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conspirators disclosed to the government a plot so widely spread, that Bacon could do was done by him, until the real nature of and involving so many of the highest in the land, that it would Essex's design was made apparent, and then, as he had repeatedly have been perilous to have pressed home accusations against all told the earl, his devotion and respect were for the queen and who might be implicated. Essex was tried along with the young state, not for any subject; friendship could never take rank earl of Southampton, and Bacon, as one of her majesty's counsel, above loyalty. Those who blame Bacon must acquit Essex of was present on the occasion. Coke, who was principal spokesman, all wrong-doing. managed the case with great want of skill, incessantly allowing Bacon's private fortunes, during the period after the death of the thread of the evidence to escape, and giving the prisoners Essex, were not in a flourishing condition. He had obtained a opportunity to indulge in irrelevant justifications and protesta- grant of £1200 from the fines imposed on Catesby, one of the tions which were not ineffectual in distracting attention from the conspirators, but his debts were sufficient to swallow up this and real question at issue. On the first opportunity Bacon rose and much more. And, though he was trusted by Elizabeth, and on briefly pointed out that the earl's plea of having done nothing good terms with her, he seems to have seen that he had no chance save what was absolutely necessary to defend his life from the of advancement. But her death in 1603, followed by the unmachinations of his enemies was weak and worthless, inasmuch disputed succession of James, gave him new hopes. He used as these enemies were purely imaginary; and he compared his every means in his power to bring himself under James's notice, case to that of Peisistratus, who had made use of a somewhat writing to all his friends at the Scottish court and to the king similar stratagem to cloak his real designs upon the city of Athens. himself. He managed to obtain a personal interview with the He-was thereupon interrupted by the earl, who proceeded to king, but does not seem to have been much satisfied with it. In defend himself, by declaring that in one of the letters drawn up fact, while the king confirmed in their situations those who had by Bacon, and purporting to be from the earl to Anthony Bacon, held crown offices under Elizabeth, Bacon, not holding his post the existence of these rumours, and the dangers to be appre- by warrant, was practically omitted. He was, however, conhended from them, had been admitted ; and he continued, “Iftinued, by special order of the king, as learned counsel extrathese reasons were then just and true, not counterfeit, how can ordinary, but little or no law business appears to have been it be that now my pretences are false and injurious?” To this entrusted to him. He procured, through his cousin Cecil, the Bacon replied, that “the letters, if they were there, would not dignity of knighthood, which, contrary to his inclination, he blush to be seen for anything contained in them, and that he had received along with about 300 others, on the 23rd of July 1003. spent more time in vain in studying how to make the earl a good Between this time and the opening of James's first parliament he servant to the queen than he had done in anything else." It was engaged in literary work, and sent to the king two pamphlets scems to be forgotten in the general accounts of this matter, not -one on the Union, the other on measures for the pacification only that Bacon's letters bear out what he said, but that the of the church. Shortly after he published his Apology. In earl's excuses were false. A second time Bacon was compelled March 1604 parliament met, and during their short session to interfere in the course of the trial, and to recall to the minds Bacon's hands seem to have been full of work. It was a busy of those present the real question at issue. He animadverted and stirring time, and events occurred during it which carried strongly upon the puerile nature of the defence, and in answer within them the seeds of much future dissension. Prerogative to a remark by Essex, that if he had wished to stir up a rebellion and privilege came more than once into collision, the abuses he would bave had a larger company with him, pointed out that of purveyance and wardship were made matters of conference, his dependence was upon the people of London, and compared though the thorough discussion of them was deferred to a suc. his attempt to that of the duke of Guise at Paris. To this the ceeding session; while James's temper was irritated by the earl made little or no reply. Bacon's use of this illustration and objections brought against his favourite scheme of the Union, of the former one of Peisistratus, has been much commented on, and by the attitude taken up by the House with regard to and in general it seems to have been thought that had it not been religious affairs. The records are barely full enough to enable us for his speeches Essex might have escaped, or, at all events, have to judge of the share taken by Bacon in these discussions; his been afterwards pardoned. But this view of the matter depends name generally appears as the reporter of the committees on on the supposition that Essex was guilty only of a rash special subjects. We can occasionally, however, discern traces outbreak. That this was not the case was well known to the of his tact and remarkable prudence; and, on the whole, his queen and her council. Unfortunately, prudential motives attitude, particularly with regard to the Union question, recomhindered the publication of the whole evidence; the people, mended him to James. He was shortly afterwards formally consequently, were still ignorant of the magnitude of the crime, installed as learned counsel, receiving the salary of £40, and at and, till recently, biographers of Bacon have been in a like the same time a pension of £60 yearly. He was also appointed ignorance. The earl himself, before execution, confessed his one of the commission to treat of the conditions necessary for the guilt and the thorough justice of his sentence, while, with singular Union; and the admirable manner in which the duties of that lack of magnanimity, he incriminated several