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and then the child after it again, and so in infini- | me, I know not whether I were unnatural, untum, I am weary of it: as also of wearying my thankful, or unwise. This causeth me, most good friends, of whom, nevertheless, I hope in one humbly to pray your lordship (and I know mine course or other gratefully to deserve. And so, not own case too well to speak it as weening I can forgetting your business I leave to trouble you do your lordship service, but as willing to do it, with this idle letter, being but "justa et mode-as) to believe that your lordship is upon just title rata querimonia." For, indeed, I do confess, "primus amor," will not easily be cast off. And thus again I commend me to you.
TO THE LORD TREASURER BURGHLEY.
a principal owner and proprietor of that I cannot call talent, but mite that God hath given me; which I ever do and shall devote to your service. And in like humble manner I pray your lordship to pardon mine errors, and not to impute unto me the errors of any other; (which I know also, themselves have by this time left and forethought :) but to conceive of me to be a man that daily profiteth in duty. It is true, I do in part comfort myself, supposing that it is my weakness and insufficiency that moveth your lordship, who hath so general a command to use others more able. But let it be as it is; for duty only and homage I will boldly undertake that nature and true thankfulness shall never give place to a politic dependence. Lastly, I most humbly desire your lordship to continue unto me the good favour and countenance and encouragement in the course of my poor travails; whereof I have had some taste and experience; for the which, I yield your lordship my very humble good thanks. And so again craving your honour's pardon for so long a letter, carrying so empty an offer of so unpuissant a service, but yet a true and unfeigned signification of an honest and vowed duty, I cease, commending your lordship to the preservation of the Divine Majesty.
MOST HONOURABLE AND MY VERY GOOD LORD, I know, I may commit an error in writing this letter, both in a time of great and weighty business; as also when myself am not induced thereto, by any new particular occasion: And, thereof, your lordship may impute to me either levity or ignorance, what appertaineth to good respects and forwardness of dealing; especially to an honourable person, in whom there is such concurrence of magnitudo honoris et oneris, as it is hard to say, whether is the greater. But I answer myself first, that I have ever noted it as a part of your lordship's excellent wisdom, "parvis componere magna," that you do not exclude inferior matters of access amongst the care of great. And, for myself, I thought it would better manifest what I desire to express, if I did write out of a deep and settled consideration of my own duty, rather than upon the spur of a particular occasion. And, therefore, (my singular good lord,) "ex abundantia cordis," I must acknowledge how greatly and diversely your lordship hath vouchsafed to tie me unto you by many your benefits. The reversion of the office which your lordship only procured unto me, and carried through great and vehement MOST HONOURABLE AND MY SINGULAR good Lord, opposition, though it yet bear no fruit, yet, it is I cannot but importune your lordship with one of the fairest flowers of my poor estate; your thanks for your lordship's remembering my name lordship's constant and serious endeavours to have to my lord keeper; which being done in such an me solicitor; your late honourable wishes, for the article of time, could not but be exceedingly enplace of the wards; together with your lord-riched both in demonstration and effect: which I ship's attempt to give me way by the remove of Mr. Solicitor; they be matters of singular obligation; besides many other favours, as well by your lordship's grants from yourself, as by your commendation to others, which I have had
TO MY LORD OF ESSEX.
did well discern by the manner of expressing thereof by his lordship again to me. This accuhitherto worketh only this effect; that it raiseth mulating of your lordship's favours upon me, for my help; and may justly persuade myself, out my mind to aspire to be found worthy of them; of the few denials I have received, that fewer But whether I shall be able to pay my vows or no, and likewise to merit and serve you for them. might have been, if mine own industry and good I must leave that to God, who hath them in dehap had been answerable to your lordship's good-posito. Whom, also, I most instantly beseech to ness. But, on the other side, I most humbly pray give you fruit of your actions beyond that your your lordship's pardon if I speak it; the time is heart can propound. "Nam Deus major est corde." yet to come, that your lordship did ever use or Even to the environing of his benedictions, I command, or employ me in my profession in any recommend your lordship. services or occasion of your lordship's own, or such as are near unto your lordship; which hath made me fear sometimes that your lordship doth more honourably affect me than thoroughly discern of my most humble and dutiful affection to your lordship again. Which, if it were not in this long time, than that of the good success of
TO SIR THOMAS LUCY.
