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SIR FRANCIS BACON, THE KING'S ATTORNEY, RE
offenders did none of them TURNED WITH POSTILS, OF THE KING'S OWN
make a clear confession. HAND.
That the great downfall of so IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY,
great persons carrieth, in itYour majesty hath put upon me a work of pro
self, a heavy punishment, vidence in this great cause, which is to break and
and a kind of civil death, distinguish future events into present cases, and
although their lives should so present them to your royal judgment, that in
not be taken. this action, which hath been carried with so great All which may satisfy honour, for sparing their prudence, justice, and clemency, there may be lives. (for that which remaineth) as little surprise as is But, if your majesty's mercy should extend to possible, but that things duly foreseen may have the first degree, which is the highest, of sparing their remedies and directions in readiness; where- the stage and the trial; then three things are to in I cannot forget what the poet Martial saith; be considered.
0! quantum est subitis cassibus ingenium!" REX. This ar- First, That they make such signifying, that accident is many times more
ticle cannot a submission or deprecation, subtle than foresight, and overreacheth expecta- be mended in as they prostrate themselves, tion: and, besides, I know very well the mean
and all that they have, at your ness of my own judgment, in comprehending or
majesty's feet, imploring your forecasting what may follow.
mercy. It was your majesty's pleasure also, that I
Secondly, That your mashould couple the suppositions with my opinion
jesty, in your own wisdom, do in every of them, which is a harder task; but
advise what course you will yet your majesty's commandment requireth my
take, for the utter extinguishobedience, and your trust giveth me assurance.
ing of all hope of resuscitating
of their fortunes and favour; I will put the In this case, it seemeth your
whereof if there should be the which I majesty will have a new con
least conceit, it will leave in wish; that So- sult. The points whereof will
men a great deal of envy and merset should be (1) Whether your majesty
discontent. make a clear con- will stay the trial, and so save
And, lastly, Whether your fession of his of them both from the stage, and
majesty will not suffer it to be fences, before he that public ignominy. Or (2)
thought abroad, that there is a be produced to Whether you will (or may
cause of farther examination of trial. fitly by law) have the trial
Somerset, concerning matters REX. I say with proceed, and stay or reprieve
of estate, after he shall begin Apollo, Me- the judgment, which saveth
once to be a confessant; and dia tutius the lands from forfeiture, and
so make as well a politic itur,” if it may the blood from corruption. Or
ground, as a ground of clestand with (3) Whether you will have
mency, for farther stay. law; and if it' both trial and judgment procannot, when ceed, and save the blood only, trial, and staying judgment, I must better inform
And for the second degree of proceeding to I shall hear not from corrupting, but from that he con- spilling.
myself by precedents, and advise with my lord
chancellor. fesseth, I am to make choice
The second In this case, first, I suppose of the first, or
case is, if that your majesty will not think of the last.
fall out which is any stay of judgment, but that
likest (as things the public process of justice These be the depths of your majesty's mercy stand, and which pass on. which I may not enter into; but for honour and weexpect) which Secondly, for your mercy to reputation, they have these grounds:
is, that the lady be extended to both, for pardon
confess : and that of their execution, I have That the blood of Overbury is Somerset him- partly touched, in the consi
already revenged by divers self plead not derations applied to the foriner executions.
guilty, and be case; whereunto may be addThat confession and penitency found guilty. ed, that as there is ground of
are the footstools of mercy, REX. If stay of mercy for her, upon her peni adding this circumstance judgment can tency and free confession, and likewise, that the former stand with the will be much more upon his
law, I would finding guilty, because the be very sorry seen (as I conceive it) that even wish it malice on his part will be should happen; there should be any rejecting in this case; thought the deeper source of but, it is a future of the verdict, or any respiting in all the rest the offence; so there will be contingent, that of the judgment of the acquitthis article ground for mercy, on his part, is, if the peers tal; so, on the other side, this cannot be upon the nature of the proof, should acquit case requireth, that because mended. because it rests chiefly upon him, and find there be many high and heni
presumptions. For, certainly, him not guilty. ous offences (though not capithere may be an evidence so
tal,) for which he may be balanced, as it may have suffi
questioned in the Star Chamcient matter for the conscience REX. This is so ber, or otherwise, that there of the peers to convict him, also.
