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LETTERS IN THE REIGN OF QUEEN ELIZABETH.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR GOOD Lordships,
I AM sorry the joint masque from the four inns of court faileth; wherein I conceive there is no other ground of that event but impossibility. Nevertheless, because it falleth out that at this time Gray's Inn is well furnished of gallant young gentlemen, your lordship may be pleased to know that rather than this occasion shall pass without some demonstration of affection from the inns of court, there are a dozen gentlemen of Gray's Inn, that out of the honour which they bear to your lordship and my lord chamberlain, to whom at their last masque they were so much bounden, will be ready to furnish a masque; wishing it were in their power to perform it according to their mind. And so for the present I humbly take my leave, resting,
Your Lordship's very humble and much bounden,
II. A LETTER OF CEREMONY TO QUEEN
which is, a mind in all humbleness to wait upon your commandments and business: wherein I would to God, that I were hooded, that I saw less; or that I could perform more: for now I am like a hawk, that bates, when I see occasion of service, but cannot fly, because I am tied to another's fist. But meanwhile, I continue my presumption of making to your Majesty my poor oblation of a garment; as unworthy the wearing, as his service that sends it, but the approach to your excellent person may give worth to both; which is all the happiness I aspire unto.
IV. TO THE QUEEN.S
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR SACRED MAJESTY,
I WOULD not fail to give your Majesty my most humble and due thanks, for your royal choice of such commissioners in the great star-chamber cause; being persons, besides their honour, of such science and integrity by whose report I doubt not but your Majesty will find that, which you have been heretofore informed, both by my lord keeper, and by some much meaner person, touching the nature of that IT MAY PLEASE YOUR SACRED MAJESTY, cause, to be true. This preparatory hearing doth ACCORDING to the ceremony of the time, I would already assail me, with new and enlarged offers of not forget, in all humbleness, to present your Ma- composition; which if I had borne a mind to have jesty with a small new-year's gift: nothing to my hearkened unto, this matter had been quenched long mind. And therefore to supply it, I cannot but ago, without any benefit to your Majesty. But your pray to God to give your Majesty his new-year's Majesty's benefit is to me in greater regard than gift; that is, a new year that shall be as no year to mine own particular: trusting to your Majesty's your body, and as a year with two harvests to your gracious disposition and royal word, that your Macoffers; and every other way prosperous and glad-jesty will include me in any extraordinary course of
And so I remain,
your sovereign pleasure, which your Majesty shall like to take in this cause. The other man, I spoke to your Majesty of, may, within these two terms, be in the same straits, between your Majesty's justice and mercy, that this man now is, if your Majesty be so pleased. So most humbly craving pardon for my presuming to seek access for these few lines, I recommend your Majesty to the most precious custody and best preservation of the Divine Majesty.
Your Majesty's most humble, and entirely obe dient servant and subject.
V. TO THE QUEEN.*
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENT MAJESTY, I PRESUME according to the ceremony and good manner of the time and my accustomed duty, in all humbleness, to present your Majesty with a simple gift; almost as far from answering my mind, as sorting with your greatness; and therewith wish, that we may continue to reckon on, and ever, your Majesty's happy years of reign and they that reckon upon any other hopes, I would they might reckon short and to their cost. And so craving par- | don most humbly, I commend your Majesty to the preservation of the divine goodness.
VI. TO THE QUEEN.†
and faithful devotion unto your service, and your honourable correspondence unto me and my poor estate can breed in a man, do I commend myself unto your lordship. I wax now somewhat ancient; one and thirty years is a great deal of sand in the hour-glass. My health, I thank God, I find confirmed; and I do not fear that action shall impair it; because I account my ordinary course of study and meditation to be more painful than most parts of action are. I ever bare a mind, in some middle place that I could discharge, to serve her Majesty; not as a man born under Sol, that loveth honour; nor under Jupiter, that loveth business, for the contemplative planet carrieth me away wholly but as a man born under an excellent sovereign, that deserveth the dedication of all men's abilities. Besides I do not find in myself so much self-love, but that the greater part of my thoughts are to deserve well, if I were able, of my friends, and namely of your lordship; who being the atlas of this commonIT MAY PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENT MAJESTY, wealth, the honour of my house, and the second I MOST humbly entreat your Majesty, not to im- founder of my poor estate, I am tied by all duties, pute my absence to any weakness of mind or un- both of a good patriot, and of an unworthy kinsman, worthiness. But, I assure your Majesty, I do find and of an obliged servant, to employ whatsoever I envy beating so strongly upon me, standing as I do, am to do you service. Again, the meanness of my if this be to stand, as it were not strength of mind, estate doth somewhat move me: for though I cannot but stupidity, if I should not decline the occasions; accuse myself, that I am either prodigal or slothful, except I could do your Majesty more service than yet my health is not to spend, nor my course to get. I can any ways discern that I am able to do. My Lastly, I confess that I have as vast contemplative course towards your Majesty, God is my witness, ends, as I have moderate civil ends: for I have hath been pure and unleavened; and never poor taken all knowledge to be my province; and if I gentleman, as I am persuaded, had a deeper and could purge it of two sorts of rovers, whereof the truer desire and care of your glory, your safety, one with frivolous disputations, confutations, and your repose of mind, your service: wherein, if I verbosities; the other with blind experiments and have exceeded my outward vocation, I most humbly auricular