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To Lord Burghley. It may please your good Lordship,--I am sorry the joint mask from the four inns of court faileth, wherein I conceive there is no other ground of that event but impossibility. Nevertheless, because it falleth out that at this time Grey's Inn is well furnished of gallant young gentlemen, your lordship may be pleased to know that rather than this occasion shall pass without some demonstration of affection from the inns of court, there are a dozen gentlemen of Grey's Inn, that out of the honour which they bear to your lordship and my Lord Chamberlain, to whom at their last mask they were so much bounden, will be ready to furnish a mask, wishing it were in their powers to perform it according to their minds. And so for the present I humbly take my leave, resting your Lordship's very humble and much bounden, FR. Bacon.
Ďugdale, in his account of Bacon, says in 42 Eliz. being double reader in that house, and affecting much the ornament thereof, he caused that beautiful grove of elms to be planted in the walks, which yet remain. Orig. Ju. 272. b.
I next come to the walks, and of these the first mention that I find is in 40 Eliz. Mr. Bacon being upon his account made 4 Julii, allowed the sum of viil xs iiid laid out for planting elms in them, of which elms some died, as it seems; for at a pension held here, 14 Nov. 41 Eliz. there was an order made for a present supply of more young elins, in the places of such as were deceased : and that a new rayle and quickset hedge should be set upon the upper long walk, at the discretion of the same Mr. Bacon and Mr. Wilbraham ; which being done, amounted to the charge of Ix vi viiid, as by the said Mr. Bacon's account allowed 29 Apr. 42 Eliz. appears.
V. Life, p. xxiii. See Camden, Strype, Dugdale, and the other writers of Elizabeth's reign. See Biographica Britannica, title Bacon.
X. Life, p. xxv. It is said that the Queen, upon Spenser presenting some poems to her, ordered him a gratuity of an hundred pounds, but that the Lord Treasurer Burleigh ob. jecting to it, said with some scorn of the poet, What! all this for a song ? The Queen replied, Then give him what is reason. Spenser waited for some time, but had the mortification to find himself disappointed of the Queen's intended bounty. Upon this he took a proper opportunity to present a paper to Queen Elizabeth, in the manner of a petition, in which he reminded her of the orders she had given, in the following lines :
I was promised on a time
I received nor rhyme nor reason. This paper produced the desired effect, and the Queen, not without some reproof of the treasurer, immediately directed the payment of the hundred pounds she had first ordered. Life of Spenser.
Y. Life, p. xxvi. In his apology respecting Lord Essex, he says, It is well known, how I did many years since dedicate my travels and studies to the use, and, as I may term it, service of my lord of Essex, which I protest before God, I did not, making election of him as the likeliest mean of mine own advancement, but out of the humour of a man, that ever from the time I had any use of reason, whether it were reading upon good books, or upon the example of a good father, or by nature, I loved my country more than was answerable to my fortune ; and I held at that time my lord to be the fittest instrument to do good to the state, and therefore I applied myself to bim in a manner which I think happeneth rarely among men: for I did not only labour carefully and industriously in that
he set me about, whether it were matter of advice or otherwise, but, neglecting the queen's service, mine own fortune, and in a sort my vocation, I did nothing but advise and ruminate with myself, to the best of my understanding, propositions, and memorials of any thing that might concern his lordship's honour, fortune, or service. And when, not long after I entered into this course, my brother, Mr. Anthony Bacon, came from beyond the seas, being a gentleman whose ability the world taketh knowledge of for matters of state, especially foreign, I did likewise knit his service to be at my lord's disposing.