be some touch of that in geneand yet leave sufficient matter
ral, at the conclusion, by my in the conscience of a king,
Lord Steward of England. upon the same evidence, to
And, that, therefore, he be repardon his life; because the
manded to the Tower, as close peers are astringed by neces
prisoner. sity, either to acquit or condemn; but grace is free. And For matter of examination, or other proceedfor my part, I think the evi- ings, my lord chancellor, with my advice, hath dence in this present case will set down be of such a nature.
To-morrow, being Monday, for the re-examinaThirdly, It shall be my care tion of the lady. so to moderate the manner of Wednesday next, for the meeting of the judges, charging him, as it might concerning the evidence. make him not odious beyond Thursday, for the examination of Somerset the extent of mercy.
himself, according to your majesty's instructions. REX. That dan- Lastly, all these points of
Which three parts, when they shall be perger is well to mercy, and favour, are to be formed, I will give your majesty advertisement be foreseen, understood with this limita
with speed, and in the mean time be glad to lest he upon tion, if he do not, by his con
receive from your majesty (whom it is my part the one part temptuous and insolent car
to inform truly) such directions, or significations commit unpar- riage at the bar, make himself of your pleasure, as this advertisement may donable errors, incapable and unworthy of induce, and that with speed, because the time and I on the them.
cometh on. Well remembering who is the perother part
son, whom your majesty admitted to this secret; seem to pu
I have sent this letter open unto him, that he nish him in
may take your majesty's times to report it, or the spirit of
show it unto you, assuring myself that nothing is revenge.
more firm than his trust, tried to your majesty's
commandments; The third case In this case, I should think
Your majesty's most humble and most is, if he should fit, that, as in public, both my
bounden subject and servant. stand mute, self and chiefly my lord chan
April 28, 1616. and will not cellor, (sitting then as Lord plead, whereof Steward of England) should your majesty dehort and deter him from that knoweth there desperation; so, nevertheless, hath been that as much should be done SIR FRANCIS BACON, THE KING'S ATTORNEY. secret for him, as was done for Wes
GENERAL, TO THE MASTER OF THE HORSE, UPON question. ton, which was to adjourn the
THE SENDING OF HIS BILL FOR VISCOUNT, SC. court for some days, upon a Sir,
Christian ground, that he may I send you the bill for his majesty's signature, REX. This ar- have time to turn from that reformed according to his majesty's amendments,
ticle cannot be mind of destroying himself; both in the two places (which I assure you, were amended.
during which time your ma- altered with great judgment) and in the third jesty's farther pleasure may be place, which his majesty termed a question only. known.
But he is an idle body, that thinketh his majesty The fourth
In this case, the lord stew- asketh an idle question; and therefore his majesty's is, that, ard must be provided what to questions are to be answered, by taking away tho which I should do. For, as it hath been never I cause of the question, and not by replying.
For the name, his majesty's will is a law in but you may think your private fortunes establishthose things; and to speak the truth, it is a well- ed; and therefore it is now time, that you should sounding, and noble name, both here and abroad : refer your actions to the good of your sovereign, and being your proper name, I will take it for a' and your country. It is the life of an ox or beast good sign, that you shall give honour to your always to eat, and never exercise ; but men are dignity, and not your dignity to you. Therefore borr (and especially Christian men) not to cram I have made it Viscount Villiers, and for your in their fortunes, but to exercise their virtues; and barony, I will keep it for an earldom: for though yet the other hath been unworthy, and (thanks be the other had been more orderly, yet that is as to God) sometimes unlucky humour of great perusual, and both alike good in law.
