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due consideration of the papers, would find the case to be so clear a case of treason, as he would make no difficulty to deliver his opinion in private; and so I was persuaded of the rest of the judges of the king's bench, who likewise, as I partly understood, made no scruple to deliver their own opinion in private: whereunto he said, which I noted well, that his brethren were wise men, and that they might make a shew as if they would give an opinion, as was required; but the end would be, that it would come to this: they would say, they doubted of it, and so pray advice with the rest. But to this I answered, that I was sorry to hear him say so much, lest, if it came so to pass, some that loved him not might make a construction, that that which he had foretold, he had wrought. Thus your majesty sees, that, as Solomon saith, Gressus nolentis tanquam in sepi spinarum, it catcheth upon every thing.
The latter meeting is yet of more importance; for then, coming armed with divers precedents, I thought to set in with the best strength I could, and said, that before I descended to the record, I would break the case to him thus: That it was true we were to proceed upon the ancient statute of King Edward the third, because other temporary statutes were gone; and therefore it must be said in the indictment, Imaginatus est et compassavit mortem et finalem destructionem domini regis: then must the particular treasons follow in this manner, namely, Et quod ad perimplendum nefandum propositum suum, composuit et conscripsit quendam detestabilem et venenosum. libellum, sive scriptum, in quo, inter alia proditoria, continetur, etc. And then the principal passages of treason, taken forth of the papers, are to be entered in hæc verba; and with a conclusion in the end, Ad intentionem quod ligeus populus et veri subditi domini regis cordialem suum amorem a domino rege retraherent, et ipsum dominum regem relinquerent, guerram et insurrectionem contra eum levarent et facerent, etc. I have in this form followed the ancient stile of the indictments for brevity sake, though when we come to the business itself, we shall enlarge it according to the use of the later times.
This I represented to him, being a thing he is well acquainted with, that he might perceive the platform of that was intended, without any mistaking or obscurity. But then I fell to the matter itself, to lock him in as much as I could, namely,
That there be four means or manners, whereby the death of the king is compassed and imagined.
The first by some particular fact or plot.
The second, by disabling his title; as by affirming, that he is not lawful king; or that another ought to be king; or that he is an usurper; or a bastard; or the like.
The third, by subjecting his title to the pope; and thereby making him of an absolute king a conditional king.
The fourth, by disabling his regiment, and making him appear to be incapable or indign to reign.
These things I relate to your majesty in sum, as is fit: which, when I opened to my lord, I did insist a little more upon, with more efficacy and edge, and authority of law and record than I can now express.
Then I placed Peacham's treason within the last division, agreeable to divers precedents, whereof I had the records ready; and concluded, that your majesty's safety and life and authority was thus by law insconsed and quartered; and that it was in vain to fortify on three of the sides, and so leave you open on the fourth.
It is true, he heard me in a grave fashion more than accustomed, and took a pen and took notes of my divisions; and when he read the precedents and records, would say, This you mean falleth within your first, or your second, division. In the end I expressly demanded his opinion, as that whereto both he and I were enjoined. But he desired me to leave the prece dents with him, that he might advise upon them. I told him, the rest of my fellows would dispatch their part, and I should be behind with mine; which I persuaded myself your majesty would impute rather to his backwardness than my negligence. He said, as soon as I should understand that the rest were ready, he would not be long after with his opinion.
For Mr. St. John, your Majesty knoweth, the day draweth on; and my lord Chancellor's recovery, the season, and his age, promising not to be too hasty. I spake with him on Sunday, at what time I found him in bed, but his spirits strong, and not spent or wearied, and spake wholly of your business, leading me from one matter to another; and wished and seemed to hope, that he might attend the day for O. S. and it were, as he said, to be his last work to conclude his services, and express his affection towards your majesty. I presumed to say to him, that I knew your majesty would be exceeding desirous of his being present that day, so as that it might be without prejudice to his continuance; but that otherwise your majesty esteemed a servant more than a service, especially such a servant. Surely in mine opinion your majesty were better put off the day than want his presence, considering the cause of the putting off is so notorious; and then the capital and the criminal may come together the next term.
I have not been unprofitable in helping to discover and examine, within these few days, a late patent, by surreption obtained from your majesty, of the greatest forest in England, worth 30,000l. under colour of a defective title, for a matter of 400l. The person must be named, because the patent must be questioned. It is a great person, my lord of Shrewsbury; or rather, as I think, a greater than he, which is my lady of Shrews
4 That she was a woman of intrigue, and, as Camden says in his Annals of King James, rebus iurbandis nata, will appear from her conduct relating to the king's and her kinswoman the lady Arabella: for having been the great instrument of her marriage with Sir William Seymour, afterwards earl and marquis of Hertford, and of procuring her escape from the Tower; she was convened before the privy council, and for refusing to give any answer in a matter which so nearly concerned the state, she was fined in the star-chamber: and the charge which was then given against her, printed in the Cabala, p. 369, was, I doubt not, says Mr. Stephens, made by Sir Francis Bacon. But as if this was not a sufficient warning, she afterwards reported that the lady Arabella left a child by her husband; for which and her repeated obstinacy she incurred a greater censure in the same court. That charge, whether Sir Francis Bacon's or not, is as follows:
YOUR lordships do observe the nature of this charge: my lady of Shrewsbury,alady wise,and that ought to know what duty requireth,
bury. But I humbly pray your majesty to know this first from my lord treasurer, who methinks groweth
is charged to have refused, and to have persisted in refusal to answer, and to be examined in a high cause of state: being examined by the council-table, which is a representative body of the king. The nature of the cause, upon which she was examined, is an essential point, which doth aggravate and increase this contempt and presumption; and therefore of necessity with that we must begin.
