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When James's first parliament met, in the spring of the followMarch 19, ing year, Bacon again raised his crest, and made
the world forget, if not forgive, his past misconduct. Being returned to the House of Commons both for St. Alban's and Ipswich, he chose to serve for the latter borough, which certainly had a most active and able representative. During this session he spoke in every debate, he sat upon twenty-nine committees, and he contrived to make himself popular by calling out for a redress of grievances,-and a special favourite of the King, by supporting James's pet plan of a union with Scotland. He was appointed one of the Commissioners for negotiating this great measure, and did all he could to soften the prejudices of the English nation against it.
Soon after the prorogation, as a mark of royal approbation, he was re-appointed King's Counsel, with a salary of forty pounds a year, and a pension of sixty pounds a year was granted to him for special services rendered to the Crown by his deceased brother Anthony and himself. By the death of this brother he had recently come into possession of Gorhambury and other landed property, but he was still occasionally obliged to borrow money by pawning his valuables.k
In the autumn of this year Bacon paid a visit to his friend Sir Henry Saville, Provost of Eton, and on his return addressed an interesting letter to him upon the subject of edu
one of the commissioners, said, “ Be not so Colce. “ Thou art an odious fellow: thy impatient, Mr. Attorney ; give him leave to name is hateful to all the realm of England speak.”
for thy pride." Coke. “If I may not be patiently heard, Raleigh. “It will go near to prove a you will encourage traitors and discourage us. measuring cast between you and me, Mr. I am the King's sworn servant, and I must Attorney." speak. If he be guilty, he is a traitor; if not, Coke. “ Well, I will now make it appear deliver him."
to the world that there never lived a viler Note. Mr. Attorney sat down in a chafe, viper upon the face of the earth than thou." and would speak no more until the Commis- -2 St. Tr. 26. sioners urged and entreated him. After much i This salary of 401. a-year, with an allowado he went on, and made a long repetition of ance of stationery, was continued to all King's all the evidence for the direction of the jury; Counsel down to the reign of William IV., and at the repeating of some things Sir when it was very properly withdrawn, King's Walter Raleigh interrupted him, and said he counselship becoming a grade in the profesdid him wrong.
sion of the law, instead of an office. But the Coke. “Thou art the most vile and exe- moderate salary of the Attorney General was crable traitor that ever lived."
swept away at the same time, although he Raleigh. “ You speak indiscreetly, barba- was still compelled to pay the land-tax upon rously, and uncivilly."
it. Coke. "I want words sufficient to express k In the Egerton Papers there is a receipt, your viperous treasons."
under date August 21, 1604, from a moneyRaleigh. “I think you want words, indeed, lender, for “a jewell of Susanna sett with for you have spoken one thing half a dozen diamonds and rubys," on which he had adtimes."
vanced Sir Francis Bacon, Knt., 501.-p. 395.
HIS LITERARY EFFORTS.
cation, enclosing a tract entitled · Helps to the Intellectual Powers,' which strongly inculcated improved methods of study.
Soon after he wrote a letter to Lord Chancellor Ellesmere, with proposals to write a History of England; and he prepared a work, inscribed to the King, . Of the greatness of the Kingdom of Great Britain,' with the courtly motto, “ Fortunatos nimium sua si bona norint.” m
To the composition of such fugitive pieces he must have resorted as a recreation while he was elaborating his noble treatise on the • Advancement of Learning,' which appeared in 1605, and exceeded the high expectations which had been formed of it. His fame as a philosopher and a fine writer was now for ever established.
Yet on the meeting of parliament, in November, he plunged into business with unabated ardour. When the excitement of the Gunpowder Plot had subsided, he again brought forward a project for improving the law by abolishing “Wardship and the other grievances of “ Tenure in chivalry;" he made speeches as well as wrote pamphlets in support of the Union ; and he was as active as ever both in debate and in committees.