against whom body were discharged must be attributed mainly to his influence accusations had not been brought, among others his sister Lady and his complete mastery of the subject. During the recess he Rich. After his execution it was thought necessary that some published his Advancement of Learning, dedicated to the king. account of the facts should be drawn up and circulated, in order He was now brought into relations with James, and his to remove the prejudice against the queen's action in the matter. prospects began to improve. It is important for us to know This was entrusted to Bacon, who drew up.a Declaration of the what were his ideas upon government, upon parliaments, prePractices and Treasons allempted and committed by Robert, late rogative, and so forth, since a knowledge of this will clear up Earl of Essex, bis first draft being extensively altered and much that would seem inexplicable in his life. It seems quite corrected by the queen and council. Nothing is known with evident that Bacon, from position, early training and, one certainty of the reception given to this official explanation, but might almost think, natural inclination, held as his ideal of the ill-feeling against Bacon was not wholly removed, and some government the Elizabethan system. The king was the supreme years later, in 1604, he published, in the form of a letter to power, the centre of law and justice, and his prerogative must not Mountjoy, an A pology for his action in the case. This A pology be infringed. Parliament was merely a body called to consult gives a most fair and temperate history of the relations between with the king on emergencies (circa ardua regni) and to grant Bacon and Essex, shows how the prudent counsel of the one had supplies. King and parliament together make up the state, been rejected by the other, and brings out very clearly what we but the former is first in nature and importance. The duty conceive to be the true explanation of the matter. Everything of a statesman was, therefore, to carry out the royal will in as
prudent a manner as possible ; he was the servant of the king, 1 Sec Macaulay's Essay on Bacon. ? The whole story of Essex is given in Spedding's Lelters and Life. and stood or fell according to his pleasure. He was not singular It is vigorously told by J. Bruce in the introduction to his Corre: in his opinions and he was undoubtedly sincere; - and it is only spondence of James VI. with Sir Robert Cecil (Camden Society, 1861).
• Sec Letters and Life, iv. 177. vi. 38, vii. 11
by keeping them constantly in mind that we can understand his , of Chamberlain, who, after mentioning the recent changes among after relations with the king.
the law officials, says, “ There is a strong apprehension that ... In the second parliament there was not so much scope for the Bacon may prove a dangerous instrument.” exercise of his powers. The Gunpowder Plot had aroused in the Further light is thrown upon Bacon's relations with James, and Commons warmer feelings towards the king; they passed severe upon his political sympathies, by the letter to the king advocating laws against recusants, and granted a triple subsidy. At the same the calling of a parliament, and by the two papers of notes on time they continued the collection of the grievances concerning which his letter was founded. These documents, even after which they were to move. In the course of this session Bacon due weight is given to all considerations urged in their favour, married Alice Barnham“ the alderman's daughter, an handsome seem to confirm the view already taken of Bacon's theory of maiden, to my liking," of whom he had written some years before government, and at the same time show that his sympathies to his cousin Cecil. Little or nothing is known of their married lise. with the royal party tended to blind him to the true character
The third parliament was chiefly occupied with the commercial of certain courses of action, which can only be justified by a and legal questions rising out of the proposed Union, in particular, straining of political ethics. The advice he offered, in all sinwith the dispute as to the naturalization of the Post Nali. Bacon cerity, was most prudent and sagacious, and might have been argued ably in favour of this measure, but the general feeling successfully carried out by a man of Bacon's tact and skill; but was against it. The House would only pass a bill abolishing it was intensely one-sided, and exhibited a curious want of hostile laws between the kingdoms; but the case of the Post appreciation of what was even then beginning to be looked on Nati, being brought before the law courts, was settled as the as the true relation of king, parliament and people. Unfortuking wished. Bacon's services were rewarded in June 1607 by nately for James, he could neither adopt nor carry out Bacon's the office of solicitor.' Several years passed before he gained policy. The parliament which met in April 1614, in which Bacon another step. Meantime, though circumstances had thrown him sat for Cambridge University, and was dissolved in June, after a 100 much into active life, he had not forgotten his cherished stormy session, was by no means in a frame of mind suitable for project of reorganizing natural science. A survey of the ground the king's purposes. The House was enraged at the supposed had been made in the Advancement, and some short pieces not project (then much misunderstood) of the “Undertakers "; published at the time were probably written in the subsequent objection was taken to Bacon being elected or serving as a member two or three years. Towards the close of 1607 he sent to his while holding office as attorney-general; and, though an excepfriends a small tract, entitled Cogitata et Visa, probably the first tion was made in his favour, it was resolved that no attorney. draft of what we have under that title. In 1609 he wrote the general should in future be eligible for a seat in parliament. doble panegyric, In felicem memoriam Elizabethae, and the No supply was granted, and the king's necessities were increased curiously learned and ingenious work, De Sapientia Veterum; and instead of diminished. The emergency suggested to some of the completed what seems to have been the Redargutio Philosophi- bishops the idea of a voluntary contribution, which was cagerly cm, or treatise on the “idols of the theatre."
