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fall. It is the wisdom of the fox, that thrusts out | pretend, and I know it will be impossible for me, by the badger, who digged and made room for him. it is the wisdom of crocodiles, who shed tears when they would devour. But that which is specially to be noted is, that those which, as Cicero says of Pompey, are sui amantes sine rivali, are many times unfortunate. And whereas they have all their time sacrificed to themselves, they become in the end themselves sacrifices to the inconstancy of fortune, whose wings they thought by their selfwisdom to have pinioned."
any pleading of mine, to reverse the judgment either of Æsop's cock, that preferred the barleycorn before the gem; or of Midas, that, being chosen judge between Apollo, president of the muses, and Pan, god of the flocks, judged for plenty; or of Paris, that judged for beauty and love against wisdom and power. For these things continue as they have been; but so will that also continue whereupon learning hath ever relied, and which faileth not. 'Justificata est sapientia a filiis suis: "3 yet he seems to have undervalued this little work, which, for two centuries, has been favourably received by every lover of knowledge and of beauty, and is now so well appreciated, that a celebrated professor of our own times truly says: "The small volume to which he has given the title of Essays,' the best known and the most popular of all his works, is one of those where the superiority of his genius appears to the greatest advantage; the novelty and depth of his reflections often receiving a strong relief from the triteness of the subject. It may be read from beginning to end in a few hours, and yet after the twentieth perusal one seldom fails to remark in it something overlooked before. This, indeed, is a character
So in the essay upon Adversity, on which he had deeply reflected, before the edition of 1625, when it first appeared, he says: "The virtue of prosperity is temperance, the virtue of adversity is fortitude, which in morals is the more heroical virtue. Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament, adversity is the blessing of the New, which carrieth the greater benediction, and the clearer revelation of God's favour. Yet even in the Old Testament, if you listen to David's harp, you shall hear as many hearse-like airs as carols; and the pencil of the Holy Ghost hath laboured more in describing the afflictions of Job than the felicities of Solomon. Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes. We see in needle-istic of all Bacon's writings, and is only to be works and embroideries, it is more pleasing to have a lively work upon a sad and solemn ground, than to have a dark and melancholy work upon a lightsome ground: judge, therefore, of the pleasures of the heart by the pleasures of the eye. Certainly virtue is like precious odours, most fragrant when they are incensed, or crushed: for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue."
The essays were immediately translated into French and Italian, and into Latin by some of his friends, amongst whom were Hacket, Bishop of Litchfield, and his constant, affectionate friend, Ben Jonson.1
His own estimate of the value of this work is thus stated in his letter to the Bishop of Winchester: "As for my Essays, and some other particulars of that nature, I count them but as the recreations of my other studies, and in that manner purpose to continue them; though I am not ignorant that these kind of writings would, with less pains and assiduity, perhaps yield more lustre and reputation to my name than the others I have in hand.”
accounted for by the inexhaustible aliment they furnish to our own thoughts, and the sympathetic activity they impart to our torpid faculties."
During his life, six or more editions, which seem to have been pirated, were published; and, after his death, two spurious essays " Of Death,' and "Of a King," the only authentic posthumous essay being the fragment of an essay on Fame, which was published by his friend and chaplain, Dr. Rawley.
The sacred meditations, which are twelve in number,5 are in the first edition in Latin, and have been partly incorporated into subsequent editions of the Essays, and into the Advancement of Learning.
The Colours of Good and Evil, are ten in number, and were afterwards inserted in the Advancement of Learning," in his tract on Rhetoric.
Such was the nature of his first work, which was gratefully received by his learned contemporaries, as the little cloud seen by the prophet, and welcomed as the harbinger of showers that would fertilize the whole country.