Z. Life, p. xxvi. Sir Francis Bacon to the Lord Treasurer Burghley. My Lord, — With as much confidence as mine own honest and faithful devotion unto your service, and your honourable correspondence unto me and my poor estate can breed in a man, do I commend myself unto your lordship. I wax now somewhat ancient; one and thirty years is a great deal of sand in the hour-glass. My health, I thank God, I find confirmed, and I do not fear that action shall impair it; because I account my ordinary course of study and meditation to be more painful than most parts of action are. I ever bear a mind, in some middle place that I could discharge, to serve her majesty ; not as a man born under Sol that loveth honour; nor under Jupiter that loveth business, for the contemplative planet carrieth me away wholly : but as a man born under an excellent sovereign, that deserveth the dedication of all men's abilities. Besides I do not find in myself so much self-love, but that the greater parts of my thoughts are to deserve well, if I were able, of my friends, and namely of your lordship; who being the Atlas of this commonwealth, the honour of my house, and the second founder of my poor estate, I am tied by all duties, both of a good patriot, and of an unworthy kinsman, and of an obliged servant, to employ whatsoever I am, to do you service. Again, the meanness of my estate doth somewhat move me: for though I cannot accuse myself, that I am either prodigal or slothful, yet my health is not to spend, nor my course to get. Lastly, I confess that I have as vast contemplative ends, as I have moderate civil ends; for I have taken all knowledge to be my providence ;* and if I could purge it of two sorts of rovers, whereof the one with frivolous disputations, confutations, and verbosities : the other with blind experiments and auricular traditions and impostures, hath committed so many spoils; I hope I should bring in industrious observations, grounded conclusions, and profitable inventions and discoveries; the best state of that providence.* This, whether it be curiosity, or vain glory, or nature, or, if one take it favourably, philanthropia, is so fixed in my mind, as it cannot be removed. And I do easily see, that place of any reasonable countenance doth bring commandment of more wits than of a man's own, which is the thing I greatly affect. And for your lordship, perhaps you shall not find more strength and less encounter in any other. And if your lordship shall find now or at any time, that I do seek or affect any place, whereunto any that is nearer unto your lordship shall be concurrent, say then that I am a most dishonest man. And if your lordship will not carry me on, I will not do as Anaxagoras did, who reduced himself with contemplation unto voluntary poverty: but this I will do, I will sell the inheritance that I have, and purchase some lease of quick revenue, or some office of gain, that shall be executed by deputy, and so give over all care of service, and become some sorry bookmaker, or a true pioneer in that mine of truth, which, he said, lay so deep. This which I have writ unto your lordship, is rather thoughts than words, being set down without all art, disguising, or reservation : wherein I have done honour both to your lordship’s wisdom, in judging that that will be best believed of your lordship which is truest; and to your lordship's good nature, in retaining nothing from you. And even so, I wish your lordship all happiness, and to myself means and cccasion to be added to my faithful desire to do you service.
From my lodging at Gray's Inn.
Z Z. Life, p. xxvii. Rawley's Life.--His birth and other capacities qualified him, above others of his profession to have ordinary accesses at court, and to come frequently into the queen's eye, who would often grace him with private and free communication, not only about matters of his profession or business in law, but also about the arduous affairs of estate, from whom she received, from time to time, great satisfaction ; nevertheless, though she cheered him much with the bounty of her countenance, yet she never cheered him with the bounty of her hand having never conferred upon him any ordinary place, or means of honour or profit, save only one dry reversion, of the Register's Office, in the Star Cham. ber, worth about 16001. per annum, for which he waited, in expectation, either fully or near twenty years; of which his lordship would say, in Queen Elizabeth's time, that it was like another man's ground, buttalling upon his house, which might mend his prospect, but it did not fill his barn. Nevertheless, in the time of King James, it fell unto him.
Dugdale, in his account of Bacon says, In 32 Eliz. he was made one of the clerks in council.
The author of Bacon's life, in the Biographia Britannica, speaking of the reversion of the Register's place in the Star Chamber, says, His having the reversion of this place, I take to be the reason, why several writers style him one of the Clerks of the Privy Council ;* for that he had no other employment than this under that reign, is very clear from the foregoing passage in Dr. Rawley's Memoirs, and from his own letters.
