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. CXCVII. TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.*
MY VERY GOOD LORD,
I THOUGHT fit by this my private letter to your lordship, to give you an account of such business as your lordship hath recommended unto me, that you may perceive that I have taken that care of them I ought, and ever shall in those you recommend or remit to me.
For the suit of the alehouses which concerneth your brother Mr. Christopher Villiers, and Mr. Patrick Mawl, I have conferred with my lord chief justice and Mr. Solicitor thereupon, and there is a scruple in it that it should be one of the grievances put down in parliament; which if it be, I may not in my duty and love to you advise you to deal in it; if it be not, I will mold it in the best manner and help it forward. The stay is upon the search of the clerk of the parliament, who is out of town; but we have already found, that the last grievance in septimo, is not the same with this suit; but we doubt yet of another in tertio.
For the business of Mr. Leviston, for your lordship's sake, who I perceive keeps your noble course with me, in acquainting me with these things, I shall apply myself unto you; though in my nature I do desire that those that serve in the court where I sit, though they be not in places of my gift, and so concerns not me nor my place in profit; yet I wish, I say, I might leave them in as good case as I find them. And this suit concerneth the main profit of the six clerks; who though they be of the master of the rolls his gift, yet they serve in my court. But my greatest doubt is, that the grant cannot be good in law; and that it is not like those other precedents, whereof I have received a note. For the difference is, where things have been written by all the clerks indifferently and loosely, in which case the king may draw them into an office; and where they have appertained to one especial office; in which case the king can no more take away the profits of a man's office, than he can the profits of his land. Therefore I think your lordship may do well to write to Mr. Solicitor † and serjeant Finch,‡ or some other lawyers that you trust, or such as Mr. Leviston trusteth, being persons of account, to inform you of the point in law, before you proceed any farther: for without that all is in vain.
For the business of Hawkins, touching the register for the commission of bankrupts; I am not yet satisfied likewise for the law, nor for the conveniency; but I rather incline to think it may pass; and I have set it in a course by which it may be throughly informed. For Sir Rowland Egerton's cause, and his lady's, the parties have submitted themselves unto me, and are content to do it by bond, and therefore I will *Stephens's Second Collection, p. 73.
Sir Thomas Coventry.
Sir Henry Finch, serjeant at law, being the first of his name that made a considerable figure in that profession, I shall give a short account of him. He was younger brother to Sir Moyle Finch, of Eastwel in the county of Kent, and father of John, lord Finch, keeper of the great seal in the reign of king Charles I. He died in 1625, leaving to poste
undoubtedly make an end of it according to justice and conscience.
For Sir Gilbert Houghton's business, I am in very good hope to effect your lordship's desire for his good. For Moor's business, concerning the printing of books, after hearing all parties, I have sealed his patent; but for his former patent of salt, I dare not do it, without acquainting the council therewith, which I am ready to do if he require that course to be taken.
If his Majesty at any time ask touching the lord Clifton's business, I pray your lordship represent to his Majesty thus much: that whatsoever hath passed, I thank God I neither fear nor hate him; but I am wonderful careful of the seats of justice, that they may still be well munited, being principal sinews of his Majesty's authority. Therefore the course will be, as I am advised, that for this hainous misprision, that the party, without all colour or shadow of cause, should threaten the life of his judge, and of the highest judge of the kingdom next his Majesty, he be first examined, and if he confess it, then an ore tenus; if he confess it not, then an information in the star-chamber, and he to remain where he is till the hearing. But I do purposely forbear yet to have him examined, till the decree or agreement between him and my lord Aubigny, which is now ready, be perfected, lest it should seem an oppression, by the terror of the one, to beat him down in the other. Thus I ever rest
Your lordship's true friend and devoted servant, FR. BACON, CANC.
York-house, Jan. 25, 1617.
I pray your lordship to pardon me, if in respect of a little watering in one of mine eyes, I have written this letter, being long and private business, in my secretary's hand.
