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presenteth to you this letter, your majesty's heart
Clay in your majesty's gracious hands,
March 25, 1620.
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO THE KING, UPON THE
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY,
beth; wherein I may note much, but this at this time, that as her majesty did always right to his majesty's hopes, so his highness doth, in all things, right to her memory; a very just and princely retribution. But from this occasion, by a very easy ascent, I passed farther, being put in mind, by this representative of her person, of the more true and more perfect representative, which is, of her life and government. For as statues and pictures are dumb histories, so histories are speaking pictures; wherein (if my affection be not too great, or my reading too small) I am of this opinion, that if Plutarch were alive to write lives by parallels, it would trouble him, for virtue and fortune both, to find for her a parallel amongst women. And though she was of the passive sex, yet her government was so active, as, in my simple opinion, it made more impression upon the several states of Europe, than it received f from thence. But I confess unto your lordship, I could not stay here, but went a little farther into the consideration of the times which have passed since King Henry the Eighth; wherein I find the strangest variety, that in so little number of successions of any hereditary monarchy, hath ever been known; the reign of a child, the offer of a usurpation, 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 unmarried: So that, as it cometh to pass, in massive bodies, that they have certain trepidations, and waverings, before they fix and settle; so it seemeth, that by the providence of God, this monarchy (before it was to settle in his majesty and his generations, in which I hope it is now established forever) hath had these preclusive changes in these barren princes. Neither could I contain myself here, (as it is easier for a man to multiply, than to stay a wish,) but calling to remembrance the unworthiness of the History of England, in the main continuance thereof, and the partiality and obliquity of that of Scotland, in the latest and largest author that I have seen; I conceived, it would be an 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 think, it may refresh the memory of former discord, he may satisfy himself with the verse, Some late act of his majesty, referred to some "Olim hæc meminisse juvabit." For the case former speech which I have heard from your being now altered, it is matter of comfort and lordship, bred in me a great desire, and by gratulation, to remember former troubles. Thus strength of desire a boldness, to make an humble much, if it may please your lordship, was in the proposition to your lordship, such as in me can optative mood, and it was time that I should look be no better than a wish; but if your lordship a little into the potential; wherein the hope that should apprehend it, it may take some good and I received was grounded upon three observations. worthy effect. The act I speak of, is the order, The first, of these times, which flourish in learngiven by his majesty for the erection of a tomb ing, both of art, and language, which givetn or monument for our late sovereign, Queen Eliza- hope, not only that it may be done. but that it
Hearing that you are at leisure to peruse 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 this I add these petitions: first, that if your majesty do dislike any thing, you would conceive I can amend it upon your least beck. Next, that if I have not spoken of your majesty encomiastically, your majesty will be pleased only to ascribe it to the law of a history, which doth not clutter together praises upon the first mention of a name, but rather disperseth them, and weaveth them throughout the whole narration. 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 the times, not only since I could remember, but since I could observe. And, lastly, that it is only for your majesty's reading.
