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that good service, whereof we hear so general approbation, that it much rejoiceth me, who rest Your lordship's ever at command,
G. BUCKINGHAM. Falkland, the 5th of July, 1617.
TO THE KING.||
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, I DO very much thank your Majesty for your letter, and think myself much honoured by it. For though it contain some matter of dislike, in which respect it had grieved me more than any event which hath fallen out in my life; yet because I know reprehensions from the best masters to the best servants are necessary; and that no chastisement is pleasant for the time, but yet worketh good effects; and for that I find intermixed some passages of trust and grace; and find also in myself inwardly sincerity of intention, and conformity of will, howsoever I may have erred; I do not a little comfort myself, resting upon your Majesty's accustomed favour; and most humbly desiring, that any one of my particular notions may be expounded by the constant and direct course, which, your Majesty knoweth, I have ever held in your service.
And because it hath pleased your Majesty, of your singular grace and favour, to write fully and freely unto me; it is duty and decorum in me not to write shortly to your Majesty again, but with some length; not so much by way of defence or answer, which yet I know your Majesty would always graciously admit; as to show, that I have, as I ought, weighed every word of your Majesty's letter.
First, I do acknowledge, that this match of Sir John Villiers is magnum in parvo in both senses, that your Majesty speaketh. But your Majesty perceiveth well, that I took it to be in a farther degree, majus in parvo, in respect of your service. But since your Majesty biddeth me to confide upon your act of empire, I have done. For, as the scripture saith, "to God all things are possible;" so certainly to wise kings much is possible. But for that second sense, that your Majesty speaketh of, magnum in parvo, in respect of the stir; albeit it being but a most lawful and ordinary thing, I most humbly pray your Majesty to pardon me, if I signify to you, that we here take the loud and vocal, and, as I may call it, streperous carriage, to have been far more on the other side, which indeed is inconvenient, rather than the thing itself.
Now for the manner of my affection to my lord of Buckingham, for whom I would spend my life, and that which is to me more, the cares of my life; I must humbly confess, that it was in this a little parent-like, this being no other term, than his lordone of the barons of the exchequer in Ireland; for which he was recommended by the lord keeper to the earl of Buckingham, in a letter dated at Whitehall, May 25, 1617.
This letter appears, from the indorsement of the king's answer to it, to have been written at Gorhambury, July 25, 1617. That printed with this date in his Works, should be August 2, 1617, as I find by the original draught of it.
ship hath heretofore vouchsafed to my counsels; but | in truth, and it please your Majesty, without any grain of disesteem for his lordship's discretion. For I know him to be naturally a wise man, of a sound and staid wit, as I ever said unto your Majesty. And again, I know he hath the best tutor in Europe. But yet I was afraid, that the height of his fortune might make him too secure; and as the proverb is, a lookeron sometimes seeth more than a gamester.
For the particular part of a true friend, which your Majesty witnesseth, that the earl hath lately performed towards me, in palliating some errors of mine; it is no new thing with me to be more and more bound to his lordship; and I am most humbly to thank, whatsoever it was, both your Majesty and him; knowing well, that I may and do commit many errors, and must depend upon your Majesty's gracious countenance and favour for them, and shall have need of such a friend near your Majesty. For I am not so ignorant of mine own case, but that I know I am come in with as strong an envy of some particulars, as with the love of the general.
For my opposition to this business, which, it seemeth, hath been informed your Majesty, I think it was meant, if it be not a thing merely feigned, and without truth or ground, of one of these two things; for I will dissemble nothing with your Majesty. It is true, that in those matters, which by your Majesty's commandment and reference, came before the table concerning Sir Edward Coke, I was sometimes sharp, it may be too much; but it was with end to have your Majesty's will performed; or else, when methought he was more peremptory than became him, in respect of the honour of the table. It is true also, that I disliked the riot or violence, whereof we of your council gave your Majesty advertisement by our joint letter and I disliked it the more, because he justified it to be law; which was his old song. But in that act of council, which was made thereupon, I did not see but all my lords were as forward as myself, as a thing most necessary for preservation of your peace, which had been so carefully and firmly kept in your absence. And all this had a fair end, in a reconcilement made by Mr. Attorney, whereby both husband and wife and child should have kept together. Which, if it had continued, I am persuaded the match had been in better and fairer forwardness, than now it is.
