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They say late thanks are ever best: but the reason was, I thought to have seen your lordship ere this; howsoever, I shall never forget this your last favour amongst others; and it grieveth me not a little, that I find myself of no use to such an honourable and kind friend.

For that matter, I think I shall desire your assistance for the punishment of the contempt; not that I would use the privilege in future time, but because I would not have the dignity of the king's service prejudiced in my instance. But, herein I will be ruled by your lordship.

It is fit likewise, though much against my mind,

that I let your lordship know, that I shall not be able to pay the money within the time by your lordship undertaken, which was a fortnight. Nay, money I find so hard to come by at this time, as I thought to have become an humble suitor to your honour to have sustained me with your credit for the present from urgent debts, with taking up three hundred pounds till I can put away some land. But, I am so forward with some sales, as this request I hope I may forbear. For my estate, (because your honour hath care of it,) it is thus: I shall be able with selling the skirts of my living in Hertfordshiret to preserve the body, and to leave myself, being clearly out of debt, and having some money in my pocket, three hundred pounds land per annum, with a fair house, and the ground well timbered. This is now my labour.

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be ready before your day, principal, interest, and
In answer of your last letter, your money shall
released errors; and a Jew takes no more. The
costs of suit. So the sheriff promised when I
rest cannot be forgotten; for I cannot forget your
lordship's dum memor ipse mei: and if there have
been aliquid nimis, it shall be amended. And, to
be plain with your lordship, that will quicken me
now which slackened me before. Then I thought
you might have had more use of me, than now, I
Suppose, you are like to have. Not but I think
the impediment will be rather in my mind than
in the matter or times. But, to do you service, I
will come out of my religion at any time.
be such as might grace me, since the matter will
For my knighthood,* I wish the manner might
not: I mean, that I might not be merely grega-
rious in a troop. The coronation is at hand. It
may please your lordship to let me hear from you
speedily. So I continue

Your lordship's ever much bounden,

For my purpose or course, I desire to meddle as little as I can in the king's causes, his majesty now abounding in council; and to follow my From Gorhamnbury, this 16th of July, 1603. private thrift and practice, and to marry with some convenient advancement. For, as for any ambition, I do assure your honour, mine is quenched. In the queen's my excellent mistress's time, the quorum was small; her service was a kind of freehold, and it was a more solemn time. All those points agreed with my nature and judgment. My ambition now I shall only put upon my pen, whereby I shall be able to maintain memory and merit of the times succeeding.

Lastly, for this divulged and almost prostituted title of knighthood, I could, without charge, by your honour's mean, be content to have it, both because of this late disgrace, and because I have three new knights in my mess in Gray's Inn commons; and because I have found out an alderman's daughter, a handsome maiden to my liking. So as, if your honour will find the time, I will come to the court from Gorhambury, upon any warning.

From the Hatfield Collection. + Gorhambury.

Probably the lady whom he afterwards married, Alice, one of the daughters and co-heirs of Benedict Barnham, Esq., alderman of London. She survived her husband above twenty years. Life of Lord Bacon by Dr. William Rawley.


If I shall seem, in these few lines, to write majora quam pro fortuna, it may please your ma jesty to take it to be an effect, not of presumption, but of affection. For, of the one I was never noted; and for the other, I could never show it hitherto to the full, being as a hawk tied to another's fist, that might sometimes bait and proffer, but could never fly. And, therefore, if, as it was said to one that spoke great words, Amice, verba tua desiderant civitatem,§ so your majesty say to me, "Bacon, your words require a place to speak them;" I must answer, that place, or not place, is in your majesty to add or refrain: and, though I never grow eager but to , yet your ma. jesty.

*He was knighted at Whitehall, July 23, 1003.

+ Robert, Earl of Salisbury, who died 24th of May, 1612. The draught of this imperfect letter is written chiefly ir Greek characters.

These words of Themistocles are cited likewise by Lord Bacon at the end of his book De Augmentis Scientiarum.

TO THE KING, IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE LORD majesty, this most humble oblation of myself; {



I cannot but endeavour to merit, considering your preventing graces, which is the occasion of these few lines.