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO THE LORD CHANCEL-
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR GOOD LORDSHIP,
may be well done. Secondly, I do see that which nor place, nor employment; but only, after so all the world sees in his majesty, a wonderful long a time of expiation, a complete and total judgment in learning, and a singular affection remission of the sentence of the Upper House, towards learning, and works which are of the to the end that blet of ignominy may be mind, and not of the hand. For there cannot be removed from me, and from my memory with the like honour sought in building of galleries, posterity, that I die not a condemned man, but and planting of elms along highways, and the may be to your majesty, as I am to God, "nova outward ornaments wherein France now is busy, creatura." Your majesty hath pardoned the like (things rather of magnificence than of magnani- to Sir John Bennet, between whose case and mine mity,) as there is in the uniting of states, pacify (not being partial to myself, but speaking out of ing of controversies, nourishing and augmenting the general opinion) there was as much difference, of learning and arts, and the particular action I will not say, as between black and white, but appertaining unto these; of which kind Cicero as between black and grey, or ash-coloured; look, judged truly, when he said to Cæsar, "Quantum therefore, down (dear sovereign) upon me also in operibus tuis detrahet vetustas, tantum addet pity. I know your majesty's heart is inscrutable laudibus." And, lastly, I called to mind, that for goodness; and my Lord of Buckingham was your lordship, at some times, hath been pleased to wont to tell me, you were the best natured man express unto me a great desire, that something in the world; and it is God's property, that those of this matter should be done, answerable indeed he hath loved, he loveth to the end. Let your to your other noble and worthy courses and ac- majesty's grace, in this my desire, stream down tions; joining, and adding unto the great ser- upon me, and let it be out of the fountain and vices towards his majesty (which have in small spring-head, and "ex mero motu," that living or compass of time been performed by your lord- dying, the print of the goodness of King James ship) other great deservings, both of the church, may be in my heart, and his praises in my mouth. and commonwealth, and particulars: so as the This my most humble request granted, may make opinion of so great and wise a man doth seem to me live a year or two happily; and denied, will me a good warrant, both of the possibility, and kill me quickly. But yet the last thing that will worth of the matter. But all this while, I assure die in me will be the heart and affection of myself, I cannot be mistaken by your lordship, Your majesty's most humble and as if I sought an office or employment for myself; true devoted servant, for no man knows better than your lordship, that FR. ST. ALBAN. if there were in me any faculty thereunto, yet July 30, 1624. neither my course of life, nor profession would permit it.
But because there be so many good
SENTING HIS DISCOURSE, TOUCHING THE PLAN-
painters, both for hand and colours, it needeth SIR FRANCIS BACON TO the king, upon PREbut encouragement and instructions 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, etc.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY,
I know no better way how to express my good wishes of a new year to your majesty, than by this little book, which in all humbleness I send you. The style is a style of business, rather than curious or elaborate, and herein I was en
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO THE KING, ABOUT THE couraged by my experience of your majesty's
PARDON OF THE PARLIAMENT'S SENTENCE.
MOST GRACIOUS AND DREAD SOVEREIGN,
Before I make my petition to your majesty, I make my prayers to God above, "pectore ab imo," that if I have held any thing so dear as your majesty's service, (nay) your heart's ease, and your honour, I may be repulsed with a denial. But if that hath been the principal with me, that God, who knoweth my heart, would move your majesty's royal heart to take compassion of me, and to grant my desire.
I prostrate myself at your majesty's feet; I, your ancient servant, now sixty-four years old in age, and three years and five months old in nisery. I desire not from your majesty means,
former grace, in accepting of the like poor fieldfruits, touching the union. And certainly I reckon this action as a second brother to the union, for I assure myself, that England, Scotland, and Ireland, well united, is such a trefoil as no prince except yourself (who are the worthiest) weareth in his crown, "si potentia reducatur in actum." I know well that for me to beat my brains about these things, they be "majora quam pro fortuna," but yet they be "minora quam pro studio et voluntate." For as I do yet bear an extreme zeal to the memory of my old mistress, Queen Elizabeth, to whom I was rather bound for her trust than for her favour; so I must acknowledge myself more bound to your majesty, both for trust and favour; whereof I will never deceive the
one, as I can never deserve the other. And so, in all humbleness kissing your majesty's sacred hands, I remain
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO THE EARL OF SALISBURY, UPON SENDING HIM ONE OF HIS BOOKS OF AD
VANCEMENT OF LEARNING.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR GOOD LORDSHIP,
I present your lordship with a work of my
vacant time, which if it had been more, the work
had been better. It appertaineth to your lordship (besides my particular respects) in some propriety, in regard you are a great governor in a province of learning, and (that which is more) you have added to your place affection towards learning, and to your affection judgment, of which the last I could be content were (for the time) less, that you might the less exquisitely censure that which I offer to you. But sure I am, the argument is good, if it had lighted upon a good author; but I shali content myself to awake better spirits, like a bellringer which is first up, to call others to church. So, with my humble desire of your Lordship's good acceptation, I remain
THE LORD CHANCELLOR BACON TO THE LORDS.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR LORDSHIPS,
I shall humbly crave at your lordships' hands a benign interpretation of that which I shall now write; for words that come from wasted spirits, and an oppressed mind, are more safe in being deposited in a noble construction, than in being circled with any reserved caution. Having made this as a protection to all which I shall say, I will go on, but with a very strange entrance, (as may seem to your lordships at the first;) for in the midst of a state of as great affliction as I think a mortal man can endure, (honour being above life,) I shall begin with the professing gladness in some things.
