« PreviousContinue »
breathe in the air of their country, and that my case is not common with many, since I have lived so long abroad with disgrace at home; and yet have ever been free not only from suspicion of practice, but from the least dependence upon foreign princes. My king is wise; and I hope, that he hath this just mercy in store for me. God Almighty make and keep your honour ever happy, and keep me so in his favour, as I will be sure to continue
TOBIE MATTHEW. Antwerp, this first of Sept. stylo novo, 1616.
My attendance at court two days, in vain, considering the end of my journey, was no less unto me, seeing thereby I made the gain of the overture and assurance of your honour's affection. These comYour honour's ever most obliged and devoted forts have given new life and strength to my hopes, which before began to faint. I know, what your honour promiseth, you will undertake; and what you undertake, you seldom fail to compass; for such proof of your prudence and industry your honour hath of late times given to the swaying world. There is, to my understanding, no great intricacy in my affair, in which I plainly descry the course to the shore I would land at; to which neither I nor any other can attain, without the direction of our great master-pilot, who will not stir much without the beloved mate sound the way. Both these none can so well set awork as yourself, who have not only their ear, but their affection, and that with good right as I hope, in time, to good and public purpose. It is fit likewise, that your honour know all my advantages. The present incumbent is tied to me by firm promise, which gives an impediment to the competitors, whereof one already, according to the heaviness of his name and nature, petit deorsum. And though I be a bad courtier, yet I know the style of gratitude, and shall learn as I am instructed. Whatsoever your honour shall undertake for me, I will make good. Therefore I humbly and earnestly entreat your best endeavour, to assure to yourself and your master a servant, who both can and will, though as yet mistaken, advance his honour and service with advantage. Your love and wisdom is my last address; and on the real nobleness of your nature, whereof there is so good proof, stands my last hope. If I now find a stop, I will resolve it is fatum Carthaginis, and sit down in perpetual peace. In this business I desire all convenient silence; for though I can endure to be refused, yet it would trouble me to have my name blasted. If your honour return not, and you think it requisite, I will attend at court. Meantime, with all humble and hearty wishes for increase of all happiness, I kiss your honour's hands.
Your honour's humbly at command,
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR HONOUR,
I HAVE written to Sir John Digby; and I think he would do me all favour, if he were handsomely put upon it. My lady of Pembroke hath written, and that very earnestly, to my lord chamberlain in my behalf.
This letter goes by Mr. Robert Garret, to whom I am many ways beholden, for making me the best present, that ever I received, by delivering me your honour's last letter.
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO THE KING.
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENT MAJESTY, BECAUSE I have ever found, that in business the consideration of persons, who are instrumenta unimata, is no less weighty than of matters, I humbly pray your Majesty to peruse this enclosed paper, containing a diligence, which I have used in omnem eventum. If Towerson,+ as a passionate man, have overcome himself in his opinion, so it is. But if his company make this good, then I am very glad to see in the case, wherein we now stand, there is this hope left, and your Majesty's honour preserved in the entier. God have your Majesty in his divine protection.
Your Majesty's most devoted, and most bounden servant, &c.
This is a secret to all men but my lord chancellor ; and we go on this day with the new company, without discouraging them at all.
September 18, 1616.
To the king, upon Towerson's propositions about the cloth business.
Mary, widow of Henry, earl of Pembroke, who died January 19, 1601-2, daughter of Sir Henry Sidney, and sister of Sir Philip. She died September 25, 1621.
† Whose brother, captain Gabriel Towerson, was one of the English merchants executed by the Dutch at Amboyna, in 1623.
Born about 1570, entered a commoner of Broad-Gate's hall, now Pembroke College, Oxford, in 1585, whence he
RICHARD MARTIN, ESQ. TO SIR FRANCIS
September 27, 1616.
To the right honourable Sir Francis Bacon, knight, his Majesty's Attorney-General, and one of his Majesty's most honourable privy council, my singular patron at court.
removed to the Middle Temple. In the parliament of 1601, he served for the borough of Barnstaple in Devon; and in the first parliament of king James I. he served for Cirencester in Gloucestershire; he was chosen recorder of London in September, 1618; but died in the last day of the following month. He was much esteemed by the men of learning and genius of that age.
TO THE KING.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY,
THIS morning, according to your Majesty's command, we have had my lord chief justice of the king's bench before us, we being assisted by all our learned council, except serjeant Crew, who was then gone to attend your Majesty. It was delivered unto him, that your Majesty's pleasure was, that we should receive an account from him of the performance of a commandment of your Majesty laid upon him, which was, that he should enter into a view and retraction of such novelties, and errors, and offensive conceits, as were dispersed in his Reports: that he had had good time to do it; and we doubted not but he had used good endeavour in it, which we desired now in particular to receive from him.
