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caught hold of by me, and afterwards by his Ma- | him likewise to repent of his offence: that the conjesty's singular wisdom and conscience excepted to, and now is by her re-examination retracted, I have given order to sergeant Montague, within whose part it falleth, to leave it out of the evidence. I do yet crave pardon, if I do not certify touching the point of law for respiting the judgment, for I have not fully advised with my lord chancellor concerning it, but I will advertise it in time.
I send his Majesty the lord steward's commission in two several instruments, the one to remain with my lord chancellor, which is that which is written in secretary-hand for his warrant, and is to pass the signet; the other, that whereunto the great seal is to be affixed, which is in chancery-hand: his Majesty is to sign them both, and to transmit the former to the signet, if the secretaries either of them be there; and both of them are to be returned to me with all speed. I ever rest, Your true and devoted servant, FR. BACON.
May 5, 1616.
CXLI. TO THE KING, ABOUT SOMERSET'S
fession of one of them could not fitly do either of them much good, but the confession of both of them might work some farther effect towards both and therefore, in conclusion, we wished him not to shut the gate of your Majesty's mercy against himself, by being obdurate any longer. This was the effect of that which was spoken, part by one of us, part by another, as it fell out; adding farther, that he might well discern who spake in us in the course we held; for that commissioners for examination might not presume so far of themselves.
Not to trouble your Majesty with circumstances of his answers, the sequel was no other, but that we found him still not to come any degree farther on to confess; only his behaviour was very sober, and modest, and mild, differing apparently from other times, but yet, as it seemed, resolved to have his trial.
Then did we proceed to examine him upon divers questions touching the impoisonment, which indeed were very material and supplemental to the former evidence; wherein either his affirmatives gave some light, or his negatives do greatly falsify him in that which is apparently proved.
We made this farther observation; that when we asked him some question that did touch the prince or some foreign practice, which we did very sparingly at this time, yet he grew a little stirred, but in the questions of the impoisonment very cold and modest. Thus not thinking it necessary to trouble your Majesty with any farther particulars, we end with prayer to God ever to preserve your Majesty.
Your Majesty's most loyal and faithful servant,
Postscript. If it seem good unto your Majesty, we think it not amiss some preacher, well chosen, had access to my lord of Somerset for his preparing and comfort, although it be before his trial.
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY, WE have done our best endeavours to perform your Majesty's commission, both in matter and manner, for the examination of my lord of Somerset; wherein that which passed, for the general, was to this effect; That he was to know his own case, for that his day of trial could not be far off; but that this day's work was that which would conduce to your Majesty's justice little or nothing, but to your mercy much, if he did lay hold upon it; and therefore might do him good, but could do him no hurt. For as for your justice, there had been taken great and grave opinion, not only of such judges as he may think violent, but of the most sad and most temperate of the kingdom, who ought to understand the state of the proofs, that the evidence was full to CXLII. AN EXPOSTULATION TO THE LORD convict him, so as there needeth neither confession, nor supply of examination. But for your Majesty's mercy, although he were not to expect we should make any promise, we did assure him, that your Majesty was compassionate of him if he gave you some ground whereon to work; that as long as he stood upon his innocency and trial, your Majesty was tied in honour to proceed according to justice; and that he little understood, being a close prisoner, how much the expectation of the world, besides your love to justice itself, engaged your Majesty, whatsoever your inclinations were: but nevertheless that a frank and clear confession might open the gate of mercy, and help to satisfy the point of honour.
That his lady, as he knew, and that after many oaths and imprecations to the contrary, had nevertheless in the end, being touched with remorse, confessed; that she that led him to offend, might lead Stephens's First Collection, p. 124.
CHIEF JUSTICE COKE.†
MY VERY GOOD LORD,
THOUGH it be true, that "he who considereth the wind and the rain, shall neither sow nor reap;" yet "there is a season for every action," and so "there is a time to speak, and a time to keep silence." There is a time when the words of a poor simple man may profit; and that poor man in "The Preacher," which delivered the city by his wisdom, found that without this opportunity the owner both of wisdom and eloquence lose but their labour, and cannot charm the deaf adder. God therefore, before his Son that bringeth mercy, sent his servant the trumpeter of repentance to level every high hill, to prepare the way before him, making it smooth and straight: and as it is in spiritual things, where Christ never comes before his way-maker hath laid even the heart with sorrow and repentance, Eccles. xi. 4.
+ Ibid. p. 126.
since self-conceited and proud persons think them- | choice with men, who are the best books: for a man selves too good and too wise to learn of their inferiors, and therefore need not the physician; so in the rules of earthly wisdom, it is not possible for nature to attain any mediocrity of perfection, before she be humbled by knowing herself and her own ignorance. Not only knowledge, but also every other gift, which we call the gifts of fortune, have power to puff up earth: afflictions only level these mole-hills of pride, plough the heart, and make it fit for wisdom to sow her seed, and for grace to bring forth her increase. Happy is that man therefore, both in regard of heavenly and earthly wisdom, that is thus wounded to be cured, thus broken to be made straight; thus made acquainted with his own imperfections that he may be perfected.
