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The queen, who had been apprized of the unusual concourse of persons to Essex House, was now fully acquainted with the extent of his treasons. In this emergency she acted with a firmness worthy of herself. She directed the Lord Mayor of London to take care that the citizens were ready, every man in his own house, to execute such commands as should be enjoined them. To Essex she sent the lord keeper, the lord chief justice, and the Earl of Worcester, to learn the cause of this treasonable assembly. He said
your favour from me, and now I have lost many | London and the queen herself, and marshalled friends for your sake, I shall lose you too: you his banditti to effect his purposes. have put me like one of those that the Frenchmen call enfans perdus, that serve on foot before horsemen, so have you put me into matters of envy | without place, or without strength; and I know at chess a pawn before the king is ever much played upon: a great many love me not, because they think I have been against my lord of Essex; and you love me not, because you know I have been for him yet will I never repent me that I have dealt in simplicity of heart towards you both, without respect of cautions to myself, and therefore vivus vidensque pereo. If I do break my neck, I" that there was a plot against his life; that some shall do it in a manner as Master Dorrington did it, which walked on the battlements of the church many days, and took a view and survey where he should fall: and so, madam,' said I, 'I am not so simple, but that I take a prospect of mine overthrow, only I thought I would tell you so much, that you may know that it was faith, and not folly that brought me into it, and so I will pray for you.' Upon which speeches of mine, uttered with some passion, it is true her majesty was exceedingly moved; and accumulated a number of kind and gracious words upon me, and willed me to rest upon this, Gratia mea sufficit, and a number of other sensible and tender words and demonstrations, such as more could not be; but as touching my lord of Essex, ne verbum quidem. Whereupon I departed, resting then determined to meddle no more in the matter, as I saw, that it would overthrow me, and not be able to do him any good."
Bacon's anguish, when he felt that the queen's displeasure was gradually taking the form most to be dreaded, the cold and severe aspect of offended justice, can be conceived only by those who had seen his patient watchfulness over his wayward friend. Through the whole of his career, Bacon had anxiously pursued him, warning him, when it was possible, to prevent the commission of error; excusing him to his royal mistress when the warning had proved fruitless; hoping all things, enduring all things; but the time seemed fast approaching, when, urged by his own wild passions, and the ruffian crew that beset him, he would commit some act which would place him out of the pale of the queen's mercy.
Irritated by the refusal of his patent, he readily listened to the pernicious counsels of a few needy and interested followers. Essex House had long been the resort of the factious and discontented; secretly courting the Catholics, and openly encouraging the Puritans, Essex welcomed all who were obnoxious to the court. He applied to the King of Scotland for assistance, opened a secret correspondence with Ireland, and, calculating upon the support of a large body of he nobility, conspired to seize the Tower of
were suborned to stab him in his bed; that he and his friends were treacherously dealt with, and that they were determined on resistance." Deaf to all remonstrances, and urged by his faction, he seized and confined the officers of state, and, without plan, without arms, and with a small body of conspirators, he proceeded into the city, calling upon the citizens to join him, but calling in vain. Disappointed in his hopes, and proclaimed a traitor, after a fruitless attempt to defend himself, he was seized, and committed to the Tower.
No man knew better, or felt more deeply the duties of friendship, than Bacon: he did not think friendships mere abstractions, metaphysical nothings, created for contemplation only; he felt, as he has taught, that friendship is the allay of our sorrows, the ease of our passions, the sanctuary of our calamities; that its fruits are peace in the affections, counsel in judgment, and active kindness; the heart, the head, and the hand. His friendship, therefore, both in words and acts, Essex constantly experienced. In the wildest storm of his passions, while others suffered him to drive onward, the voice of the pilot might be heard, pointing out the sunken rocks which he feared would wreck him; and when, at last, bound hand and foot, he was cast at the feet of the queen, to undergo her utmost indignation, he still walked with him in the midst of the fire, and would have borne him off unhurt, but for the evil spirits which beset him.
