Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
This ideal king is contrasted with kings like that of France who wanted to conquer Italy. The King of France had an ancient and somewhat spurious claim to Naples when he already ruled over Milan. Hythloday charges the French King with meddling in affairs that are not his business -- laying claim to foreign domains under some false pretext, buying soldiers, sowing sedition among the enemy and so on. And Henry was as capable as France's king in committing wrongdoing.
More criticizes the king's methods of making money by juggling with the value of the currency, fighting wars and collecting taxes, and reviving old and "moth-eaten laws" to collect new fines. All these were practiced by both Henry VII and his son.
This is not mentioned in the first book along with the other ills, but religious strife and turmoil were antithetical to More's Christian ethics. Although a devout Catholic, More realized that the Church was less than pure and well intentioned. The clergy were seen to be venal, corrupt and self-serving. Corrupt religious practices such as selling pardons had become widespread. With this realization, many people became disillusioned with the Church and this prepared the way for the advent of the Protestant Reformation.