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CHAP. LVI.

HIS FUNERAL AND EPITAPH.

145

and his nature being changed and debased, -to gain professional advancement, official station, and political power, there was no baseness to which he was not ready to submit, and hardly any crime which he would not have been willing to perpetrate. I still readily acknowledge him to be a great man ; but can only wish he had been a good man. Transposing the words applied by Tacitus to Agricola, I may truly say, “ Magnum virum facile crederes, bonum libenter.'

According to the directions in his will, his remains were interred in St. Michael's Church, near St. Alban's. No account has reached us of his funeral, and there is reason to fear that, on this occasion, as his connection with the Court had entirely ceased, and a party squabble was engrossing the attention of the public, the great and the noble did not attend to do honour to his memory. But then and there, no doubt, appeared as a mourner, and wept tenderly, Meautys, his faithful secretary, who, at his own expense, erected to him, in the church where he lies buried, a handsome and characteristic monument, representing him in a sitting posture with his hand supporting his head, and absorbed in contemplation-with this inscription :

Franciscus Bacon Baro de Verula si Albni Vicm

a

Sive notioribus titulis
Scientiarum Lumen Facundiæ Lex

Sic sedebat.

Qui postquam omnia naturalis sapientiæ

Et civilis arcana evolvisset
Naturæ decretum explevit

Composita solvantur
Ano Dni MDCXXVI.

Ætat. LXVI.

Tanti viri

Mem.
Thomas Meautys
Superstitis cultor
Defuncti admirator,

H. P.

Notwithstanding all the money he had received, duly and unduly,—such was his love of expense, and his neglect of his affairs, that upon his death his estate appears to have been found insolvent. All the six executors whom he named in his will refused to act, and on the 13th of July, 1627, administration with the will annexed was granted to Sir Thomas Meautys and Sir Robert Rich, a Master in Chancery, as two of his

VOL. III.

L

creditors.--No funds were forthcoming for the foundation of his lectureships..

His wife survived him twenty years, but lived in retirement.

Bacon perhaps comforted himself for his want of offspring, by recollecting the instances from which he drew his saying, that “Great men have no continuance ;” but he seems at times to have felt a pang at the thought that he was to leave no children to close his eyes, or to weep over

his

grave: - They increase the cares of life, but they mitigate the remembrance of death.

66

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8 Since the publication of the first edition mands.” Then with respect to a bond for of this Life, by the assistance of my friend 10001. to secure that amount lent to him Mr. C. Monro I have ascertained beyond all when he was Attorney-General, the report, question that Bacon died insolvent. It ap- after stating the objection by the creditors, pears by the Registrar's Book that a creditors' says, “ I have thought fit to set down the suit was instituted for the administration of testator's own words touching the said debt, his estate. His servants were by consent to and so leave the same to your lordships' conbe paid their wages in full, and the fund sideration : 'A note of such debts as either in arising from the sale of his property was to respect of length of tyme or the nature of the be divided rateably among the other credi- first borrowing or agreement since, need not tors. A report to the Lord Chancellor, on be thought upon for repayment; viz. The the state of the debts and assets, contains farmers of the Customs 10001., lent long since, these very curious passages :-“That con- when I was Attorney, and without interest, cerning the several debts demanded by Sir upon great and many pleasures don to the Peter Van Lord, Mr. Peacock, and Philip said farmers, and whereas I was wont to have Holman, it is alleged that the testator was of them yearly a new yeares guift of 1001. at sentenced for them in parliament as bribes, least-upon this money lent it was disconand therefore not conceived reasonable that tinued, and soe the principall worne out, for they should come in as creditors. Never interest was never intended.'”—Reg. Lih. theless, further time is given them to pro- 19 Feb. 1626. duce their proofs, and to hear what can be t Essay, 'Of Parents and Children.' said on either side touching their said de

CHAP. LVII.

LORD KEEPER WILLIAMS,

147

CHAPTER LVII.

LIFE OF LORD KEEPER WILLIAMS FROM HIS BIRTH TILL HIS INSTALLATION

AS LORD KEEPER.

1621.

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THE Great Seal, having been delivered up by Lord Bacon at York House previous to sentence being pronounced May 1, upon him, was brought to the King at Whitehall, and there he immediately ordered three commissions to be sealed with it in his presence,-one addressed to Sir Julius Cæsar, Master of the Rolls, and certain common-law Judges, to hear causes in the Court of Chancery, -another to Sir James Ley, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, to preside as Speaker in the House of Lords,—and the third to Viscount Mandeville, the Lord Treasurer, the Duke of Lennox, the Earl of Pembroke, and the Earl of Arundel, to keep the Great Seal, and to affix it to all writs and letters patent requiring to be sealed. a

This arrangement continued above two months following, when, for reasons which we shall hereafter explain, the Clavis Regni, after having been held during a period of sixty-three years by six successive laymen bred to the law, was, to the dismay of Westminster Hall and the astonishment of the public, delivered to an ecclesiastical Lord Keeper, JOHN WILLIAMS, Dean of Westminster and Bishop of Lincoln elect, - a man of sharp natural intellect, of unwearied industry, of great scholastic acquirements, free from considerable vices, but not distinguished for any very high qualities of head or heart,-who, by a sort of frolic of fortune, was suddenly placed in the very situation for which Bacon, singularly well able to perform all its duties, and with many advantages from birth and connection, had so long plotted, before he could reach its slippery eminence.

