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beginning of this parliament, not to receive bills of this nature; for her Majesty's ears be open to all grievances, and her hand stretched out to every man's petition.” x
Bacon made an evasive attempt to support the abuse of monopolies by pretending that the proper course was humbly to petition the Queen, that she would abstain from granting them, or leave them to the course of the common-law instead of legislating against them; but the House showed such a determined spirit, that the Queen was compelled to yield ; and she wisely put an end to the discussion by sending a message, through the Speaker, that the monopolies complained of should be cancelled. Secretary Cecil now observed, “ there is no patent whereof the execution, as I take it, hath not been injurious. Would that there never had been any granted. I hope there shall never be more. Whereupon there were loud cheers, according to the fashion of the time : “ all the House said AMEN.” y
There is nothing more interesting in our constitutional history, than to trace the growing power and influence of the House of Commons, from the increasing wealth and intelligence of the middling classes during the reign of Elizabeth, notwithstanding the arbitrary orders which she issued to them, and her habit, hardly considered illegal, of sending members to gaol when they offended her. The abolishers of monopolies were the fathers of those patriots who, in the next generation, passed “ the Petition of Right,” and assembled in the Long Parliament.- Bacon himself lived to see both Houses unanimous in putting down judicial corruption.
In this reign he did not again take part in any affairs of importance. Like the Cecils, he was turning his eyes to the north, where the rising light he was desirous to worship was to appear.
* i Parl. Hist. 934.
CONTINUATION OF THE LIFE OF LORD BACON FROM THE ACCESSION OF
JAMES I. TILL HIS APPOINTMENT AS LORD KEEPER.
March 24, 1603.
Bacon had not contrived to open any direct communication
with James during Elizabeth's life ;—but no sooner
had she breathed her last at Richmond, than he took active steps to recommend himself to the new monarch. He first wrote letters to Fowlys, a confidential person at the Scottish court, to be shown to James,-in which (among other flatteries) he says, “We all thirst after the King's coming, accounting all this but as the dawning of the day before the rising of the sun, till we have his presence.
He wrote similar letters to Sir Thomas Chaloner, an Englishman, who had gone down to salute James, and was made governor to Prince Henry,—to Dr. Morrison, a physician at Edinburgh, in the confidence of James, -and to Lord Kinlosse, his prime favourite, who, strangely enough, for want of a place for which he was fitter, was made Master of the Rolls. In a few days after he addressed a letter directed to James himself. Having heard of his pedantic taste, he thus tries to suit it: "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 enclosed for a few, nor appropriated to the great.” He then goes on to say, that he would not have made oblation of himself, had it not been for the liberty which he enjoyed with his late dear sovereign Mistress,--“ a princess happy in all things, but most happy in such a successor. Having extolled the
z Works, vol. v. 272.
compliments to departing greatness, says, a This seems to have afforded a happy " but your felicity is that you contemplate in hint for the famous Dedication (“ with a your successor (Lord Erskine) a person whose double aspect”) of a law-book to Lord Eldon judgment will enable him to appreciate your by a gentleman, who, after obtaining permis- merits, and whose talents have procured bim sion to dedicate to him, and before the book a name among the eminent lawyers of his was published, seeing his intended patron country.”- Raithby's Edition of Vernon. suddenly turned out of office,-after some
HE IS PRESENTED TO KING JAMES.
services of old Sir Nicholas and of his brother Anthony, and modestly alluding to his own, he thus shows the measure he had taken of the discernment and taste of King James : “And therefore, most high and mighty King, my most dear and dread Sovereign Lurd, since now the corner-stone 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 is no subject of your Majesty's which loveth this island, and is not hollow and 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.”
Nevertheless, by some accident, Bacon's name was omitted in the first warrant sent from Holyrood, for continuing different persons connected with the law in their offices; but on the 21st of April, when James had reached Worksop in his progress to the south, he addressed another warrant to the Lord Keeper, whereby, after reciting that he had been informed that Francis Bacon, Esq., was one of the learned counsel to the late Queen by special commandment, he says, “Therefore we do require you to signify our pleasure to him and others to whom it shall appertain to be thereof certified, that our meaning is he shall continue to be of our learned counsel in such manner as before he was to the Queen.”
As James approached, Bacon sent him the draught of a proclamation which he recommended to be issued, --"giving assurance that no man's virtue should be left idle, unemployed, or unrewarded ;” but it was not adopted, as greater expectations of advancement had been already excited than could possibly be gratified.
