Page images

not; yet of this resolve yourself, it proceedeth from love and a true desire to do you good; that you knowing the general opinion, may not altogether neglect or contemn it, but mend what you find amiss in yourself, and retain what your judgment shall approve; for to this end shall truth be delivered as naked as if yourself were to be anatomised by the hand of opinion. All men can see their own profit, that part of the wallet hangs before. A true friend (whose worthy office I would perform, since, I fear, both yourself and all great men want such, being themselves true friends to few or none) is first to shew the other, and which is from your eyes.

First therefore behold your errors. In discourse you delight to speak too much, not to hear other men ; this, some say, becomes a pleader not a judge; for by this sometimes your affections are entangled with a love


your own arguments, though they be the weaker; and rejecting of those, which, when your affections were settled, your own judgment would allow for strongest. Thus while you speak in your own element, the law, no man ordinarily equals you; but when you wander, as you often delight to do, you wander indeed, and give never such satisfaction as the curious time requires. This is not caused by any natural defect, but first for want of election, when you having a large and fruitful mind, should not so much labour what to speak, as to find what to leave unspoken: rich soils are often to be weeded.

Secondly, You cloy your auditory when you would be observed; speech must be either sweet or short.

Thirdly, you converse with books, not men, and books especially human; and have no excellent choice with men, who are the best books: for a man of action and employment you seldom converse with, and then but with your underlings; not freely, but as a schoolmaster with his scholars, ever to teach, never to learn but if sometimes you would in your familiar discourse hear others, and make election of such as know what they speak, you should know many of these tales you tell to be but ordinary; and many other


things, which you delight to repeat and serve in for novelties, to be but stale. As in your pleadings you were wont to insult over misery, and to inveigh bitterly at the persons, which bred you many enemies, whose poison yet swelleth, and the effects now appear, so are you still wont to be a little careless in this point, to praise or disgrace upon slight grounds, and that sometimes untruly; so that your reproofs or commendations are for the most part neglected and contemned; when the censure of a judge, coming slow but sure, should be a brand to the guilty, and a crown to the virtuous. You will jest at any man in public, without respect of the person's dignity or your own: this disgraceth your gravity, more than it can advance the opinion of your wit; and so do all actions which we see you do directly with a touch of vain-glory, having no respect to the true end. You make the law to lean too much to your opinion, whereby you shew yourself to be a legal tyrant, striking with that weapon where you please, since you are able to turn the edge any way: for thus the wise master of the law gives warning to young students, that they should be wary, lest, while they hope to be instructed by your integrity and knowledge, they should be deceived with your skill armed with authority. Your too much love of the world is too 100001, much seen, when having the living of a thousand, you relieve few or none: the hand that has taken so much, can it give so little? Herein you shew no bowels of compassion, as if you thought all too little for yourself; or that God hath given you all that you have, if you think wealth to be his gift, I mean that you get well, for I know sure the rest is not, only to that end you should still gather more, and never be satisfied; but try how much you would gather, to account for all at the great and general audit-day. We desire you to amend this, and let your poor tenants in Norfolk find some comfort; where nothing of your estate is spent towards their relief, but all brought up hither, to the impoverishing of your country.


In your last, which might have been your best, piece of service to the state, affectioned to follow that

old rule, which giveth justice leaden, heels and iron hands, you used too many delays till the delinquents hands were loosed, and yours bound: in that work you seemed another Fabius, where the humour of Marcellus would have done better; what need you have sought more evidences than enough? while you pretended the finding out of more, missing your aim, you discredited what you had found. This best judgments think; though you never used such speeches as are fathered upon you, yet you might well have done it, and but rightly; for this crime was second to none, but the powder-plot: that would have blown up all at one blow, a merciful cruelty; this would have done the same by degrees, a lingring but a sure way; one might by one be called out, till all opposers had been removed.

[ocr errors]

Besides, that other plot was scandalous to Rome, making popery odious in the sight of the whole world: this hath been scandalous to the truth of the whole gospel; and since the first nullity to this instant, when justice hath her hands bound, the devil could not have invented a more mischievous practice to our state and church than this hath been, is, and is like to be. God avert the evil.

