« PreviousContinue »
CCXLII. This letter was written with the Rawley's KING'S own hand, to my lord Chancellor ResuscitaVERULAM, upon his lordship's sending to his Majesty his Novum Organum.
I HAVE received your letter and your book, than the which you could not have sent a more acceptable present unto me. How thankful I am for it, cannot better be expressed by me, than by a firm resolution I have taken; first, to read it through with care and attention, though I should steal some hours from my sleep having otherwise, as little spare time to read. it, as you had to write it. And then, to use the liberty of a true friend, in not sparing to ask you the question in any point whereof I shall stand in doubt; nam ejus est explicare, cujus est condere: as, on the other part, I will willingly give a due commendation to such places, as, in my opinion, shall deserve it. In the mean time I can with comfort assure you, that you could not have made choice of a subject more befitting your place, and your universal and methodical knowledge; and in the general, I have already observed, that you jump with me, in keeping the mid way between the two extremes; as also in some particulars I have found that you agree fully with my opinion. And so praying God to give your work as good success as your heart can wish, and your labours deserve, I bid you heartily farewell.
October 16, 1620.
CCXLIII. To the Marquis of BUCKINGHAM. Stephens's
My very good Lord,
I SEND his majesty a form of a proclamation for the parliament, which I thought fit to offer first to his majesty's perusal, before I acquainted the council.
For that part which concerneth the foreign business, his majesty will graciously consider, how easy it is for
second col lection,
me to mistake, or not to attain; which his majesty in his wisdom will pardon, correct, and direct.
For that part touching the elections, I have communicated it with my colleagues, Sir Edward Coke, the two chief justices, and serjeant Crewe, who approve it well; and we are all of opinion, that it is not good to have it more peremptory, more particular, nor more sharp.
We are thinking of some commonwealth laws, amongst which I would have one special for the main- · tenance of the navy, as well to give occasion to publish, to his majesty's honour, what hath been already done; as, to speak plainly, to do your lordship honour in the second place; and besides, it is agreeable to the times. God ever prosper you.
Your lordship's most obliged friend
Oct. 18, 1620.
Stephens's CCXLIV. Draught of a proclamation for a parliament, referred to in the preceding letter.
second coltion, p. 122.
As in our princely judgment we hold nothing more worthy of a Christian monarch, than the conservation of peace at home and abroad; whereby effusion of Christian blood and other calamities of war are avoided, trade is kept open, laws and justice retain their due vigour and play, arts and sciences flourish, subjects are less burdened with taxes and tallages, and infinite other benefits redound to the state of a commonweal; so in our own practice we suppose there hath been seldom any king, that hath given more express testimonies and real pledges of his desire to have peace conserved, than we have done in the whole course of our regiment.
For neither have we, for that which concerns ourselves, been ready to apprehend or embrace any occasions or opportunities of making war upon our neighbours; neither have we omitted, for that which may concern the states abroad, any good office or royal endeavour for the quenching of the sparks of troubles and discords in foreign parts. Wherein, as we have been
always ready and willing, so we wish that we had been always as happy and prevailing in our advices and counsels that tended to that end.