While, in this year, the Earl of Essex was pre- | much less of my own unableness, which I had paring for his voyage, Bacon communicated to continual sense and feeling of; yet, because I him his intention of making a proposal of mar- had more means of absolution than the younger riage to the Lady Hatton, the wealthy widow of sort, and more leisure than the greater sort, I did Sir William Hatton, and daughter of Sir Thomas think it not impossible to work some profitable Cecil, and desired his lordship's interest in sup- effect; the rather because where an inferior wit port of his pretensions, trusting, he said, "that is bent and constant upon one subject, he shall the beams of his lordship's pen might dissolve many times, with patience and meditation, disthe coldness of his fortune." Essex, with his solve and undo many of the knots, which a greatwonted zeal, warmly advocated the cause of his er wit, distracted with many matters, would rather friend; he wrote in the strongest terms to the cut in two than unknit: and, at the least, if my father and mother of the lady, assuring them "that invention or judgment be too barren or too weak, if Bacon's suit had been to his own sister or yet by the benefit of other arts, I did hope to disdaughter, he would as confidently further it, as pose or digest the authorities and opinions which he now endeavoured to persuade them." Neither are in cases of uses in such order and method, as Bacon's merit, or the generous warmth of his they should take light one from another, though noble patron touched the heart of the lady, who, they took no light from me. fortunately for Bacon, afterwards became the wife of his great rival, Sir Edward Coke.
In this year he seems to have been in great pecuniary difficulties, which, however they may have interrupted, did not prevent his studies; for, amidst his professional and political labours, he published a new edition of his essays,1 and composed a law tract, not published until some years after his death, entitled the History of the Alienation Of fice.
He then proceeds in a luminous exposition cf the statute, of which a celebrated lawyer of our times, says: "Lord Bacon's reading on the Statute of Uses is a very profound treatise on the subject, so far as it goes, and shows that he had the clearest conception of one of the most abstruse parts of our law. What might we not have expected from the hands of such a master, if his vast mind had not so embraced within its compass the whole field of science, as very much to
In the year 1599, the celebrated case of Per-detach him from his professional studies?” petuities, which had been argued many times at the bar of the King's Bench, was, on account of its difficulty and great importance, ordered to be argued in the Exchequer Chamber before all the judges of England; and after a first argument by Coke, Solicitor-General, a second argument was directed, and Bacon was selected to discharge this arduous duty, to which he seems to have given his whole mind; and although Sir Edward Coke, in his report, states that he did not hear the arguments, the case is reported at great length, and the reasoning has not been lost, for the manuscript exists, and seems to have been incorporated in his reading on the statute of uses to the society of Gray's Inn.
He thus commences his address to the students: "I have chosen to read upon the Statute of Uses, a law whereupon the inheritances of this realm are tossed at this day, like a ship upon the sea, in such sort, that it is hard to say which bark will sink, and which will get to the haven; that is to say, what assurances will stand good, and what will not. Neither is this any lack or default in the pilots, the grave and learned judges; but the tides and currents of received error, and unwarranted and abusive experience have been so strong, as they were not able to keep a right course according to the law. Herein, though I could not be ignorant either of the difficulty of the matter, which he that taketh in hand shall soon find, or
1 It differs from the edition of 1597 only in having the Meditationes Sacræ in English instead of Latin. 21 Coke, 121, p. 287
There is an observation of the same nature by a celebrated professor in another department of science, Sir John Hawkins, who, in his History of Music, says, "Lord Bacon, in his Natural History, has given a great variety of experiments touching music, that show him to have not been barely a philosopher, an inquirer into the phencmena of sound, but a master of the science of harmony, and very intimately acquainted with the precepts of musical composition." And, in coincidence with his lordship's sentiments of harmony, he quotes the following passage: "The sweetest and best harmony is when every part or instrument is not heard by itself, but a conflation of them all, which requireth to stand some distance off, even as it is in the mixtures of perfumes, or the taking of the smells of several flowers in the air."
With these legal and literary occupations he continued without intermission his parliamentary exertions, there not having been during the latter part of the queen's reign any debate in which he was not a distinguished speaker, or any important committee of which he was not an active member.
