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when I have made it known; and so leave it to TO SIR THOMAS EGERTON, LORD KEEPER your lordship's honourable consideration. And so OF THE GREAT SEAL.* with signification of my humble duty, &c.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR Lordship,
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR HONOUR,
I AM to make humble complaint to your lordship of some hard dealing offered me by one Sympson, a goldsmith, a man noted much, as I have heard, for extremities and stoutness upon his purse; but yet I could scarcely have imagined, he would have dealt either so dishonestly towards myself, or so contemptuously towards her Majesty's service. For this Lombard, pardon me, I most humbly pray your lordship, if, being admonished by the street he dwells in, I give him that name, having me in bond for 3001. principal, and I having the last term confessed the action, and by his full and direct consent respited the satisfaction till the beginning of this term to come, without ever giving me warning, either by letter or message, served an execution upon me, having trained me at such time, as I came from the Tower, where, Mr. Waad can witness, we attended a service of no mean importance.+ Neither would he so much as vouchsafe to come and speak with me to take any order in it, though I sent for him divers times, and his house was just by; handling it as upon a despite, being a man I never provoked with a cross word, no nor with many delays. He would have urged it to have had me in prison; which he had done, had not sheriff More, to whom I sent, gently recommended me to a handsome house in Coleman-street, where I am. Now because he will not treat with me, I am enforced humbly to desire your lordship to send for him, according to your place, to bring him to some reason; and this forthwith, because I continue here to my farther discredit and inconvenience, and the trouble of the gentleman with whom I am. I have a hundred pounds lying by me, which he may have, and the rest upon some reasonable time and security; or if The Substance of a Letter I§ now wish your Lordneed be, the whole; but with my more trouble. As for the contempt he hath offered, in regard her Majesty's service, to my understanding, carrieth a privilege eundo et redeundo in meaner causes, much more in matters of this nature, especially in persons known to be qualified with that place and employment, which, though unworthy, I am vouchsafed, I enforce nothing, thinking I have done my part,
I HUMBLY pray you to understand how badly I have been used by the enclosed, being a copy of a letter of complaint thereof which I have written to the lord keeper. How sensitive you are of wrongs offered to your blood in my particular, I have had not long since experience. But herein I think your honour will be doubly sensitive, in tenderness also of the indignity to her Majesty's service. For as for me, Mr. Sympson might have had me every day in London; and therefore to belay me, while he knew I came from the Tower about her Majesty's special service, was to my understanding very bold. And two days before he brags he forbore me, because I dined with sheriff More. So as with Mr. Sympson, examinations at the Tower are not so great a privilege, eundo et redeundo, as sheriff More's dinner. But this complaint I make in duty; and to that end have also informed my lord of Essex thereof; for otherwise his punishment will do me no good.
ship | should write to her Majesty.
From the original in the Hatfield collection of state papers, communicated to me by the Rev. William Murden, B.D. and intended by him for the public in a third volume of the collection of those papers, if his death had not prevented him from executing his design.
It is not easy to determine what this service was; but it seems to relate to the examination of some prisoner; perhaps Edward Squire, executed in November, 1598, for poisoning the queen's saddle; or Valentine Thomas, who accused the king of Scots of practices against queen Elizabeth,[ Historical View, p. 178,] or one Stanley; concerning whom I shall insert here passages from two MS. letters of John Chamberlain, Esq., to his friend, Dudley Carleton, Esq., afterwards ambassador to Venice, the United Provinces, and France; these letters being part of a very large collection, from 1598 to 1625, which I transcribed from the originals. "One Stanley," says Mr. Chamberlain, in his letter dated at London, 3 October, 1598, "that came in sixteen days over land with letters out of Spain, is lately committed to the Tower. He was very earnest to have private conference with her Majesty, pretending matter of great importance, which he would by no means
TO SIR ROBERT CECIL, SECRETARY OF
So with signification of my humble duty, I commend your honour to the divine preservation.
At your honourable command particularly,
From Coleman-street, this
THAT you desire her Majesty to believe id, quod, res ipsa loquitur, that it is not conscience to yourself of any advantage her Majesty hath towards you, otherwise than the general and infinite advantage of a queen and a mistress; nor any drift or device to win her Majesty to any point or particular, that
utter to any body else." In another letter dated 20 November, 1598, Mr. Chamberlain observes, that on "the day that they looked for Stanley's arraignment, he came not himself, but sent his forerunner, one Squire, that had been an under veyor of the stable, who being in Spain was dealt withal by one Walpole, a jesuit, to poison the queen and the earl of Essex; and accordingly came prepared into England, and went with the earl in his own ship the last journey, and poisoned the arms or handles of the chair he used to sit in, with a confection he had received of the Jesuit; as likewise he had done the pommel of the queen's saddle not past five days before his going to sea. But because nothing succeeded of it, the priest thinking he had either changed his purpose, or betrayed it, gave Stanley instructions to accuse him; thereby to get him more credit, and to be revenged of Squire for breaking promise. The fellow confessed the whole practice, and, as seemed, died very penitent."
