« PreviousContinue »
both of the stroke and hand that striketh; learn of David to leave Shimei, and call upon God: he hath some great work to do, and he prepareth you for it; he would neither have you faint, nor yet bear this cross with a stoical resolution: there is a christian mediocrity worthy of your greatness. I must be plain, perhaps rash; had some notes which you had taken at sermons been written in your heart to practise, this work had been done long ago without the envy of your enemies; but when we will not mind ourselves, God, if we belong to him, takes us in hand; and because he seeth that we have unbridled stomachs, therefore he sends outward crosses, which while they cause us to mourn, do comfort us, being assured testimonies of his love that sends them. To humble ourselves therefore before God is the part of a christian; but for the world and our enemies the counsel of the poet is apt, "Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito." Eneid. vi. 95.
The last part of this counsel you forget, yet none need be ashamed to make use of it, that so being armed against casualties, you may stand firm against the assaults on the right hand, and on the left. For this is certain, the mind that is most prone to be puffed up with prosperity, is most weak and apt to be dejected with the least puff of adversity. Indeed she is strong enough to make an able man stagger, striking terrible blows: but true christian wisdom gives us armour of proof against all assaults, and teacheth us in all estates to be content: for though she cause our truest friends to declare themselves our enemies; though she give heart then to the most cowardly to strike us; though an hour's continuance countervails an age of prosperity: though she cast in our dish all that ever we have done; yet hath she no power to hurt the humble and wise, but only to break such as too much prosperity hath made stiff in their own thoughts, but weak indeed; and fitted for renewing: when the wise rather gather from thence profit and wisdom; by the example of David, who said, "Before I was chastised I went astray." Now then he that knoweth the right way, will look better to his footing. Cardan saith, that weeping, fasting, and sighing, are the chief purges of grief; indeed naturally they do assuage sorrow; but God in this case is the only and best physician; the means he hath ordained are the advice of friends, the amendment of oururselves; for amendment is both physician and cure. For friends, although your lordship be scant, yet I hope you are not altogether destitute; if you be, do but look upon good books: they are true friends, that will neither flatter nor dissemble: be you but true to yourself, applying that which they teach unto the party grieved, and you shall need no other comfort nor counsel. To them and to God's holy Spirit, directing you in the reading of them, I commend your lordship; beseeching him to send you a good issue out of these troubles, and from henceforth to work a reformation in all that is amiss, and a resolute perseverance, proceeding, and growth * Rawley's Resuscitatio.
in all that is good; and that for his glory, the bettering of yourself, this church and commonwealth; whose faithful servant whilst you remain, I remain a faithful servant to you, FR. BACON.
CXLIII. TO SIR GEORGE VILLIERS.*
THE time is, as I should think, now or never, for his Majesty to finish his good meaning towards me; if it please him to consider, what is past and what is to come.
If I would tender my profit, and oblige men unto me by my place and practice, I could have more profit than I could devise; and could oblige all the world, and offend none; which is a brave condition for a man's private. But my heart is not on these things. Yet on the other side I would be sorry that worthless persons should make a note that I get nothing but pains and enemies; and a little popular reputation, which followeth me whether I will or no. If any thing be to be done for yourself, I should take infinite contentment, that my honour might wait upon yours; but I would be loth it should wait upon any man's else. If you would put your strength to this business, it is done; and that done many things more will begin. God keep you ever. I rest, Your true and devoted servant, FR. BACON.
May 30, 1616.
CXLIV. TO THE KING, ABOUT THE COMMENDAMS.t
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, I AM not swift to deliver any thing to your Majesty before it be well weighed. But now that I have informed myself of as much as is necessary touching this proceeding of the judges to the argument of the Commendams, notwithstanding your Majesty's pleasure signified by me, upon your Majesty's commandment in presence of my lord chancellor and the bishop of Winchester, to the contrary, I do think it fit to advertise your Majesty what hath passed; the rather, because I suppose the judges, since they performed not your commandment, have at least given your Majesty their reasons of failing therein; I being to answer for the doing your Majesty's commandment, and they for the not doing.
I did conceive, that in a cause that concerned your Majesty and your royal power, the judges having 、 heard your attorney-general argue the Saturday before, would of themselves have taken farther time to be advised.
