« AnteriorContinuar »
“ obliquity of that of Scotland, in the latest and
largest author* that I have seen : I conceived “ it would be honour for his majesty, and a work “ very memorable, if this island of Great Britain, as “ it is now joined in monarchy for the ages to come,
, “ so it were joined in history for the times past: and “ that one just and complete history were compiled “ of both nations. And if any man perhaps should “ think it may refresh the memory of former dis“cords, he may satisfy himself with the verse olim “ hæc meminisse juvabit:' for the case being now
“ tory of nature, which he hardly lived to publish; his ill state “ of health, and succeeding death, put an end to this and other “noble designs ; leaving the ecclesiastical and civil affairs of “ those times to be related by the learned pens of Dr. Burnet, “notwithstanding the objections of the avowed enemies, and “ seeming friends to the reformation, and the Lord Herbert of
Cherbury; that I think there is not much of moment to be expected from a future hand. And for the annals of Queen “ Elizabeth compiled by Mr. Camden, the esteem of them is as “ universal as the language in which they are written. Nor “ must I forget in this place to take notice of two fair and large “ volumes lately published in French by Monsieur de Larrey; “ where building upon the foundations laid by these gen
tlemen, and some other memoirs, he hath not forgotten to do “ much honour to the English nation. beginning his history “ also with Henry VII.” Stephens.
“ * This 1 take to be meant of Buchanan's history of Scot“ land; a book much admired by some, though censured by “many, for his partiality in favour of the Lords, against Mary “ Queen of the Scots, and the regal power. In other respects,
Archbishop Spotswood informs us that he penned it with “such judgment and eloquence, as no country can shew a “better.” Stephens.
“ altered, it is matter of comfort and gratulation to o remember former troubles. Thus much, if it may
please your lordship, is in the optative mood ; and - it is time that I did look a little into the potential; “ wherein the hope which I conceived was grounded
upon three observations. The first, the nature of “ these times, which flourish in learning, both of art " and language ; which giveth hope not only that “ it may be done, but that it may be well done.
Secondly, I do see that which all the world sees in “ his majesty, both a wonderful judgment in learn
ing, and a singular affection towards learning, and “ works which are of the mind more than of the hand. “ For there cannot be the like honour sought and “ found, in building of galleries,* and planting of “elms along high-ways, and in those outward or“ naments, wherein France is now so busy, things “ rather of magnificence than of magnanimity, as “ there is in the uniting of states,+ pacifying of con“ troversies, I nourishing and augmenting of learn
ing and arts, and the particular actions appertain“ing to these; of which kind Cicero judged truly, “ when he said to Cæsar, · Quantum operibus tuis “ detrahet vetustas, tantum addet laudibus.' And
“ * The magnificent gallery at the Louvre in Paris, built " by Henry IV.”
" + The union of England and Scotland.”
“ | The conference at Hampton Court held between the “ bishops and puritans, as they were then called, soon after the
king's coming to the crown of England, and where his ma“ jesty was the moderator.” Stephens.
“ lastly, I call to mind, that your lordship at some “ times hath been pleased to express unto me a
great desire, that something of this nature should “ be performed; answerable indeed to your other “ noble and worthy courses and actions : joining “ and adding unto the great services towards his
majesty, which have, in small compass of time, “ been performed by your lordship, other great de
servings both of the Church and commonwealth, “ and particulars; so as the opinion of so great and “wise a man doth seem to me a good warrant both “ of the possibility and worth of the matter. But “ all this while I asure myself, I cannot be mistaken
by your lordship, as if I sought an office or em
ployment for myself; for no man knows better “ than your lordship, that if there were in me any
faculty thereunto, yet neither my course of life
nor profession would permit it ; but because there “ be so many good painters both for hand and co“ lours, it needeth but encouragement and instruc“tions to give life unto it. So in all humbleness I “ conclude my presenting unto your lordship this “wish; which, if it perish, it is but a loss of that “ which is not. And so craving pardon that I have “ taken so much time from your lordship, I remain
The next letter is “ To the King, upon sending unto him a beginning
“ of the History of his Majesty's times. “ It may please your Majesty,
“Hearing that your Majesty is at leisure to pe“ruse story, a desire took me to make an experiment
"what I could do in your majesty's times, which
being but a leaf or two, I pray your pardon, if I “ send it for your recreation; considering that love “ must creep where it cannot go. But to these I “ add these petitions: First, that if your majesty do “ dislike any thing, you would conceive I can amend
upon your least beck. Next, that if I have not spoken of your majesty encomiastically, your ma
jesty would be pleased only to ascribe it to the “ law of an history; which doth not cluster together
praises upon the first mention of a name, but ra“ther disperseth and weaveth them through the “ whole narrative. And as for the proper place of
commemoration, which is in the period of life, I pray God I may never live to write it. Thirdly, “ that the reason why I presumed to think of this “ oblation, was because whatsoever my disability be,
yet I shall have that advantage which almost no « writer of history hath had; in that I shall write “ of times not only since I could remember, but since “ I could observe. And lastly, that it is only for your majesty's reading." Of this tract Archbishop Tenison says,
an essay, sent to King James, whose “ times it considered. A work worthy his pen, had “ he proceeded in it; seeing (as he saith) he should have written of times, not only since he could re
member, but since he could observe; and by way “ of introduction, of times, as he further noteth, of
strange variety; the reign of a child : the offer of usurpation by the Lady Jane, though it were but as
“ a diary ague; the reign of a lady married to a
foreigner, and the reign of a lady solitary and un« married.
“ His lordship, who had given such proof of his “ skill in writing an History of England, leaving the “ world, to the unspeakable loss of the learned part “ of it ; his late majesty, a great favourer of that
work, and wise in the choice of fit workmen, en“couraged Sir Henry Wotton to endeavour it, by “ his royal invitation, and a pension of 500l. per
This proposal was made to that excel“ lent man, in his declining years; and he died after “ the finishing some short characters of some few
kings; which characters are published in his o Remains.
STATE OF EUROPE, This tract is supposed by Mallet to have been the first work written by Lord Bacon, and to have been written about the year 1580, when he was between 19 and 20 years of age :- because it states, “that Henry III. of France was then 30 years old: now that king began his reign in 1576, at the age of 24 years, so that Bacon was then 19." How far this evidence is satisfactory, may be collected from other parts of the same tract. It says, “ Gregory XIII. of the age of 70 years :”—but Gregory XIII. was 70 years old in the year 1572, when he was elected Pope, so that according to this reasoning, it might be inferred that it was written when Bacon was 12 years of age.
In another part