Now for the times of things, I beseech your Majesty to understand that which my lord of Buckingham will witness with me, that I never had any word of letter from his lordship of the business, till I wrote my letter of advice; nor again, after my letter of advice, till five weeks after, which was now within this sennight. So that although I did in truth presume, that the earl would do nothing without your Majesty's privity; yet I was in some doubt, by this his silence of his own mind, that he was not earnest in it, but only was content to embrace the officious offers and endeavours of others.
But, to conclude this point, after I had received, by a former letter of his lordship, knowledge of his mind, I think Sir Edward Coke himself, the last * Sir Henry Yelverton.
time he was before the lords, might particularly perceive an alteration in my carriage. And now that your Majesty hath been pleased to open yourself to me, I shall be willing to farther the match by any thing, that shall be desired of me, or that is in my power.
And whereas your Majesty conceiveth some dregs of spleen in me by the word Mr. Bacon; truly it was but to express in thankfulness the comparative of my fortune unto your Majesty, the author of the latter, to show how little I needed to fear, while I had your favour. For, I thank God, I was never vindicative nor implacable.
As for my opinion of prejudice to your Majesty's service, as I touched it before, I have done; I do humbly acquiesce in your Majesty's satisfaction, and rely upon your Majesty's judgment, who unto judgment have also power, so to mingle the elements, as may conserve the fabric.
For the interest which I have in the mother, I do not doubt but it was increased by this, that I in judgment, as I then stood, affected that which she did in passion. But I think the chief obligation was, that I stood so firmly to her in the matter of her assurance, wherein I supposed I did your Majesty service, and mentioned it in a memorial of council-business, as half craving thanks for it. And sure I am now, that, and the like, hath made Sir Edward Coke a convert, as I did write to your Majesty in my last.
For the collation of the two spirits, I shall easily subscribe to your Majesty's answer; for Solomon were no true man, if in matter of malice the woman should not be the superior.
To conclude, I have gone through, with the plainness of truth, the parts of your Majesty's letter, very humbly craving pardon for troubling your Majesty so long; and most humbly praying your Majesty to continue me in your grace and favour, which is the fruit of my life upon the root of a good conscience. And although time in this business have cast me upon a particular, which, I confess, may have probable show of passion or interest; yet God is my witness, that the thing that most moved me, was an anxious and solicitous care of your Majesty's state and service, out of consideration of the time past and present.
God ever preserve and bless your Majesty, and send you a joyful return, after your prosperous journey.
to make some observations to you upon the same, that you may not err, by mistaking our meaning.
