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were the principal; the grievances which were not commended to these messengers from the party in Ireland, but slept at least a month after their coming hither, and were but hatched by these busybodies as fructus nimii otii, and are divers of them of so vulgar a nature as they are complained of both in England and Ireland, and both now and at all times. For your M. to give way upon this ground to so particular an enquiry of all these points, I confess I think is inferius Majestate, for they are set down like interrogatories in a suit in law.
And my fear is they will call up and stir such a number of complaints and petitions, (which not being possible to be satisfied) this commission meant for satisfaction will end in murmur. But these things which I write are perhaps but my errors and simplicities. Your M's wisdom must steer and ballast the ship. So most humbly craving pardon I ever rest
Your Majesty's most devote
and faithful subject and servant,
13 Aug. 1613.
It may have been in consequence of this advice that the instructions were divided into two distinct sets, the first " concerning matters of Parliament," the second "concerning the general grievances of the kingdom." But I have no further information as to what was done with them during the fortnight which intervened before they were finally settled.1
While the Commissioners were pursuing their investigation, another question growing incidentally out of the same business was referred to the Crown lawyers for an opinion in point of law; the report upon which seems to have been Bacon's last service as Solicitor General.
In a book recently published by Zuares, the Jesuit of Coimbra, the duty of faithful subjects towards heretical kings deprived by the Pope had been set forth very distinctly. Extracts from this book had been shewn by Archbishop Abbot to some members of the Irish deputation, with demand to know what they thought of the doctrine laid down. Two of them, hesitating to repudiate it distinctly
The Commission was dated 27th August 1613. The Commissioners did no arrive in Dublin till the 25th of September. Desid. Cur. Hib., i. 283, 334. 2 Gardiner, ii. p. 315.
enough, were committed to prison; and a question seems to have been raised, whether it would not be expedient in these circumstances to require them to take the oath of allegiance. The point referred to Hobart and Bacon was whether this could be done by law; and a report which I find among the State papers, dated 12th October 1613, contains their answer. To give an opinion on the policy of the proceeding was beyond their province; but from the terms in which they remind the Lords of the Council that that point is for them to consider, there is no difficulty in gathering what their opinion was.
OPINION OF THE LAW OFFICERS UPON THE LEGALITY OF EXACTING THE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE FROM IRISH SUBJECTS.1
It may please your Lordships,
We are of opinion that the Oath of Allegiance by law is not to be ministered to any his M. subjects in Ireland,-Parliament men or others,-by way of compulsion, because the Statute concerning the same is not in force there.
But we are of opinion that by the Statute 3o of his M's reign the said oath may be tendered to any of the Irish here, either by the Bishop of London or by two Justices of Peace (whereof one to be of the quorum), in case it shall appear by the parties' confession or otherwise that they have not received the communion twice this last year.
And by the Statute of 7°, two Justices of Peace, whereof one to be of the quorum, may tender the said oath unto them, without respect had whether they be noncommunicants or no.
Nevertheless whether it be convenient to minister it unto them, not being persons commorant or settled there, but only employed for the present business, we must leave it unto his Mty's and your Lps' better judgments.
Oct. 12th 1613.
HENRY HOBART. FRANCIS BACON.
The project of putting the English law with regard to the oath of allegiance in force against Irishmen who had been sent over on special business was, I presume, abandoned. It was resolved however to bring the case of one of these recusants before the Starchamber, for public hearing and censure; and I shall have to relate in the next chapter what became of it.
1S. P. Ireland, 1613. Copy in a modern hand. No heading or docket.
Meanwhile the Commissioners who had been sent over to Ireland to investigate the complaints made against the Government, proceeded with their work; and on the 12th of November sent in their report. Undue elections in two cases,-a few members returned by boroughs erected subsequently to the issue of the writs, or otherwise not duly entitled, and considerable oppressions on the part of the soldiers (though without the countenance or knowledge of the Government), seem to have been the sum of what they found substantiated. And since for all such complaints redress might have been sought in an orderly way, the complainants remained without any plausible justification of their late proceeding, and were obliged to submit. The seat of the disorder was indeed beyond the reach of argument or conciliation, and the present settlement was far from being a cure: but the Government so far prevailed for the time as to maintain their ground and try their experiment. The patience with which the remonstrants had been heard and the concessions which they had obtained, in the very stronghold of the enemy, had shewn them that to be in a minority was not to be powerless, and reconciled them to a trial of their strength in fair Parliamentary debate. It was not till the 12th of April 1614 that the King gave his formal answer to their complaints,' and some months more had to pass before the directions were issued which the report of the Commissioners rendered necessary. But all was done in time. Eight of the new boroughs had been erected subsequently to the writs of summons to the Parliament: from two others there had been false returns and there were three besides which had no title to be represented at all. Orders were accordingly issued that none of the burgesses returned from any of these should take their seats in the present House. And at the same time a bill for the banishment of Catholic priests (which was to have been proposed, and the apprehension of which is believed to have been the real cause of the commotion) was withdrawn. On these conditions the seceding members consented to take their places when the Parliament should be reassembled, to admit the representatives of the new boroughs as lawful members of the House, and (I suppose) to withdraw the objection which they had originally made against the boroughs themselves, as being too small and poor to furnish either constituencies or representatives of decent quality. For it is to be observed that this part of the grievance, though it held the most prominent place in the first complaints and was in itself (if truly alleged) by far the weightiest and most serious-for the others were functional and temporary, whereas this was organic and permanent,-was left unre1 Desid. Curiosa Hibernica, i. 302. Ibid. p. 325.
