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sums as were claimed upon due warrant. It seems that some objection had been made to Bacon's claim, but that being referred to the Lord Treasurer it had been overruled in his favour: and when, in spite of this, the payment was still delayed, he thought himself illused, and wrote to remonstrate with what effect I cannot say the letter itself (which comes from his own collection) containing all I know of the matter.
A LETTER OF EXPOSTULATION TO SIR VINCENT SKINNER.1 Sir Vincent Skinner,
I see that by your needless delays this matter is grown to a new question; wherein for the matter itself, if it had been stayed at the beginning by my Lord Treasurer and Mr. Chancellor, I should not so much have stood upon it; for the great and daily travels which I take in his Majesty's service either are rewarded in themselves, in that they are but my duty, or else may deserve a much greater matter. Neither can I think amiss of any man, that in furtherance of the King's benefit moved the doubt, that knew not what warrant you had. But my wrong is, that you having had my Lord Treasurer's and Mr. Chancellor's warrant for payment above a month since, you, I say, making your payments belike upon such differences as are better known to yourself, than agreeable with due respect and his Majesty's service, have delayed it all this time, otherwise than I mought have expected either from our ancient acquaintance, or from that regard which one in your place may own to one in mine. By occasion whereof there ensueth to me a greater inconvenience, that now my name, in sort, must be in question amongst you, as if I were a man likely either to demand that that were unreasonable [or be denied that which is reasonables]: and this must be, because you may pleasure men at pleasure. But this I leave with this; that it is the first matter wherein I had occasion to discern of your friendship, which I see to fall to this; that whereas Mr. Chancellor the last time, in my man's hearing, very honourably said that he would not discontent any in my place, it seems that you have no such caution. But my writing unto you now is to know of you where now the stay is, that I may do that which is
1 Additional MSS. 5503. f. 18.
2 "Owne" in MS.; "owe" in "Remains.'
3 The words within brackets, which are omitted in the MS., are supplied from the 'Remains,' p. 76.
fit for me without being any more beholding unto you, to whom indeed no man ought to be beholden in these cases in a right And so I bid you farewel.
24 Dec. 1607.
It must have been about this time that Bacon made acquaintance with a new kind of mortification. His young friend Toby Matthew, for whom he seems to have had a strong personal affection, heightened by sympathy in intellectual pursuits and respect for his judgment and abilities, had left England in April, 1605, to travel in Italy; where, falling into the company of Roman Catholics, and seeing some of the miracles of the Church, he became a convert, was absolved from his heresies, and reconciled. Though he continued to correspond with Bacon while the process of conversion was going on, he does not appear to have consulted him or admitted him into his confidence in that matter. But on his return to England, apparently in the summer of 1607, when his licence to travel expired,1 Bacon was the first person of note with whom he sought communication. What passed between them we are not told; but the advice he received would probably be that he should lay his case before the Archbishop of Canterbury, as the man who had authority to deal with such cases: and, accordingly, the next thing we hear is that he visited Dr. Bancroft. The result of this visit was, that he was "committed to prison;" by which I understand that he was detained in safe custody -lodged probably in Lambeth Palace, with somebody to keep watch over him-while his case was under consideration. And this was in August, 1607: for I find it stated in a letter from Carleton to Chamberlain, of the 27th of that month, that "Tobie Matthew hath leave to go as often as he will with his keeper to Sir Francis Bacon, and is put in good hope of further liberty."
A letter in Matthew's collection (p. 22), entitled "Sir Francis Bacon to a friend, about reading and giving judgment upon his writings," was no doubt addressed to himself, and belongs probably to this period. It seems that Bacon had been expecting a visit from him, and, being called away on business, wrote to put him off. What the "writing" was, to which it refers, it is impossible to infer from the terms. It may have been the Cogitata et Visa in some of its shapes; or it have been a first sketch of the In felicem memoriam Eliza
1 "Licence for Tobie Matthew to travel for 3 years." 3rd July, 1604.--Calendar of State Papers. Dom. James I.
2 S. P. Dom. James I.
betha (which we know that Bacon did show to Matthew when he was in England on this occasion), or the Imago Civilis Julii Cæsaris, or both. But that which is interesting in it to us is equally interesting upon any of these suppositions.
Because you shall not lose your labour this afternoon, which now I must needs spend with my Lord Chancellor, I send my desire to you in this letter, that you will take care not to leave the writing, which I left with you last, with any man, so long as that he may be able to take a copy of it; because first it must be censured by you, and then considered again by me. The thing which I expect most from you is, that you would read it carefully over by yourself; and to make some little note in writing, where you think (to speak like a critic) that I do perhaps indormiscere; or where I do indulgere genio; or where, in fine, I give any manner of disadvantage to myself. This, super totam materiam, you must not fail to note; besides, all such words and phrases as you cannot like; for you know in how high account I have your judgment.
Matthew's case being in the meantime laid before the King, it was thought expedient to offer him "the oath," which the King thought he would not refuse to take. This it seems he could not do: whereupon he was committed to the Fleet prison by the Archbishop, and there visited by various people of various kinds, among the rest by Bishop Andrews,2 with a view, I suppose, to his reconversion.