The first observation we are to make is, that, whereas you would invert the second sense, wherein we took your magnum in parvo, in accounting it to be made magnum by their streperous carriage, that were for the match, we cannot but show you your mistaking therein. For every wrong must be judged by the first violent and wrongous ground whereupon it proceeds. And was not the thefteous stealing away of the daughter from her own father * the first ground whereupon all this great noise hath since proceeded? For the ground of her getting again came upon a lawful and ordinary warrant, subscribed by one of our council, † for redress of the former violence and except the father of a child might be proved to be either lunatic, or idiot, we never read in any law, that either it could be lawful for any creature to steal his child from him; or that it was a matter of noise and streperous carriage for him to hunt for the recovery of his child again. Our next observation is, that whereas you protest your affection to Buckingham, and thereafter confess, that it is in some sort parent-like; yet, after that you have praised his natural parts, we will not say, that you throw all down by a direct imputation upon him; but we are sure you do not deny to have had a greater jealousy of his discretion, than, so far as we conceive, he ever deserved at your or any man's hands. For you say, that you were afraid that the height of his fortune might make him too secure; and sơ, as a looker on, you might sometimes see more than a gamester. Now we know not how to interpret this in plain English otherwise, than that you were afraid, that the height of his fortune might make him misknow himself. And surely, if that be your parent-like affection toward him, he hath no obligation to you for it. And for our part, besides our own proof, that we find him farthest from that vice of any courtier, that ever we had so near about us; so do we fear, that you shall prove the only phenix in that jealousy of all the kingdom. For we would be very sorry, that the world should apprehend that conceit of him. But we cannot conceal, that we think it was least your part of any to enter into that jealousy of him, of whom we have heard you oft speak in a contrary style. And as for that error of yours, which he lately palliated, whereof you seem to pretend ignorance; the time is so short since you commended to him one to be of the barons of our exchequer in Ireland, as we cannot think you to be so
Lady Hatton had first removed her daughter to Sir Edmund Withipole's house, near Oatlands, without the knowledge of Sir Edward Coke; and from thence, according to a letter of Mr. Chamberlain, dated July 19, 1617, the young lady was privately conveyed to a house of the lord of Argyle's by Hampton-Court. "Whence," adds Mr. Chamberlain, "her father, with a warrant from Mr. Secretary [Winwood,] fetched her; but indeed went farther than his warrant, and brake open divers doors before he got her."
+ Secretary Winwood, who, as Mr. Chamberlain observes in the letter cited in the note above, was treated with ill language at the council-board by the lord keeper, and threatened with a præmuni e, on account of his warrant granted to Sir Edward Coke. His lordship, at the same time, told the lady Compton, mother of the earl of Buckingham, that they wished well to her and her sons, and would be ready to serve the earl
short of memory, as to have forgotten how far you undertook in that business, before acquainting us with it; what a long journey you made the poor man undertake, together with the slight recommendation you sent of him; which drave us to those straits, that both the poor man had been undone, and your credit a little blasted, if Buckingham had not, by his importunity, made us both grant you more than suit, for you had already acted a part of it, and likewise run a hazard of the hinderance of your own service, by preferring a person to so important a place, whom you so slightly recommended.
Our third observation is upon the point of your opposition to this business, wherein you either do, or at least would seem to mistake us a little. For first, whereas you excuse yourself of the oppositions you made against Sir Edward Coke at the counciltable, both for that, and other causes; we never took upon us such a patrociny of Sir Edward Coke, as if he were a man not to be meddled withal in any case. For whatsoever you did against him, by our employment and commendation, we ever allowed it, and still do, for good service on your part. De bonis operibus non lapidamus vos. But whereas you talk of the riot and violence committed by him, we wonder you make no mention of the riot and violence of them, that stole away his daughter, which was the first ground of all that noise, as we said before. For a man may be compelled by manifest wrong beyond his patience; and the first breach of that quietness, which hath ever been kept since the beginning of our journey, was made by them that committed the theft. And for your laying the burden of your opposition upon the council, we meddle not with that question; but the opposition, which we justly find fault with you, was the refusal to sign a warrant for the father to the recovery of his child, clad with those circumstances, as is reported, of your slight carriage to Buckingham's mother, when she repaired to you upon so reasonable an errand. What farther opposition you made in that business, we leave it to the due trial in the own time. But whereas you would distinguish of times, pretending ignorance either of our meaning or his, when you made your opposition; that would have served for a reasonable excuse not to have farthered such a business, till you had been first employed in it: but that can serve for no excuse of crossing any thing, that so nearly concerned one, whom you profess such friendship unto. We will not speak of obligation; for surely we think, even in good manners, you had reason not to have crossed any thing, with all true affection; whereas others did it out of faction and ambition. Which words glancing directly at secretary Winwood, he alleged, that what he had done was by the direction of the queen and the other parties, and showed a letter of approbation of all his courses from the king, making the whole table judge what faction or ambition appeared in his carriage: to which no answer was returned. The queen, some time after, taking notice of the disgust, which the lord keeper had conceived against secretary Winwood, and asking his lordship, what occasion the secretary had given him to oppose himself so violently against him, his lordship answered, "Madam, I can say no more but he is proud, and I am proud." MS. letter of Mr. Chamberlain, October 11, 1617.