From the Hatfield collection.
Robert earl of Essex.
moveth you to send her these lines of your own mind. But first, and principally, gratitude; next, a natural desire of, you will not say, the tedious remembrance, for you can hold nothing tedious, that hath been derived from her Majesty; but the troubled and pensive remembrance of that which is past, of enjoying better times with her Majesty, such as others have had, and that you have wanted. You cannot impute the difference to the continuance of time, which addeth nothing to her Majesty but increase of virtue; but rather to your own misfortune or errors. Wherein nevertheless, if it were only question of your own endurances, though any strength never so good may be oppressed, yet you think you should have suffocated them, as you had often done, to the impairing of your health, and weighing down of your mind. But that, which indeed toucheth the quick, is that, whereas you accounted it the choice fruit of yourself to be a contentment and entertainment to her Majesty's mind, you found many times to the contrary, that you were rather a disquiet to her, and a distaste.
From the Hatfield collection.
+ Edward Coke, knighted by king James at Greenwich in
Therefore your most humble suit to her Majesty is, that she will vouchsafe you that approach to her heart and bosom, et ad scrinium pectoris, plainly, for as much as concerneth yourself, to open and expound her mind towards you, suffering you to see clear what may have bred any dislike in her Majesty; and in what points she would have you reform yourself; and how she would be served by you. Which done, you do assure her Majesty, she shall be both at the beginning and the ending of all, that you do, of that regard, as you may presume to impart to her Majesty.
And so that hoping, that this may be an occasion of some farther serenity from her Majesty towards you, you refer the rest to your actions, which may verify what you have written; as that you have written may interpret your actions, and the course you shall hereafter take.
Indorsed by Mr. Francis Bacon,
A letter framed for my lord of Essex to the queen.
Again, whereas in the course of her service, though you confess the weakness of your own judgment, yet true zeal, not misled with any mercenary nor glorious respect, made you light sometimes upon the best and soundest counsels; you had reason to fear, that the distaste particular against yourself made her Majesty farther off from accepting any of them from such a hand. So as you seemed, to your deep discomfort, to trouble her Majesty's mind, and to foil her business; inconveniences, which, if you be minded as you ought, thankfulness should teach you to redeem, with stepping down, nay throwing yourself down, from your own fortune. In which intricate case, finding no end of this former course, and therefore desirous to find the beginning of a new, you have not whither to resort, but unto the oracle of her Majesty's direction. For though the true introduction ad tempora meliora be by an amnestia of that which is past, except it be in the sense, that the verse speaketh, Olim hæc meminisse juvabit, when tempests past are remembered in the calm; and that you do not doubt of her Majesty's goodness in pardoning and obliterating any of your errors and mistakings heretofore; refreshing the memory and contemplations of your poor services, or any thing that hath been grateful to her Majesty from you; yea, and somewhat of your sufferings, so though that be, yet you may be to seek for the time to come. For as you have determined your hope in a good hour, not willingly to offend her Majesty, either in matter of court or state, but to depend absolutely upon her will and pleasure; so you do more doubt and mistrust your wit and insight in finding her Majesty's mind, than your conformities and submission in obeying it; the rather, because you cannot but nourish a doubt in your breast, that her Majesty, as princes' hearts are inscrutable, hath many times to-head will do you good." I answered coldly in these wards you aliud in ore et aliud in corde. So that very words: "Mr. Attorney, I respect you: I fear you, that take her secundum literam, go many times you not: and the less you speak of your own greatfarther out of your way. ness, the more I will think of it."
TO MR. SECRETARY CECIL.*
BECAUSE we live in an age, where every man's imperfection is but another's fable; and that there fell out an accident in the exchequer, which I know not how, nor how soon may be traduced, though I dare trust rumour in it, except it be malicious, or extreme partial; I am bold now to possess your honour, as one, that ever I found careful of my advancement, and yet more jealous of my wrongs, with the truth of that which passed; deferring my farther request, until I may attend your honour : and so I continue
Your honour's very humble and particularly
A true remembrance of the abuse I received of Mr. Attorney-General† publicly in the exchequer the first day of term; for the truth whereof I refer myself to all that were present.
