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tute of Uses,-a reading which one of our ablest lawyers considered as very profound, showing that the author had the clearest conception of this most abstruse part of the law.*
He begins hy observing, that 'if my invention or judgment be too barren or too weak, yet, by the benefit of other arts, I did hope to dispose or digest the authorities and opinions which are in cases of uses, in such order and method, as they should take light from one another, though they took no light from me;' and then proceeds to say, that
my meaning is to revive and recontinue the ancient form of reading, being of less ostentation and more fruit than the manner lately accustomed; for the use then was, substantially to expound the statutes by grounds and diversities; as you shall find the reading still to run upon cases of like law and contrary law; whereof the one in
* Mr. Hargrave's note, Coke upon Littleton, 13 a n. 2.
cludes the learning of a ground, the other the learning of a difference; and not to stir conceits and subtle doubts, or to contrive a multitude of tedious and intricate cases, whereof all, saving one, are buried, and the greater part of that one case which is taken is commonly nothing to the matter in hand; but my labour shall be in the ancient course, to open the law upon doubts, and not to open doubts upon the law. He then enters upon an examination of the statute, treating, in the first place, of the nature and definition of a use, its inception and progression before the statute, and then of uses since the statute, here rigidly analysing the act.
I would wish all readers,' he adds, that expound statutes, to do as scholars are willed to do, that is, first to seek out the principal verb; that is, to note and single out the material words whereupon this statute is framed; for there are, in every statute, certain words which are veins where the life and blood of the statute cometh, and where all doubts do arise and issue forth, and all the rest of the words are but literæ mortuæ, fulfilling words.' He then expounds the law as to raising and executing uses, and with this discussion the Reading, as published, concludes, though it appears, from his distribution of the subject in the outset, and indeed from his own words, that some part of it 'he thought good to reserve and not to publish.'*
In the year 1600, Essex, the early friend of Bacon, and the ill-fated favourite of Elizabeth, was brought to trial, charged with the crime of high treason. His story is too well known to justify any account of it in this place, and we advert to it on the ground only of its connection with Bacon, who incurred much obloquy as counsel for the
My life,' said he, hath been threatened, and my name libelled, which I count an honour; but these are the practices of those whose despairs are dangerous, but yet not so dangerous as their hopes. For my part, I have deserved better than to have my name objected to envy, or my life to a ruffian's violence; but thank God, I have the privy coat of a good conscience, and have a good while since put off any fearful care of life, or the accidents of life.'*
* Bacon's Works, vol. 13, p. 315.
The truth is, the people, strongly attached to Essex, who was endowed with many noble and popular virtues, falsely imagined that Bacon had urged on the ruin of the fallen favourite; † whereas, as it now appears, he
* Bacon's Works, vol. 12, pp. 169, 172.
† • There is shaped,' said Bacon, in a letter to lord Hen. Howard, "a tale in London's forge that beateth apace at this time, that I should deliver opinion to the Queen in my lord of Essex's cause; first, that it was premunire, and now last that it was high treason; and this opinion to be in opposition and encounter of the lord Chief Justice's opinion and the Attorney-General's. My lord, (I thank God,) my wit serveth me not to deliver any opinion to the Queen which my sto
had struggled, directly and indirectly, to restore him to favour, until the Earl, by his desperate and treasonable acts, perilling the crown and the peace of the country, endeavoured to light up a civil war.
This circumstance, which ought not to be overlooked in estimating the character of Bacon, is passed over with a sneer by a recent author, who hesitates not, on the ground of Bacon's alleged ingratitude, to brand him as a 'criminal.' Duly estimating such sensibility, but regretting its misdirection, we will venture, (we hope without offence,) to suggest, that it consists not either with the dignity or the truth of history, to allow the principles or prejudices of party to predominate over the mind of the historian;
mach serveth me not to maintain, one and the same conscience of duty guiding and fortifying me But the untruth of this fable God and my sovereign can witness, and there I leave it, knowing no more remedy against lies than others do against libels.'-Bacon's Works, vol. 12, p. 171.
* See Bacon's Works, vol. 12, p. 172 ; vol. 6, p. 245.