taken up by the noblemen and crown officials. The scheme was In 1610 the famous fourth parliament of Jaines met. Pre- afterwards extended so as to take in the whole kingdom, but lost rogative, despite Bacon's advice and efforts, clashed more than something of its voluntary character, and the means taken to once with liberty; Salisbury's bold schemes for relieving the raise the money, which were not what Bacon would have recomembarrassment caused by the reckless extravagance of the king mended, were calculated to stir up discontent. The general proved abortive, and the House was dissolved in February 1611. dissatisfaction received a somewhat unguarded and intemperate Bacon took a considerable share in the debates, consistently expression in a letter sent to the justices of Marlborough by a upheld the prerogative, and seemed yet to possess the confidence gentleman of the neighbourhood, named Oliver St John, in of the Commons. The death of Salisbury, occurring soon after, which he denounced the attempt to raise funds in this way as opened a position in which Bacon thought his great political contrary to law, reason and religion, as constituting in the king skill and sagacity might be made more immediately available personally an act of perjury, involving in the same crime those for the king's service. How far he directly offered himself for who contributed, and thereby subjccting all parties to the curses the post of secretary is uncertain, but we know that his hopes levelled by the church at such offences. St John was summoned were disappointed, the king himself undertaking the duties of the before the Star Chamber for slander and treasonable language; office. About the same time he made two ineffectual applica- and Bacon, ex officio, acted as public prosecutor. The sentence tions for the mastership of the wards; the first, on Salisbury's pronounced (a fine of £5000 and imprisonment for life) was death, when it was given to Sir George Carey; the second, on severe, but it was not actually inflicted, and probably was not the death of Carey. It is somewhat hard to understand why so intended to be carried out, the success of the prosecution being little favour was shown by the king to one who had proved all that was desired. St John remained a short time in prison, himself able and willing to do good service, and who, in spite of and was then released, after making a full apology and submission. bis disappointments, still continued zealously to offer advice and The fine was remitted. It seems incredible that Bacon's conduct assistance. At last in 1613, a fair opportunity for promotion on this occasion should have been censured by his biographers. occurred. The death of Sir Thomas Fleming made a vacancy in | The offence was clear; the law was undoubted; no particular the chief justiceship of the king's bench, and Bacon, after some sympathy was excited for the culprit; the sentence was not deliberation, proposed to the king that Coke should be removed carried out; and Bacon did only what any one in his place from his place in the court of common pleas and transferred to would naturally and necessarily have done. The nature of his the king's bench. He gives several reasons for this in his letter office involved him in several trials for treason occurring about the to the king, but in all probability his chief motive was that same time, and one of these is of interest sufficient to require pointed out by Spedding, that in the court of king's bench a somewhat longer examination. Edmund Peacham' had been there would be less danger of Coke coming into collision with the king on questions of prerogative, in handling which Bacon was
· Letters and Life, iv. 380.
