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TO THE KING.
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 majesty this most humble oblation of myself. I may truly say with the psalm, Multum incola 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 (a) 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 (b) is gone, quo vivente virtutibus certissimum exitium, I will be ready as a chessman to be, whereever your majesty's royal hand shall set me.
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.
(a) Sir Amias Poulet, who was sent ambassador to France, in September, 1576. He was succeeded by Sir Edward Stafford, in December, 1578.
(b) Lord Treasurer Salisbury.
TO THE KING (a).
*** 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. I 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 for 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, 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 state, 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
(a) The beginning of this letter is wanting.
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 (b).
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.
TO THE KING.
It may please your excellent Majesty,
I HAVE, with all possible diligence since your majesty's progress, attended the service committed to the sub-commissioners, 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
(b) 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 that of her successor. Nor is it any just imputation on his lordship, that he began to decline in King James I.'s good opinion, when his majesty's ill œconomy occasioned demands on the lord treasurer, which all his skill, in the business of the finances, could not answer, but which drew from him advices and remonstrances still extant, which that king, not being very ready to profit by, conceived some resentment against his old servant, and even retained it against his memory.
shall be able to give your majesty somewhat er proprio. For as no man loveth better consulere in commune than I 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 in upon the bye, 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 Esop'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 majesty's means, I beseech your majesty to give me leave to make this judgment, that your majesty's re
covery must be by the medicines of the Galenists and Arabians, and not of the Chemists or Paracelsians. For it will not be wrought by any one fine extract or strong water; but by a skilful company of a number of ingredients, and those by just weight and proportion, and that of some simples, which perhaps of themselves, or in over-great quantity, were little better than poisons; but mixed, and broken, and in just quantity, are full of virtue. And secondly, that as your majesty's growing behind-hand hath been work of time; so must likewise be your majesty's 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.
My letter to the KING, touching his estate in general, September 18th, 1612.
IN HENRICUM PRINCIPEM WALLIE ELO
GIUM FRANCISCI BACONI(a).
HENRICUS primogenitus regis Magnæ Britanniæ, princeps Walliæ, antea spe beatus, nunc memoria felix, diem suum obiit 6 Novemb. anno 1612. Is magno totius regni luctu et desiderio extinctus est, utpote adolescens, qui animos hominum nec offendisset nec satiasset. Excitaverat autem propter bonam indolem multiplices apud plurimos omnium ordinum spes, nec ob brevitatem vitæ frustraverat. imprimis accessit, quod in causa religionis firmus vulgo habebatur: prudentioribus quoque hoc animo penitus insiderat, adversus insidias conjurationum, cui malo ætas nostra vix remedium reperit, patri eum
(a) Harl. MSS. Vol. 1893. fol. 75. It seems to me no improbable supposition, that this character was intended to be sent to Thuanus, in order to be inserted in his excellent history, if he should have continued it to the year 1612, whereas it reached only to 1607.