« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
popularity hath been objected, I muse what care I should take to please many,
that take a course of life to deal with few. On the other side, her majesty's grace and particular favour towards me, hath been such, as I esteem no worldly thing above the comfort to enjoy it, except it be the conscience to deserve it. But if the not seconding of some particular person's opinion shall be presumption, and to differ upon the manner shall be to impeach the end; it shall teach my devotion not to exceed wishes, and those in silence. Yet notwithstanding, to speak vainly as in grief, it may be her majesty hath discouraged as good a heart, as ever looked toward her service, and as void of selflove. And so in more grief than I can well express, and much more than I can well dissemble, I leave your lordship, being as ever, your lordship’s entirely devoted, &c.”
In a letter to Essex, he thus speaks of this Sir John Puckering, whom he suspected of only pretending to serve him.
And though it may seem strange, considering how much it importeth him to join straight with your lordship, in regard both of his enemies and of his ends; yet I do the less rest secure upon the conceit, because he is a man likely to trust so much to his art and finesse (as he, that is an excellent wherryman, who, you know, looketh towards the bridge, when he pulleth towards Westminster) that he will hope to serve his turn, and yet to preserve your lordship's good opinion."
We find striking traits of the temper of the Queen scattered over Essex's Letters. As for instance, Essex wished to persuade her to advance Bacon, with whom she was displeased, to be her solicitor.
“ She said she was neither persuaded nor would hear of it till Easter, when she might advise with her council, who were now all absent; and therefore in passion bid me go to bed, if I would talk of nothing else. Wherefore in passion I went away, saying while I was with her, I could not but solicit for the cause and the man I so much affected; and therefore I would retire myself till I might be more graciously heard; and so we parted. To-morrow I will go hence of purpose, and on Thursday I will write an expostulating letter to her. That night or upon Friday morning I will be here again, and follow on the same course, stirring a discontentment in her, &c.”
“ I have now spoken with the queen, and I see no stay from oba taining a full resolution of that we desire. But the passion she is in by reason of the tales, that have been told her against Nicholas Clifford, with whom she is in such rage, for a matter, which I think you have heard of, doth put her infinitely out of quiet; and her passionate humour is nourished by some foolish women. Else I find nothing to distaste us, for she doth not contradict confidently; which they, that know the minds of women, say is a sign of yielding. I will to-morrow take more time to deal with her, and will sweeten her with all the art I have to make benevolum auditorem."
Again, when pressed to appoint him.
“ The queen's speech is after this sort. Why? I have made no solicitor. Hath any body carried a solicitor with him in his pocket ? But he must have had it in his own time (as it were but yesterday's nomination) or else I must be thought to cast him away: then her majesty sweareth thus ; "If I continue this manner, she will seek all England for a solicitor rather than take me. Yea, she will send for Heuston and Coventry to-morrow next," as if she would swear them both. Again she entereth into it, that “ she never deals so with any as with me (in hoc erratum non est) she had pulled me over the bar (note the words, for they cannotbe her own) she hath used me in her greatest
But this is Essex; and she is more angry with him than with me.” And such like speeches so strange, as I should lose myself in it, but that I have cast off the care of it. My conceit is, that I am the least part of mine own matter. But her Majesty would have a delay, and yet would not bear it herself. Therefore she giveth no way to me, and she perceiveth her council giveth no way to others; and so it sticketh as she would have it. But what the secret of it is, oculus aquilæ non penetravit. My lord continueth on kindly and wisely a course worthy to obtain a better effect than a delay, which to me is the most unwelcome condition.”
Bacon bore the delay exceedingly ill. The disappointment seems to have depressed him more than befits the occasion, and affords the first instance of that despondency and faintness of heart, which always seized him in the moments of failure or apprehension of it.
“ To the Earl of Essex. “ My Lord, “ I thank your lordship very much for your kind and comfortable letter, which I hope will be followed at hand with another of more as
And I must confess this very delay hath gone so near me, as it hath almost overthrown my health; for when I revolved the good memory of my father, the near degree of alliance I stand in to my lord treasurer, your lordship’s so signalled and declared favour, the honourable testimony of so many counsellors, the commendations unlaboured, and in sort offered by my lords the judges, and the master of the rolls elect; that I was voiced with great expectation, and, though I say it myself, with the wishes of most men, to the higher place; that I am a man that the queen hath already done for; and that princes, especially her majesty, love to make an end where they begin; and then add hereunto the obscureness and many exceptions to my competitors : when I say I revolve all this, I cannot but conclude with myself, that no man ever read a more exquisite disgrace; and therefore truly, my lord, I was determined, if her majesty reject me, this to do. My nature can take no evil ply; but I will, by God's assistance, with this disgrace of my fortune, and yet with that comfort of the good opinion of so many honourable and worthy persons, retire myself with a couple of men to Cambridge, and there spend my life in my studies and contemplations without looking back. I humbly pray your lordship to pardon me for troubling you with my melancholy. For the matter itself, I commend it to your love; only I pray you communicate afresh this day with my lord treasurer and Sir Robert Cecil; and if you esteem my fortune, remember the point of precedency. The objections to my competitors your lordship knoweth partly. I pray spare them not, not over the queen, but to the great ones, to shew your confidence, and to work their distrust.”
The next extract shews the terms on which Essex treated the queen, and affords an instance of considerable shrewdness in her judgment of Bacon's talents.