It is impossible to form a correct judgment of the conduct of Bacon at this unfortunate juncture, without considering the difficulties of his situation, and his conflicting duties. Men of the highest blood and of the fairest character were implicated in the treasons of Essex: men who were, like himself, highly favoured by the queen, and in offices of great trust and importance. Bacon's obligations to Essex, and his constant efforts to serve him were well known; and the queen had of late looked coldly upon him, and might herself suspect his fidelity; for sad experience had proved to her that a monarch has no true friend. In the interval between the com mitment of Essex to the Tower, and his arraign
ment, Bacon must have become fully aware of th. facts which would condemn Essex in the eyes of all good men, and render him amenable to the heaviest penalty of the law. Awakened, as from a dream, with the startling truth that Essex was guilty as well as imprudent, he saw that all which he and others had deemed rashness was the result of a long concocted treason. In whatever light it could be viewed, the course which Essex had pursued was ruinous to Bacon. He had been bondsman again and again to the queen for the love and duty of Essex; and now he had the mortification of discovering that, instead of being open and entire with him, Essex had abused his friendship, and had assumed the dissembling attitude of humility and penitence, that he might more securely aim a blow at the very life of his royal benefactress. This double treachery entirely alienated the affections of Bacon. He saw no longer the high-souled, chivalric Essex, open as the day, lucid as truth, giving both faults and virtues to the light, redeeming in the eyes of all men the bounty of the crown; he saw only an ungrateful man, whom the fiend ambition had possessed, and knew that the name of that fiend was "Legion." | On the 19th of February, 1601, Essex and Southampton were arraigned, and, upon the trial, one of the conspirators, allured by the hope of life, made a full disclosure of all their treasons.
Unable to deny facts clearly proved against him, Essex could insist only upon his motives, which he urged with the utmost confidence, He repeated his former assertion, that there was a plot against his life, and that Cecil, Cobham, and Raleigh had driven him to desperate measures. Bacon, who appeared as one of the counsel for the crown, resisted these imputations, and said, "It is evident, my lord of Essex, that you had planted in your heart a pretence against the government of your country; and, as Pisistratus, calculating upon the affections of the people, showed himself wounded in the streets of Athens, so you entered the city with the vain hope that the citizens would join in your rebellion. Indeed, my lord, all that' you have said, or can say in these matters are but shadows, and therefore methinks it were your best course to confess, and not to justify."
Essex here interrupted him, and said, “The speech of Mr. Bacon calls upon me to defend myself; and be it known, my lords, I call upon him to be a witness for me, for he being a daily courtier, and having free access to her majesty, undertook to go to the queen in my behalf, and did write a letter most artificially, which was subscribed with my name, also another letter was drawn by him to occasion that letter, with others that should come from his brother, Mr. Anthony Bacon, both which he showed the queen, and in my letter he did plead for me feelingly against
those enemies, and pointed them out as particu larly as was possible; which letters I know Mr. Secretary Cecil hath seen, and by them it will appear what conceit Mr. Bacon held of me, so different from what he here coloureth and pleadeth against me.”
To this charge, urged in violation of the most sacred confidence, which Essex well knew would render Bacon obnoxious to the queen, and suspected by all parties, he instantly and indignantly replied, " My lord, I spent more hours to make you a good subject, than upon any man in the world besides; but since you have stirred up this point, I dare warrant you this letter will not blush to see the light, for I did but perform the part of an honest man, and ever laboured to have done you good if it might have been, and to no other end; for what I intended for your good was wished from the heart, without touch. of any man's honour." After this unjustifiable disclosure, which severed the last link between them, Bacon only spoke once, and with a bitterness that showed how deeply he was wounded.
Through the whole trial Essex conducted himself with courage and firinness worthy of a better cause. Though assailed by the lawyers with much rancour, and harassed by the deepest search into his offences; though harshly questioned by his adversaries, and betrayed by his confederates, he stood at bay, like some noble animal, who fears not his pursuers, nor the death that awaits him; and when, at last, the deliberate voices of his fellows peers proclaimed him guilty, he heard the sentence with manly composure, and, without one thought of himself, sought only to save the life of his friend.
Bacon having obtained a remission of the sentence in favour of six persons who were implicated, made one more effort to serve this unhappy nobleman. He says, "For the time which passed, I mean between the arraignment and my lord's suffering, I was but once with the queen, at what time though I durst not deal directly for my lord as things then stood: yet generally I did both commend her majesty's mercy, terming it to her as an excellent balm that did continually distil from her sovereign hands, and made an excellent odour in the senses of her people: and not only so, but I took hardness to extenuate, not the fact, for that I durst not, but the danger, telling her that if some base or cruel-minded person had entered into such an action, it might have caused much blood and combustion; but it appeared well they were such as knew not how to play the malefactors, and some other words which I now omit."
