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As to temporary inability, his golden rules | being; and, however he may abstract himself in were, “ 1st, Fix good, obliterate bad times. 2dly, his study, or climb the hill above him, he must In studies, whatsoever a man commandeth upon daily mingle with their hopes and fears, their himself, let him set hours for it; but whatever is wishes and affections. He was cradled in poliagreeable to his nature, let him take no care for tics: to be lord keeper was the boundary of the any set houis, for his thoughts will fly to it of horizon drawn by his parents. He lived in an themselves.”—He so mastered and subdued his age when a young mind would be dazzled, and a mind as to counteract disinclination to study; and young heart engaged by the gorgeous and chival. he prevented fatigue by stopping in due time : by ric style which pervaded all things, and which a a judicious intermission of studies, and by never romantic queen loved and encouraged : life seemplodding upon books; for, although he read inces- ed a succession of splendid dramatic scenes, and santly, he winnowed quickly. Interruption was the gravest business a well acted court masque; only a diversion of study; and if necessary, he the mercenary place-hunter knelt to beg a favour sought retirement.
with the devoted air of a knight errant; and eyen Of inability to acquire particular sorts of know- sober citizens put on a clumsy disgnise of galledge he was scarcely conscious. He was inte- lantry, and compared their royal mistress to Venus rested in all truths, and, by investigations in his and Diana. There was nothing to revolt a young youth upon subjects from which he was averse, and ingenuous mind : the road to power was, no he wore out the knots and stonds of his mind, and doubt, then as it is now; but, covered with tapesmade it pliant to all inquiry. He contemplated try and strewed with flowers, it could not be nature in detail and in mass: he contracted the suspected that it was either dirty or crooked. He sight of his mind and dilated it.—He saw differ- had also that common failing of genius and ardent ences in apparent resemblances, and resemblances youth, which led him to be confident of his in apparent differences.--He had not any attach- strength rather than suspicious of his weakness; ment either to antiquity or novelty.—He prevented and it was his favourite doctrine, that the perfecmental aberration by studies which produced fix- tion of human conduct consists in the union of edness, and fixedness by keeping his mind alive contemplation and action, a conjunction of the and open to perpetual improvement.
two highest planets, Saturn, the planet of rest and The theory of memory he understood and ex- contemplation, and Jupiter, the planet of civil soplained: and in its practice he was perfect. He ciety and action; but he should have recollected knew much, and what he once knew he seldom that Jupiter dethroned Saturn, and that civil Corgot.
affairs seldom fail to usurp and take captive the In his compositions his first object was clear-whole man. He soon saw his error: how futile ness: to reduce marvels to plain things, not to the end, how unworthy the means ! but he was inflate plain things into marvels. He was not fettered by narrow circumstances, and his endeaattached either to method or to ornament, although (vours to extricate himself were vain. he adopted both to insure a favourable reception Into active life he entered, and carried into it for abstruse truths.
his powerful mind and the principles of his phiSuch is a faint outline of his mind, which, “like losophy. As a philosopher he was sincere in his the sun, had both light and agility; it knew no love of science, intrepid and indefatigable in the rest but in motion, no quiet but in activity: it did pursuit and improvement of it: his philosophy is, not so properly apprehend, as irradiate the object; - discover-improve." He was patientissimus not so much find, as make things intelligible. veri. Ile was a reformer, not an innovator. His There was no poring, no struggling with me- desire was to proceed, notov in aliud," buts in memory, no straining for invention; his faculties lius.” His motive was not the love of excelling, were quick and expedite: they were ready upon but the love of excellence. He stood on such a the first summons, there was freedom and firm- height that popular praise or dispraise could not ness in all their operations; his understanding reach him. could almost pierce into future contingents; his He was a cautious reformer; quick to hear, conjectures improving even to prophecy; he saw slow to speak. • Use Argus's hundred eyes consequents yet dormant in their principles, and before you raise one of Briareus's hundred hands," } effects yet unborn, in the womb of their causes. was his maxim.
