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gration in his fortunes: which my intention, I did also signify to my lord as soon as ever he was at his liberty, (a) whereby I might without peril of the Queen's indignation write to him; and, having received from his lordship a courteous and loving acceptation of my good will and endeavours, I did apply it in all my accesses to the Queen, which were very many at that time; and purposely sought and wrought upon other variable pretences, but only and chiefly for that purpose. And on the other side, I did not forbear to give my lord from time to time faithful advertisement what I found, and what I wished. And I drew for bim, by his appointment, some letters to her majesty; which, though I knew well his lordship’s gift and style was far better than mine own, yet, because he required it, alleging, that by his long restraint he was grown almost a stranger to the Queen's present conceits, I was ready to perform it; and sure I am, that for the space of six weeks or two months, it prospered so well, as I expected continually his restoring to his attendance. And I was never better welcome to the Queen, nor more made of, than when I spake fullest and boldest for him: in which kind the particulars were exceeding many; whereof, for an example, I will remember to your lordship one or two. As at one time, I call to mind, her majesty was speaking of a fellow that undertook to cure, or at least to ease my brother of his gout, and asked me how it went forward; and I told her majesty, that at the first he received good by it, but after in the course of his cure he found himself at a stay, or rather worse: the Queen said again I will tell
you, Bacon, the error of it: the manner of these physicians, and especially these empirics, is to continue one kind of medicine, which at the first is proper, being to
draw out the ill humour; but after, they have not the discretion to change the medicine, but apply still drawing medicines, when they should rather intend to cure and corroborate the part.'(a) 'Good Lord ! madam,' said I, “how wisely and aptly can you speak and discern of physic ministered to the body, and consider not that there is the like occasion of physic ministered to the mind: as now in the case of my lord of Essex, your princely word ever was, that you intended ever to reform his mind, and not ruin his fortune: I know well you cannot but think that you have drawn the humour sufficiently; and therefore it were more than time, and it were but for doubt of mortifying or exulcerating, that you did apply and minister strength and comfort unto him: for these same gradations of yours are fitter to corrupt than correct any mind of
greatness.'” August, In the latter end of August Essex was summoned to
attend at York House, where the Lord Keeper, the Lord Essex liberated. Treasurer, and Secretary signified the Queen's pleasure
that he should be restored to liberty. He answered that his resolution was to lead a retired life in the country, but solicited them to intercede with her majesty that, before his departure, he might once come into the presence of the Queen, and kiss her hand, that with some contentment, he might betake himself to his solitary life: hopes which, however, seemed not likely to be realized, (d) as the Queen's permission for him to retire into the country was accompanied with the declaration, that, although her majesty was contented that he should be under no guard but of duty and discretion, yet he must in no sort suppose that
(a) See Advancement of Learning, under the title Cure of Diseases, vol. ii. p. 166.
(d) Sydney Papers, 213.
he was freed of her indignation, or presume to approach the court, or her person. (m)
Thus liberated, but not restored to the Queen's favour, he walked forth alone, without any greetings from his 'summer friends.'(m)
In the beginning of September Essex retired to the September country, with the pleasing hope that the Queen's affection was returning, and that he would not only be received into favour, and restored to power,(r) but that, by the influence of this affection he might secure an object of the greatest importance, a renewal of his valuable patent for the monopoly of sweet wines, which, after having enriched him for years, was now expiring.
Essex considered this renewal as one of the most critical events of his life, an event that would determine whether he might hope ever to be reinstated in his former credit and authority; but Elizabeth, though capable of strong attachments, inherited the haughty and severe temper of her father, and, being continually surrounded by the enemies of Essex, was persuaded that his lofty spirit was not sufficiently subdued; and when, at length, she was more favourably disposed towards him, he destroyed all that her own lurking partiality and the kindness of his friends had prepared for him by a letter, which, professing affection and seeking profit, was so deficient in good taste and in knowledge of the Queen's temper, that she saw, through all the expressions of his devotion and humility,
(m) Original letters of Secretary Cecil to Sir George Carew, in the Lambeth Library, No. 604, fol. 23.
(1) Winwood's Memorials, vol. i. p. 254. Sir Henry Nevil to Mr. Winwood, 9th Sept. 1600, a long letter upon different subjects, thus concludes : “ The Earl of Essex is gone to Ewelme, not without hope of some further grace shortly: there are many arguments that the Queen begins to relent towards him, and to wish him near her.”
a view only to his own interest. The Queen told me, says
lord had written ber some very dutiful letters, and that she had been moved by them, but when she took it to be the abundance of his heart, she found it to be but a preparative to a suit for the renewing of his farm of sweet wines." To this complaint Bacon made the following characteristic and ingenious reply: “O Madam, how doth your majesty construe these things, as if these two could not stand well together, which indeed nature hath planted in all creatures.
For there are but two sympathies, the one towards perfection, the other towards preservation : that to perfection, as the iron tendeth to the loadstone; that to preservation, as the vine will creep towards a stake or prop that stands by it, not for any love to the stake, but to uphold itself. And therefore, madam, you must distinguish my lord's desire to do you service, is as to his perfection that which he thinks himself to be born for; whereas his desire to obtain this thing of you, is but for a sustentation." (1)
The result, however, was, that hurt by this letter, she indignantly and somewhat coarsely refused his suit, saying, " that an unruly beast ought to be stinted of his provender.” After a month's suspense, it was notified to him that the patent was confided to trustees for the Queen's use. (y)
In the storm that now gathered round Essex, the real state of his mind revealed itself. “When I expected,” he said, “ a harvest, a tempest has arisen to me; if I be wanting to myself, my friends, and my country, it is long of others, not of myself; let my adversaries triumph, I will not follow the triumphal chariot.” He who had declared his willingness “to wander and eat grass with the beasts of the
Essex's violence. October, 1600.
(1) Apology, vol. vi. p. 2.
(y) Camden, 170. Sydney Papers, 206.
field, like Nebuchadnezzar, until the Queen should restore his senses,” now, that this abject prostration proved fruitless, loudly proclaimed that “he could not serve with base obsequiousness; that he was thrust down into private life, and wrongfully committed to custody, and this by an old woman no less crooked in mind than in body.” These ebullitions of peevish anger were duly repeated to the Queen by those who hoped for his utter ruin. Elizabeth, shocked at the ingratitude of a man upon whom she had lavished so many favours; whose repeated faults she had forgiven, till forgiveness became folly, now turned away with extreme indignation from all whom she suspected of urging one word in his favour; and, remembering the constant exertions which had ever been made by Bacon on his behalf, began to think of him with distrust and jealousy. She would not so much as look at him; and whenever he desired to speak with her about law business, sent him out slighting refusals.
Bacon, acting in obedience to his own doctrine, “ that January, the best mean to clear the way in the wood of suspicion is
Æt. 41. frankly to communicate with the party who is suspect if he is of a noble nature,”(a) demanded the cause of this alienation, in an interview with the Queen, which he has thus related :—“Then, she remembering, belike, the continual, and incessant, and confident speeches and courses that I had held on my lord's side, became utterly alienated from me, and for the space of at least three months, which was between Michaelmas and New-year’s-tide following, would not so much as look on me, but turned away from me with express and purposelike discountenance wheresoever she saw me; and at such time as I desired to speak with her about law business, ever sent me forth very
(a) See his Essay on Suspicion, vol. i. p. 113.