SIR,-There was no news better welcome to me
my kinsman; wherein if he be happy he cannot be happy alone, it consisting of two parts. And I render you no less kind thanks for your aid and favour towards him, than if it had been for myself; assuring you that this bond of alliance shall, on my part, tie me to give all the tribute to your good fortune upon all occasions, that my poor strength can yield. I send you so required an abstract of the lands of inheritance, and one lease of great value, which my kinsman bringeth, with a note of the tenures, values, contents, and state, truly and perfectly drawn; whereby you may perceive the land is good land, and well countenanced by scope of acres, woods, and royalties, though the total of the rents be set down as it now goeth without improvement: in which respect it somewhat differ from your first note. Out of this, what he will assure in jointure, I leave it to his own kindness; for I love not to measure affection. To conclude, I doubt not your daughter might have married to a better living, but never to a better life; having chosen a gentleman bred to all honesty, virtue, and worth, with an estate convenient. And if my brother or myself were either thrivers, or fortunate in the queen's service, I would hope there should be left as great a house of the Cokes in this gentleman as in your good friend, Mr. Attorney General. But sure I am, if Scriptures fail not, it will have as much of God's blessing and sufficiency as ever the best feast, &c.
TO SIR ROBERT CECIL, AT HIS BEING IN FRANCE.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR HONOURABLE LORDSHIP,
I know you will pardon this my observance, in writing to you empty of matter, but out of the fulness of my love. I am sorry that, as your time of absence is prolonged above that was esteemed at your lordship's setting forth; so, now, upon this last advertisement received from you, there groweth an opinion amongst better than the vulgar, that the difficulties also of your negotiation are increased. But, because I know the gravity of your nature to be not to hope lightly, it maketh me to despair the less. For you are "natus ad ardua:" and the indisposition of the subject may honour the skill of the workman. Sure I am, judgment and diligence shall not want in your lordship's self: but this was not my purpose; being only to signify unto your lordship my continual and incessant love towards you, thirsting after your return for many respects. So I commend you ever to the good preservation of the divine majesty. Gray's Inn.
At your honour's commandment, ever, and particularly.
TO SIR ROPERT CECIL
MY SIngular good Lord,
The argument of my letters to year lordship rather increaseth than spendeth; it being only the desire I have to salute you: which, by your absence is more augmented than abated. For me to write your lordship occurrences either of Scottish brags or Irish plants, or Spanish ruffling, or Low Country states, were (besides that it is "alienum quiddam" from mine own humour) to forget to whom I write; save that you, that know true advertisements, sometimes desire and delight to hear common reports; as we that know but common reports desire to hear the truth. But to leave such as write to your fortunes, I write to yourself in regard of my love to you, you being as near to me in heart's blood as in blood of deThis day I had the contentment to see your father upon occasion; and methought his lordship's countenance was not decayed, nor his cough vehement; but his voice was as faint all the while as at first. Thus, wishing your lordship a happy and speedy return, I commend you to the Divine Majesty.
TO THE QUEEN.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR SACRED MAJESTY,
I would not fail to give your majesty my most humble and due thanks for your royal choice of such commissioners in the great Star Chamber cause; being persons besides their honour of such science and integrity. By whose report I doubt not but your majesty will find that which you have been heretofore informed, (both by my lord keeper, and by some much meaner person,) touching the nature of that cause, to be true. This preparatory hearing doth already assail me with new and enlarged offers of composition; which, if I had borne a mind to have hearkened unto, this matter had been quenched long ago, without any benefit to your majesty. But your majesty's benefit is to me in greater regard than mine own particular: trusting to your majesty's gracious disposition and royal word, that your majesty will include me in any extraordinary course of your sovereign pleasure, which your majesty shall like to take in this cause. other man I spoke to your majesty of, may, within these two terms, be in the same straits between your majesty's justice and mercy, that this man now is, if your majesty be so pleased. So, most humbly craving pardon for my presuming to seek access for these few lines, I recommend your majesty to the most precious custody, and best preservation of the Divine Majesty.
Your majesty's most humble and entirely obedient servant and subject.
