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to ingratiate 'himself with the people,-a deadly political sin in those days of high prerogative. This, however, he denied. In a letter to the lord Keeper, (sir John Puckering,) he said, 'It is a great grief unto me, joined with marvel, that her majesty should retain an hard conceit of my speeches in Parliament. It might please her sacred majesty to think what my end should be in those speeches, if it were not duty, and duty alone. I am not so simple, but I know the common beaten way to please. And whereas popularity hath been objected, I muse what care I should take to please many, that take a course of life to deal with few.' So, in a letter to the lord Treasurer, he says, 'I was sorry to find, by your lordship's speech yesterday, that
last speech in Parliament, delivered in discharge of my conscience, my duty to God, her majesty, and my country, was offensive; if it were misreported, I would
* Bacon's Works, vol. 12, p. 275.
be glad to attend your lordship to discover anything I said not; if it were misconstrued, I would be glad to expound my words, to exclude any sense I meant not; if my heart be misjudged by imputation of popularity or opposition, I have great wrong, and the greater, because the manner of my speech did most evidently show that I spake only to satisfy my conscience. It is very true, that from the beginning, whatsoever was a double subsidy I did wish might, for precedent's sake, appear to be extraordinary, and for discontent's sake, might not have been levied upon the poorer sort.'*
Notwithstanding this sharp reproof of the court, Bacon continued to take an active part in the Parliamentary debates, rapidly acquiring a high reputation as an eloquent and convincing speaker.
* There happened in my time,' said Ben Jonson, t 'one noble speaker, who was full of gravity in his speaking: his language, where he could spare or pass by a jest, was nobly censorious. No man ever spake more neatly, more pressly, more weightily, or suffered less emptiness, less idleness in what he uttered: no member of his speech but consisted of its own graces.
* Bacon's Works, vol. 12, p. 28. † O rare Ben Jonson !'
His hearers could not cough or look aside from him without loss: he commanded when he spoke, and had his judges angry and pleased at his devotion. No man had their affections more in his power: the fear of every man that heard him was lest he should make an end.'
. His look
There is reason to believe, that this manly speech about the subsidy, and the opinion that Bacon was rather a man of wit and knowledge than a profound lawyer, retarded,
for a time, his further advancement; for when the Solicitorship became vacant, by the appointment of sir Edward Coke to the office of Attorney-General, not all the influence of Essex,* backed, though it were, with the wishes of all men,' could induce the Queen, notwithstanding an already implied promise, to promote the friend of her favourite to the vacant place. Her majesty,' said Bacon, had by set speech more than once assured me of her intention to call me to her service; which I could not understand but of the place I had been named to, (the Solicitor's.) And now, whether “ invidas homo hoc fecit,” or whether my matter must be an appendix to my lord of Essex's suit, or whether her majesty, pretending to prove my ability, meaneth
* It is easy to perceive from lord Essex's letters on this subject, that the Queen, conscious of the influence that her favourite had over her, was determined, on this occasion, to show the proud spirit of her father, and resist the suit. See Note (B.)
but to take advantage of some errors, which, like enough, at one time or other I may commit, or what it is, but her majesty is not ready to dispatch it. This is a course to quench all good spirits, and to corrupt every man's nature; which will, I fear, much hurt her majesty's service in the end. I have been like a piece of stuff bespoken in the shop; and if her majesty will not take me, it
may be, the selling by parcels may be more gainful. For to be like a child following a bird, which, when he is nearest, flieth away, and lighteth a little before, and then the child after it again, and so in infinitum, I am weary of it.'*
Disappointed, and, as he thought, disgraced, † by being thus neglected, he im
* Bacon's Works, vol. 12, pp. 160, 161.
† Casting the worst of my fortune with an honourable friend that had long used me privately, I told his lordship (Essex) of this purpose of mine to travel, accompanying it with these very words, that upon her majesty's rejecting me with such circumstance, though