How much is it to be lamented that such a He was a gradual reformer. He thought that mind, with such a temperament, was not altoge- reform ought to be, like the advances of nature, ther devoted to contemplation, to the tranquil scarce discernible in its motion, but only visible pursuit of knowledge, and the calm delights of in its issue. His admonition was, “ Let a living piety.
spring constantly flow into the stagnant waters.” That in his youth he should quit these pleasant He was a confident reformer. “I have held up paths for the troubels and trappings of public life a light in the obscurity of philosophy, which will would be a cause for wonder, if it were not re- be seen centuries after I am dead. It will be membered that man amongst men is a social seen amidst the erection of temples, tombs, pa
laces, theatres, bridges, making noble roads, cut-| should be like mines, resounding on all sides ting canals, granting multitude of charters and with new works, and further progress: but it is liberties for comfort of decayed companies and not good to try experiments in states, except corporations: the foundation of colleges and lec- the necessity be urgent or the utility evident; and tures for learning and the education of youth; well to beware that it is the reformation that foundations and institutions of orders and frater- draweth on the change, and not the desire of nities for nobility, enterprise, and obedience; but, change that pret deth the reformation." above all, the establishing good laws for the regu- The desire to change he always regarded with lation of the kingdom and as an example to the great jealousy. He knew that in its worst form world."
it is the tool by which demagogues delude and He was a permanent reformer.-He knew that mislead; and in its best form, when it originates wise reform, instead of palliating a complaint, in benevolence and a love of truth, it is a passion looks at the real causeof the malady. He con- by which kind intention has rushed on with such curred with his opponent, Sir Edward Coke, in fearless impetuosity, and wisdom been hurried into saying, “Si quid moves a principio moveas. Er- such lamentable excess: it is sơ nearly allied to rores ad principia referre est refellere.” His opi- a contempt of authority, and so frequently accomnion was, that he “who, in the cure of politic or panied by a presumptuous confidence in private of natural disorders, shall rest himself contented judgment: a dislike of all established forms, with second causes, without setting forth in di- merely because they are established, and of the ligent travel to search for the original source of old paths, merely because they are old: it has evil, doth resemble the slothful husbandman, who such tendency to go too far rather than not far moweth down the heads of noisome weeds, when enough; that this great man, conscious of the he should carefully pull up the roots; and the blessings of society, and of the many perplexities work shall ever be to do again.”
which accompany even the most beneficial alteraCautious, gradual, permanent reform, from the tions, always looked with suspicion upon a love love of excellence, is ever in the train of know- of change, whether it existed in himself or in ledge. They are the tests of a true reformer. others. In his advice to Sir George Villiers he
Such were the principles which he carried into said, " Merit the admonition of the wisest of law and into politics.
men: • My son, fear God and the king, and medAs a lawyer, he looked with micrescopic eye dle not with those who are given to change.”' into its subtleties, and soon made great proficience As a statesman his first wish was, in the true in the science. He was active in the discharge spirit of his philosophy, to preserve; the next, to of his professional duties: and published various improve the constitution in church and state. works upon different parts of the law. In his In his endeavours to improve England and offices of solicitor and attorney-general, “ when Scotland he was indefatigable and successful. he was called, as he was of the king's council He had no sooner succeeded than he immediately learned, to charge any offenders, either in crimi- raised his voice for oppressed Ireland, with an nals or capitals, he was never of an insulting and earnestness which shows how deeply he felt for domineering nature over them, but always tender-her sufferings. “ Your majesty,” he said, “ achearted, and carrying himself decently towards cepted my poor field-fruits touching the union, but the parties, though it was his duty to charge them let me assure you that England, Scotland, and home, but yet as one that looked upon the ex- Ireland, well united, will be a trefoil worthy to be ample with the eye of severity, but upon the worn in your crown. She is blessed with all the person with the eye of pity and compassion.” dowries of nature, and with a race of generous and
As a judge, it has never been pretended that any noble people; but the hand of man does not unite decree made by him was ever reversed as unjust. with the hand of nature. The harp of Ireland is
As a patron of preferment, his favourite maxim not strung to concord. It is not attuned with the was, “ Detur digniori, qui beneficium digno dat harp of David in casting out the evil spirit of omnes obligat.”
