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the wars of peace, and such victories the victories of peace; and therefore such servants as obtained them were, by Kings that reign in peace, no less to be esteemed than services of commanders in the wars. In all which, nevertheless, I can challenge to myself no sufficiency, but that I was diligent and reasonably happy to execute those directions which I received either immediately from your royal mouth, or from my Lord of Salisbury : at which time it pleased your Majesty also to promise and assure me, that upon the remove of the then Attorney I should not be forgotten, buit brought into ordinary place. And this was after confirmed to me by many of my Lords, and towards the end of the last term the manner also in particular was spoken of: that is, that Mr. Solicitor should be made your Majesty's Serjeant, and I Solicitor ; for so it was thought best to sort with both our gifts and faculties for the good of your service; and of this resolution both court and country took knowledge. Neither was this any invention or project of mine own ; but moved from my Lords, and I think first from my Lord Chancellor; whereupon resting, your Majesty well knoweth I never opened my mouth for the greater place; though I am sure I had two circumstances that Mr. Attorney, that now is, could not allege: the one, nine years' service of the Crown; the other, the being cousin-germain to the Lord of Salisbury, whom your Majesty esteemeth and trusteth so much. But for the less place, I conceived it was meant me. But after that Mr. Attorney Hobart was placed, I heard no more of my preferment; but it seemed to be at a stop, to my great disgrace and discouragement. For, gracious Sovereign, if still, when the waters are stirred, another shall be put in before me, your Majesty had need work a miracle, or else I shall be still a lame man to do your Majesty service. And, therefore, my most humble suit to your Majesty is, that this, which seemed to me intended, may speedily be performed ; and, I hope, my former service shall be but as beginnings to better, when I am better strengthened : for, sure I am, no man's heart is fuller. I say not but many may have greater hearts; but, I say, not fuller of love and duty towards your Majesty and your children, as I hope time will manifest against envy and detraction, if any be. To conclude, I must humbly crave pardon for my boldness, and rest, &c.”
All parties were joyfully relieved from this embarrassment by the opportune death of Popham, Chief Justice of June 25, the King's Bench; and in consequence of the legal promotions which then took place, on the 25th day of June, in the fifth year of the reign of King James, and in the year of grace 1607, Francis Bacon last became Solicitor-General to the Crown! It was an infelicity in his lot that, notwithstanding his capacity and his services, he never was promoted to any office without humiliating solicitations to ministers, favourites, and sovereigns.
I Works, v. 302.
The new Solicitor, who had made a most elaborate speech in favour of the Union with Scotland, pressing into his service the stories of Alexander and Parmenio, of Abraham and Lot, and of Solon and Croesus, and boldly combating the argument, that, if the measure were adopted, England would be overrun with Scots ; finding that the English House of Commons would not even pass
bill for the preliminary st of naturalizing their northern fellow subjects, now resorted to the expedient of obtaining a judicial decision, that all the Postnati were naturalized by operation of law. He argued the case very learnedly in the Exchequer Chamber; and, what was probably more efficacious, he laboured the Judges out of Court to bring them to the King's wishes. Hobart, the AttorneyGeneral, was a shy and timid man, and the chief direction of the law business of the Crown was left to Bacon.
The only prosecution of much consequence during the six years he was Solicitor-General was that of Lord Sanquhar for the murder of the fencing master, who had accidentally put out one of the northern peer's eyes in playing at rapier and
dagger. This he conducted with a becoming mixture
of firmness and mildness. After clearly stating the law and the facts, he thus addressed the prisoner :-“I will conclude towards you, my Lord, that though your offence hath been great, yet your confession hath been free ; and this shows that, though you could not resist the tempter, yet you bear a Christian and generous mind, answerable to the noble family of which you are descended.” The conviction and execution of this Scotch nobleman have been justly considered as reflecting great credit on the administration of justice in the reign of James.
Bacon's practice at the bar, as he expected, did increase considerably by the prestige of office. The most important civil case in which he was concerned was that of Sutton's Hospital, in which the validity of the noble foundation of the Charter House was established against his strenuous and able efforts. "
A new court being created, called the “Court of the Verge of the Palace,” he was appointed Judge of it, and he opened it with a charge to the jury, recommending a strict execution of the law against duelling.
Mr. Solicitor in the mean time steadily went on with his
$ 2 St. Tr. 559. Case of Postnati. Works, vol. iv, 319. 12 St. Tr. 743.
u 10 Co. l.
SOLICITS THE KING FOR PROMOTION.
philosophical labours, of which he occasionally gave a taste to the world in anticipation of what was hereafter to be expected. He now published the “Cogitata et Visa,' perhaps his most wonderful effort of subtle reasoning, and the 'De Sapientiâ Veterum,' decidedly his most successful display of imagination and wit. Of these he sent copies to his friend Mr. Matthew, saying, “My great work* goeth forward, and, after my manner, I alter ever when I add.” He likewise published a new and greatly enlarged edition of his Essays.