Supposing this to be the time of your affliction, that which I have propounded to myself is, by taking this seasonable advantage, like a true friend, though far unworthy to be counted so, to show you your true shape in a glass; and that not in a false one to flatter you, nor yet in one that should make you seem worse than you are, and so offend you; but in one made by the reflection of your own words and actions; from whose light proceeds the voice of the people, which is often not unfitly called the voice of God. But therein, since I have purposed a truth, I must entreat liberty to be plain, a liberty, that at this time I know not whether or no I may use safely, I am sure at other times I could not; yet of this resolve yourself, it proceedeth from love and a true desire to do you good; that you knowing the general opinion, may not altogether neglect or contemn it, but mend what you find amiss in yourself, and retain what your judgment shall approve; for to this end shall truth be delivered as naked as if yourself were to be anatomized by the hand of opinion. All men can see their own profit, that part of the wallet hangs before. A true friend (whose worthy office I would perform, since I fear both yourself and all great men want such, being themselves true friends to few or none) is first to show the other, and which is from your eyes.
First therefore behold your errors. In discourse you delight to speak too much, not to hear other men; this, some say, becomes a pleader, not a judge; for by this sometimes your affections are entangled with a love of your own arguments, though they be the weaker; and rejecting of those, which, when your affections were settled, your own judgment would allow for strongest. Thus while you speak in your own element, the law, no man ordinarily equals you; but when you wander, as you often delight to do, you wander indeed, and give never such satisfaction as the curious time requires. This is not caused by any natural defect, but first for want of election, when you, having a large and fruitful mind, should not so much labour what to speak, as to find what to leave unspoken: rich soils are often to be weeded.
Secondly, You cloy your auditory when you would be observed; speech must be either sweet or short. Thirdly, you converse with books, not men, and books especially human; and have no excellent
of action and employment you seldom converse with, and then but with your underlings; not freely, but as a schoolmaster with his scholars, ever to teach, never to learn; but if sometimes you would in your familiar discourse hear others, and make election of such as know what they speak, you should know many of these tales you tell to be but ordinary; and many other things, which you delight to repeat and serve in for novelties, to be but stale. As in your pleadings you were wont to insult over misery, and to inveigh bitterly at the persons, which bred you many enemies, whose poison yet swelleth, and the effects now appear, so are you still wont to be a little careless, in this point, to praise or disgrace upon slight grounds, and that sometimes untruly ; so that your reproofs or commendations are for the most part neglected and contemned; when the censure of a judge, coming slow but sure, should be a brand to the guilty, and a crown to the virtuous. You will jest at any man in public, without respect of the person's dignity or your own: this disgraceth your gravity, more than it can advance the opinion of your wit; and so do all actions which we see you do directly with a touch of vain-glory, having no respect to the true end. You make the law to lean too much to your opinion, whereby you show yourself to be a legal tyrant, striking with that weapon where you please, since you are able to turn the edge any way for thus the wise master of the law gives warning to young students, that they should be wary, lest, while they hope to be instructed by your integrity and knowledge, they should be deceived with your skill armed with authority. Your too much love of the world is too much seen, when having the living of a thousand,* you relieve few or none: the hand that has taken so much, can it give so little? Herein you show no bowels of compassion, as if you thought all too little for yourself; or that God hath given you all that you have, if you think wealth to be his gift, I mean that you get well, for I know sure the rest is not, only to that end you should still gather more, and never be satisfied; but try how much you would gather, to account for all at the great and general auditday. We desire you to amend this, and let your poor tenants in Norfolk find some comfort; where nothing of your estate is spent towards their relief, but all brought up hither, to the impoverishing of your country.
In your last, which might have been your best piece of service to the state, affectioned to follow that old rule, which giveth justice leaden heels and iron hands, you used too many delays till the delinquents' hands were loosed, and yours bound: in that work you seemed another Fabius, where the humour of Marcellus would have done better: what need you have sought more evidences than enough? while you pretended the finding out of more, missing your aim, you discredited what you had found. This best judgments think; though you never used such speeches as are fathered upon you, yet you might well have done it, and but rightly; for this * 10,000l. Cab.