His speech was, that there were of his Reports eleven books, that contained about five hundred cases that heretofore in other Reports, as namely, those of Mr. Plowden,† which he reverenced much, there hath been found nevertheless errors, which the wisdom of the time had discovered, and later judgments controlled; and enumerated to us four cases in Plowden, which were erroneous: and there- | upon delivered in to us the enclosed paper, wherein your Majesty may perceive, that my lord is a happy man, that there should be no more errors in his five hundred cases, than in a few cases of Plowden. Your Majesty may also perceive, that your Majesty's direction to my lord chancellor and myself, and the travail taken by us and Mr. Solicitor, in following and performing your direction, was not altogether lost; for that of those three heads, which we principally respected, which were the rights and liberties of the church, your prerogative, and the jurisdiction of other your ccurts, my lord hath scarcely fallen upon any, except it be the prince's case, which also yet seemeth to stand but upon the grammatical, of French and Latin.
My lord did also give his promise, which your Majesty shall find in the end of his writing, thus far in a kind of common place or thesis, that it was sin for a man to go against his own conscience, though erroneous, except his conscience be first informed and satisfied.
The lord chancellor in the conclusion signified to my lord Coke your Majesty's commandment, that until report made, and your pleasure thereupon known, he shall forbear his sitting at Westminster, &c. not restraining nevertheless any other exercise of his place of chief justice in private.
Thus having performed, to the best of our understanding, your royal commandment, we rest ever Your Majesty's most faithful, and most bounden servants, &c.
Sir Edward Coke.
Edmund Plowden, born of an ancient family of that name at Plowden in Shropshire, who as he tells us himself in the preface to his Reports, in the twentieth year of his age, and the thirtieth of the reign of Henry VIII. anno 1539, began his study of the common law in the Middle Temple. Wood adds, Ath. Oxon. Vol. I. col. 219, that he spent three years in the study of arts, philosophy, and physic, at Cambridge, and four
THE LORD VISCOUNT VILLIERS TO SIR
I HAVE acquainted his Majesty with my lord chancellor's and your report, touching my lord Coke; as also, with your opinion therein; which his Majesty doth dislike for these three reasons: first, because, that by this course you propound, the process cannot have a beginning, till after his Majesty's return; which, how long it may last after, no man knoweth. He therefore thinketh it too long and uncertain a delay, to keep the bench so long void from a chief justice. Secondly, although his Majesty did use the council's advice in dealing with the chief justice upon his other misdemeanors; yet he would be both to lessen his prerogative, in making the council judges, whether he should be turned out of his place or no, if the case should so require. Thirdly, for that my lord Coke hath sought means to kiss his Majesty's hands, and withal to acquaint him with some things of great importance to his service; he holdeth it not fit to admit him to his presence, before these points be determined, because that would be a grant of his pardon before he had his | trial. And if those things, wherewith he is to acquaint his Majesty, be of such consequence, it would be dangerous and prejudicial to his Majesty, to delay him too long. Notwithstanding, if you shall advise of any other reasons to the contrary, his Majesty would have you, with all the speed you can, to send them unto him; and in the mean time to keep back his Majesty's letter, which is herein sent unto you, from my lord Coke's knowledge, until you receive his Majesty's further direction for your proceeding in his business.
And so I rest, your ever assured friend at command,
GEORGE VILLIERS. Theobald's, the 3d of October, 1616. To the right honourable Sir Francis Bacon, knight, his Majesty's Attorney-General, and of his most honourable privy council.
TO THE KING.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, We have considered of the letters, which we received from your Majesty, as well that written to us both, as that other written by my lord Villiers to me, the attorney, which I thought good to acquaint my lord chancellor withal, the better to give your Majesty satisfaction. And we most humbly desire your Majesty to think, that we are, and ever shall
at Oxford, where in November 1552 he was admitted to prac tise chirurgery and physic. In 1557 he became summer reader of the Middle Temple, and three years after Lent reader, having been made serjeant, October 27, 1558. He died February 6, 1584-5, at the age of sixty-seven, in the profession of the Roman catholic faith, and lies interred in the Temple church.