superstition, or the harp of Orpheus in casting out As a statesman, he was indefatigable in his desolation and barbarism." public exertions. “ Men think," he said, “I In these reforms he acted with his usual caution. cannot continue if I should thus oppress myself He looked about him to discover the straight and with business; but my account is made. The right way, and so to walk in it. He stood on such duties of life are more than life ; and if I die now, an eminence, that his eye rested not upon small I shall die before the world is weary of me, parts, but comprehended the whole. He stood on which in our times is somewhat rare."
the ancient way. He saw this happy country, His love of reform, his master passion, mani- the mansion-house of liberty. He saw the order ested itself both as a statesman and as a lawyer; and beauty of her sacred buildings, the learning but, before he attempted any change, he, with his and piety of her priests, the sweet repose and holy usual caution, said, “There is a great difference quiet of her decent Sabbaths, and that best sacrifice between arts and civil affairs; arts and sciences of humble and simple devotion, more acceptable
than the fire of the temple, which went not out by of that illustrious statesman, who, regardless of day or by night. He saw it in the loveliness of the senseless yells by which he was vilified, went his own beautiful description of the blessings of right onward in the improvement of law, the government. “In Orpheus's theatre all beasts advancement of knowledge, and the diffusion of and birds assembled, and, forgetting their several charity. appetites, some of prey, some of game, some of Such were Bacon's public exertions.-In priquarrel, stood all sociably together, listening to vate life he was always cheerful and often playful, the airs and accords of the harp, the sound whereof according to his own favourite maxim, “ To be no sooner ceased, or was drowned by some loader free-minded and cheerfully disposed at hours of noise, but every beast returned to his own nature; meat, and of sleep, and of exercise, is one of the wherein is aptly described the nature and condi- best precepts of long lasting.” tion of men: who are full of savage and unre- The art of conversation, that social mode of claimed desires of profit, of lust, of revenge, which diffusing kindness and knowledge, he considered as long as they give ear to precepts, to laws, to to be one of the valuable arts of life, and all that religion, sweetly touched with eloquence, and he taught he skilfully and gracefully practised. persuasion of books, of sermons, of harangues, so When he spoke, the hearers only feared that he long is society, and peace maintained; but if these should be silent, yet he was more pleased to inştruments be silent, or sedition and tumult listen than to speak, “glad to light his torch at make them not audible, all things dissolve into any man's candle.” He was skilful in alluring anarchy and confusion.'
his company to discourse upon subjects in which In gradual reform of the law, his exertions they were most conversant. He was ever happy were indefatigable. He suggested improvements to commend, and unwilling to censure; and when both of the civil and criminal law: he proposed he could not assent to an opinion, he would set to reduce and compile the whole law; and in a forth its ingenuity, and so grace and adorn it by his tract upon universal justice, “ Leges Legum," he own luminous statement, that his opponent could planted a seed which, for the last two centuries, not feel lowered by his defeat. has not been dormant, and is now just appearing His wit was brilliant, and when it flashed upon above the surface. He was thus attentive to the any subject, it was never with ill-nature, which, ultimate and to the immediate improvement of the like the crackling of thorns, ending in sudden law: the ultimate improvement depending upon darkness, is only fit for a fool's laughter; the the progress of knowledge. “Veritas temporis sparkling of his wit was that of the precious filia dicitur, non authoritatis :" the immediate diamond, valuable for its worth and weight, deimprovement upon the knowledge by its professors noting the riches of the mine. in power, of the local law, the principles of legis- He had not any children; but, says Dr. Rawley, lation, and general science.
