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self-neglect, to the service of his country, that he gained a reputation for contempt of riches, which would have been highly reverenced in the best times of antiquity; and will go near, in these days, to be thought either folly or frenzy.
The lord treasurer Burleigh, for his consummate abilities as a statesman, was reckoned the first name of his age and is still pointed out as a pattern, which we rather wish, than expect, to see fully copied by his successors in power. As he had strong. natural parts, and was of unwearied application to business, his experience must have been universal and unequalled; for he was at the head of the government almost forty years. He seems, in particular, to have been eminently possessed of that intrepidity of head, that civil courage, so necessary in a great minister: and without which no minister will ever do any thing truly noble, or of lasting utility to mankind. Inviolably attached to his mistress, he served her with equal fidelity and success; and had the singular felicity to promote the good of his country by the same arts that he employed to gratify the inclinations of his sovereign.
The glory of this princess will receive a new lustre by comparing the state of England with that of almost all other nations in Europe, at the same time. It must have been no common addition to the tranquillity and happiness of our ancestors, that they enjoyed both uninterrupted, for such a length of years; while, Scotland and France, Spain and Holland, were torn with continual divisions, and bleeding by the wounds of foreign and domestic wars. Her's too was the age of heroes both in arts and arms.. Great captains, able statesmen, writers of the highest order arose, and under her influence flourished together. Thus Bacon had all the incentives that could kindle him up to a generous ambition, and quicken his emulation in the pursuit of knowledge and honest fame. And indeed his letters remain a proof, that if he courted the proper opportunities of raising his name, he lost none that might
improve and enlarge his mind. As the lord treasurer Bacon, had married his aunt, we find him frequent in his Vol. V. applications to that minister for some place of credit and service in the state. He professes too, that his views on this head are as moderate, as his aims another way are ambitious and vast; for that he hath taken all philosophy for his province. My lord Burleigh interested himself so far on his behalf as to procure for him, against violent opposition, the office of register to the Star-chamber, worth about 16001. a year but it was only in reversion, and did not fall to him till near twenty years afterwards. Neither did he obtain any other preferment all this reign: though his winning address, his eloquence, his large and systematical learning had raised him to the admiration of the greatest men at court. He was particularly esteemed and patronized by Robert Devereux, the famous and unfortunate earl of Essex; to whom he attached himself in his younger years, and by whose interest in the queen he flattered himself with the prospect of bettering his condition. Elizabeth herself shewed him several marks of distinction, admitted him often to her presence, and even consulted him on the state of her affairs: as her ministers sometimes made use of his pen in the vindication of her government. And yet, notwithstanding these fair appearances, he met with no preferment from that queen answerable to the idea: we have of his merit, or her discernment in the distribution of favours. This deserves some expla, nation; as it will discover to us the true genius of those ministers, who pretending to merit themselves, are jealous of it in all other men who are equally
poor-spirited and aspiring.