3 Ibid, iv. 365-373. • Ibid. iv. 375-378.
• Ibid. v. 81-83. always very circumspect and tender. The vacancy caused by . Not to be confounded with any of those of the same name who Coke's promotion was then filled up by Hobart, and Bacon, held the title of Baron St John of Bletsho (see Dict. of Nat. Biog. Enally, stepped into the place of attorney-general.' The fact of vol. 1. p. 150 ad fin.). this advice being offered and followed in all essentials, illustrates
· Circa 1554-1616; educated at Cambridge; ordained priest 1581;
vicar of Ridge, Herts, 1581; rector of Hinton St George, Somerset, very clearly the close relations between the king and Bacon, 1587; eventually condemned to death at the Taunton Assizes (7th who had become a confidential adviser on most occasions of August 1615). The sentence was not carried out, and Peacham is dißculty
. That his adherence to the royal party was already said to have died in gaol (March 1616). Sçe Gardiner's Hist. of Doticed and commented on appears from the significant remark England, ii, 272-283: State Trials, ii. 869: Calerdar of State Papers
In October 1608 he became treasurer of Gray's Inn. The ter- Langmead," English Constitutional llistory (5th ed., 1896), p. 425. centenary was celebrated in 1908.
Nearly all works on constitutional law and history discuss the casc. committed to custody for a libel on his superior, James Montagu | torturing the prisoner, and of tampering with the judges' by (15687-1618), bishop of Bath and Wells. In searching his consulting them before the trial; nay, he is even represented house for certain papers, the officers came upon some loose sheets as selecting this poor clergyman to serve for an example to stitched together in the form of a sermon, the contents of which terrify the disaffected, as breaking into his study and finding there were of such a nature that it was judged right to lay them before a sermon never intended to be preached, which merely enthe council. As it was at first suspected that the writing of couraged the people to resist tyranny. All this lavish conthis book had been prompted by some disaffected persons, demnation rests on a complete misconception of the case. If any Peacham was interrogated, and after he had declined to give blame attaches to him, it must arise either from his endeavour any information, was subjected to torture. Bacon, as one of the to force Coke to a favourable decision, in which he was in all learned counsel, was ordered by the council to take part in this probability prompted by a feeling, not uncommon with him, examination, which was undoubtedly warranted by precedent, that a matter of state policy was in danger of being sacrificed to whatever may now be thought of it. Nothing, however, was some senseless legal quibble or precedent, or from his advice to the extracted from Peacham in this way, and it was resolved to king that a rumour should be set afloat which was not strictly proceed against him for treason. Now, in the excited state of true. popular feeling at that period, the failure of government to Bacon's share in another great trial which came on shortly substantiate an accusation of treason would have been a serious afterwards, the Overbury and Somerset case, is not of such a matter. The king, with whom the council agreed, seems there nature as to render it necessary to enter upon it in detail.6 It fore to have thought it desirable to obtain beforehand the may be noted, however, that his letters about this time show opinions of the four chief judges as to whether the alleged offence that he had become acquainted with the king's new favourite, amounted to treason. In this there was nothing unusual or the brilliant Sir George Villiers, and that he stood high in the illegal, and no objection would at that time have been made to king's good graces. In the early part of 1616, when Thomas it, but James introduced a certain innovation; he proposed that Egerton, Baron Ellesmere (c. 1540-1617), the lord chancellor, the opinions of the four judges should be given separately and in was dangerously ill, Bacon wrote a long and careful letter to the private. It may be reasonably inferred that his motive for this king, proposing himself for the office, should it fall vacant, and was the suspicion, or it may be the knowledge, that Coke did not stating as frankly as possible of what value he considered his consider the matter treasonable. At all events when Coke, who services would be. In answer, he appears to have received a as a councillor already knew the facts of the case, was consulted distinct promise of the reversion of the office; but, as Ellesmere regarding the new proposal of tne king, he at once objected to it, recovered, the matter stood over for a time. He proposed, saying that “this particular and auricular taking of opinions " however, that he should be made a privy councillor, in order to was "new and dangerous," and “not according to the custom give him more weight in his almost recognized position of adviser of the realm.” He at last reluctantly assented, and proposed to the king, and