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communicated it with my colleagues, Sir Edward of, and the latter time I had begged it of your Coke, the two chief justices, and Serjeant Crew, lordship. who approve it well; and we are all of opinion, that it is not good to have it more peremptory, more particular, nor more sharp.
The cause of change may either be in myself or your lordship. I ought first to examine myself, which I have done; and God is my witness, I find all well, and that I have approved myself to your lordship a true friend, both in the watery trial of prosperity, and in the fiery trial of adversity. If your lordship take any insatisfaction touching the House, I humbly pray you, think better of it; for that motion to me was a second sentence, more grievous than the first, as things then stood and do yet stand: for it sentenced me
We are thinking of some commonwealth laws, amongst which I would have one special for the maintenance of the navy, as well to give occasion to publish (to his majesty's honour) what hath been already done; as, to speak plainly, to do your lordship's honour in the second place; and, besides, it is agreeable to the times. God ever prosper you. Your lordship's obliged friend and faithful to have lost, both in mine own opinion, and much servant,
October 18, 1620.
FR. VERULAM, Canc.
TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
MY VERY GOOD LORD,
more in the opinion of others, that which was saved to me, almost only, in the former sentence, and which was more dear to me than all that which was taken from me, which is your lordship's love and favour: for had it not been for that bitter circumstance, your lordship knows that you might have commanded my life and all that is mine. But surely it could not be that, nor any Your lordship will pardon me, if, partly in the thing in me, which wrought the change. It is freedom of adversity, and partly of former friend-likely, on the other part, that though your lordship, (the sparks whereof cannot but continue,) I open myself to your lordship and desire also your lordship to open yourself to me. The two last acts which you did for me, in procuring the releasement of my fine, and my quietus est, I acknowledge were effects, real and material, of your love and favour, which, as to my knowledge, it never failed me in my prosperity; so, in these two things it seems not to have turned with the wheel. But the extent of these two favours is not much more than to keep me from persecution; for any thing further which might tend to my comfort and assistance, as I cannot say to myself that your lordship hath forsaken me, so I see not the effects of your undeserved, yea, undesired professions and promises, which, being made to a person in affliction, hath the nature after a sort of vows. But that which most of all makes me doubt of a change, or cooling in your lordship's affection towards me, is, that being twice now at London, your lordship did not vouchsafe to see me, though by messages you gave me hope there
to blindness and superstition, or on the other hand to schism or turbulent disposition.
Thirdly and lastly, That they be truly sensible, not to disvalue or disparage the House with bankrupts and necessitous persons, that may desire long Parliaments only for protec
tion; lawyers of mean account and estimation; young men that are not ripe for grave consultations; mean dependents upon great persons, that may be thought to have their voices
under command, and such like obscure and inferior persons: so that, to conclude, we may have the comfort to see before us the very face of a sufficient and well composed House, such as may be worthy to be a representative of the third estate of our kingdom, fit to nourish a loving and comfortable meeting between us and our people, and fit to be a noble instrument, under the blessing of Almighty God, and our princely care and power, and with the loving conjunction of our prelates and peers, for the settling of so great affairs, as are before expressed.
ship, in your nature, I know to be generous and constant, yet I being now become out of sight, and out of use, your lordship having a flood of new friends, and your ears possessed perhaps by such as would not leave room for an old, your lordship may, even by course of the world and the overbearing of others, be turned from me, and it were almost a miracle if it should be otherwise. But yet, because your lordship may still have so heroical a spirit as to stand out all these violent assaults, which might have alienated you from your friend, my humble suit to your lordship is, that remembering your former friendship, which began with your beginning, and since that time hath never failed on my part, your lordship would deal clearly with me, and let me know whether I continue in your favour or no; and whether in those poor requests, which I may yet make to his majesty, (whose true servant I ever was and am,) for the tempering of my misery, I may presume to use your lordship's favour and help, as I have done; for otherwise it were a kind of stupidness in me, and a great trouble also to your lordship, for me not to discern the change, for your lordship to have an importuner, instead of a friend and a suitor. Though, howsoever, if your lordship should never think of me more, yet in respect of your former favours, which cannot altogether be made void, I must remain, &c.
TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Though I returned an answer to your lordship's last honourable and kind letter, by the same way
by which I received it, yet I humbly pray your lordship to give me leave to add these few lines. My lord, as God above is my witness, that I ever have loved and honoured your lordship as much, I think, as any son of Adam can love or honour any thing that is a subject; and do still continue in as hearty and strong wishes of felicity to be heaped and fixed upon you as ever: and so yet I protest, that at this time, as low as I am, I had rather sojourn the rest of my life in a college in Cambridge, than recover a good fortune by any other than yourself. But now, to recover yourself to me, (if I have you not already,) or to ease your lordship in any business of mine, wherein your lordship would not so fully appear, or to be made partaker of your favours in the way that you like best, I would use any man who were your lordship's friend. Secondly, if in any thing of my former letters I have given your lordship any distaste, either by the style of them or any particular passage in them, I humbly pray your lordship's benign construction and pardon. I confess it is my fault, though yet it be some happiness to me withal, that I many times forget my adversity: but I shall never forget to be, &c.
TO THE EARL OF ARUNDEL AND SURREY. MY VERY GOOD LORD,
I was likely to have had the fortune of Cajus Plinius the elder, who lost his life by trying an experiment about the burning of the Mountain Vesuvius. For I was also desirous to try an experiment or two, touching the conservation and induration of bodies. As for the experiment itself, it succeeded excellently well; but in the journey (between London and Highgate,) I was taken with such a fit of casting, as I knew not whether it were the stone, or some surfeit, or cold, or indeed a touch of them all three. But when I came to your lordship's house, I was not able to go back, and therefore was forced to take up my lodging here, where your housekeeper is very careful and diligent about me, which I assure myself your lordship will not only pardon towards him, but think the better of him for it. For indeed your lordship's house was happy to me; and I kiss your noble hands for the welcome which I am sure you give me to it, &c.
I know how unfit it is for me to write to your lordship with any other hand than my own; but, by my troth, my fingers are so disjointed with this fit of sickness, that I cannot steadily hold a pen.
LETTERS FROM BIRCH.
MR. FRANCIS BACON TO SIR JOHN PUCKERING, | the manner shall be to impeach the end, it shall
LORD KEEPER OF THE GREAT SEAL.*
teach my devotion not to exceed wishes, and those in silence. Yet, notwithstanding, (to speak vainly as in grief,) it may be her majesty hath discouraged as good a heart as ever looked toward her service, and as void of self-love. And so, in more grief than I can well express, and much more than I can well dissemble, I leave your lordship, being as ever,
MY LORD, It is a great grief unto me, joined with marvel, that her majesty should retain a hard conceit of my speeches in parliament. It might please her sacred majesty to think what my end should be in those speeches, if it were not duty, and duty alone. I am not so simple but I know the common beaten way to please. And whereas popularity hath been objected, I muse what care I should take to please many, that take a course of life to deal with few. On the other side, her majesty's grace and particular favour towards me hath been such, as I esteem TO SIR THOMAS EGERTON, LORD KEEPER OF
no worldly thing above the comfort to enjoy it, except it be the conscience to deserve it. But, if the not seconding of some particular person's opinion shall be presumption, and to differ upon
*Harl. MSS. vol. 286, No. 129, fol. 232.
On Wednesday, the 7th of March, 1592-3, upon the three subsidies demanded of the House of Commons; to which he assented, but not to the payment of them under six years, urging the necessities of the people, the danger of raising public discontentment, and the setting of an evil precedent against themselves and their posterity. See Sir Simmons D'Ewes's Journals, p. 493. He sat in that parliament, which met November 19, 1592, and was dissolved 10 April, 1593, as one of the knights of the shire for Middlesex.
Your lordship's entirely devoted, &c.
THE GREAT SEAL.*
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR LORDSHIP,
I am to make humble complaint to your lordship of some hard dealing offered me by one Sympson, a goldsmith, a man noted much, as I have heard, for extremities and stoutness upon his purse; but yet I could scarcely have imagined he would have dealt either so dishonestly
*From the original in the Hatfield Collection of State Papers, communicated to me by the Rev. William Murdin, B. D., and intended by him for the public in a third volume of the collection of those papers, if his death had not prevented him from executing his design.
especially in persons known to be qualified with that place and employment, which, though unworthy, I am vouchsafed, I enforce nothing, thinking I have done my part when I have made it known, and so leave it to your lordship's honourable consideration. And, so with signification of my humble duty, &c.