Mr. Lowder. See the letter of the earl of Buckingham of the 5th of July.
wherein you had heard his name used, till you had heard from him. For if you had willingly given your consent and hand to the recovery of the young gentlewoman; and then written both to us, and to him, what inconvenience appeared to you to be in such a match; that had been the part indeed of a true servant to us, and a true friend to him. But first to make an opposition, and then to give advice by way of friendship, is to make the plough go before the horse.
Thus leaving all the particulars of your carriage, in this business, to the own proper time, which is ever the discoverer of truth, we commend you to God. Given under our signet at Nantwich, in the fifteenth year of our reign of Great Britain, &c.
TO THE LORD KEEPER BACON.*
IF your man had been addressed only to me, I should have been careful to have procured him a more speedy despatch: but now you have found another way of address, I am excused; and since you are grown weary of employing me, I can be no otherwise in being employed. In this business of my brother's that you over-trouble yourself with, I understand from London by some of my friends, that you have carried yourself with much scorn and neglect both toward myself and friends; which, if it prove true, I blame not you, but myself, who was
works by the weightiest instrument, the earl of Buckingham, who, as I see, sets him as close to him as his shirt, the earl speaking in Sir Edward's praise, and, as it were, menacing in his spirit.
My lord, I imboldened myself to assay the temper of my lord of Buckingham to myself, and found it very fervent, misled by information, which yet I find he embraced as truth, and did nobly and plainly tell me, he would not secretly bite; but whosoever had any interest, or tasted of the opposition to his brother's marriage, he would as openly oppose them to their faces, and they should discern what favour he had, by the power he would use.
In the passage between him and me, I stood with much confidence upon these grounds.
First, that neither your lordship nor myself had any way opposed, but many ways had farthered, the fair passage to the marriage.
Secondly, that we only wished the manner of Sir Edward's proceedings to have been more temperate, and more nearly resembling the earl's sweet disposition.
Thirdly, that the chiefest check in this business was Sir Edward himself, who listened to no advice, who was so transported with passion, as he purposely declined the even way, which your lordship and the rest of the lords left both him, his lady, and his daughter, in.
Fourthly, I was bold to stand upon my ground; and so I said I knew your lordship would, that these were slanders, which were brought him of us both, and that it stood not with his honour to give credit to them.
After I had passed these straits with the earl, leaving him leaning still to the first relation of envious and odious adversaries, I adventured to approach his Majesty, who graciously gave me his hand to kiss, but intermixed withal that I deserved not that favour, if three or four things were true, which he had to object against me. I was bold to crave his princely justice; first, to hear, then to judge; which he graciously granted, and said, he wished I could clear myself. I answered I would not appeal to his mercy in any of the points, but would endure the severest censure, if any of them were true. Whereupon he said, he would reserve his judgment till he heard me; which could not be then, his other occasions pressed him so much. All this was in the hearing of the earl; and I protest, I think the confidence in my innocency made me depart half justified; for I likewise kissed his Majesty's hand at his departure; and though out of his grace he commanded my attendance to Warwick, yet upon my suit he easily inclined to give me the choice, to wait on him at Windsor, or at London.
Now, my lord, give me leave, out of all my affections, that shall ever serve you, to intimate touching yourself.
1. That every courtier is acquainted, that the earl professeth openly against you, as forgetful of his kindness, and unfaithful to him in your love, and in your actions.
2. That he returneth the shame upon himself, in not listening to counsel, that dissuaded his affection
from you, and not to mount you so high, not for- | lordship feareth I am so incensed against you, that
bearing in open speech, as divers have told me, and this bearer, your gentleman, hath heard also, to tax you, as if it were an inveterate custom with you, to be unfaithful to him, as you were to the earls of Essex and Somerset.