on the 9th of June 1616 he took the oaths and that Bacon should consult with him, while the other law officers his seat at the council board. addressed themselves to the three puisne judges. By Bacon's Meanwhile, his great rival Coke, whose constant tendency to directions the proposal to the three judges to give their opinions limit the prerogative by law and precedent had made him an separately was made suddenly and confidently, and any scruples object of particular dislike to James, had on two points come they might have felt were easily overcome. The first step was. into open collision with the king's rights. The first case was an thus gained, and it was hoped that if “infusion ” could be action of praemunire against the court of chancery, evidently avoided, if the papers bearing on the case were presented to instigated by him, but brought at the instance of certain parties the judges quickly, and before their minds could be swayed by whose adversaries had obtained redress in the chancellor's court extraneous influence, their decision on the case would be the after the cause had been tried in the court of king's bench. same as that of the king. It is clear that the extraneous influence with all his learning and ingenuity Coke failed in inducing or to be feared was Coke, who, on being addressed by Bacon, even forcing the jury to bring in a bill against the court of again objected to giving his opinion separately, and even seemed chancery, and it seems fairly certain that on the technical point to hope that his brother judges after they had seen the papers of law involved he was wrong. Although his motive was, in would withdraw their assent to giving their decisions privately. great measure, a feeling of personal dislike towards Ellesmere, Even after the discussion of the case with Bacon, he would not yet it is not improbable that he was influenced by the desire give his opinion until the others had handed in theirs. What to restrict in every possible way the jurisdiction of a court which the other judges thought is not definitely known, but Bacon was the direct exponent of the king's wishes. The other case, appears to have been unable to put in operation the plan he had that of the commendams, was more important in itself and in the devised for swaying Coke's judgment, or if he did attempt it, circumstances connected with it. The general question involved he was unsuccessful, for Coke finally gave an opinion consistent in a special instance was whether or not the king's prerogative with what he seems to have held at first, that the book not included the right of granting at pleasure living in commendam, treasonable, as it did not disable the king's title. Although the i.e. to be enjoyed by one who was not the incumbent. Bacon, opinions of the judges were not made public, yet as we learn, as attorney-general, delivered a speech, which has not been not only from Bacon, but írom a sentence in one of Carleton's reported; but the king was informed that the arguments on the letters, a rumour had got about that there was doubt as to other side had not been limited to the special case, but had the book being treasonable. Under these circumstances, Bacon, directly impugned the general prerogative right of granting who feared that such a report might incite other people to livings. It was necessary for James, as a party interested, at attempt a similar offence, proposed to the king that a second once to take measures to see that the decision of the judges rumour should be circulated in order to destroy the impression should not be given on the general question without due concaused by the first. “I do think it necessary,” he says, " that sultation. He accordingly wrote to Bacon, directing him to because we live in an age in which no counsel is kept, and that it intimate to the judges his pleasure that they should delay is true there is some bruit abroad that the judges of the king's judgment until after discussion of the matter with himself. bench do doubt of the case that it should not be treason, that it Bacon communicated first with Coke, who in reply desired that be given out constantly, and yet as it were in secret, and so a similar notice should be given to the other judges. This was fame to slide, that the doubt was only upon the publication, in done by Bacon, though he seems to hint that in so doing he was that it was never published. For that (if your majesty marketh Macaulay's Essay.
6 Campbell, Lives, ii. 344. it) taketh away or at least qualifieth the danger of the example; & The mysterious crimes supposed to be concealed under tbe for that will be no man's case."'3 Bacon's conduct in this maiter obscure details of this case have cast a shadow of vague suspicion
on all who were concerned in it. The minute examination of the has been curiously misrepresented. He has been accused of facts by Spedding (Letters and Life, v. 208-347) seems ta show that 1 Letters and Life, v. 101.
Ibid. y. 121, n. these secret crimes exist nowhere but in the heated imaginations of 3 Ibid. v. 124.
romantic biographers and historians.