Early in the year 1599, a large body of the Irish, denied the protection of the laws, and hunted like wild beasts by an insolent soldiery, fled the neighbourhood of cities, sheltered themselves in their marshes and forests, and grew every day more intractable and dangerous; it became no
8 Mr. Hargrave.
cessary, therefore, that some vigorous measures | lord, stand upon two feet, and fly not upon two should be adopted to restrain their excesses. wings. The two feet are the two kinds of justice
A powerful army was raised, of which the command was intended by the queen to be conferred upon Lord Mountjoy; but Essex solicited an employinent, which at once gratified his ambition and suited the ardour of his character, and which his enemies sought for him more zealously than his friends, foreseeing the loss of the queen's favour, from the certainty of his absence from court, and the probable failure of his expedition.
commutative and distributive: use your greatness for advancing of merit and virtue, and relieving wrongs and burdens; you shall need no other art or fineness: but he would tell me, that opinion came not from my mind, but from my robe. But this difference in two points so main and material, bred in process of time a discontinuance of privateness (as it is the manner of men seldom to communicate where they think their courses not approved) between his lordship and myself; so as I was not called nor advised with for some year and a half before his lordship's going into Ireland, as in former time: yet nevertheless, touching his going into Ireland, it pleased him expressly and in a set manner to desire mine opinion and counsel."
From the year 1596 till this period there had been some interruption of the intimacy between Bacon and Essex, arising from the honest expression of his opinion of the unwise and unworthy use which Essex made of his power over the queen. Notwithstanding the temporary estrangement which this difference of opinion occasioned, Essex was unwilling to accept this important com- Thus consulted, Bacon, with prophetic wisdom, mand without consulting his intelligent friend. warned him of the ruin that would inevitably reBacon's narrative gives a striking picture of sult from his acceptance of an appointment, atboth parties. He He says, "Sure I am (though I tended not only with peculiar difficulties, which can arrogate nothing to myself but that I was a from habit and temper he was unfit to encounter, faithful remembrance to his lordship) that while but also with the certain loss of the queen's faI had most credit with him his fortune went on vour, from his absence, and the constant plotting best. And yet in two main points we always of his enemies. Essex heard this advice, urged directly and contradictorily differed, which I will as it was, with an anxiety almost parental, as mention to your lordship, because it giveth light advice is generally heard when opposed to strong to all that followed. The one was, I ever set this passion. It was totally disregarded. It is but down, that the only course to be held with the justice to Bacon to hear his own words. He queen was by obsequiousness and observance; says: "I did not only dissuade, but protest and I remember I would usually engage confi- against his going, telling him with as much vedently, that if he would take that course constant- hemency and asseveration as I could, that absence ly, and with choice of good particulars to express in that kind would exulcerate the queen's mind, it, the queen would be brought in time to Assue- whereby it would not be possible for him to carry rus' question, to ask, what should be done to the himself so as to give her sufficient contentment; man that the king would honour? meaning, that nor for her to carry herself so as to give him suffiher goodness was without limit, where there was cient countenance, which would be ill for her, ill a true concurrence, which I knew in her nature for him, and ill for the state. And because I to be true. My lord, on the other side, had a would omit no argument, I remember I stood also settled opinion, that the queen could be brought upon the difficulty of the action: many other to nothing but by a kind of necessity and author- reasons I used, so as I am sure I never in any ity; and I well remember, when by violent thing in my lifetime dealt with him in like earcourses at any time he had got his will, he would nestness by speech, by writing, and by all the ask me: Now, sir, whose principles be true? And means I could devise. For I did as plainly see I would again say to him: My lord, these courses his overthrow chained, as it were by destiny, to be like to hot waters, they will help at a pang; that journey, as it is possible for a man to ground but if you use them, you shall spoil the stomach, a judgment upon future contingents. But my and you shall be fain still to make them stronger | lord, howsoever his ear was open, yet his heart and and stronger, and yet in the end they will lese resolution was shut against that advice, whereby their operation with much other variety, where- his ruin might have been prevented."1 with I used to touch that string. Another point was, that I always vehemently dissuaded him from seeking greatness by a military dependence, or by a popular dependence, as that which would breed in the queen jealousy, in himself presumption, and in the state perturbation; and I did usually compare them to Icarus' two wings, which were joined on with wax, and would make him venture to soar too high, and then fail him at the height. And I would further say unto him: My
It did not require Bacon's sagacity to foresee these sad consequences. Elizabeth had given an unwilling assent to the appointment, and, though accustomed to yield to the vehement demands of her favourite, was neither blind to his faults, or slow in remembering them, when his absence gave her time for reflection; but she shared with all monarchs the common wish to obtain the dis.
interested affection of those whom she distin- | lord was in Ireland I revealed some matters against guished with her favour.