dressed, and yet no more noise was made about it. To conclude from this that the objection had been withdrawn as unfounded would perhaps be too much. But in the absence of all evidence as to the fact, other than sweeping assertions by parties who were not always careful to weigh their words-(for the question was not included among those referred to the Commissioners for investigation)-it is but fair to place by the side of the complaint the answer which the King gave to it; from which it will be seen that though the places may have been poor, the selection of them for boroughs may nevertheless have been politic, as tending to draw wealth and population towards the parts where it was wanted. "Because the eye of the master doth make the horse fat" (said the King) "I have used mine own eyes in taking a view of those boroughs, and have seen a list of them all. God is my judge, I find the new boroughs, except one or two, to be as good as many of the old boroughs, comparing Irish boroughs new with Irish boroughs old, for I will not speak of the boroughs of other countries: and yet besides the necessity of making them, I find them like to encrease and grow better daily. I find besides but few erected in each county, and in many counties but one borough only; and those erected in fit and convenient places, near forts or passages for the safety of the country. Methinks you that seek the good of the kingdom should be glad of it. I caused London also to erect boroughs there, which when they are thoroughly planted will be a great security for that part of the kingdom; therefore you quarrel at that which may bring peace to the country."
The reluctance of Coke to be promoted to the Chief Justiceship of England was at length overcome, and the other changes followed according to Bacon's suggestion. "On Monday," says Chamberlain, writing to Carleton on Wednesday the 27th of October, "the Lord Coke (though never so loth) was called up into the King's Bench, and there sworn Chief Justice. He parted dolefully from the Common Pleas, not only weeping himself but followed with the tears of all that Bench, and most of the officers of that Court. The next day Sir H. Hobart was made Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, Sir Francis Bacon Attorney, and Yelverton Solicitor. There is a strong apprehension that little good is to be expected by this change, and that Bacon may prove a dangerous instrument."2
It was probably at this time that Bacon wrote the following letter
1 Des. Cur. Hib., i. 308.
2 S. P. Dom. James I., vol. lxxiv. no. 89.
to the King; which comes from the collection at Lambeth. It is a copy or draft very hastily written in his own hand, and has no date. But it evidently refers to some promotion, and the word " procuration" is most proper to the place of Attorney-General.
TO THE KING.
It may please your Ma.
A full heart is like a full pen; it can hardly make any distinguished work. The more I look into mine own weakness the more I must magnify your favours, and the more I behold your favours the more I must consider mine own weakness. This is my hope, that God who hath moved your heart to favour me will write your service in my heart. Two things I may promise; for though they be not mine own yet they are surer than mine own, because they are God's gifts; that is integrity and industry. And therefore whensoever I shall make my account to you, I shall do it in these words, ecce tibi lucrifeci, and not ecce mihi lucrifeci. And for industry, I shall take to me in this procuration not Martha's part, to be busied in many things, but Mary's part, which [is] to intend your service; for the less my abilities are the more they ought to be contracted ad unum. For the present I humbly pray your Majesty to accept my most humble thanks and vows as the forerunners of honest services which I shall always perform with a faithful heart.
Your Majesty's most obedient servant,
To reconcile Coke to his elevation, the King had been obliged to promise that "if he would accept it, he should do it with as much honour as ever any one went to that place;" which was understood to be a promise of a Councillorship at the least. And accordingly on the 7th of November, as we learn from the same authority, "the Lord Coke (with many good and gracious words) was sworn a Privy Councillor; which honour no man envies him, if he keep in his right course, and turn not to be Attorney again."2
The occasion on which he received this last distinction was the ceremonial of creating Viscount Rochester Earl of Somerset ; in preparation for his marriage with Lady Essex, whose divorce from her husband had at last been legally accomplished. The proceedings in
1 Chamberlain to Carleton, 14 Oct. 1613.
13 S. P. Dom. James I.., vol. lxxv. no. 4. 11 Nov. 1613.