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more unfit by the pre-occupation of my mind. Therefore calling myself home, I have now for a time en
LEARNING" TO THE
LXXVI. TO THE EARL OF NORTHAMPTON,* DESIRING HIM TO PRESENT THE AD.joyed myself, whereof likewise I desire to make the world partaker. My labours, if I may so term that which was the comfort of my other labours, I have dedicated to the king; desirous, if there be any good in them, it may be as the fat of a sacrifice, incensed to his honour and the second copy I have sent unto you, not only in good affection, but in a kind of congruity, in regard of your great and rare desert of learning. For books are the shrines where the saint is, or is believed to be: and you having built an ark to save learning from deluge, deserve propriety in any new instrument or engine, whereby learning should be improved or advanced. 1605.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR GOOD LORDSHIP, HAVING finished a work touching the advancement of learning, and dedicated the same to his sacred Majesty, whom I dare avouch, if the records of time err not, to be the learnedest king that hath reigned; I was desirous, in a kind of congruity, to present it by the learnedest counsellor in this kingdom; to the end that so good an argument, lighting upon so bad an author, might receive some reputation by the hands into which, and by which, it shall be delivered. And therefore, I make it my humble suit to your lordship, to present this mean but well meant writing to his Majesty, and with it my humble and zealous duty; and also my like humble request of pardon, if I have too often taken his name in vain, not only in the dedication, but in the voucher of the authority of his speeches and writings. And so I remain.
LXXVII. TO SIR THOMAS BODLEY, UPON
I THINK no man may more truly say with the psalm, "Multum incola fuit anima mea," than myself; for, I do confess, since I was of any understanding, my mind hath in effect been absent from that I have done; and in absence are many errors, which I do willingly acknowledge; and, amongst the rest, this great one that led the rest; that knowing myself by inward calling to be fitter to hold a book, than to play a part, I have led my life in civil causes; for which I was not very fit by nature, and
The earl of Northampton was the second son, and bore the name of that accomplished gentleman, Henry Howard, earl of Surrey, son and heir to the duke of Norfolk, who suffered under the severity of king Henry VIII's latter days; the one by death, the other by imprisonment. During great part of the reign of queen Elizabeth, while his family lay under the cloud, he applied himself to learning; and to what a degree he arrived, appears by a book he published in 1583, against the poison of supposed prophecies, dedicated to Sir Francis Walsingham; and from the eulogy that was generally given him, that he was the most learned among the noble, and the most noble among the learned. But in the king's reign his advancement was speedy both in honours and riches. The services he performed as a commissioner in making the peace between England and Spain, gave birth to a saying in those times, but with what truth I know not, that his house in the Strand, now called Northumberland house, was built by Spanish gold. He died in 1614, leaving behind him the memory of some real good works, and of some supposed ill ones; being suspected of concealing his religion for many years, and of being privy to the untimely death of Sir Thomas Overbury. -Stephens.
+ Rawley's Resuscitatio.
Sir Thomas Bodley restored the public library at Oxford, begun in the times of king Henry VI. by Humphrey, duke of
LXXVIII. TO THE EARL OF SALISBURY, ||
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR GOOD LORDSHIP,
I PRESENT your lordship with a work of my vacant time, which if it had been more, the work had been better. It appertaineth to your lordship, besides my particular respects, in some propriety, in regard you are a great governor in a province of learning.
And, that which is more, you have added to your place affection towards learning; and to your affection judgment: of which the last I could be content were, for the time, less, that you might the less exquisitely censure that which I offer unto you. But sure I am, the argument is good, if it had lighted upon a good author. But I shall content myself to awake better spirits, like a bell-ringer, which is first up to call others to church. So with my humble desire of your lordship's good acceptation, I
Gloucester; or was rather the founder of a new one, which now bears his name, and which hath placed him among the chief benefactors to that university, and to the commonwealth of learning. He died in the entrance of the year 1613.Stephens.
Sir Robert Cecil, created by king James lord Cecil, viscount Cranburne, and earl Salisbury, was not only son to one of the greatest statesmen of his age, the lord Burleigh, but succeeded him in his places and abilities, and was one of the great supports of the queen's declining years. Yet the ill offices he was thought to perform towards the noble and popular earl of Essex, together with his conduct in some particulars in her successor's reign, abated the lustre of his character, which otherwise from his parts and prudence would have appeared very conspicuous. After he had been long secretary of state, some years lord treasurer and chancellor of the university of Cambridge, he died in May 1612, at Marlborough, in his return from the Bath; as by a diary of his sickness and the account given by Sir Robert Naunton, one of his retinue, appears; which I should not mention, but that his enemies in their libels, which flew freely about, have sug gested that he died on the Downs; which, if true, could be esteemed at most but his misfortune.-Stephens. Rawley's Resuscitatio.
LXXIX. TO THE LORD TREASURER BUCK-
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR GOOD LORDSHIP,
I HAVE finished a work touching the advancement or setting forward of learning, which I have dedicated to his Majesty, the most learned of a sovereign or temporal prince that time hath known: and upon reason not unlike I humbly present one of the books to your lordship; not only as a chancellor of an university, but as one that was excellently bred in all learning; which I have ever noted to shine in all your speeches and behaviours: and therefore your lordship will yield a gracious aspect to your first love, and take pleasure in the adorning of that wherewith yourself are so much adorned. And so humbly desiring your favourable acceptation thereof, with signification of humble duty, I remain. 1605.
LXXX. TO THE LORD CHANCELLOR, SIR T.
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR GOOD LORDSHIP,
I HUMBLY present your lordship with a work, wherein as you have much commandment over the author, so your lordship hath great interest in the argument; for, to speak without flattery, few have like use of learning, or like judgment in learning, as I have observed in your lordship. And again, your lordship hath been a great planter of learning, not only in those places in the church, which have been in your own gift, but also in your commendatory vote, no man hath more constantly held "Detur digniori : and therefore, both your lordship is beholding to learning, and learning beholding to you: which maketh me presume with good assurance that your lordship will accept well of these my labours; the rather because your lordship in private speech hath often begun to me in expressing your admiration of his Majesty's learning, to whom I have dedicated this work; and whose virtue and perfection in that kind did chiefly move me to a work of this nature; and so with signification of my most humble duty and affection to your lordship, I remain. 1605.
I shall draw this noble lord's character from Sir Robert Naunton's observations of the favourites of queen Elizabeth; and much in his own words: "My lord of Buckhurst was of the noble house of the Sackvilles, and of the queen's consanguinity. He was a very fine gentleman of person and endowments both of art and nature, but without measure magnificent, till on the turn of his humour, and the allay that his years, and good counsels of the queen, &c. had wrought upon those immoderate courses of his youth, and that height of spirit inherent to his house; she began to assist him in the reparation of that vast patrimony he had much wasted. After the honour she had given him of lord Buckhurst, and knight of the garter, she procured him to be chosen chancellor of the university of Oxford, upon the death of Sir Christopher Hatton, and constituted him lord treasurer on the death of the lord Burleigh, which office he enjoyed till April, 1608, dying then suddenly at the council table; the king having some years before created him earl of Dorset. He is also much commended for his
LXXXI. TO MR. MATTHEW.§
I PERCEIVE you have some time when you can be content to think of your friends; from whom since you have borrowed yourself, you do well, not paying the principal, to send the interest at six months day. The relation which here I send you enclosed, carries the truth of that which is public: and though my little leisure might have required a briefer, yet the matter would have endured and asked a larger.
I have now at last taught that child to go, at the swaddling whereof you were. My work touching the proficiency and advancement of learning, I have put into two books; whereof the former which you saw, I can't but account as a page to the latter. I have now published them both; whereof I thought it a small adventure to send you a copy, who have more right to it than any man, except bishop Andrews, who was my inquisitor.
The death of the late great judge concerned not me, because the other was not removed. I write this in answer to your good wishes; which I return not as flowers || of Florence, but as you mean them; whom I conceive place can't alter, no more than time shall me, except it be for the better. 1605.
LXXXII. TO DR. PLAYFERE,¶ DESIRING HIM
MR. DR. PLAYFERE,
A GREAT desire will take a small occasion to hope and put in trial that which is desired. It pleased you a good while since to express unto me the good liking which you conceived of my book of the advancement of learning; and that more significantly, as it seemed to me, than out of courtesy or civil respect. Myself, as I then took contentment in your approbation thereof, so I should esteem and acknowledge not only my contentment increased, but my labours advanced, if I might obtain your help in that nature which I desire: wherein, before I set down in plain terms my request unto you, I will open myself, what it was which I chiefly sought and propounded to myself in that work; that you may perceive that which I now desire, to be pursuant
thereupon. If I do not much err, for any judgment that a man maketh of his own doings, had need be spoken with a "Si nunquam fallat imago,"* I have this opinion, that if I had sought mine own commendation, it had been a much fitter course for me to have done as gardeners used to do, by taking their seed and slips, and rearing them first into plants, and so uttering them in pots, when they are in flower, and in their best state. But forasmuch as my end was merit of the state of learning, to my power, and not glory; and because my purpose was rather to excite other men's wits, than to magnify mine own, I was desirous to prevent the uncertainness of mine own life and times, by uttering rather seeds than plants: nay, and farther, as the proverb is, by sowing with the basket, rather than with the hand wherefore, since I have only taken upon me to ring a bell to call other wits together, which is the meanest office, it cannot but be consonant to my desire, to have that bell heard as far as can be. And since they are but sparks which can work but upon matter prepared, I have the more reason to wish that those sparks may fly abroad, that they may the better find and light upon those minds and spirits which are apt to be kindled. And therefore the privateness of the language considered, wherein it is written, excluding so many readers; as, on the other side, the obscurity of the argument in many parts of it excludeth many others; I must account it a second birth of that work, if it might be translated into Latin, without manifest loss of the sense and matter. For this purpose I could not represent to myself any man into whose hands I do more earnestly desire that work should fall than yourself; for by that I have heard and read, I know no man a greater master in commanding words to serve matter. Nevertheless, I am not ignorant of the worth of your labours, whether such as your place and profession imposeth, or such as your own virtue may, upon your voluntary election, take in hand. But I can lay before you no other persuasions than either the work itself may affect you with; or the honour of his Majesty, to whom it is dedicated; or your particular inclination to myself; who as I never took so much comfort in any labours of mine own, so I shall never acknowledge myself more obliged in any thing to the labours of another, than in that which shall assist it. Which your labour, if I can by my place, profession, means, friends, travel, work, deed, requite unto you, I shall esteem myself so straitly bound thereunto, as I shall be ever most ready both to take and seek occasion of thankfulness. So leaving it nevertheless, salva amicitia, as reason is, to your good liking, I remain.
• Vir. Ecl. ii. 27.
+ Rawley's Resuscitatio. Thought. Matthew's Collection of Letters. The monument here spoken of was erected in king Henry VII's chapel at Westminster, in the year 1606.
The unworthiness of the history of England hath been long complained of by ingenious men, both of this and other nations. Sir Francis Bacon hath expressed himself much to the same effect, though more at large, in his second book of The Advancement of Learning, (p. 30,) where he carries this period of remarkable events somewhat higher than in this letter, beginning with the union of the roses under Henry VII. and ending with the union of the kingdoms under king James. A portion of time filled with so great and variable
LXXXIII. TO THE CHANCELLOR TOUCHING THE HISTORY OF BRITAIN.+
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR GOOD LORDSHIP,
SOME late act of his Majesty, referred to some former speech which I have heard from your lordship, bred in me a great desire, and the strength of desire a boldness to make an humble proposition to your lordship, such as in me can be no better than a wish; but if your lordship should apprehend it, it may take some good and worthy effect. The act I speak of, is the order given by his Majesty for the erection of a tomb or monument for our late sovereign queen Elizabeth:§ wherein I may note much, but only this at this time, that as her Majesty did always right to his Majesty's hopes, so his highness doth in all things right to her memory; a very just and princely retribution. But from this occasion, by a very easy ascent, I passed farther, being put in mind, by this representative of her person, of the more true and more vive representation, which is of her life and government: for as statues and pictures are dumb histories, so histories are speaking pictures; wherein if my affection be not too great, or my reading too small, I am of this opinion, that if Plutarch were alive to write lives by parallels, it would trouble him both for virtue and fortune, to find for her a parallel amongst women. And though she was of the passive sex, yet her government was so active, as, in my simple opinion, it made more impression upon the several states of Europe, than it received from thence. But I confess unto your lordship I could not stay here, but went a little farther into the consideration of the times which have passed since king Henry VIII.; wherein I find the strangest variety, that in so little number of successions of any hereditary monarchy hath ever been known. The reign of a child; the offer of an usurpation, though it was but as a diary ague; the reign of a lady married to a foreigner; and the reign of a lady solitary and unmarried; so that as it cometh to pass in massy bodies, that they have certain trepidations and wavering before they fix and settle; so it seemeth that by the providence of God this monarchy, before it was to settle in his Majesty, and his generations, in which I hope it is now established for ever, hath had these prelusive changes in these barren princes. Neither could I contain myself here, as it is easier for a man to multiply than to stay a wish, but calling to remembrance the unworthiness of the history of England,|| in the main continuance thereof; and the partiality and obliquity of that of Scotland, in the latest and largest accidents both in church and state, and since so well discovered to the view of the world, that had other parts the same performance, we should not longer lie under any reproach of this kind. The reign of king Henry VII. was written by our author soon after his retirement, with so great beauty of style, and wisdom of observation, that nothing can be more entertaining; the truth of history not being disguised with the false colours of romance. It was so acceptable a present to the P. of Wales, that when he became king, he commanded him to proceed with the reign of king Henry VIII. But my lord Bacon meditating the history of nature, which he hardly lived to publish; his ill state of health, and succeeding death, put an end to this and other noble designs;
author that I have seen: I conceived it would be life unto it.
So in all humbleness I conclude my presenting unto your lordship this wish; which, if it perish, it is but a loss of that which is not. And so craving pardon that I have taken so much time from your lordship, I remain
leaving the ecclesiastical and civil affairs of those times to be related by the learned pens of Dr. Burnet, notwithstanding the objections of the avowed enemies, and seeming friends to the reformation, and the lord Herbert of Cherbury; that I think there is not much of moment to be expected from a future hand. And for the annals of queen Elizabeth compiled by Mr. Camden, the esteem of them is as universal as the language in which they are written. Nor must I forget in this place to take notice of two fair and large volumes lately published in French by Monsieur de Larrey; where building upon the foundations laid by these gentlemen, and some other memoirs, he hath not forgotten to do much honour to the English nation: beginning his history also with Henry VII. Stephens.
This I take to be meant of Buchanan's History of Scot
LXXXIV. TO THE KING, UPON SENDING
IT MAY PLEASE your Majesty,
HEARING that your Majesty is at leisure to peruse story, a desire took me to make an experiment what I could do in your Majesty's times, which being but a leaf or two, I pray your pardon, if I send it for your recreation; considering that love must creep where it cannot go. But to this I add these petitions: First, that if your Majesty do dislike any thing, you would conceive I can amend it upon your least beck. Next, that if I have not spoken of your Majesty encomiastically, your Majesty would be pleased only to ascribe it to the law of a history; which doth not cluster together praises upon the first mention of a name, but rather disperseth and weaveth them through the whole narrative. And as for the proper place of commemoration, which is in the period of life, I pray God I may never live to write it. Thirdly, that the reason why I presumed to think of this oblation, was because whatsoever my disability be, yet I shall have that advantage which almost no writer of history hath had; in that I shall write of times not only since I could remember, but since I could observe. And lastly, that it is only for your Majesty's reading.
