« ForrigeFortsæt »
that the decree passed, I received a hundred
viz., in the Lord Mountague's cause, he received "17. To the seventeenth article of the charge, from the Lord Mountague six or seven hundred pounds; and more was to be paid at the ending money given, and (as I remember) by Mr. Bevis of the cause: I confess and declare, there was Thelwall, to the sum mentioned in the article after the cause was decreed; but I cannot say it was ended, for there have been many orders since, caused by Sir Frauncis Englefeild's contempts; and I do remember that, when Thelwall brought the money, he said, that my lord would
13. To the thirteenth article of the charge, viz., he received of Mr. Wroth a hundred pounds, in respect of the cause between him and Sir Arthur Maynewaringe; I confess and declare, that this cause, being a cause for inheritance of good value, was ended by my arbitrament, and consent of parties; and so a decree passed of course. And some month after the cause thus ended, the hun-be further thankful if he could once get his quiet; dred pounds mentioned in the article was delivered to which speech I gave little regard. to me by my servant Hunt.
viz., in the cause of Mr. Dunch, he received of 18. To the eighteenth article of he charge, Mr. Dunch two hundred pounds; I confess and declare, that it was delivered by Mr. Thelwall to Hatcher my servant, for ine, as I think, some time after the decree; but I cannot precisely inform myself of the time.
14. To the fourteenth article of the charge, viz., he received of Sir Raphe Hansby, having a cause depending before him, five hundred pounds; I confess and declare, that there were two decrees, one, as I remember, for the inheritance, and the other for goods and chattels, but all upon one bill; and some good time after the first decree, and before the second, the said five hundred pounds were viz., in the cause between Reynell and Peacock, "19. To the nineteenth article of the charge, delivered me by Mr. Tobie Matthew, so as I can- he received from Reynell two hundred pounds, and not deny but it was upon the matter, pendente lite. a diamond ring worth five or six hundred pounds: 15. To the fifteenth article of the charge, viz., I confess and declare, that, at my first coming to William Compton being to have an extent for a the seal, when I was at Whitehall, my servant debt of one thousand and two hundred pounds, Hunt delivered me two hundred pounds, from the lord chancellor stayed it, and wrote his letter, Sir George Reynell, my near ally, to be bestowed upon which part of the debt was paid presently, upon furniture of my house; adding further, that and part at a future day. The lord chancellor he received divers former favours from me; and hereupon sends to borrow five hundred pounds; this was, as I verily think, before any suit begun. and because Compton was to pay four hundred The ring was received certainly pendente lite; pounds to one Huxley, his lordship requires Hux-and, though it were new year's-tide, yet it was ley to forbear it six months, and thereupon ob- too great a value for a new year's gift, though, as tains the money from Compton. The money I take it, nothing near the value mentioned in the being unpaid, suit grows between Huxley and article. Compton in chancery, where his lordship decrees Compton to pay Huxley the debt, with damages and costs, when it was in his own hands: I declare, that in my conscience, the stay of the extent was just, being an extremity against a nobleman, by whom Compton could be no loser. The money was plainly borrowed of Compton upon bond with interest; and the message to Huxley was only to entreat him to give Compton a longer day, and in no sort to make me debtor or responsible to Huxley; and, therefore, though I were not ready to pay Compton his money, as I would have been glad to have done, save only one hundred pounds, which is paid; I could not deny justice to Huxley, in as ample manner as if nothing had been between Compton and me. But, if Compton hath been damnified in my respect, I am to consider it to Compton.
"16. To the sixteenth article of the charge, viz., in the cause between Sir William Bronker and Awbrey, the lord chancellor received from Awbrey a hundred pounds: I do confess and declare, that the money was given and received; but the manner of it I leave to the witnesses. VOL.I.-(13)
viz., he took of Peacock a hundred pounds, and 20. To the twentieth article of the charge, borrowed a thousand pounds, without interest, security, or time of payment: I confess and declare, that I received of Mr. Peacock a hundred pounds at Dorset House, at my first coming to the seal, as a present; at which time no suit was begun; and that, the summer after, I sent my then servant Lister to Mr. Rolf, my good friend and neighbour, at St. Albans, to use his means with Mr. Peacock (who was accounted a moneyed man) for the borrowing of five hundred pounds; and after, by my servant Hatcher, for borrowing of five hundred pounds more, which Mr. Rolf procured, and told me, at both times, that it should be without interest, script, or note; and that I should take my own time for payment of it.
charge, viz., in the cause between Smithwick
formerly received of Smithwick, which, after that I had understood the nature of it, I ordered him to repay it, and to defaulk it of his accompt.