But he became much soured by the reflection that he derived little reward beyond praise for all his exertions. He was so much occupied with politics while parliament was sitting, and with literature during the recess, that his private practice at the bar was extremely slender, and now in his 47th year he could hardly bear the ill luck by which his official advancement had been so long delayed.
Coke, the Attorney-General, envying the fame which Bacon had acquired in the House of Commons, and by his writings, -which he pretended to despise, - still did everything in his power to depress him, and they had an interchange of sarcasms from time to time, although they had not again forgot the rules of propriety so far as in their famous altercation in the time of Èlizabeth. But Coke's insolence increasing, and the recurrence of such a scene seeming not improbable, Bacon wrote him the following letter of expostulation : "Mr. Attorney,
I thought best once for all to let you know in plainness what I find of you, and what you shall find of me. You take to yourself a liberty
m Works, v. 293.
to disgrace and disable my law, my experience, my discretion. What it pleaseth you, I pray, think of me: I am one that knows both mine own wants and other men’s, and it may be perchance that mine mend when others stand at a stay. And surely I may not endure in public place to be wronged without repelling the same to my best advantage to right myself. You are great, and therefore have the more enviers, which would be glad to have you paid at another's cost. Since the time I missed the Solicitor's place, the rather I think by your means, I cannot expect that you and I shall ever serve as Attorney and Solicitor together; but either to serve with another upon your remove, or to step into some other course ; so as I am more free than ever I was from any occasion of unworthy conforming myself to you, more than general good manners or your particular good usage shall provoke; and if you had not been short-sighted in your own fortune, as I think, you might have had more use of me. But that tide is past. I write not this to show my friends what a brave letter I have written to Mr. Attorney ; I have none of those humours; but that I have written is to a good end, that is, to the more decent carriage of my Master's service, and to our particular better understanding one of another. This letter, if it shall be answered by you in deed and not in word, I suppose it will not be worse for us both; else it is but a few lines lost, which for a much smaller matter I would have adventured. So this being to yourself I for my part rest.'
Soon after this letter was written, the bar was relieved from the tyrant who had ruled over it so long with a rod of iron, by the promotion of Sir Edward Coke to the office of Chief Justice of the Common Pleas on the death of Lord Chief Justice Gawdey. In contemplation of this move, Bacon had written a letter to his cousin, now Earl of Salisbury and Prime Minister, in which he says,
“ It is thought Mr. Attorney shall be Chief Justice of the Common Pleas : in case the Solicitor rise, I would be glad now at last to be Solicitor ; chiefly because I think it would increase my practice, wherein, God blessing me a few years, I may mend my state, and so after fall to
I my studies at ease; whereof one is requisite for my body, and the other serveth for my mind : wherein if I shall find your Lordship’s favour, I shall be more happy than I have been, which may make me also more wise. I have small store of means about the King, and to sue myself is not fit; and therefore I shall leave it to God, his Majesty, and your Lordship, for I must still be next the door. I thank God in these transitory things I am well resolved." o
Notwithstanding this affected calmness, he immediately addressed another letter to Salisbury, betraying great anxiety:
n Works, v. 297.
• Works, v. 298.
A.D. 1605. AGAIN DISAPPOINTED OF SOLICITOR-GENERALSHIP.
