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THE EARL OF ESSEX.
SIR FRANCIS BACON,
IMPUTATIONS CONCERNING THE LATE EARL OF ESSEX.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE HIS VERY GOOD LORD,
THE EARL OF DEVONSHIRE, LORD LIEUTENANT OF IRELAND.
It may please your good lordship, I cannot be ceeding, was done in my duty and service to the ignorant, and ought to be sensible of the wrong queen and the state; in which I would not show which I sustain in common speech, as if I had myself false-hearted, nor faint-hearted, for any been false or unthankful to that noble, but unfor- man's sake living. For every honest man that tunate earl, the Earl of Essex: and for satisfying hath his heart well planted, will forsake his king, the vulgar sort, I do not so much regard it; though rather than forsake God, and forsake his friend, I love a good name, but yet as a handmaid and rather than forsake his king; and, yet, will forsake attendant of honesty and virtue. For I am of his any earthly commodity, yea, and his own life, in opinion that said pleasantly, “That it was a some cases, rather than forsake his friend. I shame to him that was a suitor to the mistress, to hope the world hath not forgotten these degrees, make love to the waiting-woman;" and, therefore, else the heathen saying, “ Amicus usque ad aras," to woo or court common fame, otherwise than it shall judge them. followeth on honest courses, I, for my part, find And if any man shall say, I did officiously not myself fit or disposed. But, on the other side, intrude myself into that business, because I had there is no worldly thing that concerneth myself, no ordinary place; the like may be said of all the which I hold more dear, than the good opinion business, in effect, that passed the hands of the of certain persons; among which, there is none learned counsel, either of state or revenues, these I would more willingly give satisfaction unto, many years, wherein I was continually used. than to your lordship. First, because you loved For, as your lordship may remember, the queen my Lord of Essex, and, therefore, will not be knew her strength so well, as she looked her partial towards me, which is part of that I desire: word should be a warrant; and, after the manner next, because it hath ever pleased you to show of the choicest princes before her, did not always yourself to me an honourable friend, and so no tie her trust to place, but did sometime divide baseness in me to seek to satisfy you: and, private favour from office. And I, for my part, lastly, because I know your lordship is excellently though I was not so unseen in the world, but I grounded in the true rules and habits of duties knew the condition was subject to envy and peril ; and moralities, which must be they which shall yet, because I knew again she was constant in decide this matter; wherein, my lord, my defence her favours, and made an end where she began; needeth to be but simple and brief; namely, that and, especially, because she upheld me with whatsoever I did concerning that action and pro- extraordinary access, and other demonstrations of confidence and grace, I resolved to endure it his service to be at my lord's disposing. And, in expectation of better. But my scope and on the other side, I must and will ever acknowdesire is, that your lordship would be pleased to ledge my lord's love, trust, and favour towards have the honourable patience to know the truth, me; and last of all his liberality, having in in some particularity, of all that passed in this feoffed me of land which I sold for eighteen cause, wherein I had any part; that you may hundred pounds to Mr. Reynold Nicholas, which, perceive how honest a heart I ever bare to my I think, was more worth; and that at such a time, sovereign, and to my country, and to that noble- and with so kind and noble circumstances, as the man, who had so well deserved of me, and so manner was as much as the matter; which, though well accepted of my deservings, whose fortune it be but an idle digression, yet, because I am not I cannot remember, without much grief. But, for willing to be short in commemoration of his beany action of mine towards him, there is nothing nefits, I will presume to trouble your lordship that passed me in my lifetime, that cometh to my with relating to you the manner of it. After the remembrance with more clearness, and less check queen had denied me the solicitor's place, for the of conscience: for it will appear to your lordship, which his lordship had been a long and earnest that I was not only not opposite to my Lord of suitor on my behalf, it pleased him to come to Essex, but that I did occupy the utmost of my me from Richmond to Twickenham Park, and wits, and adventure my fortune with the queen, brake with me, and said : “Mr. Bacon, the to have reintegrated his, and so continued faith- queen hath denied me the place for you, and hath fully and industriously, till his last fatal impa- placed another; I know you are the least part of tience, for so I will call it, after which day there your own matter, but you fare ill because you was not time to work for him; though the same, have chosen me for your mean and dependence; my affection, when it could not work on the you have spent your time and thoughts in my subject proper, went to the next, with no ill effect matters; I die," these were his very words, “ if I towards some others, who, I think, do rather not do not somewhat towards your fortune: you shall know it, than not acknowledge it. And this I not deny to accept a piece of land which I will will assure your lordship, I will leave nothing bestow upon you.” My answer, I remember, was, untold, that is truth, for any enemy that I have that, for my fortune, it was no great matter; but to add; and, on the other side, I must reserve that his lordship’s offer made me call to mind much which makes for me, in many respects of what was wont to be said, when I was in France, duty, which I esteem above my credit: and of the Duke of Guise, that he was the greatest what I have here set down to your lordship, I usurer in France, because he had turned all protest, as I hope to have any part in God's his estate into obligations: meaning, that he favour, is true.
