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his own, that was no less danger-
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO SIR GEORGE nion against the king; for he pro
VILLIERS. claimed the king excommunicate
Touching the examination of Sir Robert Cotton in respect of the anniversary bulls of Cæna Domini, which was to
upon sone in formation of Sir John Digby.t expose his person to the fury of I RECEIVED your letter yesterday towards the any jesuited conspirator.
evening, being the 8th of this present, together with 15. The value of By this the intent of the statute the interrogatory included, which his Majesty hath
benefices not of 21 Henry VIII, is frustrated ; framed, not only with a great deal of judgment to be accord- for there is no benefice of so small what to interrogate, but in a wise and apt order ; ing to the tax an improved value as 81. by that for I do find that the degrees of questions are of in the king's kind of rating. For this the judges great efficacy in examination. I received also nobook of taxes. may be assembled in the exchequer tice and direction by your letter, that Sir Robert for a conference.
Cotton was first thoroughly to be examined ; which 16. Suits for le- The practice hath gone against indeed was a thing most necessary to begin with;
gacies ought this; and it is fit the suit be where and that for that purpose Sir John Digby was to into be in their the probate is. And this served form my lord chancellor of such points, as he conproper dioces- but to put a pique between the ceived to be material; and that I likewise should es, and not in archbishops' courts and the bi- take a full account for my lord chief justice of all the preroga- shops' courts. This may be again Sir Robert Cotton's precedent examinations. It was tive court ; pounded upon a conference of the my part then to take care, that that, which his although the judges.
Majesty had so well directed and expressed, should will be proved
be accordingly performed without loss of time. For in the prero
which purpose, having soon after the receipt of your gative court
letter received a letter from my lord chancellor, that upon bona no
he appointed Sir John Digby to be with him at two tabilia in se
of the clock in the afternoon, as this day, and reveral dioces
quired my presence, I spent the mean time, being es, commen
this forenoon, in receiving the precedent examinadams, &c.
tions of Sir Robert Cotton from my lord chief justice, and perusing of them; and accordingly attended
my lord chancellor at the hour appointed, where I TO SIR GEORGE VILLIERS.
found Sir John Digby.
At this meeting it was the endeavour of my lord The message, which I received from you by Mr. chancellor and myself to take such light from Sir Shute, hath bred in me such belief and confidence, John Digby, as might evidence first the examination as I will now wholly rely upon your excellent and of Sir Robert Cotton; and then to the many exhappy self. When persons of greatness and quality aminations of Somerset; wherein we found Sir John begin speech with me of the matter, and offer me Digby ready and willing to discover unto us what their good offices, I can but answer them civilly. he knew; and he had also, by the lord chancellor's But those things are but toys: I am yours surer to direction, prepared some heads of examination in you than to my own life; for, as they speak of the writing for Sir Robert Cotton; of all which use Turquois stone in a ring, I will break into twenty shall be made for his Majesty's service, as is fit. pieces, before you have the least fall. God keep Howbeit, for so much as did concern the practice of you ever.
conveying the prince into Spain, or the Spanish Your truest servant, pensions, he was somewhat reserved upon this Feb. 15, 1615.
FR. BACON. ground, that they were things his Majesty knew,
and things, which by some former commandment My lord chancellor is prettily amended.
from his Majesty he was restrained to keep in siwith him yesterday almost half an hour. He used lence, and that he conceived they could be no ways me with wonderful tokens of kindness. We both applied to Somerset. Wherefore it was not fit to wept, which I do not often.
press him beyond that, which he conceived to be his Indorsed,
warrant, before we had known his Majesty's farther
pleasure ; which I pray you return unto us with A letter to Sir G. Villiers touching a message all convenient speed. I for my part am in no apbrought to him by Mr. Shute, of a promise of the petite for secrets; but nevertheless seeing his Machancellor's place.
jesty's great trust towards me, wherein I shall never * From an old manuscript in my possession, entitled A treasons and plots with Spain. “To the king,” adds Sir Book of Letters of Sir Francis Bacon.
