Here is to be remembered, that at this present
time, William Tyndale had newly translated
and imprinted the New Testament in English.
And the Bishop of London, not pleased with
the translation thereof, debated with himself
how he might compass and devise to destroy
that false and erroneous translation (as
he said). And so it happened that one Augustine
Packington, a mercer and merchant of London,
and of a great honesty, the same time was
in Antwerp, where the Bishop then was, and
this Packington was a man that highly favored
William Tyndale, but to the Bishop utterly
showed himself to the contrary. The Bishop,
desirous to have his purpose brought to pass,
>> note 1 of
the New Testaments, and how gladly he would
buy them. Packington, then hearing that
he wished for, said unto the Bishop, "My
Lord, if it be your pleasure, I can in
this matter do more, I dare say, than most
of the merchants of England that are here,
for I know the Dutchmen and strangers,
that have bought them of Tyndale, and have
them here to sell, so that if it be your
lordship's pleasure to pay for them — for
otherwise I cannot come by them, but I
must disburse money for them — I
will then assure you to have every book
of them that is imprinted and is here unsold."
The Bishop, thinking that he had God by
the toe, when indeed he had (as after he
thought) the Devil by the fist, said, "Gentle
Master Packington, do your diligence and
get them, and with all my heart I will pay
for them, whatsoever they cost you, for the
books are erroneous and naught,
>> note 2 and
I intend surely to destroy them all, and to burn them at Paul's Cross."
>> note 3
Augustine Packington came to William Tyndale
and said, "William, I know thou art
a poor man, and hast a heap of New Testaments,
and books by thee, for the which thou hast
both endangered thy friends and beggared
thyself, and I have now gotten thee a merchant,
which with ready money shall dispatch thee
of all that thou hast, if you think it so
profitable for yourself."
"Who is the merchant?" said Tyndale.
"The Bishop of London," said Packington.
"Oh, that is because he will burn them," said
"Yea, Mary," quod Packington.
"I am the gladder," said Tyndale, "for
these two benefits shall come thereof: I
shall get money of him for these books, to
bring myself out of debt, and the whole world
shall cry out upon the burning of God's
word. And the overplus of the money, that
shall remain to me, shall make me more studious,
to correct the said New Testament, and so
newly to imprint the same once again, and
I trust the second will much better like
you than ever did the first." And so
forward went the bargain, the Bishop had
the books, Packington had the thanks, and
Tyndale had the money.
Afterward when mo
>> note 4 New
Testaments were imprinted, they came thick
and threefold into England. The Bishop
of London, hearing that still there were
so many New Testaments abroad, sent for
Augustine Packington and said unto him, "Sir,
how cometh this, that there are so many
New Testaments abroad, and you promised
and assured me that you had bought all?"
Then said Packington, "I promise you
I bought all that then was to be had. But
I perceive they have made more since, and
it will never be better, as long as they
have the letters and stamps.
>> note 5 Therefore
it were best for your lordship to buy the
stamps too, and then are you sure."
The Bishop smiled at him and said, "Well,
Packington, well." And so ended this
Shortly after, it fortuned one George Constantine
to be apprehended by Sir Thomas More, which
then was Lord Chancellor of England, of suspicion
of certain heresies. And this Constantine
being with More, after diverse examinations
of diverse things, among other, Master More
said in this wise to Constantine. "Constantine,
I would have thee plain with me in one thing
that I will ask of thee, and I promise thee
I will show thee favor, in all the other
things, whereof thou art accused to me. There
is beyond the sea Tyndale, Joye,
>> note 6 and
a great many mo of you. I know they cannot live without help — some
sendeth them money and succoureth them, and thyself being one of them, hadst
part thereof, and therefore knowest from whence it came. I pray thee, who
be they that thus help them?"
"My Lord," quod Constantine, "will
you that I shall tell you the truth?"
"Yea, I pray thee," quod my Lord.
"Mary, I will," quod Constantine. "Truly," quod
he, "it is the Bishop of London that
hath holpen us, for he hath bestowed among
us a great deal of money in New Testaments
to burn them, and that hath and yet is our
only succour and comfort."
"Now by my troth," quod More, "I
think even the same, and I said so much to
the Bishop, when he went about to buy them."