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Rawley's CXXIII. To Sir GEORGE VILLIERS, about Roper's place.
SENDING to the king upon occasion, I would not fail to salute you by my letter; which, that it may be more than two lines, I add this for news; that as I was sitting by my lord chief justice, upon the commission for the indicting of the great person; one of the judges asked him, whether Roper were dead; he said, he for his part knew not; another of the judges answered, It should concern you, my lord to know it. Whereupon he turned his speech to me, and said, No, Mr. Attorney, I will not wrestle now in my latter times. My lord, said I, you speak like a wise man. Well, saith he, they have had no luck with it that have had it. I said again, Those days be past. Here you have the dialogue to make you merry. But in sadness, I was glad to perceive he meant not to contest. I can but honour and love you, and rest
Your assured friend and servant,
Jan. 22, 1615.
Sir David CXXIV. Sir FRANCIS BACON to King JAMES.
Letters, p. 46.
It may please your most excellent Majesty,
Ir pleased your majesty to commit to my care and trust for Westminster-hall three particulars; that of the rege inconsulto, which concerneth Murray; tha of the commendams, which concerneth the bishop of Lincoln; and that of habeas corpus, which concerneth the chancery.
These causes, although I gave them private additions, yet they are merely, or at least chiefly, yours; and the die runneth upon your royal prerogatives' diminution, or entire conversation. Of these it is my duty to give your majesty a short account.
For that of the rege inconsulto, I argued the same in the king's-bench on Thursday last. There argued on
the other part Mr. George Crook, the judge's brother, an able book-man, and one that was manned forth with all the furniture that the bar could give him I will not say the bench, and with the study of a long vacation. I was to answer, which hath a mixture of the sudden; and of myself I will not, nor cannot say any thing, but that my voice served me well for two hours and a half; and that those that understood nothing, could tell me that I lost not one auditor that was present in the beginning, but staid till the latter end. If I should say more, there were too many witnesses, for I never saw the court more full, that mought disprove me.
My lord Coke was pleased to say, that it was a famous argument; but withal, he asked me a politic and tempting question: for, taking occasion by a notable precedent I had cited, where, upon the like writ brought, all the judges in England assembled, and that privately, lest they should seem to dispute the king's commandment, and upon conference, with one mind agreed, that the writ must be obeyed. Upon this hold, my lord asked me, whether I would have all the rest of the judges called to it. I was not caught: but knowing well that the judges of the common pleas were most of all others interested in respect of the prothonotaries, I answered, civilly, that I could advise of it; but that I did not distrust the court; and, besides, I thought the case so clear, as it needed not.
Sir, I do perceive, that I have not only stopped, but almost turned the stream: and I see how things cool by this, that the judges that were wont to call so hotly upon the business, when they had heard, of themselves, took a fortnight day to advise what they will do, by which time the term will be near at an end; and I know they little expected to have the matter so beaten down with book-law, upon which my argument wholly went: so that every mean student was satisfied. Yet because the times are as they are, I could wish in all humbleness, that your majesty would remember and renew your former
commandment which you gave my lord chief justice in Michaelmas term, which was, that after he had heard your attorney, which is now done, he should forbear further proceeding till he had spoken with your majesty.
It concerneth your majesty threefold. First, in this particular of Murray; next, in the consequence of fourteen several patents, part in queen Elizabeth's time, some in your majesty's time, which depend upon the like question; but chiefly because this writ is a mean provided by the ancient law of England to bring any case that may concern your majesty, in profit or power, from the ordinary benches, to be tried and judged before your chancellor of England, by the ordinary and legal part of his power: and your majesty knoweth your chancellor is ever a principal counsellor, and instrument of monarchy, of immediate dependence upon the king: and therefore like to be a safe and tender guardian of the royal rights.
For the case of the commendams, a matter likewise of great consequence, though nothing near the first, this day I was prepared to have argued it before all the judges; but, by reason of the sickness of the serjeant which was provided to argue on the other side, although I pressed to have had some other day appointed this term; yet it pleased divers of the judges to do me the honour, as to say it was not fit any should argue against me, upon so small time of warning, it is adjourned to the first Saturday next term.
For the matter of the habeas corpus, I perceive this common employment of my lord chancellor, and my lord chief justice, in these examinations, is such a vinculum, as they will not square while these matters are in hand, so that there is altum silentium of that matter. God preserve your majesty.
Your majesty's most humble
and bounden subject and servant,
27th Jan. 1615.
CXXV. To the KING, advising him to break Rawley's off with the new company.
It may please your excellent Majesty,
I SPAKE yesternight long with my lord Coke; and for the rege inconsulto, I conceive by him it will be an amplius deliberandum censeo, as I thought at first, so as for the present your majesty shall not need to renew your commandment of stay. I spake with him also about some propositions concerning your majesty's casual revenue; wherein I found him to consent with me fully, assuming, nevertheless, that he had thought of them before; but it is one thing to have the vapour of a thought, another to digest business aright. He, on his part, imparted to me divers things of great weight concerning the reparation of your majesty's means and finances, which I heard gladly; insomuch as he perceiving the same, I think was the readier to open himself to me in one circumstance, which he did much inculcate. I concur fully with him that they are to be held secret; for I never saw but that business is like a child, which is framed invisibly in the womb; and if it come forth too soon, it will be abortive. I know, in most of them, the prosecution must rest much upon myself. But I that had the power to prevail in the farmers' case of the French wines, without the help of my lord Coke, shall be better able to go through these with his help, the ground being no less just. And this I shall ever add of mine own, that I shall ever respect your majesty's honour no less than your profit; and shall also take care, according to my pensive manner, that that which is good for the present, have not in it hidden seeds of future inconveniences.
The matter of the new company was referred to me by the lords of the privy council; wherein, after some private speech with Sir Lionel Cranfield, I made that report which I held most agreeable to truth, and your majesty's service. If this new company break, it must either be put upon the patent, or upon the order made by themselves. For the patent, I satisfied the
board, that there was no tittle in it which was not either verbatim in the patent of the old company, or by special warrant from the table inserted. Mylord Coke, with much respect to me, acknowledged, but disliked the old patent in itself, and disclaimed his being at the table when the additions were allowed. But in my opinion, howsoever my lord Coke, to magnify his science in law, draweth every thing, though sometimes improperly and unseasonably, to that kind of question, it is not convenient to break the business upon those points. For considering they were but clauses that were in the former patents, and in many other patents of companies: and that the additions likewise passed the allowance of the table, it will be but clamoured, and perhaps conceived, that to quarrel them now, is but an occasion taken; and that the times are but changed, rather than the matter. But that which preserveth entire your majesty's honour, and the constancy of your proceedings, is to put the breach upon
For this light I gave in my report, which the table readily apprehended, and much approved; that if the table reject their orders as unlawful and unjust, it doth free you from their contract: for whosoever contracteth or undertaketh any thing, is always understood to perform it by lawful means; so as they have plainly abused the state, if that which they have undertaken be either impossible or unjust.
I am bold to present this consideration to that excellent faculty of your majesty's judgment: because I think it importeth that future good which may grow to your majesty in the close of this business; that the falling off be without all exception. God have you in his precious custody.
Your Majesty's most humble
Feb. 3, 1615.
and bounden subject and servant.