22. To the two-and-twentieth article of the charge, viz., in the cause of Sir Henry Russwell, he received money from Russwell; but it is not certain how much: I confess and declare, that I received money from my servant Hunt, as from Mr. Russwell, in a purse; and, whereas the sum in the article is indefinite, I confess it to be three or four hundred pounds; and it was about some months after the cause was decreed, in which decree I was assisted by two of the judges.
23. To the three-and-twentieth article of the charge, viz., in the cause of Mr. Barker, the lord chancellor received from Barker seven hundred pounds: I confess and declare, that the money mentioned in the article was received from Mr. Barker, some time after the decree passed.
thanks from the king, and honour by it; and that they would gratify me with a thousand pounds for my travel in it; whereupon I treated between them, by way of persuasion, and (to prevent any compulsory suit) propounding such a price as the vintners might be gainers six pounds per tun, as it was then maintained to me; and after, the merchants petitioning to the king, and his majesty recommending the business unto me as a business that concerned his customs and the navy, I dealt more earnestly and peremptorily in it; and, as I think, restrained in the messengers' hands for a day or two some that were the more stiff; and afterwards the merchants presented me with a thousand pounds out of their common purse; acknowledging themselves that I had kept them from a kind of ruin, and still maintaining to me that the vintners, if they were not insatiably minded, had a very competent gain. This is "24. To the four-and-twentieth article, five- the merits of the cause, as it then appeared unto and-twentieth, and six-and-twentieth articles of | me. the charge, viz., the four-and-twentieth, there being a reference from his majesty to his lordship of a business between the Grocers and the Apothecaries, the lord chancellor received of the Grocers two hundred pounds. The five-and-twentieth article; in the same cause, he received of the Apothecaries that stood with the Grocers, a taster of gold, worth between forty and fifty pounds, and "This declaration I have made to your lorda present of ambergrease. And the six-and-twen-ships with a sincere mind; humbly craving, that tieth article: he received of the New Company of the Apothecaries that stood against the Grocers, a hundred pounds: To these I confess and declare, that the several sums from the three parties were received; and for that it was no judicial business, but a concord, or composition between the parties, and that as I thought all had received good, and they were all three common purses, I thought it the less matter to receive that which they voluntarily presented; for if I had taken it in the nature of a corrupt bribe, I knew it could not be concealed, because it must needs be put to accompt to the three several companies.
"27. To the seven-and-twentieth article of the charge, viz., he took of the French merchants a thousand pounds, to constrain the vintners of London to take from them fifteen hundred tuns of wine; to accomplish which, he used very indirect means, by colour of his office and authority, without bill or suit depending; terrifying the vintners, by threats and imprisonments of their persons, to buy wines, whereof they had no need or use, at higher rates than they were vendible: I do confess and declare, that Sir Thomas Smith did deal with me in the behalf of the French company; informing me that the vintners, by combination, would not take off their wines at any reasonable prices. That it would destroy their trade, and stay their voyage for that year; and that it was a fair business, and concerned the state; and he doubted not but I should receive
28. To the eight-and-twentieth article of the charge, viz., the lord chancellor hath given way to great exactions by his servants, both in respect of private seals, and otherwise for sealing of injunctions: I confess, it was a great fault of neglect in me, that I looked no better to my servants.
if there should be any mistaking, your lordships would impute it to want of memory, and not to any desire of mine to obscure truth, or palliate any thing: for I do again confess, that in the points charged upon me, although they should be taken as myself have declared them, there is a great deal of corruption and neglect, for which I am heartily and penitently sorry, and submit myself to the judgment, grace, and mercy of the court.
"For extenuation, I will use none concerning the matters themselves; only it may please your lordships, out of your nobleness, to cast your eyes of compassion upon my person and estate. I was never noted for an avaricious man. And the apostle saith, that covetousness is the root of all evil. I hope also, that your lordships do the rather find me in the state of grace; for that, in all these particulars, there are few or none that are not almost two years old, whereas those tha have a habit of corruption do commonly wax worse and worse; so that it hath pleased God to prepare me, by precedent degrees of amendment, to my present penitency. And for my estate, it is so mean and poor, as my care is now chiefly to satisfy my debts.