sons in our times. Neither will your future forFor Roper's place, I would have it by all tune be the farther off; for assure yourself, that means despatched; and therefore I marvel it fortune is of a woman's nature, and will sooner lingereth. It were no good manners, to take the follow by slighting, than by too much wooing. business out of my lord treasurer's hands, and And in this dedication of yourself to the public, I therefore I purpose to write to his lordship, if I recommend unto you principally, that which I hear not from him first, by Mr. Deckome; but if think, was never done since I was born; and I hear of any delay, you will give me leave which, because it is not done, hath bred almost a (especially since the king named me) to deal with wilderness and solitude in the king's service; Sir Joseph Roper myself; for neither I, nor my which is, that you countenance, and encourage, lord treasurers can deserve any great thanks in and advance able men, in all kinds, degrees, and this business of yours, considering the king hath professions. For in the time of the Cecils, the spoken to Sir Joseph Roper, and he hath promised; father and the son, able men were by design and and, besides, the thing itself is so reasonable, as it of purpose suppressed : and though, of late, choice ought to be as soon done as said. I am now gotten goeth better, both in church and commonwealth, into the country to my house, where I have some yet money and turn-serving, and cunning canlittle liberty, to think of that I would think of, and vasses and importunity, prevaileth too much. not of that which other men hourly break their And in places of moment, rather make able and head withal, as it was at London. Upon this honest men yours, than advance those that are other. you may conclude, that most of my thoughts are wise, because they are yours. As for cunning and to his majesty, and then you cannot be far off. corrupt men, you must (I know) sometimes use God ever keep you, and prosper you: I rest them, but keep them at a distance; and let it always,
appear rather, that you make use of them, than Your true and most dutiful servant. that they lead you. Above all depend wholly The 5th of August, one of the happiest days.
(next unto God) upon the king, and be ruled (as hitherto you have been) by his instructions, for that is best for yourself. For the king's care and
thoughts for you are according to the thoughts of SIR FRANCIS BACON TO SIR GEORGE VILLIERS, a great king; whereas your thoughts concerning UPON THE SENDING HIS PATENT FOR VISCOUNT yourself are, and ought to be, according to the
thoughts of a modest man. But let me not weary Sir,
you: the sum is, that you think goodness the best I have sent you now your patent, creation of part of greatness, and that you remember whence Lord Bletchly of Bletchly, and of Viscount Villiers. your rising comes, and make return accordingly. Bletchly is your own, and I liked the sound of God keep you. the name better than whaddon; but the name
Aug. 12, 1616.
I send your majesty enclosed, my Lord Coke's because I am in the country, I will answers, I will not call them rescripts, much less send you some of my country fruits, which with oracles. They are of his own hand, and offered me are good meditations; which, when I am in to me (as they are) in writing, not required by me the city, are choked with business.
to have them set down in writing, though I am After that the king shall have watered your glad of it, for my own discharge. I thought it new dignities, with the bounty of the lands which my duty, as soon as I received them, instantly to he intends you, and that some other things con- send them to your majesty, and forbear, for the cerning your means, which are now likewise in present, to speak farther of them. I, for my part, intention, shall be settled upon you, I do not see, (though this Moscovia weather be a little too haro
VILLIERS TO BE SIGNED.
TIFICATE OF MY LORD COKE'S.
for my constitution,) was ready to have waited may say to your lordship, in the confidence of upon your majesty this day, all respects set aside; your poor kinsman, and a man by you advanced, but my lord treasurer, in respect of the season, -in idem fer opem qui spem dedisti :" for I am and much other business, was willing to save me. sure, it was not possible for a man living to have I will only conclude, touching these papers, with received from another more significant and coma text divided; I cannot say " Oportuit hæc fieri,” fortable words of hope: your lordship being but I may say, “Finis autem nondum.” God pleased to tell me, during the course of my last preserve your majesty.