had left himself nothing, but only had bound It is well known, how I did many years since numbers of persons to him. “Now, my lord,” dedicate my travels and studies to the use, and, said I, “I would not have you imitate his course, as I may term it, service of my Lord of Essex, nor turn your estate thus by great gifts into obliwhich, I protest before God, I did not, making gations, for you will find many bad debtors." election of him as the likeliest mean of mine own He bade me take no care for that, and pressed it: advancement, but out of the humour of a man, whereupon I said, “ My lord, I see I must be that ever from the time I had any use of reason, your homager, and hold land of your gift; but whether it were reading upon good books, or do you know the manner of doing homage in upon the example of a good father, or by nature, law? Always it is with a saving of his faith to I loved my country more than was answerable to the king and his other lords; and, therefore, my my fortune ; and I held at that time my lord to be lord,” said I, “I can be no more yours than I was, the fittest instrument to do good to the state, and and it must be with the ancient savings : and if I therefore I applied myself to him in a manner grow to be a rich man, you will give me leave to which I think happeneth rarely among men: for give it back again to some of your unrewarded I did not only labour carefully and industriously followers.” in that he set me about, whether it were matter But, to return: sure I am, though I can arrogate of advice or otherwise, but, neglecting the queen’s nothing to myself but that I was a faithful reservice, mine own fortune, and in a sort my voca- membrancer to his lordship, that while I had tion, I did nothing but advise and ruminate with most credit with him, his fortune went on best: myself, to the best of my understanding, propo- and yet in two main points we always directly and sitions and memorials of any thing that might contradictorily differed, which I will mention to concern his lordship’s honour, fortune, or service. your lordship, because it giveth light to all that And when, not long after I entered into this followed. The one was, I ever set this down, course, my brother, Mr. Anthony Bacon, came that the only course to be held with the queen, from beyond the seas, being a gentleman whose was by obsequiousness and observance; and I ability the world taketh knowledge of for matters remember I would usually engage confidently, of state, especially foreign, I did likewise knit that if he would take that course constantly, and
with choice of good particulars to express it, | pricked him to write that apology, which is in the queen would be brought in time to Aha- many men's hands. suerus's question, to ask, “ What should be done But this difference in two points so main and to the man that the king would honour ?" Mean- material, bred in process of time a discontinuance ing, that her goodness was without limit, where of privateness, as it is the manner of men seldom there was a true concurrence: which I knew, in to communicate where they think their courses her nature, to be true. My lord, on the other side, not approved, between his lordship and myself: had a settled opinion, that the queen could be so as I was not called nor advised with for some brought to nothing, but by a kind of necessity year and a half before his lordship’s going into and authority; and, I well remember, when, by Ireland, as in former time; yet, nevertheless, violent courses at any time, he had got his will, touching his going into Ireland, it pleased him he would ask me, “ Now, sir, whose principles expressly, and in a set manner, to desire mine be true ?" And I would again say to him; “My opinion and counsel. At which time I did not only lord, these courses be like to hot waters, they dissuade, but protest against his going ; telling will help at a pang; but if you use them, you him, with as much vehemency and asseveration shall spoil the stomach, and you shall be fain as I could, that absence in that kind would still to make them stronger, and stronger, and yet exulcerate the queen's mind, whereby it would in the end, they will lessen their operation ;” not be possible for him to carry himself so as to with much other variety, wherewith I used to give her sufficient contentment; nor for her to carry touch that string. Another point was, that I herself so as to give him sufficient countenance: always vehemently dissuaded him from seeking which would be ill for her, ill for him, and ill for the greatness by a military dependence, or by a state. And, because I would omit no argument, I popular dependence, as that which would breed remember, I stood also upon the difficulty of the in the queen jealousy, in himself presumption, action; setting before him, out of histories, that the and, in the state, perturbation: and I did usually Irish was such an enemy as the ancient Gauls, or compare them to Icarus's two wings, which