CXCVIII. TO THE LORD CHANCELLOR.§
MY HONOURABLE LORD,
I HAVE received your lordship's letters, wherein I see the continuance of your love and respect to me, in any thing I write you of, for which I give your lordship many thanks, desiring nothing for any man but what you shall find just and convenient to pass. I am very glad to understand that there is so good hope of Sir Gilbert Houghton's business, which I must needs ascribe to your lordship's great favour toward him for my sake, which I will ever acknowledge. If his Majesty at any time speak of the lord Clifton's business, I will answer according to that your lordship hath written, &c.
Your lordship's faithful servant,
Newmarket, the last of Jan. 1617.
rity a sufficient testimony of his learning in the law, as well as the sciences, in his book entitled, "A Description of the Common Laws of England according to the rules of art, &c." His son's good parts and elocution were acknowledged by the greatest of his enemies; which accomplishments, though he died without issue, have eminently appeared in some other descendants from his honourable family. Stephens.
§ Stephens's Second Collection, p. 75.
CXCIX. TO THE KING.*
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, FINDING as well by your Majesty's despatches and directions to your council, as now by speech with Mr. Secretary Lake, that your Majesty is content to be troubled with business of sundry natures; I thought good, according to the duty of my place, and the necessity of the occasion, to put your Majesty in mind, that on this day seven-night, being Friday in the morning, I am, according to custom, to give a charge and admonition to the judges and justices of peace now before the circuits, wherein I am humbly to crave your Majesty's pleasure and directions.
I have for your Majesty's better ease set down the heads, which by the prescript of your book, and out of the consideration of the present times, I have thought fittest to be remembered. I have also sent your Majesty the last account of the judges' circuits, not to trouble you with the reading of them all; but to the end that if upon my memorial, or otherwise out of your Majesty's own memory, which is above memorials, you should have occasion to resort to those accounts, the papers may be by you.
The point of greatest weight, in my opinion, is the carrying of a balanced hand at this time in the matter of recusants, in regard of the treaty with Spain. For it were good, in respect of your people, that there were no note made, that the string is relaxed, and in respect of the treaty, that it is not strained; and therefore that the proceeding in those causes be rather diligent than severe.
I am wonderful glad to hear that this extremity of weather, which I think the Muscovite hath brought with him, hath not touched your Majesty, whose health and ease is far dearer to me than my life with all the appurtenances. God ever preserve and prosper you,
Your Majesty's most faithful and most obliged servant,
FR. BACON, CANC.
Friday morning, Feb. 6, 1617.
Your Majesty will be pleased your answer be with me on Thursday at noon, or soon after.
CC. TO THE LORD CHANCELLOR.+
I HAVE acquainted his Majesty with your letter to me, and delivered likewise to him the letter and other things directed to his Majesty, who hath commanded me to return this answer to them all.
First, For your memorial of your charge to the judges, he liketh it so well, that he findeth nothing either to be added or diminished, and was so well satisfied therewith, that he accounteth it needless to read the other papers, but sealed them up again, and sendeth them back to your lordship without reading Stephens's Second Collection, p. 76.
them. Only in the point of recusants his Majesty is of the quite contrary opinion to you; for though he would not by any means have a more severe course held, than his laws appoint in that case, yet sith the many reasons why, there should be no mitigation above that which his laws have enacted, and his own conscience telleth him to be fit. As first, the papists in his kingdom have taken such heart upon the commission given to Sir John Digby touching the match with Spain, that they have sent copies thereof privately up and down, and are so lifted up in their hopes of what they desire, that his Majesty cannot but take a more severe course, as far as by his laws he may, than hitherto he hath done. Besides, when they shall see a harder hand carried toward them than hath been accustomed, his Majesty assureth himself, they will employ all their means to farther the match, in hope of mitigating of that severity when it shall be accomplished. And though these reasons were not, his Majesty would account it a baseness in a prince to show such a desire of the match, as to slack any thing in his course of government, much more in propagation of the religion he professeth, for fear of giving hinderance to the match thereby. And so with many thanks for your favours to my brother in his business, I rest
Your lordship's faithful servant,
Newmarket, 8 Feb. 1617.