And, if I fail not in memory, my lord Coke received from your Majesty's self, as I take it, a precedent commandment in Hilary term, that both in + Stephens's First Collection, p. 137.
the rege inconsulto, and in the Commendams, your attorney should be heard to speak, and then stay to be made of farther proceedings, till my lord had spoken with your Majesty.
Nevertheless, hearing that the day appointed for the judges' argument held, contrary to my expectation, I sent on Thursday in the evening, having received your Majesty's commandment but the day before in the afternoon, a letter to my lord Coke; whereby I let him know, that upon some report of my lord of Winchester, who by your commandment was present at my argument of that which passed, it was your Majesty's express pleasure, that no farther proceedings should be, until you had conferred with your judges: which your Majesty thought to have done at your being now last in town; but by reason of your many and weighty occasions, your princely times would not serve; and that it was your pleasure he should signify so much to the rest of the judges, whereof his lordship might not fail. His answer by word to my man was, that it were good the rest of the judges understood so much from myself: whereupon I, that cannot skill of scruples in matter of service, did write on Friday three several letters of like content to the judges of the common pleas, and the barons of the exchequer, and the other three judges of the king's bench, mentioning in that last my particular letter to my lord chief justice.
This was all I did, and thought all had been sure; in so much as the same day being appointed in chancery for your Majesty's great cause, followed by lord Hunsden,* I writ two other letters to both the chief justices, to put them in mind of assisting my lord chancellor at the hearing. And when my lord chancellor himself took some notice upon that occasion openly in the chancery, that the Commendams could not hold presently after, I heard the judges were gone about the Commendams; which I thought at first had been only to adjourn the court, but I heard after that they proceeded to argument.
In this their doing, I conceive they must either except to the nature of the commandment, or to the credence thereof; both which, I assure myself, your Majesty will maintain.
For if they should stand upon the general ground, "Nulli negabimus, nulli differemus justitiam," it receiveth two answers. The one, that reasonable and mature advice may not be confounded with delay; and that they can well allege when it pleaseth them. The other is, that there is a great difference between a case merely between subject and subject, and where the king's interest is in question directly or by consequence. As for the attorney's place and commission, it is as proper for him to signify the king's pleasure to the judges, as for the secretary to signify the same to the privy-council; and so it hath ever been.
This case is reported by my lord Hobart, p. 109. + Mag. Chart.
These things were a little strange if there came not so many of them together, as the one maketh the other seem less strange: but your Majesty hath fair occasions to remedy all with small aid; I say no more for the present.
I was a little plain with my lord Coke in these matters; and when his answer was, that he knew all these things, I said he could never profit too much in knowing himself and his duty. God ever preserve your Majesty.
Stephens's First Collection, p. 140.
By the laws, several ages are assigned to persons for several purposes; and by the common law the fourteenth year is a kind of majority, and accounted an age of discretion. At that time a man may agree or disagree to a precedent marriage: the heir in socage may reject the guardian appointed
CXLV. A MEMORIAL FOR HIS MAJESTY, CORRECTED WITH SIR FR. BACON'S OWN HAND. 1616.‡
Ir seemeth this year of the fourteenth of his Majesty's reign, being a year of a kind of majority in his government, is consecrated to justice:§ which as his Majesty hath performed to his subjects in this late memorable occasion, so he is now to render and perform to himself, his crown, and posterity.
That his council shall perceive by that which his Majesty shall now communicate with them, that the mass of his business is continually prepared in his own royal care and cogitations, howsoever he produceth the same to light, and to act “ per opera dierum." ||
That his Majesty shall make unto them now a declarative of two great causes, whereof he doubteth not they have heard by glimpses; the one concerning his high court of chancery, the other concerning the church and prelacy; but both of them deeply touching his prerogative and sovereignty, and the flowers of his crown.
That about the end of Hilary term last, there came to his Majesty's ears, only by common voice and report, not without great rumour and wonder, that there was somewhat done in the king's bench the last day of that term, whereby his chancery should be pulled down, and be brought in question for præmunire; being the most heinous offence after treason, and felony, and misprision of treason: and that the time should be when the chancellor lay at the point of death.
That his Majesty was so far from hearing of this by any complaint from his chancellor, who then had given over worldly thoughts, that he wrote letters of comfort to him upon this accident, before he heard from him; and for his attorney, his Majesty challenged him for not advertising him of that, of which it was proper for his Majesty to be informed from him.
