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For my practice, it presupposeth my health, which, if I should judge of as a man that judgeth of a fair morrow by a fair evening, I might have reason to value well. But myself having this error of mind, that I am apter to conclude in every thing of change from the present tense than of a continuance, do make no such appointment. Besides, I am not so far deceived in myself, but that I know very well, and I think your lordship is major corde, and in your wisdom you note it more deeply than I can in myself, that in practising the law, I play not all my best game, which maketh me accept it with a nisi quod potius, as the best of my fortune, and a thing agreeable to better gifts than mine, but not to mine.
For my placing, your lordship best knows, that when I was much dejected with her majesty's strange dealing towards me, it pleased you of your singular favour so far to comfort and encourage me, as to hold me worthy to be excited to think of succeeding your lordship in your second place (a); signifying in your plainness, that no man should better content yourself: which your exceeding favour you have not since varied from, both in pleading the like signification into the hands of some of my best friends, and also in an honourable and answerable nomination and commendation of me to her majesty. Wherein I hope your lordship, if it please you to call to mind, did find me neither overweening in presuming too much upon it, nor much deceived in my opinion of the event for the continuing it still in yourself, nor sleepy in doing some good offices to the same purpose.
Now upon this matter I am to make your lordship three humble requests, which had need be very reasonable, coming so many together. First, that your lordship will hold and make good your wishes towards me in your own time; for no other I mean it; and in thankfulness thereof, I will present your lord
(a) The mastership of the rolls; which office the lord keeper held till the lord Bruce was advanced to it, May 18, 1603.
ship with the fairest flower of my estate; though it yet bear no fruit; and that is the poor reversion, which of her majesty's gift I hold, in the which I shall be no less willing Mr. John Egerton (b), if it seem good to you, should succeed me in that, than I would be willing to succeed your lordship in the other place.
My next humble request is, that your lordship would believe a protestation, which is, that if there be now against the next term, or hereafter, for a little bought knowledge of the court teacheth me to foresee these things, any heaving or palting at that place, upon mine honesty and troth, my spirit is not in, nor with it; I, for my part, being resolutely resolved not to proceed one pace or degree in this matter but with your lordship's foreknowledge and approbation. The truth of which protestation will best appear, if by any accident, which I look not for, I shall receive any farther strength. For, as I now am, your lordship may impute it only to policy alone in me, that being without present hope myself, I would be content the matter sleep.
My third humble petition to your lordship is, that you would believe an intelligence, and not take it for a fiction in court; of which manner I like Cicero's speech well, who, writing to Appius Claudius, saith; Sin autem quæ tibi ipsi in mentem veniant, ea aliis tribuere soles, inducis genus sermonis in amicitiam minime liberale. But I do assure your lordship, it is both true and fresh, and from a person of that sort, as having some glimpse of it before, I now rest fully confirmed in it: and it is this, that there should be a plot laid of some strength between Mr. Attorney
(b) Second son of the lord keeper, whose eldest son Sir Thomas, knighted at Cadiz upon the taking it in 1596 by the earl of Essex, died in Ireland, whither he attended that earl in 1599, as Mr. John Egerton likewise did, and was knighted by his lordship, and at the coronation of king James was made knight of the Bath. He succeeded his father in the titles of baron of Ellesmere and viscount Brackley, and on the 17th of May was created earl of Bridge
General (c), and Mr. Attorney of the Wards (d), for the one's remove to the rolls, and the other to be drawn to his place. Which, to be plain with your lordship, I do apprehend much. For first, I know Mr. Attorney General, whatsoever he pretendeth or protesteth to your lordship, or any other, doth seek it; and I perceive well by his dealing towards his best friends, to whom he oweth most, how perfectly he hath conned the adage of proximus egomet mihi : and then I see no man ripened for the place of the rolls in competition with Mr. Attorney General. And lastly, Mr. Attorney of the Wards being noted for a hurt any pregnant and stirring man, the objection of her majesty's business may receive in her causes by the drawing up of Mr. Attorney General, will wax cold. And yet, nevertheless, if it may please your lordship to pardon me so to say, of the second of those placings I think with some scorn; only I commend the knowledge hereof to your lordship's wisdom, as a matter not to be neglected.