CCL. TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM. MY VERY GOOD LORD,
MR. Chancellor of the exchequer hath signified to me this day, that yesterday his Majesty called him to his coach, and said to him, that one that had used ill speech of me should be called before me, and make his submission to me; and thereupon be called before the council, and receive a sharp reprehension, and so be enlarged. And Mr. Chancellor could not tell me who the person was, but after by some letter he received from my lord Clifton, and speech with a man of his, he perceived it was he.
I pray your lordship in humbleness to let his Majesty know, that I little fear the lord Clifton, but I much fear the example, that it will animate ruffians and rodomonti extremely against the seats of justice, which are his Majesty's own seats, yea, and against all authority and greatness, if this pass without public censure and example; it having gone already so far as that the person of a baron hath been committed to the Tower. The punishment it may please his Majesty to remit, and I shall not formally but heartily intercede for him but an example, setting myself aside, I wish for terror of persons that may be more dangerous than he, towards the least judge of the kingdom.
Therefore it may please his Majesty to speak of it with myself and my lords, when he cometh next, and in the mean time I will command, from his + Ibid. p. 77. ‡ Ibid. p. 79.
Majesty, the master of the rolls, and Mr. Attorney, | ment of his wards in England in due time. God who were appointed by the table to examine him, to ever preserve and prosper you.
stay. God ever prosper you.
Your Majesty's true friend and devoted servant,
Your lordship's most obliged friend and faithful
FR. BACON, CANC.
FR. VERULAM, CANC. York-house, July 27, 1618.
CCII. TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.†
MY VERY GOOD LORD,
We have sat once upon the commission of treasure to no ill purpose, as may appear by the account enclosed; wherein his Majesty will find no preposterous issue of treasure: Mr. Chancellor imagines well, Coke seeks and beats over, as well where it is not, as where it is; secretary Naunton forgets nothing. I will look to bow things to the true ends. God bless and prosper his Majesty and yourself.
Your lordship's most obliged friend and faithful servant, 25 July, 1617.
FR. VERULAM, CANC.
CCIV. TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.§
I AM very glad to hear of the honour his Majesty intendeth to my noble lady your lordship's mother.|| This, amongst many other things, showeth in your lordship good nature, which is the root of all virtues, next religion. Besides, it doth sort well in states, when place and power do meet and stand not too far at distance.
For the passing of it by direction without bill signed, it cannot be in law. So is Mr. Attorney's opinion, and so is mine; and therefore there is presently a bill sent with an indorsement of passing it by immediate warrant, and this antedate.
For the antedate, I must present his Majesty with
CCIII. TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM. my caution, and with my obedience.
MY VERY GOOD LORD,
I PRAY your lordship to signify to his Majesty, that I thought it my duty to stay at the seal, a book of Sir Francis Steward's, and Sir James Auterlony, &c. of 2001. land in charge in fee-simple: my reasons, First, It is a perpetuity, and so much rent in diminution of revenue certain.
Secondly, The warrant, as is acknowledged, came only from my lord of Suffolk, and not from Mr. Chancellor. And yet my lord was wont to boast, that since he was treasurer, all commissions and contracts for sale of the king's lands were broken off and ceased.
Thirdly, The rate of the moneys paid by the gentlemen amounteth but to thirteen years' purchase; which is a plain gift of a good proportion of value.
If his Majesty, now informed, iterate his mandate, it is done, and I excused; but I could wish his Majesty would refer it to the commissioners of the treasury, how the gentlemen may be otherwise satisfied.