Sir, “I went yesterday to the queen through the galleries in the morning, afternoon, and at night. I had long speech with her of you, wherein I urged both of the point of your extraordinary sufficiency proved to me not only by your last argument, but by the opinion of all men I spake withal, and the point of mine own satisfaction, which, I protested, should be exceeding great, if, for all her unkindness and discomforts past, she should do this one thing for my sake. To the first she answered, that the greatness of your friends, as of my lord treasurer and myself, did make men give a more favourable testimony than else they would do, thinking thereby they pleased us. And that she did acknowledge you had a great wit, and an excellent gift of speech, and much other good learning. But in the law she rather thought you could make show to the uttermost of your knowledge, than that you were deep. To the second she said, she shewed her mislike to the suit, as well as I had done my affection in it; and that if there were a yielding, it was fitter to be of my side. I then added, that this was an answer, with which she might deny me all things, if she did not grant them at the first, which was not her manner to do. But her majesty had made me suffer and give way in many things else ; which all I should bear, not only with patience, but with great contentment, if she would but grant my humble suit in this one. And for the pretence of the approbation given you upon partiality, that all the world, lawyers, judges, and all, could not be partial to you; for somewhat you were crossed for their own interest, and some for their friends; but yet all did yield to your merit. She did in this as she useth in all, went from a denial to a delay, and said, when the council were all here, she would think of it; and there was no haste in determining of the place. To which I answered, that my sad heart had need of hasty comfort; and therefore her majesty mụst pardon me, if I were hasty and importunate in it."
Previous to this, he had petitioned the queen, through his relative, Lord Treasurer Burleigh, for some place, that he might leave the study of the law, concerning which he uses a remarkable expression.
“ It may please your good Lordship, “ I am to give you humble thanks for your favourable opinion, which, by Mr. Secretary's report, I find you conceive of me, for the obtaining of a good place, which some of my honourable friends have wished unto me nec opinanti. I will use no reason to persuade your lordship's mediation, but this, that your lordship, and my other friends, shall in this beg my life of the queen; for I see well the bar will be my bier, as I must and will use it, rather than my poor estate or reputation shall decay. But I stand indifferent whether God call me, or her majesty."
In supporting his claims to place, he seems to have been so importunate, or so free in his expression, as to offend the Lord Keeper Puckering, who perhaps was ready enough to seize upon the pretence. His constant friend, Essex, thus attempts to sooth him.
“My Lord, “In my last conference with your lordship, I did entreat you both to forbear hurting of Mr. Fr. Bacon's cause, and to suspend your judgement of his mind towards your lordship, till I had spoken with him. I went since that time to Twickeham-park to confer with him, and had signified the effect of our conference by letter ere this, if I had not hoped to have met with your lordship, and so to have delivered it by speech. I told your lordship when I last saw you, that this manner of his was only a natural freedom and plainness, which he had used with me, and in my knowledge with some other of his best friends, than any want of reverence towards your lordship; and therefore I was more curious to look into the moving cause of his stile, than into the form of it: which now I find to be only a diffidence of your lordship’s favour and love towards him, and no alienation of that dutiful mind which he hath borne towards your lordship.”
It is probable, that Essex found his advantage in the connexion. For the high spirit and rash temper of this nobleman could not have found a more valuable guide than Bacon, whose calculating wisdom, shrewdness, and cunning, are most conspicuous throughout these volumes. He appears to have repaid the patronage of both Essex and of Buckingham by his shrewd counsels. We have letters written by him for Essex to send to the queen, and frequent papers of advice respecting the conduct of Buckingham. This is part of a letter of advice to Essex, which, with all the rest of it, and there is much more, is admirable.
“For the removing the impression of your nature to be opiniastre and not rulable; first and above all things I wish, that all matters past, which cannot be revoked, your lordship would turn altogether upon insatisfaction, and not upon your nature or proper disposition. This string you cannot upon every apt occasion harp upon too much. Next, whereas I have noted you to fly and avoid, in some respect justly, the resemblance or imitation of my lord of Leicester, and my lord Chancellor Hatton; yet I am persuaded, howsoever I wish your lordship as distant as you are from them in points of favour, integrity, magnanimity, and merit, that it will do you much good between the queen and you, to alledge them, as oft as you find occasion, for authors and patterns: for I do not know a readier mean to make her majesty think you are in your right way. Thirdly, when at any time your lordship upon occasion happen in speeches to do her majesty right, for there is no such matter as Aattery amongst you all, I fear you handle it magis in speciem adornatis verbis, quam ut sentire videaris. So that a man may read formality in your countenance; whereas your Jordship should do it familiarly, et oratione fida. Fourthly, your lordship should never be without some particulars afoot, which you
should seem to pursue with earnestness and affection; and then let them fall, upon taking knowledge of her majesty's opposition and dislike. of which, the weightiest sort may be, if your lordship offer to labour, in the behalf of some that you favour, for some of the places now void; choosing such a subject as you think her majesty is like to oppose unto: and if
say that this is conjunctum cum aliena injuria, I will not answer, Hæc non aliter constubunt; but I say, commendation from so good a mouth doth not hurt a man, though you prevail not. A less weighty sort of particulars may be the pretence of some journeys, which at her majesty's request your lordship might relinquish: as if you would pretend a journey to see your living and estate towards Wales, or the like: for as for great foreign journeys of employment and service, it standeth not with your gravity to play or stratagem with them. And the lightest sort of particulars, which yet are not to be neglected, are in your habits, apparel, wearings, gestures, and the like.”
The feuds which subsisted between Bacon and Sir Edward Coke are well known. These letters are constantly reminding us of them. Bacon seems generally to have had the advantage of his rival, and certainly never more so than in the following relation of a remarkable quarrel between them. “ A true remembrance of the abuse I received of Mr. Attorney Gene
ral 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 shewed 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.