« PreviousContinue »
present; whereby your Majesty may perceive, that this miscreant wretch goeth back from all, and denieth his hand and all. No doubt, being fully of belief, that he should go presently down to his trial, he meant now to repeat his part, which he purposed to play in the country, which was to deny all. But your Majesty in your wisdom perceiveth, that this denial of his hand, being not possible to be counterfeited, and to be sworn by Adams, and so oft by himself formerly confessed and admitted, could not mend his case before any jury in the world, but rather aggravateth it by his notorious impudency and falsehood, and will make him more odious. He never deceived me; for when others had hopes of discovery, and thought time well spent that way, I told your Majesty pereuntibus mille figure; and that he now did but turn himself into divers shapes, to save or delay his punishment. And therefore submitting myself to your Majesty's high wisdom, I think myself bound in conscience to put your Majesty in remembrance, whether Sir John Sydenham shall be detained upon this man's impeaching, in whom there is no truth. Notwithstanding, that farther inquiry be made of this other Peacham, and that information and light be taken from Mr. Poulet† and his servants, I hold it, as things are, necessary. God preserve your Majesty. Your Majesty's most humble and devoted subject
March 12, 1614.
Supplement of two passages omitted in the edition of SIR FRANCIS BACON's speech in the King's Bench, against OWEN,‡ as printed in his works. After the words [it is bottomless] in the paragraph beginning [For the reason itself, which is the second point &c.] add,
[I SAID in the beginning, that this treason in the nature of it was old. It is not of the treasons whereof it may be said from the beginning it was You are indicted, Owen, not upon any statute made against the pope's supremacy, or other matters, that have reference to religion; but merely upon that law, which was born with the kingdom, and was law even in superstitious times, when the pope was received. The compassing and imagining of the king's death was treason. The statute of the 25th of Edward III. which was but declaratory, begins with this article, as the capital of capitals in treason, and of all others the most odious and the most perilous.] And so the civil law, &c.
At the conclusion of his speech, after the words [the duke of Anjou, and the papists] add,
[As for subjects, I see not, or ever could discern, but that by infallible consequence, it is the case of all subjects and people, as well as of kings; for it is all one reason, that a bishop, upon an excommunication of a private man, may give his lands and goods in spoil, or cause him to be slaughtered, as FR. BACON. for the pope to do it towards a king; and for a bishop to absolve the son from duty to the father, as for the pope to absolve the subject from his allegiance to his king. And this is not my inference, but the very affirmative of pope Urban the second, who in a brief to Godfrey, bishop of Luca, hath these very words, which cardinal Baronius reciteth in his Annals, tom. xi. p. 802. "Non illos homicidas arbitramur, qui adversus excommunicatos zelo prosecute the trial." The event of this trial, which was on the 7th of August, appears from Mr. Chamberlain's letter of the 14th of that month, wherein it is said, that "seven knights were taken from the bench, and appointed to be of the jury. He defended himself very simply, but obstinately and doggedly enough. But his offence was so foul and scandalous, that he was condemned of high treason; yet not hitherto executed, nor perhaps shall be, if he have the grace to submit himself, and show some remorse.' He died, as appears from another letter of the 27th of March, 1616, in the jail at Taunton, where he was said to have "left behind a most wicked and desperate writing, worse than that he was convicted for."
of both his names, who was instituted into the vicarage of Ridge in Hertfordshire, July 22, 1581, and resigned it in 1587. [Newcourt, Repertor. Vol. 1. p. 864.] Mr. Peacham was committed to the Tower for inserting several treasonable passages in a sermon never preached, nor, as Mr. Justice Croke remarks in his Reports during the reign of king Charles I. p. 125, ever intended to be preached. Mr. Chamberlain, in a letter of the 9th of February, 1614-15, to Sir Dudley Carleton, mentions Mr. Peacham's having been "stretched already, though he be an old man, and they say, much above threescore: but they could wring nothing out of him more than they had at first in his papers. Yet the king is extremely incensed against him, and will have him prosecuted to the uttermost." In another letter dated February 23, we are informed, that the king, since his coming to London on the 15th, had had “the opinion of the judges severally in Peacham's case; and it is said, that most of them concur to find it treason; yet my lord chief justice [Coke] is for the contrary; and if the lord Hobart, that rides the western circuit, can be drawn to jump with his colleague, the chief baron, [Tanfield,] it is thought he shall be sent down to be tried, and trussed up in Somersetshire." In a letter of the 2nd of March, 1614-15, Mr. Chamberlain writes, "Peacham's trial at the western assizes is put off, and his journey stayed, though Sir Randall Crew, the king's serjeant, and Sir Henry Yelverton, the solicitor, were ready to go to horse to have waited on him there." "Peacham, the minister," adds he in a letter, of the 13th of July 1615, "that hath been this twelvemonth in the Tower, is sent down to be tried for treason in Somersetshire before the lord chief baron and Sir Henry Montagu the recorder. The lord Hobart gave over that circuit the last assizes. Sir Randall Crew, and Sir Henry Yelverton, the king's serjeant and solicitor, are sent down to
*He had been confronted about the end of February, or beginning of March, 1614-15, with Mr. Peacham, about certain speeches, which had formerly passed between them. MS. letter of Mr. Chamberlain to Sir Dudley Carleton, from London, March 2, 1614-15.