Your majesty hath lost a great subject and a great servant. But, if I should praise him in propriety, I should say that he was a fit man to keep things from growing worse; but no very fit man to reduce things to be much better. For he loved to have the eyes of all Israel a little too much on himself, and to have all business still under the hammer, and, like clay in the hands of the potter, to mould it as he thought good; so that he was more in operatione than in opere. And, though he had fine passages of action, yet the real conclusions came slowly on. So that, although your majesty hath grave counsellors and worthy persons left, yet you do, as it were, turn a leaf wherein, if your majesty shall give a frame and constitution to matters before you place the | persons, in my simple opinion, it were not amiss. But the great matter, and most instant for the present, is the consideration of a Parliament, for two effects; the one for the supply of your estate, the other for the better knitting of the hearts of your subjects unto your majesty, according to your infinite merit; for both which, Parliaments have been, and are, the ancient and honourable remedy. Now, because I take myself to have a little skill in that region, as one that ever affected that your majesty might, in all your causes, not only prevail, but prevail with satisfaction of the inner man; and though no man can say but I was a perfect and peremptory royalist, yet, every man makes me believe that I was never one hour out of credit with the Lower House; my desire is, to knew whether your majesty will give me leave to meditate and propound unto you some preparative remembrances, touching the future Parliament.

Your majesty may truly perceive that, though I cannot challenge to myself either invention or judgment, or elocution, or method, or any of those powers, yet my offering is care and observance: and, as my good old mistress was wont to call me her watch candle, because it pleased her to say I did continually burn, (and yet she suffered me to waste almost to nothing,) so I must much more owe the like duty to your majesty, by whom my fortunes have been settled and raised. And so, craving pardon, I rest

Your majesty's most humble
servant devote,

31 May, 1612


F. B.

IT MAY PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENT MAJESTY, My principal end being to do your majesty service, I crave leave to make, at this time, to your

may truly say with the psalm, Multum incon fuit anima mea; for my life hath been conversant in things, wherein I take little pleasure. Your majesty may have heard somewhat, that my father was an honest man; and somewhat yet, I may have been of myself, though not to make any true judgment by, because I have hitherto had only potestatem verborum, nor that neither. I was three of my young years bred with an ambassador in France, and since I have been an old truant in the school-house of your council chamber, though on the second form, yet longer than any that now sitteth hath been in the head form. If your majesty find any aptness in me, or if you find any scarcity in others, whereby you may think it fit for your service to remove me to business of state, although I have a fair way before me for profit, and, by your majesty's grace and favour, for honour and advancement, and in a course less exposed to the blast of fortune, yet, now that he is gone quo vivente virtutibus certissimum exitium I will be ready as a chessman, to be wherever your majesty's royal hand shall set me. Your majesty will bear me witness, I have not suddenly opened myself thus far. I have looked on upon others. I see the exceptions; I see the distractions; and I fear Tacitus will be a prophet, magis alii homines, quam alii mores. I know mine own heart; and I know not whether God, that hath touched my heart with the affection, may not touch your royal heart to discern it. Howsoever, I shall go on honestly in mine ordinary course, and supply the rest in prayers for you, remaining, &c.


*** Lastly, I will make two prayers unto your majesty, as I used to do to God Almighty, when I commend to him his own glory and cause; so I will pray to your majesty for yourself.


The one is, that these cogitations of want, do not any ways trouble or vex your mind. remember Moses saith of the land of promise, that it was not like the land of Egypt, that was watered with a river, but was watered with showers from heaven; whereby I gather, God preferreth, sometimes uncertainties before certainties, because they teach a more immediate dependence upon his providence. Sure I am, nil novi accidit vobis. It is no new thing for the greatest kings to be in debt: and, if a man shall parvis componere magna, I have seen an Earl of Leicester, a Chancellor Hatton, an Earl of Essex, and an Earl of Salisbury, in debt; and

The beginning of this letter is wanting

yet was it no manner of diminution to their power or greatness.