All exertions, however, proved fruitless; for, after much fluctuation on the queen's part, arising from causes variously stated by historians, Essex, on the 25th of February, 1601, was executed in the Tower.
Bacon's respect for the queen was more manifested after her death, and even after his own death, than during her life.
In one of his wills he desires, that, whatever part of his manuscripts may be destroyed, his eulogy "In feliciem memoriam Elizabetha" may be preserved and published: and, soon after the accession of James to the throne, he thus speaks of the queen.
The queen having been coldly received by the | health visibly declined, and the last blow was citizens, after the death of Essex, or moved by given to her by some disclosure made on the some other cause, was desirous that a full state-death-bed of the Countess of Nottingham. Vament should be made of the whole course of his rious rumours have arisen regarding this intertreasons, and commanded Bacon to prepare it. view, and the cause of the queen's grief; but the He says, "Her majesty taking a liking of my pen, fåtal result has never been doubted. From that upon that which I had done before, concerning the day, refusing the aid of medicine, or food, or rest, proceeding at York House, and likewise upon she sat upon the floor of her darkened chamber, some other declarations, which in former times and gave herself up to the most unrestrained sorby her appointment I put in writing, commanded | row. The spirit that had kept a world in awe was me to pen that book, which was published for the utterly prostrate; and, after a splendid and prosbetter satisfaction of the world: which I did but so perous reign of forty-five years, desolate, afflictas never secretary had more particular and ex-ed, and weary of existence, she lingered till the press directions and instructions in every point, 24th of March, 1603, on which day she died. how to guide my hand in it: and not only so, but after that I had made a first draught thereof, and propounded it to certain principal councillors, by her majesty's appointment, it was perused, weighed, censured, altered, and made almost a new writing, according to their lordships' better consideration wherein their lordships and myself both were as religious and curious of truth, as desircus of satisfaction: and myself indeed gave only words and form of style in pursuing their direction. And after it had passed their allowance, it was again exactly perused by the queen herself, and some alterations made again by her appointment; after it was set to print, the queen, who, as she was excellent in great matters, so she was exquisite in small, noted that I could not forget my ancient respect to my Lord of Essex, in terming him ever my Lord of Essex, my Lord of Essex almost in every page of the book, which she thought not fit, but would have it made, Essex, or the 'ate Earl of Essex: whereupon of force it was printed de novo, and the first copies suppressed by her peremptory commandHe concludes the whole with these words; "Had I been as well believed either by the queen or by my lord, as I was well heard by them both, both my lord had been fortunate, and so had myself in his fortune."
Happier would it have been for the queen, and her ill-fated favourite, had they listened to his warning voice. Essex paid the forfeiture of his unrestrained passions by the stroke of the axe, but Elizabeth suffered the lingering torture of a broken heart; the offended majesty of England triumphed, she “queened it nobly," but the envenomed asp was in her bosom; she sunk under the consciousness of abused confidence, of ill-bestowed favours, of unrequited affection: the very springs of kindness were poisoned: suspicious of all around her, and openly deserted by those who hastened to pay court to her successor, her
"She was a princess that, if Plutarch were now alive to write lives by parallels, would trouble him, I think, to find for her a parallel amongst women. This lady was endued with learning in her sex singular and rare, even amongst masculine princes; whether we speak of learning, language, or of science, modern or ancient, divinity or humanity: and, unto the very last year of her life, she was accustomed to appoint set hours for reading, scarcely any young student in an university more daily or more duly. As for her government, I assure myself, I shall not exceed, if I do affirm that this part of the island never had forty-five years of better times, and yet not through the calmness of the season, but through the wis dom of her regimen. For if there be considered of the one side, the truth of religion established; the constant peace and security; the good administration of justice; the temperate use of the prerogative, not slackened, nor much strained; the flourishing state of learning, suitable to so excellent a patroness; the convenient estate of wealth and means, both of crown and subject; the habit of obedience, and the moderation of discontents; and there be considered, on the other side, the differences of religion, the troubles of neighbour countries, the ambition of Spain and opposition of Rome; and then that she was solitary and of herself; these things, I say, considered, I could not have chosen a more remarkable instance of the conjunction of learning in the prince, with felicity in the people."
