« AnteriorContinuar »
SIR FRANCIS BACON, THE KING'S ATTORNEY, RETURNED WITH POSTILS, OF THE KING'S OWN HAND.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, Your majesty hath put upon me a work of providence in this great cause, which is to break and distinguish future events into present cases, and so present them to your royal judgment, that in this action, which hath been carried with so great prudence, justice, and clemency, there may be (for that which remaineth) as little surprise as is possible, but that things duly foreseen may have their remedies and directions in readiness; wherein I cannot forget what the poet Martial saith; "O! quantum est subitis cassibus ingenium!" signifying, that accident is many times more subtle than foresight, and overreacheth expectation and, besides, I know very well the meanness of my own judgment, in comprehending or forecasting what may follow.
It was your majesty's pleasure also, that I should couple the suppositions with my opinion in every of them, which is a harder task; but yet your majesty's commandment requireth my obedience, and your trust giveth me assurance.
I will put the case which I wish; that Somerset should make a clear confession of his of fences, before he be produced to trial.
REX. I say with Apollo, "Media tutius itur," if it may stand with law; and if it cannot, when
In this case, it seemeth your majesty will have a new consult. The points whereof will be (1) Whether your majesty will stay the trial, and so save them both from the stage, and that public ignominy. Or (2) Whether you will (or may fitly by law) have the trial proceed, and stay or reprieve the judgment, which saveth the lands from forfeiture, and the blood from corruption. Or (3) Whether you will have both trial and judgment proceed, and save the blood only,
I shall hear not from corrupting, but from that he con- spilling.
fesseth, I am
to make choice
of the first, or the last.
These be the depths of your majesty's mercy which I may not enter into; but for honour and reputation, they have these grounds:
That the blood of Overbury is
Secondly, That your majesty, in your own wisdom, do advise what course you will take, for the utter extinguishing of all hope of resuscitating of their fortunes and favour; whereof if there should be the least conceit, it will leave in men a great deal of envy and discontent.
And, lastly, Whether your majesty will not suffer it to be thought abroad, that there is a cause of farther examination of Somerset, concerning matters of estate, after he shall begin once to be a confessant; and so make as well a politic ground, as a ground of clemency, for farther stay.
trial, and staying judgment, I must better inform And for the second degree of proceeding to myself by precedents, and advise with my lord chancellor.
law, I would even wish it in this case; in all the rest this article cannot be mended.
REX. That dan
REX. This is so
finding guilty, because the be very sorry
Thirdly, It shall be my care
Lastly, all these points of ger is well to mercy and favour, are to be
be foreseen, lest he upon the one part commit unpar
understood with this limita-
incapable and unworthy of
and I on the them.
seem to punish him in the spirit of revenge.
The third case is, if he should stand mute, and will not plead, whereof
In this case, I should think fit, that, as in public, both myself and chiefly my lord chancellor, (sitting then as Lord Steward of England) should
your majesty dehort and deter him from that
knoweth there desperation; so, nevertheless,
seen (as I conceive it) that there should be any rejecting of the verdict, or any respiting of the judgment of the acquittal; so, on the other side, this case requireth, that because there be many high and henious offences (though not capital,) for which he may be questioned in the Star Chamber, or otherwise, that there be some touch of that in general, at the conclusion, by my Lord Steward of England. And, that, therefore, he be remanded to the Tower, as close prisoner.
For matter of examination, or other proceedings, my lord chancellor, with my advice, hath set down
To-morrow, being Monday, for the re-examination of the lady.
Wednesday next, for the meeting of the judges, concerning the evidence.
Thursday, for the examination of Somerset himself, according to your majesty's instructions.
Which three parts, when they shall be performed, I will give your majesty advertisement with speed, and in the mean time be glad to receive from your majesty (whom it is my part to inform truly) such directions, or significations of your pleasure, as this advertisement may induce, and that with speed, because the time Well remembering who is the person, whom your majesty admitted to this secret; I have sent this letter open unto him, that he may take your majesty's times to report it, or show it unto you, assuring myself that nothing is more firm than his trust, tried to your majesty's commandments;
Your majesty's most humble and most bounden subject and servant.