And now lastly, my honourable good lord, for my third poor help, I account [it] will do me small good, except there be a heave; and that is this place of the Star-Chamber. I do confess ingenuously to your lordship out of my love to the public, besides my particular, that I am of opinion, that rules without examples will do little good, at least not to continue; but that there is such a concordance between the time to come and the time passed, as there will be no reforming the one without informing of the other. And I will not, as the proverb is, spit against the wind, but yield so far to a general opinion, as there was never a more or particular example. But I submit it wholly to your honourable grave consideration; only I humbly pray you to conceive, that it is not any money, that I have borrowed of Mr. Mills, nor any gratification I receive for my aid, that makes
(d) Probably Sir Thomas Heskett, who died 15th October, 1605, and has a monument crected to his memory in Westminster-Abbey.
me shew myself any ways in it, but simply a desire to preserve the rights of the office, as far as it is meet and incorrupt; and secondly his importunity, who nevertheless, as far as I see, taketh a course to bring this matter in question to his farther disadvantage, and to be principal in his own harm. But if it be true, that I have heard of more than one or two, that besides this fore-running in taking of fees, there are other deep corruptions, which in an ordinary course are intended to be proved against him; surely, for my part, I am not superstitious, as I will not take any shadow of it, nor labour to stop it, since it is a thing medicinable for the office of the realm. And then if the place by such an occasion or otherwise should come in possession, the better to testify my affection to your lordship, I should be glad, as I offered it to your lordship by way of [surrender] so in this case to offer it by way of joint-patentcy, in nature of a reversion, which, as it is now, there wanteth no good will in me to offer, but that both, in that condition it is not worth the offering; and besides, I know not whether my necessity may enforce me to sell it away; which, if it were locked in by any reversion or joint-patentcy, I were disabled to do for my
Thus your lordship may perceive how assured a persuasion I have of your love towards me, and care of me; which hath made me so freely to communicate of my poor state with your lordship, as I could have done to my honourable father, if he had lived: which I most humbly pray your lordship may be private to yourself, to whom I commit it to be used to such purpose, as in your wisdom and honourable love and favour should seem good. And so humbly craving pardon, I commend your lordship to the divine pre
At your Lordship's honourable commandment humbly and particularly.
the papers of Antony Bacon, Esq. vol. XI.
fol. 69, in the Lam
Mr. FRANCIS BACON to the Earl of ESSEX,* on his Lordship's going on the expedition against Cadiz.
My singular good Lord,
I HAVE no other argument to write on to your good lordship, but upon demonstration of my deepest and most bounden duty, in fulness whereof I mourn for your lordship's absence, though I mitigate it as much as I can with the hope of your happy success, the greatest part whereof, be it never so great, will be the safety of your most honourable person; for the which in the first place, and then for the prosperity of your enterprise, I frequently pray. And as in so great discomfort it hath pleased God some ways to regard my desolateness, by raising me so great and so worthy a friend in your absence, as the new-placed lord keeper (a), in whose placing as it hath pleased God to establish mightily one of the chief pillars of this estate, that is, the justice of the land, which began to shake and sink, and for that purpose no doubt gave her majesty strength of heart of herself to do that in six days, which the deepest judgment thought would be the work of many months; so for my particular, I do find in an extraordinary manner, that his lordship doth succeed my father almost in his fatherly care of me, and love towards me, as much as he professeth to follow him in his honourable and sound courses of justice and estate; of which so special favour the open and apparent reason I can ascribe to nothing more than the impression, which, upon many conferences of long time used between his lordship and me, he may have received both of your lordship's high love and good opinion towards his lordship, verified in many and singular offices, whereof now the realm, rather than himself, is like to reap the fruit; and also of your singular affection towards me, as a man chosen by you to set forth the excellency of