Sir Henry Yelverton.
be, ready to perform and obey your Majesty's direc- | and habeas corpus, collected by my lord of Cantertions; towards which the first degree is to understand them well.
bury. In all which course we foresee length of time, not so much for your learned council to be prepared, for that is almost done already, but because himself, no doubt, will crave time of advice to peruse his own books, and to see, whether the collections be true, and that he be justly charged; and then to produce his proofs, that those things, which he shall be charged with, were not conceits or singularities of his own, but the acts of court, and other like things, tending to excusation or extenuation; wherein we do not see, how the time of divers days, if not of weeks, can be denied him.
Now for time, if this last course of charging him be taken, we may only inform your Majesty thus much, that the absence of a chief justice, though it should be for a whole term, as it hath been often upon sickness, can be no hinderance to common justice. For the business of the king's bench may be despatched by the rest of the judges; his voice in the star-chamber may be supplied by any other judge, that my lord chancellor shall call; and the trials by nisi prius may be supplied by commission.
But as for those great matters of discovery, we can say nothing more than this, that either they are old or new. If old, he is to blame for having kept them so long: if new, or whatsoever, he may advertise your Majesty of them by letter, or deliver them by word to such counsellor as your Majesty will assign.
In answer therefore to both the said letters, as well concerning matter as concerning time, we shall in all humbleness offer to your Majesty's high wisdom the considerations following:
First, we did conceive, that after my lord Coke was sequestered from the table and his circuits,* when your Majesty laid upon him your commandment for the expurging of his Reports, and commanded also our service to look into them, and into other novelties introduced into the government, your Majesty had in this your doing two principal ends:
The one, to see, if upon so fair an occasion he would make an expiation of his former faults; and also show himself sensible of those things in his Reports, which he could not but know were the likest to be offensive to your Majesty.
The other, to perform de vero this right to your crown and succession, and your people also; that those errors and novelties might not run on, and authorize by time, but might be taken away, whether he consented to it or no.
But we did not conceive your Majesty would have had him charged with those faults of his book, or those other novelties; but only would have had them represented to you for your better information.
Now your Majesty seeth what he hath done, you can better judge of it than we can. If, upon this Thus we hope your Majesty will accept of our probation added to former matters, your Majesty sincerity, having dealt freely and openly with your think him not fit for your service, we must in all Majesty, as becometh us and when we shall rehumbleness subscribe to your Majesty, and acknow-ceive your pleasure and direction, we shall execute ledge that neither his displacing, considering he and obey the same in all things: ending with our holdeth his place but during your will and pleasure, prayers for your Majesty, and resting nor the choice of a fit man to be put in his room, are council-table matters, but are to proceed wholly from your Majesty's great wisdom and gracious pleasure. So that in this course, it is but the signification of your pleasure, and the business is at an end as to him. Only there remaineth the actual expurgation or animadversions of the books.
Your Majesty's most faithful, and most bounden
But if your Majesty understand it, that he shall be charged, then, as your Majesty best knoweth, justice requireth, that he be heard and called to his answer, and then your Majesty will be pleased to consider, before whom he shall be charged; whether before the body of your council, as formerly he was, or some selected commissioners; for we conceive your Majesty will not think it convenient it should be before us two only. Also the manner of his | charge is considerable, whether it shall be verbal by your learned council, as it was last; or whether, in respect of the multiplicity of matters, he shall not have the collections we have made in writing, delivered to him. Also the matter of his charge is likewise considerable, whether any of those points of novelty, which by your Majesty's commandment we collected, shall be made part of his charge; or only the faults of his books, and the prohibitions
* On the 30th of June, 1616. Camdeni Annales Regis Jacobi I. p. 19; and Peck, Desiderata Curiosa, Vol. I. Lib. vi. P. 18.
October 6, 1616.
REMEMBRANCES OF HIS MAJESTY'S DE-
THAT although the discharging and removing of his Majesty's officers and servants, as well as the choice and advancement of men to place, be no council-table matters, but belong to his Majesty's princely will and secret judgment; yet his Majesty will do his council this honour, that in his resolutions of that kind, his council shall know them first before others, and shall know them accompanied by their causes, making as it were a private manifesto, or revealing of himself to them without parables.
Then to have the report of the lords touching the business of the lord Coke, and the last order of the council read.
That done his Majesty farther to declare, that he might, upon the same three grounds in the order
mentioned, of deceit, contempt, and slander of his government, very justly have proceeded then, not only to have put him from his place of chief justice, but to have brought him in question in the starchamber, which would have been his utter overthrow; but then his Majesty was pleased for that time only to put him off from the council-table, and from the public exercise of his place of chief justice, and to take farther time to deliberate.