† John Poulet, Esq. knight of the shire for the county of Somerset in the parliament, which met April 5, 1614. He was created lord Poulet of Henton St. George, June 23, 1627. He was of the family of that name at Godstow in Oxfordshire. [Camdeni Annales Regis Jacobi I. p. 12.] He was a young man who had been in Spain; and was condemned at the king's bench, on Wednesday, May 17, 1615, "for divers most vile and traitorous speeches confessed and subscribed with his own hand; as, among others, that it was as lawful for any man to kill a king excommunicated, as for the hangman to execute a condemned person. He could say little for himself, or in maintenance of his desperate positions, but only that he meant it not by the king, and he holds him not excommunicate." MS. letter of Mr. Chamberlain to Sir Dudley Carleton, from London, May 20, 1615.
catholicæ matris ardentes eorum quoslibet trucidare | and to a house of such merit and reputation, as the contigeret," speaking generally of all excommuni- lord Norris is come from. And even so I remain, cations.] Your lordship's very loving friend, Sept. 20, 1615.
TO MR. MURRAY.
GOOD MR. MURRAY,
ACCORDING to his Majesty's pleasure by you signified unto me, we have attended my lord chancellor, my lord treasurer,‡ and Mr. Chancellor of the exchequer,§ concerning Sir Gilbert Houghton's patent stayed at the seal; and we have acquainted them with the grounds and state of the suit, to justify them, that it was just and beneficial to his Majesty. And for any thing we could perceive by any objection or reply they made, we left them in good opinion of the same, with this, that because my lord chancellor, by the advice as it seemeth of the other two, had acquainted the council-table, for so many as were then present, with that suit amongst others, they thought fit to stay till his Majesty's coming to town, being at hand, to understand his farther pleasure. We purpose upon his Majesty's coming, to attend his Majesty, to give him a more particular account of this business, and some other. Meanwhile, finding his Majesty to have care of the matter, we thought it our duty to return this answer to you in discharge of his Majesty's direction. We remain,
TO THE KING.¶
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENT MAJESTY, I RECEIVED this very day, in the forenoon, your Majesty's several directions touching your cause prosecuted by my lord Hunsdon as your farmer. Your first direction was by Sir Christopher Parkins, that the day appointed for the judicial sentence should hold and if my lord chief justice, upon my repair to him, should let me know, that he could not be present, then my lord chancellor should proceed, calling to him my lord Hobart, except he should be excepted to; and then some other judge by consent. For the latter part of this your direction, I suppose, there would have been no difficulty in admitting my lord Hobart; for after he had assisted at so many hearings, it would have been too late to except to him. But then your Majesty's second and later direction, which was delivered unto me from the earl of Arundel, as by word of mouth, but so as he had set down a remembrance thereof in writing freshly after the signification of his pleasure, was to this effect, that before any proceeding in the chancery, there should be a conference had between my lord chancellor, my lord chief justice, and myself, how your Majesty's interest might be secured. This later direction I acquainted my lord chancellor with; and finding an impossibility, that this conference should be had before to-morrow, my lord thought good, that the day be put over, taking no occasion thereof other than this, that in a cause of so great weight it was fit for him to confer with
SIR FRANCIS BACON, TO LORD NORRIS, IN his assistants, before he gave any decree or final orANSWER TO HIM.||
I AM Sorry of your misfortune; and for any thing, that is within mine own command, your lordship may expect no other than the respects of him, that forgetteth not your lordship is to him a near ally, and an ancient acquaintance, client, and friend. For that, which may concern my place, which governeth me, and not I it; if any thing be demanded at my hands or directed, or that I am ex officio to do any thing; if, I say, it come to any of these three; for as yet I am a stranger to the business; yet saving my duties, which I will never live to violate, your lordship shall find, that I will observe those degrees and limitations of proceeding, which belongeth to him, that knoweth well he serveth a clement and merciful master, and that in his own nature shall ever incline to the more benign part; and that knoweth also what belongeth to nobility,
der. After such time as I have conferred with my lords, according to your commandment, I will give your Majesty account with speed of the conclusion
of that conference.