2 Z. Life, p. xxvii. In historical collections by Jonson, there is the following preamble to the proceedings in this parliament: A Journal of the Parliamentary Proceedings in the lower house, Anno xxvo Eliz. Annoq. Dom. 1592, very laboriously collected : being chiefly called for consultation and preparation against the ambitious designs of the King of Spain; in which some unusual distastes happened between her Majesty and the House, by reason of their intermeddling with her Majesties successor to the crown, which she had forbidden. This session begun on Monday, February 19, 1592, and ended April 9, 1593.
A A. Life, p. xxvii. Birch's Elizabeth, vol. i. 93. Anthony was member for Wallingford, and his brother Francis for Middlesex. Not. Parliam. by Browne Willis, LL.D. p. 127, 31 edit. London, 1750. He sat in that parliament, which met November 19, 1592, as one of the knights of the shire for Middlesex.
B B. Life, p. xxvii. Mr. Speaker,—That which these honourable personages have spoken of their experience, may it please you to give me leave likewise to deliver of my common knowledge. The cause of assembling all parliaments hath been hitherto for laws or monies; the one being the sinews of peace, the other of war : to one I am not privy, but the other I should know. I did take great contentment in her majestie's speech the other day, delivered by the Lord Keeper ; how that it was a thing not to be done suddenly, or at one parliament, nor scarce a year would suffice to purge the statute book, nor lessen it, the volumes of law being so many in number, that neither common people can half practise them, nor lawyers sufficiently understand them, than the which nothing would tend more to the praise of her majesty. The Romans they appointed ten men who were to collect or recall all former laws, and to set forth these twelve tables so much of all men commended. The Athenians likewise appointed six for that purpose. And Lewis the Ninth, King of France, did the like in reforming his laws. -See CC, next note.
CC. Life, p. xxvii. The suggestions by Lord Bacon upon Improvement of the Law are either 1st. Tracts upon the improvement of the law. 2dly. Scattered observations in different parts of his works. Lord Bacon's Tracts for the Improvement of the Law are 1. Certificate touching the Penal Laws.
2. A Proposition to his Majesty touching the compiling and amendment of the Laws of England.
3. An offer to King James of a Digest of the Laws of England.
In the Harleian manuscripts in the British Museum there is the following memorial, viz. [See MS. Lansd. 486, fol. 21.]
1st. A Memorial touching the Review of Penal Lawes and the Amend
ment of the Common Law.* Forasmuch as it was one of his Majesties Bills of Grace That there should be certain Commissioners, 12 Lawyers and 12 Gent of experience in the Countrie for the Review of penal Lawes and the Repeal of such as are obsolete and Snaring, and the Supply where it shall be needful of Lawes more mild and fit for the time, &c. And thereupon to prepare Bills for the next Parliament. It were now a time for his Majty out of his Royal Authoritie and Goodness to act this excellent intent, and to grant forth a Commission accordingly wherein besides the excellency of the work in it self, and the pursueing of the intent of that Bill of Grace, Two things will follow for his Majesties Honour and reputation.
The one that it will beat down the opinion which is Sometime muttered, That bis Majty will call no more Parliaments.
The other that whereas there are Some Rumors dispersed that now his Majesty, for the help of his wants, will work upon the penal Lawes, the people shall see his disposicion is so far from that, as he is in hand to
abolish many of them. There is a second work wch needeth no Parliament and is one of the rarest works of Sovereigne merit which can fall under the Acts of a King. For Kings that do reform the Body of their Lawes are not only Reges but Legis-latores, and as they have been well called, perpetui Principes, because they reign in their Lawes for ever.