I received yesternight a brave account of the commission of the wards in Ireland, which this one year is advanced from 2001. per annum to 4000l. which is twenty-fold multiplied. This I write for two reasons. First, because I glory in it, because it was my work wholly; next, because his Majesty may take occasion by this to look better to the improve
I know not whether there was any prosecution against the lord Clifton, or whether it was prevented by the laying of violent hands upon himself, in the year ensuing. Stephens. + Stephens's Second Collection, p. 80. I Ibid.
§ Ibid. p. 82.
The advancement of this lady to the title of the countess of Buckingham, was, notwithstanding the reasons here alleged, so ill resented by the house of commons in 1626, that in article XI. of their impeachment of the duke her son, it was objected against him as one of his offences. Stephens. 18 Hen. VII. cap. 1.
** By this and the preceding letter it appears, that as my lord chancellor thought it his duty to offer to the king his
For the statute tieth me from antedates; and indeed the mischief is infinite: for by that means the king may grant any land, &c. and take it away a month hence, and grant it another by an antedate.¶ And surely were it land or the like, I would not say absit, or your Majesty cannot do it, for a world; or, Your Majesty is sworn and I am sworn; or such brave phrases; but surely, I say, I would in humbleness represent it to his Majesty.**
But the case of honour differeth; for therein his Majesty's prerogative and declaration is absolute, and he may make him that is last to be first. And therefore upon his Majesty's signification of his pleasure upon the indorsement of the bill signed, I take it I may lawfully do it.
I am here rejoicing with my neighbours the townsmen of St. Albans, for this happy day, the fifth of August,†† 1618.
Your lordship's most obliged friend and faithful servant, Gorhambury.
FR. VERULAM, CANC.
CCV. TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.‡‡
MY VERY GOOD LORD,
I THANK your lordship for your last loving letter.
reasons against passing of a patent: yet if then the king, who was judge of the inconvenience, was pleased to command it, he was obliged to allow the same. But in those things which were contrary to law, as it is to be presumed, that after an humble representation thereof, no prince would exact, so no minister in such a case would yield an obedience. Stephens. †† The fifth of August, being the anniversary of the king's deliverance from the earl of Gowry's conspiracy, was by some called the court holiday, and ridiculed as a fiction; though the truth thereof being delivered down by Archbishop Spotswood, and other good historians, I see no great reason to call it into question. Stephens.
Stephens's Second Collection, p. 83.
I now write to give the king an account of a patent | above dead pays, is no good argument. For the I have stayed at the seal. It is of licence to give abuse of dead pays is to be amended, and not the in mortmain eight hundred pound land, though it necessary number abated. In this his Majesty may be of tenure in chief to Allen* that was the player, fall upon a middle proportion between that of the for an hospital. commissioners and that of the officers.
I like well that Allen playeth the last act of his life so well; but if his Majesty give way thus to amortize his tenures, his courts of wards will decay ; which I had well hoped should improve.
But that which moved me chiefly is, that his Majesty now lately did absolutely deny Sir Henry Savile for 2001. and Sir Edward Sandys for 1007. to the perpetuating of two lectures, the one in Oxford, the other in Cambridge, foundations of singular honour to his Majesty, the best learned of kings, and of which there is great want; whereas hospitals abound, and beggars abound never a whit the less. †
If his Majesty do like to pass the book at all; yet if he would be pleased to abridge the 800l. to 500/. and then give way to the other two books for the university, it were a princely work. And I would make an humble suit to the king, and desire your lordship to join in it, that it might be so. God ever preserve and prosper you.
Your lordship's most obliged friend and faithful servant,
FR. VERULAM, CANC.
York-house, Aug. 18, 1618.
I have written to my lord chamberlain, being chancellor of Oxford, to help in the business.
It were good, now the three books, which we have appointed to be engrossed into one ledger-book, are affirmed, there were a short book of his Majesty's royal directions, and orders thereupon, extracted.
For the commission of the treasury, I persuade myself, they are of the first hours that have been well spent in that kind. We have put those particulars, whereof his Majesty gave us charge, into a way.
Bingley's information will be to good purpose, | and we find another of like nature revealed to Mr. Secretary and myself. God ever prosper you.