April 28, 1616.
that as much should be done SIR FRANCIS BACON, THE KING'S ATTORNEY
for him, as was done for Wes-
In this case, the lord stew-
GENERAL, TO THE MASTER OF THE HORSE, UPON
I send you the bill for his majesty's signature, reformed according to his majesty's amendments. both in the two places (which I assure you, were altered with great judgment) and in the third place, which his majesty termed a question only. But he is an idle body, that thinketh his majesty asketh an idle question; and therefore his majesty's questions are to be answered, by taking away the cause of the question, and not by replying.
For the name, his majesty's will is a law in but you may think your private fortunes establishthose things; and to speak the truth, it is a well-ed; and therefore it is now time, that you should sounding, and noble name, both here and abroad: and being your proper name, I will take it for a good sign, that you shall give honour to your dignity, and not your dignity to you. Therefore I have made it Viscount Villiers, and for your barony, I will keep it for an earldom: for though the other had been more orderly, yet that is as usual, and both alike good in law.
For Roper's place, I would have it by all means despatched; and therefore I marvel it lingereth. It were no good manners, to take the business out of my lord treasurer's hands, and therefore I purpose to write to his lordship, if I hear not from him first, by Mr. Deckome; but if I hear of any delay, you will give me leave (especially since the king named me) to deal with Sir Joseph Roper myself; for neither I, nor my lord treasurers can deserve any great thanks in this business of yours, considering the king hath spoken to Sir Joseph Roper, and he hath promised; and, besides, the thing itself is so reasonable, as it ought to be as soon done as said. I am now gotten into the country to my house, where I have some little liberty, to think of that I would think of, and not of that which other men hourly break their head withal, as it was at London. Upon this you may conclude, that most of my thoughts are to his majesty, and then you cannot be far off. God ever keep you, and prosper you: I rest always,
Your true and most dutiful servant. The 5th of August, one of the happiest days.
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO SIR GEORGE VILLIERS, UPON THE SENDING HIS PATENT FOR VISCOUNT
VILLIERS TO BE SIGNED.
I have sent you now your patent, creation of Lord Bletchly of Bletchly, and of Viscount Villiers. Bletchly is your own, and I liked the sound of the name better than Whaddon; but the name will be hid, for you will be called Viscount Villiers. I have put them in a patent, after the manner of the patent for earls, where baronies are
refer your actions to the good of your sovereign, and your country. It is the life of an ox or beast always to eat, and never exercise; but men are borr (and especially Christian men) not to cram in their fortunes, but to exercise their virtues; and yet the other hath been unworthy, and (thanks be to God) sometimes unlucky humour of great persons in our times. Neither will your future fortune be the farther off; for assure yourself, that fortune is of a woman's nature, and will sooner follow by slighting, than by too much wooing. And in this dedication of yourself to the public, I recommend unto you principally, that which I think, was never done since I was born; and which, because it is not done, hath bred almost a wilderness and solitude in the king's service; which is, that you countenance, and encourage, and advance able men, in all kinds, degrees, and professions. For in the time of the Cecils, the father and the son, able men were by design and of purpose suppressed: and though, of late, choice goeth better, both in church and commonwealth, yet money and turn-serving, and cunning canvasses and importunity, prevaileth too much. And in places of moment, rather make able and honest inen yours, than advance those that are otherwise, because they are yours. As for cunning and corrupt men, you must (I know) sometimes use them, but keep them at a distance; and let it appear rather, that you make use of them, than that they lead you. Above all depend wholly (next unto God) upon the king, and be ruled (as hitherto you have been) by his instructions, for that is best for yourself. For the king's care and thoughts for you are according to the thoughts of a great king; whereas your thoughts concerning yourself are, and ought to be, according to the thoughts of a modest man. But let me not weary you the sum is, that you think goodness the best part of greatness, and that you remember whence your rising comes, and make return accordingly. God keep you.
Aug. 12, 1616.
TIFICATE OF MY LORD COKE'S.
joined; but the chief reason was, because I would SIR FRANCIS BACON TO THE KING, ABOUT A CERavoid double prefaces, which had not been fit; nevertheless, the ceremony of robing, and otherwise, must be double.