I will hearken to every information that is made unto me; this one letter may well make answer unto them all. As his Majesty is not apt to give ear to any idle report against men of your place; so, for myself, I will answer, that it is far from my disposition, to take any advantage in that kind. And for your lordship's unkind dealing with me in this matter of my brother's, time will try all. His Majesty hath given me commandment to make this answer in his name to your letter to him, that he needeth not to make any other answer to you, than that which in that letter you make to yourself, that you know his Majesty to be so judicious, that whatsoever he heareth, he will keep one ear open to you. Which being indeed his own princely disposition, you may be assured of his gracious favour in that kind.
I will not trouble your lordship with any longer discourse at this time, being to meet you so shortly, where will be better trial of all that hath passed, than can be made by letters. So I rest Your lordship's at command, G. BUCKINGHAM.
3. That it is too common in every man's mouth in court, that your greatness shall be abated; and as your tongue hath been as a razor to some, so shall theirs be to you.
4. That there are laid up for you, to make your burden the more grievous, many petitions to his Majesty against you.
My lord, Sir Edward Coke, as if he were already upon his wings, triumphs exceedingly; hath much private conference with his Majesty; and in public doth offer himself, and thrust upon the king, with as great boldness of speech, as heretofore.
It is thought, and much feared, that at Woodstock he will again be recalled to the council-table; for neither are the earl's ears, nor his thoughts, ever off him.
Sir Edward Coke, with much audacity, affirmeth his daughter to be most deeply in love with Sir John Villiers; that the contract pretended with the earl of Oxford is counterfeit; and the letter also, that is pretended to have come from the earl.
My noble lord, if I were worthy, being the meanest of all to interpose my weakness, I would humbly desire,
1. That your lordship fail not to be with his
Majesty at Woodstock. The sight of you will fright Advice to the King, for reviving the Commission of
2. That you single not yourself from other lords; but justify the proceedings as all your joint acts; and I little fear but you pass conqueror.
3. That you retort the clamour and noise in this business upon Sir Edward Coke, by the violence of his carriage.
4. That you seem not dismayed, but open yourself bravely and confidently, wherein you can excel all subjects; by which means I know you shall amaze some, and daunt others.
I have abused your lordship's patience long; but my duty and affection towards your lordship shall have no end: but I will still wish your honour greater, and rest myself
Your honour's servant,
Daventry, Sept. 3, 1617.
I beseech your lordship burn this letter. To the right honourable his singular good lordship, the lord keeper of the great seal.
TO THE LORD KEEPER.
I HAVE received so many letters lately from your lordship, that I cannot answer them severally: but the ground of them all being only this, that your
Warwick, Sept. 5 . To the right honourable Sir Francis Bacon, knight, lord keeper of the great seal of England.
THAT Which for the present I would have spoken with his Majesty about, as a matter wherein time may be precious, being upon the tenderest point of all others. For though the particular occasion may be despised, and yet nothing ought to be despised in this kind, yet the counsel thereupon I conceive to be most sound and necessary, to avoid future perils.
There is an examination taken within these few days, by Mr. Attorney, concerning one Baynton, or Baynham, for his name is not yet certain, attested by two witnesses, that the said Baynton, without any apparent show of being overcome with drink, otherwise than so as might make him less wary to keep secrets, said, that he had been lately with the king, to petition him for reward of service; which was | denied him. Whereupon it was twice in his mind to have killed his Majesty. The man is not yet apprehended, and said by some to be mad, or half mad; which, in my opinion, is not less dangerous; for such men commonly do most mischief; and the manner of his speaking imported no distraction. But the counsel I would out of my care ground hereupon, is, that his Majesty would revive the commission for suits, which hath been now for these three years, or more, laid down. For it may prevent any the like wicked cogitations, which the devil may put into the mind of a roarer or swaggerer, upon a denial: and besides, it will free his Majesty from much importunity, and save his coffers also. For I am sure when I was a commissioner, in three whole