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which any future writer of a work auxiliary to the study of the law will do well to consult, if not pursue.
In 1597, he published a volume of his Essays,' in order, as it appears, to prevent the printing of a surreptitious copy which had got abroad, likening himself to one who has an orchard ill-neighboured, that gathers his fruit before it is ripe, to prevent stealing. 'I disliked,' he says, in a letter to his brother, 'now to put them out, because they will be like the late newe halfe-pence, which, though the silver were good, yet the pieces were small. But since they would not stay with their master, but would needs travel abroad, I have preferred them to you, that are next myself, dedicating them, such as they are, to our love, in the depth whereof, I assure you, I sometimes wish your infirmities translated upon my selfe,
* The late Professor Park meditated a course of lectures on the maxims of the law, perhaps after lord Bacon's plan.
that her majesty might have the service of so active and able a mind, and I might be, with excuse, confined to these contemplations and studies, for which I am fittest.'
These writings he considered but as the recreations of his other studies, * and accordingly continued them, publishing in subsequent editions several additional Essays; and it is an interesting fact, that the one on Friendship was written at the request of his earliest and latest friend, Mr. Matthew.t Of all lord Bacon's works, this has ever been the most popular. I
* 'I am not ignorant,' he says, “that this kind of writings would, with less pains and assiduity, perhaps, yield more lustre and reputation to my name than the others I have in hand; but I judge the use a man should seek in publishing his writings before his death, to be but an untimely anticipation of that which is proper to follow, and not to go along with him.'Bacon's Works, vol. 1, p. xvi.
+ 'For the Essay of Friendship, while I took your speech of it for a cursory request, I took my promise for a compliment; but since you call for it, I shall perform it.'-Bacon's Works, vol. 12, p. 448.
The first book published in Philadelphia partly His observations are those of one who well knew the world, and they come home to men's business and bosoms. As Dugald Stewart justly remarks, * 'the novelty and depth of his reflections often receive a strong relief from the triteness of his subject.' There always was such definiteness in the author's conceptions, that his ideas are often worded with all the point and brevity of a proverb. He was so great a master of language, that Dr. Johnson declared, † that from his works alone an English
consisted, it is said, of Bacon's Essays. See Montagu's Life, note (3 I.) * Introd. to Encyclopædia Britannica, p. 36.
He told me that Bacon was a favourite author with him; but he had never read his works till he was compiling the English Dictionary, in which, he said, I might see Bacon very often quoted. Mr. Seward recollects his having mentioned, that a dictionary of the English language might be compiled from Bacon's writings alone, and that he had once an intention of giving an edition of Bacon, at least of his English works, and writing the life of that great man.'—Boswell, vol. 3, p. 212, sixth edition. Speaking of Bacon's Essays, Dr. Johnson, on one occasion, observed, “Their Dictionary might be compiled. His style is axiomatic. His sentences were not composed, but cast,-and cast in gold.
Soon after the publication of his Essays, Bacon, hoping, no doubt, to better his fortune, endeavoured to unite himself in marriage with the rich lady Hatton. Writing to lord Essex, he tells him, that this attempt, in genere economico, touching his fortune, was, in genere politico, blown contrary by certain cross winds; and he begged his friend to use his influence with the lady and her parents. Happily, however, for Bacon, his suit was rejected : a few months afterwards the lady Hatton married sir Edward Coke, and, by her haughty and intemperate conduct, deeply
excellence and their value consist in their being observations of a strong mind operating upon life, and, in consequence, you find there what you seldom find in any other works.'— Malone's edition of sir Joshua Reynolds's Discourses, xxviii.
embittered his life. A curious circumstance, connected with this marriage, deserves to be noticed. Having been illegally solemnized in a private house, without the license of the Archbishop, (Whitgift,) proceedings were instituted in the Ecclesiastical Court against all the parties concerned, including even lord Burleigh. Strange to say, the penalties were remitted on the ground that sir Edward Coke had acted in ignorance of the law!
In the year 1600, Bacon was chosen Double Reader, and on this occasion delivered his celebrated Reading on the Sta
* See D'Israeli's Curiosities of Literature, vol. 5, p. 1, where he gives some singular details of Coke's domestic history.
† Formerly it was a custom in the Four Inns of Court for one of the puisne Benchers to deliver a * Reading' yearly, in summer vacation, and for one of the Benchers who had 'read' before, to read again in Lent vacation; hence he was commonly called Lent or Double Reader (Duplex Lector.)—Dugdale's Orig. Jurid. 144; and see Preface to 3 Coke's Reports, xix.