FROM THE DEATH OF ELIZABETH TO THE DEATH OF BACON.
his majesty rather asked counsel of the time pasi, than of the time to come; but it is yet early to
TILL THE PUB- ground any settled opinion.”
FROM THE ACCESSION OF JAMES
1603 to 1610.
UPON the death of the queen, Bacon had every thing to expect from the disposition of her successor, who was a lover of letters, was desirous to be considered the patron of learning and learned men, was well acquainted with the attainments of Bacon, and his reputation both at home and abroad, and was greatly prepossessed in his favour by his brother Anthony, who was much esteemed by the king.
But neither the consciousness of his own powers or of the king's discernment rendered Bacon inert or passive. He used all his influence, both in England and in Scotland, to insure the protection of James. He wrote to the Earl of Northumberland, and to Lord Southampton, who was imprisoned and tried with Essex, using these remarkable words, “I may safely be that to you now, which I was truly before."
Upon the approach of the king he addressed his majesty in a letter written in the style of the times and he submitted to the Earl of Northum
berland, for the king's consideration, a proclamation, recommending "the union of England and Scotland; attention to the sufferings of unhappy Ireland; freedom of trade and the suppression of bribery and corruption; with the assurance, that every place and service that was fit for the honour or good of the commonwealth should be filled, and no man's virtue left idle, unemployed, or unrewarded, and every good ordinance and constitution, for the amendment of the estate and times, be revived and put in execution."
The title of knighthood had hitherto been considered an especial mark of royal favour; but the willing to barter their gold for an empty honour, king, who perceived that the English gentry were was no less ready to barter his honours for their for all persons possessing £40 a year in land either gold. A general summons was, therefore, issued commissioners; and on the 23d, the day of his to accept this title, or to compound with the king's received the honour of knighthood, amongst whom coronation, not less than three hundred gentlemen was Sir Francis Bacon, who thought that the title might gratify the daughter of Alderman Barnham,
whom he soon after married.
In the opening of the year 1604, (Æt. 44,) it be assembled early in the spring; and never was publicly announced that a parliament would could any parliament meet for the consideration of more eventful questions than at that moment agitated the public mind. It did not require Bacon's sagacity to perceive this, or, looking forward, to foresee the approaching storm. Revolutions are sudden to the unthinking only. Political disturbances happen not without their warning harbingers. Murmurs, not loud but portentous, ever precede these convulsions of AC moral world: murmurs which were heard by Bacon not the less audibly from the apparent tranquillity with which "Tempests of
James ascended the throne.
state," he says, "are commonly greatest when things grow to equality; as natural tempests are greatest about the equinox: and as there are cerof seas before a tempest, so are there in states: tain hollow blasts of wind and secret swellings
-Ille etiam cæcos instare tumultus
Soon after the arrival of James, which was on the 7th of May, Bacon having had an audience, Sæpe monet, fraudesque et operta tumescere bella." and a promise of private access, thus describes These secret swellings and hollow blasts, which the king to the Earl of Northumberland: "Your arise from the conflicts between power, tenacious lordship shall find a prince the farthest from vain-in retaining its authority, and knowledge, advancglory that may be, and rather like a prince of the ing to resist it, are materials certain to explode, unancient form than of the latter time. His speech | less judiciously dispersed. Of this Bacon conis swift and cursory, and in the full dialect of his country; in speech of business, short; in speech of discourse, large. He affecteth popularity by gracing such as he hath heard to be popular, and not by any fashions of his own. He is thought somewhat general in his favours; and his virtue of access is rather, because he is much abroad and in press, than that he giveth easy audience. He hasteneth to a mixture of both kingdoms and occasions, faster perhaps than policy will well bear. I told your lordship once before, that methought
stantly warned the community, by recommending the admission of gradual reform. "In your innovations," he said, "follow the example of time, which innovateth greatly, but quietly." The advances of nature are all gradual; scarce discernible in their motions, but only visible in their issue. The grass grows and the shadow moves upon the dial unperceived, until we reflect upon their progress.