Immediately on the King's arrival at Whitehall, Bacon was presented to him, and had a promise of private access.
He thus confidentially describes James to the Earl of Northumberland, who had not yet been at Court:--" His speech is swift and cursory, and in the full dialect of his country; in speech of business, short; in speech of discourse, large. He affecteth popularity by gracing such as he hath heard to be popular, and not by any fashions of his own. He is thought
b Works, vol. v. 275.
I told your
somewhat general in his favours, and his virtue of access is rather because he is much abroad and in press than that he giveth easy audience. He hasteneth to a mixture of both kingdoms faster than policy will well bear. Lordship, once before, that methought his Majesty rather asked counsel of the time past than of the time to come ;o but it is yet early to ground any settled opinion.”
He pretended that he had formed a resolution to devote himself for the rest of his days to philosophy, saying, “ My ambition now I shall only put upon my pen, whereby I shall be able to maintain memory and merit of the times succeeding." But in reality a ludicrous anxiety had entered the mind of the great Bacon—that he might be dubbed a knight, and in creditable fashion. Under the Tudors, knighthood was a distinction reserved to grace the highest offices, and to reward the most eminent services. James, from his accession, lavished it on almost all who solicited it, and turned it into a source of profit, by compelling all who had land of the yearly value of forty pounds to submit to it on payment of high fees, or to compound for it according to their ability. Bacon, perhaps, would have been better pleased with the rare distinction of escaping it, but for the special reasons he assigns in the following letter to Cecil, soliciting that it might be conferred upon him: “ It may please your good Lordship-for this divulged and almost prostituted title of knighthood, I could, without charge, by your honour's mean, be content to have it, both because of this late disgrace, and because I have three new knights in my mess in Gray's Inn commons, and because I have found out an Alderman's daughter, a handsome maiden, to my liking. So as if your honour will find the time, I will come to the Court from Gorhambury upon any warning.'
A promise being obtained, he now writes to Cecil, praying that he should be knighted privately by himself.—“For my knighthood I wish the manner might be such as might grace me, since the matter will not-I mean that I might be merely gregarious in a troop. The coronation is at hand.” In this desire for a solitary ceremony he was disappointed, and on the 23rd of July, the day of the coronation, he was obliged to kneel down with a mob of above 300, and to receive a stroke
c Bacon immediately discovered this defect in the Stuart character, which proved fatal to the dynasty.
d Letter to Cecil, July 3, 1603.
e I do not know what this refers to. I do not find that he complained of the re-appointment of Coke and Fleming as Attorney and Solicitor General. f July 3, 1603.
KNIGHTED AND MARRIED.
of a sword from James, who was almost frightened to handle it, or look at it even when so used. However, he rose Sir Francis ; he was as good as the other members of his mess at Gray's Inn, and the handsome and rich Miss Barnham speedily became Lady Bacon. I am afraid that this was a match of mere convenience, and not very auspicious.
At the commencement of the new reign Bacon experienced some embarrassment from the part he had taken against Essex,
there being a strong manifestation of affection towards the memory of that nobleman, and in favour of the party who had supported him. The Earl of Southampton, famous as the enlightened patron and generous friend of Shakspeare, had been tried for treason, and, being convicted, had been kept close prisoner in the Tower till the death of Elizabeth. His pardon was now expected, and crowds went to visit him while he still remained in confinement. Among these Bacon did not venture to show himself, but he wrote a letter to the Earl, betraying a deep consciousness of having done what was wrong. “ Yet,” says he (clearly reflecting on his honoured mistress), “it is as true as a thing that God knoweth, that this 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.”g
This meanness excited nothing but disgust, and there was such a strong expression of resentment against him, that, instead of waiting quietly till the public should be occupied with other subjects, he very imprudently published “The Apology of Sir Francis Bacon in certain Imputations concerning the late Earl of Essex,' an apology which has injured him more with posterity than all the attacks upon him by his enemies.
His first appearance in public, in the new reign, was as one of the counsel for the Crown on the trial of Sir Walter Raleigh, arising out of the conspiracy to put Lady Arabella Stuart on the throne; but he was not permitted by Coke, the AttorneyGeneral, to address the jury, or even to examine any of the witnesses ; and, in his present depressed state, he was rather pleased to escape from public observation. If he had any malignity, it must have been abundantly gratified by witnessing the manner in which his browbeating rival exposed himself on this occasion."
& Works, v. 281.
denounced him as an atheist, saying he had an English face but a Spanish heart. Cecil,