Ralph, as yet he hath used no other language, but that, Secretary Winwood, in a private letter to Sir Thomas having served in a place of honour, it woulâ ill become him Edmundes, printed in the Historical View of the Negotia- to be an accuser. Legally or criminally he can say nothing: tions between the Courts of England, France, and Brussels, yet this he says and hath written, that all his private dep. 392, mentions, that there was great expectation, that Sir spatches, wherein he most discovered the practices of Spain, Juba Digby, just then returned from Spain, where he had and their intelligences, were presently sent into Spain; which been ambassador, could charge the earl of Somerset with some could not be but by the treachery of Somerset.”
deceive him; and that I find the chancellor of the are performed ; and it remains that you do the like: same opinion, I do think it were good my lord chan- nor can I doubt but that the nobleness of your nature, cellor chiefly and myself were made acquainted with which loves nothing in the world so well as to be the persons and the particulars ; not only because doing of good, can descend from being the attorneyit may import his Majesty's service otherwise, but general to a great king, to be solicitor for one of the also because to my understanding, for therein I do meanest subjects that he hath. not much rely upon Sir John Digby's judgment, it I send my letter to my lord's grace open, that bemay have a great connexion with the examination fore you seal it, if you shall think fit to seal it, and of Somerset, considering his mercenary nature, his rather not to deliver it open, you may see the reagreat undertaking for Spain in the match, and his sons that I have; which, if I be not partial, are favour with his Majesty; and therefore the circum- very pregnant. Although I confess, that till it was stances of other pensions given cannot but tend to now very lately mentioned to me by some honourdiscover whether he were pensioner or no.
able friends, who have already procured to disimBut herein no time is lost; for my lord chancel pression his Majesty of some hard conceit he had lor, who is willing, even beyond his strength, to lose of me in, I did not greatly think thereof; and now no moment for his Majesty's service, hath appointed | I am full of hope, that I shall prevail. For supme to attend him Thursday morning for the exam-posing, that my lord of Canterbury's mind is but ination of Sir Robert Cotton, leaving to-morrow for made of iron, the adamant of your persuasion will council-business to my lord, and to me for consider- have power to draw it. It may please you either to ing of fit articles for Sir Robert Cotton.
send a present answer hereunto; or, since I am not 10 April, 1616.
worthy of so much favour, to tell either of those honourable persons aforenamed what the answer is,
that accordingly they may co-operate. MR. TOBIE MATTHEW* TO SIR FRANCIS This letter goes by Sir Edward Parham, a genBACON, ATTORNEY-GENERAL.
tleman whom I have been much beholden to. I
know him to be a perfect honest man; and since, I MAY IT PLEASE YOU, SIR,
protest, I had rather die than deceive you, I will The notice I have from my lord Roos, Sir Henry humbly pray, that he may rather receive favour Goodere, and other friends, of the extreme obliga- from you, than otherwise, when he shall come in tion, wherein I continue towards you, together with your way, which at one time or other all the world the conscience I have of the knowledge, how dearly there must do. And I shall acknowledge myself and truly I honour and love you, and daily pray, much bound to you, as being enabled by this means that you may rise to that height, which the state, to pay many of my debts to him. wherein you live, can give you, hath taken away I presume to send you the copy of a piece of a the wings of fear, whereby I was almost carried letter, which Galileo, of whom, I am sure, you have away from daring to importune you in this kind. heard, wrote to a monk of my acquaintance in Italy, But I know how good you have always been, and about the answering of that place in Joshua, which are still, towards me ; or rather because I am not concerns the sun's standing still, and approving able to comprehend how much it is, I will presume thereby the pretended falsehood of Copernicus's there is enough for any use, whereupon an honest opinion. The letter was written by occasion of the humble servant may employ it.