were Britons, or Germans were; and that we saw how joined on with wax, and would make him venture the Romans, who had such discipline to govern to soar too high, and then fail him at the height. their soldiers, and such donatives to encourage And I would farther say unto him; “My lord, them, and the whole world in a manner to levy stand upon two feet, and fly not upon two wings: them; yet when they came to deal with enemies, the two feet are the two kinds of justice, commu- which placed their felicity only in liberty, and tative, and distributive: use your greatness for the sharpness of their sword, and had the natural advancing of merit and virtue, and relieving elemental advantages of woods, and bogs, and wrongs and burdens; you shall need no other art hardness of bodies, they ever found they had or finesse :” but he would tell me, that opinion their hands full of them; and therefore concluded, came not from my mind, but from my robe. But that going over with such expectation as he did, it is very true, that I, that never meant to enthral and through the churlishness of the enterprise, myself to my Lord of Essex, nor any other man, not like to answer it, would mightily diminish his more than stood with the public good, did, though reputation: and many other reasons I used, so as, I could little prevail, divert him by all means I am sure, I never in any thing in my lifetime, possible from courses of the wars and popularity: dealt with him in like earnestness by speech, by for I saw plainly, the queen must either live or writing, and by all the means I could devise. die; if she lived, then the times would be as in For I did as plainly see his overthrow chained, the declination of an old prince; if she died, the as it were by destiny, to that journey, as it is times would be as in the beginning of a new; possible for any man to ground a judgment upon and that, if his lordship did rise too fast in these future contingents. But, my lord, howsoever his courses, the times might be dangerous for him, ear was open, yet his heart and resolution was and he for them. Nay, I remember, I was thus shut against that advice, whereby his ruin might plain with him upon his voyage to the islands, have been prevented. After my lord's going, I when I saw every spring put forth such actions saw then how true a prophet I was, in regard of of charge and provocation, that I said to him, the evident alteration which naturally succeeded “My lord, when I came first unto you, I took you in the queen's mind; and thereupon I was still in for a physician that desired to cure the diseases watch to find the best occasion, that, in the weakof the state; but now I doubt you will be like ness of my power, I could either take or minister, those physicians which can be content to keep to pull him out of the fire, if it had been possible: their patients low, because they would always be and not long after, methought I saw some overin request.” Which plainness, he, nevertheless, ture thereof, which I apprehended readily; a
ook very well, as he had an excellent ear, and particularity which I think to be known to very was “ patientissimus veri,” and assured me the few, and the which I do the rather relate unto case of the realm required it: and I think this your lordship, because I hear it should be talked, speech of mine, and the like renewed afterwards, that while my lord was in Ireland, I revealed some matters against him, or I cannot tell what; or wrench, she should think herself enforced to which, if it were not a mere slander as the rest send you back into Ireland, but leave it to her.. is, but had any, though never so little colour, Thirdly, seek access importune, opportune,' was surely upon this occasion. The queen, one seriously, sportingly, every way.” I remember day at Nonesuch, a little, as I remember, before my lord was willing to hear me, but spake very Cuffe's coming over, where I attended her, showed few words, and shaked his head sometimes, as if a passionate distaste of my lord's proceedings in he thought I was in the wrong; but sure I am, Ireland, as if they were unfortunate, without he did just contrary in every one of these three judgment, contemptuous, and not without some points. After this, during the while since my: private end of his own, and all that might be; lord was committed to my lord keeper's, I came and was pleased, as she spake of it to many, that divers times to the queen, as I had used to do, she trusted least, so to fall into the like speech about causes of her revenue and law business, as with me. Whereupon I, who was still awake, is well known; by reason of which accesses, and true to my grounds, which I thought surest according to the ordinary charities of court, it was for my lord's good, said to this effect: “Madam, given out, that I was one of them that incensed I know not the particulars of estate, and I know the queen against my Lord of Essex. These this, that princes' actions must have no abrupt speeches I cannot