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and that he has a far higher aim than that of amusing the vulgar reader, by playing with peers and prelates, princes and great men, as if they were mere nine-pins,—set up to be knocked down.
Although enjoying the favour or rather trust of Elizabeth, Bacon was ever a needy man;* and at the death of the Queen, his affairs were much embarrassed. My good old mistress,' he says, in one of his letters,
* In September, 1598, about five years before the death of Elizabeth, Bacon was in so destitute a condition, that one Sympson, a goldsmith, living in Lombard Street, "a man noted much for extremities and stoutness upon his purse,' arrested him whilst returning from the Tower, on the Queen's business, for a debt of three hundred pounds; and but for the intervention of Sheriff More, who 'gently recommended him to a handsome house in Coleman Street,' he would immediately have been carried to prison. From the letters which he wrote to the lord Keeper Egerton and sir Thomas Cecil, whilst in custody in Coleman Street, it appears that the goldsmith had treated his creditor with cruel harshness.—Bacon's Works, vol. 12, pp. 275-277. Sir Michael Hickes and Mr. Henry Maynard seem to have been among Bacon's most useful friends.—Ib. pp. 476, 478, 479.
was wont to call me her watch-candle, because it pleased her to say I did continually burn; and yet she suffered me to waste almost to nothing."
'* True it is, the Queen, at the solicitation of the lord Treasurer, though with vehement opposition, had granted him the reversion of the registership of the Star-Chamber, but this, during Elizabeth's life, was 'unto me,' said
* Bacon's Works, vol. 12, p. 282. In another place he says, “I do yet bear an extreme zeal to the memory
my old mistress, Queen Elizabeth, to whom I was rather bound for her trust than her favour.'—Ib. 73. In his unfinished History of Great Britain, he likewise notices the Queen's thrifty disposition. “For Queen Elizabeth, although she had the use of many both virtues and demonstrations, that might draw and knit unto her the hearts of her people, yet nevertheless carrying a hand restrained in gift, and strained in points of prerogative, could not answer the votes either of servants or subjects to a full contentment; especially in her latter days, when the continuance of her reign, which extended to five-and-forty years, might discover in people their natural desire and inclination towards change; so that a new court and a new reign were not to many unwelcome.'-Bacon's Works, vol. 3, p. 425.
ledge than of power. He worshipped the one in secret, and delivered his public devotions to the other. Would that he had listened to the solemn charge of his great, but then almost unknown, contemporary!:
Fling away ambition;
He was soon attached to the court of James. With his merits that monarch was already well acquainted, and Bacon had not been backward in offering his services. No man's fire,' said he, in a letter to the king, • shall be more pure and fervent than mine; but how far forth it shall blaze out, that resteth in your majesty's employment.'
It is well known that, with the view of enriching an exhausted exchequer, James, at the very beginning of his reign, adopted the expedient of calling on all who held lands in chivalry, of the rental of forty pounds a-year, to receive knighthood, or pay a composition. The same motive induced the king, (the fountain of honour!) at a future period, to bring the dignity of the peerage to the hammer, and even to create a new order of honour, that of baronets, so that this shadow of a shade might be bargained and sold. · To know the British nobility,' said lord Bolingbroke, it was become almost necessary to have nomenclators, like those who attended the candidates at Rome, to tell them the names of the citizens. The jest went so far, that an advertisement of “an art to help weak memories to a competent knowledge of the names of the nobility" was pasted up at Paul's.'* We need not, therefore, be surprised that when, to gratify Miss Barnham,-'a handsome maiden to his
* Bolingbroke's Works, vol. 2, p. 337; and see Hallam's Constitutional History, vol. 1, p. 461. Hume seems to think that the knighting of so many gentlemen at the beginning of his reign is to be ascribed to the king's gratitude; (Hist. vol. 5, p. 3;) but Hallam maintains the opinion adopted in the text.
liking,'—whom he was about to marry, Bacon consented to have what he himself termed this divulged and almost prostituted title of knighthood, that he should earnestly implore Cecil so to provide, that the manner of conferring it might grace him, since the matter would not. 'I mean,' he says, 'that I might not be merely gregarious in a
On the 2nd July, 1603, Bacon was knighted at Whitehall.
In the following year James summoned his first Parliament, and Bacon, having been returned both for St. Albans and Ipswich, sat for the latter borough. He had formerly told the House that Parliament assembled only to make laws and grant monies: t-he now found that it had met to redress grievances. The various causes which, during the previous reign, had softened or subdued that spirit of reform which had long been silently fermenting in the minds
* Bacon's Works, vol. 12, p. 279.
† Ante, p. 13.