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limited by way of use upon a contingency, the destruction of
the contingent estate by feoffment before the contingent re-
mainder came in esse destroyed the contingent remainder?”.
it being denied that, where the contingent remainder was
limited by way of use, there was any necessity that it should
vest, as at common law, at or before the determination of the
preceding estate. Bacon's argument against this subtle device
to create a perpetuity,-one of the most masterly ever heard
in Westminster Hall,-he afterwards shaped into a ‘Reading
on the Statute of Uses,' which he delivered when Double
Reader of Gray's Inn, a tract which we now possess, and
which shows the legal acuteness of a Fearne or a Sugden.
He did not himself undervalue his exertions in placing the
law on the satisfactory footing on which it has remained in
England ever since, --striking the happy medium between
mere life interests and perpetuities, and providing at once
for the stability of families, necessary in a mixed monarchy,
and freedom of commerce in land, necessary for wealth under
every form of government whatever.

I have chosen,” says
he, “ to read upon the Statute of Uses, a law whereupon the
inheritances of this realm are tossed at this day like a ship
upon the sea, in such sort, that it is hard to say which bark
will sink and which will get to the haven; that is to say, what
assurances will stand good, and what will not. Neither is
this
any
lack

or default in the pilots, the grave and learned Judges, but the tides and currents of received error, warranted and abusive experience, have been so strong as they were not able to keep a right course according to the law. Herein, though I could not be ignorant either of the difficulty of the matter which he that taketh in hand shall soon find, or much less of my own unableness which I have continual sense and feeling of, yet because I had more means of absolution than the younger sort, and more leisure than the greater sort, I did think it not impossible to work some profitable effect; the rather where an inferior wit is bent and constant upon one subject, he shall many times, with patience and meditation, dissolve and undo many of the knots which a greater wit, distracted with many matters, would rather cut in two than unknit; and, at the least, if my invention or judgment be too barren or too weak, yet by the benefit of other arts I did hope to dispose and digest the authorities and opinions which are in cases of uses in such order and method as they should take light one from another, though they took no light from me."

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A.D. 1598-9.

HIS PROSPEROUS CONDITION.

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He was

1599.

This I think may be considered the most auspicious period of Bacon's career. By increased practice at the bar A.D. 1593, he had overcome his pecuniary difficulties. sure of professional advancement upon the next vacancy,

He had been slighted by Lady Hatton, but the Queen showed much more personal favour to him than to his rival, Coke, the Attorney General, and consulted him about the progress and conduct of all her law and revenue causes. She not only gave him frequent audiences at her palace, but visited him and dined with him in a quiet way in his lodge at Twickenham. His literary eminence was very great both in England and on the Continent,—not only from what he had already published, but from the great works he was known to have in hand, an outline of which he was at all times willing to communicate to such as were capable of appreciating his plans and discoveries. Above all, his reputation was as yet untarnished. His sudden wheel from the liberal to the conservative side—an occurrence which, even in our days, society easily pardons from its frequency- -—was then considered merely as the judicious correction of a youthful indiscretion. All was now bright hope with him for the future—without self-reproach when he reflected on

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the past.

CHAPTER LIII.

CONTINUATION OF THE LIFE OF LORD BACON TO THE END OF THE REIGN

OF ELIZABETH.

TRANSACTIONS now come upon us, which, though they did not seriously mar Bacon's fortunes, have affixed a greater stain upon

than even that judicial corruption by which he was at once precipitated from the height of power and greatness.

his memory

n Bacon has himself given us a very

within case of treason?"- Bacon.

“ For amusing specimen of the royal talk on such treason, Madam, I surely find none; but occasions. It seems her Majesty was mightily for felony very many.”Elizabeth (very incensed against a book lately published, eagerly). “ Wherein ?"- Bacon.

" Madam, wbich she denounced as “a seditious prelude the author hath committed very apparent to put into the people's head boldness and theft, for he hath taken most of the sentences faction," and, having an opinion that there of Cornelius Tacitus, and translated them into was treason in it, asked him, "if he could English, and put them into his text."- Aponot find any places in it that might be drawn logy. Works, vol. vi. 221.

We have seen how Essex behaved to him with princely munificence, and with more than fraternal affection. Their intimacy continued without abatement till the ill-fated young nobleman had incurred the displeasure of his Sovereign. He steadily supported the interest of his friend at Court by his personal exertions: and when he was to be absent in his expedition to the coast of Spain, he most earnestly recommended him to the Queen, and all over whom he could expect to exercise any influence. Bacon repaid this kindness by the salutary advice he gave him, and above all by cautioning him against going as Lord-Deputy to Ireland—a service unfit for his abili. ties, and which, from the errors he was in danger of committing in it, and the advantage to be taken of his absence by his enemies, was likely to lead to his ruin.

In spite of Essex’s unfortunate campaign and unsuccessful negotiations in Ireland, Bacon stuck by him as a defender,believing that he retained his place in the Queen's heart, and that he would yet have the disposal of the patronage of the Crown. On his sudden return without leave from his command, and his hurrying down to Nonsuch, where the Court lay, Bacon followed him, and had the mortification to find, that, after a gleam of returning favour, the Earl had been ordered into confinement. But, to guard against exaggeration of the misconduct about to be exposed, I most eagerly admit that now, and down to the hour when the unhappy youth expiated his offences on the scaffold, Bacon showed him as much countenance as was entirely consistent with his own safety, convenience, and hope of advancement.