traditions and impostures, hath committed crave your Majesty's pardon for my presumption. so many spoils; I hope I should bring in indusOn the other side, if I have come short of my inward trious observations, grounded conclusions, and provocation, I most humbly crave God's pardon for fitable inventions and discoveries; the best state of quenching the Spirit. But in this mind I find such that province. This, whether it be curiosity, or solitude, and want of comfort, which I judge to be, vain-glory, or nature, or if one take it favourably, because I take duty too exactly, and not according philanthropia, is so fixed in my mind, as it cannot to the dregs of this age, wherein the old anthem be removed. And I do easily see that place of any might never be more truly sung, "Totus mundus in reasonable countenance doth bring commandment maligno positus est." My life hath been threatened, of more wits than of a man's own; which is the and my name libelled, which I count an honour. thing I greatly affect. And for your lordship, perBut these are the practices of those whose despairs haps you shall not find more strength and less enare dangerous, but yet not so dangerous as their counter in any other. And if your lordship shall hopes; or else the devices of some, that would put | find now or at any time, that I do seek or affect any out all your Majesty's lights, and fall on reckoning place, whereunto any that is nearer unto your lordhow many years you have reigned; which I beseech ship shall be concurrent, say then that I am a most our blessed Saviour may be doubled, and that I may dishonest man. And if your lordship will not carry never live to see any eclipse of your glory, inter- me on, I will not do as Anaxagoras did, who reduced ruption of safety, or indisposition of your person, himself with contemplation unto voluntary poverty: which I commend to the Divine Majesty, who keep but this I will do, I will sell the inheritance that I you and fortify you. have, and purchase some lease of quick revenue, or some office of gain, that shall be executed by deputy, and so give over all care of service, and become some sorry book-maker, or a true pioneer in that mine of truth, which, he said, lay so deep. This
This seems to refer to the earl of Essex, 1600.
VII. TO MY LORD TREASURER BURGHLEY. which I have writ unto your lordship, is rather
thoughts than words, being set down without all art, disguising, or reservation: wherein I have done honour both to your lordship's wisdom, in judging that that will be best believed of your lordship which
is truest; and to your lordship's good nature in retaining nothing from you. And even so, I wish your lordship all happiness, and to myself means and occasion to be added to my faithful desire to do you service.
From my lodging at Gray's Inn.
VIII. TO THE LORD TREASURER
MY SINGULAR GOOD LORD,
than humble thanks for the same and withal,
Your lordship's, &c.
YOUR lordship's comfortable relation of her Majesty's gracious opinion and meaning towards me, though at that time your leisure gave me not leave to show how I was affected therewith; yet upon every representation thereof it entereth and striketh more deeply into me, as both my nature and duty presseth me to return some speech of thankfulness. It must be an exceeding comfort and encouragement to me, setting forth and putting myself in way towards her Majesty's service, to encounter with an example so private and domestical, of her Majesty's gracious goodness and benignity; being made good and verified in my father, so far forth, as it extendeth to his posterity: accepting them as commended by his service, during the non-age, as I may term it, of their own deserts. I, for my part, am very well content, that I take least part, either of his abilities of mind, or of his worldly advancement both which he held and received, the one of the gift of God immediately, the other of her Majesty's gift: yet in the loyal and earnest affection which he bare to her Majesty's service, I trust my portion shall not be with the least; nor in proportion with the youngest birth. For methinks his precedent should be a silent charge, upon his blessing, unto us all, in our degrees, to follow him afar off, and to dedicate unto her Majesty's service both the use and spending of our lives. True it is, that I must needs acknowledge myself prepared and furnished thereunto with nothing but with a multitude of I AM to give you humble thanks for your favourlacks and imperfections; but calling to mind how able opinion, which, by Mr. Secretary's report I diversly, and in what particular providence God hath | find you conceive of me, for the obtaining of a good declared himself to tender the state of her Majesty's place, which some of my honourable friends have affairs, I conceive and gather hope, that those whom wished unto me nec opinanti. I will use no reahe bath in a manner pressed for her Majesty's ser- son to persuade your lordship's mediation, but this, vice, by working and imprinting in them a single that your lordship, and my other friends, shall in and zealous mind to bestow their duties therein; he this beg my life of the queen; for I see well the will see them accordingly appointed of sufficiency bar will be my bier, as I must and will use it, rather convenient for the rank and standing where they than my poor estate or reputation shall decay. But shall be employed: so as, under this her Majesty's I stand indifferent whether God call me, or her Mablessing, I trust to receive a larger allowance of jesty. Had I that in possession, which by your God's graces. And as I may hope for this, so I can lordship's only means, against the greatest opposiassure and promise for my endeavour, that it shall tion, her Majesty granted me, I would never trouble not be in fault; but what diligence can entitle me her Majesty, but serve her still voluntarily without unto, that I doubt not to recover. And now seeing pay. Neither do I, in this, more than obey my it hath pleased her Majesty to take knowledge of friends' conceits, as one that would not be wholly this my mind, and to vouchsafe to appropriate me wanting to myself. Your lordship's good opinion unto her service, preventing any desert of mine with doth somewhat confirm me, as that I take comfort her princely liberality; first, I humbly do beseech in above all others; assuring your lordship, that I your lordship, to present to her Majesty my more never thought so well of myself for any one thing, Rawley's Resuscitatio. Rawley's Resuscitatio.