tell, nor I will not think, that. periods or conclusions; but otherwise I would they grew any way from her majesty's own think, that if you had my Lord of Essex here speeches, whose memory I will ever honour; if with a white staff in his hand, as my Lord of they did, she is with God, and “ Miserum est ab Leicester had, and continued him still about you illis lædi, de quibus non possis queri.” But I. for society to yourself, and for an honour and must give this testimony to my Lord Cecil, that ornament to your attendance and court, in the eyes one time, in his house at the Savoy, he dealt of your people, and in the eyes of foreign ambas- with me directly, and said to me, “Cousin, I hear sadors, then were he in his right element; for to it, but I believe it not, that you should do some discontent him as you do, and yet to put arms ill office to my Lord of Essex; for my part, I am and power into his hands, may be a kind of merely passive, and not active, in this action; temptation to make him prove cumbersome and and I follow the queen, and that heavily, and I unruly. And, therefore, if you would • imponere lead her not; my Lord of Essex is one that, in bonam clausulam,' and send for him, and satisfy nature, I could consent with, as well as with any him with honour, here near you, if your affairs, one living; the queen indeed, is my sovereign, which, as I have said, I am not acquainted with, and I am her creature, I may not lose her, and the will permit it, I think were the best way.' same course I would wish you to take.” WhereWhich course, your lordship knoweth, if it had upon I satisfied him how far I was from any such been taken, then all had been well, and no con- mind. And, as sometimes it cometh to pass, tempt in my lord's coming over, nor continuance that men's inclinations are opened more in a toy, of these jealousies, which that employment of than in a serious matter : a little before that time, Ireland bred, and my lord here in his former being about the middle of Michaelmas term, her greatness. Well, the next news that I heard majesty had a purpose to dine at my lodge at was, that my lord was come over, and that he Twicknam Park, at which time I had, though I was committed to his chamber for leaving Ireland profess not to be a poet, prepared a sonnet, directly without the queen's license; this was at None- tending and alluding to draw on her majesty's such, where, as my duty was, I came to his reconcilement to my lord; which, I remember, lordship, and talked with him privately about a also I showed to a great person, and one of my quarter of an hour, and he asked mine opinion of lord's nearest friends, who commended it. This, the course that was taken with him: I told him, though it be, as I said, but a toy, yet it showed “My lord, · Nubecula est cito transibit;' it is but plainly in what spirit I proceeded; and that I a mist. But shall I tell your lordship, it is as was ready not only to do my lord good offices, mists are: if it go upwards, it may perhaps cause but to publish and declare myself for him: and a shower: if downwards, it will clear up. And, never was I so ambitious of any thing in my lifetherefore, good my lord, carry it so, as you take time, as I was, to have carried some token or away by all means all umbrages and distastes favour from her majesty to my lord; using all the from the queen; and especially, if I were worthy art I had, both to procure her majesty to send, to advise you, as I have been by yourself thought, and myself to be the messenger. For, as to the and now your question imports the continuance former, I feared not to allege to her, that this proof that opinion, observe three points: first, make ceeding toward my lord, was a thing towards the not this cessation or peace, which is concluded people, very unplausible; and, therefore, wished with Tyrone, as a service wherein you glory, but her majesty, however she did, yet to discharge as a shuffling up of a prosecution which was not herself of it, and lay it upon others; and, therevery fortunate. Next, represent not to the queen fore, that she should intermix her proceeding any necessity of estate, whereby, as by a coercion with some immediate graces from herself, that
the world might take knowledge of her princely and the ampleness of his commission; in regard nature and goodness, lest it should alienate the of the nature of the business, being action of war, hearts of her people from her: which I did stand which, in common cases, cannot be tied to strictupon; knowing well, that if she once relented to ness of instructions; in regard of the distance of send or visit, those demonstrations would prove the place, having also a sea between, that his matter of substance for my lord's good. And to demands, and her commands, must be subject to draw that employment upon myself, I advised her wind and weather; in regard of a council of state majesty, that whensoever God should move her in Ireland, which he had at his back to avow his