TO THE QUEEN.*
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY,
It were great simplicity in me to look for better than that your majesty should cast away my letter as you have done me; were it not that it is possible your majesty will think to find somewhat in it, whereupon your displeasure may take hold; and so indignation may obtain that of you which favour could not. Neither might I in reason presume to offer unto your majesty dead lines, myself being excluded as I am; were it not upon this only argument or subject; namely, to clear myself in point of duty. Duty, though my state lie buried in the sands, and my favours be cast upon the waters, and my honours be committed to the wind; yet standeth surely built upon the rock, and hath been, and ever shall be unforced and unattempted. And, therefore, since the world out of error, and your majesty I fear out of art is pleased to put upon me; that I have so much as any election or will in this my absence from attendance; I cannot but leave this protestation with your majesty; That I am and have been merely a patient, and take myself only to obey and execute your majesty's will. And, indeed, madam, I had never thought it possible that your majesty could have so disinterested yourself of me; nor that you had been so perfect in the art of forgetting; nor that after a quintessence of wormwood, your majesty would have taken so large a draught of poppy; as to have passed so many summers without all feeling of my sufferings. But the only comfort I have is this, that I know your majesty taketh delight and contentment in executing this disgrace upon me. And, since your majesty can find no other use of me, I am glad yet I can serve for that. Thus making my most humble petition to your majesty, that in justice (howsoever you may by strangeness untie, or by violence cut asunder all other knots) your majesty would not touch me in that which is indissoluble; that is, point of duty: and that your majesty will pardon this my unwarranted presumption of writing, being to such an end: I cease in all humbleness;
Your majesty's poor, and never
TO MY LORD OF ESSEX.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR LORDSHIP, That your lordship is in "statu quo prius," no man taketh greater gladness than I do; the rather, because I assure myself that of your eclipses, as this hath been the longest, it shall be the least; as the comical poet saith, "neque illam tu satis noveras, neque te illa, hoc ubi fit, ibi non vivitur." For, if I may be so bold as to say what I think, I
* Written by Mr. Bacon for my Lord of Essex.
believe your lordship looked to have found her majesty in all points as you have done; neither her majesty, percase, looked to have found your lordship as she hath done. And, therefore, I hope upon this experience may grow more perfect knowledge, and upon knowledge more true consent; which I, for my part, do infinitely wish, as accounting these accidents to be like the fish, remora, which, though it be not great, yet hath it a hidden property to hinder the sailing of the ship. And, therefore, as bearing unto your lordship, after her majesty, of all public persons the second duty, I could not but signify unto you my affectionate gratulation. And so I commend your good lordship to the best preservation of the Divine Majesty. From Gray's Inn.
TO SIR ROBERT CECIL.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR GOOD HONOUR,
I am apt enough to condemn "mendacia famæ," yet it is with this distinction, as fame walks among inferiors, and not as it hath entrance into some ears. And, yet, nevertheless, in that kind also, I intend to avoid a suspicious silence, but not to make any base apology. It is blown about the town that I should give opinion touching my Lord of Essex's cause; first, that it was a premunire; and now last, that it reached to high treason. And this opinion should be given in opposition to the opinion of the lord chief justice, and of Mr. Attorney-General. Sir, I thank God, whatsoever opinion my head serveth me to deliver to her majesty, being asked, my heart serveth me to maintain; the same honest duty directing But the utter untruth of me and assisting me. this report God and the queen can witness; and the improbability of it every man that hath wit, more or less, can conceive. The root of this 1 discern to be not so much a light and humorous envy at my accesses to her majesty, (which of her majesty's grace being begun in my first years, I would be sorry she should estrange in my last years, for so I account them, reckoning by health, not by age;) as a deep malice to your honourable self; upon whom, by me, through nearness, they think to make some aspersion. But, as I know no remedy against libels and lies, so I hope it shall make no manner of disseverance of your honourable good conceits and affection towards me; which is the thing I confess to fear. For, as for any violence to be offered to me, wherewith my friends tell me, to no small terror, that I an threatened, I thank God I have the privy coat of a good conscience; and have a good while since put off any fearful care of life, or the accidents of life. So, desiring to be preserved in your god opinion, I remain.