The whole court was at this time rent into factions, headed on one part by the earl of Essex; on: the other by the Cecils, father and son. Essex was then in all the flower of his youth, and remarkable. for the gracefulness of his person. In his nature brave, ambitious, popular: and what is uncommon, at once the favourite of the sovereign and of the
nation. Fond of military glory; liberal to profusion; devoted intirely to his friends, and keeping no measures with his enemies; of competent learning himself, and a signal benefactor to learned men. One quality he had, which distinguishes him eminently from such as are personally beloved by princes: in the height of his favour he received the admonitions, the remonstrances of his friends with all gentleness; and was ever most patient of the truth. But then he wanted those arts which are most necessary in a courtier; and are indeed the only qualities which the rabble of courtiers value themselves upon; circumspection, cunning, affectation of secrecy, with a servile obsequiousness to the humours of their superiors, and a mean but anxious attention to their own interest, whether at the expence of their patrons, or of their country. A different turn of mind gave the earl's enemies great advantages against him. They failed not to represent to the queen, on several occasions, that this young lord, not satisfied with the distinction of being her favourite, pretended to be her master; and prescribed to her judgment on affairs of state, with a haughtiness ill becoming the distance betwixt a sovereign and the creature of her bounty. Such insinuations, as they were partly true, could not fail of making an impression on Elizabeth, who was naturally high-spirited, and infinitely jealous of her authority. Though she had a particular fondness for the earl, she took occasion every now and then to mortify his pride, by refusing to advance those friends of his whom he recommended for preferment. After his return from the expédition to Cadiz, in which he had behaved himself with much gallantry, she raised his enemy, Sir Robert Cecil, to be secretary of state; though he had earnestly solicited that post for another. He had often applied to her in behalf of Bacon, and asked for him, with all the warmth of friendship, the place of Solicitor General, but had been always refused. Cecil, who mortally hated Essex, and had entertained a secret jealousy of Bacon; on account
of his superior talents, represented the latter to the queen as a man of mere speculation; as one wholly given up to philosophical inquiries, new indeed and amusing, but fanciful and unsolid: and therefore more likely to distract her affairs, than to serve her usefully and with proper judgment. Bacon however was this man's cousin-german; his father and the lord Burleigh having married two sisters: but ambition knows neither merit nor relation. This unworthy treatment from so near a kinsman carried Bacon into very free expostulations on his courtly artifices, as he endeavoured in secret to crush the man whom yet he pretended openly to serve: and these repeated disappointments sunk so deep into his spirit, that he was several times on the point of retiring for ever, and even of hiding his grief and resentment in some foreign country. Essex, who could but ill brook the mortification of a denial, finding himself unable to serve his friend in a public way, would needs make up the loss to him out of his own private fortune and if we may believe Bushell, he bestowed upon him about this time Bushel's Twickenham-Park and its garden of Paradise. Whe- abridg. ther it was that or some other of his lands, the post. p. 1. donation was so very considerable, that Bacon, as himself acknowledges in his Apology, sold it afterwards, even at an under price, for no less than eighteen hundred pounds. A bounty so noble, accompanied too, as we know it was, with all those agreeable distinctions that to a mind, delicately sensible, are more obliging than the bounty itself, must kindle in the breast of a good man the most ardent sentiments of gratitude, and create an inviolable attachment to such a benefactor. What then are we to think of Bacon, when we find him, after this nobleman's unhappy fate, publishing to all England a Declaration of the treasons of Robert earl of Essex? This behaviour drew upon him a heavy - and general hatred at that time; which was not extinguished even by his death, but continues still, in the writings of more than one historian, an im
Mem. of Q. Eliz. p. 458.
putation on his memory. As this transaction is of importance to his moral character, I will lay it before the reader as impartially as I can.
Elizabeth had raised that young lord, through a series of honours, to be earl Marshal of England: and was every day giving him new proofs of a particular and uncommon esteem. This only served to exasperate his enemies. They were powerful, and closely united. But as they durst not attack him openly, they had recourse to dark and surer arts of vengeance; against which his openness of temper, unsuspecting and improvident, was no wise guarded. In truth, his imperious humour, which he could seldom disguise, aided their designs; for it often broke forth into downright abuse and scorn of those who thwarted his projects, or dissented from his opinions and he once, in some dispute with the Queen herself, turned his back abruptly upon her with all the marks of disrespect and contempt. Provoked at this insolence, Elizabeth forgetting her sex, and the dignity of her character, struck the earl a box on the ear; which he on his part, with a meanness of passion yet less excusable in a man, resented so highly as to lay his hand on his sword, against a woman and his sovereign. No subsequent favour could wear this imaginary affront out of his memory; though she pardoned him the insult that occasioned it, and sent him shortly after into Ireland, as her vicegerent, with a commission almost unlimited. His conduct there has not escaped the censure of historians, who have remarked severely on the unjustifiable treaty he made with the arch-rebel Tyrone, on the private conference they held together, and on his precipitate return to England, against the queen's express orders. This last ill step he was betrayed into, if we may believe Osborn, by an artifice of Cecil: who first inflamed Elizabeth's suspicions of the carl, and then stopped all vessels that were to sail for Ireland, except one, which he ordered thither on purpose with a feigned report of her death. Fatally deceived by this intelligence,