And now, because I am in the country, I will send you some of my country fruits, which with me are good meditations; which, when I am in the city, are choked with business.
After that the king shall have watered your new dignies, with the bounty of the lands which he intends you, and that some other things concerning your means, which are now likewise in intention, shall be settled upon you, I do not see,
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENT MAJESTY,
I send your majesty enclosed, my Lord Coke's answers, I will not call them rescripts, much less oracles. They are of his own hand, and offered to me (as they are) in writing, not required by me to have them set down in writing, though I am glad of it, for my own discharge. I thought it my duty, as soon as I received them, instantly to send them to your majesty, and forbear, for the present, to speak farther of them. I, for my part, (though this Moscovia weather be a little too hard
for my constitution,) was ready to have waited | may say to your lordship, in the confidence of upon your majesty this day, all respects set aside; your poor kinsman, and a man by you advanced, but my lord treasurer, in respect of the season, "in idem fer opem qui spem dedisti:" for I am and much other business, was willing to save me. sure, it was not possible for a man living to have I will only conclude, touching these papers, with received from another more significant and coma text divided; I cannot say " Oportuit hæc fieri," fortable words of hope: your lordship being but I may say, "Finis autem nondum." God pleased to tell me, during the course of my last preserve your majesty. service, that you would raise me, and that, when you are resolved to raise a man, you were more careful of him than himself, and that what you had done for me in my carriage, was a benefit for me, but
Your majesty's most humble and
Feb. 14, at 12 o'clock.
I humbly pray your majesty, to keep the papers of no use to your lordship; and, therefore, I might safe.
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO MR. TOBY MATTHEWS. MR. MATTHEWS,
Do not think me forgetful, or altered towards you: but if I should say, I could do you any good, I should make my power more than it is. I do fear that which I am right sorry for, that you grow more impatient and busy than at first, which makes me exceedingly fear the issue of that which seemeth not to stand at a stay. I myself am out of doubt, that you have been miserably abused, when you were first seduced; and that which I take in compassion, others may take in severity. I pray God, that understands us all better than we understand one another, continue you, as I hope he will, at least, within the bounds of loyalty to his majesty, and natural piety to your country. And I entreat you much, to meditate sometimes upon the effect of superstition in this last powdertreason, fit to be tabled and pictured in the chambers of meditation, as another hell above the ground; and well justifying the censure of the heathen, that "Superstition is far worse than Atheism," by how much it is less evil to have no good opinion of God at all, than such as are impious towards his divine majesty and goodness. Good Mr. Matthews, receive yourself back from these courses of perdition. Willing to have written a great deal more, I continue
assure myself, you would not leave me there, with
alteration; and if I cannot
And therefore my hope is, your lordship will finish a good work, and consider, that time groweth precious, and that I am now "vergentibus annis:" and although I know your fortune is not to want a hundred such as I am, yet I shall be and to supply, as much as in me lieth, a worthiever ready to give you my best and first fruits, ness by thankfulness.
LORD CHANCELLOR BACON TO THE KING.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT Majesty, I dare not presume any more to reply upon your majesty, but reserve my defence till I attend your majesty at your happy retnrn, when I hope verily to approve myself not only a true servant to your majesty, but a true friend to my Lord of Buckingham; and for the times also, I hope to give your majesty a good account, though distance of place may obscure them. But there is one part of your majesty's letter, that I could be sorry to take time to answer; which is, that your majesty conceives, that whereas I wrote that the height of my lord's fortune might make him secure, I mean, that he was turned proud, or unknowing of himself. Surely, the opinion I have ever had of my lord (whereof your majesty is best witness) is far from I am not ignorant how mean a thing I stand for, that. But my meaning was plain and simple, in desiring to come into the solicitor's place for that his lordship might, through his great fortune, I know well, it is not the thing it hath been, time be the less apt to cast and foresee the unfaithfulhaving wrought an alteration, both in the profes-ness of friends, and the malignity of enemies, and sion, and in that special place. Yet, because I accidents of times. Which is a judgment (your think it will increase my practice, and that it may majesty knoweth better than I) that the best ausatisfy my friends, and because I have been voiced thors make of the best, and best tempered spirits to it, I would be glad it were done. Wherein "ut sunt res humanæ;" insomuch as Guicci
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO THE EARL OF SALIS-
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR GOOD LORDSHIP,
Jan. 2, 1618.
