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that very earnestly, to my lord chamberlain in my
This letter goes by Mr. Robert Garret, to whom I am many ways beholden, for making me the best present that ever I received, by delivering me your honour's last letter.
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO THE KING.
May it please your excellent Majesty,
BECAUSE I have ever found, that in business the consideration of persons, who are instrumenta animata, is no less weighty than of matters, I humbly pray your majesty to peruse this inclosed paper, containing a diligence, which I have used in omnem eventum. If Towerson, (a) as a passionate man, have overcome himself in his opinion, so it is. But if his company make this good, then I am very glad to see in the case, wherein we now stand, there is this hope left, and your majesty's honour preserved in the entier. God have your majesty in his divine protection.
Your Majesty's most devoted, and
most bounden servant, &c.
This is a secret to all men but my lord chancellor; and we go on this day with the new company, without discouraging them at all. September 18, 1616.
To the King, upon Towerson's propositions about the cloth business.
(a) Whose brother, captain Gabriel Towerson, was one of the English merchants executed by the Dutch at Amboyna, in 1623.
RICHARD MARTIN, ESQ. (a) TO SIR FRANCIS
My attendance at court two days, in vain, considering the end of my journey, was no loss unto me, seeing thereby I made the gain of the overture and assurance of your honour's affection. These comforts have given new life and strength to my hopes, which before began to faint. I know, I know, what your honour promiseth, you will undertake; and what you undertake, you seldom fail to compass; for such proof of your prudence and industry your honour hath of late times given to the swaying world. There is, to my understanding, no great intricacy in my affair, in which I plainly descry the course to the shore I would land at; to which neither I, nor any other can attain, without the direction of our great master-pilot, who will not stir much without the beloved mate sound the way. Both these none can so well set awork as yourself, who have not only their ear, but their affection, and that with good right, as I hope, in time, to good and public purpose. It is fit likewise, that your honour know all my advantages. The present incumbent is tied to me by firm promise, which gives an impediment to the competitors, whereof one already, according to the heaviness of his name and nature, petit deorsum. And though I be a bad courtier, yet I know the style of gratitude, and shall learn as I am instructed. Whatsoever your honour shall undertake for me, I will make good. Therefore I humbly and earnestly intreat your best endeavour, to assure to
(a) Born about 1570, entered a commoner of Broad-gate's hall, now Pembroke-collège, Oxford, in 1585, whence he removed to the Middle Temple. In the parliament of 1601, he served for the borough of Barnstaple in Devon; and in the first parliament of king James I. he served for Cirencester in Gloucestershire; he was chosen recorder of London in September, 1618; but died in the last day of the following month. He was much esteemed by the men of learning and genius of that age.
yourself and your master a servant, who both can and will, though as yet mistaken, advance his honour and service with advantage. Your love and wisdom is my last address; and on the real nobleness of your nature, whereof there is so good proof, stands my last hope. If I now find a stop, I will resolve it is fatum Carthaginis, and sit down in perpetual peace. In this business I desire all convenient silence; for though I can endure to be refused, yet it would trouble me to have my name blasted. If your honour return not, and you think it requisite, I will attend at court. Mean time, with all humble and hearty wishes for increase of all happiness, I kiss your honour's hands.
Your Honour's humbly at command,
September 27, 1616.
To the right honourable Sir Francis Bacon, knight, his Majesty's attorney-general, and one of his Majesty's most honourable privy council, my singular patron at court.
TO THE KING.
It may please your Majesty,
THIS morning, according to your majesty's command, we have had my lord chief justice of the King's Bench (a) before us, we being assisted by all our learned council, except serjeant Crew, who was then gone to attend your majesty. It was delivered unto him, that your majesty's pleasure was, that we should receive an account from him of the performance of a commandment of your majesty laid upon him, which was, that he should enter into a view and retraction of such novelties, and errors, and offensive conceits, as were dispersed in his Reports; that he had had good time to do it; and we doubted not but he had
(a) Sir Edward Coke.
used good endeavour in it, which we desired now in particular to receive from him.
His speech was, that there were of his Reports eleven books, that contained about five hundred cases: that heretofore in other Reports, as namely, those of Mr. Plowden, (a) which he reverenced much, there hath been found nevertheless errors, which the wisdom of time had discovered, and later judgments controlled; and enumerated to us four cases in Plowden which were erroneous: and thereupon delivered in to us the inclosed paper, wherein your majesty may perceive, that my lord is a happy man, that there should be no more errors in his five hundred cases, than in a few cases of Plowden. Your majesty may also perceive, that your majesty's direction to my lord chancellor and myself, and the travail taken by us and Mr. Solicitor, (b) in following and performing your direction, was not altogether lost; for that of those three heads, which we principally respected, which were the rights and liberties of the church, your prerogative, and the jurisdiction of other your courts, my lord hath scarcely fallen upon any, except it be the prince's case, which also yet seemeth to stand but upon the grammatical of French and Latin.
My lord did also give his promise, which your majesty shall find in the end of his writing, thus far in a kind of common-place or thesis, that it was sin for a man to go against his own conscience, though erro
(a) Edmund Plowden, born of an ancient family of that name at Plowden in Shropshire, who, as he tells us himself in the preface to his Reports in the twentieth year of his age, and the thirtieth of the reign of Henry VIII. anno 1539, began his study of the common law in the Middle Temple. Wood adds, Ath. Oxon. Vol. I. col. 219, that he spent three years in the study of arts, philosophy, and physic, at Cambridge, and four at Oxford, where, in November 1552, he was admitted to practise chirurgery and physic. In 1557 he became summer reader of the Middle Temple, and three years after Lent reader, having been made serjeant October 27, 1558. He died February 6, 1584-5, at the age of sixty-seven, in the profession of the Roman Catholic faith, and lies interred in the Temple church.
(b) Sir Henry Yelverton.
neous, except his conscience be first informed and satisfied.
The lord chancellor in the conclusion signified to my lord Coke your majesty's commandment, that, un-til report made, and your pleasure thereupon known, he shall forbear his sitting at Westminster, &c. not restraining nevertheless any other exercise of his place of chief justice in private.
Thus having performed, to the best of our understanding, your royal commandment, we rest ever Your Majesty's most faithful
and most bounden servants, &c.
THE LORD VISCOUNT VILLIERS TO SIR FRANCIS
I HAVE acquainted his majesty with my lord chancellor's and your report, touching my lord Coke; as also with your opinion therein; which his majesty doth dislike for these three reasons: first, because, that by this course you propound, the process cannot have a beginning, till after his majesty's return; which, how long it may last after, no man knoweth. He therefore thinketh it too long and uncertain a delay, to keep the bench so long void from a chief justice. Secondly, although his majesty did use the council's advice in dealing with the chief justice upon his other misdemeanors; yet he would be loth to lessen his prerogative, in making the council judges, whether he should be turned out of his place or no, if the case should so require. Thirdly, for that my lord Coke hath sought means to kiss his majesty's hands, and withal to acquaint him with some things of great importance to his service; he holdeth it not fit to admit him to his presence, before these points be determined, because that would be a grant of his pardon before he had his trial. And if those things,