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yers (which are the literæ vocales of the house) that they may furder the King's causes, or at least fear to oppose them.
7. What course may be taken for the drawing of that body of the house which consisteth of citizens and burgesses of corporations to be well affected to the K's business.
8. What course may be taken for the drawing of that great body of the house which consisteth of Justices of the peace and gentlemen of the country to be well affected to the K's business.
9. What course may be taken for the drawing of that body of the house which consisteth of courtiers and the K's servants to be as they have ever in former times (except the last Parliament) used to be, that is, sure and zealous for the K. and not (as they were then) fearful or popular.
10. What course may be taken with that combined body, being extracted of all the former sorts, which made the popular party last Parliament, for the severing of them, intimidating of them, or holding them in hopes, or the like, whereby they may be dissolved, or weakened, or won. 11. What course may be held to ingage and assure the Judges in omnem eventum, for any points of law or right which may be foreseen as likely to come in question in Parliament. 12. What persons in particular, in respect of their gravity, dis
cretion, temper, and ability to persuade, are fit to be brought in to be of the house, bonis artibus, without labouring or packing.
What persons in particular, as violent and turbulent, are fit to be kept back from being of the house, bonis artibus, without labouring or packing.
13. What use may be made of the Boroughs of the Cinq Ports,
and of the Duchy, and other boroughs at the devotion of diverse the K's counsellors, for the placing persons well
affected and discreet.
14. What use may be made of the unlawful custom and abuse, forl the sending up and returning of blanques, which if it be restrained perchance it may stumble many a one's entrance that think themselves assured of places.
[15.] What course may be taken that though the K. do use
1 So MS.
such providence as is before remembered and leave not things to chance, yet it may be so handled as it may have no shew nor scandal nor nature of the packing or briguing of a Parliament, but contrariwise that it tendeth to have a Parliament truly free and not packed against him.
16. To this purpose what course may be taken to make men
perceive that it is not safe [to] combine and make parties. in Parliament, but that men be left to their consciences and free votes.
17. To let men perceive that a guard and eye is had by his M. that there be no infusions as were last Parliament from great persons, but that all proceeding be truly free.
18. To consider whether it be fit to strengthen the lower house with any Counsellors of estate, and whether it will do good.
[19.] To consider whether it will be fit to steer the K's business
as it was last time by conferences with the upper house, which will be hard to do now the Treasurer is gone, who had a kind of party in both houses.
20. To consider of the time fit to hold a Parliament, and to take such a course as it be not held over long, but rather that men take notice of a resolution in his M. not to hold it above such a time.
To consider of a fit speaker for the lower house.
Such were the questions which had to be considered. The answers which he was prepared to give to them at this time were not set down; or if they were, the record has not survived for us. But so much as he was then ready to offer in the shape of practical advice he proceeded to explain in a confidential letter addressed to the King himself.
TO THE KING.1
It may please your excellent Majesty,
Before your Majesty resolve with your Counsel concerning a Parliament, mine incessant care and infinite desire that your Majesty's affairs may go well have made me in the case of Elihu, who though he was the inferior amongst Job's counsellors, yet
1 Cott. MSS. Tit. F. iv., fo. 332. Very fairly written in the Roman hand of one of Bacon's men. Signed by Bacon himself. No date, docket, or address.
saith of himself that he was like a vessel of new wine, that could not but burst forth in uttering his opinion. And this which I shall write I humbly pray your Majesty may be to yourself in private. Not that I shall ever say that in your Majesty's ear which I will be either ashamed or afraid to speak openly; but because perhaps it might be said to me after the manner of the censure of Themistocles, 'Sir, your words require a city ;' so to me: 'You forerun: your words require a greater place.' Yet because the opportunity of your Majesty's so urgent occasion flieth away, I take myself sufficiently warranted by the place I hold, joined with your Majesty's particular trust and favour to write these lines to your Majesty in private.
The matter of Parliament is a great problem of estate, and deserveth apprehensions and doubts. But yet I pray your Majesty remember that saying, Qui timide rogat docet negare. For I am still of the opinion (which I touched in general in my former letter to your Majesty), that above all things your Majesty should not descend below yourself; and that those tragical arguments and (as the schoolmen call them) ultimities of persuasions which were used last Parliament should for ever be abolished, and that your Majesty should proceed with your Parliament in a more familiar, but yet a more princely manner.
