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ing concern. She kept awake, and animated, with wonderful address, the divisions in Scotland, in France, in the Netherlands: and that with more justice on her part, than is usually observed by princes when they would do ill offices to their neighbours. The sovereigns of those countries, when they agreed in nothing else, were ever combined in a common enmity to her: at a time too when she had nothing to oppose against their pretensions, their conspiracies, their open attacks, but her own courage and the native strength of England alone. And yet by helping forward the reformation in Scotland; by supporting the Protestants in France; by the wise and well-managed supplies she sent to the Dutch, who were struggling hard for their lives and liberties with an unrelenting tyrant: by this series of conduct, steadily pursued, she triumphed over all opposition, and rendered herself the arbitress of Europe. For it may be affirmed, that her administration made a greater impression on all the states round her, than it received itself from any; an undoubted proof of its firmness and active vigour.

When she came to the crown, she found the nation four millions in debt: a sum then almost incredible! and yet her economy alone enabled her to discharge it. The coin, which had been much embased by Henry the eighth, and by Mary wholly neglected, she quickly restored to its just standard; and therewith the public faith and credit. Her magazines she carefully replenished with arms, ammunition, warlike stores of every kind; and the youth all over England were ordered to be duly trained in military exercises. Her navy was fallen to decay, and almost abandoned. This she set herself to repair with an attention, which the great bulwark of this kingdom will ever deserve from a prince, who understands in what his own strength and that of his dominions naturally consist. Her fleet was at last a match for the mighty armada of Spain: that armada, which was boasted to be invincible, and was in truth a desperate effort of the whole power and resentment

of her bitterest enemy. Her victory over him, as entire as it was glorious, gave security and renown to this island; and whatever the partiality of foreign writers may have insinuated to the contrary, she owed it to her own heroical conduct, and the unexampled bravery of her subjects.

She was the first of our princes who pursued, in any considerable degree, the only sure method of making England great and powerful; by encouraging and extending our commerce; which, under her protection, grew high, and spread itself through the North, and to both the Indies. In a word, such was her conduct, such her good fortune, in this island and on the continent, that her allies had the strongest confidence in her assistance and good faith that her enemies stood in awe of her power, and were forced to an unwilling approbation of her prudence. The applause of such as think they have cause to hate, and distress us, is the sincerest, as it is the noblest praise. Her economy was admirable. She husbanded the public money for her people's ease: she laid it out, on proper occasions, for their safety and honour. The undertakings of the government were never greater; the charge was never less. This gives the highest idea of her ministry, and places their characters, in general, above imputation or reproach.

Of Sir Nicholas Bacon, our author's father, I have already given some account: and shall only add here, that he never aspired beyond the rank he brought with him to court. His moderation in all other respects was the same. When the queen visited him` at his seat in Hertfordshire, she told him with an air of pleasantry, that his house was too little for him. No, replied the lord keeper; but your majesty has made me too great for my house.

Walsingham, in his private character, was of unblemished honesty. As a minister he had singular sagacity in procuring intelligence; which he knew to apply, with great dexterity, to the purposes of government devoting himself, with so generous a

self-neglect, to the service of his country, that he gained a reputation for contempt of riches, which would have been highly reverenced in the best times of antiquity; and will go near, in these days, to be thought either folly or frenzy.

The lord treasurer Burleigh, for his consummate abilities as a statesman, was reckoned the first name of his age and is still pointed out as a pattern, which we rather wish, than expect, to see fully copied by his successors in power. As he had strong natural parts, and was of unwearied application to business, his experience must have been universal and unequalled; for he was at the head of the government almost forty years. He seems, in par ticular, to have been eminently possessed of that intrepidity of head, that civil courage, so necessary in a great minister: and without which no minister will ever do any thing truly noble, or of lasting utility to mankind. Inviolably attached to his mistress, he served her with equal fidelity and success; and had the singular felicity to promote the good of his country by the same arts that he employed to gratify the inclinations of his sovereign.