It must have been during this imprisonment, which lasted till the 7th of February,3 that the next letter was written, which comes from the principal collection in Rawley's 'Resuscitatio,' and is the first I have found in that collection which is not also contained in the British Museum MS. (Additional, 5503). It had been printed before in the Remains ;' but I infer from Rawley's including it among those which profess to come from his " Lordship's Register Book of letters," that a copy had been preserved by Bacon himself.
1 See Literary and Professional Works, Vol. I. p. 284.
2 These particulars are derived from a MS. said to be in the collection of Dr. Neligan (Courtmasherry, Co. Cork), entitled "a true historical relation of the Conversion of Sir Tobie Matthew to the Holy Catholic Faith, with the antecedents and consequents thereof:" dated 8 Sept. 1640: or (I should rather say) from a note of the contents of that MS. which was once lent to me, and which unfortunately gives very few dates.
3 Chamberlain to Carleton, 11th Feb., 1607-8.
TO MR. MATTHEW, IMPRISONED FOR RELIGION.1
But if I
Do not think me forgetful or altered towards you. should say I could do you any good, I should make my power more than it is. I do hear that which I am right sorry for; that you grow more impatient and busy than at first; which maketh me exceedingly fear the issue of that which seemeth not to stand at a stay. I myself am out of doubt, that you have been miserably abused, when you were first seduced; but that which I take in compassion, others may take in severity. I pray God, that understandeth us all better than we understand one another, contain you (even as I hope he will) at the least within the bounds of loyalty to his Majesty, and natural piety towards your country. And I intreat you much, sometimes to meditate upon the extreme effects of superstition in this last Powder Treason; fit to be tabled and pictured in the chambers of meditation, as another hell above the ground and well justifying the censure of the heathen, that superstition is far worse than atheism; by how much it is less evil to have no opinion of God at all, than such as is impious towards his divine majesty and goodness. Good Mr. Matthew, receive yourself back from these courses of perdition. Willing to have written a great deal more, I continue—
Such power, however, as Bacon had he used, it seems; and with better effect than he had ventured to promise. For I find from the note of the contents of Dr. Neligan's manuscript, that before Matthew was delivered out of the Fleet prison, Sir Francis Bacon interceded for him." With whom he had used his influence, and how much his intercession had to do with what followed, the note does not say. But of the circumstances and conditions of his liberation we have the following account in a letter from Chamberlain to Carleton, dated 11th Feb. 1607-8 :
"Your friend, Tobie Matthew, was called before the Council-table on Sunday in the afternoon, and, after some schooling, the Earl of Salisbury told him that he was not privy to his imprisonment, which he did no ways approve, as perceiving that so light a punishment would make him rather more proud and perverse. But in conclusion they allotted him six weeks' space to set his affairs in order and depart the realm; and in the meantime willed him to make choice of some friend of good account and well 1 Rawley's Resuscitatio.'
affected, where he may remain. He named Mr. Jones, who has accepted, and is not a little proud of his prisoner."
We shall often hear of him again, for during the whole term of his banishment a correspondence by letter was kept up: and it was in the last year of Bacon's life that he added to his Essays, at Matthew's special request, an Essay on Friendship, in commemoration of an intimacy which had been tried by adversity and prosperity on both sides, and endured to the end without cloud or interruption on either.
Unless Bacon's intercession on behalf of Matthew was made through Salisbury (which there is no reason to suppose), he had not at this time any particular favour to seek or expect at his cousin's hands. He had been made Solicitor-General only half a year before, and there was no prospect at present of any vacancy to which he would have aspired. A letter therefore addressed "to the Earl of Salisbury upon a new year's tide," on the first occasion of the kind "when he stood out of the person of a suitor," must be referred to the 1st of January, 1607–8.
It is difficult to understand the true import of letters of compliment, without an acquaintance (more familiar than, at the distance of three centuries, it is easy to attain) with the fashions of the time in such matters. The style of courtesy is as much a matter of fashion as the style of dress; and forms which in one generation it would be unmannerly to omit, in the next it would be vulgar to use. But comparing this with other letters of Bacon's own on similar occasions, we may gather something as to the peculiar relation which subsisted between the two men. Bacon was two years older than Robert Cecil, and when they were both boys must have seemed his superior but the position and influence to which the younger of the cousins succeeded so early had long ago altered that, and entitled him to be addressed as the greater man: which Bacon understood perfectly well, and did not fail to remember. But what he did not understand was how far his cousin was really his friend. For Cecil had that frank, easy, unceremonious manner, which, when used as a disguise, is of all disguises the most impenetrable. More than once Bacon had seen reason to think that he was secretly acting against him, and once at least had told him so. But Cecil never allowed himself to take offence about words; and the temper of his answer, if it did not satisfy Bacon, at least disarmed him. Nevertheless, though he continued to study his humours and watch his times, with
1 See Vol. I. p. 355.