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patience, hoping for better issue. He cannot have asinine patience; he is not made of that metal that is ever to be held in suspense and to receive nothing but stripes; neither doth he conceive that your Lordships are so unsensible of those indignities, as that you can advise any longer endurance. For his part he is resolved, though now at their next meeting they would give him supply were it never so large, and sauce it with such taunts and disgraces as have been uttered of him and of those that appertain to him (which by consequence redound to himself), nay though it were another kingdom, he will not accept it.
"Therefore touching the other point of his meeting with your Lordships, either by his coming nearer to you or any of your coming to him, his Highness thus answereth. That no man should be more willing to take pains than he, when there is hope of good to come by it. But as things now stand in appearance, for him to put either himself or you to the labour of an unpleasant journey without likelihood of comfort, but on the contrary when you meet together to find the pains of your bodies aggravated with vexation of spirit, or to part irresolute as at the last conference you did,-his Majesty doth not see to what end such a meeting should be. But for aught he seeth in his own understanding, he taketh no other subject of consultation to be left, than how the Parliament may end quietly, and he and his subjects part with fairest show; which he conceiveth must begin with some new adjournment until Candlemas term or the end thereof in regard of the nearness of Christmas. And in the mean time your Lordships and he may advise both how to dissolve it in best fashion, and fall to other consultation about his affairs."
The rest, so far as it concerns us, may be told in the words of the private Journal.
"On Saturday the Speaker received a letter from his Majesty, signi fying that he had offered divers things of grace for the good of his subjects, but the more he was desirous to give them contentment, he did perceive the less it was regarded, and that new grievances and complaints were raised to his dishonour. And therefore he commanded him to ad
journ the House and all Committees till Thursday following. At what time we should hear further from him.
"And so accordingly the Parliament was adjourned, and from thence adjourned by Commission to some of the Lords, usque 9 Febr., the King being at Royston."
These adjournments had been so timed (by the care of Salisbury, I think, rather than the King)3 as to prevent the House from doing. any business after the 24th of November, and on the 29th February
1 Sir T. Lake to Salisbury, 23 Nov. S. P. Dom. James I. vol. lviii. no. 35. 2 Parl. Deb. 1610, p. 145.
3 See copy of a letter from Sir T. Lake to Salisbury, 3 Dec. 1610. Addl. MSS. Brit. Mus.4160, 134.
the Parliament was dissolved. So that Salisbury's second project failed (as might indeed have been expected) more signally than the first. And a very great failure it was, whoever was to blame for it. That he failed to get what he first demanded was no great matter: the demand was exorbitant, and the chance of winning (though small) might have been good enough to make it worth the trial, if the only consequence of not winning had been to go without the money. But that was far from being the case. The long negotiation,-opened, carried on, and broken off as it had been,-left the discontents of the House of Commons aggravated and exasperated by discussion and disappointment, and the King's finances worse embarrassed than ever; because the notoriety of his necessities and the utter failure of this great effort to relieve them, from which so much had been expected, left him not only without money but without credit. So that the terms on which they parted, though displeasing alike to both, were infinitely to the disadvantage of the King. The Commons had lost nothing; nothing at least that touched their particular pockets or feelings (for of the general evils of a distracted government they came in of course for their share): in spite of their unredressed grievances, they could make money, build houses, feed themselves, clothe themselves, marry and give in marriage, as merrily as ever. But the King could not borrow 100,0007. of the Aldermen, to pay his most pressing debts with. The emptiness of the Exchequer, the shifts and perplexities of the Lord Treasurer, became the common talk of the Town. Ambassadors were told that they must Iwait for their salaries. Pensioners were forced to turn duns. Paul's-walkers entertained themselves with wondering how Salisbury would scrape together money enough to provide the usual Christmas festivities. And though the House of Commons had not intended to try the effect of absolutely refusing the supplies, they had now an opportunity of seeing what the effect was.
What Bacon thought of all this while it was going on, must be left to conjecture: except as a reporter of other men's speeches, or an occasional intercessor to moderate rash counsels, he appears to have had no part in it. Of what he thought about it afterwards, and what conclusions he drew from the history of it, we shall hear a good deal presently; and then it will be seen why I thought it necessary to enter so fully into the particulars of a transaction with which he had so little to do.
A.D. 1611. ÆTAT. 51.
THE prorogation and subsequent dissolution of the Parliament left Bacon with another season before him of political inactivity: for while Salisbury lived he had no room for action beyond the ordinary business of his place, except in the House of Commons; nor much there, except as a supporter of measures which were not of his own advising. To this period we owe the new essays published in 1612; -an addition to the very small collection printed fifteen years before so considerable that it may be said to have made the work which was destined to make him the personal and familiar acquaintance of all future generations of Englishmen. Further additions at a later time greatly increased its value, but its character was henceforth established and its immortality secure. The edition of 1612, had it been the last, would undoubtedly have held the same position in literature which the edition of 1625 does now. To this period also we owe the revision and collection of those speeches and writings of business which belong to this division of his works, and represent the most important part of his active life. And though we have not the means of dating accurately the several stages in the progress of the Great Instauration, there can be little doubt that this was one of its most fertile seasons. The revelations of Galileo's telescope-an invention "et fine et aggressu nobile quoddam et humano genere dignum "—were the fresh news of the time, and in the Descriptio Globi Intellectualis, the Thema Coli, the speculation on the ebb and flow of the sea, and other essays on the philosophy of the universe, we may see traces of the interest which they had excited in him.