TO THE QUEEN.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENT MAJESTY,
TO THE QUEEN.
entrance into some ears. For your lordship's love, rooted upon good opinion, I esteem it highly, because I have tasted the fruits of it; and we both have tasted of the best waters, in my account, to knit minds together. There is shaped a tale in London's forge that beateth apace at this time; that I should deliver opinion to the queen in my Lord of Essex's cause; first, that it was premunire, and now last, that it was high treason; and this opinion to be in opposition and encounter of the lord chief justice's opinion, and the attorney-general's. My lord, (I thank God,) my wit serveth me not to deliver any opinion to the queen which my stomach serveth me not to maintain: one and the same conscience of duty guiding me, and fortifying me. But the untruth of this fable God and my sovereign can witness, and there I leave it: knowing no more remedy against lies than others do against libels. The root, no question of it, is, partly, some light-headed envy at my accesses to her majesty, which being begun and continued since my childhood, as long as her majesty shall think me worthy of them, I scorn those that shall think the contrary. And another reason is, the aspersion of this tale, and the envy thereof, upon some greater man, in regard of my
It may please your most excellent MAJESTY, I most humbly entreat your majesty not to impute my absence to any weakness of mind or unworthiness. But I assure your majesty I do find envy beating so strongly upon me, standing as I do, (if this be to stand,) as it were not strength of mind, but stupidity, if I should not decline the occasions, except I could do your majesty more service than I can any ways discern that I am able to do. My course towards your majesty (God is my witness) hath been pure and unleaAnd, therefore, (my lord,) I pray you vened; and never poor gentleman (as I am peranswer for me to any person that you think worthy suaded) had a deeper and truer desire and care of your own reply, and my defence. For my Lord your glory, your safety, your repose of mind, of Essex, I am not servile to him, having regard your service; wherein if I have exceeded my outto my superior's duty. I have been much bound ward vocation, I most humbly crave your maunto him; and, on the other side, I have spent jesty's pardon for my presumption. On the other more time and more thoughts about his wellside, if I have come short of my inward vocation, doing than ever I did about mine own. I pray God I most humbly crave God's pardon for quenching you his friends amongst you be in the right. "Nulla remedia, tam faciunt dolorem, quam quæ the spirit. But in this mind I find such solitude, and want of comfort, which I judge to be because sunt salutaria." For my part, I have deserved I take duty too exactly, and not according to the better than to have my name objected to envy, or dregs of this age, wherein the old anthem might my life to a ruffian's violence; but I have the never be more truly sung; "Totus mundus in privy coat of a good conscience. I am sure these maligno positus est." My life hath been threat-courses and bruits hurt my lord more than all. ened, and my name libelled, which I count an So having written to your lordship, I desire exhonour; but these are the practices of those whose ceedingly to be preferred in your good opinion despairs are dangerous, but yet not so dangerous and love, and so leave you to God's goodness. as their hopes; or else the devices of some that would put out all your majesty's lights, and fall on reckoning how many years you have reigned, which I beseech our blessed Saviour may be THE EARL OF ESSEX'S LETTER TO THE COUNCIL, doubled and that I may never live to see any eclipse of your glory, interruption of safety, or Indisposition of your person, which I commend to the Divine Majesty, who keep you and fortify you.
TO MY LORD HEN. HOWARD.
MY LORD, There be very few besides yourself to whom I would perform this respect; for I contemn mendacia famæ," as it walks among inferiors; though I neglect it not, as it may have
AT HIS EMBARKING FOR SPAIN. JUNE, 1596.
My Very good Lords,
to our land forces, and staying only till the ships Having taken order for all things that belong be ready to take in our soldiers, I am come aboard, as well to draw other men by my example to leave the shore, as to have time and leisure to ask account of myself what other duty I have to do, besides the governing of those troops, and the using of them to good purpose. In which meditation, as I first study to please my most gracious sovereign, as well as to serve her; so my next
care is, to leave your lordships well satisfied of my past carriage since I was nominated to this service; and apt to make favourable construction of what I shall do hereafter.