These admonitions have always been disregarded or resisted by governments, and, wanting this safety-valve, states have been periodically exposed
to convulsion. In England this appeared at Run- | better, is to be suspected, through fear of disturb nymede in the reign of John, and in the subver- ance; because they depend upon authority, con sion of the pope's authority in the reign of Henry sent, reputation, and opinion, and not upon dethe Eighth. monstration; but arts and sciences should be like mines, resounding on all sides with new works and further progress."
When the spirit of reform has once been raised, its progress is not easily stayed. Through the ruins of Catholic superstition various defects were discovered in other parts of the fabric: and the people, having been spirit-broken during the reign | of Henry, and lulled during the reign of Elizabeth, reform now burst with accumulated impetuosity. So true is the doctrine of Bacon, that, "when any of the four pillars of government are mainly shaken, or weakened, which are religion, justice, counsel, and treasure, men had need to pray for fair weather.”
The state of Bacon's mind at this period may be easily conceived. The love of order and the love of improvement, apparently not really opposed to each other, were his ruling passions: and his mode of improvement was the same in all science, natural or human, by experiment, and only by experiment; by proceeding with the greatest caution, and by remembering that, after the most careful research, we may be in the greatest error: "for who will take upon him, when the particulars which a man knows, and which he hath mentioned, appear only on one side, there may not lurk some particular which is altogether repugnant: as if Samuel should have rested in those sons of Jesse which were brought before him in the house, and should not have sought David, who was absent in the field." He never presumed to act until he had tried all things; never used one of Briareus's hundred hands, until he had opened all Argus's hundred eyes. He acted through life upon his father's favourite maxim, "Stay a little, that we may make an end the sooner.”
This was his general mode of proceeding, which, when the experiment was attended with difficulty, generated more caution; and he well knew that, of all experiments, state alterations are the most difficult, the most fraught with danger. Zealous as he was for all improvement; believing, as he did, in the omnipotence of knowledge, that "the spirit of man is as the lamp of God, wherewith he searcheth the inwardness of all secrets;" and branding the idolaters of old times as a scandal to the new, he says, "It is good not to try experiments in states, except the necessity be urgent, or the utility evident: and well to beware that it be the reformation that draweth on the change, and not desire of change that pretendeth the reformation: that novelty, though it be not rejected, yet be always suspected; and, as the Scripture saith, that we make a stand upon the ancient way, and then look about us, and discover what is the straight and right way, and so to walk in it;' always remembering that there is a difference in innovations, between arts and civil affairs. In civil affairs, a change, even for the
Such was the state of his mind upon entering into public life at the commencement of the parliament, which assembled on the 19th of March, 1604, when, having already made some progress in the king's affections, he was returned both for St. Albans and for Ipswich, which borough he elected to represent; and, at this early period, so. great a favourite was he with the House, that some of the members proposed him as speaker.
On the 22d of March, the king first addressed the parliament, recommending to their consideration the union of the two kingdoms; the termination of religious discontents; and the improvement of the law.
Upon the return of the Commons to the Lower House, the storm commenced. Prayers had scarcely been ended, and the House settled, when one member proposed the immediate consideration of the general abuse and grievance of purveyors ;-the burden and servitude to the subjects of the kingdom, attendant upon the wardship of children;-the oppression of monopolies ;- the abuses of the Exchequer, and the dispensation of penal statutes. After this proposal, received by an expressive silence, another member called the attention of the House to what he termed three main grievances: the burden, charge, and vexation of the commissaries' courts ;-the suspension of learned and grave ministers for preaching against popish doctrine;-and depopulations by enclosure.
To consider these weighty subjects a select committee of the House was appointed, including Bacon as one of the members. This committee immediately entered upon their inquiries, and, so ready were the parties with their evidence, and so active the members in their proceedings, that on the 26th Bacon made his report to the House of the result of their investigations.
The political discontent, thus first manifested, increased yearly under the reign of James, and having brought his son to the scaffold, continued till the combustible matter was dispersed. "Cromwell," it was said, "became Protector, because the people of England were tired of kings, and Charles was restored because they were weary of Protectors." Such are the consequences of neglecting gradual reform.
During the whole of the conflicts in the commencement of this stormy session, Bacon's exertions were unremitting. He spoke in every debate. He sat upon twenty-nine committees, many of them appointed for the consideration of the important questions agitated at that eventful time