My second prayer is, that your majesty, in respect of the hasty freeing of your estate, would not descend to any means, or degree of means, which carrieth not a symmetry with your majesty and greatness. He is gone from whom those courses did wholly flow. So have your wants and necessities in particular, as it were, hanged up in two tablets before the eyes of your Lords and Commons, to be talked of for four months together; to have all your courses, to help yourself in revenue or profit, put into printed books, which were wont to be held arcana imperii; to have such worms of aldermen, to lend for ten in the hundred upon good assurance, and with such **, as if it should save the bark of your fortune; to contract still where might be had the readiest payment, and not the best bargain; to stir a number of projects for your profit, and then to blast them, and leave your majesty nothing but the scandal of them; to pretend an even carriage between your majesty's rights and the ease of the people, and to satisfy neither. These courses, and others the like, I hope, are gone with the deviser of them, which have turned your majesty to inestimable prejudice.*

I hope your majesty will pardon my liberty of writing. I know these things are majora quam pro fortuna: but they are minora quam pro studio et voluntate. I assure myself, your majesty taketh not me for one of a busy nature; for my state being free from all difficulties, and I having such a large field for contemplations, as I have partly, and shall much more make manifest to your majesty and the world, to occupy my thoughts, nothing could make me active but love and affection. So, praying my God to bless and favour your person and estate, &c.


IT MAY PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENT MAJESTY, I have, with all possible diligence, since your majesty's progress, attended the service commit

* It will be but justice to the memory of the Earl of Salisbury, to remark, that this disadvantageous character of him, by Sir Francis Bacon, seems to have been heightened by the prejudices of the latter against that able minister, grounded upon some suspicions, that the earl had not served him with so much zeal as he might have expected from so near a relation, either in Queen Elizabeth's reign, or of that

ted to the subcommissioners, touching the repair and improvement of your majesty's means: and this I have done, not only in meeting, and conference, and debate with the rest, but also by my several and private meditation and inquiry: so that, besides the joint account, which we shall give to the lords, I hope I shall be able to give your majesty somewhat ex pro prio. For as no man loveth better consulere in commune than 1 do; neither am I of those fine ones that use to keep back any thing, wherein they think they may win credit apart, and so make the consultation almost inutile. So, nevertheless, in cases where matters shall fall upon the by, perhaps of no less worth than that, which is the proper subject of the consultation; or where I find things passed over too slightly, or in cases where that, which I should advise, is of that nature, as I hold it not fit to be communicated to all those with whom I am joined; these parts of business I put to my private account; not because I would be officious, (though I profess I would do works of supererogation if I could,) but in a true discretion and caution. And your majesty had some taste in those notes which I gave you for the wards, (which it pleased you to say, were no tricks nor novelties, but true passages of business,) that mine own particular remembrances and observations are not like to be unprofitable. Concerning which notes for the wards, though I might say, sic vos non vobis, yet let that pass.

I have also considered fully, of that great proposition which your majesty commended to my care and study, touching the conversion of your revenue of land into a multiplied present revenue of rent: wherein, I say, I have considered of the means and course to be taken of the assurance, of the rates, of the exceptions, and of the arguments for and against it. For, though the project itself be as old as I can remember, and falleth under every man's capacity, yet the dispute and manage of it, asketh a great deal of consideration and judgment; projects being, like Æsop's tongues, the best meat and the worst, as they are chosen and handled. But surely, ubi deficiunt remedia ordinaria, recurrendum est ad extraordinaria. Of this also I am ready to give your majesty an account.

Generally, upon this subject of the repair of your majesty's means, I beseech your majesty to give me leave to make this judgment, that your majesty's recovery must be by the medicines of the Galenists and Arabians, and not of the chymists or Paracelsians. For it will not be wrought of her successor. Nor is it any just imputation on his lord- by any one fine extract, or strong water, but by a ship, that he began to decline in King James the First's good skilful company of a number of ingredients, and opinion, when his majesty's ill economy occasioned demands on the lord treasurer, which all his skill, in the busi-those by just weight and proportion, and that of ness of the finances, could not answer, but which drew some simples, which perhaps of themselves, cr from him advices and remonstrances still extant, which that in over-great quantity, were little better than king not being very ready to profit by, conceived some repoisons, but, mixed and broken, and in just quantity, are full of virtue. And, secondly that as

sentment against his old servant and even retained it against

his memory.

your majesty's growing behind hand, hath been in general have place next the e.dest brothers' work of time, so must likewise be your majesty's wives, I hold convenient. coming forth and making even. Not but I wish it were by all good and fit means accelerated, but that I foresee, that if your majesty shall propound to yourself to do it per saltum, it can hardly be without accidents of prejudice to your honour, safety, or profit.