opposition, which some few in Italy did make against It imports the business of my poor estate, that I Galileo, as if he went about to establish that by exbe restored to my country for some time; and Iperiments, which appears to be contrary to Holy have divers friends in that court, who will further Scripture. But he makes it appear the while by my desire thereof, and particularly Mr. Secretary this piece of a letter, which I send you, that if that Lake and my lord Roos, whom I have desired to passage of Scripture doth expressly favour either confer with you about it. But nothing can be done side, it is for the affirmative of Copernicus's opinion, therein, unless my lord of Canterburyt may be made and for the negative of Aristotle's. To an attorneypropitious, or at least not averse; nor do I know in general in the midst of a town, and such a one, as the world how to charm him but by the music of is employed in the weightiest affairs of the kingdom, your tongue. I beseech you, Sir, lose some minutes it might seem unseasonable for me to interrupt you upon me, which I shall be glad to pay by whole with matter of this nature. But I know well enough years of service; and call to mind, if it please in how high account you have the truth of things; you, the last speech you made me, that if I should and that no day can pass, wherein you give not continue as I then was, and neither prove ill-affected liberty to your wise thoughts of looking upon the to the state, nor become otherwise than a mere se- works of nature. It may please you to pardon the cular man in my religion, you would be pleased to so much trouble which I give you in this kind ; negotiate for my return. On my part the conditions though yet, I confess, I do not deserve a pardon,
Son of Dr. Tobie Matthew, archbishop of York. He was was recalled to assist in the match with Spain; and on ac. born at Oxford in 1578, while his father was dean of Christ. count of his endeavours to promote it, was knighted by king church, and educated there. During his travels abroad, he James I. at Royston, on the 10th of October, 1623. He trans. was seduced to the Romish religion by Father Parsons. This lated into Italian Sir Francis Bacon's Essays, and died at occasioned his living out of his own country from the year Ghent in Flanders, October 13th, 1655. N. S. 1607 to 1617, when he had leave to return to England. He † Dr. George Abbot. was again ordered to leave it in October, 1618; but in 1622
because I find not in myself a purpose of forbearing Whether if there should be twelve votes to conto do the like hereafter. I most humbly kiss your demn, and twelve or thirteen to acquit, it be not a hand.
verdict for the king ? Your most faithful and affectionate servant,
TOBIE MATTHEW. Brussels, this 21st of April, 1616.
Questions of Convenience, whereupon his Majesty
may confer with some of the Counsel.
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO THE JUDGES. *
WHETHER, if Somerset confess at any time before
his trial, his Majesty shall stay trial in respect of MY LORD,
farther examination concerning practice of treason, It is the king's express pleasure, that because his as the death of the late prince, the conveying into Majesty's time would not serve to have conference Spain of the now prince, or the like; for till he with your lordship and his judges touching his cause confess the less crime, there is [no] likelihood of of commendams at his last being in town, in regard confessing the greater ? of his Majesty's other most weighty occasions; and Whether, if the trial upon that reason shall be for that his Majesty holdeth it necessary, upon the put off, it shall be discharged privately by dissolving report, which my lord of Winchester, who was pre- the commission, or discharging the summons ? Or sent at the last argument by his Majesty's royal
whether it shall not be done in open court, the peers commandment, made to his Majesty, that his Ma- being met, and the solemnity and celebrity preservjesty be first consulted with, ere there be any far- ed; and that with some declaration of the cause of ther proceeding by argument by any of the judges putting off the farther proceeding? or otherwise : Therefore, that the day appointed for Whether the days of her trial and his shall be the farther proceeding by argument of the judges in immediate, as it is now appointed ; or a day bethat case be put off till his Majesty's farther plea- tween, to see if, after condemnation, the lady will sure be known upon consulting him; and to that
confess of this lord; which done, there is no doubt end, that your lordship forth with signify his com
but he will confess of himself? mandment to the rest of the judges; whereof your
Whether his trial shall not be set first, and hers lordship may not fail. And so I leave your lordship after, because then any conceit, which may be to God's goodness.
wrought by her clearing of him, may be prevented;
and it may be he will be in the better temper, hopYour loving friend to command,
ing of his own clearing, and of her respiting ?