All therefore which I shall say shall be reduced to two heads. First, that the good or evil effect like to ensue of a Parliament resteth much upon the course which your Majesty shall be pleased to hold with your Parliament; and that a Parliament simply in itself is not to be doubted. Secondly, what is the course which I would advise were held, as safest from inconvenience, and most effectual and likely to prevail.
In both which parts your Majesty will give me leave to write not curiously, but briefly; for I desire that what I write in this argument may be nihil minus quam verba.
For the first my reasons are :—
1. I do not find since the last Parliament any new action of estate amongst your Majesty's proceedings that hath been harsh or distasteful: and therefore seeing the old grievances (having 1 18 Sept. 1612. See p. 313.
been long broached) cannot but wax dead and flat, and that there hath been no new matter either to rub up and revive the old or to give other cause of discontent, I think the case much amended to your Majesty's advantage. It is true there have been privy seals, but it is as true they were never so gently either rated or pressed. And besides, privy seals be ever thought rather an attractive than a repercussive to subsidies.
2. The justice upon my Lord Sanquir hath done your Majesty a great deal of right, showing that your Majesty is fixed in that resolution,
Tros Tyriusque mihi nullo discrimine agetur :
which certainly hath rectified the spleen-side, howsoever it is with the liver.
3. Let it not offend your Majesty if I say that the Earls of Salisbury and Dunbarrel have taken a great deal of envy from you and carried it into the other world, and left unto your Majesty a just liversion of many discontents.
4. That opposition which was the last Parliament to your Majesty's business, as much as was not ex puris naturalibus but out of party, I conceive to be now much weaker than it was, and that party almost dissolved. Yelverton is won; Sandes is fallen off; Crew and Hyde stand to be serjeants; Brocke is dead; Nevell hath hopes; Barkeley I think will be respective; Martin hath money in his purse; Dudley Digges and Holys are yours. Besides, they cannot but find more and more the vanity of that popular course; specially your Majesty having carried yourself in that princely temper towards them, as not to persecute or disgrace them, nor yet to use or advance them.
5. It was no marvel the last Parliament, men being possessed with a bargain, if it bred in them an indisposition to give; both because the breaking left a kind of discontent, and besides Bargain and Gift are antitheta, as the Apostle speaketh of Grace and Works; and howsoever they distinguished Supply and Support in words, yet they were commixed in men's hearts, and the entertaining of the thoughts of the one did cross and was a disturbance and impediment to the other.
1 "Ex hujus morte magna lætitia ad totam Scotiam pervenit; nullus gemitus, nullus fletus, nisi filiæ et generi." Johnstone, Rer. Brit. Hist. p. 497.
6. Lastly, I cannot excuse him that is gone of an artificial animating of the Negative; which infusion or influence now ceasing I have better hope.
For the course I wish to be held, I most humbly beseech your Majesty to pardon the liberty and simplicity which I shall use. I shall distribute that which I am to say into four propositions. The first is
1. That your Majesty do for this Parliament put off the person of a merchant and contractor, and rest upon the person of a King. Certainly when I heard the overtures last Parliament carried in such a strange figure and idea, as if your Majesty should no more (for matter of profit) have needed your subjects' help, nor your subjects in that kind should no more have needed your graces and benignity, methought, besides the difficulty (in next degree to an impossibility), it was animalis sapientia, and almost contrary to the very frame of a monarchy, and those original obligations which it is God's will should intercede between King and people.
Besides, as things now stand, your Majesty hath received infinite prejudice by the consequence of the new Instructions for the Court of Wards: for now it is almost made public that the profits of the Wards being husbanded to the best improvement' (which is utterly untrue) yet amounteth to a small matter; and so the substance of your bargain extremely disvalued.
2. My second proposition is that your Majesty make this Parliament but as a coup d'essay, and accordingly that your Majesty proportion your demands and expectation. For as things were managed last Parliament, we are in that case, optima disciplina mala dediscere. Until your Majesty have tuned your instrument you will have no harmony. I, for my part, think it a thing inestimable to your Majesty's safety and service, that you once part with your Parliament with love and reverence. The proportions I will not now descend unto; but if the payments may be quickened, there is much gotten.
And if it be said, his Majesty's occasions will not endure these proceedings gradatim; yes, surely. Nay I am of opinion that what is to be done for his Majesty's good, as well by the improvement of his own as by the aid of his people, it must be
1 See p. 361, where the improvement is set down as 20,000l.