And yet do we not forget, that God hath put into our hands a sceptre over populous and warlike nations, which might have moved us to second the affection and disposition of our people, and to have wrought upon it for our own ambition, if we had been so minded. But it hath sufficed unto us to seek a true and not swelling greatness, in the plantations and improvements of such parts of our dominions, as have, in former times, been more desolate or uncivil, and in the maintaining of all our loving subjects in general in tranquillity and security, and the other conditions of good government, and happy times. But amongst other demonstrations of our constant purpose and provident care to maintain peace, there was never such a trial, nor so apparent to the world, as in a theatre, as our persisting in the same resolution, since the time that our dear son-in-law was elected and accepted king of Bohemia; by how much the motives tending to shake and assail our said resolution were the more forcible. For neither did the glory of having our dearest daughter and son-in-law to wear a crown; nor the extreme alacrity of our people devoted to that cause; nor the representations, which might be set before us of dangers, if we should suffer a party in Christendom, held commonly adverse and ill-affected to our state and government, to gather farther reputation and strength, transport us to enter into an auxiliary war, in prosecution of that quarrel: but contrariwise, finding the justice of the cause not so clear, as that we could be presently therein satisfied; and weighing with ourselves likewise, that if the kingdom of Bohemia had continued in the house of Austria, yet nevertheless the balance of Christendom had stood in no other sort than it had done for many years before, without increase of party; and chiefly fearing that the wars in those parts of Germany, which have been hitherto the bulwark of Christendom against the approaches of the Turk, might by the intestine dissensions allure and let in the common enemy; we did abstain to declare or engage ourselves
in that war, and were contented only to give permis sion to the ambassador of our son-in-law, to draw some voluntary helps of men and money from our subjects, being a matter that violated no treaty, and could not be denied in case of so near a conjunction.
But while we contained ourselves in this moderation, we find the event of war hath much altered the case by the late invasion of the Palatinate, whereby, howsoever under the pretence of a diversion, we find our son in fact expulsed in part, and in danger to be totally dispos sessed of his ancient inheritance and patrimony, so long continued in that noble line; whereof we cannot but highly resent, if it should be alienated and ravished from him in our times, and to the prejudice of our grandchildren and line royal. Neither can we think it safe for us in reason of state, that the county Palatine, carrying with itself an electorate, and having been so long in the hands of princes of our religion, and no way depending upon the house of Austria, should now become at the disposing of that house: being a matter, that indeed might alter the balance of Christendom importantly, to the weakening of our estate, and the estate of our best friends and confederates.
Wherefore, finding a concurrence of reasons and respects of religion, nature, honour, and estate: all of them inducing us in no wise to indure so great an alteration; we are resolved to employ the uttermost of our forces and means, to recover and resettle the said Palatinate to our son and our descendents, purposing nevertheless, according to our former inclination so well grounded, not altogether to intermit, if the occasions give us leave, the treaties of peace and accord, which we have already begun, and whereof the coming on of I pray God the winter, and the counterpoise of the actions of war, this hold. hitherto may give us as yet some appearance of hope.
But forasmuch as it were great improvidence to depend upon the success of such treaties, and therefore good policy requires that we should be prepared for a war, which we intend for the recovery and assuring of the said Palatinate, with the dependences, a design of no small charge and difficulty, the strength and con
junctures of the adverse party considered, we have thought good to take into our princely and serious consideration, and that with speed, all things that may have relation to such a designment; amongst which we hold nothing more necessary, than to confer and advise with the common council of our kingdom, upon this so important a subject.
For although the making of war or peace be a secret of empire, and a thing properly belonging to our high prerogative royal, and imperial power: yet nevertheless, in causes of that nature, which we shall think fit not to reserve, but to communicate, we shall ever think ourselves much assisted and strengthened by the faithful advice and general assent of our loving subjects.
Moreover, no man is so ignorant, as to expect that we should be any ways able, monies being the sinews of war, to enter into the list against so great potentates, without some large and bountiful help of treasure from our people; as well towards the maintenance of the war, as towards the relief of our crown and estate. And this the rather, for that we have now, by the space of full ten years, a thing unheard of in late times, subsisted by our own means, without being chargeable to our people, otherwise than by some voluntary gifts of some particulars, which though in total amounted to no great matter, we thankfully acknowledge at their hands: but as, while the affairs abroad were in greater calm, we did content ourselves to recover our wants by provident retrenchment of charge, and honourable improvement of our own, thinking to wear them out without troubling our people; so in such a state of Christendom, as seemeth now to hang over our heads, we durst no longer rely upon those slow remedies, but thought necessary, according to the ancient course of our progenitors, to resort to the good affections and aids of our loving subjects.
Upon these considerations, and for that also, in respect of so long intermission of a parliament, the times may have introduced some things fit to be reformed, either by new laws, or by the moderate desires of our loving subjects, dutifully intimated unto us, wherein