ardini maketh the same judgment, not of a parti- | would do, in this, which is not proper for me, nor cular person, but of the wisest state of Europe, in my element, I shall make your majesty amends the senate of Venice, when he saith, their prospe- in some other thing, in which I am better bred. rity had made them secure, and under-weighers God ever preserve, etc. of perils. Therefore, I beseech your majesty, to deliver me in this, from any the least imputation to my dear and noble lord and friend. And so expecting, that that sun which, when it went from us, left us cold weather, and now it is returned towards us hath brought with it a blessed harvest, will, when it cometh to us, dispel and disperse all mists and mistakings.
July 31, 1617.
I am, etc.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR BACON TO THE KING.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR BACON TO THE KING.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, Time hath been, when I have brought unto you "Gemitum Columbæ" from others, now I bring it from myself. I fly unto your majesty with the wings of a dove, which, once within these seven days, I thought, would have carried me a higher flight. When I enter into myself, I find not the materials of such a tempest as is come upon me. I have been (as your majesty knoweth best) never author of any immoderate counsel, but always desired to have things carried "suavibus modis." I have been no avaricious oppressor of the people. I have been no haughty, or intole rable, or hateful man, in my conversation or carriage: I have inherited no hatred from my father, but am a good patriot born. Whence should this be; for these are the things that use to raise dislikes abroad.
For the House of Commons, I began my credit there, and now it must be the place of the sepulture thereof. And yet this Parliament, upon the message touching religion, the old love revived, and they said, I was the same man still, only honesty was turned into honour.
For the Upper House, even within these days, before these troubles, they seemed as to take me into their arms, finding in me ingenuity, which they took to be the true straight line of nobleness, without crooks or angles.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR most excellenT MAJESTY, I do many times, with gladness, and for a remedy of my other labours, revolve in my mind the great happiness which God (of his singular goodness) hath accumulated upon your majesty every way, and how complete the same would be, if the state of your means were once rectified, and well ordered; your people military and obedient, fit for war, used to peace; your church illightened with good preachers, as a heaven of stars; your judges learned, and learning from you, just, and just by your example; your nobility in a right distance between crown and people, no oppressors of the people, no over-shadowers of the crown; your council full of tributes of care, faith, and freedom; your gentlemen, and justices of peace, willing to apply your royal mandates to the nature of their several counties, but ready to obey; your servants in awe of your wisdom, in hope of your goodness; the fields growing every day, by the improvement and recovery of grounds, from the desert to the garden; the city grown from wood to brick; your sea-walls, or Pomerium of your island, surveyed, and in edifying; your merchants embracing the whole compass of the world, east, west, north, and south; the times give you peace, and, yet offer you opportunities of action abroad; and, lastly, your excellent royal issue entaileth these blessings and favours of God to descend to all posterity. It resteth, therefore, that God having done so great things for your majesty, and you for others, you would do so much for yourself, as to go through (according to your good begin nings) with the rectifying and settling of your estate and means, which only is wanting, "Hoc rebus defuit unum." I, therefore, whom only love and duty to your majesty, and your royal line, hath made a financier, do intend to present unto your majesty a perfect book of your estate, But not to trouble your majesty any longer, like a perspective glass, to draw your estate nearer craving pardon for this long mourning letter; that to your sight; beseeching your majesty to con- which I thirst after, as the hart after the streams, ceive, that if I have not attained to do that I is, that I may know, by my matchless friend that
And for the briberies and gifts wherewith I am charged, when the books of hearts shall be opened, I hope I shall not be found to have the troubled fountain of a corrupt heart, in a depraved habit of taking rewards to pervert justice; howsoever I may be frail, and partake of the abuses of the times.
And therefore I am resolved, when I come to my answer, not to trick my innocency (as I writ to the Lords) by cavillations or voidances; but to speak to them the language that my heart speaketh to me, in excusing, extenuating, or ingenuous confessing; praying God to give me the grace to see to the bottom of my faults, and that no hardness of heart do steal upon me, under show of more neatness of conscience, than i cause.