going a little beyond his instructions. The judges took no notice, but if the judge be so just, and of so undaunted a courage (as he of the intimation, proceeded at once to give judgment, and sent cught to be) as not to be inclined thereby, yet it always leavesa taint a katter in their united names to the king announcing what they of suspicions and prejudice behind it." It is probable that Villiers had done, and declaring that it was contrary to law and to their at this time had really a sense of the duties attaching to his position cat for them to pay any attention to a request that their decision and was willing to be guided by a man of approved wisdom. It should be delayed. The king was indignant at this encroach- was not long before an opportunity occurred for showing his ment, and acting partly on the advice of Bacon, held a council gratịtude and favour. Ellesmere resigned the chancellorship on en tbe 6th of June 1616, at which the judges attended. James the 5th of March 1616/7, and on the 7th the great seal was then entered at great length into the case, censuring the judges bestowed upon Bacon, with the title of lord keeper. Two months for the otiensive form of their letter, and for not having delayed later he took his seat with great pomp in the chancery court, and judgment upon his demand, which had been made solely because delivered a weighty and impressive opening discourse. He he was himself a party concerned. The judges, at the conclusion entered with great vigour on his new labours, and in less than a of his speech, fell on their knees, and implored pardon for the month hewas able to report to Buckingham that he had cleared manner of their letter; but Coke attempted to justify the matter off all outstanding chancery cases. He seemed now to have contained in it, saying that the delay required by his majesty reached the height of his ambition; he was the first law officer was contrary to law. The point of law was argued by Bacon, in the kingdom, the accredited minister of his sovereign, and on and decided by the chancellor in favour of the king, who put the the best terms with the king and his favourité. His course question to the judges individually, “Whether, if at any time, seemed perfectly prosperous and secure, when a slight storm in a case depending before the judges, which his majesty con- arising opened his eyes to the frailty of the tenure by which he ceived to concern him either in power or profit, and thereupon held his position. required to consult with them, and that they should stay pro- Coke was in disgrace but not in despair; there seemed to be a ceedings in the meantime, they ought not to stay accordingly?" way whereby he could reconcile himself to Buckingham, through To this all gave assent except Coke, who said that “when the the marriage of his daughter, who had an ample fortune, to Sir case should be, he would do that should be fit for a judge to do." John Villiers, brother of the marquess, who was penniless or No notice was taken by the king of this famous, though somewhat nearly so. The match was distasteful to Lady Hatton and to her evasive, reply, but the judges were again asked what course they daughter; a violent quarrel was the consequence, and Bacon, would take in the special case now before them. They all declared who thought the proposed marriage most unsuitable, took Lady that they would not decide the matter upon general grounds Hatton's part. His reasons for disapproval he explained to the affecting the prerogative, but upon special circumstances incident king and Buckingham, but found to his surprise that their indigto the case; and with this answer they were dismissed. Bacon's nation was strongly roused against him. He received from both conduct throughout the affair has been blamed, but apparently bitter letters of reproof; it was rumoured that he would be dison wrong grounds. As attorney he was merely fulfilling his duty graced, and Buckingham was said to have compared his present in obeying the command of the king; and in laying down the law conduct to his previous unfaithfulness to Essex. Bacon, who on the disputed point, he was, we may be sure, speaking his own seems to have acted from a simple desire to do the best for convictions. Censure might more reasonably be bestowed on Buckingham's own interests, at once changed his course, advanced him because he deliberately advised a course of action than the match by every means in his power, and by a humble apology which nothing can be conceived better calculated to strengthen appeased the indignation that had been excited against him. It the hands of an absolute monarch.' This appeared to Bacon had been a sharp lesson, but things seemed to go on smoothly justinable and right, because the prerogative would be defended after it, and Bacon's affairs prospered. and preserved intact. Coke certainly stands out in a better On the 4th of January 161718 he received the higher title of lord Eght, not so much for his answer, which was rather indefinite, chancellor; in July of the same year he was made Baron Verulam and the force of which is much weakened by his assent to the and in January 1620/1 he was created Viscount St Albans. His second question of the king, but for the general spirit of resistance fame, too, had been increased by the publication in 1620 of his to encroachment exhibited by him. He was undeniably trouble- most celebrated work, the Novum Organum. He secmed at length some to the king, and it is no matter for wonder that James to have made satisfactory progress towards the realization of his resolved to remove him from a position where he could do so cherished aims; the method essential for his Instauration was much harm. On the 26th June he was called before the council partially completed; and he had attained as high a rank in the to answer certain charges, one of which was his conduct in the state as he had ever contemplated. But his actions in that freemunire question. He acknowledged his error on that head, position were not calculated to promote the good of his country. and made little defence. On the 30th he was suspended from Connected with the years during which he held office is one council and bench, and ordered to employ his leisure in revising of the weightiest charges against his character. Buckingham, certain obnoxious opinions in his reports. He did not perform notwithstanding the advice he had received from Bacon himself, the task to the king's satissaction, and a few months later he was in the habit of addressing letters to him recommending the was dismissed írom office.