The principality of Wales boasts of Williams as one of the most illustrious of her children. He was of the true Cambrian race, being the son of Edmund Williams and Anne Wynne, daughter of Owen Wynne, Esquire, with genealogies reaching through Llewellyn, King Arthur, and Caractacus, to Adam. He was really of a respectable gentleman's family, who bore upon their shield three Saxons' heads, which, when he was made chief of the law, gave rise to the following distich :

a Rot. Cl. 19 Jac. 1, p. 13.

“Qui sublime fori potuit conscendere tignum,
Par fuit hunc capitum robur habere trium.”

A.D. 1597.

He was born at Aberconway, in the county of Carnarvon, on the 25th day of March, 1582. He was educated at a grammar school lately established in the town of Ruthin, and is said to have there made great proficiency in Greek and Latin, although as yet he had very little acquaintance with Sassenach. In his sixteenth year he was sent to St. John's College,

Cambridge, and put under the care of a countryman,

Owen Gwynne, one of the College tutors; and all the Welshmen at the University are said to have been proud of his learning “ One thing put him to the blush and a little shame, that such as had giggling spleens would laugh at him for his Welsh tone. For those who knew him at his admission into St. John's society would often say, that he brought more Latin and Greek than good English with him. This also plucked advantage after it; for it made him a very retired student by shunning company and conference, as far as he could, till he had lost the rudeness of his native dialect.” b

He studied four years before he took his Bachelor's degree, during which time, with intervals for attending chapel, hall, and lectures, he is said to have read daily from six o'clock in the morning till three the following morning; for, “ from his youth to his old age he asked but three hours' sleep in twentyfour to keep him in good plight of health.” c

He was very temperate in his diet, keeping, like all good Protestants, long after the Reformation, Lent and fish days as rigorously as the Roman Catholics. Having taken his Bachelor's degree with great applause, he was soon after elected a fellow of St. John's, a royal dispensation of some statutes, which stood in his way, having been obtained at the request of the College.

His diligence continued unabated during the three years “while he was running his course to the degree of Master, a

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b Hacket, 7. There are few of our Welsh all their English as if they spoke it in a youth but at their first coming abroad would passion; and thus it was with our youngster." move almost any man to laughter with the - Phillips. native tone of their voice, and by pronouncing

c Ibid.

A.D. 1606.

CHAPLAIN TO LORD ELLESMERE.

149

A.D, 1606.

a

time of loitering with too many.

He surrendered up his whole time to dive into the immense well of knowledge that hath no bottom. He read the best, he heard the best, he conferred with the best, exscribed, committed to memory, disputed; he had some work continually upon the loom. And though he never did so much in this unwearied industry as himself desired, he did far more than all who did highly value him could expect. All perceived that a fellowship was a garland too little for his head, and that in that merit his pace would quickly go farther than St. John's Walks.” d

Having taken orders, he accepted a small living in Norfolk, which he exchanged for another in Northamptonshire ; still residing at Cambridge, and being deputed to manage all the important affairs of his college. In prosecuting an application for a licence to hold lands in mortmain, he attracted the notice of Lord Chancellor Ellesmere; who, hearing of his University reputation, observing his shrewdness, and having heard him preach, took him into his service as one of his domestic chaplains.

There is a story of his having made his fortune by pleading a cause before the King, respecting the right of his parishioners in Northamptonshire to dance round a Maypole; when he is supposed to have pleased James so much by his learning and eloquence, that he was made a royal chaplain, and placed in the career of preferment which conducted him to the woolsack. But Hacket is silent respecting this introduction to greatness; and as it is even inconsistent with the authentic narrative of the friend and biographer of Williams, it can only be noticed to be rejected as spurious.

Before taking up his residence at York House, the Chancellor's chaplain was allowed to complete the year for which he was serving the office of Proctor in the University of Cambridge; and he added to his reputation by his energy in enforcing discipline, and his learning in conducting disputations, Being transferred to London, “ he was now in a nest for an eagle.”e He had an excellent opportunity to advance himself,' and he made the most of it. Not only did he say prayers and preach before the worthy old Chancellor, but he constantly attended him wherever he went, and insinuated himself into his most intimate confidence. He even sat by him in the Court of Chancery, as well as in the Star Chamber; and “ to climb Eıç Kolmov ons Yuxns, into the bosom of his master's

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d Hacket, 8.

e Ibid.

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