TO SIR ROBERT CECIL, SECRETARY OF STATE.*
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR HONOUR,
towards myself, or so contemptuously towards causes, much more in matters of this nature, her majesty's service. For this Lombard (pardon me, I most humbly pray your lordship, if, being admonished by the street he dwells in, I give him that name) having me in bond for three hundred pounds principal, and I having the last term confessed the action, and by his full and direct consent, respited the satisfaction till the beginning of this term to come, without ever giving me warning, either by letter or message, served an execution upon me, having trained me at such time as I came from the Tower, where Mr. Waad can witness, we attended a service of no mean importance; neither would he so much as vouchsafe to come and speak with me to take any order in it, though I sent for him divers times, and his house was just by; handling it as upon a despite, being a man I never provoked with a cross word, no, nor with many delays. He would have urged it to have had me in prison; which he had done, had not Sheriff More, to whom I sent, gently recommended me to a handsome house in Coleman street, where I am. Now, because he will not treat with me, I am enforced humbly to desire your lordship to send for him according to your place, to bring him to some reason; and this forthwith, because I continue here to my farther discredit and inconvenience, and the trouble of the gentleman with whom I am. have a hundred pounds lying by me, which he may have, and the rest upon some reasonable time and security, or, if need be, the whole; but with my more trouble. As for the contempt he hath offered, in regard her majesty's service to my understanding, carrieth a privilege eundo et redeundo in meaner
It is not easy to determine what this service was; but it
seems to relate to the examination of some prisoner; perhaps Edward Squire, executed in November, 1598, for poisoning the queen's saddle; or Valentine Thomas, who accused the King of Scots of practices against Queen Elizabeth [Historical View, p. 178;] or one Stanley, concerning whom I shall insert here passages from two MS. letters of John Chamberlain, Esq., to his friend, Dudley Carleton, Esq.; afterwards ambassador to Venice, the United Provinces, and France; these letters being part of a very large collection, from 1598 to 1625, which I transcribed from the originals. "One Stanley," says Mr. Chamberlain, in his letter dated at London, 3d of October, 1698, "that came in sixteen days over land with letters out of Spain, is lately committed to the Tower. He was very earnest to have private conference with her majesty, pretending matter of great importance, which he would by no means utter to anybody else." In another letter, dated 20th of November, 1598, Mr. Chamberlain observes, that on "the day that they looked for Stanley's arraignment, he came not himself, but sent his forerunner, one Squire, that had been an under purveyor of the stable, who being in Spain was dealt withal by one Walpole, a Jesuit, to poison the queen and the Earl of Essex; and ac
cordingly came prepared into England, and went with the
earl in his own ship the last journey, and poisoned the arms or handles of the chair he used to sit in, with a confection he had received of the Jesuit; as likewise he had done the pummel of the queen's saddle, not past five days before his going to sea. But, because nothing succeeded of it, the priest thinking he had either changed his purpose, or betrayed it, gave Stanley instructions to accuse him; thereby to get him more credit, and to be revenged of Squire for breaking promise. The fellow confessed the whole practice, and, as it seemed, died very penitent."
I humbly pray you to understand how badly I have been used by the enclosed, being a copy of a letter of complaint thereof, which I have written to the lord keeper. How sensitive you are of wrongs offered to your blood in my particular I have had not long since experience. But, herein I think your honour will be doubly sensitive, in tenderness also of the indignity to her majesty's service; for as for me, Mr. Sympson might have had me every day in London; and, therefore, to belay me while he knew I came from the Tower about her majesty's special service, was to my understanding very bold. And two days before he brags he forbore me, because I dined with Sheriff More: so as with Mr. Sympson, examinations at the Tower are not so great a privilege, eundo et redeundo, as Sheriff More's dinner. But this complaint I make in duty; and to that end have also informed my Lord of Essex thereof; for, otherwise his punishment will do me no good.