Lastly, Whereas it is desired, that the apparent heirs males of the bodies of the baronets may be knighted during the life of their fathers; for that I have received from the lord chamberlain a signification, that your majesty did so understand it, I humbly subscribe thereunto with this, that the baronets' eldest sons being knights, do nct take place of ancient knights, so long as their

My letter to the king, touching his estate in gene- fathers live. ral, September 18, 1612.

All which, nevertheless, I humbly submit to your majesty's judgment.

Your majesty's most humble
and most bounden servant,




According to your highness's pleasure, signified by my Lord Chamberlain, I have considered of the petition of certain baronets,† made unto your majesty for confirmation and extent, or explanation of certain points mentioned in their charter, and am of opinion, that first, whereas it is desired, that the baronets be declared a middle degree, between baron and knight, I hold this to be reasonable as to their placing.

Secondly, Where it is desired, that unto the words degree or dignity of baron, the word honour might be added; I know very well, that in the preface of the baronets' patent it is mentioned, that all honours are derived from the king. I find also, that in the patent of the baronets, which are marshalled under the barons, (except it be certain principals,) the word honour is granted. I find also, that the word dignity is many times in law a superior word to the word honour, as being applied to the king himself, all capital indictments concluding contra coronam et dignitatem nostram. It is evident also, that the word honour and honourable are used in these times in common speech very promiscuously. Nevertheless, because the style of honour belongs chiefly to peers and counsellors, I am doubtful what opinion to give therein.

Thirdly, Whereas it is believed, that if there be any question of precedence touching baronets, it may be ordered, that the same be decided by the commissioners marshal; I do not see but it may be granted them for avoiding disturbances.

Fourthly, For the precedence of baronets I find no alteration or difficulty, except it be in this, that the daughters of baronets are desired to be declared to have precedence before the wives of knights' eldest sons; which, because it is a degree hereditary, and that, in all examples, the daughters

Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk.

The order of baronets was created by patent of King James I., dated the 22d of May, 1611. The year following, a decree was made relating to their place and precedence; and four years after, viz., in 1616, another decree to the same purpose. See Selden's Titles of Honour, Part II., Ch. V., p. 821. Ch. XI., p. 910, and 906. 2d Edit. fol. 1613.



IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLent Majesty, Having understood of the death of the lord chief justice, I do ground, in all humbleness, an assured hope, that your majesty will not think of any other but your poor servants, your attorney and your solicitor,‡ one of them for that place. Else we shall be like Noah's dove, not knowing where to rest our feet. For the places of rest, after the extreme painful places wherein we serve, have used to be either the lord chancellor's place, or the mastership of the rolls, or the places of the chief justices; whereof, for the first, I could be almost loath to live to see this worthy counsellor fail. The mastership of the rolls is blocked with a reversion. My Lord Coke is like to outlive us both: so as, if this turn fail, I, for my part, know not whither to look. I have served your majesty above a prenticehood, full seven years and more, as your solicitor, which is, I think, one of the painfullest places in your kingdom, specially as my employments have been: and God hath brought mine own years to fiftytwo, which, I think, is older than ever any solicitor continued unpreferred. My suit is principally that you would remove Mr. Attorney to the place. If he refuse, then I hope your majesty will seek no farther than myself, that I may at last, out of your majesty's grace and favour, step forwards to a place either of more comfort or more ease. Besides, how necessary it is for your majesty to strengthen your service amongst the judges by a chief justice which is sure to your prerogative, your majesty knoweth. Therefore, I cease farther to trouble your majesty, humbly craving pardon,

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and relying wholly upon your goodness and me with wonderful tokens of kindness. We hotli remembrance, and resting, in all true humbleness, wept, which I do not often. Your majesty's most devoted, and

faithful subject and servant,



A letter to Sir George Villiers, touching a message brought to him by Mr. Shute, of a promise of the chancellor's place.