I MOVED to have a reseizure of the lands of George More, a relapsed recusant, a fugitive, and a practising traitor; and showed better matter for the queen against the discharge by plea, which is ever with a salvo jure. And this I did in as gentle and reasonable terms as might be.
Mr. Attorney kindled at it, and said, "Mr. Bacon, if you have any tooth against me, pluck it out; for it will do you more hurt than all the teeth in your
1603; and made lord chief justice of the common pleas 30 June, 1606.
He replied, "I think scorn to stand upon terms | little as I can in the king's causes, his Majesty now of greatness towards you, who are less than little; abounding in council; and to follow my private less than the least:" and other such strange light thrift and practice, and to marry with some conterms he gave me, with that insulting, which cannot venient advancement. For as for any ambition, I be expressed. do assure your honour, mine is quenched. In the queen's, my excellent mistress's, time, the quorum was small her service was a kind of freehold, and it was a more solemn time. All those points agreed with my nature and judgment. My ambition now I shall only put upon my pen, whereby I shall be able to maintain memory and merit of the times succeeding.
With this he spake, neither I nor himself could tell what, as if he had been born attorney-general; and in the end bade me not meddle with the queen's business, but with mine own; and that I was unsworn, &c. I told him, sworn or unsworn was all one to an honest man; and that I ever set my service first, and myself second; and wished to God, that he would do the like.
Lastly, for this divulged and almost prostituted title of knighthood, I could without charge, by your honour's mean, be content to have it, both because of this late disgrace, and because I have three new knights in my mess in Gray's-Inn commons; and because I have found out an alderman's daughter,‡ a handsome maiden, to my liking. So as if your honour will find the time, I will come to the court from Gorhambury, upon any warning.
How my sales go forward, your lordship shall in a few days hear. Meanwhile, if you will not be pleased to take farther day with this lewd fellow, I hope your lordship will not suffer him to take any part of the penalty, but principal, interest, and costs. So I remain your lordship's most bounden, FR. BACON.
3 July, 1603.
Herewith stirred, yet I said no more but this: "Mr. Attorney, do not depress me so far; for I have been your better, and may be again, when it please the queen."
Then he said, it were good to clap a cap. utlegatum upon my back! To which I only said he could not; and that he was at a fault; for he hunted upon an old scent.
He gave me a number of disgraceful words besides; which I answered with silence, and showing that I was not moved with them.
TO ROBERT, LORD CECIL.*
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR GOOD LORDSHIP, THEY say late thanks are ever best. But the reason was, I thought to have seen your lordship ere this. Howsoever I shall never forget this your last favour amongst others; and it grieveth me not a little, that I find myself of no use to such an honourable and kind friend.
For that matter, I think I shall desire your assistance for the punishment of the contempt; not that I would use the privilege in future time, but because I would not have the dignity of the king's service prejudiced in my instance. But herein I will be ruled by your lordship.
It is fit likewise, though much against my mind, that I let your lordship know, that I shall not be able to pay the money within the time by your lordship undertaken, which was a fortnight. Nay, money I find so hard to come by at this time, as I thought to have become an humble suitor to your honour to have sustained me with your credit for the present from urgent debts with taking up 300. till I can put away some land. But I am so forward with some sales, as this request, I hope, I may forbear. For my estate, because your honour hath care of it, it is thus: I shall be able, with selling the skirts of my living in Hertfordshire,† to preserve the body; and to leave myself, being clearly out of debt, and having some money in my pocket, 3001. land per annum, with a fair house, and the ground well timbered. This is now my labour.
For my purpose or course, I desire to meddle as
TO THE SAME.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR GOOD LORDSHIP,
In answer of your last letter, your money shall be ready before your day, principal, interest, and costs of suit. So the sheriff promised when I released errors; and a Jew takes no more. The rest cannot be forgotten; for I cannot forget your lordship's dum memor ipse mei; and if there have been aliquid nimis, it shall be amended. And, to be plain with your lordship, that will quicken me now which slackened me before. Then I thought you might have had more use of me than now, I suppose, you are like to have. Not but I think the impediment will be rather in my mind than in the matter or times. But to do you service, I will come out of my religion at any time.