"And so, fearing I have troubled your lordships too long, I shall conclude with an humble suit unto you, that, if your lordships proceed to sentence, your sentence may not be heavy to my ruin, but gracious, and mixed with mercy; and not only so, but that you would be noble intercessors for me
to his majesty likewise, for his grace and favour. Your lordships' humble servant and suppliant, "FR. ST. ALBAN, Canc."
This confession and submission being read, it was agreed that certain lords do go unto the lord | chancellor, and show him the said confession; and tell him that the lords do conceive it to be an ingenuous and full confession, and demand whether it be his own hand that is subscribed to the same; and their lordships being returned, reported, that the lord chancellor said, "It is my act, my hand, my heart. I beseech your lordships, be merciful unto a broken reed.”
On the 2d of May, the seals having been sequestered, the House resolved to proceed to judgment on the next day.
In this interval, on the evening of the 2d of May, the chancellor wrote to the king, "to save him from the sentence, to let the cup pass from him; for if it is reformation that is sought, taking the seals will, with the general submission,
be sufficient atonement."
These his last hopes were vain: the king did not, he could not interpose.
On the 3d of May the Lords adjudged, "that, upon his own confession, they had found him guilty and therefore that he shall undergo fine and ransom of forty thousand pounds; be imprisoned in the Tower during the king's pleasure; be forever incapable of any office, place, or employment in the state or commonwealth; and ⚫shall never sit in parliament, nor come within the verge of the court."
Thus fell, from the height of worldly prosperity, Francis, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain.
The cause of his having deserted his defence he never revealed. He patiently endured the agony of uncommunicated grief. He confidently relied upon the justice of future however, passages in his writings where his deep feeling of the injury appear.
In the Advancement of Learning we are admonished that, "Words best disclose our minds when we are agitated,
Vino tortus et ira;
for, as Proteus never changed shapes till he was straitened and held fast with cords, so our nature appears most fully in trials and vexations."
By observing his words in moments of agitation, the state of his mind is manifest.
When imprisoned in the Tower, he instantly wrote to Buckingham, saying, " However I have acknowledged that the sentence is just, and for reformation sake fit, I have been a trusty, and honest, and Christ-loving friend to your lordship, and the justest chancellor that hath been in the five changes since my father's time."
In another letter, "God is my witness, that, when I examine myself, I find all well, and that I have approved myself to your lordship a true friend, both in the watery trial of prosperity, and in the fiery trial of adversity :" "I hope his majesty may reap honour out of my adversity, as he hath done strength out of my prosperity."
"For the briberies and gifts wherewith I am charged, when the book of hearts shall be opened, I hope I shall not be found to have the troubled fountain of a corrupt heart, in a depraved habit of taking rewards to pervert justice; howsoever I may be frail, and partake of the abuses of the time," was his expression in the midst of his agony.
In a collection of his letters in the Lambeth Library there is the following passage in Greek characters; Οφ μγ οφενσ, φαρ βε ιτ φρομ με το σαγ, δατ νενιαμ κορνις; νεξατ κενσυρα κολύμβασ: βυτ ι ωιλλ σαγ θατ ι ανε γιοδ ωαρραντ φορ: θεγ ωερε νοτ θε γρεατεστ οφφενδερς τυ Ισραελ υπον ωςομ θε ωαλλ φελλ.
In his will, he says, "For my name and memory, I leave it to men's charitable speeches, to foreign nations, and the next ages."
These words, not to be read till he was at rest from his labours, were cautiously selected, with the knowledge which he, above all men, possessed of the power of expression, and of their certain influence, sooner or later, upon society.
The obligation to silence, imposed upon Bacon, extended to his friends after he was in the grave. Dr. Rawley, his first and last chaplain, says, "Some papers touching matters of estate, tread too near to the heels of truth, and to the times of the persons concerned.'
Archbishop Tennison says, "The great cause of his suffering is to some a secret. I leave them to find it out by his words to King James: I wish that as I am the first, so I may be the last of sacrifices in your times:' and when, from private appetite, it is resolved that a creature shall be sacrificed, it is easy to pick up sticks enough from any thicket whither it hath strayed, to make a fire to offer it with."
