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TO THE LORD KEEPER.
I HAVE received so many letters lately from your lordship, that I cannot answer them severally: but the ground of them all being only this, that your lordship feareth I am so incensed against you, that I will hearken to every information that is made unto me: this one letter may well make answer unto them all. As his majesty is not apt to give ear to any idle report against men of your place; so, for myself, I will answer, that it is far from my disposition to take any advantage in that kind. And for your lordship's unkind dealing with me in this matter of my brother's, time will try all. His majesty hath given me commandment to make this answer in his name to your letter to him, that he needeth not to make any other answer to you, than that which in that letter you make to yourself, that you know his majesty to be so judicious, that whatsoever he heareth, he will keep one ear open to you. Which being indeed his own princely disposition, you may be assured of his gra
cious favour in that kind.
I will not trouble your lordship with any longer discourse at this time, being to meet you so shortly, where will be better trial of all that hath passed, than can be made by letters. So I rest
Your Lordship's at command,
Warwick, Sept. 5, [1617.]
To the right honourable Sir Francis Bacon, knight, lord keeper of the great seal of England.
ADVICE TO THE KING, FOR REVIVING THE
THAT, which for the present I would have spoken with his majesty about, as a matter wherein time may be precious, being upon the tenderest point of all
others. For though the particular occasion may be despised, and yet nothing ought to be despised in this kind, yet the counsel thereupon I conceive to be most sound and necessary, to avoid future perils.
There is an examination taken within these few days, by Mr. Attorney, concerning one Baynton, or Baynham, for his name is not yet certain, attested by two witnesses, that the said Baynton, without any apparent shew of being overcome with drink, otherwise than so as might make him less wary to keep secrets, said, that he had been lately with the king, to petition him for reward of service: which was denied him. Whereupon it was twice in his mind to have killed his majesty. The man is not yet apprehended, and said by some to be mad, or half mad; which, in my opinion, is not less dangerous: for such men commonly do most mischief; and the manner of his speaking imported no distraction. But the counsel I would out of my care ground hereupon, is, that his majesty would revive the commission for suits, which hath been now for these three years, or more, laid down. For it may prevent any the like wicked cogitations, which the devil may put into the mind of a roarer or swaggerer, upon a denial: and besides, it will free his majesty from such importunity, and save his coffers also. For I am sure when I was a commissioner, in three whole years space there passed scarce ten suits that were allowed. And I doubt now, upon his majesty's coming home from his journey, he will be much troubled with petitions and suits; which maketh me think this remedy more seasonable. It is not meant, that suits generally should pass that way, but only such suits as his majesty would be rid on.
September 21, 1617.
To revive the commission of suits. For the King.
THE EARL OF BUCKINGHAM TO THE LORD KEEPER, SIR FRANCIS BACON. (a)
I HAVE made his majesty acquainted with your note concerning that wicked fellow's speeches, which his majesty contemneth, as is usual to his great spirit in these cases. But, notwithstanding, his majesty is pleased, that it shall be exactly tried, whether this foul-mouthed fellow was taken either with drunkenness or madness, when he spake it. And as for your lordship's advice for setting up again the commissioners for suits, his majesty saith, there will be time enough for thinking upon that, at his coming to Hampton Court.
But his majesty's direction, in answer of your letter, hath given me occasion to join hereunto a discovery upon the discourse you had with me this day. (6) For I do freely confess, that your offer of submission unto me, and in writing, if so I would have it, battered so the unkindness, that I had conceived in my heart for your behaviour towards me in my absence, as out of the sparks of my old affection towards you, I went to sound his majesty's intention towards you, specially in any public meeting; where I found, on the one part, his majesty so little satisfied with your late answer unto him, which he counted, for I protest I use his own terms, confused and childish, and his rigorous resolution, on the other part, so fixed, that he would put some public exemplary mark upon you; as I protest the sight of his deep-conceived indignation quenched my passion, making me upon the instant change from the person of a party into a peace-maker so as I was forced upon my knees to beg of his majesty;
(a) This seems to be the letter to which the lord keeper returned an answer, September 22, 1617, printed in his works.
(b) At Windsor, according to Sir Antony Weldon, who may perhaps be believed in such a circumstance as this. See Court and Character of King James I. p. 122.
that he would put no public act of disgrace upon you. And as, I dare say, no other person would have been patiently heard in this suit by his majesty but myself; so did I, though not without difficulty, obtain thus much, that he would not so far disable you from the merit of your future service, as to put any particular mark of disgrace upon your person. Only thus far his majesty protesteth, that upon the conscience of his office he cannot omit, though laying aside all passion, to give a kindly reprimand, at his first sitting in council, to so many of his counsellors as were then here behind, and were actors in this business, for their ill behaviour in it. Some of the particular errors committed in this business he will name, but without accusing any particular persons by name.
Thus your lordship seeth the fruits of my natural inclination. I protest, all this time past it was no small grief unto me to hear the mouth of so many, upon this occasion, open to load you with innumerable malicious and detracting speeches, as if no music were more pleasing to my ear, than to rail of you; which made me rather regret the ill-nature of mankind, that, like dogs, love to set upon them that they see snatched at.
And, to conclude, my lord, you have hereby a fair occasion so to make good hereafter your reputation, by your sincere service to his majesty, as also by your firm and constant kindness to your friends, as I may, your lordship's old friend, participate of the comfort and honour that will thereby come to you. Thus I rest at last
Your Lordship's faithful friend and servant,
The force of your old kindness hath made me set down this in writing unto you, which some, that have deserved ill of me in this action, would be glad to obtain by word of mouth, though they be far enough from it, for ought I yet see. But I beseech your lordship to reserve this secretly to yourself only,
till our meeting at Hampton Court, lest his majesty should be highly offended, for a cause that I know.
A letter of reconciliation from lord Buckingham, after his majesty's return from Scotland.
TO THE EARL OF BUCKINGHAM.
My very good Lord,
Ir may please your lordship to let his majesty understand, that I have spoken with all the judges, signifying to them his majesty's pleasure touching the commendams. They all una voce did re-affirm, that his majesty's powers, neither the power of the crown, nor the practised power by the archbishop, as well in the commendam ad recipiendum, as the commendam ad retinendum, are intended to be touched; but that the judgment is built upon the particular defects and informalities of this commendam now before them. They received with much comfort, that his majesty took so well at their hands the former stay, and were very well content and desirous, that when judgment is given, there be a faithful report made of the reason thereof.
The accounts of the summer-circuits, as well as that of the lent-circuit, shall be ready against his majesty's coming. They will also be ready with some account of their labours concerning Sir Edward Coke's Reports: wherein I told them his majesty's meaning was, not to disgrace the person, but to rectify the work, having in his royal contemplation rather posterity than the present.
The two points touching the peace of the middle shires, I have put to a consult with some selected judges.
The cause of the Egertons I have put off, and shall presently enter into the treaty of accord, according to his majesty's commandment, which is well tasted abroad in respect of his compassion towards those ancient families.