How graciously and parent-like his majesty used the lady Arabella before she gave him cause of indignation, the world knoweth.
My lady notwithstanding, extremely ill-advised, transacted the most weighty and binding part and action of her life, which is her marriage, without acquainting his majesty; which had been a neglect even to a mean parent: but being to our sovereign, and she standing so near to his majesty as she doth, and then choosing such a condition as it pleased her to choose, all parties laid together, how dangerous it was, my lady might have read it in the fortune of that house wherewith she is matched; for it was not unlike the case of Mr. Seymour's grandmother.
The king nevertheless so remembered he was a king, as he forgot not he was a kinsman, and placed her only sub libera custodia. But now did my lady accumulate and heap up this offence with a far greater than the former, by seeking to withdraw herself out of the king's power into foreign parts.
That this flight or escape into foreign parts might have been seed of trouble to this state, is a matter whereof the conceit of a vulgar person is not uncapable.
For although my lady should have put on a mind to continue her loyalty, as nature and duty did bind her; yet when she was in another sphere, she must have moved in the motion of that orb, and not of the planet itself: and God forbid the king's felicity should be so little, as he should not have envy and enviers enough in foreign parts.
It is true, if any foreigner had wrought upon this occasion, I do not doubt but the intent would have been, as the prophet saith, they have conceived mischief, and brought forth a vain thing. But yet your lordships know that it is wisdom in princes, and it is a watch they owe to themselves and to their people, to stop the be ginnings of evils, and not to despise them. Seneca saith well, Non jam amplius levia sunt pericula, si levia videantur; dangers cease to be light, because by despising they grow and gather strength.
And accordingly hath been the practice both of the wisest and stoutest princes to hold for matter pregnant of peril, to have any near them in blood to fly into foreign parts. Wherein I will not wander; but take the example of king Henry the seventh, a prince not unfit to be paralleled with his majesty; I mean not the particu lar of Perkin Warbeck, for he was but an idol or a disguise; but the example I mean, is that of the earl of Suffolk, whom the king extorted from Philip of Austria. The story is memorable, that Philip, after the death of Isabella, coming to take possession of his kingdom of Castile, which was but matrimonial to his father-in-law
even studious in your business. God preserve your
Jan. 31, 1614.
Your majesty's most humble
and devoted subject and servant, FR. BACON.
The rather, in regard to Mr. Murray's absence, I humbly pray your majesty to have a little regard to this letter.
Ferdinando of Aragon, was cast by weather upon the coast of Weymouth, where the Italian story saith, king Henry used him in all things else as a prince, but in one thing as a prisoner; for he forced upon him a promise to restore the earl of Suffolk that was fled into Flanders; and yet this I note was in the 21st year of his reign, when the king had a goodly prince at man's estate, besides his daughters, nay, and the whole line of Clarence nearer in title; for that earl of Suffolk was descended of a sister of Edward the fourth: so far off did that king take his aim. To this action of so deep consequence, it appeareth, you, my lady of Shrewsbury, were privy, not upon foreign suspicions or strained inferences, but upon vehement presumptions, now clear and particular testimony, as hath been opened to you; so as the king had not only reason to examine you upon it, but to have proceeded
with you upon it as for a great contempt; which if it be reserved for the present, your ladyship is to understand it aright, that it is not defect of proof, but abundance of grace that is the cause of this proceeding; and your ladyship shall do well to see into what danger you have brought yourself. All offences consist of the fact which is open, and the intent which is secret; this fact of conspiring in the flight of this lady may bear a hard and gentler construction; if upon overmuch affection to your kinswoman, gentler; if upon practice or other end, harder: you must take heed how you enter into such actions; whereof if the hidden part be drawn unto that which is open, it may be your overthrow; which I speak not by way of charge, but by way of caution.
For that which you are properly charged with, you must know that all subjects, without distinction of degrees, owe to the king tribute and service, not only of their deed and hand, but of their knowledge and discovery.
If there be any thing that imports the king's service, they ought themselves undemanded to impart it; much more if they be called and examined; whether it be of their own fact or of another's, they ought to make direct answer: neither was there ever any subject brought in causes of estate to trial judicial, but first he passed examination; for examination is the entrance of justice in criminal causes; it is one of the eyes of the king's politic body; there are but two, information and examination; it may not be endured that one of the lights be put out by your example.
Your excuses are not worthy your own judgment; rash vows of