Unfortunately the same time which promised to throw so much new light upon the kingdom of nature portended much trouble. to the kingdom of England. The relation between the Crown and
1 Phil. Works, Vol. III. pp. 716, 736.
the Commons as it remained after the dissolution must have been a matter of great anxiety to any one who understood it, and foresaw the consequences; and must have convinced Bacon, who certainly did understand it very clearly, that if ever he had an opportunity of assisting in setting it right, it was in that work that his first duty now lay. A few years before, he had professed a desire to withdraw from active business of state and devote himself to the prosecution of the work which he had selected for himself in his early youth as worthiest in its object and best suited to his capacity; nor is there any reason to suppose that, at that time, he would not have done so if he could have afforded it. He would now, I think, have qualified the desire with an important condition,-namely, that the relation between the King and the people should be first placed on a safer footing.
For the present indeed he could do nothing towards the remedy. Salisbury had played his great card and lost the game; and I do not find that he had any other device in store which had even a show of being sufficient: only shifts and temporary expedients. But he held his place; and Bacon could only continue to do as he had done before, give him such help as he would accept, and insinuate his readiness to give more. How scanty the opportunities were which he could take hold of, may be inferred from the small number and unimportant nature of the papers belonging to the period between the dissolution of Parliament and Salisbury's death, which have come down to us.
The first of these is a letter to the King in behalf of his own particular fortunes. The Speaker of the last House of Commons, who had always been in confidential correspondence with Salisbury and done his best to help the King's business through on some critical occasions, had been rewarded with the Mastership of the Rolls; and Sir Julius Cæsar, another earnest and admiring ally, had received a grant of the reversion of the office. Bacon, who had had good reason to know that if the choice of an Attorney-General were left to Salisbury, he could not count upon succeeding to the place himself in the event of a vacancy, began to fear that the lines of his own promotion would be all cut off; and thought it prudent to secure his chance by obtaining directly from the King a promise of the reversion.
Of the letter in which he made the application there are two copies, slightly differing from each other-one in the Resuscitatio and the other among the original manuscripts preserved at Lambeth
-one representing probably the draft, and the other the fair copy. Which is which, it is in this case difficult to say. But as the Lambeth copy is a fair transcript in Bacon's own hand, and appears to be complete, I incline to take it for the later form: and therefore use it for the text, giving the readings of the other copy in the foot notes.'
There is no date to either: but if I am right in connecting the application with the grant of the reversion of the Mastership of the Rolls to Sir Julius Cæsar-which was the "preferment of law" most likely to interfere with Bacon's prospects-it must have been written early in 1611.2
TO THE KING, DESIRING TO SUCCEED IN THE ATTORNEY'S PLACE.3
It may please your Majesty,
Your great and princely favours towards me in advancing me to place, and that which is to me of no less comfort, your Majesty's benign and gracious acceptation from time to time of my poor services, much above the merit and value of them, hath almost brought me to an opinion, that I may sooner perchance be wanting to myself in not asking, than find your Majesty's goodness wanting to me in any my reasonable and modest desires. And therefore perceiving how at this time preferments of the law fly about mine ears, to some above me and to some below me, I did conceive your Majesty may think it rather a kind of dullness, or want of faith, than modesty, if I should not come with my pitcher to Jacob's well, as others do. Wherein I shall propound to your Majesty that which tendeth not so much to the raising of my fortune, as to the settling of my mind: being sometimes assailed with this cogitation, that by reason of my slowness to sue and apprehend occasions upon the sudden,1 keeping ones plain course of painful service, I may in fine dierum
In the collation R means Resuscitatio; A, Addl. MSS. 5503, which agrees with the copy in the Resuscitatio except that it is more correct. The title is from R. 2 Caesar's appointment was in January 1610-11; and it seems that about the same time there were rumours of a second reversion to another of Salisbury's devoted adherents. On the 12th of February 1610-11, Sir Rowland Lytton writes to Sir Dudley Carleton-" The Earl of Dunbar is dead and it is to be hoped that we shall have fair weather. The Earl of Mar is Treasurer of Scotland in his room and the Lord Fenton is Counsellor in Lord Kinloss's room. And Sir Julius Cæsar is ready to help Sir Edward Phelipps in the Mastership of the Rolls when he is weary, and our good friend Sir W. Cope is like to do as much for him." S. P. Dom. James I., Vol. 61, No. 80.
3 Lambeth MSS. Gibson Papers, vol. viii. fo. 5.
to see and apprehend sudden occasions: R and A.
5 in one: R and A.