This book begins by presenting Erasmus's response to a request from his friend John Botzheim, then Canon of Constance, to provide a catalogue of his works. In it he recalls among many other things the unfortunate events that occasioned his making a collection of Greek and Roman proverbs—the project that secured his literary fame throughout Europe and that has come down to us as the Adages. Leaving England for the Continent by way of Dover, Erasmus found himself at odds with an English customs officer. Having trusted the assurances of his two English friends Thomas More and William Blount (Lord Mountjoy) that customs regulations applied only to English currency, Erasmus had planned to leave the country with all of his worldly wealth in foreign coins. To his surprise, the customs officer had other plans, and so Erasmus eventually found himself back in Paris without any money, still smarting from what he took to be a questionable confiscation of his property.
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