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THE LIFE OF
SIR FRANCIS BACON.
RANCIS BACON was the youngest
fon of Sir Nicholas Bacon, lord-keeper, and afterwards lord high-chancellor, in the reign of queen Elizabeth, by his second wife, who was daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke, preceptor to Edward VI. Sir Nicholas appears to have been a man of wit as well as in. tegrity and learning ; for, when the queen, in a visit to him at his seat in Hertfordshire, told him, the thought his house too little for him; “ No, madam,” replied he, “ but your majesty has made me too great
house,' And his lady too was a woman of great learn. ing, having tranlated from the Latin bishop Jewel's Apology for the Church of England.
Their youngest son, Francis, was born at York-house, in the Strand, on the twenty-second of January, 1561; the brightness of whose parts began early to appear : infomuch that queen Elizabeth herself, while he was but a boy, took a particular delight in trying him with questions ; and received so much fatiffaction from the good sense and manliness of his answers, that she was wont to call him, in mirth, her young lord-keeper. Among others, The having one day asked him, how old he
was; he answered readily, “ Just two years younger than your majesty's happy reign."
His proficiency in learning was so rapid, that, in the twelfth year of his age, he was entered a student of Trinity.college, Cambridge; and went through all his courses there by the time he was fixteen ; when his father sent him to Paris, and recommended him to Sir Amias Powlet, then the queen's ambarlador in France, who took particular notice of him.
Whilst abroad, he did not spend his time, as our young gentlemen usually do, in learn. ing the vices, fopperies, and follies of foreigners; but in studying their conftitution of vernment and manners, and the characters and views of their princes and minifters; and, in the nineteenth year
he wrote a paper of observations on the then general state of Europe, which is still extant among his works.
On the twentieth of February, 1579, our young gentleman's father, Sir Nicholas Bacon, died, after having held the seals as keeper, or chancellor, for twenty years; but, as queen Elizabeth's reign was more remarkable for her minifters gaining honour than for their gaining riches, he left his fon Francis, who was the youngest of five, but a very small fortune ; fo that he was obliged to betake himself to the profession of the law for a fubfiftence: for which purpose he entered himself of Gray's. Ion, and soon became so eminent in that pro
fession, that, at the age of twenty-eight, he was appointed by queen Elizabeth her learned council extraordinary.
As Sir William Cecil, lord-treasurer to queen Elizabeth, afterwards lord Burleigh, had married our young gentleman's aunt, or mother's fifter, he frequently applied to him for some place of credit and service in the state; but Sir William never got any thing for him, except the reversion of the office of re. gifter to the Star.chamber, then reckoned worth one thousand fix hundred pounds a year, which did not fall to him till near twenty years afterwards; and, as he probably thought himself neglected by his uncle, he attached himself strongly to the earl of Eflex ; which of course made his uncle, and also his cousin, Sir Robert Cecil, his enemy; for, when the earl, a little before his fall, warmly follicited his being made follicitor-general, it was opposed by his cousin, Sir Robert, who represented him to the queen as a man of mere speculation, and more likely to distract her affairs than to serve her usefully and with judgment: and, as the earl found he could not serve him in this way, he gave him a re: compence out of his own estate, by making him a present of Twitenham-park and its garden of paradise.
Upon this unfortunate nobleman's fall, Mr. Bacon, as one of the queen's council, was employed by the crown, along with Sir Edward Coke, the attorney-general, to manage