So, with signification of my humble duty, I
From Coleman street, this
TO MR. SECRETARY CECIL.*
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR HONOUR,
Because we live in an age, where every man's imperfections are but another's fable; and that there fell out an accident in the Exchequer, which I know not how, nor how soon may be traduced, though I dare trust rumour in it, except it be malicious, or extreme partial; I am bold now to possess your honour, as one that ever I found careful of my advancement, and yet more jealous of my wrongs, with the truth of that which passed; deferring my farther request, until I may attend your honour: and so, I continue
Your honour's very humble and
Gray's Inn, this
From the Hatfield Collection
TO ROBERT, LORD CECIL.*
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR GOOD LORDSHIP,
They say late thanks are ever best: but the yeason was, I thought to have seen your lordship ere this; howsoever, I shall never forget this your last favour amongst others; and it grieveth me not a little, that I find myself of no use to such an honourable and kind friend.
For that matter, I think I shall desire your assistance for the punishment of the contempt; not that I would use the privilege in future time, but because I would not have the dignity of the king's service prejudiced in my instance. But, herein I will be ruled by your lordship.
It is fit likewise, though much against my mind, that I let your lordship know, that I shall not be able to pay the money within the time by your lordship undertaken, which was a fortnight. Nay, money I find so hard to come by at this time, as I thought to have become an humble suitor to your honour to have sustained me with your credit for the present from urgent debts, with taking up three hundred pounds till I can put away some land. But, I am so forward with some sales, as this request I hope I may forbear. For my estate, (because your honour hath care of it,) it is thus: I shall be able with selling the skirts of my living in Hertfordshire to preserve the body, and to leave myself, being clearly out of debt, and having some money in my pocket, three hundred pounds land per annum, with a fair house, and the ground well timbered. This is now my labour.
In answer of your last letter, your money shall
be such as might grace me, since the matter will
Your lordship's ever much bounden,
For my purpose or course, I desire to meddle as little as I can in the king's causes, his majesty now abounding in council; and to follow my From Gorhambury, this 16th of July, 1603. private thrift and practice, and to marry with some convenient advancement. For, as for any ambi
AFTER MY LORD TREASURER'S DECEASE
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY :
tion, I do assure your honour, mine is quenched. THE BEGINNING OF A LETTER IMMEDIATELY In the queen's my excellent mistress's time, the quorum was small; her service was a kind of freehold, and it was a more solemn time. All those points agreed with my nature and judgment. My ambition now I shall only put upon my pen, whereby I shall be able to maintain memory and merit of the times succeeding.
If I shall seem, in these few lines, to write majora quam pro fortuna, it may please your majesty to take it to be an effect, not of presumption, but of affection. For, of the one I was never noted; and for the other, I could never show it Lastly, for this divulged and almost prostituted hitherto to the full, being as a hawk tied to antitle of knighthood, I could, without charge, by other's fist, that might sometimes bait and proffer, your honour's mean, be content to have it, both but could never fly. And, therefore, if, as it was because of this late disgrace, and because I have said to one that spoke great words, Amice, verba three new knights in my mess in Gray's Inn com- | tua desiderant civitatem,§ so your majesty say to mons; and because I have found out an alderman's me, "Bacon, your words require a place to speak daughter,‡ a handsome maiden to my liking. So them;" I must answer, that place, or not place, is as, if your honour will find the time, I will come in your majesty to add or refrain: and, though I to the court from Gorhambury, upon any warning. never grow eager but to ******, yet your majesty
From the Hatfield Collection. + Gorhambury.
Probably the lady whom he afterwards married, Alice, one of the daughters and co-heirs of Benedict Barnham, Esq., alderman of London. She survived her husband above twenty years. Life of Lord Bacon by Dr. William Rawley.
*He was knighted at Whitehall, July 23, 1603.
+ Robert, Earl of Salisbury, who died 24th of May, 1612. The draught of this imperfect letter is written chiefly in Greek characters.
These words of Themistocles are cited likewise by Lord Bacon at the end of his book De Augmentis Scientiarum.
