says that he would have remained for the rest of his life in England had the promises made to him been always fulfilled. This constant and importunate begging on the part of the great scholar forms certainly an unpleasant feature in his life. He gets from Dean Colet fifteen angels for a dedication, and in reference to his translation of St. Basil on the Prophet Isaias, begs Colet to find out whether Bishop Fisher will be inclined "to ease his labours with a little reward," adding himself, "O this begging! I know well enough that you will be laughing at me."1 Again, while lamenting his poverty and his being compelled to beg continually in this way, he adds that Linacre has been lecturing him for thus pestering his friends, and has warned him to spare Archbishop Warham and his friend Mountjoy a little. In this same letter, written in October, 1513, there are signs of friction with some of the Cambridge teachers of theology, which may have helped Erasmus in his determination once more to leave England. Not that he professed to care what people thought, for he tells Colet he does not worry about those whom he calls in derision "the Scotists," but would treat them as he would a wasp. Nevertheless, he is still half inclined by the opposition to stop the work he is engaged on; confessing also, that he is almost turned away from the design of thus translating St. Basil, as the Bishop of Rochester is not anxious for him to do it, and—at least so a friend has told him—rather suspects that he is translating, not from the original Greek, but is making use of a Latin version.

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Almost immediately after writing this letter Erasmus again bade farewell to England, and passed up the Rhine to Strasburg, where he made the acquaintance of Wimpheling, Sebastian Brant, and others. The following year, 1515, he went on to Basle, attracted by the great reputation of the printing-press set up in that city by Froben. He was there eagerly welcomed by the bishop of the city, who had gathered round him many men imbued with the true spirit of learning; and Erasmus soon became the centre of this brilliant group of scholars. From this time Basle became Erasmus's home, although, especially in the early years, he was always on the move. He paid a flying visit once more, in 1517, to England, but he had learnt to love his independence too much to entertain any proposals for again undertaking duties that would tie him to any definite work in any definite place. Even the suggestions of friends that he would find congenial and profitable pursuits in England were unheeded, and he remained unmoved even when his friend Andrew Ammonius wrote to say the king himself was looking for his return. "What about Erasmus?" Henry had asked. "When is he coming back to us? He is the light of our age. Oh that he would return to us !"1

From England, however, he continued to receive supplies of money; although his circumstances improved so much with the steady circulation of his books, that he was not at this second period of his life so dependent upon the charity of his friends. About the year 1520 Erasmus settled permanently at Basle as literary superintendent of Froben's press. What, no doubt, induced him to do so, even more than the offer of this position, was the fact that Basle had then become, by the establishment of printingpresses by Amberbach and Froben, the centre of the German book-trade. Froben died in 1527, and that circumstance, as well as the religious troubles which, separating Basle from the empire, and making it the

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focus of civil strife, ended in wrecking learning there altogether, put an end to Erasmus's connection with the press which for eight years had taken the lead of all the presses of Europe. Not only was the literary superintendence of the work completely in the hands of Erasmus during this period which he described as his " mill," but all the dedications and prefaces to Froben's editions of the Fathers were the distinct work of his own pen. His literary activity at this period was enormous, and only the power he had acquired of working with the greatest rapidity could have enabled him to cope with the multiplicity of demands made upon him. Scaliger relates that Aldus informed him Erasmus could do twice as much work in a given time as any other man he had ever met. This untiring energy enabled him to cope with the immense correspondence which, as he says, came pouring in "daily from almost all parts, from kings, princes, prelates, men of learning, and even from persons of whose existence I was, till then, ignorant," and caused him not infrequently to write as many as forty letters a day.

On Froben's death in 1527, the fanatical religious contentions forced him to remove to Freiburg, in Breisgau, where he resided from 1529 to 1535. The need for seeing his Ecclesiastes through the press, as well as a desire to revisit the scenes of his former activity, took him back to Basle; but his health had been giving way for some years, and at the age of sixty-nine, he expired at Basle on July 12, 1536.

Such is a brief outline of the life of the most remarkable among the leaders of the movement known as the renaissance of letters. Without some general knowledge of the main facts of his life and work, it would be still more difficult than it is to understand the position he took in regard to the great religious revolution during the later half of his life. With these main facts before us we may turn to a consideration of his mental attitude towards some of the many momentous questions which were then searching men's hearts and troubling their souls.

In the first place, of course, comes the important problem of Erasmus's real position as regards the Church itself and its authority. That he was outspoken on many points, even on points which we now regard as well within the border-line of settled matters of faith and practice, may be at once admitted, but he never appears to have wavered in his determination at all costs to remain true and loyal to the Pope and the other constituted ecclesiastical authorities. The open criticism of time-worn institutions in which he indulged, and the sweeping condemnation of the ordinary teachings of the theological schools, which he never sought to disguise, brought him early in his public life into fierce antagonism with many devoted believers in the system then in vogue.

The publication of his translation of the New Testament from the Greek brought matters to an issue. The general feeling in England and amongst those best able to judge had been favourable to the undertaking, and on its first appearance Erasmus was assured of the approval of the learned world at the English universities.1 More wrote Latin verses addressed to the reader of the new translation, calling it "the holy work and labour of the learned and immortal Erasmus," to purify the text of God's Word. Colet was warm in its praises. Copies, he writes to Erasmus, are being readily bought and read. Many approved, although, of course, as was to be expected, some spoke against the undertaking. In England, as elsewhere, says Colet, "we have theologians such as you describe in your Moria, by whom to be praised is dishonour, to be blamed is the highest praise." For his part, Colet has, he says, only one regret that he did not himself know Greek sufficiently well to be able fully to appreciate what Erasmus had done, though "he is only

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