That his Majesty being sensible of this so great novelty and perturbation in his courts of justice, nevertheless used this method and moderation, that before he would examine this great affront and disby law, and choose a new one: and the woman at that age shall be out of ward. Stephens.
"Per opera dierum," alluding to the gradations Almighty God was pleased to observe in the creating of the world." In this paragraph Sir Francis Bacon insinuates, what he expressly declares Essay xlvii. p. 300, that in all negotiations of difficulty a man must first prepare business, and so ripen it by degrees. Stephens.
grace offered to his chancery and chancellor, he | to have the certificate of the learned counsel openly would first inform himself whether the chancery or chancellor were in fault; and whether the former precedents of chancery did warrant the proceedings there after judgment passed at common law, which was the thing in question, and thereupon his Majesty called his learned counsel to him, and commanded them to examine the precedents of chancery, and to certify what they found which they did; and by their certificate it appeareth, that the precedents of that kind were many and precise in the point, and constant, and in good times, and allowed many times by the judges themselves.
That after this his Majesty received from the lord chancellor a case, whereby the question was clearly set down and contained within the proper bounds of the present doubt; being, Whether upon apparent matter of equity, which the judges of the law by their place and oath cannot meddle with or relieve, if a judgment be once passed at common law, the subject shall perish, or that the chancery shall relieve him; and whether there be any statute of præmunire or other, to restrain this power in the chancellor; which case, upon the request of the lord chancellor, his Majesty likewise referred to his learned counsel, and the prince's attorney Mr. Walter was joined with them, who, upon great advice and view of the original records themselves, certified the chancery was not restrained by any statute in that case.
That his Majesty again required his learned counsel to call the clerks of the king's bench to them, and to receive from them any precedents of indictments in the king's bench against the chancery for proceeding in the like case; who produced only two precedents, being but indictments offered or found, upon which there was no other proceeding; and the clerks said, they had used diligence and could find no more.
That his Majesty, after he had received this satisfaction that there was ground for that the chancery had done, and that the chancery was not in fault, he thought then it was time to question the misdemeanor and contempt in scandalizing and dishonouring his justice in that high court of chancery in so odious a manner; and commanded his attorney-general, with the advice of the rest of his learned counsel, to prosecute the offenders in the star-chamber, which is done; and some of them are fled, and others stand out and will not answer.
That there resteth only one part more towards his Majesty's complete information in this cause: which is to examine that which was done in open court the said last day of Hilary term, and whether the judges of the king's bench did commit any excess of authority; or did animate the offenders otherwise than according to their duty and place; which inquiry, because it concerneth the judges of a court to keep order and decorum, his Majesty thinketh not so convenient to use his learned counsel therein, but will commit the same to some of the council-table, and his learned counsel to attend them.
His Majesty may, if he please, forbear to publish at this time at the table the committees; but signify his pleasure to themselves afterwards.
The committees named by his Majesty, were the archbishop of Canterbury, secretary Lake, the chancellor of the exchequer, and the master of the rolls.
This report is to be prefixed, to be given in by Wednesday at night, that his Majesty may communicate it with his council, and take farther order on Thursday thereupon, if his Majesty be so pleased.
At this declaration, it is his Majesty's direction, to the end things may appear to be the more evenly carried, that neither my lord chancellor nor my lord chief justice be present.
But then when his Majesty entereth into the second declarative, my lord chancellor is to be called for; but my lord chief justice not; because it concerneth him.
For the second declarative: that his Majesty hath reason to be offended and grieved, in that which passed touching the Commendams, both in matter and manner for the matter, that his Majesty's religious care of the church and of the prelacy, and namely, of his lords spiritual the bishops, may well appear, first, in that he hath utterly expelled those sectaries or inconformable persons that spurned at the government; secondly, that by a statute made in the first year of his reign, he hath preserved their livings from being wasted and dilapidated by long leases, and therein bound himself and his crown and succession; and lastly, that they see two bishops privy counsellors at the table, which hath not been of late years.
That agreeably to this his Majesty's care and good affection, hearing that there was a case of the bishop of Lincoln's, wherein his Majesty's supreme power of granting Commendams, which in respect of the exility of bishoprics is sometimes necessary, was questioned to be overthrown or weakened; he commanded his attorney-general, not only to have care to maintain it according to his place, but also that he should relate to his Majesty how things passed; and did also command the bishop of Winchester to be present at the public argument of the case; and to report to his Majesty the true state of that question, and how far it extended.