From these observations it may be seen, that there was a conflict in the minds of these excellent men between their inclination to speak and their duty to be silent. They did not violate this duty; but one of his most sincere and grateful admirers, who, although he had painfully, but sacredly, preserved the secret from his youth to his old age, at last thus spoke:
"Before this could be accomplished to his own content, there arose such complaints against his lordship, and the then favourite at court, that for some days put the king to this quere, whether he should permit the favourite of his affection, or the oracle of his council, to sink in his service; whereupon his lordship was sent for by the king, who, after some discourse, gave him this positive advice, to submit himself to his House of Peers, and that, upon his princely word, he would then
restore him again, if they, in their honours, should not be sensible of his merits. Now, though my lord saw his approaching ruin, and told his majesty there was little hopes of mercy in a multitude, when his enemies were to give fire, if he did not plead for himself: yet such was his obedience to him from whom he had his being, that he resolved his majesty's will should be his only law; and so took leave of him with these words: Those that will strike at your chancellor, it is much to be feared, will strike at your crown; and wished, that as he was then the first, so he might be the last of sacrifices.
"Soon after, according to his majesty's commands, he wrote a submissive letter to the House, and sent me to my Lord Windsor to know the result, which I was loath, at my return, to acquaint him with; for, alas! his sovereign's favour was not in so high a measure, but he, like the phoenix, must be sacrificed in flames of his own raising, and so perished, like Icarus, in that his lofty design: the great revenue of his office being lost, and his titles of honour saved but by the bishops' votes, whereto he replied, that he was only bound to thank his clergy.
"The thunder of which fatal sentence did much perplex my troubled thoughts as well as others, to see that famous lord, who procured his majesty to call this parliament, must be the first subject of their revengeful wrath, and that so unparalleled a master should be thus brought upon the public stage, for the foolish miscarriage of his own servants, whereof, with grief of heart, I confess myself to be one. Yet, shortly after, the king dissolved the parliament, but never restored that matchless lord to his place, which made him then to wish the many years he had spent in state policy and law study had been solely devoted to true philosophy: for, said he, the one, at the best, doth but comprehend man's frailty in its greatest splendour; but the other, the mysterious knowledge of all things created in the six days' work."
On the 11th of July the great seals were delivered to Williams, who was now Lord Keeper of England and Bishop of Lincoln, with permission to retain the deanery of Westminster, and to hold the rectory of Waldegrave in commendam.
FROM HIS FALL TO HIS DEATH. 1621 to 1626.
of a new, temperate, fruitful region, where none had before inhabited; and which mariners, who had only seen as rocks, had esteemed an inaccessible and enchanted place."
This temperate region was not unforeseen by the chancellor.
In a letter to the king, on the 20th March, 1622, he says, "In the beginning of my trouble, when in the midst of the tempest, I had a kenning of the harbour, which I hope now by your majesty's favour I am entering into: now my study is my exchange, and my pen my practice for the use of my talent."
It is scarcely possible to read a page of his works without seeing that the love of knowledge was his ruling passion; that his real happiness consisted in intellectual delight. How beautifully does he state this when enumerating the blessings attendant upon the pursuit and possession of knowledge:
"The pleasure and delight of knowledge and learning far surpasseth all other nature: for, shall the pleasures of the affections so exceed the senses, as much as the obtaining of desire or victory exceedeth a song or a dinner; and must not, of consequence, the pleasures of the intellect or understanding exceed the pleasures of the affections? we see in all other pleasures there is satiety, and after they be used their verdure departeth, which showeth well they be but deceits of pleasure, and not pleasures; and that it was the novelty which pleased, and not the quality; and therefore we see that voluptuous men turn friars, and ambitious princes turn melancholy; but of knowledge there is no satiety, but satisfaction and appetite are perpetually interchangeable; and therefore appeareth to be good in itself simply, without fallacy or accident. Neither is that pleasure of small efficacy and contentment to the mind of man, which the poet Lucretius describeth elegantly,
Suave mari magno, turbantibus æquora ventis, &c. 'It is a view of delight, to stand or walk the upon shore-side, and to see a ship tossed with tempest upon the sea; or to be in a fortified tower, and to see two battles join upon a plain; but it is a pleasure incomparable for the mind of man to be settled, landed, and fortified in the certainty of truth; and from thence to decry and behold the errors, perturbations, labours, and wanderings up and down of other men.""
Happy would it have been for himself and society, if, following his own nature, he had passed his life in the calm but obscure regions of philosophy.
SUCH was the storm in which he was wrecked. He now, however, had escaped from worldly Methinks," says Archbishop Tennison, "they turmoils, and was enabled, as he wrote to the are resembled by those of Sir George Summers, king, to gratify his desire "to do, for the little who being bound by his employment to another time God shall send me life, like the merchants coast, was by tempest cast upon the Bermudas: of London, which, when they give over trade, and there a shipwrecked man made full discovery lay out their money upon land: so, being freed
from civil business, I lay forth my poor talent work of Instauration had in contemplation the upon those things, which may be perpetual, still having relation to do you honour with those powers I have left."