to turn the light of her favours towards my lord, actions upon; and, lastly, in regard of a good to make signification to him thereof; that her intention, that he would allege for himself; majesty, if she did it not in person, would, at the which, I told her, in some religions was held to least, use some such mean as might not entitle be a sufficient dispensation for God's commandthemselves to any part of the thanks, as persons ments, much more for princes': in all these rethat were thought mighty with her to work her, gards, I besought her majesty to be advised again or to bring her about; but to use some such as and again, how she brought the cause into any could not be thought but a mere conduit of her public question. Nay, I went farther; for I told own goodness. But I could never prevail with her, my lord was an eloquent and well-spoken her, though I am persuaded she saw plainly man; and, besides his eloquence of nature or art, whereat I levelled; and she plainly had me in he had an eloquence of accident which passed jealousy, that I was not hers entirely, but still them both, which was the pity and benevolence had inward and deep respects towards my lord, of his hearers; and, therefore, that when he more than stood at that time with her will and should come to his answer for himself, I doubted pleasure. About the same time, I remember an his words would have so unequal a passage above answer of mine in a matter which had some theirs that should charge him, as would not be affinity with my lord's cause, which, though it for her majesty's honour; and therefore wished grew from me, went after about in others' names. the conclusion might be, that they might wrap it For her majesty being mightily incensed with up privately between themselves; and that she that book which was dedicated to my Lord of would restore my lord to his former attendance, Essex, being a story of the first year of King with some addition of honour to take away disHenry IV., thinking it a seditious prelude to put content. But this I will never deny; that I did into the people's head boldness and faction, said, show no approbation generally of his being sent She had an opinion that there was treason in it, back again into Ireland, both because it would and asked me if I could not find any places in it have carried a repugnancy with my former disthat might be drawn within case of treason: course, and because I was in mine own heart whereto I answered ; For treason, surely, I found fully persuaded that it was not good, either for none: but for felony, very many. And when her the queen, or for the state, or for himself: and majesty hastily asked me, Wherein ? I told her, yet I did not dissuade it, neither, but left it ever the author had committed very apparent theft; as “locus lubricus.” For this particularity I do for he had taken most of the sentences of Cor- well remember, that after your lordship was nelius Tacitus, and translated them into English, named for the place in Ireland, and not long and put them into his text. And another time, before your going, it pleased her majesty at when the queen would not be persuaded that it Whitehall to speak to me of that nomination : at was his writing whose name was to it, but that which time I said to her; “Surely, madam, if it had some more mischievous author; and said, you mean not to employ my Lord of Essex thither with great indignation, That she would have him again, your majesty cannot make a better racked to produce his author: I replied ; “Nay, choice;" and was going on to show some reason, madam, he is a doctor; never rack his person, but and her majesty interrupted me with great pasrack his style; let him have pen, ink, and paper, sion : « Essex!” said she; "whensoever I send and help of books, and be enjoined to continue Essex back again into Ireland, I will marry you: the story where it breaketh off, and I will under- claim it of me.” Whereunto I said; “Well, take, by collating the styles, to judge whether he madam, I will release that contract, if his going were the author or no.” But for the main matter, be for the good of your state.” Immediately sure I am, when the queen at any time asked after, the queen had thought of a course, which mine opinion of my
lord's case, I ever in one was also executed, to have somewhat published tenour said unto her; That they were faults in the Star Chamber, for the satisfaction of the which the law might term contempts; because world, touching my Lord of Essex his restraint, they were the transgression of her particular and my lord not to be called to it; but occasion directions and instructions: but, then, what de- to be taken by reason of some libels then disfence might be made of them, in regard of the persed: which, when her majesty propounded great interest the person had in her majesty's unto me, I was utterly against it; and told her favour; in regard of the greatness of his place, \ plainly, That the people would say, that my lord Vol. II.-13