For my knighthood, I wish the manner might be such as might grace me, since the matter will not; I mean, that I might not be merely gregarious in a troop. The coronation || is at hand. It may please your lordship to let me hear from you speedily. So I continue
Your lordship's ever much bounden,
alderman of London. She survived her husband above twenty
TO SIR JOHN DAVIS, HIS MAJESTY'S ATTOR- | dicit NEY-GENERAL IN IRELAND.*
I THANK you for your letter, and the discourse you sent of this new accident, as things then appeared. I see manifestly the beginning of better or worse but methinketh it is first a tender of the better, and worse followeth but upon refusal or default. I would have been glad to see you here; but I hope occasion reserveth our meeting for a vacation, when we may have more fruit of conference. To requite your proclamation, which, in my judgment, is wisely and seriously penned, I send you another with us, which happened to be in my hands when yours came. I would be glad to hear often from you, and to be advertised how things pass, whereby to have some occasion to think some good thoughts; though I can do little. At the least it will be a continuance in exercise of our friendship, which on my part remaineth increased by that I hear of your service, and the good respects I find towards myself. And so in Tormour's haste, I continue
Your very loving friend,
FR. BACON. From Gray's-Inn, this 23d of Octob. 1607.
bonam atque navam polliceor. Itaque salutem tibi Amicus tuus, &c.
TO ISAAC CASAUBON.+
CUM ex literis, quas ad dominum Carew misisti, cognoscam scripta mea a te probari, et mihi de judicio tuo gratulatus sum, et tibi, quam ea res mihi fuerit voluptati, scribendum existimavi. Atque illud etiam de me recte auguraris, me scientias ex latebris in lucem extrahere vehementer cupere. Neque enim multum interest ea per otium scribi, quæ per otium legantur, sed plane vitam, et res humanas, et medias earum turbas, per contemplationes sanas et veras instructiores esse volo. Quanta autem in hoc genere aggrediar, et quam parvis præsidiis, postmodum fortasse rescisces. Etiam tu pariter gratissimum mihi facies, si quæ in animo habes atque moliris et agitas, mihi nota esse velis. Nam conjunctionem animorum et studiorum plus facere ad amicitias judico, quam civilis necessitatis et occasionum officia. Equidem existimo neminem unquam magis vere potuisse dicere de sese, quam me ipsum, illud quod habet psalmus, multum incola fuit anima mea. Itaque magis videor cum antiquis versari, quam cum his, quibuscum vivo. Quid ni etiam possim cum absentibus potius versari, quam cum iis, qui præsto sunt; et magis electione in amicitiis uti, quam occasionibus de more submitti? Verum ad institutum revertor ego; si qua in re amicitia mea tibi aut tuis usui aut ornamento esse possit, tibi operam meam
From the MS. Collections of Robert Stephens, Esq. deceased.
+ This letter appears to have been written after Sir George Carew, mentioned in it, returned from his embassy in France, in October, 1609; and before the arrival of Casaubon in England, in October, 1610.
The beginning of a Letter immediately after my Lord Treasurer's decease.§
May 29, 1612.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY,
IF I shall seem in these few lines to write majora quam pro fortuna, it may please your Majesty to take it to be an effect, not of presumption, but of affection. For of the one I was never noted; and for the other I could never show it hitherto to the full; being as a hawk tied to another's fist, that might sometimes bait and proffer, but could never fly. And therefore if, as it was said to one that spoke great words, Amice, verba tua desiderant civitatem,|| so your Majesty say to me, "Bacon, your words require a place to speak them;" I must answer, that place, or not place, is in your Majesty to add or refrain: and though I never grow eager but to yet your Majesty
TO THE KING,
Immediately after the Lord Treasurer's death. 31 May, 1612. IT MAY PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENT MAJESTY,
I CANNOT but endeavour to merit, considering your preventing graces, which is the occasion of these few lines.
Your Majesty hath lost a great subject and a great servant. But if I should praise him in propriety, I should say, that he was a fit man to keep things from growing worse; but no very fit man to reduce things to be much better. For he loved to have the eyes of all Israel a little too much on himself, and to have all business still under the hammer; and, like clay in the hands of the potter, to mould it as he thought good; so that he was more in operatione than in opere. And though he had fine passages of action, yet the real conclusions came slowly on. So that although your Majesty hath grave counsellors and worthy persons left; yet you do, as it were, turn a leaf, wherein if your Majesty shall give a frame and constitution to matters, before you place the persons, in my simple opinion it were not amiss. But the great matter, and most instant for the present, is the consideration of a parliament, for two effects; the one for the supply of your estate; the other for the better knitting of the
hearts of your subjects unto your Majesty, according to your infinite merit; for both which, parliaments have been, and are, the ancient and honourable remedy.