- the want of children did not detract from his So this must ever be. Knowledge cannot exist good usage of his consort during the intermarriage, without the love of improvement. The French whom he prosecuted with much conjugal love and chancellors, D’Aguesseau and L'Hôpital, were respect, with many rich gifts and endowments, unwearied in their exertions to improve the law; besides a robe of honour which he invested her and three works upon imaginary governments, withal, which she wore until her dying day, the Utopia, the Atlantis, and the Armata, were being twenty years and more after his death." written by English chancellors.
He was religious, and died in the faith estaSo Sir William Grant, the reserved, intellectual tablished in the church of England. master of the rolls, struck at the root of sangui- Bacon has been accused of servility, of dissinary punishment, when, in the true spirit of mulation, of various base motives, and their filthy philosophy, he said, “Crime is prevented, not by brood of base actions, all unworthy of his high fear, but by recoiling from the act with horror, birth, and incompatible with his great wisdom, which is generated by the union of law, morals, and the estimation in which he was held by the and religion. With us they do not unite; and noblest spirits of the age. It is true that there our laws are a dead letter."
were men in his own time, and will be men in all So, too, by the exertions of the philosophic and times, who are better pleased to count spots in benevolent Sir Samuel Romilly, who was ani- the sun than to rejoice in its glorious brightness. mated by a spirit public as nature, and not ter- Such men have openly libelled him, like Dewes minated in any private design, the criminal law and Weldon, whose falsehoods were detected as has been purified; and, instead of monthly mas soon as uttered, or have fastened upon certain sacres of young men and women, we, in our noble ceremonious compliments and dedications, the times, have lately read that “there has not been fashion of his day, as a sample of his servility, one execution in London during the present shrie- passing over his noble letters to the queen, his valty."—With what joy, with what grateful re- lofty contempt for the Lord Keeper Puckering, his membrance has this been read by the many friends open dealing with Sir Robert Cecil, and with
others, who, powerful when he was nothing, might and politics, an idol, whose golden head and have blighted his opening fortunes forever, for hands of base metal form a monster more hideous getting his advocacy of the rights of the people in than the Dagon of the Philistines. the face of the court, and the true and honest His consciousness of the wanderings of his counsels, always given by him, in times of great mind made him run into affairs with over-acted difficulty, both to Elizabeth and her successor. zeal and a variety of useless subtleties; and in When was a 6 base sycophant” loved and ho- lending himself to matters immeasurabiy beneath noured by piety such as that of Herbert, Tenison, him, he sometimes stooped too low. A man and Rawley, by noble spirits like Hobbes, Ben often receives an unfortunate bias from an unjust Jonson, and Selden, or followed to the grave, censure. Bacon, who was said by Elizabeth to and beyond it, with devoted affection, such as that be without knowledge of affairs, and by Cecil and of Sir Thomas Meautys.
Burleigh to be unfit for business, affected through Forced by the narrowness of his fortune into the whole of his life an over-refinement in trifles, business, conscious of his own powers, aware of and a political subtlety unworthy of so great a the peculiar quality of his mind, and disliking his mind: it is also true that he sometimes seemed pursuits, his heart was often in his study, while conscious of the pleasure of skill, and that he he lent his person to the robes of office; and he who possessed the dangerous power of “. working was culpably unmindful of the conduct of his and winding" others to his purposė, tried it upon servants, who amassed wealth meanly and rapa- the little men whom his heart disdained; but that ciously, while their careless master, himself al- heart was neither “cloven nor double.” There is ways poor, with his thoughts on higher ventures, no record that he abused the influence which he never stopped to inquire by what methods they possessed over the minds of all men. He ever gave grew rich. No man can act thus with impunity; honest counsel to his capricious mistress, and her he has sullied the brightness of a name which pedantic successor; to the rash, turbulent Essex, ought never to have been heard without reverence, and to the wily, avaricious Buckingham. There is injured his own fame, and has been himself the nothing more lamentable in the annals of mankind victim upon the altar which he raised to true than that false position, which placed one of the science; becoming a theme to “point a moral or greatest minds England ever possessed at the adorn a tale,” in an attempt to unite philosophy mercy of a mean king and a base court favourite