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he had not the troubled fountain of a corrupt heart, in a depraved habit of taking rewards to pervert justice. There are,' says he, • vitia temporis as well as vitia hominis, and the beginning of reformations hath the contrary power of the pool of Bethesda, for that had strength only to cure him that was first cast in, and this hath strength to hurt him only that is first cast in.'*
'I have been often told,' says Bacon, ‘by many of my lords, (as it were, in excusing the severity of the sentence,) that they knew they left me in good hands.'+ The sentence was, in fact, rendered almost nominal. After two days' imprisonment in the Tower,
* Ante, p. 264.
1 The following letter, (vol. 12, p. 490,) written by Bacon whilst in the Tower to the Marquis of Buckingham, will be read with painful interest. To our mind, it is an additional confirmation of Bushell's statement, given in a former page:-Good my lord— Procure the warrant for my discharge this day. Death, I thank God, is so far from being unwelcome to me, as I have called for it (as Christian resolution would permit,) any
Bacon was allowed the use of sir John Vaughan's house at Parson's Green, Fulham, for which he thus expresses his thanks, in a letter to the Prince:- I am much beholden to your highness's worthy servant, sir John Vaughan, the sweet air and loving usage of whose house hath already much revived my languishing spirits; I beseech your highness thank him for
** and on the fourth of
time these two months. But to die before the time of his majesty's grace, and in this disgraceful place, is even the worst that could be; and when I am dead, he is gone that was always in one tenor, a true and perfect servant to his master, and one that was never author of any immoderate—no, nor unsafe,- -no (I will say it) nor unfortunate counsel; and one that no temptation could ever make other than a trusty, and honest, and Christ-loving friend to your lordship; and (howsoever I acknowledge the sentence just, and for reformation's sake fit,) the justest Chancellor that hath been in the five changes since sir Nicholas Bacon's time. God bless and prosper your lordship, whatsoever become of
Your lordship's true friend, living and dying, • Tower, 31st May, 1621. *Fr. St. ALBAN.'
* Bacon's Works, vol. 13, p. 31.
June, he thus writes to the King :— I humbly thank your majesty for my liberty, without which timely grant any farther grace would have come too late. · But' your majesty, that did shed tears in the beginning of my trouble, will, I hope, shed the dew of your grace and goodness upon me in the end. Let me live to serve you, else life is but the shadow of death to your majesty's devoted servant.'* The promptness with which Bacon was released from the Tower, seems to have given much offence to those who were inimical to Buckingham; f and it is likely that this deterred the King from at once granting him a full pardon. In June he was allowed to retire to his house at Gorhambury, passing, in that retreat, nearly the whole of the ensuing autumn and winter, much, as it appears, to his discomfort. 'Here,' said he, 'I live upon the swordpoint of a sharp air, endangered if I go abroad, dulled if I stay within, solitary and comfortless without company, banished from all opportunities to treat with any to do myself good, and to help out any wrecks; and that, which is one of my greatest griefs, my wife, that hath been no partaker of my, offending, must be partaker of this misery of my restraint.'* In September, the King remitted the fine of forty thousand pounds, signing a warrant for its assignment to some of his friends, by way of protecting him to that amount from his creditors, to whom he is said to have paid eight thousand pounds after his fall.* Writing to the King, 'my own means,” says Bacon,
* Bacon's Works, vol. 13, p. 32. † Cabala, Lett. 2.
* Bacon's Works, vol. 12, p. 413. In the hope of being released from this confinement, and allowed to return to London, where,' says he, 'I could have company, physicians, conference with my creditors and friends about my debts and the necessities of my estate, helps for my studies, and the writings I have in hand,' he prepared a petition for the House of Lords, which concludes with the following striking passage: - Herein your lordships shall do a work of charity and nobility; you shall do me good; you shall do my creditors good; and it may be, you shall do posterity good, if out of the carcass of dead and rotten greatness, as out of Samson's lion, there may be honey gathered for the use of future times.'-Bacon's Works, vol. 12, pp. 413, 414; and see his letter to Buckingham, vol. 12, p. 421 : see also p. 414.
through mine own improvidence, are poor and weak, little better than my father left me. The poor things which I have had from your majesty, are either in question or at courtesy: my dignities remain marks of your past favours, but yet burthens withal of my present fortune. The poor remnants. which I had of my former fortunes, in plate or jewels, I have spread upon poor men, unto whom I owed, scarce leaving myself bread. Help me,' adds the fallen Chancellor, broken in health and fortune, with pinching poverty, at his door, and his grey hairs brought down with sorrow almost to the grave,–Help me, and pity me so far, as I that have borne a bag, be not now in my age forced in effect
* General Historical and Critical Dictionary, vol. 2, p. 560; and see Bacon's Works, vol. 12, p. 411.