Page images




From the Death of Elizabeth to the Death of Bacon.



1603 to 1610.

UPON the death of the Queen, Bacon had every thing to expect from the disposition of her successor, who was a lover of letters, was desirous to be considered the patron of learning and learned men, was well acquainted with the attainments of Bacon, and his reputation both at home and abroad, and was greatly prepossessed in his favour by his brother Anthony, who was much esteemed by the King. (a)

But neither the consciousness of his own powers or of the King's discernment rendered Bacon inert or passive. He used all his influence, both in England and in Scotland, to insure the protection of James. (b) He wrote to the Earl

(a) See Rymer, vol. xvi. p. 596, and note TTT at the end.

(b) He wrote to Mr. Foules, see vol. xii. page 114; to Sir Thomas Challoner, see vol. xii. page 113; to his friend, Tobie Mathew, see vol. xii. page 230; to Dr. Morrison, a Scottish physician, see vol. xiii. page 61; to Lord Kinlose, see vol. xii. page 101.

[blocks in formation]

1603. Æt. 43.

of Northumberland, (c) and to Lord Southampton, (c) who was imprisoned and tried with Essex, using these remarkable words, "I may safely be that to you now, which I was truly before."

Upon the approach of the King he addressed his majesty in a letter written in the style of the times: (a) and he

(c) He wrote to the Earl of Northumberland, see vol. xii. pages 103 and 116; to Mr. Kempe, see vol. xii. page 25; to Mr. Davis, see vol. xii. page 115; and it is remarkable that he applied to the Earl of Southampton, the fellow prisoner and convict with Lord Essex. In his letter to Mr. Kempe he says, "My lord of Southampton expecteth release by the next dispatch, and is already much visited, and much well wished. There is continual posting by men of good quality towards the king; the rather, I think, because this spring time it is but a kind of sport. It is hoped that as the state here hath performed the part of good attorneys, to deliver the King quiet possession of his kingdoms, so the King will re-deliver them quiet possession of their places; rather filling places void, than removing men placed. So, &c."

The following is his letter to Lord Southampton:

"It may please your Lordship,-I would have been very glad to have presented my humble service to your lordship by my attendance, if I could have foreseen that it should not have been unpleasing unto you. And therefore, because I would be sure to commit no error, I chose to write; assuring your lordship, how little soever it may seem credible to you at first, yet it is as true as a thing that God knoweth; that this great change hath wrought in me no other change towards your lordship than this, that I may safely be that to you now, which I was truly before. And so craving no other pardon, than for troubling you with my letter, I do not now begin to be, but continue to be your Lordship's humble and much devoted


See vol. xii. page 115.


(a) It may please your most excellent Majesty,

It is observed by some, upon a place in the Canticles, Ego, sum flos campi, et lilium convallium, that, a dispari, it is not said, Ego sum flos horti, et lilium montium; because the majesty of that person is not inclosed for a few, nor appropriated to the great. And yet, notwith

submitted to the Earl of Northumberland, for the King's consideration, a proclamation, recommending "the union of England and Scotland; attention to the sufferings of

standing, this royal virtue of access, which both nature and judgment have planted in your majesty's mind, as the portal of all the rest, could not of itself, my imperfections considered, have animated me to make oblation of myself immediately to your majesty, had it not been joined with an habit of the like liberty which I enjoyed with my late dear sovereign mistress; a princess happy in all things else, but most happy in such a successor. And yet farther, and more nearly, I was not a little encouraged, not only upon a supposal, that unto your majesty's sacred ear, open to the air of all virtues, there might perhaps have come some small breath of the good memory of my father, so long a principal counsellor in your kingdom; but also a more particular knowledge of the infinite devotion and incessant endeavours, beyond the strength of his body, and the nature of the times, which appeared in my good brother, Mr. Anthony Bacon, towards your majesty's service; and were, on your majesty's part, through your singular benignity, by many most gracious and lively significations and favours accepted and acknowledged, beyond the merit of any thing he could effect: which endeavours and duties, for the most part, were common to myself with him, though by design, as between brethren, dissembled. And therefore, most high and mighty king, my most dear and dread sovereign lord, since now the cornerstone is laid of the mightiest monarchy in Europe; and that God above, who hath ever a hand in bridling the floods and motions both of the seas and of people's hearts, hath by the miraculous and universal consent, the more strange, because it proceedeth from such diversity of causes, in your coming in, given a sign and token of great happiness in the continuance of your reign; I think there

unhappy Ireland; freedom of trade and the suppression of bribery and corruption; with the assurance, that every place and service that was fit for the honour or good of the commonwealth should be filled, and no man's virtue left idle, unemployed, or unrewarded, and every good ordinance and constitution, for the amendment of the estate and times, be revived and put in execution." (d)

is no subject of your majesty's, which loveth this island, and is not hollow or unworthy, whose heart is not set on fire, not only to bring you peace-offerings, to make you propitious; but to sacrifice himself a burnt-offering or holocaust to your majesty's service: amongst which number no man's fire shall be more pure and fervent than mine; but how far forth it shall blaze out, that resteth in your majesty's employment. So, thirsting after the happiness of kissing your royal hand, I continue ever, &c. 1603.

(d) Sir Francis Bacon to the Earl of Northumberland, concerning a Proclamation upon the King's entry.

It may please your Lordship,—I do hold it a thing formal and necessary, for the King to forerun his coming, be it never so speedy, with some gracious declaration for the cherishing, entertaining, and preparing of men's affections. For which purpose, I have conceived a draught, it being a thing to me familiar, in my mistress her times, to have used my pen in politic writings of satisfaction. The use of this may be in two sorts: first, properly, if your lordship think convenient to shew the King any such draught, because the veins and pulses of this state cannot but be known here; which if your lordship should, then I would desire your lordship to withdraw my name, and only signify that you gave some heads of direction of such a matter to one of whose style and pen you had some opinion. The other collateral, that though your lordship make no other use of it, yet it is a kind of portraiture of that which I think worthy to be advised by your lordship to the King, to express himself according to those points which are therein conceived, and perhaps more compendious and significant than if I had set them down in articles. I would have attended your lordship, but for some little physic I took. To-morrow morning I will wait on you. So I ever continue, &c. FR. BACON.

See vol. xii. p. 102, and vol. vii. p. 173, for the proclamation.

« PreviousContinue »