Now because I take myself to have a little skill in that region, as one that ever affected, that your Majesty might, in all your causes, not only prevail, but prevail with satisfaction of the inner man; and though no man can say but I was a perfect and peremptory royalist, yet every man makes me believe that I was never one hour out of credit with the lower house; my desire is to know, whether your Majesty will give me leave to meditate and propound unto you some preparative remembrances, touching the future parliament.
Your Majesty may truly perceive, that, though I cannot challenge to myself either invention, or judgment, or elocution, or method, or any of those powers; yet my offering is care and observance and as my good old mistress was wont to call me her watch-candle, because it pleased her to say, I did continually burn, and yet she suffered me to waste almost to nothing; so I must much more owe the like duty to your Majesty, by whom my fortunes have been settled and raised. And so craving pardon, I rest
Your Majesty's most humble servant devote,
TO THE KING.
IT MAY PLEASE your excellent Majesty, My principal end being to do your Majesty service, I crave leave to make at this time to your Majesty this most humble oblation of myself. may truly say with the psalm, Multum incola fuit anima mea; for my life hath been conversant in things, wherein I take little pleasure. Your Majesty may have heard somewhat, that my father was an honest man; and somewhat yet I may have been of myself, though not to make any true judgment by, because I have hitherto had only potestatem verborum, nor that neither. I was three of my young years bred with an ambassador in France, and since I have been an old truant in the schoolhouse of your council chamber, though on the second form; yet longer than any, that now sitteth, hath been in the head form. If your Majesty find any aptness in me, or if you find any scarcity in others, whereby you may think it fit for your service to remove me to business of state, although I have a fair way before me for profit, and, by your Majesty's grace and favour, for honour and advancement, and in a course less exposed to the blast of fortune; yet now that he † is gone, quo vivente virtutibus certissimum exitium, I will be ready as a chessman to be wherever your Majesty's royal hand
shall set me. Your Majesty will bear me witness, I have not suddenly opened myself thus far. I have looked on upon others. I see the exceptions; I see the distractions; and I fear Tacitus will be a prophet, magis alii homines, quam alii mores. I know mine own heart; and I know not whether God, that hath touched my heart with the affection, may not touch your royal heart to discern it. Howsoever, I shall go on honestly in mine ordinary course, and supply the rest in prayers for you, remaining, &c.
TO THE KING.‡
• Lastly, I will make two prayers unto your Majesty, as I used to do to God Almighty, when I commend to him his own glory and cause; so I will pray to your Majesty for yourself.
The one is, that these cogitations of want do not any ways trouble or vex your mind. I remember Moses saith of the land of promise, that it was not like the land of Egypt, that was watered with a river, but was watered with showers from heaven; whereby I gather, God preferreth sometimes uncertainties before certainties, because they teach a more immediate dependence upon his providence. Sure I am, nil novi accidit vobis. It is no new thing for the greatest kings to be in debt; and, if a man shall parvis componere magna, I have seen an earl of Leicester, a chancellor Hatton, an earl of Essex, and an earl of Salisbury in debt; and yet was it no manner of diminution to their power or greatness.
My second prayer is, that your Majesty, in respect of the hasty freeing of your state, would not descend to any means, or degree of means, which carrieth not a symmetry with your majesty and greatness. He is gone, from whom those courses did wholly flow. So have your wants and necessities in particular, as it were, hanged up in two tablets before the eyes of your lords and commons to be talked of for four months together: to have all your courses to help yourself in revenue or profit put into printed books, which were wont to be held arcana imperii : to have such worms of aldermen to lend for ten in the hundred upon good assurance, and with such as if it should save the bark of your fortune: to contract still where might be had the readiest payment, and not the best bargain: to stir a number of projects for your profit, and then to blast them, and leave your Majesty nothing but the scandal of them: to pretend an even carriage between your Majesty's rights and the ease of the people, and to satisfy neither. These courses and others the like, I hope, are gone with the deviser of them; which have turned your Majesty to inestimable prejudice.§
I hope your Majesty will pardon my liberty of dices of the latter against that able minister, grounded upon some suspicions, that the earl had not served him with so much zeal, as he might have expected from so near a relation, either in queen Elizabeth's reign, or that of her successor. Nor is it any just imputation on his lordship, that he began to decline in king James I.'s good opinion, when his Majesty's ill economy occasioned demands on the lord treasurer, which all his skill in the business of the finances could not answer,