Farther, I think fi to let your Majesty know, that in my opinion I hold it a fit time to proceed in the business of the Rege inconsulto, which is appointed for Monday, I did think these greater causes would have come to period or pause sooner: but now they are in the height, and to have so great a matter as this of the Rege inconsulto handled, when men do aliud agere, I think it no proper time. Besides, your Majesty in your great wisdom knoweth, that this business of Mr. Murray's is somewhat against the stream of the judges' inclination: and it is no part of a skilful mariner to sail on against a tide, when the tide is at strongest. If your Majesty be pleased to write to my lord Coke, that you would have the business of the Rege inconsulto receive a hearing, when he should be animo sedato et libero,
From the collections of the late Robert Stephens, Esq.
** John Carey, Baron of Hunsdon. He died in April, 1617.
1. The ecclesiastical commission.
2. Against the provincial councils.
3. Against the star-chamber for levying damages.
4. Against the admiralty.
5. Against the
court of the
In this he prevailed, and the commission was pared, and namely, the point of alimony left out, whereby wives are left wholly to the tyranny of their husbands. This point, and some others, may require a review, and is fit to be restored to the commission.
In this he prevailed in such sort, as the precedents are continually suitors for the enlargement of the instructions, sometimes in one point, sometimes in another; and the jurisdictions grow into contempt, and more would, if the lord chancellor did not strengthen them by injunctions, where they exceed not their instructions.
In this he was overruled by the sentence of the court; but he bent all his strength and wits to have prevailed: and so did the other judges by long and laborious arguments: and if they had prevailed, the authority of the court had been overthrown. But the plurality of the court took more regard to their own precedents, than to the judges' opinion.
In this he prevaileth, for prohibitions fly continually; and many times are cause of long suits, to the discontent of foreign ambassadors, and the king's dishonour and trouble by their remonstrances.
This is new, and would be forthwith restrained, and the
quests. 7. Against the
chancery for decrees after judgment.
Præmunire for suits in the chancery.
Disputed in the common
pleas whether that court may grant a prohibition to stay suits in the chancery, and time given to search for precedents.
10. Against the new boroughs in Ireland.
11. Against the writs Dom. Rege incon
12. Against con
tribution, that it was not law neither to levy it, nor to move for it.
14. Owen's case.
In this he prevaileth; and this but lately brought in question.
In this his Majesty hath made an establishment: and he hath not prevailed, but made a great noise and trouble.
This his Majesty hath also established, being a strange attempt to make the chancellor sit under a hatchet, instead of the king's arms.
This was but a bravery, and dieth of itself, especially the authority of the chancery by his Majesty's late proceedings being so well established.
This in good time was overruled by the voice of eight judges of ten, after they had heard your attorney. And had it prevailed, it had overthrown the parliament of Ireland, which would have been imputed to a fear in this state to have proceeded; and so his Majesty's authority and reputation lost in that kingdom.
This is yet sub judice: but if it should prevail, it maketh the judges absolute over the patents of the king, be they of power and profit, contrary to the ancient and ever continued law of the crown; which doth call those causes before the king himself, as he is represented in chancery.
In this he prevailed, and gave opinion, that the king by his great seal could not so much as move any his subjects for benevolence. But this he retracted after in the star-chamber; but it marred the benevolence in the mean time.
In this, for as much as in him was, and in the court of king's bench, he prevailed, though it was holpen by the good service of others. But the opinion, which he held, amounted in effect to this, that no word of scandal or defamation, importing that the king was utterly unable or unworthy to govern, were treason, except they disabled his title, &c.
In this we prevailed with him to give opinion it was treason: but then it was upon a conceit of
15. The value of benefices not to be according to the tax in the king's book of taxes.
16. Suits for legacies ought to be in their proper dioceses, and not in the prerogative
his own, that was no less dangerous, than if he had given his opinion against the king; for he proclaimed the king excommunicate in respect of the anniversary bulls of Cana Domini, which was to expose his person to the fury of any jesuited conspirator.