In a letter to Buckingham, on the 20th of March, 1621, he says, "I find that, building upon your lordship's noble nature and friendship, I have built upon the rock, where neither winds nor waves can cause overthrow :" and, in the conclusion of the same year, "I am much fallen in love with a private life, but yet I shall so spend my time, as shall not decay my abilities for use." And in a letter to the Bishop of Winchester, in which, after having considered the conduct in their banishments, of Demosthenes, Cicero, and Seneca, he proceeds thus: "These examples confirmed me much in a resolution, whereunto I was otherwise inclined, to spend my time wholly in writing, and to put forth that poor talent, or halftalent, or what it is that God hath given me, not as heretofore to particular exchanges, but to banks or mounts of perpetuity, which will not break. Therefore having not long since set forth a part of my Instauration, which is the work that, in mine own judgment, si nunquam fallit imago, I may most esteem, I think to proceed in some new parts thereof; and although I have received from many parts beyond the seas testimonies touching that work, such as beyond which I could not expect at the first in so abstruse an argument, yet, nevertheless, I have just cause to doubt that it flies too high over men's heads. I have a purpose, therefore, though I break the order of time, to draw it down to the sense by some patterns of a natural story and inquisition. And, again, for that my book of Advancement of Learning may be some preparative or key for the better opening of the Instauration, because it exhibits a mixture of new conceits and old; whereas the Instauration gives the new unmixed, otherwise than with some little aspersion of the old, for taste's sake, I have thought good to procure a translation of that book into the general language, not without great and ample additions and enrichment thereof, especially in the second book, which handleth the partition of sciences, in such sort, as I hold it may serve in lieu of the first part of the Instauration, and acquit my promise in that part.
Again, because I cannot altogether desert the civil person that I have borne, which if I should forget, enough would remember, I have also entered into a work touching laws, propounding a naracter of justice in a middle term, between the speculative and reverend discourses of philosophers and the writings of lawyers, which are tied, and obnoxious to their particular laws; and although it be true that I had a purpose to make a particular digest, or recompilement of the laws of mine own nation, yet because it is a work of assistance, and that I cannot master by my own forces and pen, I have laid it aside. Now, having in the
general good of men in their very being, and the dowries of nature; and in my work of laws, the general good of men likewise in society, and the dowries of government: I thought in duty I owed somewhat to my country, which I ever loved; insomuch, as, although my place hath been far above my desert, yet my thoughts and cares concerning the good thereof were beyond and over and above my place: so now, being as I am, no more able to do my country service, it remained unto me to do it honour; which I have endeavoured to do in my work of the reign of King Henry VII. As for my Essays, and some other particulars of that nature; I count them but as the recreation of my other studies, and in that sort I purpose to continue thein; though I am not ignorant that those kind of writings would, with less pains and embracement, perhaps, yield more lustre and reputation to my name than those other which I have in hand. But I count the use that a man should seek of the publishing his own writings before his death to be but an untimely anticipation of that which is proper to follow a man, and not to go along with him."
The sentence now remained to be executed. On the last day of May, Lord St. Albans was committed to the Tower; and, though he had placed himself altogether in the king's hands, confident in his kindness, it is not to be supposed that he could be led to prison without deeply feeling his disgrace. In the anguish of his mind he instantly wrote to Buckingham and to the king, submitting, but maintaining his integrity as chancellor.
"Good my lord,-Procure the warrant for my discharge this day. Death, I thank God, is so far from being unwelcome to me, as I have called for it (as Christian resolution would permit) any time these two months. But to die before the time of his majesty's grace, and in this disgraceful place, is even the worst that could be; and when I am dead, he is gone that was always in one tenor, a true and perfect servant to his master, and one that was never author of any immoderate, no, nor unsafe, no, (I will say it,) not unfortunate counsel; and one that no temptation could ever make other than a trusty, and honest, and Christ-loving friend to your lordship: and, howsoever I acknowledge the sentence just, and for reformation sake fit, the justest chancellor that hath been in the five changes since Sir Nicholas Bacon's time. God bless and prosper your lordship, whatsoever become of me. "Your lordship's true friend, living and dying, Tower, 31st May, 1612. "FR. ST. ALBAN."
After two days' imprisonment he was liberated; and, the sentence not permitting him to come within the verge of the court, he retired, with the