service, that you would raise me, and that, when Your majesty's most humble and you are resolved to raise a man, you were more care
devoted subject and servant. ful of him than himself, and that what you had done Feb. 14, at 12 o'clock.
for me in my carriage, was a benefit for me, but I humbly pray your majesty, to keep the papers of no use to your lordship; and, therefore, I might safe.
assure myself, you would not leave me there, with many like speeches ; which I know too well my duty to take any other hold of, than the hold of a
thankful remembrance: and I know, and all the SIR FRANCIS BACON TO MR. TOBY MATTIIEWS. world knoweth, that your lordship is no dealer of MR. MATTHEWS,
holy water, but noble and real; and on my part, Do not think me forgetful, or altered towards on sure ground, that I have committed nothing you: but if I should say, I could do you any good, observe you as I would, your lordship will impute
that may deserve any alteration; and if I cannot I should make my power more than it is. I do fear that which I am right sorry for, that you
it to my want of experience, which I shall gather
better, when I am once settled. grow more impatient and busy than at first, which makes me exceedingly fear the issue of that which
And therefore my hope is, your lordship will seemeth not to stand at a stay. I myself am out
finish a good work, and consider, that time of doubt, that you have been miserably abused, groweth precious, and that I am now “ vergentiwhen you were first seduced ; and that which 1 bus annis :” and although I know your fortrine is take in compassion, others may take in severity,
not to want a hundred such as I am, yet I shall be I pray God, that understands us all better than we
ever ready to give you my best and first fruits, understand one another, continue you, as I hope
and to supply, as much as in me lieth, a worthihe will, at least, within the bounds of loyalty to
ness by thankfulness.
Fr. Bacon. his majesty, and natural piety to your country. And I entreat you much, to meditate sometimes upon the effect of superstition in this last powdertreason, fit to be tabled and pictured in the cham
LORD CHANCELLOR BACON TO THE KING. bers of meditation, as another hell above the ground; and well justifying the censure of the IT MAY PLEASE your most excellent MAJESTY. heathen, that “Superstition is far worse than
I dare not presume any more to reply upon your Atheism," by how much it less evil to have no majesty, but reserve my defence till I attend your good opinion of God at all, than such as are majesty at your happy retorn, when I hope verily impious towards his divine majesty and goodness. to approve myself not only a true servant to your Good Mr. Matthews, receive yourself back from majesty, but a true friend to my Lord of Buckingthese courses of perdition. Willing to have written ham; and for the times also, I hope to give your a great deal more, I continue
majesty a good account, though distance of place Your, etc.
may obscure them. But there is one part of your FR. Bacon.
majesty's letter, that I could be sorry to take time to answer; which is, that your majesty conceives, that whereas I wrote that the height of my lord's
fortune might make him secure, I mean, that he SIR FRANCIS BACON TO THE EARL OF SALIS.
was turned proud, or unknowing of himself.
Surely, the opinion I have ever had of my lord IT MAY PLEASE YOUR GOOD LORDSHIP,
(whereof your majesty is best witness) is far from I am not ignorant how mean a thing I stand for, that. But my meaning was plain and simple, in desiring to come into the solicitor's place : for that his lordship might, through his great fortune, I know well, it is not the thing it hath been, time be the less apt to cast and foresee the unfaithfulhaving wrought an alteration, both in the profes-ness of friends, and the malignity of enemies, and sion, and in that special place. Yet, because I accidents of times. Which is a judgment (your think it will increase my practice, and that it may majesty knoweth better than I) that the best ausatisfy my friends, and because I have been voiced thors make of the best, and best tempered spirits to it, I would be glad it were done. Wherein Il ut sunt res humanæ;" insomuch as Guicci
ardini maketh the same judgment, not of a parti- | would do, in this, which is not proper for me, nor çular person, but of the wisest state of Europe, in my element, I shall make your majesty amends the senate of Venice, when he saith, their prospe- in some other thing, in which I am better bred. rity had made them secure, and under-weighers God ever preserve, etc. of perils. Therefore, I beseech your majesty, to Jan. 2, 1618. deliver me in this, from any the least imputation to my dear and noble lord and friend. And so expecting, that that sun which, when it went from us, left us cold weather, and now it is returned towards us hath brought with it a blessed THE LORD CHANCELLOR BACON TO THE KING. harvest, will, when it cometh to us, dispel and disperse all mists and mistakings.
( IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, I am, etc.
Time hath been, when I have brought unto you July 31, 1617.
Gemitum Columbæ" from others, now I bring it from myself. I fly unto your majesty with the wings of a dove, which, once within these seven
days, I thought, would have carried me a higher THE LORD CHANCELLOR BACON TO THE KING.
flight. When I enter into myself, I find not the
materials of such a tempest as is come upon me. IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MOST excellent Majesty, I have been (as your majesty knoweth best)
I do many times, with gladness, and for a re- never author of any immoderate counsel, but medy of my other labours, revolve in my mind always desired to have things carried “ suavibus the great happiness which God (of his singular modis.” I have been no avaricious oppressor of goodness) hath accumulated upon your majesty the people. I have been no haughty, or intoleevery way, and how complete the same would be, rable, or hateful man, in my conversation or carif the state of your means were once rectified, and riage: I have inherited no hatred from my father, well ordered ; your people military and obedient, but am a good patriot born. Whence should this fit for war, used to peace; your church illightened be; for these are the things that use to raise diswith good preachers, as a heaven of stars; your likes abroad. judges learned, and learning from you, just, and For the House of Commons, I began my just by your example; your nobility in a right credit there, and now it must be the place of the distance between crown and people, no oppressors sepulture thereof. And yet this Parliament, upon of the people, no over-shadowers of the crown; the message touching religion, the old love reyour council full of tributes of care, faith, and vived, and they said, I was the same man still, freedom; your gentlemen, and justices of peace, only honesty was turned into honour. willing to apply your royal mandates to the nature For the Upper House, even within these days, of their several counties, but ready to obey ; your before these troubles, they seemed as to take me servants in awe of your wisdom, in hope of your into their arms, finding in me ingenuity, which goodness; the fields growing every day, by the they took to be the true straight line of nobleness, improvement and recovery of grounds, from the without crooks or angles. desert to the garden ; the city grown from wood And for the briberies and gifts wherewith I am to brick; your sea-walls, or Pomerium of your charged, when the books of hearts shall be openisland, surveyed, and in edifying; your merchants ed, I hope I shall not be found to have the troubled embracing the whole compass of the world, east, fountain of a corrupt heart, in a depraved habit of west, north, and south ; the times give you peace, taking rewards to pervert justice; howsoever I and, yet offer you opportunities of action abroad; may be frail, and partake of the abuses of the and, lastly, your excellent royal issue entaileth times. these blessings and favours of God to descend to And therefore I am resolved, when I come to all posterity. It resteth, therefore, that God hav- my answer, not to trick my innocency (as I writ ing done so great things for your majesty, and to the Lords) by cavillations or voidances; but you for others, you would do so much for yourself, to speak to them the language that my heart as to go through (according to your good begin- speaketh to me, in excusing, extenuating, or innings) with the rectifying and settling of your genuous confessing; praying God to give me the estate and means, which only is wanting, “Hoc grace to see to the bottom of my faults, and that rebus defuit unum.” I, therefore, whom only no hardness of heart do steal upon me, under love and duty to your majesty, and your royal show of more neatness of conscience, than is line, hath made a financier, do intend to present cause. unto your majesty a perfect book of your estate, But not to trouble your majesty any longer, like a perspective glass, to draw your estate nearer craving pardon for this long mourning letter; that to your sight; beseeching your majesty to con- which I thirst after, as the hart after the streams, ceive, that if I have not attained to do that I is, that I may know, by my matchless friend that