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Harleian MS. 287, fo. 280.-" I have receyved yor gentill and courteous lettre, and thank you hartely for it. And albeit my sonne hath begged this benefice of you, wch indeed was yo, by my promyse, yet I trust or it be long to provide some other of better value for you, in parte of satisfaction of this that is paste, ye shal be sure to have the first, and the best that I may gyve in eyther bothe shires. And in good faythe I am sory you have not this for yor advertisement concerning Mr. Dopledick. I have great cause to thinke myself much beholden unto you, but herein (I thank you) I fynd by soundry weyes you do but as you are wonte, I should be much to blame if any tyme shall make me forgetfull of it, and remembring it I muste be unthankfull if I requyte it not, if it lye in my power. My desyer is that if you be acquaynted wth Mr. Dopledick, that you will of yoʻself lett hym understand that I have told you my intention is to have my second sonne married in Suff., and with all that I have requyered you, if you should understand of any convenient mariage for him to advertise me of it, and so furthe as you shall think moste meet.
In deed of all my children he is of best hope in learning, and thereupon to feele his disposycion howe he is inclyned that waye, whereof I gladly wold be advertised wth some speed. And besyde I praye you signifie unto me th' age of the mayde, wth whome she hath ben brought up, and who maye be the meetest meanes to bring the same to passe, yf upon yor significacyon I shall have cause to lyke of it, and of the other syde if you for want of a quayntaince wth hym be not meete to begyne to breake this matter (whereof I wold be very sory) then I wold gladly be enformed from you who were meet to do it. I have written to my sonne that he shall see yo* lettres conveyed wth speed, whensoever you are disposed to writt unto me, for in thies causes protracting of tyme may verye muche hinder, my meaning is not to have many acquainted wth this matter, till I knowe what will come of it. Thus wishing to you as to myself I bid you hartely farewell, from my house at Gorhambury the xxvijth of July, 1568.
Yor verey frynd, To my verye frend Robert
N. Bacon, C.S. Asshfeild, esquyer, geve these.
Whatever may have been the promise of him when a youth, all which we now know of him is, that he was an artist of some merit. Grimstone, in his History of St. Albans, says, “ He had a great talent for painting, and travelled into Italy to improve himself in that art.” Lord Orford, in his History of Painting, ranks him very high in reputation, amongst the British artists. At Culford he left some few pieces of fruit and fish, but they are lost or destroyed, and the only remaining specimens of his works are preserved at Gorhambury, these are a full length portrait of himself, a cook supposed to have been a representation of Lady Bacon, with a great variety of dead game in the foreground, part of which appears unfinished, but the remainder has been greatly admired. There is also a small portrait of his mother.
He is thus mentioned in Pennant's Journey from Chester. Near him is his accomplished kinsman, his half-brother, Sir Nathaniel Bacon, knight of the Bath, leaning back in his chair, in a green jacket laced, yellow stockings, a dog by him, and sword and pallet hung up. * In the art of painting, none,” says Peacham, “ deserveth more respect and admiration than Master Nathaniel Bacon, of Brome, in Suffolk ; not inferior, in my judgment, to our skillfullest
He improved his talent by travelling into Italy; and left in this house, as a proof of the excellency of his performances, this portrait, and a most excellent one of a cook, a perfect Venus, with an old game-keeper; behind is a variety of dead game, in particular a swan, whose plumage is expressed with inimitable softness and gloss.
Sir Nath. Bacon se ipse p. Chambers se 4to. in the anecdotes of painting. Sir Nathaniel Bacon, second son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, painted his own portrait and a cook maid, with large and small fowls, in a masterly manner. Both these pictures are at Gorhambury. He was ancestor to the present Lord Townshend. Mr. Nathaniel Bacon, younger son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, knight and
eldest baronet, deserveth great respect and admiration for his skill and practice in painting, and not inferior to our most skilful masters. Peachum Gent, 106. See, for a further account of Nathaniel, Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, 316. Sir Nathaniel Bacon, knight of the Bath, younger son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, Wheeler. Picture, Gorhambury, by himself. Walp. Paint. i. 177. Sir Nathaniel Bacon, knight, brother of Viscount St. Albans. Print in Musgrave's Collection, ii.