This being accordingly done; then upon report of the bishop of Winchester in presence of the lord chancellor, his Majesty thought it necessary, that before the judges proceeded to declare their opinion they should have conference with his Majesty, to the end to settle some course, that justice might be done, and his regal power, whereof his crown had been so long vested, not touched nor diminished: and thereupon commanded his attorney, who by his place ought properly to signify his Majesty's pleasure to his judges, as his secretary doth to his privy council, in the presence of the lord chancellor and the bishop, to signify his pleasure to the judges, that because his Majesty thought it needful to consult with them in that case before they proceeded to
This declared, or what else his Majesty in his own high wisdom shall think good; it will be fit time | judgment; and that his Majesty's business, as they
all knew, was very great, and Midsummer term so near at hand, and the cause argued by his attorney so lately, they should put off the day till they might advise with his Majesty at his next coming to town. That his Majesty's attorney signified so much by his letters, the next day after he had received his commandment, to all the judges, and that in no imperious manner, but alleging the circumstances aforesaid, that the case was lately argued, his Majesty's business great, another term at hand, &c.
Now followeth the manner that was held in this, which his Majesty conceiveth was not only indiscreet, but presumptuous and contemptuous.
For first, they disobeyed this his Majesty's commandment, and proceeded to public argument notwithstanding the same; and thought it enough to certify only their mind to his Majesty.
Secondly, in a general letter under all their hands, howsoever it may be upon divided opinion, they allege unto his Majesty their oath; and that his Majesty's commandment, for the attorney's letter was but the case that it was wrapped in, was against law; as if maturity and a deliberate proceeding were a delay, or that commandment of stay in respect of so high a question of state and prerogative, were like a commandment gotten by importunity, or in favour of a suitor.
Thirdly, above all, it is to be noted and justly doubted, that upon the contrary, in this that they have done, they have broken their oath; for their oath is to counsel the king when they shall be called; and if when the king calleth them to counsel, they will do the deed first, and give him counsel after, this is more than a simple refusal.
Lastly, it is no new thing upon divers particular occasions, of a far higher nature than the consulting with their sovereign about a cause of great moment, to put off days, and yet no breach of oath. And there was another fair passage well known to my lord Coke, that he might have used if it had pleased him; for that very day was appointed for the king's great cause in the chancery, both for my lord Hobart and him; which cause ought to have had precedence afore any private cause, as they would have this seem to be.
To this letter his Majesty made a most princely and prudent answer, which I leave to itself.
Upon this declaration his Majesty will be pleased to have the judges' letter and his own letter read.
Then his Majesty, for his part as I conceive, will be pleased to ask the advice of his council as well for the stay of the new day, which is Saturday next, as for the censure and reproof of the contempt passed: for though the judges are a reverend body, yet they are, as all subjects are, corrigible.
the man my heart ever told me you were. Ambition would draw me to the latter part of the choice; but in respect of my hearty wishes, that my lord chancellor may live long; and the small hopes I have, that I shall live long myself; and, above all, because I see his Majesty's service daily and instantly bleedeth; towards which, I persuade myself, vainly perhaps, but yet in mine own thoughts firmly and constantly, that I shall give, when I am of the table, some effectual fartherance, as a poor thread of the labyrinth, which hath no other virtue, but an united continuance, without interruption or distraction, I do accept of the former, to be counsellor for the present, and to give over pleading at bar; let the other matter rest upon my proof, and his Majesty's pleasure, and the accidents of time. For, to speak plainly, I would be loth that my lord chancellor, to whom I owe most after the king and yourself, should be locked to his successor, for any advancement or gracing of me. So I ever remain
Your true and most devoted and most obliged servant,
June 3, 1616.
CXLVII. TO SIR GEORGE VILLIERS +
I SEND his Majesty a draught of the act of council concerning the judges' letter, penned as near as I could to his Majesty's instructions received in your presence. I then told his Majesty my memory was not able to keep way with his; and therefore his Majesty will pardon me for any omissions or errors, and be pleased to supply and reform the same. I am preparing some other materials for his Majesty's excellent hand, concerning business that is coming on: for since his Majesty hath renewed my heart within me, methinks I should double my endeavours. God ever preserve and prosper you. I rest
was, by his Majesty's commandment, openly read as followeth, in hæc verba.