That in his Majesty's deliberation, besides the present occasion, he had in some things looked back to the lord Coke's former carriage, and in some things looked forward, to make some farther trial of him.
That for things passed, his Majesty had noted in him a perpetual turbulent carriage, first towards the liberties of his church and estate ecclesiastical; towards his prerogative royal, and the branches thereof; and likewise towards all the settled jurisdictions of all his other courts, the high commission, the star-chamber, the chancery, the provincial councils, the admiralty, the duchy, the court of requests, the commission of inquiries, the new boroughs of Ireland; in all which he had raised troubles and new questions; and lastly, in that, which might concern the safety of his royal person, by his exposition of the laws in cases of high treason.
That, besides the actions themselves, his Majesty in his princely wisdom hath made two special observations of him; the one, that he having in his nature not one part of those things, which are popular in men, being neither civil, nor affable, nor magnificent, he hath made himself popular by design only, in pulling down government. The other, that whereas his Majesty might have expected a change in him, when he made him his own, by taking him to be of his council, it made no change at all, but to the worse, he holding on all his former channel, and running separate courses from the rest of his council, and rather busying himself in casting fears before his council, concerning what they could not do, than joining his advice what they should do.
That his Majesty, desirous yet to make a farther trial of him, had given him the summer's vacation to reform his Reports, wherein there be many dangerous conceits of his own uttered for law, to the prejudice of his crown, parliament, and subjects; and to see, whether by this he would in any part redeem his fault. But that his Majesty hath failed of the redemption he desired, but hath met with another kind of redemption from him, which he little expected. For as to the Reports, after three months time and consideration, he had offered his Majesty *only five animadversions, being rather a scorn, than a satisfaction to his Majesty; whereof one was that in the prince's case he had found out the French statute, which was filz aisné, whereas the Latin was primogenitus; and so the prince is duke of Cornwall in French, and not duke of Cornwall in Latin. And another was, that he had set Montagu to be
Harl. MSS. Vol. 7006.
Nephew of Sir Francis Bacon, being eldest son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, lord keeper of the great seal. Sir Edmund
chief justice in Henry VIII.'s time, when it should have been in Edward VI.'s, and such other stuff; not falling upon any of those things, which he could not but know were offensive.
That hereupon his Majesty thought good to refresh his memory, and out of many cases, which his Majesty caused to be collated, to require his answer to five, being all such, as were but expatiations of his own, and no judgments; whereunto he returned such an answer, as did either justify himself, or elude the matter, so as his Majesty seeth plainly antiquum obtinet.
TO SIR FRANCIS BACON, ATTORNEY-
I HAVE kept your man here thus long, because I thought there would have been some occasion for me to write after Mr. Solicitor-General's being with the king. But he hath received so full instruction from his Majesty, that there is nothing left for me to add in the business. And so I rest Your faithful servant,
GEORGE VILLIERS. Royston, the 13th of Octob. 1616.
To the right honourable Sir Francis Bacon, knight, one of his Majesty's privy council, and his Attorney-general.
SIR EDMUND BACON + TO SIR FRANCIS
I AM bold to present unto your hands by this bearer whom the law calls up, some salt of wormwood, being uncertain, whether the regard of your health makes you still continue the use of that medicine. I could wish it otherwise; for I am persuaded that all diuretics, which carry with them that punctuous nature and caustic quality by calcination, are hurtful to the kidneys, if not enemies to the other principal parts of the body. Wherein if it shall please you for your better satisfaction, to call the advice of your learned physicians, and that they shall resolve of any medicine for your health wherein my poor labour may avail you, you know where your faithful apothecary dwells, who will be ready at your commandment; as I am bound both by your favours to myself, as also by those to my nephew, whom you have brought out of darknes into light, and by what I hear, have already mad him by your bounty, a subject of emulation to hi elder brother. We are all partakers of this you
died without issue, April 10, 1649. There are several letter to him from Sir Henry Wotton, printed among the works the latter.
kindness towards him; and for myself, I shall be ever ready to deserve it by any service that shall lie in the power of
Your lordship's poor nephew, EDM. BACON. Redgrave, this 19th of October, 1616. For the right honourable Sir Francis Bacon, knight, his Majesty's Attorney-General, and one of his most honourable privy counsellors, be these deli
vered at London.
TO THE KING.