Grimstone's History of Gorhambury, page 69. Sir Nathaniel, the second son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, married the daughter of Sir Thomas Gresham, and by her had three daughters, Anne, Elizabeth, and Winifred. Sir Nathaniel died in the lifetime of Lord St. Albans, at his seat at Culford, in the county of Suffolk, and was buried in the chancel of the church at Culford, where a monument was erected to his memory; and another at Stiffkey, in Norfolk, where he had also an estate and mansion. Anne, his eldest daughter, married first Sir Thomas Meautys, who died without issue, and now lies by his friend in St. Michael's church, at St. Albans. I, in 1830, traced his epitaph. It is partly covered by one of the pews. The inscription is as follows:
Upon removing the pew, which now is upon part of the stone, there would no doubt appear on the first line HERE LIE and in the second line,
THOMAS so that the inscription will be plain : “ Here lieth the body of Sir Thomas Meawtys K."
Grimstone's History of Gorhambury, page 62. Lord St. Albans had in his lifetime conveyed his estate and manor of Gorhambury to Sir John Constable and Sir Thomas Crewe, as trustees, by whom it was after his death conveyed to Sir Frances Leigh and others, in trust for the sole use of Sir Thomas Meautys, his relation and friend, who had married Anne, the only surviving daughter of Sir Nathaniel Bacon. Sir H. Grimstone bought Gorhambury of Sir Thomas Meautys. After the death of Sir Thomas Meautys, Anne married Sir Harbottle Grimstone, he having, as it seems, previously bought Gorhambury of Sir Thomas Meautys.
Account of Sir Harbottle Grimstone and his wives : his second wife having been Anne, the daughter of Nathaniel, the second son of the lord keeper, and widow of Sir Thomas Meautys.
Burnet, in his History of his Own Times, says, “ And I applied myself to my studies, and my function being then settled preacher at the Rolls, and soon atter lecturer of St. Clements. I lived many years under the protection of Sir Harbottle Grimstone, Master of the Rolls, who continued steady in his favour to me, though the King sent Secretary Williamson to desire him to dismiss me. He said he was an old man, fitting himself for another world, and he found my ministry useful to him, so he prayed he might be excused in that. This broke me quite with the court, and in that respect proved a great blessing to me : it brought me out of many temptations ; the greatest of all being the kindness that was growing toward me from the Duke, which might have involved me in great difficulties, as it did expose me to much censure; all which went off upon this. He was a long and very kind patron to me. I continued ten years in that post, free from all necessities : and I thank God that was all I desired : but, since I was so long happy in so quiet a retreat, it seems but a just piece of gratitude, that I should give some account of that venerable old nan. He was descended from a long-lived family; for his great grandfather lived till he was ninety-eight, his grandfather to eighty-six, and his father to seventy-eight, and himself to eighty-two. He had to the last a great soundness of health, of memory, and of judgment. He was bred to the study of the law, being a younger brother. Upon the elder brother's death he threw it up; but falling in love with Judge Croke's daughter, the father would not bestow her on him unless he would return to his studies, which he did with great success. That judge was one of those who delivered bis judgment in the chequer-chamber against the ship-money, which he did with a long and learned argument ; and Sir Harbottle's father, who served in parliament for Essex, lay long in prison, because he would not pay the loan-money. Thus both his family and his wife's were zealous for the interest of their country. In the beginning of the long parliament he was a great assertor of the laws, and inveighed severely against all that had been concerned in the former illegal oppression. His principle was, that allegiance and protection were mutual obligations; and that the one went for the other. He thought the law was the measure of both ; and that when a legal protection was denied to one that paid a legal allegiance, the subject had a right to defend himself. He was much troubled, when preachers asserted a divine right of legal government. He thought it had no other effect but to give an ill impression of them as aspiring men : nobody was convinced by it. It inclined their hearers rather to suspect all they said ; besides it looked like the sacrificing their country to their own preferment; and an encouraging of princes to turn tyrants : yet when the Long Parliament engaged in the league with Scotland, he would not swear to the covenant; and he discontinued sitting in the house till it was laid aside : then he came back, and joined with Hollis, and the other presbyterians, in a high opposition to the independents, and to Cromwell in particular, as was told in the first book; and he was one of the secluded members that were forced out of the house. He followed afterwards the practice of the law; but was always looked upon as one who wished well to the ancient government of England : so he was chosen speaker of that house, that called home the King ; and had so great a merit in that whole affair, that, he was soon after, without any application of his own, made Master of the Rolls : in which post he continued to his death with a high reputation, as he well deserved ; for he was a just judge ; very slow, and ready to hear every thing that was offered, without passion or partiality. I thought his only fault was that he was too rich : and yet he gave yearly great sums in charity, discharging many prisoners by paying their debts. He was a very pious and devout man, and spent every day, at least an hour in the morning, and as much at night, in prayer and meditation ; and even in winter, when he was obliged to be very early on the bench, he took care to rise so soon, that he had always the command of that time which he gave to those exercises. He was much sharpened against popery : but had always a tenderness to the Dissenters, though he himself continued still in the communion of the church.”