Your lordship's most obliged friend and faith-
9 October, 1618.
CCVII. TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.Ş
MY VERY GOOD Lord,
LOOKING for matter of service, I have found out a suit for myself: and it is proper for me more than all men, because it is within the account of the hanaper. But I have made a law to myself, that I will never beg any thing which shall not bring gain to the king. Therefore my suit is, to farm the profits of the alienations, yielding a thousand pounds a year more to the king than hath been yielded com
CCVI. TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM. munibus annis, by a medium of seven years.
MY VERY GOOD Lord,
WHAT passed in your lordship's presence, your lordship can tell, touching the navy. The morrow following we concluded in approbation of the books, save in one point, touching the number convenient for manning the ships, wherein the number allowed by the commissioners had, in my judgment, a little of the merchant; for to measure by so many as were
* That Allen the player, who founded an hospital at Dulwich in Surry, had been an excellent actor of the comical and serious part, will appear evident to any one that shall thoroughly consider the following epigram made by that admirable dramatic poet, Ben Jonson.
TO MR. EDWARD ALLEN.
If Rome so great, and in her wisest age,
It were to be wished this observation did not hold true to this day: for though the foundations of hospitals are to be commended, which Sir Francis Bacon hath done both in this letter and other his writings; yet it shows that some more adequate remedy for supporting the poor, than what arises from these
king be pleased to grant me this, it will a little have a new occasion to be, as I ever have been, and warm the honour he hath given me; and I shall shall be,
Your lordship's obliged friend and faithful servant,
FR. VERULAM, CANC. York-house, October 9, 1618.
charities, or even from the laws enacted for their relief, was then, and yet is to be desired. And as the defect thereof is no small reproach to the government of a country, happy in its natural products, and enriched by commerce; so it would be an act of the greatest humanity to provide for the poor, and that idleness and beggary, the successive nursery of rogues, might as far as possible be extirpated. Upon this occasion I cannot but take notice of a story which has been spread abroad to the defamation of Sir Francis Bacon, though upon no good ground, as far as I can judge, as if in the accomplishment of the foundation of the Charter-house hospital, begun by Mr. Sutton and carried on by his executors, Sir Francis, who was then the king's solicitor, had for some ill designs of gain to himself or others, endeavoured to have defeated the same. The fact was, that the heir at law supposing, notwithstanding what Mr. Sutton had done in procuring acts of parliament, and patents from the king, in order to establish this noble charity, that the greatest part of his estate was descended to him, it was argued on his behalf by the solicitor-general, by Mr. Henry Yelverton, and Mr. Walter, men of great reputation in those times : and whatever ill intentions some of the court might have, my request to the reader is, that before he pass any censure upon Sir Francis Bacon, relating hereunto, he would please to peruse his advice, printed in vol. i. p. 495, given to the king touching Mr. Sutton's estate. Stephens.
Stephens's Second Collection, p. 84.
§ Ibid. p. 85.
CCVIII. TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKING
MY VERY GOOD LORD,
THIS morning Mr. Attorney came to me, and desired of me the many writs of Ne exeat regnum against most of the Dutch merchants,† and withal let me understand that there was a discovery of an infinite transportation of gold and silver out of this realm by the said Dutch merchants, amounting to millions; and that Sir John Britain had made a book thereof, and presented the same to his Majesty; and farther, that his Majesty had directed him to prosecute the same; and had also given Sir Thomas Vavasor the forfeiture of such ten of them as he should choose.
Hereupon I thought it my duty, as in a matter of great weight, to signify to his Majesty by your lordship what I conceive.
The discovery I think very happy. For if it be true, it will be a great benefit to his Majesty it will also content his people much, and it will demonstrate also that Scotland is not the leech, as some discoursers say, but the Netherlanders, that suck the realm of treasure. So that the thing is very good.
But two things I must represent to his Majesty; the first, that if I stay merchants from their trading by this writ, I must do it either ex officio, or by special warrant from his Majesty.