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENT MAJESTY, I SEND your Majesty a form of discharge for my lord Coke from his place of chief justice of your
I send also a warrant to the lord chancellor, for making forth a writ for a new chief justice, leaving a blank for the name to be supplied by your Majesty's presence; for I never received your Majesty's express pleasure in it.
If your Majesty resolve of Montagu† as I conceive and wish, it is very material, as these times are, that your Majesty have some care, that the recorder succeeding be a temperate and discreet man, and assured to your Majesty's service. If your Majesty, without too much harshness, can continue the place within your own servants, it is best; if not, the man upon whom the choice is like to fall, which is Coventry, I hold doubtful for your service; not but that he is a well learned, and an honest man; but he hath been, as it were, bred by lord Coke, and seasoned in his ways.
God preserve your Majesty.
I send not these things, which concern my lord Coke, by my lord Villiers, for such reasons as your Majesty may conceive.
November 13, at noon .
Sir Edward Coke was removed from that post on the 15th of November, 1616.
+ Sir Henry Montagu, recorder of London, who was made lord chief justice of the king's bench, November 16, 1616. He was afterwards made lord treasurer, and created earl of Manchester.
Thomas Coventry, Esq. afterwards lord keeper of the great seal.
But while your Majesty passeth the accounts of Your Majesty's most humble and bounden judges in circuits, your Majesty will give me leave to think of the judges here in their upper region. And because Tacitus saith well, " opportuni magnis conatibus transitus rerum ;" now upon this change, when he, that letteth, is gone, I shall endeavour, to the best of my power and skill, that there may be a consent and united mind in your judges to serve you and strengthen your business. For I am persuaded there cannot be a sacrifice, from which there may come up to you a sweeter odour of rest, than this effect, whereof I speak.
Sir Henry Montagu.
This is just mentioned in a letter of Sir Francis Bacon to the lord viscount Villiers, printed in his works; but is more particularly stated in the Reports of Sir Henry Hobart, lord chief justice of the Common Pleas, pp. 120, 121, Edit. London 1658, fol. as follows. The lord Darcy of the North sued Gervase Markham, Esq. in the star-chamber, in 1616, on this occasion. They had hunted together, and the defendant and a servant of the plaintiff, one Beckwith, fell together by the ears in the field; and Beckwith threw him down, and was upon him cuffing him, when the lord Darcy took his servant off, and reproved him. However, Mr. Mark
TO THE KING.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, I SEND your Majesty, according to your commandment, the warrant for the review of Sir Edward Coke's Reports. I had prepared it before I received your Majesty's pleasure; but I was glad to see it was in your mind, as well as in my hands. In the nomination, which your Majesty made of the judges, to whom it should be directed, your Majesty could not name the lord chief justice, that now is,§ because he was not then declared; but you could not leave him out now, without discountenance.
I send your Majesty the state of lord Darcy's cause in the star-chamber, set down by Mr. Solicitor, and mentioned in the letters, which your Majesty received from the lords. I leave all in humbleness to your Majesty's royal judgment: but this is true, that it was the clear opinion of my lord chancellor, and myself, and the two chief justices, and others, that it is a cause most fit for the censure of the court, both for the repressing of duels, and the encouragement of complaints in courts of justice. If your Majesty be pleased it shall go on, there resteth but Wednesday for the hearing; for the last day of term is commonly left for orders, though sometimes, upon extraordinary occasion, it hath been set down for the hearing of some great cause.
I send your Majesty also baron Bromley's ** port, which your Majesty required; whereby your Majesty may perceive things go not so well in Cumberland, which is the seat of the party your Majesty named to me, as was conceived. And yet if there were land-winds, as there be sea-winds, to bind men in, I could wish he were a little wind-bound, to keep him in the south.
ham expressing some anger against his lordship, and charging him with maintaining his man, lord Darcy answered, that he had used Mr. Markham kindly; for if he had not rescued him from his man, the latter would have beaten him to rags. Mr. Markham, upon this, wrote five or six letters to lord Darcy, subscribing them with his name; but did not send them, and only dispersed them unsealed in the fields; the purport of them being this: that whereas the lord Darcy hath said, that, but for him, his servant Beckwith had beaten him to rags, he lied; and as often as he should speak it, he lied; and that he would maintain this with his life; adding, that he had dispersed those letters, that his lordship might find them, or somebody else bring them to him; and that if his lordship were desirous to speak with him, he might send his boy, who should be well used. For this offence, Mr. Markham was censured, and fined 5007. by the star-chamber.
Sir Henry Yelverton.
** Edward Bromley, made one of the barons of the exchequer, February 6, 1609-10.