IX. TO THE LORD TREASURER BURGHLEY.†
as that I have found a fitness to my thinking, in | title, a principal owner and proprietor of that, I canmyself to observe and revere your virtues: for the not call, talent, but mite, that God hath given me ; continuance whereof, in the prolonging of your which I ever do and shall devote to your service. days, I will still be your beadsman; and accordingly, And in like humble manner, I pray your lordship at this time, commend your lordship to the divine to pardon mine errors, and not to impute unto protection. me the errors of any other, which I know also themselves have by this time left and forethought, but to conceive of me to be a man that daily profiteth in duty. It is true I do in part comfort
X. TO THE LORD TREASURER BURGHLEY.* myself, supposing that it is my weakness and in
MOST HONOURABLE AND MY VERY GOOD lord, I KNOW I may commit an error in writing this letter, both in a time of great and weighty business, as also when myself am not induced thereto by any new particular occasion; and therefore your lordship may impute to me either levity, or ignorance what appertaineth to good respects and forwardness of dealing, especially to an honourable person, in whom there is such concurrence of "magnitudo honoris et oneris," as it is hard to say whether is the greater. But I answer myself first, that I have ever noted it as a part of your lordship's excellent wisdom, "parvis componere magna; "that you do not exclude inferior matters of access, amongst the care of great. And for myself, I thought it would better manifest what I desire to express, if I did write out of a deep and settled consideration of my own duty, rather than upon the spur of a particular occasion and therefore, my singular good lord, abundantia cordis," I must acknowledge how greatly diversly your lordship hath vouchsafed to tie me unto you by many your benefits. The reversion of the office which your lordship only procured unto me, and carried through great and vehement opposition, though it yet bear no fruit, yet it is one of the fairest flowers of my poor estate; your lordship's constant and serious endeavours to have me solicitor; your late honourable wishes for the place of the wards; together with your lordship's attempt to give me way by the remove of Mr. Solicitor; they be matters of singular obligation: besides many other favours, as well by your lordship's grants from yourself, as by your commendation to others, which I have had for my help; and may justly persuade myself, out of the few denials I have received that fewer might have been, if mine own industry and good hap had been answerable to your lordship's goodness. But, on the other side, I most humbly pray your lordship's pardon if I speak it; the time is yet to come that your lordship did ever use, or command, or employ me, in my profession, in any services or occasions of your lordship's own, or such as are near unto your lordship; which hath made me fear sometimes, that your lordship doth more honourably affect me, than thoroughly discern of my most humble and dutiful affection to your lordship again which if it were not in me, I knew not whether I were unnatural, unthankful, or unwise. This causeth me most humbly to pray your lordship, and I know mine own case too well, to speak it as weening I can do your lordship service, but as willing to do it, as, to believe, that your lordship is upon just * Rawley's Resuscitatio.
sufficiency that moveth your lordship, who hath so general a command, to use others more able. But let it be as it is, for duty only and homage I will boldly undertake, that nature and true thankfulness shall never give place to a politic dependence. Lastly, I most humbly desire your lordship to continue unto me the good favour, and countenance, and encouragement, in the course of my poor travails, whereof I have had some taste and experience; for the which I yield your lordship my very humble good thanks. And so again, craving your honour's pardon for so long a letter, carrying so empty an offer of so impuissant a service, but yet a true and unfeigned signification of an honest and vowed duty; I cease, commending your lordship to the preservation of the Divine Majesty.