“I am not ignorant how mean a thing I stand for, in desiring to come into the Solicitor's place ; for I know well it is not the thing it hath been,-time having wrought alteration both in the profession and in the special place. Yet because I think it will increase my practice, and that it may satisfy my friends, and because I have been voiced to it, I would be glad it were done. Wherein I may say to your Lordship in the confidence of your poor kinsman, and of a man by you advanced, Tu idem fer opem, qui spem dedisti ; for I am sure it was not possible for a man living to have received from another more significant and comfortable words of hope, your Lordship being pleased to tell me, during the course of my last service, that you would raise me, and that when you had resolved to raise a man you were more careful of him than himself; and that what you had done for me in my marriage was a benefit to me, but of no use to your Lordship, and therefore I might assure myself you would not leave me there ;—with many like speeches, which I know my duty too well to take any other hold of, than the hold of a thankful remembrance. And I acknowledge, and all the world knoweth, that your Lordship is no dealer of holy water, but noble and real; and on my part I am of a sure ground that I have committed nothing that may deserve alteration. And therefore my hope is, your Lordship will finish a good work, and consider that time groweth precious
that I am now in vergentibus annis. And although I know that your fortune is not to need an hundred such as I am, yet I shall be ever ready to give you my first and best fruits, and to supply as much as in me lieth worthiness by thankfulness.” P
Bacon was again disappointed. From some intrigue not explained to us, of which his old enemy Sir Edward Coke was the author, Sir Henry Hobart was put into the office of Attorney-General, and there was no vacancy in that of Solicitor. He expressed such deep resentment, that an expedient was proposed to create a vacancy by making the Solicitor-General King's Serjeant, with a promise of farther promotion. Bacon sought to quicken this job by the following letter to the Lord Chancellor :
may please your good Lordship :-As I conceived it to be a resolution, both with his Majesty and among your Lordships of his Council, that I should be placed Solicitor, and the Solicitor to be removed to be the King's Serjeant; so I must thankfully acknowledge your Lordship’s furtherance and forwardness therein ; your Lordship being the man who first devised the mean ; wherefore my humble request to your Lordship is, that you would set in with some strength to finish this your work; which, I assure your Lordship, I desire the rather
, because, being placed, I hope for many favours at last to be able to do you some little service.
P Works, V. 299.
For as I am, your Lordship cannot use me, nor scarcely indeed know
Not that I vainly think I shall be able to do any great matters, but certainly it will frame me to use a more industrious observance and application to such as I honour so much as I do your Lordship, and not, I hope, without some good offices which may now and then deserve your thanks. And herewithal, good my Lord, I humbly pray your Lordship to consider that time groweth precious with me, and that a married man is seven years older in his thoughts the first day: and therefore what a discomfortable thing is it for me to be unsettled still ? Certainly, were it not that I think myself born to do my Sovereign service, and therefore in that station I will live and die ; otherwise for mine own private comfort, it were better for me that the King should blot me out of his book ; or that I should turn my course to endeavour to serve in some other kind, than for me to stand thus at a stop; and to have that little reputation, which by my industry I gather, to be scattered and taken away by continual disgraces, every new man coming above me. Sure I am I shall never have fairer promises and words from your Lordships. For I know what my services are, saving that your Lordships told me they were good, and I would believe you in a much greater matter. Were it nothing else, I hope the modesty of my suit deserveth somewhat; for I know well the Solicitor's place is not as your Lordship left it; time working alteration, somewhat in the profession, much more in that special place. And were it not to satisfy my wife's friends, and to get myself out of being a common gaze and a speech, I protest before God I would never speak a word for it. But to conclude, as my honourable Lady, your wife, was some mean to make me change the name of another ; so if it please you to help me to change mine own name, I can be but more and more bounden to you ; and I am much deceived if your Lordship find not the King well inclined, and my Lord of Salisbury forward and affectionate.” 9
However, great difficulties were experienced from Mr. Solicitor's unwillingness to resign, and Bacon, in despair, addressed the following letter to King James :
“How honestly ready I have been, most gracious Sovereign, to do your Majesty humble service to the best of my power, and, in a manner, beyond my power, as I now stand, I am not so unfortunate but your Majesty knoweth. For both in the Commission of Union, labour whereof, for men of my profession, rested most upon my band; and this last parliament, in the bill of the subsidy, both body and preamble ; in the matter of the purveyance; in the ecclesiastical petitions ; in the grievances, and the like ; as I was ever careful, and not without good success, sometimes to put forward that which was good, sometimes to keep back that which was not so good ; so your Majesty was pleased kindly to accept of my services, and to say to me, such conflicts were
9 Works, v. 300.