MAY IT PLEASe you, Sir,

The notice I have from my Lord Roos, Sir Henry Goodere, and other friends, of the extreme obligation wherein I continue towards you, to

According to his majesty's pleasure by you MR. TOBIE MATTHEW TO SIR FRANCIS BACON, signified to me, we have attended my lord chancellor, my lord treasurer,‡ and Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer,§ concerning Sir Gilbert Houghton's patent stayed at the seal; and we have acquainted them with the grounds and state of the suit, to justify them that it was just and beneficial to his majesty. And for any thing we could perceive by any objection or reply they made, we left them in good opinion of the same, with this, that because my lord chancellor (by the advice, as it seemeth, of the other two) had acquainted the council-table, for so many as were then present, with that suit amongst others, they thought fit to stay till his majesty's coming to town, being at hand, to understand his farther pleasure. We purpose, upon his majesty's coming, to attend his majesty, to give him a more particular account of this business, and some other. Meanwhile, finding his majesty to have care of the matter, we thought it our duty to return this answer to you in discharge of his majesty's direction. We remain

July 6, 1615.

Your assured friends,



SIR,-The message which I received from by Mr. Shute hath bred in me such belief and confidence as I will now wholly rely upon your excellent and happy self. When persons of greatness and quality begin speech with me of the matter, and offer me their good offices, I can but answer them civilly. But those things are but toys: I am yours surer to you than to mine own life; for, as they speak of the turquois stone in a ring, I will break into twenty pieces before you have the least fall. God keep you ever. Your truest servant,


February 15, 1615. My lord chancellor is prettily amended. I was with him yesterday almost half an hour. He used

* Harl. MSS. vol. 6986. + Ellesmere.

Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk.

Sir Fuik Grevile, advanced to that post October 1, 1614, in the room of Sir Julius Cæsar, made Master of the Rolls. VOL. III.-13

gether with the conscience I have of the knowand daily pray that you may rise to that height ledge how dearly and truly I honour and love you, which the state wherein you live can give you, hath taken away the wings of fear, whereby I was almost carried away from daring to importune always been, and are still, towards me; or rather you in this kind. But I know how good you have because I am not able to comprehend how much it is; I will presume there is enough for any use, whereupon an honest humble servant may employ it.

It imports the business of my poor estate, tha have divers friends in that court, who will further I be restored to my country for some time; and I my desire thereof, and particularly Mr. Secretary Lake and my Lord Roos, whom I have desired to confer with you about it. But nothing can be done therein, unless my Lord of Canterbury may be made propitious, or at least not averse; nor do I know in the world how to charm him but by the music of your tongue. I beseech you, sir, lose some minutes upon me, which I shall be glad to pay by whole years of service; and call to mind, if it please you, the last speech you made neither prove ill-affected to the state, nor become me, that if I should continue as I then was, and otherwise than a mere secular man in my religion, On my part the conditions are performed; and it you would be pleased to negotiate for my return. remains, that you do the like: nor can I doubt but that the nobleness of your nature, which loves nothing in the world so well as to be doing of good, can descend from being the attorney-general

* Son of Dr. Tobie Matthew, Archbishop of York. He was born at Oxford in 1578, while his father was Dean of Christ Church, and educated there. During his travels abroad, he was seduced to the Romish religion by Father Parsons. This cccasioned his living out of his own country from the year 1607 to 1617, when he had leave to return to England. He was again ordered to leave it in October, 1618; but, in 1622, was recalled to assist in the match with Spain; and, on account of his endeavours to promote it, was knighted by King James I. at Royston, on the 10th of October, 1623. He translated into Italian Sir Francis Bacon's Essays, and died at Ghent in Flanders, October 13, 1655, N. S.

† Dr. George Abbot.


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