But herein you committed another fault that as you were too open in your proceedings, and so taught them thereby to defend themselves; so you gave them time to undermine justice, and to work upon all advantages both of affections, and honour, and opportunity, and breach of friendship; which they have so well followed, sparing neither pains nor costs, that it almost seemeth an higher offence in you to have done so much indeed, than that you have, done no more: you stopt the confessions and accusations of some, who perhaps, had they been suffered, would have spoken enough to have removed some stumbling-blocks out of your way; and that you did not this in the favour of any one, but of I know not what present unadvised humours, supposing enough behind to discover all; which ch fell not out so. Howsoever, as the apostle saith inanother case, you went not rightly to the truth; and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

therefore, though you were to be commended for what you did, yet you were to be reprehended for many circumstances in the doing; and doubtless God hath an eye in this cross to your negligence, and the briers are left to be pricks in your sides and thorns in your eyes. But that which we commend you for, are those excellent parts in nature, and knowledge in the law, which you are endowed withal; but these are only good in their good use. Wherefore we thank you heartily for standing stoutly in the commonwealth's behalf; hoping it proceedeth not from a disposition to oppose greatness, as your enemies say, but to do justice, and deliver truth indifferently without respect of persons; and in this we pray for your prosperity, and are sorry that your good actions should not always succeed happily. But in the carriage of this you were faulty; for you took it in hand in an evil time, both in respect of the present business which was interrupted, and in regard of his present sickness whom it concerned, whereby you disunited your strength, and made a gap for the enemies to pass out at, and to return and assault you. But now since the case so standeth, we desire you to give way to power, and so to fight that you be not utterly broken, but reserved intirely to serve the commonwealth again, and to do what good you can, since you cannot do all the good you would; and since you are fallen upon this rock, cast out the goods to save the bottom; stop the leaks and make towards land; learn of the steward to make friends of the unrighteous mammon. Those Spaniards in Mexico who were chased of the Indians, tell us what to do with our goods in our extremity; they being to pass over a river in their flight, as many as cast away their gold swam over safe; but some more covetous, keeping their gold, were either drowned with it, or overtaken and slain by the savages: you have received, now learn to give. The beaver learns us this lesson, who being hunted for his stones, bites them off: you cannot but have much of your estate, pardon my plainness, ill got; think how much of that you never spake for, how much by speaking unjustly or in unjust causes.

[ocr errors]


count it then a blessing of God, if thus it may be laid out for your good, and not left for your heir, to hasten the wasting of much of the rest, perhaps of all: for so we see God oftentimes proceeds in judgment with many hasty gatherers: you have enough to spare, being well laid, to turn the tide, and fetch all things again. But if you escape, I suppose it worthy of an If, since you know the old use, that none called in question must go away uncensured, yet consider that accusations make wounds, and leave scars; and though you see the toil behind your back, yourself free, and the covert before, yet remember there are stands: trust not a reconciled enemy; but think the peace is but to secure you for farther advantage, or expect a second and a third encounter; the main battle, the wings are yet unbroken, they may charge you at an instant, or Death before them; walk therefore circumspectly, and if at length, by means of our endeavours and yours, you recover the favour that you have lost; give God the glory in action, not in words only; and remember us with sense of your past misfortune, whose estate hath, and may hereafter lie in the power of your breath.

There is a great mercy in dispatch, delays are tortures, wherewith by degrees we are rent out of our estates; do not you, if you be restored, as some others do, fly from the service of virtue to serve the time, as if they repented their goodness, or meant not to make a second hazard in God's house; but rather let this cross make you zealous in God's cause, sensible in ours, and more sensible in all; which express thus. You have been a great enemy to papists, if you love God be so still, but more indeed than heretofore; for much of your zeal was heretofore wasted in words: call to remembrance that they were the persons that prophesied of that cross of yours long before it happened; they saw the storm coming, being the principal contrivers

My lord Bacon observes elsewhere, that the Scripture saith, there be that turn judgment into wormwood; and saith he, surely there be "also that turn it into vinegar; for injustice maketh it "bitter, and delays make it sour." Essay LVI. Vol. II. p. 383.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »