« PreviousContinue »
big, and, publishing his Majesty's strait charge to me, said, it had struck me blind, as in point of duels and cartels, &c. I should not know coronet from a hatband. I was bold also to declare how excellently his Majesty had expressed to me a contemplation of his touching duels; that is, that when he came forth and saw himself princely attended with goodly nobles and gentlemen, he entered into the thought, that none of their lives were in certainty not for twenty-four hours from the duel; for it was but a heat or a mistaking, and then a lie, and then a challenge, and then life: saying, that I did not marvel, seeing Xerxes shed tears, to think none of his great army should be alive once within a hundred years, his Majesty were touched with compassion to think that not one of his attendance but might be dead within twenty-four hours by the duel. This I write because his Majesty may be wary what he saith to me, in things of this nature, I being so apt to play the blab. In this also I forgot not to prepare the judges, and wish them to profess, and as it were to denounce, that in all cases of duel capital before them, they will use equal severity towards the insolent murder by the duel, and the insidious murder; and that they will extirpate that difference out of the opinions of men; which they did excellent well.
I must also say, that it was the first time that I heard my lord of Arundel speak in that place; and I do assure your lordship he doth excellently become the court; he speaketh wisely and weightily, and yet easily and clearly, as a great nobleman should do.*
There hath been a proceeding in the king's bench against Bertram's keeper, for misdemeanor, and I have put a little pamphlet, prettily penned by one Mr. Trotte, that I set on work, touching the whole business to the press, by my lord chancellor's advice.
I pray God direct his Majesty in the cloth business, that that thorn may be once out of our sides. His Majesty knoweth my opinion ab antiquo. Thanks be to God for your health, and long may you live to do us all good. I rest
Your true and most devoted servant,
A PROPOSITION FOR THE REPRESSING OF SINGULAR COMBATS OR DUELS, IN THE HAND-WRITING OF SIR FRANCIS BACON.+
FIRST, for the ordinance which his Majesty may establish herein, I wish it may not look back to
My lord of Arundel descended from the noble family of the Howards; his grandfather the duke of Norfolk losing his life upon the account of Mary queen of Scots, and his father suffering some years' imprisonment under sentence of condemnation: he was restored in blood, and to the titles of Arundel and Surry, 1 Jac. made a privy counsellor on the 25th of July, 1616, and afterwards earl marshal of England, and general of the army sent against the Scots by king Charles I. But about the beginning of our civil wars he retired into Italy, where he had spent part of his youth, and returned to the religion he had professed, dying at Padua in 1616. He was a gentleman of a noble aspect, and of a noble nature, a great virtuoso and antiquary, who with much care and cost procured many valuable antiquities and inscriptions to be brought from Asia, Greece, and Italy into England, and placed them in or near his garden at Arundel-house in the Strand; several of which were very generously presented by his grandson the
any offence past, for that strikes before it warns. I wish also it may be declared to be temporary, until a parliament; for that will be very acceptable to the parliament; and it is good to teach the parliament to work upon an edict or proclamation precedent.
For the manner, I should think fit there be published a grave and severe proclamation, induced by the overflow of the present mischief.
For the ordinance itself: first, I consider that offence hath vogue only amongst noble persons, or persons of quality. I consider also that the greatest honour for subjects of quality in a lawful monarchy, is to have access and approach to their sovereign's sight and person, which is the fountain of honour: and though this be a comfort all persons of quality do not use; yet there is no good spirit but will think himself in darkness, if he be debarred of it. Therefore I do propound, that the principal part of the punishment be, that the offender, in the cases hereafter set down, be banished perpetually from approach to the courts of the king, queen, or prince.
Secondly, That the same offender receive a strict prosecution by the king's attorney, ore tenus, in the star-chamber: for the fact being notorious, will always be confessed, and so made fit for an ore tenus. And that this prosecution be without respect of persons, be the offender never so great; and that the fine set be irremissible.
Lastly, For the causes, that they be these following: 1. Where any singular combat, upon what quarrel soever, is acted and performed, though death do
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR LORDSHIP,
I PRAY let his Majesty understand, that although duke of Norfolk to the university of Oxford, where they are among others of the famous Selden fixed to the walls enclosing the Theatre. It were to be wished, that the great number of ancient statues which adorned his house and gardens, and have since been much neglected, had met with as safe a repository. The eloquence which Sir Francis Bacon doth here commend in this lord, is much the same which in the beginning of his " Advancement of Learning" he doth attribute to the king, in the words of Tacitus, concerning Augustus Caesar: Augusto profluens, et quæ principem deceret eloquentia fuit.'
On occasion of this letter, in which is mentioned Sir Francis Bacon's speech against duels, it may not be improper to insert here this curious paper from Sir David Dalrymple's Memorials and Letters, p. 51.
Stephens's Second Collection, p. 32.
my lord chancellor's answer touching the dismission
Your lordship's true and most devoted servant,
Jan. 23, 1616.
CLXIX. THIS LETTER WAS WRITTEN TO THE EARL OF BUCKINGHAM, ON THE SAME DAY SIR FRANCIS BACON WAS DECLARED LORD KEEPER OF THE GREAT SEAL.*
MY DEAREST Lord,
IT is both in care and kindness, that small ones float up to the tongue, and great ones sink down into the heart in silence. Therefore I could speak little to your lordship to-day, neither had I fit time: but I must profess thus much, that in this day's work you are the truest and perfectest mirror and example of firm and generous friendship that ever was in court. And I shall count every day lost, wherein I shall not either study your well doing in thought, or do your name honour in speech, or perform you service in deed. Good my lord, account
and accept me,
Your most bounden and devoted friend and servant of all men living,
FR. BACON, C. S.
March 7, 1616.
CLXX. TO THE EARL OF BUCKINGHAM.†
MY SINGULAR GOOD Lord,
WHEN I heard here your lordship was dead, I thought I had lived too long. That was, to tell your lordship truly the state of my mind, upon that report. Since, I hear it was an idle mistaking of my lord Evers for my lord Villiers. God's name be blessed, that you are alive to do infinite good, and not so much as sick or ill disposed for any thing I now hear.
I have resigned the prince's scal, and my lord Hobart is placed. I made the prince laugh, when I told him I resigned it with more comfort than I received it; he understanding me that I had changed for a better: but after I had given him that thought, I turned it upon this, that I left his state and busi
Stephens's First Collection, p. 194. + Stephens's Second Collection, p. 33.
ness in good case, whereof I gave him a particular account.
The queen calleth upon me for the matter of her house, wherein your lordship and my lord chamberlain and I dealt, and received his Majesty's direction, so that I shall prepare a warrant first to my lord treasurer and Mr. Chancellor, for that is the right way, to advise how to settle it by assignment, in case she survive his Majesty, which I hope in God she shall not.
Her desire was expressly and of herself, that when I had prepared a warrant to be sent to his Majesty, I should send it by your lordship's hands.
We sit in council, that is all I can yet say; Sir John Denham is not come, upon whose coming the king shall have account of our consultations touching Ireland, which we cannot conclude till we have spoken with him. God ever preserve and
It grieveth me much that I cannot hear enough of his Majesty's good disposition of health, and his pleasures, and other ordinary occurrences of his journey. I pray your lordship will direct Mr. Packer to write to me some time of matters of that kind; I have made the like request of Sir Edward Villiers, by whom I write this present, to whose good affection I think myself beholden, as I do also esteem him much for his good parts, besides his nearness to your lordship, which bindeth me above all. Your Lordship's most faithful and devoted friend and servant,
FR. BACON, C. S.
7 Apr. 1617.
CLXXI. TO THE RENOWNED UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, HIS DEAR AND REVEREND MOTHER.‡
I AM debtor to you for your letters, and of the time likewise, that I have taken to answer them. But as soon as I could choose what to think on, I thought good to let you know; that although you may err much in your valuation of me, yet you shall not be deceived in your assurance: and for the other part also, though the manner be to mend the picture by the life; yet I would be glad to mend the life by the picture, and to become, and be, as you express me to be. Your gratulations shall be no more welcome to me, than your business or occasions; which I will attend; and yet not so, but that I shall endeavour to prevent them by my care of your good. And so I commend you to God's goodness.
Your most loving and assured friend and son,
CLXXII. TO THE EARL OF BUCKINGHAM.§ MY SINGULAR GOOD LORD,
I AM now for five or six days retired to my house Rawley's Resuscitatio.
§ Stephens's First Collection, p. 196.
in the country: for I think all my lords are willing | referred it, it was not so fit for her to write to your to do as scholars do, who though they call them holy-days, yet they mean them play-days.
We purpose to meet again on Easter-Monday, and go all to the spital sermon for that day, and therein to revive the ancient religious manner, when all the council used to attend those sermons, which some neglect in queen Elizabeth's time, and his Majesty's great devotion in the due hearing of sermons himself with his council at the court, brought into desuetude. But now our attendance upon his Majesty, by reason of his absence, cannot be, it is not amiss to revive.
lordship for the despatch of it, but she desired me
Your lordship's most faithful and devoted friend
London, 19 Apr. 1617.
I perceive by a letter your lordship did write some days since to my lord Brackley, that your lordship would have the king satisfied by precedents, that letters patents might be of the dignity of an earldom without delivery of the patent by the king's own hand, or without the ordinary solemnities of a creation. I find precedents somewhat tending to the same purpose, yet not matching fully. But howsoever let me, according to my faithful and free manner of dealing with your lordship, say to you, that since the king means it, I would not have your lordship, for the satisfying a little trembling or panting of the heart in my lord or lady Brackley, to expose your lordship's self, or myself, whose opinion would be thought to be relied upon, or the king our master, to envy with the nobility of this realm; as to have these ceremonies of honour dispensed with, which in conferring honour have used to be observed, like a kind of doctor Bullatus without the ceremony of a commencement: the king and you know I am not ceremonious in nature, and therefore you may think, if it please you, I do it in judgment. God ever preserve you.
CLXXIII. TO THE EARL OF BUCKINGHAM. shall not long want my wish.
MY SINGULAR GOOD LORD,
I PRAY your good lordship to deliver to his Majesty the enclosed.
I send your lordship also the warrant to my lord treasurer and Mr. Chancellor of the exchequer for the queen's† house: it is to come again to the king, when the bill is drawn for the letters patents; for this is only the warrant to be signed by his Majesty.
I asked the queen, whether she would write to your lordship about it; her answer was very modest and discreet, that because it proceeded wholly from his Majesty's kindness and goodness, who had Stephens's Second Collection, p. 37. † Somerset-House.
CLXXIV. TO MR. MATTHEW, IN REFLECTION
I WRITE to you chiefly now, to the end, that by the continuance of my acquaintance with you by letters, you may perceive how much I desire, and how much I do not despair of the recontinuance of our acquaintance by conversation. In the mean time I wish you would desire the astronomers of Italy to amuse us less than they do with their fabulous and foolish traditions, and come nearer to the experiments of sense; and tell us, that when all the planets, except the moon, are beyond the line in the other hemisphere for six months together, we must needs have a cold winter, as we saw it was the last year. For understanding that this was general over all these parts of the world; and finding that it was cold weather with all winds, and namely west-wind, I imagined there was some higher cause of this effect; though yet I confess I thought not that ever I should have found that cause so palpable a one as it proved; which yet, when I came quickly afterwards to observe, I found also very clearly, that the summer must needs be cold too; though yet it were generally thought, that the year would make a shift to pay itself, and that we should be sure to have heats for our cold. You see, that though I be full of business, yet I can be glad rather to lay it all aside, than to say nothing to you. But I long much more to be speaking often with you, and I hope I
Sir Tobie Matthew's Collection of Letters, p. 25. § Stephens's First Collection, p. 197
CLXXV. TO THE KING, ABOUT THE SPANISH
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, MR. Vice-Chamberlain hath acquainted myself and the rest of the commissioners for the marriage with Spain, which are here, with your Majesty's instructions, signed by your royal hands, touching that point of the suppressing of pirates, as it hath relation to his negotiation; whereupon we met yesterday at my lord admiral's at Chelsea, because
we were loth to draw my lord into the air, being but | of your letter, a note of the precedents that I find in newly upon his recovery.*
my lord Brackley's business; which do rather come near the case than match it. Your lordship knoweth already my opinion, that I would rather have you constant in the matter, than instant for the time.
I send also enclosed an account of council business by way of remembrance to his Majesty, which it may please you to deliver to him.
The queen returneth her thanks to your lordship for the despatch of the warrant touching her house: I have not yet acquainted the lord treasurer and chancellor of the exchequer with it; but I purpose to-morrow to deliver them the warrant, and to advise with them for the executing of the same.
I have received the king's letter with another from your lordship, touching the cause of the officers, and Sir Arthur Ingram, whereof I will be very careful to do them justice.
We conceive the parts of the business are four: the charge; the confederations, and who shall be solicited or retained to come in; the forces and the distributions of them; and the enterprise. We had only at this time conference amongst ourselves, and shall appoint, after the holy-days, times for the calling before us such as are fit, and thereupon perform all the parts of your royal commandments.
In this conference I met with somewhat which I must confess was altogether new to me, and opened but darkly neither; whereof I think Mr. ViceChamberlain will give your Majesty some light, for so we wished. By occasion whereof I hold it my duty, in respect of the great place wherein your Majesty hath set me, being only made worthy by your grace, which maketh it decent for me to counsel you ad summas rerum, to intimate or represent to your Majesty thus much.
I do foresee, in my simple judgment, much inconvenience to ensue, if your Majesty proceed to this treaty with Spain, and that your council draw not all one way. I saw the bitter fruits of a divided council the last parliament; I saw no very pleasant fruits thereof in the matter of the cloth. This will be of equal, if not more inconvenience; for wheresoever the opinion of your people is material, as in many cases it is not, there, if your council be united, they shall be able almost to give law to opinion and rumour; but if they be divided, the infusion will not be according to the strength and virtue of the votes of your council, but according to the aptness and inclination of the popular. This I leave to your Majesty in your high wisdom to remedy: only I could wish that when Sir John Digby's instructions are perfected, and that he is ready to go, your Majesty would be pleased to write some formal letter to the body of your council, if it shall be in your absence, signifying to them your resolution in general, to the end, that when deliberation shall be turned into resolution, no man, howsoever he may retain the inwardness of his opinion, may be active in
The letters for my lords of the council with your Majesty, touching the affairs of Ireland, written largely and articulately, and by your Majesty's direction, will much facilitate our labours here: though there will not want matter of consultation thereupon. God ever preserve your Majesty safe and happy. Your Majesty's most devoted and obliged servant, London, April 19, 1617. FR. BACON, C. S.
CLXXVI. TO THE EARL OF BUCKINGHAM.†
I SEND your lordship, according to the direction
* Charles lord Howard of Effingham and carl of Nottingham, was, as Sir Robert Naunton observes, as goodly a gentleman for person as the times had any; which is confirmed by Mr. Osbourn, although his eyes met not with him till he was turned towards the point of eighty. He being also brave, faithful, and diligent, commanded the fleet as lord high admiral
Yesterday I took my place in chancery, which I hold only for the king's grace and favour, and your constant friendship. There was much ado, and a great deal of world; but this matter of pomp, which is heaven to some men, is hell to me, or purgatory at least. It is true, I was glad to see that the king's choice was so generally approved; and that I had so much interest in men's good will and good opinions, because it maketh me the fitter instrument to do my master service and my friend also.
After I was set in chancery, I published his Majesty's charge which he gave me when he gave me the seal; and what rules and resolutions I had taken for the fulfilling his commandments. I send your lordship a copy of that I said. My lord Hay coming to take his leave of me two days before, I told him what I was meditating, and he desired me to send him some remembrance of it; and so I could not but send him another copy thereof. Men tell me it hath done the king a great deal of honour; insomuch that some of my friends that are wise men and no vain ones, did not stick to say to me, that there was not these seven years such a preparation for a parliament; which was a commendation, I confess, pleased me well. I pray take some fit time to show it his Majesty, because if I misunderstood him in any thing, I may amend it, because I know his judgment is higher and deeper than mine.
I take infinite contentment to hear his Majesty is in great good health and vigour; I pray God preserve and continue it. Thus wishing you well above all men living, next my master and his: I rest Your true and devoted friend and servant, FR. BACON, C. S.
Dorset-house, which putteth me
upon several occasions, particularly against the Spanish Armada, 1588. But in the latter end of the year 1618, he surrendered this honourable place to the king, who conferred it upon the marquis of Buckingham, and died in the year 1624, and of his age the 88th. Stephens.
† Stephens's First Collection, p. 200.
CLXXVII. AN ACCOUNT OF COUNCIL RUSI. NESS, AND OTHER MATTERS COMMITTED TO ME BY HIS MAJESTY.*
FIRST, for May-day; at which time there was great apprehension of tumult by prentices and loose people; there was never such a still. The reme
dies that did the effect were three:
First, the putting in muster of the trained bands and military bands in a brave fashion that way. Next, the laying a strait charge upon the mayor and aldermen for the city, and justices of the peace for the suburbs, that the prentices and others might go abroad with their flags and other gauderies, but without weapon of shot and pike, as they formerly took liberty to do: which charge was exceeding well performed and obeyed. And the last was, that we had, according to our warrant dormant, strengthened our commissions of the peace in London and Middlesex, with new clauses of lieutenancy; which as soon as it was known abroad, all was quiet by the terror it wrought. This I write, because it maketh good my farther assurance I gave his Majesty at his first removes, that all should be quiet; for which I received his thanks.
