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of apprentices an. Eliz. 5 cap.
5 5. 14. Draining and inning of land
from the sea, with the inhabi
tants' consent. 15. None to bear coat of arms, or
give badges but such as shall be licensed by Commissioners
under the great seal. 16. The statutes of employments of
strangers' goods to be put in execution and all other statutes of like advantage for the King and kingdom.
1. Of all which it appeareth that we have abated and improved respec
tirely to the King's profit, since my late Lord Treasurer's death,
to the sum of 35,7761. 2. That there hath been brought in, or would have been, into the receipt,
if it had not been otherwise disposed of by your Majesty, together with that which is to come in before the end of December next in
extraordinary to bear some part of the ordinary wants, 309,6811. Videl. in these natures ensuing :
66,666 Money out of France, parcel of their debt
30,000 Money out of the United Provinces, parcel of their debt 60,000 Aid for the Lady Elizabeth
50,000 Farmers of the Great Customs
20,000 Sale of lands, woods, and mills
42,000 Defective Titles
4,000 Assart Lands.
3,000 Green wax and forfeitures
3,655 For refusal of the oath of allegiance
Whereof received already
I thought it better to give these details, not so much that the statement might be complete (for it is but a rough draft with several erasures, additions, and interlineations), but because Posterity is apt to expect of former Kings at once the most unsparing liberality in spending money and the most magnanimous indifference about getting it, and needs to be reminded from time to time that Kings canot give more than they have, and that what they have must come
one way or another from the people. But that which concerns us at present is the suin total. An increase in the ordinary revenue of 35,7767. and a collection of 309,6811. extraordinary, was not enough to supply an annual deficiency of 160,0001, and pay a debt of 500,0001. It was clear therefore that the last of the four ways to prevent ruin, though“ very uncertain” a year ago, and more uncertain now, must be tried : and before the end of June the question of calling a Parliament was again formally referred to the Council for consideration.
Bacon—considering the extreme importance which he attached to this measure, the confidence with which he had volunteered bis opinion in favour of it immediately after Salisbury's death, when he asked leave to propound to the King "some preparative remembrances touching the future Parliament," as "taking himself to have a little skill in that region," and the much more prominent position as an assistant in council-matters which he occupied now than then, —was not likely to let an occasion of this kind go by without some effort to lend a helping hand. I conceive therefore that certain undated papers of his which quite answer the description of “preparative remembrances touching a future Parliament,” and which were certainly written when the question was brought up or about to be brought up again for consultation, and before any resolution had been taken, belong in point of date to the summer of 1613. Mr. Gardiner puts them half a year later: but that is only because he assumes them to be subsequent to another letter of later date, which it is clear to me they preceded. The date however is in this case of little importance, in so far as it is doubtful; the matter (which is of great importance) not being affected by it. Whether written in January 1614 or in June 1613, they contain the results of Bacon's meditations upon the question of calling a Parliament, and the manner in which it was to be dealt with in order to bring the session to a successful issue. Seldom, I suppose, has there been a measure of State which required more boldness and yet more delicacy in the handling; seldom a Council of State less favourably constituted for handling it well. For it was as easy to go wrong through too great an anxiety to further it as through too much obstinacy in opposing it. Too much faith and too little might be equally fatal. On one side there was Northampton, who had so little hope from a Parliament, that he seems to have been not only against its being tried, but desirous that it should miscarry. On the other side were a party of Parliament men, who out of confidence in their own experience and influence with the Lower House were rash enough to undertake the management of it, and to engage that if the King would follow their advice, his business should be carried to his satisfaction. At the
head of these was Sir Henry Neville, an able and public spirited man, with large and just views as to the state of the times, with sympathies well balanced between the people and the Crown,-earniest for the redress of grievances, yet hoping to be made secretary of state, and possessing, it would seem, much influence over Rochester, which was the best opening for influence over the King. Several memorials and advices of his are extant which refer to this period ;' and it cannot be doubted, I think, that his ends were wise and patriotic. But the case was new and difficult, and the event proved that he did not thoroughly understand his ground. He knew the harbour which was to be steered for, and in which it would be good for all parties, and satisfactory to all parties, to arrive ; but he had not thoroughly fathomed the depths and shallows of popular judgment in such an assembly as the House of Commons bad now become. The sands at the bottom were rapidly and secretly shifting, and the curreuts at the top were shifting with them. It was not either ancient experience or recent experience that could tell a man where the safe course now lay; but only the combination of experiences both old and new with that prophetic sagacity which is derived from a profound insight into the nature of man, and reserved for original genius of the highest order. It was no great blame to him therefore and his associates, if they ran the vessel aground; nor any great blame to James that he took them for his pilots. But I think he had the choice of a better.