FR. BACON. What shall be the days; for Thursday and Friday This Thursday at afternoon,
can hardly hold in respect of the summons; and it the 25th of April, 1616.
may be as well Friday and Saturday, or Monday and Tuesday, as London makes it already ?
Questions legal for the Judges [in the case of the
A particular remembrance for his Majesty.
It were good, that after he is come into the Hall, WHETHER the axe is to be carried before the pri- so that he may perceive he must go to trial, and soner, being in the case of felony ?
shall be retired into the place appointed, till the Whether, if the lady make any digression to clear court call for him, then the lieutenant should tell his lordship, she is not by the lord steward to be him roundly, that if in his speeches he shall tax the interrupted and silenced ?
king,t that the justice of England is, that he shall Whether, if my lord of Somerset should break be taken away, and the evidence shall go on without forth into any speech of tasing the king, he be not and then all the people will cry away with him; presently by the lord steward to be interrupted and and then it shall not be in the king's will to save silenced; and, if he persist, he be not to be told, his life, the people will be so set on fire. that if he take that course, he is to be withdrawn,
Indorsed, and evidence to be given in his absence ? And Memorial touching the course to be had in my lord whether that may be; and what else to be done ?
of Somerset's arraignment. • From the collections of the late Robert Stephens, Esq. Somerset to the king, printed in the Cabala, and written in a † The king's apprehension of being taxed by the earl of high style of expostulation, and showing, through the affected Somerset va his trial, though for what is not known, accounts obscurity of some expressions, that there was an important in some measure for his Majesty's extreme uneasiness of secret in his keeping, of which his Majesty dreaded a dismind ull that trial was over, and for the management used by covery. The earl and his lady were released from their conSir Francis Bacon in particular, as appears from his letters, finement in the Tower in January, 1621-2, the latter dying to prevail upon the earl to submit to be tried, and to keep him August 23, 1632, leaving one daughter Anne, then sixteen in lems per during his trial, lest he, as the king expressed it in years of age, afterwards married to William lord Russel, an apostyle on Sir Francis's letter of the 28th of April, 1616, afterwards earl, and at last duke of Bedford. The earl of upon tké une part commit unpardonable errors, and I on the Somerset survived his lady several years, and died in July, other seem to punish him in ihe spirit of revenge. See more 1645, being interred on the 17th of that month in the church on this subject in Mr. Mallett's Life of the Lord Chancellor of St. Paul's, Covent-Garden. Bacon, who closes his remarks with a reference to a letter of
shall give to the peers in general, they may conThe Heads of the Charge against Robert Earl of ceive of what nature those secrets may be. Wherein Somerset.
I will take it for a thing notorious, that Overbury Apostyle of the
was a man, that always carried himself insolently, King
both towards the queen, and towards the late prince: Ye will doe First it is meant, that Somer- that he was a man, that carried Somerset on in well to remember set shall not be charged with any courses separate and opposite to the privy council : lykewayes in thing by way of aggravation, that he was a man of nature fit to be an incendiary of your præamble, otherwise than as conduceth to a state ; full of bitterness and wildness of speech and that insigne, the proof of the impoisonment. project : that he was thought also lately to govern that the only zeal For the proofs themselves, they Somerset, insomuch that in his own letters he to justice mak- are distributed into four :
vaunted, " that from him proceeded Somerset's foreth me take this The first to prove the malice, tune, credit, and understanding."
I have which Somerset bore to Overbury, This course I mean to run in a kind of generality, commandit you
which was the motive and ground putting the imputations rather upon Overbury than not to expatiate, of the impoisonment.
