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wise than the general and infinite advantage of a queen and a mistress; nor any drift or device to win her majesty to any point or particular, that moveth you to send her these lines of your own mind. But first, and principally, gratitude; next a natural desire of, you will not say, the tedious remembrance, for you can hold nothing tedious, that hath been derived from her majesty; but the troubled and pensive remembrance of that which is past, of enjoying better times with her majesty, such as others have had, and that you have wanted. You cannot impute the difference to the continuance of time, which addeth nothing to her majesty but increase of virtue; but rather to your own misfortune or errors. Wherein nevertheless, if it were only question of your own endurances, though any strength never so good may be oppressed, yet you think you should have suffocated them, as you had often done, to the impairing of your health, and weighing down of your mind. But that, which indeed toucheth the quick, is that, whereas you accounted it the choice fruit of yourself to be a contentment and entertainment to her majesty's mind, you found many times to the contrary, that you were rather a disquiet to her, and a distaste.
Again, whereas in the course of her service, though. you confess the weakness of your own judgment, yet true zeal, not misled with any mercenary nor glorious respect, made you light sometimes upon the best and soundest counsels; you had reason to fear, that the distaste particular against yourself made her majesty farther off from accepting any of them from such a hand. So as you seemed, to your deep discomfort, to trouble her majesty's mind, and to foil her business; inconveniencies, which if you be minded as you ought, thankfulness should teach you to redeem with stepping down, nay throwing yourself down, from your own fortune. In which intricate case, finding no end of this former course, and therefore desirous to find the beginning of a new, you have not whither to resort, but unto the oracle of her majesty's direction. For though the true introduction ad tem
pora meliora be by an amnestia of that which is past, except it be in the sense, that the verse speaketh, Olim hæc meminisse juvabit, when tempests past are remembered in the calm; and that you do not doubt of her majesty's goodness in pardoning and obliterating any of your errors and mistakings heretofore; refreshing the memory and contemplations of your poor services, or any thing that hath been grateful to her majesty from you; yea, and somewhat of your sufferings, so though that be, yet you may be to seek for the time to come. For as you have determined your hope in a good hour, not willingly to offend her majesty, either in matter of court or state, but to depend absolutely upon her will and pleasure; so you do more doubt and mistrust your wit and insight in finding her majesty's mind, than your conformities and submission in obeying it; the rather, because you cannot but nourish a doubt in your breast, that her majesty, as princes hearts are inscrutable, hath many times towards you aliud in ore, et aliud in corde. So that you, that take her secundum literam, go many times farther out of your way.
Therefore your most humble suit to her majesty is, that she will vouchsafe you that approach to her heart and bosom et ad scrinium pectoris, plainly, for as much as concerneth yourself, to open and expound her mind towards you, suffering you to see clear what may have bred any dislike in her majesty; and in what points she would have you reform yourself; and how she would be served by you. Which done, you do assure her majesty, she shall be both at the be ginning and the ending of all, that you do, of that regard, as you may presume to impart to her majesty.
And so that hoping, that this may be an occasion of some farther serenity from her majesty towards you, you refer the rest to your actions, which may verify what you have written; as that you have written may interpret your actions, and the course you shall hereafter take.
Indorsed by Mr. Francis Bacon,
A letter framed for my lord of Essex to the queen.
TO MR. SECRETARY CECIL. (a)
It may please your Honour,
BECAUSE We live in an age, where every man's imperfections is but another's fable; and that there fell out an accident in the exchequer, which I know not how, nor how soon may be traduced, though I dare trust rumour in it, except it be malicious, or extreme partial; I am bold now to possess your honour, as one, that ever I found careful of my advancement, and yet more jealous of my wrongs, with the truth of that, which passed; deferring my farther request, until I may attend your honour: and so I continue
Your Honour's very humble
and particularly bounden,
Gray's Inn, this 24th of April, 1601.
A true remembrance of the abuse I received of Mr. Attorney General (b) publicly in the exchequer the first day of term; for the truth whereof I refer myself to all that were present.
I MOVED to have a reseizure of the lands of George More, a relapsed recusant, a fugitive, and a practising traitor; and shewed better matter for the queen against the discharge by plea, which is ever with a salvo jure. And this I did in as gentle and reasonable terms as might be.
Mr. Attorney kindled at it, and said, "Mr. Bacon, "if you have any tooth against me, pluck it out; "for it will do you more hurt than all the teeth in
(a) From the Hatfield collection.
(b) Edward Coke, knighted by king James at Greenwich in 1603; and made lord chief justice of the common pleas, 30 June,
your head will do you good." I answered coldly in these very words; "Mr. Attorney, I respect you: "I fear you not: and the less you speak of your own greatness, the more I will think of it."
He replied, "I think scorn to stand upon terms "of greatness towards you, who are less than little; "less than the least;" and other such strange light terms he gave me, with that insulting, which cannot be expressed.
Herewith stirred, yet I said no more but this: "Mr. Attorney, do not depress me so far; for I have "been your better, and may be again, when it please "the queen.
With this he spake, neither I nor himself could tell what, as if he had been born attorney general: and in the end bade me not meddle with the queen's business, but with mine own; and that I was unsworn, &c. I told him, sworn or unsworn was all one to an honest man; and that I ever set my service first, and myself second; and wished to God, that he would do the like.
Then he said, it were good to clap a cap. utlegatum upon my back! To which I only said he could not; and that he was at a fault; for he hunted upon an old
He gave me a number of disgraceful words besides; which I answered with silence, and shewing, that I was not moved with them.
TO ROBERT, LORD CECIL. (a)
It may please your good Lordship,
say late thanks are ever best. But the reason was, I thought to have seen your lordship ere this. Howsoever I shall never forget this your last favour amongst others; and it grieveth me not a little, that I find myself of no use to such an honourable and kind friend.
(a) From the Hatfield collection.
For that matter, I think I shall desire your assist ance for the punishment of the contempt; not that I would use the privilege in future time, but because I would not have the dignity of the king's service prejudiced in my instance. But herein I will be ruled by your lordship.
It is fit likewise, though much against my mind, that I let your lordship know, that I shall not be able to pay the money within the time by your lordship undertaken, which was a fortnight. Nay, money find so hard to come by at this time, as I thought to have become an humble suitor to your honour to have sustained me with your credit for the present from urgent debts with taking up 3001. till I can put away some land. But I am so forward with some sales, as this request, I hope, I may forbear.
For my estate, because your honour hath care of it, it is thus: I shall be able with selling the skirts of my living in Hertfordshire, (b) to preserve the body; and to leave myself, being clearly out of debt, and having some money in my pocket, 3001. land per annum, with a fair house, and the ground well timbered. This is now my labour.
For my purpose or course, I desire to meddle as little as I can in the king's causes, his majesty now abounding in council; and to follow my private thrift and practice, and to marry with some convenient advancement. For as for any ambition, I do assure your honour, mine is quenched. In the queen's, my excellent mistress's, time, the quorum was small: her service was a kind of freehold, and it was a more solemn time. All those points agreed with my nature and judgment. My ambition now I shall only put upon my pen, whereby I shall be able to maintain memory and merit of the times succeeding.
Lastly, for this divulged and almost prostituted title of knighthood, I could without charge, by your honour's mean, be content to have it, both because of this late disgrace, and because I have three new