His Majesty having this day given order for | Majesty; and this letter of his Majesty's attorney meeting of the council, and that all the judges, being twelve in number, should be sent for to be present; when the lords were sat, and the judges ready attending, his Majesty came himself in person to council, and opened to them the cause of that assembly; which was: That he had called them together concerning a question that had relation to no private person, but concerned God and the king, the power of his crown, and the state of this church whereof he was protector; and that there was no fitter place to handle it than at the head of his council-table that there had been a question pleaded and argued concerning Commendams; the proceedings wherein had either been mis-reported or mis-handled; for his Majesty for a year since had received advertisements concerning the cause in two entrances, by some that intrenched upon his prerogative royal in the general power of granting Commendams; and by others, that the doubt rested only upon a special nature of a Commendam, such as in respect of the incongruity and exorbitant form thereof might be questioned, without impeaching or weakening the general power of all.
Whereupon his Majesty, willing to know the true state thereof, commanded the lord bishop of Winchester and Mr. Secretary Winwood to be present at the next argument, and to report the state of the question and proceeding to his Majesty. But Mr. Secretary Winwood being absent by occasion, the lord of Winchester only was present, and made information to his Majesty of the particulars thereof, which his Majesty commanded him to report to the board. Whereupon the lord of Winchester stood up and said, that serjeant Chiborne, who argued the cause against the Commendams, had maintained divers positions and assertions very prejudicial to his Majesty's prerogative royal; as first, that the translation of bishops was against the canon law, and for authority vouched the canons of the council of Sardis; that the king had not power to grant Commendams, but in case of necessity; that there could be no necessity, because there could be no need for augmentation of living, for no man was bound to keep hospitality above his means; besides many other parts of his argument tending to the overthrow of his Majesty's prerogative in case of Commendams.
The lord of Winchester having made his report, his Majesty resumed his former narrative, letting the lords know, that after the lord of Winton had made unto his Majesty a report of that which passed at the argument of the cause, like in substance unto that which now had been made; his Majesty apprehending the matter to be of so high a nature, commanded his attorney-general to signify his Majesty's pleasure unto the lord chief justice; That in regard of his Majesty's most weighty occasions, and for that his Majesty held it necessary upon the lord of Winton's report, that his Majesty be first consulted with, before the judges proceed to argue it; therefore the day appointed for the judges' argument should be put off till they might speak with his * Dr. Bilson, who died June 18, 1616.
"IT is the king's express pleasure, that because his Majesty's time would not serve to have conference with your lordship and his judges, touching the cause of Commendams, at his last being in town; in regard of his Majesty's other most weighty occasions; and for that his Majesty holdeth it necessary, upon the report which my lord of Winchester, who was present at the last arguments by his Majesty's royal commandment, made to his Majesty, that his Majesty be first consulted with, ere there be any farther proceedings by arguments by any of the judges, or otherwise; therefore that the day appointed for the farther proceedings by arguments of the judges in that case, be put off till his Majesty's farther pleasure be known, upon consulting with him; and to that end, that your lordship forthwith signify his commandment to the rest of the judges: whereof your lordship may not fail: and so I leave your lordship to God's goodness."
Your loving friend to command,
This Thursday afternoon,
That upon this letter received, the lord chief justice returned word to his Majesty's said attorney by his servant; that it was fit the rest of his brethren should understand his Majesty's pleasure immediately by letters from the said attorney to the judges of the several benches; and accordingly it was done; whereupon all the said judges assembled, and by their letter under their hands certified his Majesty, that they held those letters, importing the signification aforesaid, to be contrary to law, and such as they could not yield to the same by their oath; and that thereupon they had proceeded at the day, and did now certify his Majesty thereof: which letter of the judges his Majesty also commanded to be openly read, the tenor whereof followeth in hæc verba.
MOST DREAD AND MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN, "Ir may please your most excellent Majesty to be advertised, that this letter here enclosed was delivered unto me your chief justice on Thursday last in the afternoon, by a servant of your Majesty's attorney-general; and letters of the like effect were on the day following sent from him by his servant to us your Majesty's justices of every of the courts at Westminster. We are and ever will be ready with all faithful and true hearts, according to our bounden duties, to serve and obey your Majesty, and think ourselves most happy to spend our times and abilities to do your Majesty true and faithful service in this present case mentioned in this letter. What information hath been made unto you, whereupon Mr. Attorney doth ground his letter, from the report of the bishop of Winton, we know not: this we