causes of suitors. In many cases these seem nothing more than Bacon's services to the king's cause had been most important; letters of courtesy, and, from the general tone, it might fairly be and as he had, at the same time, acquired great favour with concluded that there was no intention to sway the opinion of the Villiers, his prospects looked brighter than before. According judge illegally, and that Bacon did not understand the letters in to his custom, he strove earnestly to guide by his advice the ihat sense. This view is supported by consideration of the few conduct of the young favourite. His letters, in which he analyses answers to them which are extant.5 One outstanding case, howthe various relations in which such a man must stand, and pre- ever, that of Dr Steward,“ casts some suspicion on all the others. scribes the course of action suitable for each, are valuable and The terms of Buckingham's note concerning it might easily have deserving of attention. Very striking, in view of future events, aroused doubts; and we find that the furi her course of the action are the words in which he gives him counsel as to his dealing was to all appearances exactly accommodated to Dr Steward, who sich judges: “ By no means be you persuaded to interpose yourself by word or letter in any cause depending, or like to be A position which Bacon in some respects approved. See Essays,
“Of Ambition." depending, in any court of justice, nor suffer any man to do it
“It is counted by some a weakness in princes to where you can hinder it; and by all means dissuade the king | ambitious great ones; for when the way of pleasuring and displeasur.
have favourites; but it is of all others the best semedy against bamself from it, upon the importunity of any, either for their ing lieth by the favourite, it is impossible any other should be over friends or themselves. If it should prevail, it perverts justice; great."
Lellers and Life, vi. 278, 294-296, 313. "A somewhat similar case is that of the writ De Rege inconsullo • Ibid. vii. 579-588, analysis of the case by D. D. Heath, who exbrought forward by Bacon. See Letters and Life, v. 233-236. presses a strong opinion against Bacon's action in the matter, ibid. vi. 6, 7, 13-26, 27-56.
Ibid. vi. 33.
* Ibid. vi. 444.
had been so strongly recommended. It is, of course, dangerous to Christopher Aubrey appeared at the bar of the House, and charged form an extreme judgment on an isolated and partially understood Bacon with having received from him a sum of money while his case, of which also we have no explanation from Bacon himself, suit was going on, and with having afterwards decided against him. but if the interpretation advanced by Heath be the true one, Bacon's letter? on this occasion is worthy of serious attention; Bacon certainly suffered his first, and, so far as we can see, just he evidently thought the charge was but part of the deliberate judgment on the case to be set aside, and the whole matter to be scheme to ruin him which had already been in progress. A reopened in obedience to a request from Buckingham.
second accusation (Edward Egerton's case) followed immediately It is somewhat hard to understand Bacon's position with after, and was investigated by the House, who, satisfied that regard to the king during these years. He was the first officer of they had just matter for reprehension, appointed the 19th for a the crown, the most able man in the kingdom, prudent, sagacious conference with the Lords. On that day Bacon, as he had feared, and devoted to the royal party. Yet his advice was followed was too ill to attend. He wrote3 to the Lords excusing his only when it chimed in with James's own will; his influence was absence, requesting them to appoint a convenient time for his of a merely secondary kind; and his great practical skill was defence and cross-examination of witnesses, and imploring them employed simply in carrying out the measures of the king in not to allow their minds to be prejudiced against him, at the the best mode possible. We know indeed that he sympathized same time declaring that he would not trick up an innocency cordially with the home policy of the government; he had no with cavillations, but plainly and ingenuously declare what he objection to such monopolies or patents as secmed advantageous knew or remembered.” The charges rapidly accumulated, but to the country, and for this he is certainly not to be blamed.' Bacon still looked upon them as party moves, and was in hopes The opinion was common at the time, and the error was merely of defending himself. Nor did he seem to have lost his courage, ignorance of the true principles of political economy. But we if we are to believe the common reports of the day, though know also that the patents were so numerous as to be oppressive, certainly they do not appear worthy of very much credit. and we can scarcely avoid inferring that Bacon more readily saw The notes bearing upon the interview which he obtained the advantages to the government than the disadvantages to the with the king show that he had begun to see more clearly the people. In November 1620, when a new parliament was sum- nature and nt of the offences with which he was charged, moned to meet on January following, he earnestly pressed that that he now felt it impossible altogether to exculpate himself, and the most obnoxious patents, those of alehouses and inns, and the that his hopes were directed towards obtaining some mitigation monopoly of gold and silver thread, should be given up, and of his sentence. The long roll of charges made upon the 19th of wrote to Buckingham, whose brothers were interested, advising April finally