By this the intent of the statute of 21 Henry VIII. is frustrated; for there is no benefice of so small an improved value as 81. by that kind of rating. For this the judges may be assembled in the exchequer for a conference.
The practice hath gone against this; and it is fit the suit be where the probate is. And this served but to put a pique between the archbishops' courts and the bishops' courts. This may be again court; pounded upon a conference of the although the judges. will be proved in the prerogative court upon bona notabilia in se veral dioceses, commendams, &c.
TO SIR GEORGE VILLIERS.
THE message, which I received from you by Mr. Shute, hath bred in me such belief and confidence, as I will now wholly rely upon your excellent and happy self. When persons of greatness and quality begin speech with me of the matter, and offer me their good offices, I can but answer them civilly. But those things are but toys: I am yours surer to you than to my own life; for, as they speak of the Turquois stone in a ring, I will break into twenty pieces, before you have the least fall. God keep
A letter to Sir G. Villiers touching a message brought to him by Mr. Shute, of a promise of the chancellor's place.
From an old manuscript in my possession, entitled A Book of Letters of Sir Francis Bacon.
Secretary Winwood, in a private letter to Sir Thomas Edmondes, printed in the Historical View of the Negotiations between the Courts of England, France, and Brussels, P. 392, mentions, that there was great expectation, that Sir John Digby, just then returned from Spain, where he had been ambassador, could charge the earl of Somerset with some
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO SIR GEORGE VILLIERS.*
Touching the examination of Sir Robert Cotton upon some information of Sir John Digby.†
I RECEIVED your letter yesterday towards the evening, being the 8th of this present, together with the interrogatory included, which his Majesty hath framed, not only with a great deal of judgment what to interrogate, but in a wise and apt order; for I do find that the degrees of questions are of great efficacy in examination. I received also notice and direction by your letter, that Sir Robert Cotton was first thoroughly to be examined; which indeed was a thing most necessary to begin with; and that for that purpose Sir John Digby was to inform my lord chancellor of such points, as he conceived to be material; and that I likewise should take a full account for my lord chief justice of all Sir Robert Cotton's precedent examinations. It was my part then to take care, that that, which his Majesty had so well directed and expressed, should be accordingly performed without loss of time. For which purpose, having soon after the receipt of your letter received a letter from my lord chancellor, that he appointed Sir John Digby to be with him at two of the clock in the afternoon, as this day, and required my presence, I spent the mean time, being this forenoon, in receiving the precedent examinations of Sir Robert Cotton from my lord chief jus tice, and perusing of them; and accordingly attended my lord chancellor at the hour appointed, where I found Sir John Digby.
At this meeting it was the endeavour of my lord chancellor and myself to take such light from Sir John Digby, as might evidence first the examination of Sir Robert Cotton; and then to the many examinations of Somerset; wherein we found Sir John Digby ready and willing to discover unto us what he knew; and he had also, by the lord chancellor's direction, prepared some heads of examination in writing for Sir Robert Cotton; of all which use shall be made for his Majesty's service, as is fit. Howbeit, for so much as did concern the practice of conveying the prince into Spain, or the Spanish pensions, he was somewhat reserved upon this ground, that they were things his Majesty knew, and things, which by some former commandment from his Majesty he was restrained to keep in silence, and that he conceived they could be no ways applied to Somerset. Wherefore it was not fit to press him beyond that, which he conceived to be his warrant, before we had known his Majesty's farther pleasure; which I pray you return unto us with all convenient speed. I for my part am in no appetite for secrets; but nevertheless seeing his Majesty's great trust towards me, wherein I shall never treasons and plots with Spain. "To the king," adds Sir Ralph, "as yet he hath used no other language, but that, having served in a place of honour, it would ill become him to be an accuser. Legally or criminally he can say nothing: yet this he says and hath written, that all his private despatches, wherein he most discovered the practices of Spain, and their intelligences, were presently sent into Spain; which could not be but by the treachery of Somerset."
deceive him; and that I find the chancellor of the same opinion, I do think it were good my lord chancellor chiefly and myself were made acquainted with the persons and the particulars; not only because it may import his Majesty's service otherwise, but also because to my understanding, for therein I do not much rely upon Sir John Digby's judgment, it may have a great connexion with the examination of Somerset, considering his mercenary nature, his great undertaking for Spain in the match, and his favour with his Majesty; and therefore the circumstances of other pensions given cannot but tend to discover whether he were pensioner or no. But herein no time is lost; for my lord chancellor, who is willing, even beyond his strength, to lose no moment for his Majesty's service, hath appointed me to attend him Thursday morning for the examination of Sir Robert Cotton, leaving to-morrow for council-business to my lord, and to me for considering of fit articles for Sir Robert Cotton. 10 April, 1616.