For the Irish affairs, I received this day his Majesty's letter to the lords, which we have not yet opened, but shall sit upon them this afternoon. do not forget, besides the points of state, to put my lord treasurer in remembrance, that his Majesty laid upon him the care of the improvement of the revenue of Ireland by all good means, of which I find his lordship very careful, and I will help him the best I can.
The matter of the revenue of the recusants here in England, I purpose to put forward by a conference with my lord of Canterbury, upon whom the king laid it, and upon secretary Winwood; and, because it is matter of the exchequer, with my lord treasurer and Mr. Chancellor; and after to take the assistance of Mr. Attorney, and the learned counsel; and when we have put it in a frame, to certify his Majesty.
The business of the pirates is, I doubt not, by this time come to his Majesty, upon the letters of us the commissioners, whereof I took special care; and I must say, I find Mr. Vice-Chamberlain a good able man with his pen. But to speak of the main business, which is the match with Spain, the king knows my mind by a former letter; that I
Stephens's First Collection, p. 202.
† During the time that my lord chief justice Coke lay under the displeasure of the court, some information was given to the king, that he having published eleven books of Reports, had written many things against his Majesty's prerogative. And being commanded to explain some of them, my lord chancellor Ellesmere doth thereupon, in his letter of 22 October 1616, write thus to the king: According to your Majesty's directions signified unto me by Mr. Solicitor, I called the lord chief justice before me on Thursday the 17th instant, in presence of Mr. Attorney, and others of your learned counsel. I did let him know your Majesty's acceptance of the few animadversions, which upon review of his own labours he had sent, though fewer than you expected, and his excuses other than you expected." And did at the same time inform him, that his Majesty was dissatisfied with several other passages therein; and those not of the principal points of the cases judged, but delivered by way of expatiation, and which might have been omitted without prejudice to the judgment; of
would be glad it proceeded with an united council; not but that votes and thoughts are to be free: but yet after a king hath resolved, all men ought to cooperate, and neither to be active nor much locutive in oppositum; especially in a case where a few dissenting from the rest, may hurt the business in foro fame.
Yesterday, which was my weary day, I bid all the judges to dinner, which was not used to be, and entertained them in a private withdrawing chamber, with the learned counsel. When the feast was passed, I came amongst them, and sat me down at the end of the table, and prayed them to think I was one of them, and but a foreman. I told them I was weary, and therefore must be short, and that I would now speak to them upon two points. Whereof the one was, that I would tell them plainly, that I was firmly persuaded, that the former discords and differences between the chancery and other courts were but flesh and blood; and that now the men were gone, the matter was gone; and that for my part, as I would not suffer any the least diminution or derogation from the ancient and due power of the chancery, so if any thing should be brought to them at any time, touching the proceedings of the chancery, which did seem to them exorbitant or inordinate, that they should freely and friendly acquaint me with it, and we should soon agree; or if not, we had a master that could easily both discern and rule. At which speech of mine, besides a great deal of thanks and acknowledgment, I did see cheer and comfort in their faces, as if it were a new world.
The second point was, that I let them know how his Majesty, at his going, gave me charge to call and receive from them the accounts of their circuits, according to his Majesty's former prescript, to be set down in writing; and that I was to transmit the writings themselves to his Majesty; and accordingly as soon as I have received them I will send them to his Majesty.
Some two days before I had a conference with some judges, not all, but such as did choose, touching the high commission, and the extending of the same in some points; which I see I shall be able to despatch by consent, without his majesty's farther trouble.
I did call upon the committees also for the proceeding in the purging of Sir Edward Coke's "Reports," which I see they go on with seriously.†
Thanks be to God, we have not much to do for which sort the attorney and solicitor-general did for the present only select five, which being delivered to the chief justice on the 17th of October, he returns his answers at large upon the 21st of the same month, the which I have seen under his own hand. "Tis true the lord chancellor wished he might have been spared all service concerning the chief justice, as remembering the fifth petition of "dimitte nobis debita nostra, etc." Insomuch that though a committee of judges was appointed to consider these books, yet the matter seems to have slept, till after Sir Francis Bacon was made lord keeper, it revived, and two judges more were added to the former. Whereupon Sir Edward Coke doth by his letter make his humble suit to the earl of Buckingham, 1. That if his Majesty shall not be satisfied with his former offer, namely, by the advice of the judges to explain and publish those points, so as no shadow may remain against his prerogative, that then all the judges of England may be called thereto. 2. That they might certify also what cases he had published for his Majesty's prerogative and benefit, for the good of the church, and quiet