XI. A LETTER TO THE LORD TREASURER BURGHLEY, IN EXCUSE OF HIS SPEECH IN PARLIAMENT AGAINST THE TRIPLE SUBSIDY.+
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR LORDSHIP,
I WAS sorry to find, by your lordship's speech yesterday, that my last speech in parliament, delivered in discharge of my conscience, and duty to God, her Majesty, and my country, was offensive. If it were misreported, I would be glad to attend your lordship to disavow any thing I said not; if it were misconstrued, I would be glad to expound myself, to exclude any sense I meant not. If my heart be misjudged by imputation of popularity or opposition, by any envious or officious informer, I have great wrong; and the greater, because the manner of my speech did most evidently show, that I spake simply and only to satisfy my conscience, and not with any advantage, or policy to sway the cause : and my terms carried all signification of duty and zeal towards her Majesty and her service. It is true, that from the beginning, whatsoever was above a double subsidy, I did wish might, for precedent's sake, appear to be extraordinary, and, for discontent's sake, might not have been levied upon the poorer sort though otherwise, I wished it as rising as I think this will prove, and more. This was my mind, I confess it: and therefore I most humbly pray your good lordship, first, to continue me in your own good opinion : and then to perform the part of an honourable friend towards your poor servant and alliance, in drawing her Majesty to accept of the sincerity and simplicity of my heart, and to bear Rawley's Resuscitatio.
with the rest, and restore me to her Majesty's good | nary advantage. I wish your lordship all honour favour, which is to me dearer than my life. And and happiness; and rest, so, &c.
Your lordship's most humble in all duty. 1593, April.
XII. TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE HIS VERY
MY VERY GOOD LORD,
I WAS wished to be here ready in expectation of some good effect; and therefore I commend my fortune to your lordship's kind and honourable furtherance. My affection inclineth me to be much [your] lordship's, and my course and way, in all reason and policy for myself, leadeth me to the same dependence: hereunto if there shall be join'd your lordship's obligation in dealing strongly for me as you have begun, no man can be more yours. A timorous man is every body's, and a covetous man is his own. But if your lordship consider my nature, my course, my friends, my opinion with her Majesty, if this eclipse of her favour were past, I hope you will think, I am no unlikely piece of wood to shape you a true servant of. My present thankfulness shall be as much as I have said. I humbly take my leave.
Your lordship's true humble servant,
From Greenwich this
XIII. TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE MY
Your lordship's very assured,
Greenwich, this 14th of January, [1594.]
My lord of Essex for Mr. Fran. Bacon to be solicitor.
XIV. TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE HIS
MY VERY GOOD LORD,
SIR Thomas Egerton failing of your lordship, being newly gone, sent his letter to me to see conveyed unto you, which I send enclosed; desiring your lordship, according to your kind affection, to make the best use thereof for my fartherance. And I pray your lordship to call to remembrance my lord treasurer's kind course, who affirmed directly all the rest to be unfit. And because vis unita fortior, I pray your lordship to take a time with the queen when my lord treasurer is present. Thus in hope to-morrow will bring forth some good effect, I rest, Your lordship's in all humble duty and service, FR. BACON.
XV. TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE, &c.
MY VERY GOOD LORD,
BECAUSE I understand your lordship remaineth at court till this day, and that my lord of Essex writeth to me, that his lordship cometh to London, I thought good to remember your lordship, and to request you, as I touched in my last, that if my lord treasurer be absent, your lordship would forbear to fall into my business with her Majesty, lest it might receive some foil before the time, when it should be resolutely dealt in. And so commending myself to your good favour, I most humbly take my leave. Your lordship's in all humble duty and service, FR. BACON.
I HAVE, since I spake with your lordship, pleaded to the queen against herself for the injury she doth Mr. Bacon in delaying him so long, and the unkindness she doth me in granting no better expedition in a suit which I have followed so long, and so affectionately. And though I find that she makes some difficulty, to have the more thanks, yet I do assure myself she is resolved to make him. I do write this not to solicit your lordship to stand firm in assisting me, because, I know, you hold yourself already tied by your affection to Mr. Bacon, and by your promise to me; but to acquaint your lordship XVI. EARL OF ESSEX TO LORD KEEPER
of my resolution to set up my rest, and employ my uttermost strength to get him placed before the term: so as I beseech your lordship think of no temporizing course, for I shall think the queen deals unkindly with me, if she do not both give him the place, and give it with favour and some extraordi
Harl. MSS. Vol. 6997. No. 20.
+ Ibid. No. 87.
From Gray's-Inn this
My short stay at the court made me fail of speaking with your lordship; therefore I must write that which myself had told you; that is, that your lord§ Ibid. No. 50.
Harl. MSS. Vol. 6996. No. 52.