By the loss of Leicester, and the recent death of Burleigh, she was left in the decline of her life "in a solitude of friends," when Essex, of a character more congenial to the queen than either of those noblemen, became, between twenty and thirty years of age, a candidate for court favour. Well read, highly born, accomplished, and imbued with the romantic.chivalry of the times, he amused her by his gayety, and flattered her by his gallantry; the rash ingenuousness of his temper gave an air of sincerity to all his words and actions, while strength of will, and a daring and lofty spirit like her own, lessened the distance between them, and completed the ascendency which he gained over her affections; an ascendency which, even if the queen had not been surrounded by his rivals and enemies, could not but be diminished by his absence.
In March, 1599, he was appointed lord lieutenant, and, attended with the flower of the nobility and the acclamations of the people, he quitted London, and in the latter end of the month arrived at Dublin. From this time until his return, the whole of his actions were marked by a strong determination that his will should be paramount to that of the queen.
him, or I cannot tell what; which, if it were not
The first indication of his struggle for power was the appointment, against the express wish of the queen, of his friend, Lord Southampton, to be general of the horse, which he was ordered to rescind. Essex, who had much personal courage, These kind exertions for his friend were, howand who would have distinguished himself at a tournament, or a passage at arms, being totally ever, wholly defeated by the haughtiness and imunfit tɔ manage an expedition requiring all the prudence of Essex, who, to the just remonstrances skill, experience, and patient endurance of a vete- of the queen, gave no other answers than peevish ran soldier, the whole campaign was a series of complaints of his enemies; and, to the astonishrash enterprise, neglected opportunity, and relax-ment of all persons, he, without her permission, ed discipline, involving himself and his country returned to England, arrived before any person in defeat and disgrace. By this ill-advised con- could be apprized of his intention, and, the queen duct he so completely aliened the minds of his not being in London, he, without stopping to soldiers, that they were put to flight by an infe-change his dress, or to take any refreshment, prorior number of the enemy; at which Essex was so ceeded to Nonsuch, where the court was held. queen in much enraged, that he cashiered all the officers, Travel-stained as he was, he sought the and decimated the men. her chamber, and found her newly risen, with her hair about her face. He kneeled to her, and kissed her hands. Elizabeth, taken by surprise, gave way to all her partiality for him, and to the pleasure she always had in his company. He left her presence well pleased with his reception, and
Bacon, seeing how truly he had prophesied, and observing the pain felt by the queen, availed himself of every opportunity to prevent his ruin in her affections. “After my lord's going," he says, “I saw then how true a prophet I was, in regard of the evident alteration which naturally succeed-thanked God, though he had suffered much troued in the queen's mind; and thereupon I was still in watch to find the best occasion that in the weakness of my power I could either take or minister, tɔ pull him out of the fire if it had been possible; and not long after, methought I saw some overture thereof, which I apprehended readily, a particularity I think be known to very few, and the which I do the rather relate unto your lordship, because I hear it should be talked, that while my
ble and storm abroad, that he found a sweet calm at home. He had another conference for an hour with the queen before midday, from which he returned well contented with his future prospects receiving the visits of the whole court, Cecil and his party excepted.o
1 Bacon's Apology.
2 See Sydnev Papers. 117-127. Camden and Birch,
During the day the queen saw her ministers.1 After dinner he found her much changed: she received him coldly, and appointed the lords to hear him in council that very afternoon. After sitting an hour, they adjourned the court to a full council on the next day; but, between eleven and twelve at night, an order came from the queen that Essex should keep his chamber."