Somerset; and applying it, that such a nature was nor digresse up
The second is to prove the pre- like to hatch dangerous secrets and practices. I any other parations unto the impoisonment, mean to show likewise what jargons there were and points, that maye by plotting his imprisonment, cyphers between them, which are great badges of not serve clearlie placing his keepers, stopping ac- secrets of estate, and used either by princes and their for probation or cess of friends, &c.
ministers of state, or by such as practise against inducement of The third is the acts of the princes. That your Majesty was called Julius in that point, impoisonments themselves. respect of your empire; the queen Agrippina, quhairof he is And the fourth is acts subse- though Somerset now saith it was Livia, and that accused.
quent, which do vehemently argue my lady of Suffolk was Agrippina ; the bishop of him to be guilty of the impoison- Canterbury, Unctius ; Northampton, Dominic ; Sufment.
folk, first Lerma, after Wolsey; and many others; For the first two heads, upon conference, where- so as it appears they made a play both of your unto I called serjeant Montagu and serjeant Crew, court and kingdom; and that their imaginations I have taken them two heads to myself; the third wrought upon the greatest men and matters. I have allotted to serjeant Montagu ; and the fourth Neither will I omit Somerset's breach of trust to to serjeant Crew.
your Majesty, in trusting Overbury with all the deIn the first of these, to my understanding, is the spatches, things, wherewith your council of estate only tenderness : for on the one side, it is most ne- itself was not many times privy or acquainted : and cessary to lay a foundation, that the malice was a yet this man must be admitted to them, not cursorily, deep malice, mixed with fear, and not only matter or by glimpses, but to have them by him, to copy of revenge upon his lordship's quarrel: for periculum them, to register them, to table them, &c. periculo vincitur ; and the malice must have a pro- A postyle of the portion to the effect of it, which was the impoison- king. ment: so that if this foundation be not laid, all the This evidence I shall also give in evidence, in evidence is weakened.
cannot be given this place, the slight account of On the other side, if I charge him, or could charge in without mak- that letter, which was brought to him, by way of aggravation, with matters tending to ing me his ac- Somerset by Ashton, being found disloyalty or treason, then he is like to grow desperate.cuser, and that in the fields soon after the late
Therefore I shall now set down perspicuously upon very prince's death, and was directed to what course I mean to hold, that your Majesty may slight ground. Antwerp, containing these words, be pleased to direct and correct it, preserving the As for all the “ that the first branch was cut strength of the evidence: and this I shall now do, subsequent evi- from the tree, and that he should, but shortly and without ornament.
dences, they are ere long, send happier and joyFirst, I shall read some passages of Overbury's all so little evi- fuller news.” letters, namely these : “ Is this the fruit of nine dent, as una li- Which is a matter I would not years' love, common secrets, and common dangers ?” tura may serve use, but that my lord Coke, who In another letter : “ Do not drive me to extremity thaime all. hath filled this part with many to do that, which you and I shall be sorry for.” In
frivolous things, would think all another letter : “ Can you forget him, between
lost, except he hear somewhat of whom such secrets of all kinds have passed ?” &c.
this kind. But this it is to come Then will I produce Simcock, who de poseth from
to the leavings of a business. Weston's speech, that Somerset told Weston, that, Nothing
to And for the rest of that kind, “ if ever Overbury came out of prison, one of them Somerset, and as to speak of that particular, that must die for it."
declared by Mrs. Turner did at Whitehall Then I will say what these secrets were. I mean Franklin after show to Franklin the man, who, not to enter into particulars, nor to charge him with condemnation. as she said, poisoned the prince, disloyalty, because he stands to be tried for his life
which, he says, was a physician upon another crime. But yet by some taste, that I
with a red beard.
Nothing to That there was a little picture this should be done, which I turned into days. Sornerset, and a of a young man in white wax, left Secondly, because the hope I had of effect by that loose conjecture. by Mrs. Turner with Forman the mean, was rather of attempting him at his ar
conjurer, which my lord Coke raignment, than of confession before his arraignment. doubted was the prince.
But I submit it to his Majesty's better judgment. No better than That the viceroy of the Indies The person, by your first description, which was a gazette, at Goa reported to an English fac- without name, I thought had been meant of Packer:I passage of Gallo tor, that prince Henry came to an but now I perceive it is another, to me unknown, Belgicus. untimely death by a mistress of his. but as it seemeth, very fit. I doubt not but he came
Nothing yet That Somerset, with others, with sufficient warrant to Mr. Lieutenant to have prored against would have preferred Lowbell the
In this I have no more to do, but to exLoubell.
apothecary to prince Charles. pect to hear from his Majesty how this worketh. Nothing to That the countess laboured The letter from his Majesty to myself and the Somerset.