Wherefore for the Common Law of England it is no Text Law, but the Substance of it consisteth in the Series and Succession of Judicial Acts from time to time which have been set down in the Books, which we term Year Books or Reports, so that as these Reports are more or less perfect, so the law itself is more or less certain, and indeed better or worse, whereupon a conclusion may be made that it is hardly possible to conferr upon this Kingdom a greater benefit, then if his Majty should be pleased that these Books also may be purged and reviewed, whereby they may be reduced to fewer Volumes and clearer Resolu. tions, which may be done,
By taking away many Cases obsolete and of no use, keeping a remembrance of some few of them for antiquity sake.
By taking away many Cases that are merely but iterations, wherein a few set down will serve for many.
By taking away idle Queres which serve but for seeds of uncertainty.
* Bacon touching the amendment of Lawes.
Whereby the Common Law of England will be reduced to a Coræ or Digest of Books of competent volumes to be studied, and of a nature and content Rectified in all points.
Thus much for the time past. But to give perfection to this work his Majty may be pleased to restore the ancient use of Reporters, wch in former times were persons of great Learning, wch did attend the Courts at Westminster, and did carefully and faithfully receive the Rules and Judicial Resolutions given in the King's Courts, and had Stipends of the Crown for the same; wch worthy institucion by neglect of time hath been discontinued.
It is true that this hath been Supplyed somewt of later times by the industry of voluntaries as chiefly by the worthy Endeavours of the Lord Dier and the Lo. Coke. But great Judges are unfit persons to be Reporters, for they have either too little leisure or too much authoritie, as may appear well by those two Books, whereof that of my Lo. Dyer is but a kind of note Book, and those of my Lo. Coke's hold too much de proprio.
The choice of the persons in this work will give much life unto it; the persons following may be thought on, as men not overwrought with practice, and yet Learned and conversant in Reportes and Recordes, There are Six Names, whereof three only may suffice according to the three principal courtes of Law, The King's Bench, The Common Plees, and The Exchequer.
Mr. Whitlock, Mr. Hackwell,
Mr. Robert Hill. The stipend cannot be less than 1001. per annum, which nevertheless were too little to men of such Qualitie in respect of Some hindrance it may be to their practice, were it not that it will be accompanied with Credit and expectacion in due time of preferment.
The first notice which I find of this tract is in the Letters and Remains by Robert Stephens, 1734. It is not mentioned either by Rawley or by Archbishop Tennison.
Observations. This tract was first inserted in any edition of the works of Lord Bacon, in the year 1740, in the folio edition, in four volumes, by Mallet. Printed for Miller. The following is the title : Appendix containing several Pieces of Lord Bacon, not printed in the last edition in four volumes in folio: and now published from the original munuscripts in the librury of the Right Honour. able the Earl of Oxford. This appendix was published separately in folio in 1760, and is in vol. v. page 362, of this edition. I do not find any manuscript of this tract in the Harleian collection, but it is in the Lansdowne MSS. No. 236, fol. 198. The same as printed in Stephens, pp. 367—377.
2. Proposition touching the compiling and amendment of the Laws of England. This tract is thus noticed in the Baconiana, with a reference to the Resuscitatio, page 271 : “ The twelfth is, a Proposition to King James, touching the compiling and amendment of the Laws of England, written by him when he was attourney-general and one of the privy-council.” It will be found in vol. v. of this edition, page 337. The following is a copy of the title : A Proposition to His Majesty. By Sir Francis Bacon, Knt, his Majesties Attvrney-General and one of his Privy-Councel ; touching the Compiling and Amendment of the Laws of England.
3. An Offer to ovr late Soueraigne King lames of a Digest to be made of the Lawes of England. London, printed by John Haviland for Humphrey Robinson, 1629. It is thus noticed in the Baconiana by Archbishop Tennison : “ The thirteenth is, An Offer to King James, of a Digest to be made of the Laws of England.” It will be found in vol. v. of this edition, page 353. Another edition in folio was published in 1671, in the third edition of the Resuscitatio. The first edition was published in 1629, in a small 4to. by Dr. Rawley, consiste ing of four tracts, of which this is one.
• In the Miscellan. Works, p. 137, and 2nd part of Resusc.