The glory of this princess will receive a new lustre by comparing the state of England with that of almost all other nations in Europe, at the same time. It must have been no common addition to the tranquillity and happiness of our ancestors, that they enjoyed both uninterrupted, for such a length of years; while Scotland and France, Spain and Holland, were torn with continual divisions, and bleeding by the wounds of foreign and domestic wars. Her's too was the age of heroes both in arts and arms. Great captains, able statesmen, writers of the highest order arose, and under her influence flourished together. Thus Bacon had all the incentives that could kindle him up to a generous ambition, and quicken his emulation in the pursuit of knowledge and honest fame. And indeed his letters remain a proof, that if he courted the proper opportunities of raising his name, he lost none that might

Letter VII.

improve and enlarge his mind. As the lord treasurer Bacon, had married his aunt, we find him frequent in his Vol applications to that minister for some place of credit and service in the state. He professes too, that his views on this head are as moderate, as his aims another way are ambitious and vast; for that he hath taken all philosophy for his province. My lord Burleigh interested himself so far on his behalf as to procure for him, against violent opposition, the office of register to the Star-chamber, worth about 1600l. a year: but it was only in reversion, and did not fall to him till near twenty years afterwards. Neither did he obtain any other preferment all this reign: though his winning address, his eloquence, his large and systematical learning had raised him to the admiration of the greatest men at court. He was particularly esteemed and patronized by Robert Devereux, the famous and unfortunate earl of Essex; to whom he attached himself in his younger years, and by whose interest in the queen he flattered himself with the prospect of bettering his condition. Elizabeth herself shewed him several marks of distinction, admitted him often to her presence, and even consulted him on the state of her affairs: as her ministers sometimes made use of his pen in the vindication of her government. And yet, notwithstanding these fair appearances, he met with no preferment from that queen answerable to the idea we have of his merit, or her discernment in the distribution of favours. This deserves some explanation; as it will discover to us the true genius of those ministers, who pretending to merit themselves, are jealous of it in all other men who are equally poor-spirited and aspiring.

The whole court was at this time rent into factions, headed on one part by the earl of Essex; on the other by the Cecils, father and son. Essex was then in all the flower of his youth, and remarkable for the gracefulness of his person. In his nature brave, ambitious, popular: and what is uncommon, at once the favourite of the sovereign and of the

nation. Fond of military glory; liberal to profu sion; devoted entirely to his friends, and keeping no measures with his enemies; of competent learning himself, and a signal benefactor to learned men. One quality he had, which distinguishes him eminently from such as are personally beloved by princes in the height of his favour he received the admonitions, the remonstrances of his friends with all gentleness; and was ever most patient of the truth. But then he wanted those arts which are most necessary in a courtier; and are indeed the only qualities which the rabble of courtiers value themselves upon; circumspection, cunning, affectation of secrecy, with a servile obsequiousness to the humours of their superiors, and a mean but anxious attention to their own interest, whether at the expense of their patrons, or of their country. A different turn of mind gave the earl's enemies great advantages against him. They failed not to represent to the queen, on several occasions, that this young lord, not satisfied with the distinction of being her favourite, pretended to be her master; and prescribed to her judgment on affairs of state, with a haughtiness ill becoming the distance betwixt a sovereign and the creature of her bounty. Such insinuations, as they were partly true, could not fail of making an impression on Elizabeth, who was naturally high-spirited, and infinitely jealous of her authority. Though she had a particular fondness for the earl, she took occasion every now and then to mortify his pride, by refusing to advance those friends of his whom he recommended for preferment. After his return from the expedition to Cadiz, in which he had behaved himself with much gallantry, she raised his enemy, Sir Robert Cecil, to be secretary of state; though he had earnestly solicited that post for another. He had often applied to her in behalf of Bacon, and asked for him, with all the warmth of friendship, the place of solicitor general, but had been always refused. Cecil, who mortally hated Essex, and had entertained a secret jealousy of Bacon, on account

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