Forman and Gresham, the con- serjeants I have received, such as I wished; and I jurers, to inforce the queen by will speak with the commissioners, that he may, by
witchcraft to favour the countess. the lieutenant, understand his Majesty's care of him, Declared by That the countess told Franklin, and the tokens herein of his Majesty's compassion Franklin after that when the queen died, Somer
towards him. condemnation. set should have Somerset-house. I ever had a purpose to make use of that circumNothing
to That Northampton said, the stance, that Overbury, the person murdered, was his Somerset. prince, if ever he came to reign, Majesty's prisoner in the Tower ; which indeed is would prove a tyrant.
a strong pressure of his Majesty's justice. For Nothing That Franklin was moved by Overbury is the first prisoner murdered in the Somersel. the countess to go to the Pals. Tower, since the murder of the young princes by grave, and should be furnished Richard the third, the tyrant.
I would not trouble his Majesty with any points The particular reasons, why I omit them, I have of preamble, nor of the evidence itself, more than set in the margin; but the general is partly to do a that part nakedly, wherein was the tenderness, in kind of right to justice, and such a solemn trial, in which I am glad his Majesty, by his postils, which not giving that in evidence, which touches not the he returned to me, approveth my judgment. delinquent, or is not of weight; and partly to ob- Now I am warranted, I will not stick to say serve your Majesty's direction, to give Somerset no openly, I am commanded, not to exasperate, nor to just occasion of despair or flushes.
aggravate the matter in question of the impoisonBut I pray your Majesty to pardon me, that I ment with any other collateral charge of disloyalty, have troubled your Majesty with repeating them, or otherwise ; wherein, besides his Majesty's prinlest you should hear hereafter, that Mr. Attorney cipal intention, there will be some use to save the hath omitted divers material parts of the evidence. former bruits of Spanish matters. Indorsed,
There is a direction given to Mr. Lieutenant by Somerset's business and charge, with his Majesty's my lord chancellor and myself, that as yesterday
Mr. Whiting § the preacher, a discreet man, and postiles.
one that was used to Helwisse, should preach before the lady,ll and teach her, and move her generally to
a clear confession. That after the same preacher TO SIR GEORGE VILLIERS.
should speak as much to him at his going away in
private: and so proof to be made, whether this good SIR,
mean, and the last night's thoughts, will produce Your man made good haste; for he was with me any thing. And that this day the lieutenant should yesterday about ten of the clock in the forenoon. declare to her the time of her trial, and likewise of Since I held him.
his trial, and persuade her, not only upon christian The reason, why I set so small a distance of time duty, but as good for them both, that she deal between the use of the little charm, or, as his Maclearly touching him, whereof no use can be made, jesty better terms it, the evangile, and the day of nor need to be made, for evidence, but much use his trial,+ notwithstanding his majesty's being so may be made for their comfort. far off, as advertisement of success and order there- It is thought, at the day of her trial the lady will upon could not go and come between, was chiefly, confess the indictment; which if she do, no evidence for that his Majesty, from whom the overture of ought to be given. But because it shall not be a that first moved, did write but of a few hours, that dumb show, and for his Majesty's honour in so
* Cicero, Epist. ad Atticum, Lib. XIII. Ep. 40. uses this London, and Vicar of East-Ham in Essex, prebendary of word, evayyidia; which signifies both good news, and the Ealdstreet in the church of St. Paul's, and chaplain to king reward given to him who brings good news. See Lib. II. James I. He attended Sir Gervase Helwisse, who had been Epist. 3.
lieutenant of the Tower, at his execution upon Tower-Hill, The earl of Somerset's.
on Monday the 20th of November, 1615, for the murder of John, of whom there are several letters in Winwood's Sir Thomas Overbury. Memorials, Vol. II.
|| Frances, countess of Somerset. ^ John Whiting, D. D. rector of St. Martin Vintry, in