But, after all, what was nearest his heart was his official advancement. He was impatient to be Attorney-General, for the superior profit and dignity of that situation ;-and to secure it to himself on the next vacancy, he wrote the following letter to the King :
“ It may please your Majesty,
“Your great and princely favours towards me, in advancing me to place; and, that which is to me of no less comfort, your Majesty's benign and gracious acceptation, from time to time, of my poor services, much above the merit and value of them ; hath almost brought me to an opinion that I may sooner, perchance, be wanting to myself in not asking, than find your Majesty wanting to me in any my reasonable and modest desires. And, therefore, perceiving how, at this time, preferments of law fly about mine ears, to some above me, and to some below
me, I did conceive your Majesty may think it rather a kind of dulness, or want of faith, than modesty, if I should not come with my pitcher to Jacob's well, as others do. Wherein I shall propound to your Niajesty that which tendeth not so much to the raising of my fortune, as to the settling of my mind ; being sometimes assailed with this cogitation, that by reason of my slowness to see and apprehend sudden occasions, keeping in one plain course of painful service, I may, in fine dierum, be in danger to be neglected and forgotten; and if that should be, then were it much better for me now, while I stand in your Majesty's good opinion, though unworthy, and have some little reputation in the world, to give over the course I am in, and to make proof to do you some honour by my pen, either by writing some faithful narrative of your happy, though not untraduced times ; or by recompiling your laws, which I perceive your Majesty laboureth with, and hath in your head, as Jupiter had Pallas, or some other the like work, for without some endeavour to do you honour I would not live; than to spend my wits and time in this laborious place wherein I now serve ; if it shall be deprived of those outward ornaments which it was wont to have, in respect of an assured succession to some place of more dignity and rest, which seemeth now to be an hope altogether casual, if not wholly intercepted.
* Norum Organum.
Wherefore, not to hold your Majesty long, my humble suit to your
obtain your royal promise to succeed, if I live, into the Attorney's place, whensoever it shall be void ; it being but the natural and immediate step and rise which the place I now hold hath ever, in sort, made claim to, and almost never failed of. In this suit I make no friends but to your Majesty, rely upon no other motive but your grace, nor any other assurance but your word; whereof I had good experience, when I came to the Solicitor's place, that it was like to the two great lights, which in their motions are never retrograde. So with my best prayers for your Majesty's happiness, I rest." y
James admitted him to an audience, and promised, on the word of a King, that his request should be granted. Some time after, Hobart fell dangerously ill, upon which Bacon wrote to remind his Majesty of his promise. “ It may please your most excellent Majesty,
“I do understand by some of my good friends, to my great comfort, that your Majesty hath in mind your Majesty's royal promise, which to me is anchorá spei, touching the Attorney's place. I hope Mr. Attorney shall do well. I thank God I wish no man's death, nor much mine own life, more than to do your Majesty service. For I account my life the accident, and my duty the substance. For this I will be bold to say, if it please God that I ever serve your Majesty in the Attorney's place, I have known an Attorney Coke, and an Attorney Hobart, both worthy men, and far above myself; but if I should not find a middle way between their two dispositions and carriages, I should not satisfy myself. But these things are far or near, as it shall please God. Meanwhile, I most humbly pray your Majesty to accept my sacrifice of thanksgiving for your gracious favour. God preserve your Majesty. I ever remain,
If he was sincere in his hope that “Mr. Attorney should do well,” he was gratified by Sir Henry's entire recovery.
Nevertheless, on the death of Fleming, the object was, with a little intriguing, accomplished. Bacon immediately wrote the following letter to the King :“It may please your most excellent Majesty,
“ Having understood of the death of the Lord Chief Justice, I do ground in all humbleness as an assured hope, that your Majesty will not think of any other but your poor servants, your Attorney and your Solicitor, one of them for that place. Else we shall be like Noah's dove, not knowing where to rest our feet. For the places of rest after
y Works, v. 322.
2 Works, v. 323.
HIS EAGERNESS FOR THE GREAT SEAL.
the extreme painful places wherein we serve have used to be either the Lord Chancellor's place, or the Mastership of the Rolls, or the places of Chief Justices; whereof for the first I could be almost loth to live to see this worthy Chancellor fail. The Mastership of the Rolls is blocked with a reversion. My Lord Coke is likely to outlive us both. So as, if this turn fail, I for my part know not whither to look. I have served your Majesty above a prenticehood full seven years and more as your Solicitor, which is, I think, one of the painfullest places in your kingdom, especially as my employments have been ; and God hath brought mine own years to fifty-two, which I think is older than ever any Solicitor continued unpreferred. My suit is principally that you would remove Mr. Attorney to the place. If he refuse, then I hope your Majesty will seek no farther than myself, that I may at last, out of your Majesty's grace and favour, step forwards to a place cither of more comfort or more ease. Besides, how necessary it is for your Majesty to strengthen your service amongst the Judges by a Chief Justice which is sure to your prerogative, your Majesty knoweth. Therefore I cease farther to trouble your Majesty, humbly craving pardon, and relying wholly on your goodness and remembrance, and resting in all true humbleness, &c.”c
The King was ready to appoint either the Attorney or Solicitor; but Hobart was unwilling to resign his present office, thrice as profitable as that offered him and held by as good a tenure,—and Bacon himself, notwithstanding what he said about the worthy Chancellor Ellesmere, was eager for the Great Seal. He therefore resorted to a most masterly stroke of policy,—to remove Coke to the King's Bench, and to make a vacancy in the office of Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, which, from its superior profit as well as quiet, Hobart was very willing to accept. With this view he drew
and submitted to the King
“Reasons why it should be exceedingly much for his Majesty's service to remove the Lord Coke from the place he now holdeth to be Chief Justice of England, and the Attorney to succeed him, and the Solicitor the Attorney.
First, it will strengthen the King's causes greatly amongst the Judges, for both my Lord Coke will think himself near a Privy Councillor's place, and thereupon turn obsequious, and the Attorney General, a new man and a grave person in a Judge's place, will come in well to the other, and hold him hard to it, not without emulation between them who shall please the King best.
“Secondly, the Attorney General sorteth not so well with his pre
b Lord Kinlosse to be succeeded by Sir Julius Cæsar.
c Works, vi, 70.