That Bacon, had he been prime minister, could have carried the business through successfully, it is of course impossible to say. But the papers of which I am now speaking,--and which though they have been accessible to everybody ever since the catalogue of the Cotton MSS. was open to inspection, have never been printed, enable me to say thus much ;—that though aiming at the very same ends (for I do not know that he would have objected to any one of the measures which Sir Henry Neville proposed to carry) he would have proceeded in a different manner; and that too from an apprehension of danger in the very quarter where the event proved that it really lay. We have seen how strongly he disapproved of the contract-policy which was pursued with the last Parliament, and how
1 See Cott. MSS. Tit. F. iv. fo. 344, “Matters to be propounded and sued for unto his M. in behalf of the Commons.” Ib. fo. 349, “A memorial for my L. of Rochester.” Ib. fo. 350, “ Reasons to prove that the course propounded doth no way prejudice his M. right or claim of Imposing, nor abridge his profit.” All, I believe, in Sir II. Neville's handwriting. See also “ An advice touching the holding of' a Parliament,” printed by Mr. Gardiner, vol. ii. p. 389; and “ A collection of such things as have been by several men desired to be obtained of his M. for the good of his people” (Harl. MSS., 3787 fo. 183): which I take to be the memorial which was sent with that paper, and which Mr. Gardiner has not printed.
strongly he advised that no time should be lost in calling another. We are now to see what course he would have had the King take with it, in order to recover the ground which he had lost.
The two papers which I place first contain the results of his private meditations upon the question, and are to be regarded not as the advice he gave, but as the conclusions upon which the advice he was about to give was grounded. The advice itself we shall see afterwards.
[REASONS FOR CALLING A PARLIAMENT.') Having settled my opinion after some meditation, I conclude with myself it is fit for the King to call a Parliament, or at least not fit for any man to dissuade it.
My reasons are1. Parliament hath been the ordinary remedy to supply the K's
wants: and it is a great confession of weakness in a body if
it cannot brook the ordinary remedy. 2. In point of fame and observation, there is no great difference
whether it be said abroad, The K. is in necessity and the Parliament hath denied to relieve him: or thus, The K. is in necessity and dare not call a Parliament to put the affec
tions of his people to a trial. 3. The K. in my opinion standeth in better terms with his
people than he did the last Parliament. Certainly Salsbury and Dunbarre have drawn much envy in a chariot into the
other world. 4. I know few actions of estate that are harsh, that have been in
agitation or rumour of late ; and the old grievances, having been long broached, wax dead and flat. Sure I am the K. did himself infinite right in the L. Zanchre's case, when his M. showed himself of that resolution
Tros Tyriusque mihi nullo discrimine agetur. 5. The opposite party heretofore is now dissolved and broken.
Yelverton is won : Sans is fallen off ; Crew and Hide stand to be serjeants ; Nevell hath his hopes; Martin hath money in his purse ; Brock is dead. Besides they find the vanity of that popular course, the K. having kept a princely temper towards them, not to persecute or disgrace them, nor yet to use or advance them.
1 Cotton MSS. Tit. F. iv. fo. 334. All in Bacon's own hand.
6. The dryness of the last Parliament doth not much discourage
me, partly for that which hath been said ; but chiefly for two reasons: The one because at that time Contract and Gift were antitheta, like Grace and Works, the one crossed the other; The second because I subscribe to the opinion of many wise men, That the opposition which then appeared
was partly by infusion. 7. If any man dissuade a Parliament, he is exposed to the impu
tation of creating or nourishing diffidence between the King and his people; he draweth upon himself the charge of the consequences of the K's wants; and he is subject to inter
pretation that he doth it for private doubts and ends. 8. Lastly I conceive the sequel of good or evil not so much to
depend upon Parliament or not Parliament, as upon the course which the K. shall hold with his Parliament, and therefore I think good to leave the first question and to apply the care to the second.
INCIDENTS OF A PARLIAMENT.
1. The Impositions and how that matter may be buried and
silenced. 2. The Grievances, and how the collection of them in general
may be restrained, and the dealing in them at all put back
till the King's business be set in due forwardness. 3. What project may be probably given out to be in hand,
whereby the King may repair his estate out of his own means, that the proceeding with his Parliament may be
upon terms of majesty and not of necessity. 4. What other opinions are to be sown and dispersed, and what
actions of estate are to be set on foot and voiced, as preparatives, whereby men may come to Parliament better affected, and be when they are met more forcibly induced and per
suaded to supply the K. with treasure. 5. What gracious and plausible laws or other matter are really
to be propounded and handled in Parliament, for the com
fort and contentment of the people. 6. What is fit to be done for the winning or bridling of the Law
i Cott. MSS. Tit. F. iv. fo. 335. All in Bacon's own hand, except the numerals, which appear to have been inserted afterwards by another." No date or docket.