LXXXV. A LETTER OF EXPOSTULATION, TO
I THOUGHT best, once for all, to let you know in plainness what I find of you, and what you shall find of me. You take to yourself a liberty to disgrace and disable my law, my experience, my discretion. What it pleaseth you, I pray, think of me: I am one that knows both mine own wants and other men's; and it may be, perchance, that mine mend, when others stand at a stay. And surely I may not endure, in public place, to be wronged without
land; a book much admired by some, though censured by many, for his partiality in favour of the lords, against Mary queen of the Scots, and the regal power. In other respects, archbishop Spotswood informs us that he penned it with such judgment and eloquence, as no country can show a better. Stephens.
The magnificent gallery at the Louvre in Paris, built by Henry IV.
The union of England and Scotland.
The conference at Hampton court held between the bishops and puritans, as they were then called, soon after the king's coming to the crown of England, and where his Majesty was the moderator. Stephens.
If Great masters
repelling the same to my best advantage to right
[Before June, 1606.] .
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR LORDSHIP,
I AM not privy to myself of any such ill deserving towards your lordship, as that I should think it an impudent thing to be a suitor for your favour in a reasonable matter; your lordship being to me as, with your good favour, you cannot cease to be; but rather it were a simple and arrogant part in me to forbear it.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR LORDSHIP,
I AM not ignorant how mean a thing I stand for, in desiring to come into the solicitor's place: for I know well, it is not the thing it hath been; time having wrought alteration both in the profession, and in that special place. Yet because, I think, it will increase my practice, and that it may satisfy my friends, and because I have been voiced to it, I would be glad it were done. Wherein I may say to your lordship, in the confidence of your poor kinsman, and of a man by you advanced, "Tu idem fer opem, qui spem dedisti :" for, I am sure, it was not possible for a man living to have received from another more significant and comfortable words of hope; your lordship being pleased to tell me, during the course of my last service, that you would raise me; and that when you had resolved to raise a man, you were more careful of him than himself; and that what you had done for me in my marriage, was a benefit to me, but of no use to your lordship; and therefore I might assure myself, you would not leave me there; with many like speeches, which I know my duty too well, to take any other hold of than the hold of a thankful remembrance. And I acknowledge, and all the world knoweth, that your LXXXVI. TO THE EARL OF SALISBURY, CON- lordship is no dealer of holy water, but noble and
CERNING THE SOLICITOR'S PLACE.*
real and, on my part, I am of a sure ground, that I have committed nothing that may deserve alteration. And therefore my hope is, your lordship will finish a good work, and consider, that time groweth precious with me, that I am now in vergentibus annis. And although I know that your fortune is not to need a hundred such as I am, yet I shall be ever ready to give you my first and best fruits; and to supply, as much as in me lieth, worthiness by thankfulness.
It is thought Mr. Attorney shall be chief justice of the common pleas; in case Mr. Solicitor rise, I would be glad now at last to be solicitor; chiefly because I think it will increase my practice, wherein | LXXXVIII. God blessing me a few years, I may mend my state, and so after fall to my studies and ease; whereof one is requisite for my body, and the other serveth for my mind; wherein if I shall find your lordship's favour, I shall be more happy than I have been, which may make me also more wise. I have small store of means about the king, and to sue myself is not fit: and therefore I shall leave it to God, his Majesty, and your lordship, for I must still be next the door. I thank God, in these transitory things I am well resolved. So beseeching your lordship not to think this letter the less humble, because it is plain, I rest, &c.
LXXXVII. ANOTHER LETTER TO THE EARL
Stephens's First Collection, p. 28.
TO THE LORD CHANCELLOR, CONCERNING THE SOLICITOR'S PLACE.‡
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR GOOD LORDSHIP,
As I conceived it to be a resolution, both with his Majesty, and among your lordships of his council, that I should be placed solicitor, and the solicitor to be removed to be the king's serjeant; so I most thankfully acknowledge your lordship's fartherance and forwardness therein; your lordship being the man that first devised the mean: wherefore my humble request to your lordship is, that you would set in with some strength to finish this your work; which, I assure your lordship, I desire the rather, because being placed, I hope for many favours at last to be able to do you some better service. For as I am, your lordship cannot use me; nor scarcely indeed know me. Not that I vainly think I shall be able to do any great matters, but certainly it will † Rawley's Resuscitatio. Ibid.