In a short interview with him at Nonsuch, he said, “My Lord, Nubecula est, cito transibit ; it is but a mist;" and he wisely advised him “ to seek access to the Queen importune, opportune, seriously, sportingly, every way."

While Essex was a prisoner in the custody of Lord Keeper Egerton, at York House, as Bacon had frequent interviews with the Queen, which, he says, were only “ about causes of her revenue and law business,” the rumour ran that he was incensing her against his young patron; and even Robert Cecil mentioned it to him, saying one day in his house at the Savoy, “ Cousin, I hear it, but I believe it not, that you should do some ill office to my Lord of Essex : for my part I am merely passive, and not active, in this action; and I follow the Queen, and that heavily, and I lead her not.

The same • Apology. Works, vol. vi. 219.

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A.D. 1600.

INTERCEDES FOR ESSEX.

33

course I would wish you to take.” Francis justified himself, and we believe truly, from the imputation. According to his own account he did everything in his power to induce her to restore him to favour, resorting for this purpose to rhyme as well as to reason. About the middle of Michaelmas term, 1600, as she intimated her intention to dine with him at Twickenham, “though he professed not to be a poet, he prepared a sonnet, directly tending and alluding to draw on her Majesty's reconcilement to my Lord,”—which he presented to her at her departure. He likewise, as he says, strongly dissuaded her from prosecuting Essex, on account of his great popularity; and he adds, “Never was I so ambitious

; of anything in my lifetime as I was to have carried some token or favour from her Majesty to my Lord, -- using all the art I had both to procure her Majesty to send, and myself to be the messenger.” Elizabeth mentioning to him one day at Whitehall the nomination of Lord Mountjoy for Deputy in Ireland, Bacon said to her, “ Surely, Madam, if you mean not to employ my Lord of Essex thither again, your Majesty cannot make a better choice.” “ Essex!” said she; whensoever I send Essex back again into Ireland, I will marry you ;-claim it of me.” Whereunto, out of zeal for the imprisoned Earl, he said, Well, Madam, I will release that contract, if his going be for the good of your state.” She was so far offended, that in Christmas, Lent, and Easter term following, when he came to her on law business, her face and manner were not so clear and open to him as usual, and she was entirely silent respecting Essex. After that she declared that she was resolved to proceed against him—by information ore tenus in the Star Chamber, although it should be ad castigationem, et non ad destructionem. Then, to divert her entirely from this purpose, Bacon said, “ Madam, if you will have me speak to you in this argument, I must speak to you as Friar Bacon's head spake, that said first Time is, and then Time was, and Time will never be ; it is now far too late—the matter is cold, and hath taken too much wind.”

We have the account of these dialogues only from himself after her death, and it is to be regarded with great suspicion, as there is reason to think that she gave a somewhat different version of them in her lifetime; for, introducing his narrative, and alluding to the stories circulated against him, he says, “ I will not think that they grew any way from her Majesty's own speeches, whose memory I will ever honour; if they

VOL. III.

D

р

did, she is with God, and miserum est lædi de quibus non possis queri.

He takes to himself the entire merit of having the Star Chamber prosecution converted into the extra-judicial inquiry before the Lord Keeper and other Commissioners at York House, p by saying to her, “Why, Madam, if you will needs have a proceeding, you were best have it in some such sort as Ovid spoke of his mistress, est aliquid luce patente minus."

It is quite certain, however, that he had never ventured to visit the disgraced favourite during his long captivity, or to give him any public support; and the people (to the honour of England be it spoken), ever shocked by private treachery and ingratitude, were indignant at his conduct, and gave credit to “a sinister speech raised of him how he was a suitor to be used against my Lord of Essex at that time.” To clear himself from this imputation, he has left us the substance of a letter which he wrote to her when he heard " that her Majesty was not yet resolved whether she would have him forborne in the business or no,” and which, I must say, rather betrays an apprehension that he might lose the advantage and éclat of holding a brief in a case of such public expectation : “ That if she would be pleased to spare me in my Lord of Essex's cause out of the consideration she took of

my

obligation towards him, I should reckon it for one of her greatest favours; but, otherwise, desiring her Majesty to think that I know the degrees of duties ; and that no particular obligation whatsoever to any subject could supplant or weaken that entireness of duty that I did ove and bear to her service.The vindication was completely satisfactory to himself, according to his own standard of honour and delicacy, for he says triumphantly, “ This was the goodly suit I made, being a respect no man that had his wits could have omitted.

But in casting the parts to be taken by the different counsel, he was not satisfied with the minor one assigned to him, which was to show that Essex had given some countenance to the libellous publication stolen from Comelius Tacitus; and he objected to the allotment,—“ That it was an old matter and had no manner of coherence with the rest of the charge;" but he was answered in a manner showing that others knew better what became him than himself, because it was considered how I stood to my Lord of Essex, therefore that part was thought fittest for me which did him the least hurt, for that,

P Apology, vol. vi. 200, 221.

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