TO THE KING, IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE LORD majesty, this most humble oblation of myself; I
IT MAY PLEASE your excellent MAJESTY,
I cannot but endeavour to merit, considering your preventing graces, which is the occasion of these few lines.
may truly say with the psalm, Multum incola fuit anima mea; for my life hath been conversant in things, wherein I take little pleasure. Your majesty may have heard somewhat, that my father was an honest man; and somewhat yet, I may have been of myself, though not to make any true judgment by, because I have hitherto had only potestatem verborum, nor that neither. I was three of my young years bred with an ambassador in France, and since I have been an old truant in the school-house of your council chamber, though on the second form, yet longer than any that now sitteth hath been in the head form. If your majesty find any aptness in me, or if you find any scarcity in others, whereby you may think it fit for your service to remove me to business of state, although I have a fair way before me for profit, and, by your majesty's grace and favour, for honour and advancement, and in a course less exposed to the blast of fortune, yet, now that he is gone quo vivente virtutibus certissimum exitium, I will be ready as a chessman, to be wherever your majesty's royal hand shall set me. Your majesty will bear me witness, I have not suddenly opened myself thus far. I have looked on upon others. I see the exceptions; I see the dis
Your majesty hath lost a great subject and a great servant. But, if I should praise him in propriety, I should say that he was a fit man to keep things from growing worse; but no very fit man to reduce things to be much better. For he loved to have the eyes of all Israel a little too much on himself, and to have all business still under the hammer, and, like clay in the hands of the potter, to mould it as he thought good; so that he was more in operatione than in opere. And, though he had fine passages of action, yet the real conclusions came slowly on. So that, although your majesty hath grave counsellors and worthy persons left, yet you do, as it were, turn a leaf wherein, if your majesty shall give a frame and constitution to matters before you place the persons, in my simple opinion, it were not amiss. But the great matter, and most instant for the present, is the consideration of a Parliament, for two effects; the one for the supply of your estate, the other for the better knitting of the hearts of your subjects unto your majesty, according to your in-tractions; and I fear Tacitus will be a prophet, finite merit; for both which, Parliaments have been, and are, the ancient and honourable remedy. Now, because I take myself to have a little skill in that region, as one that ever affected that your majesty might, in all your causes, not only prevail, but prevail with satisfaction of the inner man; and though no man can say but I was a perfect and peremptory royalist, yet, every man makes me believe that I was never one hour out of credit with the Lower House; my desire is, to knew whether your majesty will give me leave to meditate and propound unto you some preparative remembrances, touching the future Parliament.
Your majesty may truly perceive that, though I cannot challenge to myself either invention or judgment, or elocution, or method, or any of those powers, yet my offering is care and observance: and, as my good old mistress was wont to call me her watch candle, because it pleased her to say I did continually burn, (and yet she suffered me to waste almost to nothing,) so I must much more owe the like duty to your majesty, by whom my fortunes have been settled and raised. And so, craving pardon, I rest
Your majesty's most humble servant devote,
31 May, 1612.
TO THE KING.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENT MAJESTY,
My principal end being to do your majesty service, I crave leave to make, at this time, to your
magis alii homines, quam alii mores. I know mine own heart; and I know not whether God, that hath touched my heart with the affection, may not touch your royal heart to discern it. Howsoever, I shall go on honestly in mine ordinary course, and supply the rest in prayers for you, remaining, &c.
TO THE KING.*
Lastly, I will make two prayers unto your majesty, as I used to do to God Almighty, when I commend to him his own glory and cause; so I will pray to your majesty for yourself.
The one is, that these cogitations of want, do not any ways trouble or vex your mind. I remember Moses saith of the land of promise, that it was not like the land of Egypt, that was watered with a river, but was watered with showers from heaven; whereby I gather, God preferreth, sometimes uncertainties before certainties, because they teach a more immediate dependence upon his providence. Sure I am, nil novi accidit vobis. It is no new thing for the greatest kings to be in debt: and, if a man shall parvis componere magna, I have seen an Earl of Leicester, a Chancellor Hatton, an Earl of Essex, and an Earl of Salisbury, in debt; and
*The beginning of this letter is wanting