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the trial against his lordship; and ambition got fo far the better of his gratitude, that he not only accepted of the employment, but, after the earl's execution, he, at the desire of the ministers, wrote and published that piece, ftill extant among his works, encitled, A Declaration of the Treason of Robert, earl of Effex.

This quite ruined him in the public esteem, which was probably the design of the minifters, and perhaps did him no service in the opinion of his fovereign ; but such was the brightness of his parts, that he foon recovered both in the next reign ; for he was knighted by king James I. soon after his acceflion; in 1607, he was made follicitor-general; and, in 1613; when he was made attorney-general, his character with the public was so well re. established, that, upon a question in the house of commons, whether the attorney-general could be a member of the house, as he was an officer who was obliged to attend upon the other ; the question was carried in the affirmative, out of a particular regard to him ; and it was therefore declared that it should be no precedent.

With regard to politics, Sir Francis Bacon appears to have been a mere time-server, an humble suitor to every minister he thought uppermost, and his prosecutor as soon as down. His behaviour towards the earl of Essex we have already seen. After that earl's death, he attached himself to his cousin, Sir Robert

Cecil, Cecil, secretary of state, and afterwards earl of Salisbury, though he knew him to be pri. vately no true friend; and, accordingly, during his life, he never rose higher than to be follicitor-general. He then made his court to the earl of Somerset, who had become a fa. vourite, and was created viscount Rochester, just before the death of Salisbury; and by his means it probably was that Sir Francis' was made attorney-general; a place then worth fix hundred pounds a year, as he himself acknowledged

Upon Somerset's fall, Sir Francis Bacon, then attorney-general, became one of his chief prosecutors; and, from that time, began to make his court to Villiers, afterwards duke of Buckingham; to whom he was so subfervient, that he submitted to be a sort of steward for those great estates bestowed


young favourite by the king. However, it appears from his letters, and other writings, that he generally gave good advice to his patrons ; but, when he found that they would not follow his, he was ready to follow theirs without reserve ; though it does not appear that he was any way concerned in the treasonable

practices of the earl of Essex ; which was, perhaps, more owing to his want of courage than his want of ambition.

As Sir Francis was extremely submissive, and often useful to his patrons ;

to he was dia ligent, and but too ready to use any means, for getting the better of those be thought his

rivals ; rivals; as appeared upon the resignation of the old lord-chancellor Egerton in 1617. The seals he was highly ambitious of; and, as he looked upon

Sir Edward Coke as his rival, he took care to represent him to the king and Buckingham, as one who abounded in his own sense, and who, by an affectation of popularity, was likely to court the good will of ihe people at the hazard of the prerogative, In this he was the more easily believed, as Sir Edward had been but the year before chiefjustice, because the ministers found him not so ductile as they inclined he should.

Accordingly the seals were delivered to Sir Francis, with the title of lord-keeper ; and, as Buckingham found him ready to put the seals to every patent, and every thing he defred, he got him created lord-high-chancellor of England, and baron of Verulam, in 1619; and, the year following, viscount of St. Albans.

How short-lived do we often find human greatness! In 1621, king James was forced to call a parliament ; and, as the nation was highly dissatisfied with the conduct both of Buckingham and the chancellor, the house of commons set on foot a strict scrutiny into the conduct of both. King James wanted money so much, that he could not dissolve them; but, to divert them from the prosecution of his fa. vourite, Buckingham, the monopolies and illegal patents were all cancelled and recalled by proclamation ; and the court permitted,


under-hand, the prosecution of the chancellor: in consequence of which, he was impeached by the house of commons of corrupt practices, in-causes depending before him, as chief judge of equity; lo entirely had he loft that great character, which, but seven years before, he had among the commons, when he was made attorney-general.

As the court thought that his condemnation and punishment would fatisfy the commons, and divert them entirely from the prosecution of Buckingham ; but were at the same time afraid, that, if he appeared and stood upon his defence, his eloquence, and what he had to offer against the charge, might procure an acquittal, they commanded him not to appear in person, but to send a confession of all he was accused of to the house in writing ; which arbitrary command he was so faint-hearted as to comply with, trusting to the king's promise, that he Thould have a pardon, and a remiffion of his fine, together with a penfion during life : and, upon his confession, he was sentenced to pay a fine of forty thousand pounds, to be imprisoned in the Tower during the king's pleasure ; to be for ever incapable of any

office, place, or employment in the commonwealth; and never to fit again in parliament, or come within the verge of the court.

Thus this great man was made the scapegoat, as it often happens, for a higher crimipal; and, though he had, in his life-time, got a great deal of money by his posts and his profession, for he was in every great cause that happened whilft he was at the bar, yet he had purchased but a very smali eftate of about fix hurdred pounds a year ; and was so far from having any ready-money, that he was considerably in debt ; occafioned by his indulgence to his servants, and by his being cheated and defrauded by them : nay, his condemnation was chiefly owing to their exactions and the bribes they had taken whilst he was chancellor, though it is plain he was not influenced by them in his decrees, as no one of them was ever reversed. And, at last, he became sensible of his error with respect to his servants; for, during his prosecution, as he was passing through a room where they were fitting, upon fight of him they all stood up ; on which he cried, “ Sit down my malters; your rise hath been my fall."

The king foon released him from the Tower, made a grant of his fine to fome trustees for his benefit, and settled upon him a pension of one thousand eight hundred pounds a year ; but, as he applied most of his income to the payment of his debts, he lived always after in a very mean condition; and, though the king, in a very short time afterwards, granted him a full and entire pardon of his whole sentence ; whereupon he was summoned to the first par: liament of king Charles I. yet he did not live long to enjoy these favours; for, as he was making some experiments at Highgate, he was fuddenly Itrack in the head and stomach ;


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