Burnet, in his History, thus speaks of Anne, “ His second wife, whom I knew, was niece to the great Sir Francis Bacon ; and was the last heir of that family. She had all the high notions for the church and for the crown in which she had been bred; but was the humblest, the devoutest, and best tempered person I ever knew of that sort. It was really a pleasure to hear her talk of religion, she did it with so much elevation and force. She was always very plain in her clothes, and went off to gaols to consider the wants of the prisoners, and relieve or discharge them; and, by the meanness of her dress, she passed but for a servant trusted with the charities of others. When she was travelling in the country, as she drew near a village she often ordered her coach to stay behind till she had walked about it, giving orders for the instruction of the children, and leaving liberally for that end.”
There is a portrait of Anne at Gorhambury, and of both her husbands.
D. Life, p. i. There are some observations upon the life of Anne, Lady Bacon, in the Biographia Britannica, in Note A to the life of Anthony Bacon, which says : “She made a florid and exact translation of Bishop Jewell's Apology for the Church of England, from Latin into English, which was esteemed so useful in its nature, as well as so correct in its manner, that in the year 1564 it was published for common use by the special order of Archbishop Parker, with some additions of his own at the end, and he refers to 2d Strype's Annals' 469. Her parental care of her two sons, Anthony and Francis, two of the most extraordinary men of her time, and of any time, is, possibly, the best evidence of her powers : and which was deeply felt by Francis, who, in bis will, says : “ For my burial I desire it may be in St. Michael's church, near St. Albans, there was my mother buried.” In Birch's Memoirs of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, the extraordinary vigilance used by Lady Anne in superintending their conduct, long after they were adults, may be seen.
The importance of early impressions, and, above all, of early infant education, can never be too strongly impressed upon the mind. The blessings attendant upon the performance of this duty, both to the child and to the parent, may be seen by a few facts, and conceived by any person who thinks of the sweet love of a mother for her child, and knows that “ Nature never said one thing and wisdom another.” See Cowper's Review of Schools, and see his poem upon the receipt of his mother's picture. I subjoin a few instances, ancient and modern, of the beneficial effects of maternal education.
Arete, the daughter of Aristippus, the Cyrenaic philosopher, after her father's death, presided over the school, and taught her son, Aristippus, philosophy. Diog. Laert. L. ii. in Aristippo.
Istrina, queen of the Scythians, wife of Aripithis, taught her son the language and learning of the Greeks. Herodotus and Melpomene.
What heart has not glowed at the memory of the mother of the Gracchi.
The devout Pilcheria, mother of the emperor Arcadius, when not fifteen years of age, governed with discretion. She tended both the moral and intellectual education of her son Theodosius.
Zenobia Suidas, the celebrated queen of Palmyra, was acquainted with the Greek, Roman, and Egyptian languages, and instructed her sons Herennianus and Timolaus. Pollio Trebellius et Fulg. Lib. vii. сар.
mi. Amalasunta succeeded, with her son Athalaric, to her father Theodoric, in the kingdom of Italy. She educated her son after the Roman manner, and reared in him his father's virtues. She was acquainted with all the languages that were spoken in the Roman empire. Jo. Magnus, 1. 10.
Hooker, about the eighteenth year of his age, fell into a dangerous sickness, which lasted two months; all which time his mother, having notice of it, did in her hourly prayers as earnestly beg his life of God, as Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, did that he might become a true Christian ; and their prayers were both so heard as to be granted : which Mr. Hooker would often mention with much joy, and as often pray that he might never live to occasion any sorrow ro so good a mother; of whom, he would often say, he loved her so dearly that he would endeavour to be good even as much for hers as for his own sake. Walton's Lives.
The mother of George Herbert, in the time of her widowhood, being desirous to give Edward, her eldest son, such advantages of learning, and other education, as might suit his birth and fortune, and thereby make him more fit for the service of his country, did, at bis being of a fit age, remove from Montgomery Castle with him to Queen's College, and having provided him a fit tutor, she commended him to his care, yet she continued there with him, and still kept him in a moderate awe of herself, and so much under her own eye, as to see and converse with him daily. Walton's Life of George Herbert.