The first is, that hereafter the greatness of a judge or magistrate shall be no sanctuary, or protection to him against guiltiness; which, in few words, is the beginning of a golden world.
The next, that after this example, it is like that judges will fly from any thing in the likeness of corruption, (though it were at a great distance,) as from a serpent; which tendeth to the purging of the courts of justice, and reducing them to their true honour and splendour. And in these two points, God is my witness, (though it be my fortune to be the anvil, upon which these good effects are beaten and wrought,) I take no small comfort. But to pass from the motions of my heart, whereof God is only judge, to the merits of my cause, whereof your lordships are only judges, under God, and VOL. III.-4
his lieutenant, I do understand, there hath been expected from me, heretofore, some justification, and therefore I have chosen one only justification instead of all others, out of the justification of Job; for, after the clear submission and confession which I shall now make unto your lordships, I hope I may say, and justify with Job, in these Words, "I have not hid my sin, as did Adam, nor concealed my faults in my bosom." This is the only justification I will use: it resteth, therefore, and acknowledge, that having understood the that, without fig-leaves, I do ingenuously confess particulars of the charge, not formally from the House, but enough to inform my conscience and memory, I find matter both sufficient and full, to move me to desert the defence, and to move your lordships to condemn and censure me. will I trouble your lordships by singling out particulars, which I think may fall off: "Quid te exempta juvat spinis do millibus una?" Neither will I prompt your lordships to observe upon the proofs, where they come not home, or the scruples touching the credit of the witnesses: Neither defence might in divers things extenuate the will I present unto your lordships, how far a offence, in respect of the time, or manner of the gift, or the like circumstances; but only leave these things to spring out of your own noble thoughts, and observations of the evidence, and examinations themselves, and charitably to wind about the particulars of the charge here and there, as God shall put in your minds; and so submit myself wholly to your piety and grace.
And now that I have spoken to your lordships as judges, I shall say a few words unto you as peers and prelates, humbly commending my cause to your noble minds, and magnanimous affections.
Your lordships are not only judges, but parlia mentary judges; you have a farther extent of arbitrary power than other courts: and if you be not tied to the ordinary course of courts or precedents, in point of strictness and severity, much more in points of mercy and mitigation. And yet, if any thing I should move might be contrary to your honourable and worthy ends to introduce a reformation, I should not seek it, but herein I beseech your lordships to give me leave to tell you a story. Titus Manlius took his son's life for giving battle against the prohibition of his general. Not many years after, the like severity was pursued by Papirius Cursur, the dictator, against Quintus Maximus, who, being upon the point to be sentenced, was, by the intercession of some principal persons of the senate, spared; whereupon Livy maketh this grave and gracious observation: "Neque minus firmata est disciplina militaris periculo Quinti Maximi, quam miserabili supplicio Titi Manlii." The discipline of war was no less established by the questioning only of Quintus Maximus than by the punishment of Titus Manlius. And the same
reason is of the reformation of justice, for the | a £100,000. But the judges first, and most questioning of men of eminent place hath the same terror, though not the same rigour with the punishment. But my case stayeth not there; for my humble desire is, that his majesty would take the seal into his hands, which is a great downfall, and may serve, I hope, in itself, for an expiation of my faults.
of the rest, reduced it as before. I do not dislike that things pass moderately, and, all things considered, it is not amiss, and might easily have been worse. There was much speaking of interceding for the king's mercy, which (in my opinion) was not so proper for a sentence: I said, in conclusion, that mercy was to come "ex mero motu,” and so left it. I took some other occasion pertinent to do the king honour, by showing how happy he was in all other parts of his government, save only in the manage of his treasure by these officers.