In my past carriage I will neither plead merit nor excuse imperfections: for whatsoever I shall be able to do, I know, is less than I owe; and besides my faults, my very faith and zeal (which are the best things in me) do make me commit errors. But I would fain approve the matter itself of undertaking this service to have been good, howsoever my former have been erroneous; or at least, my intent and ends unblameable, though my judgment were faulty. Your lordships know it hath been the wisdom of all times rather to attempt and do something in another country than to attend an enemy, and be in danger much in our own. And if this rule among the ancients was generally held true, it might be better allowed of us in particular cases, where a state little in territory, not extraordinary rich, and defended only with itself, shall have to do with another stite that hath many and ample dominions, the treasure of the Indies, and all the mercenaries of Christendom to serve it. For we have, as the Athenians had with the ancient usurping Philip; "prælium facile, bellum difficile." Therefore, it is our disadvantage to draw the war into length. And if any man in this kingdom should be allowed to persuade to prevention, he might be one that saw the Spaniard at home apprehend an invasion with greater terror than he makes it abroad: and that was a witness how a handful of men, neither armed, victualled, nor ordered as they should be, landed, marched, and had done what they listed, if either the ships had come up, or they had any provisions to make a hole in a wall or to break open a gate. But though the counsel be good for some states, and for ours at some times, yet the opportunities ought to be watched, and it must appear that this it is which is now taken. The opportunity for such service I take to be when either the enemy may receive the most hurt, or when he is likeliest to attempt against us, if he be not impeached. The hurt that our estate should seek to do him is, to intercept his treasure, whereby we shall cut his sinews, and make war upon him with his own money; and to beat, or at least discontinue him from the sea, whereby her majesty shall be both secured from his invasions, and become mistress of the sea; which is the greatness that the queen of an island should most aspire unto. In matter of profit we may this journey most hurt him, and benefit ourselves; since he hath (as is agreed on by all men) more caracks to come home now than ever any year before. Besides many good advantages which shall be offered if we command the coast. And to give him a blow, and discountenance him by sea, now is the time, when he hath declared his ambition to command the seas; and yet, so VOL. III.-8
divided his fleets: some appointed to be set out, and yet scant in readiness; others upon point of coming home, and not fit to defend themselves, if either they be met at sea, or found in harbour; and all so dispersed in several places, as if at any time we might do good that way, it is now. And whether he will make war upon us, if we let him alone: let his solicitations, offers, and gifts to the rebels of Ireland; his besieging and winning of Calais, and those parts of France that front upon us; and his strengthening himself by sea by so many means; let these things (I say) tell us. So, as if we will at any time allow the counsel of prevention to be reasonable, we must now confess it to be opportune. But whatsoever the counsel were, I am not to be charged with it. For as I was not the contriver, nor offerer of the project, so if I had refused to join with him (that did invite me to it,) I should have been thought both incompatible and backward in her majesty's service. I say not this, for that I think the action such as it were disadvantage to be thought the projector of it; but I say, and say truly, that my lord admiral devised it, presented it to her majesty, and had as well the approbation of her majesty and the assent of such of your lordships as were acquainted with it, as my promise to go with him. One thing (I confess) I above all men am to be charged withal: that is, that when her majesty's, the city of London's, and the states of the Low Countries' charge was past, the men levied and marching to the rendezvous; I could not see how with her majesty's honour and safety the journey might be broken. Wherein, although I should be carried with passion, yet I pray your lordships consider who almost that had been in my case named to such an action, voiced throughout Christendom, and engaged in it as much as I was worth; and being the instrument of drawing more voluntary men of their own charge than ever was seen these many years: who (I say) would not have been so affected? But far be it from me, in any action of this importance to weigh myself or my particular fortunes. I must beseech your lordships to remember that I was from time to time warranted by all your opinions, delivered both amongst yourselves and to her majesty: which tieth you all to allow the counsel. And that being granted, your lordships will call that zeal, which maketh a man constant in a good counsel, that would be passion in an evil, or a doubtful. I confess, her majesty offered us recompense for all our charges and losses. But (my lords) I pray your lordships consider how many things I should have sold at once for money? I will leave mine own reputa tion as too small a matter to be mentioned. But I should have sold the honour of her majesty, the safety of the state, the contentment of her confederates, the fortune and hope of many of my poor countrymen, and the possibility of giving a