Professor Gregory, who invented the reflecting telescope, in the twenty-fourth year of his age, was instructed by his mother in the elements of mathematics.
Kant, the celebrated metaphysician, derived in part his devotional spirit from the instructions of maternal piety.
Gray the poet was the only child of his mother who survived. The rest died in their infancy from suffocation produced by a fulness of the blood : and he owed his life to a memorable instance of the love and courage of his mother, who removed the paroxysm which attacked him by opening a vein with her own hand. To her exertions it was owing, that when her home was rendered unhappy by the cruelty of her husban our poet was indebted for his education. Dlason records that Gray seldom mentioned his mother without a sigh.
The early years of the lamented John Tweddell,
“ Of all that virtue love for virtue loved,” were passed under the tuition of a most pious and affectionate mother.
Bishop Watson thus speaks of bis mother : “ My mother's maiden name was Newton: she was a very charitable and good woman, and I am indebted to her (I mention it with filial piety) for embuing my young mind with principles of religion, which have never forsaken me. Erasmus, in his little treatise entitled Antibarbarorum, says, ' that the safety of states depends upon three thingsupon a proper or improper education of the prince, upon public preachers, and upon schoolmasters ; ' and he might with reason have added, upon mothers; for the care of the mother precedes that of the schoolmaster, and may stamp upon the rasa tabula of the infant mind, characters of virtue and religion which no time can efface.” Bishop Watson's Life, p. 7. ed. 4to. 1817.
The care of the education of Sir William Jones devolved upon his mother, who in many respects was eminently qualified for the task. Her character, as delineated by her husband with somewhat of mathematical precision, is this, that “ She was virtuous without blemish, generous without extravagance, frugal but not niggard, cheerful but not giddy, close but not sullen, ingenious but not conceited, of spirit but not passionate, of her company cautious, in her friendship trusty, to her parents dutiful, and to her husband' ever faithful, loving, and obedient." She had naturally a strong understanding, which was improved by his conversation and instruction. Under his tuition she became a considerable proficient in algebra ; and, with a view to qualify herself for the office of preceptor to her sister's son, who was destined to a maritime profession, made herself perfect in trigonometry and the theory of navigation. In the plan adopted by Mrs. Jones for the instruction of her son,
proposed to reject the severity of discipline, and to lead his mind insensibly to knowledge and exertion, by exciting his curiosity and directing it to useful objects. To his incessant importunities for information on casual topics of conversation, which she watchfully stimulated, she constantly replied, and you will know," a maxim to the observance of which he always acknowledged himself indebted for his future attainments. By this method his desire to learn became as eager as her wish to teach ; and such was her talent of instruction and his facility of retaining it, that in his fourth year he was able to read distinctly and rapidly any English book. She particularly attended at the same time to the cultivation of his memory, by making him learn and repeat some of the popular speeches in Shakespeare and the best of Gay's Fables.
Among those mothers who may be recorded as having early succeeded by widowhood to the father's place in the charge of education, we may enumerate the mothers of St. Peter Celestine; of Philip Beraldo, the elder ; of Bologna, one of the greatest scholars of the fifteenth century; of Bishop Fisher, and the Protestant prelates Cranmer and Parker; of Papire Masson the historian, and of Buchanan the poet : and in a later period, those of our own countrymen, Bishop Brownrigg, Dr. Wallis the mathematician, Cowley the poet and abroad, the mothers of Leibnitz ; of Lami, of Florence.
Bishop Hall thus speaks of his mother, “How often have I blessed the memory of those divine passages of experimental divinity which I have heard from her mouth! What day did she pass without a large task of private devotion, whence she would still come forth with a countenance of undissembled mortification. Never any lips have read to me such feeling lectures of piety, neither have I known any soul that more accurately practised them; then her own temptations, desertions, and spiritual comforts, were her usual theme. Shortly, for I can hardly take off my pen from so exemplary a subject, her life and death were saint-like.
The early letters of the mother of the late Right Hon. William Pitt shew the powers of her mind and her affection.
The comments of John Lovell Edgeworth, in his life; and of Marmontel, in his m oirs, are very interesting on this subject.
See some valuable observations upon this subject, in Hints for the Improvement of early Education, Hatchard, 1822, written by Mrs. Hoare.