Therefore, if mercy and mitigation be in your lordships' power, and do no ways cross your ends, why should I not hope of your favours and commiserations? Your lordships may be pleased to behold your chief pattern, the king our sovereign, a king of incomparable clemency, and whose I have sent the king a new bill for Sussex, for heart is inscrutable for wisdom and goodness. my Lord of Nottingham's certificate was true, and You well remember, that there sat not these hun-I told the judges of it before, but they neglected dred years before, in your house, a prince (and it. I conceive the first man (which is newly set never such a prince) whose presence deserveth to down) is the fittest. God ever preserve and keep be made memorable by records and acts, mixed you, etc. of mercy and justice. Yourselves are either nobles, (and compassion ever beateth in the veins of noble blood,) or reverend prelates, who are the SIR FRANCIS BACON TO THE LORD TREASURER servants of him that would not break the bruised reed, nor quench smoking flax.
You all sit upon a high stage, and therefore cannot but be more sensible of the changes of human condition, and of the fall of any from high places. Neither will your lordships forget that there are "vitia temporis," as well as “vitia hominis," and that the beginning of reformation hath a contrary power to the pool of Bethseda, for that had strength only to cure him that first cast in, and this hath strength to hurt him only that is first cast in; and for my part, I wish it may stay there, and go no farther.
Lastly, I assure myself, your lordships have a noble feeling of me, as a member of your own body; and one that, in this very session, had some taste of your loving affections, which I hope was not a lightning before the death of them, but rather a spark of that grace which now, in the conclusion, will more appear. And, therefore, my humble suit to your lordships is, that my voluntary confession may be my sentence, and the loss of the seal my punishment, and that your lordships will spare any farther sentence, but recommend me to his majesty's grace and pardon for all that is past. And so, etc.
Your lordships', etc
FRANCIS ST. ALBAN, Can.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR BACON TO THE DUKE.
My Lord of Suffolk's cause is this day sentenced. My lord, and his lady, fined at £30,000, with imprisonment in the Tower at their own charges. Bingley at £2,000 and committed to the Fleet; Sir Edward Coke did his part, I have not heard him do better; and began with a fine of
BUCKHURST, UPON THE SAME OCCASION
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR GOOD LORDSHIP,
I have finished a work touching the advancement or setting forward of learning, which I have dedicated to his majesty, the most learned of a sovereign, or temporal prince, that time hath known. And upon reason not unlike, I humbly present one of the books to your lordship, not only as a chancellor of a university, but as one that was excellently bred in all learning, which I have ever noted to shine in all your speeches and behaviours. And therefore your lordship will yield a gracious aspect to your first love, and take pleasure in the adorning of that wherewith yourself are so much adorned. And so, humbly desiring your favourable acceptation thereof, with signification of my humble duty, I remain
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR GOOD LORDSHIP,
I humbly present your lordship with a work, wherein, as you have much commandment over the author, so your lordship hath also great interest in the argument. For, to speak without flattery, few have like use of learning, or like judgment in learning, as I have observed in your lordship. And, again, your lordship hath been a great planter of learning, not only in those places in the church which have been in your own gift, but also in your commendatory vote, no man hath more constantly held, "detur digniori ;" and, therefore, both your lordship is beholden to learning, and learning beholden to you. Which maketh me presume, with good assurance, that
your lordship will accept well of these my labours, the rather because your lordship in private speech hath often begun to me, in expressing your admiration of his majesty's learning, to whom I have dedicated this work; and, whose virtue and perfection in that kind, did chiefly move me to a work of this nature. And, so with signification of my most humble duty and affection towards your lordship, I remain, etc.