ship it is as mists are, if it go upwards, it may perhaps cause a shower, if downwards it will clear up. And therefore, good my lord, carry it so, as you take away by all means all umbrages and distastes from the queen, and especially if I were worthy to advise you, (as I have been by yourself thought, and now your question imports the continuance of that opinion,) observe three On the next day the lords met in council, and points: first, make not this cessation or peace, presented a favourable report to the queen, who which is concluded with Tyrone, as a service said she would pause and consider it, Essex still wherein you glory, but as a shuffling up of a procontinuing captive in his chamber, from whence secution which was not very fortunate. Next, the queen ordered him to be committed into cus-represent not to the queen any necessity of estate, tody, lest, having his liberty, he might be far whereby, as by a coercion or wrench, she should withdrawn from his duty through the corrupt counsels of turbulent men, not however to any prison, lest she might seem to destroy all hope of her ancient favour, but to the lord keeper's, at York House, to which in the afternoon he was taken from Nonsuch.4
Bacon's steady friendship again manifested itself. He wrote to Essex the moment he heard of his arrival, and in an interview between them, he urged the advice which he had communicated in his letter. This letter and advice are fortunately preserved. In his letter he says: My lord, conceiving that your lordship came now up in the person of a good servant to see your sovereign mistress, which kind of compliments are many times "instar magnorum meritorum ;" and therefore that it would be hard for me to find you, I have committed to this poor paper the humble salutations of him that is more yours than any man's, and more yours than any man. To these salutations, I add a due and joyful gratulation, confessing that your lordship, in your last conference with me before your journey, spake not in vain, God making it good, that you trusted we should say, "quis putasset?" Which, as it is found true in a happy sense, so I wish you do not find another "quis putasset," in the manner of taking this so great a service; but I hope it is as he said, "nubecula est citò transibit;" and that your lordship's wisdom and obsequious circumspection and patience will turn all to the best. So referring all to sometime that I may attend you, I commit you to God's best preservation.
And his advice is thus stated by Bacon: "Well, the next news that I heard, was that my lord was come over, and that he was committed to his chamber for leaving Ireland without the queen's license: this was at Nonsuch, where (as my duty was) I came to his lordship, and talked with him privately about a quarter of an hour, and he asked mine opinion of the course that was taken with him; I told him: My lord, nubecula est, cito transibit: it is but a mist; but shall I tell your lord
1 See Sydney Papers. Michaelmas day at noon, (vol. ii. p. 128,) containing the account of the different persons who hastened to court on that day.
2 Sydney Papers, vol. ii. p. 129. 3 Sydney Papers, 130-133.
4 Sydney Papers, 131-139.
think herself enforced to send you back into Ire-
After his committal to the lord keeper's, there was great fluctuation of opinion with respect to his probable fate. On one day the hope of his restoration to favour prevailed; on the next, as the queen, by brooding over the misconduct of Essex, by additional accounts of the consequences of his errors in Ireland, by turbulent speeches and seditious pamphlets, was much exasperated, his ruin was predicted. Pamphlets were circulated and suppressed; there were various conferences at York House between the different statesmen and Essex; and it was ultimately determined that the matter should be investigated, not by public accusation, but by a declaration in the Star Chamber, in the absence of Essex, of the nature of his misconduct. Such was the result of the queen's conflict between public opinion and her affection for Essex.6
In this perplexity she consulted Bacon, who from this, and from any proceeding, earnestly dissuaded the queen, and warned her that, from the popularity of Essex and this unusual mode of accusation, it would be said that justice had her balance taken from her; and that, instead of promoting, it would interrupt the public tranquillity. She heard and was offended with his advice, and acted in direct opposition to it. At an assembly of privy councillors, of judges, and of statesmen, held on the 30th of November, they declared, without his being heard in his defence, the nature of Essex's misconduct; a proceeding which, as Bacon foretold, and which the queen too late acknowledged, aggravated the public discontent. At this assembly Bacon was not present, which, when his absence was mentioned by the queen, he excused by indisposition.7
5 Bacon's Apology, vol. ii. p. 336.