MR. TOBIE MATTHEW* TO SIR FRANCIS BACON, ATTORNEY-GENERAL.
MAY IT PLEASE YOU, SIR,
THE notice I have from my lord Roos, Sir Henry Goodere, and other friends, of the extreme obligation, wherein I continue towards you, together with the conscience I have of the knowledge, how dearly and truly I honour and love you, and daily pray, that you may rise to that height, which the state, wherein you live, can give you, hath taken away the wings of fear, whereby I was almost carried away from daring to importune you in this kind. But I know how good you have always been, and are still, towards me; or rather because I am not able to comprehend how much it is, I will presume there is enough for any use, whereupon an honest humble servant may employ it.
It imports the business of my poor estate, that I be restored to my country for some time; and I have divers friends in that court, who will further my desire thereof, and particularly Mr. Secretary Lake and my lord Roos, whom I have desired to confer with you about it. But nothing can be done therein, unless my lord of Canterbury† may be made propitious, or at least not averse; nor do I know in the world how to charm him but by the music of your tongue. I beseech you, Sir, lose some minutes upon me, which I shall be glad to pay by whole years of service; and call to mind, if it please you, the last speech you made me, that if I should continue as I then was, and neither prove ill-affected to the state, nor become otherwise than a mere secular man in my religion, you would be pleased to negotiate for my return. On my part the conditions
Son of Dr. Tobie Matthew, archbishop of York. He was born at Oxford in 1578, while his father was dean of Christchurch, and educated there. During his travels abroad, he was seduced to the Romish religion by Father Parsons. This occasioned his living out of his own country from the year 1607 to 1617, when he had leave to return to England. He was again ordered to leave it in October, 1618; but in 1622
are performed; and it remains that you do the like: nor can I doubt but that the nobleness of your nature, which loves nothing in the world so well as to be doing of good, can descend from being the attorneygeneral to a great king, to be solicitor for one of the meanest subjects that he hath.
I send my letter to my lord's grace open, that before you seal it, if you shall think fit to seal it, and rather not to deliver it open, you may see the reasons that I have; which, if I be not partial, are very pregnant. Although I confess, that till it was now very lately mentioned to me by some honourable friends, who have already procured to disimpression his Majesty of some hard conceit he had of me in, I did not greatly think thereof; and now I am full of hope, that I shall prevail. For supposing, that my lord of Canterbury's mind is but made of iron, the adamant of your persuasion will have power to draw it. It may please you either to send a present answer hereunto; or, since I am not worthy of so much favour, to tell either of those honourable persons aforenamed what the answer is, that accordingly they may co-operate.
This letter goes by Sir Edward Parham, a gentleman whom I have been much beholden to. I know him to be a perfect honest man; and since, I protest, I had rather die than deceive you, I will humbly pray, that he may rather receive favour from you, than otherwise, when he shall come in your way, which at one time or other all the world there must do. And I shall acknowledge myself much bound to you, as being enabled by this means to pay many of my debts to him.
I presume to send you the copy of a piece of a letter, which Galileo, of whom, I am sure, you have heard, wrote to a monk of my acquaintance in Italy, about the answering of that place in Joshua, which concerns the sun's standing still, and approving thereby the pretended falsehood of Copernicus's opinion. The letter was written by occasion of the opposition, which some few in Italy did make against Galileo, as if he went about to establish that by experiments, which appears to be contrary to Holy Scripture. But he makes it appear the while by this piece of a letter, which I send you, that if that passage of Scripture doth expressly favour either side, it is for the affirmative of Copernicus's opinion, and for the negative of Aristotle's. To an attorneygeneral in the midst of a town, and such a one, as is employed in the weightiest affairs of the kingdom, it might seem unseasonable for me to interrupt you with matter of this nature. But I know well enough in how high account you have the truth of things; and that no day can pass, wherein you give not liberty to your wise thoughts of looking upon the works of nature. It may please you to pardon the so much trouble which I give you in this kind; though yet, I confess, I do not deserve a pardon,