SIR FRANCIS BACON, OF THE LIKE ARGUMENT,
QUEST TO PRESENT THE BOOK TO HIS MA-
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR GOOD LORdship,
Having finished a work touching the advancement of learning, and dedicated the same to his
sacred majesty, whom I dare avouch (if the records of time err not) to be the learnedest king that hath reigned; I was desirous in a kind of congruity, to present it by the learnedest counsellor in this kingdom, to the end, that so good an argument, lightening upon so bad an author, might receive some reparation by the hands into which, and by which, it should be delivered. And, therefore, I make it my humble suit to your lordship to present this mean, but well meant writing to his majesty, and with it my humble and zealous duty; and also my like humble request of pardon, if I have too often taken his name in vain, not only in the dedication, but in the voucher of the authority of his speeches and writings. And so I remain, &c.
SIR FRANCIS BACON, HIS LETTER OF REQUEST
MR. DOCTOR PLAYFER,
for me, to have done as gardeners use to do, by taking their seeds and slips, and rearing them first into plants, and so uttering them in pots, when they are in flower, and in their best state. But, forasmuch, as my end was merit of the state of learning, to my power, and not glory; and, because my purpose was rather to excite other men's wits, than to magnify my own, I was desirous to prevent the uncertainness of my own life and times, by uttering rather seeds than plants; nay, and farther, as the proverb is, by Sowing with the basket, than with the hand. Wherefore, since I have only taken upon me to ring a bell, to call other wits together, (which is the meanest office,) it cannot but be consonant to my desire, to have that bell heard as far as can be. And, since that they are but sparks, which
can work but upon matter prepared, I have the abroad, that they may the better find, and light more reason to wish, that those sparks may fly
kindled. And, therefore, the privateness of the those minds and spirits which are apt to be language considered wherein it is written, excluding so many readers, (as, on the other side, the obscurity of the argument, in many parts of it, second birth of that work, if it might be translated excludeth many others;) I must account it a into Latin, without manifest loss of the sense and matter. For this purpose, I could not represent to myself any man, into whose hands I do more self; for, by that I have heard and read, I know earnestly desire that work should fall, than yourno man a greater master in commanding words to serve matter. Nevertheless, I am not ignorant of the worth of your labours, whether such as your place and profession imposeth on you, or such as your own virtue may, upon your voluntary election, take in hand. But I can lay before you no other persuasions, than either the work itself may affect you with, or the honour of his majesty, to whom it is dedicated, or your particular inclination to myself; who, as I never took so much comfort in any labours of my own, so I shall never acknowledge myself more obliged in any thing to the labour of another, than in that which shall assist this. Which your labour if I can, by my place, profession, means, friends, travail, word, deed, requite unto you, I shall esteem myself so straitly bound thereunto, as I shall be ever most ready, both to take and seek occasions of thankfulness. And so leaving it, nevertheless, "Salva amicitia," (as reason is,) to your own good liking, I remain, etc.
A great desire will take a small occasion to hope, and put in trial that which is desired. It pleased you a good while since, to express unto me, the good liking which you conceive of my book, of the Advancement of Learning, and that more significantly (as it seemed to me) than out of courtesy, or civil respect. Myself, as I then took contentment in your approbation thereof, so I should esteem and acknowledge, not only my contentment increased, but my labours advanced, if I might obtain your help in that nature which I desire. Wherein, before I set down in plain terms my request unto you, I will open myself, what it was which I chiefly sought, and propounded to myself, in that work, that you may perceive that which I now desire to be pursuant SIR FRANCIS BACON, TO SIR THOMAS BODLEY thereupon, if I do not err. (For any judgment that a man maketh of his own doings, had need be spoken with a "Si nunquam fallit imago.") I have this opinion, that if I had sought my own commendation, it had been a much fitter course
UPON SENDING HIM HIS BOOK OF THE AD
I think no man may more truly say with the psalm, "multum incola fuit anima mea." For 1