If ex officio, then I must have more than a bare surmise to grant the writ upon, so as I must be acquainted with the grounds, or at least appearance of proofs. If by special warrant, then I desire to receive the same. The other is, that I humbly beseech his Majesty that these royal boughs of forfeiture may not be vintaged or cropp'd by private suitors, considering his Majesty's state as it is, but that Sir Thomas Vavasor, or Sir John Britain, may have a bountiful and gracious reward for their discovery; but not the prime, or without stint.
In sum, I would wish his Majesty to refer the whole business, and carriage of the same for his honour and profit, to the commissioners of treasury; or because it is a legal forfeiture, to myself, Mr. Chancellor, Sir Edward Coke, and my lord chief justice of England: and by us his Majesty shall be assured to know the best course for his justice, honour, and profit, and that he may dispose what
*Stephens's Second Collection, p. 86.
The affair of these Dutch merchants is in some measure represented in this letter, and those of October 9, and Nov. 9, 1619. But Mr. Stephens in his introduction, p. 45, 46, gives us by the assistance of some authentic papers, the following account of the affair: Upon the 19th of October, 1618, the attorney-general having applied to the lord chancellor for writs Ne exeat regnum, against these merchants, afterwards exhibited an information against about one hundred and eighty of them, for transporting beyond the seas vast quantities of gold and silver in money, plate, and bullion, since the beginning of king James I.'s reign. The attorney at first brought the cause to a hearing against about twenty of them, who were supposed the greatest offenders, and most able to make restitution. Their fines amounting in the whole to 150,000l. of which Mr. William Courteen, and two others, were condemned in 20,0007. each; the advice which the lord chancellor gave the king, not to grant away the fines of such ten of them as
CCIX. TO THE LORD CHANCELLOR.‡
I HAVE acquainted his Majesty with your letter, who giveth you thanks for your advice to communicate the business of the Dutchmen to the commissioners of the treasury, which his Majesty was before purposed to refer to them, as it concerns his treasure, for the carriage of it: and to your lordship and the rest named in your letter, for the relation it hath to the law. For the proposers of the suit, his Majesty intendeth only to reward their pains as may stand with his service and his princely dispo sition, but to preserve the main benefit himself: all that his Majesty would have your lordship to do for the present, is to take order about the writ of Ne exeant regnum; to advise with his learned counsel what course is to be taken, and if by a warrant from his Majesty, that your lordship send him a warrant to be signed, which shall be returned with all speed. Of other things his Majesty thinketh it will be time enough to speak at his return to London. In the mean time I rest
Your lordship's faithful friend and servant,
Hinchenbroke, 21 Octob. 1618.
CCX. TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.§ MY VERY GOOD Lord,
I HAVE this morning received the petty roll for the sheriffs. I received also the papers exhibited by Sir Miles Fleetwood, which I will use to his Majesty's best service, and thereupon give account to his Majesty when time serveth.
My care, which is not dormant touching his Majesty's service, especially that of treasure, which is now summa summarum, maketh me propound to his
Sir Thomas Vavasor the discoverer should choose, and which it seems he had in a manner been promised, was a piece of service worthy the place he enjoyed, and the trust he had with the king. Upon the 12th of October, 1619, Mr. Courteen was censured to pay 20007. more, and other smaller sums, for endeavouring to corrupt the king's evidence. And the 19th of November following was appointed for the trial of between twenty and thirty more; but by reason of some neglect or mismanagement in the prosecution, which gave the court a great deal of trouble, and the defendants some advantage, the cause was not heard till the 7th of December, though most of them were then found guilty. Of the large fines imposed upon the delinquents, it is supposed that they paid but a third part; for during the prosecution, the States-General did by a letter desire the marquis of Buckingham to endeavour to moderate the heat thereof, as Sir Noel Carson their ambassador did the next day after sentence, to mitigate the severity Stephens's Second Collection, p. 87.
Ibid. p. 88.