Besides, that other plot was scandalous to Rome, making popery odious in the sight of the whole world: this hath been scandalous to the truth of the whole gospel; and since the first nullity to this instant, when justice hath her hands bound, the devil could not have invented a more mischievous practice to our state and church than this hath been, is, and is like to be. God avert the evil.
crime was second to none, but the powder-plot: | towards land; learn of the steward to make friends that would have blown up all at one blow, a merci- of the unrighteous mammon. Those Spaniards in ful cruelty; this would have done the same by de- Mexico who were chased of the Indians, tell us what grees, a lingering but a sure way; one might by one to do with our goods in our extremity; they being to be called out, till all opposers had been removed. pass over a river in their flight, as many as cast away their gold swam over safe; but some more covetous, keeping their gold, were either drowned with it, or overtaken and slain by the savages: you have received, now learn to give. The beaver learns us this lesson, who being hunted for his stones, bites them off: you cannot but have much of your estate, pardon my plainness, ill got; think how much of that you never spake for, how much by speaking unjustly or in unjust causes. Account it then a blessing of God, if thus it may be laid out for your good, and not left for your heir, to hasten the wasting of much of the rest, perhaps of all: for so we see God oftentimes proceeds in judgment with many hasty gatherers: you have enough to spare, being well laid, to turn the tide, and fetch all things again. But if you escape, I suppose it worthy of an If, since you know the old use, that none called in question must go away uncensured, yet consider that accusations make wounds, and leave scars; and though you see the toil behind your back, yourself free, and the covert before, yet remember there are stands trust not a reconciled enemy; but think the peace is but to secure you for farther advantage, or expect a second and a third encounter; the main battle, the wings are yet unbroken, they may charge you at an instant, or Death before them; walk therefore circumspectly, and if at length, by means of our endeavours and yours, you recover the favour that you have lost, give God the glory in action, not in words only; and remember us with sense of your past misfortune, whose estate hath, and may hereafter lie in the power of your breath.
But herein you committed another fault: that as you were too open in your proceedings, and so taught them thereby to defend themselves; so you gave them time to undermine justice, and to work upon all advantages both of affections, and honour, and opportunity, and breach of friendship; which they have so well followed, sparing neither pains nor costs, that it almost seemeth a higher offence in you to have done so much indeed, than that you have done no more: you stopt the confessions and accusations of some, who perhaps, had they been suffered, would have spoken enough to have removed some stumbling-blocks out of your way; and that you did not this in the favour of any one, but of I know not what present unadvised humours, supposing enough behind to discover all; which fell not out so. Howsoever, as the apostle saith in another case," you went not rightly to the truth;" and therefore, though you were to be commended for what you did, yet you were to be reprehended for many circumstances in the doing; and doubtless God hath an eye in this cross to your negligence, and the briers are left to be pricks in your sides and thorns in your eyes. But that which we commend you for, are those excellent parts in nature, and knowledge in the law, which you are endowed withal; but these are only good in their good use. Wherefore we thank you heartily for standing stoutly in the commonwealth's behalf; hoping it proceedeth not from a disposition to oppose greatness, as your enemies say, but to do justice, and deliver truth indifferently without respect of persons; and in this we pray for your prosperity, and are sorry that your good actions should not always succeed happily. But in the carriage of this you were faulty; for you took it in hand in an evil time, both in respect of the present business which was interrupted, and in regard of his present sickness whom it concerned whereby you disunited your strength, and made a gap for the enemies to pass out at, and to return and assault you. But now since the case so standeth, we desire you to give way to power, and so to fight that you be not utterly broken, but reserved entirely to serve the Commonwealth again, and to do what good you can, since you cannot do all the good you would; and since you are fallen upon this rock, cast out the goods to save the bottom; stop the leaks and make
My lord Bacon observes elsewhere, that the Scripture aith, there be that turn judgment into wormwood; and saith be, surely there be "also that turn it into vinegar; for injus
There is a great mercy in despatch, delays are tortures, wherewith by degrees we are rent out of our estates;* do not you, if you be restored, as some others do, fly from the service of virtue to serve the time, as if they repented their goodness, or meant not to make a second hazard in God's house; but rather let this cross make you zealous in God's cause, sensible in ours, and more sensible in all; which express thus. You have been a great enemy to papists; if you love God be so still, but more indeed than heretofore for much of your zeal was heretofore wasted in words: call to remembrance that they were the persons that prophesied of that cross of yours long before it happened; they saw the storm coming, being the principal contrivers and fartherers of the plot, the men that blew the coals, heat the iron, and made all things ready; they owe you a good turn, and will, if they can, pay it you; you see their hearts by their deeds, prove then your faith so to the best good work you can do, is to do the best you can against them, that is, to see the law severely, justly, and diligently executed.
And now we beseech you, my lord, be sensible tice maketh it bitter, and delays make it sour." Essay LVI. p. 304.
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 ourselves; 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,
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. 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,
May 30, 1616.
CXLIV. TO THE KING, ABOUT THE COMMENDAMS.+
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.
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 marrage: the heir in socage may reject the guardian appointed
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.
CXLV. A MEMORIAL FOR HIS MAJESTY, CORRECTED WITH SIR FR. BACON'S OWN HAND. 1616.
It 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.