decided him; he gave up all idea of defence, and him to withdraw them from the impending storm. This prudent wrote to the king begging him to show him favour in this advice was unfortunately rejected. But while he went cordially emergency. The next day he sent in a general confession to the with the king in domestic affairs, he was not quite in harmony Lords,s trusting that this would be considered satisfactory. The with him on questions of foreign policy. Not only was he Lords, however, decided that it was not sufficient as a ground for personally in favour of a war with Spain for the recovery of the their censure, and demanded a detailed and particular consession. Palatinate, but he foresaw in such a course of action the means A list of twenty-eight charges was then sent him, to which an ol drawing together more closely the king and his parliament. answer by letter was required. On the 30th of April his conHe believed that the royal difficulties would be removed if session and humble submission "'' was handed in. In it, after a policy were adopted with which the people could heartily going over the several instances, he says, “I do again confess, sympathize, and if the king placed himself at the head of his that on the points charged upon me, although they should be parliament and led them on. But his advice was neglected by taken as myself have declared them, there is a great deal of the vacillating and peace-loving monarch, his proffered pro- corruption and neglect; for which I am heartily and penitently clamation was put aside, and a weak, featureless production sorry, and submit myself to the judgment, grace, and mercy of substituted in its place. Nevertheless the new parliament thc court."'10 On the 3rd of May, after considerable discussion, seemed at first more responsive than might have been looked for the Lords decided upon the sentence, which was, " That he should A double subsidy was granted, which was expressly stated to be undergo fine and ransom of £40,000; that he should be imprisoned
not on any consideration or condition for or concerning the in the Tower during the king's pleasure; that he should be for Palatinate." The session, however, was not far advanced when ever incapable of any office, place or employment in the state the question of patents was brought up; a determined attack or commonwealth; that he should never sit in parliament, or was made upon the very ones of which Bacon had been in dread, come within the verge of the court. This heavy sentence was and it was even proposed to proceed against the referees (Bacon and Montagu) who had certified that there was no objection to
? Lellers and Life, vii. 213: "I know I have clean hands and a them in point of law. This proposal, though pressed by Coke, Job himself, or whosoever was the justest judge, by such hunting
clean heart, and I hope a clean house for friends or servants. But was allowed to drop; while the king and Buckingham, acting for matters against him as hath been used against me, may for a time under the advice of Williams, afterwards lord keeper, agreed seem foul, specially in a time when greatness is the mark and accusa.
tion is the to give up the monopolies. It was evident, however, that a
a Ibid. vii. 215-216.
• Ibid. vii. 225-226. From the letter to the king (March 25,1621)determined attack was about to be made upon Bacon, and
When I enter into myself, I find not the materials of such a temthat the proceeding against the referecs was really directed pest as is comen upon me. I have been (as your majesty knoweth against him. It is probable that this charge was dropped because best) never author of any immoderate counsel, but always desired to a more powerful weapon had in the meantime been placed in his have things carried suavibus modis. I have been no avaricious op; enemies' hands. This was the accusation of bribery and corrupt pressor of the people. I have been no haughty or intolerable or hateful dealings in chancery suits, an accusation apparently wholly from my father, but am a good patriot born. Whence should this unexpected by Bacon, and the possibility of which he seems never be? For these are the things that use to raise dislikes abroad. to have contemplated until it was actually brought against him.
And for the briberies and gifts wherewith I am charged, when At the beginning of the session a committee had been appointed have the troubled fountain of a corrupt heart in a depraved habit of
the book of hearts shall be opened, I hope I shall not be found to for inquiring into abuses in the courts of justice. Some illegal taking rewards to pervert justice, howsoever I may be frail, and practices of certain chancery officials had been detected and partake of the abuse of the times.". punished by the court itself, and generally there was a disposi
5 Ibid. vii. 227, and Gardiner, Prince Charles, &c. i. 450.
1 lbid. vii. 241. tion to overhaul its affairs, while Coke and Lionel Cranfield,
8 Ibid. vii. 242-244;
" It restcth therefore that, without fig-leaves, earl of Middlesex (1575-1645) directly attacked some parts of I do ingenuously confess and acknowledge, that having understad the chancellor's administration. But on the 14th of March one the particulars of the charge, not formally from the House but enough
to inform my conscience and memory, I find matter suficient ! For a full discussion of Bacon's connexion with the monopolies, and full, both to move me to desert the defence, and to move your sec Gardiner, Prince Charles, &c. ii, 355-373. For his opinion of lordships to condemn and censure me. monopolics in general, see Letters and Life, vi. 49.
Ibid. vii. 252-262.
10 Ibid. vii. 261. 11 Ibid. vii. 270.