Page images


jesty's mind, as the portal of all the rest, could not of itself, my imperfections considered, have animated me to make oblation of myself immediately to your majesty, had it not been joined with an habit of the like liberty which I enjoyed with my late dear sovereign mistress; a princess happy in all things else, but most happy in such a successor. And yet farther, and more nearly, I was not a little encouraged, not only upon a supposal that unto your majesty's sacred ear, open to the air of all virtues, there might perhaps have come some1 small breath of the good memory of my father, so long a principal counsellor in your kingdom; but also a more particular knowledge of the infinite devotion and incessant endeavours, beyond the strength of his body, and the nature of the times, which appeared in my good brother, Mr. Anthony Bacon, towards your majesty's service; and were on your majesty's part, through your singular benignity, by many most gracious and lively significations and favours accepted and acknowledged, beyond the merit of any thing he could effect: which endeavours and duties, for the most part, were common to myself with him, though by design, as between brethren, dissembled. And therefore, most high and mighty King, my most dear and dread sovereign lord, since now the corner-stone is laid of the mightiest monarchy in Europe; and that God above, who hath ever a hand in bridling the floods and motions both of the seas and peoples hearts, hath by the miraculous and universal consent, the more strange, because it proceedeth from such diversity of causes, in your coming in, given a sign and token of great happiness in the continuance of your reign; I think there is no subject of your majesty's, which loveth this island, and is not hollow or unworthy, whose heart is not set on fire, not only to bring you peace-offerings, to make you propitious; but to sacrifice himself a burnt-offering or holocaust to your majesty's service: amongst which number no man's fire shall be more pure and fervent than mine; but how far

Notice. Sir Tobie Matthew's Collection of Letters, p. 17.

2 Sir N. Bacon, lord keeper of the great seal from the first to the 21 Elizabeth.

forth it shall blaze out, that resteth in your majesty's employment. So thirsting after the happiness of kissing your royal hand, I continue ever. 1603.




THE present occasion awakeneth in me a remembrance of the constant amity and mutual good offices, which passed between my brother deceased and your lordship, whereunto I was less strange, than in respect of the time I had reason to pretend; and withal, I call to mind the great opinion which my brother, who seldom failed in judgment of a person, would often express to me of your lordship's great wisdom and soundness, both in head and heart, towards the service and affairs of our sovereign lord the king.

The one of those hath bred in me an election, and the other a confidence to address my good will and sincere affection to your good lordship; not doubting, in regard that my course of life hath wrought me not to be altogether unseen in the matters of the kingdom, that I may be of some use, both in point of service to the king, and in your lordship's particular.

And on the other side, I will not omit humbly to desire your lordship's favour, in furthering a good conceit and impression of my most humble duty and true zeal towards the king; to whose majesty words cannot make me known, neither mine own nor others: but time will, to no disadvantage of any, that shall forerun his majesty's experience, by their humanity and commendations. And so I commend your good lordship to God's providence and protection.

From Gray's-Inn, etc. 1603.

1 Pleasure to ordain. Sir Tobie Matthew.

2 Edward Bruce Mil. Dom. Kinlosse, Magis. Rotulorum curiæ cancellariæ, 19 Jul. 1603. Rymer, xvi. p. 491.

3 Scrip. in sacra, p. 56. Edit. 1654.


[ocr errors]


I HAVE thought good by this my letter to renew this my ancient acquaintance which hath passed between us, signifying my good mind to you to perform to you any good office, for your particular, and my expectation and a firm assurance of the like on your part towards me: wherein I confess you may have the start of me, because occasion hath given you the precedency in investing you with opportunity to use my name well, and by your loving testimony to further a good opinion of me in his majesty, and the court.

But I hope my experience of matters here will, with the light of his majesty's favour, enable me speedily both to requite your kindness, and to acquit and make good your testimony and report. report. So not doubting to see you here with his majesty; considering that it belongeth to your art to feel pulses (and I assure you, Galen doth not set down greater variety of pulses, than do vent here in mens hearts) I wish you all prosperity, and remain

From my chamber at Gray-Inn, etc. 1603.

Yours, &c.




THOUGH YOU went on the sudden, yet you could not before you had spoken with yourself, to the purpose

1 He had held a correspondence with Mr. Anthony Bacon, and was employed to find intelligence from Scotland to the earl of Essex. See "Memoirs of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth from the year 1581, till her death." Vol. I. p. 79, 109, 116.

2 Mr. Davies having made his way unto the Knowledge of King James, by a poem he dedicated unto the late queen, intitled, "Nosce teipsum," was very favourably received by the king; and not long after made his attorney-general in Ireland, and sergeant at law and in the next reign, was nominated to be chief justice of the king'sbench in England upon the displacing of Sir Randal Crew; but died suddenly on 27 December, 1626. He was very conversant with the wits of his time; some of his writings declare his excellency in that kind, as others do his abilities in his own profession. Stephens.

3 Rawley's Resuscitatio.

which I will now write: and therefore I know it shall be altogether needless, save that I meant to shew you, that I was not asleep. Briefly, I commend myself to your love and the well using my name; as well in repressing and answering for me, if there be any biting or nibbling at it in that place, as in imprinting a good conceit and opinion of me, chiefly in the king, of whose favour I make myself comfortable assurance, as otherwise in that court: and not only so, but generally to perform to me all the good offices which the vivacity of your wit can suggest to your mind, to be performed to one, with whose affection you have so great sympathy, and in whose fortune you have so great interest. So desiring you to be good to concealed poets, I continue

Gray's-Inn this

28th of March, 1603.

Your assured friend,




THIS alteration is so great, as you might justly conceive some coldness of my affection towards you, if you

should hear nothing from me, I living in this place. It is in vain to tell you with what wonderful still and calm this wheel is turned round; which, whether it be a remnant of her felicity that is gone, or a fruit of his reputation that is coming, I will not determine. For I cannot but divide myself between her memory and his name: yet we account it but a fair morn, before sun-rising, before his majesty's presence: though for my part I see not whence any weather should arise. The papists are contained with fear enough, and hope too much. The French is thought to turn his practice upon procuring some disturbance in Scotland, where crowns may do wonders: but this day is so welcome to the nation, and the time so short, as I do not fear the effect. My lord of Southampton expecteth release by the next dispatch, and is already much visited and much well-wished.

1 Rawley's Resuscitatio.


is continual posting by men of good quality towards the king: the rather, I think, because this spring-time, it is but a kind of sport. It is hoped, that as the state here hath performed the part of good attorneys to deliver the king quiet possession of his kingdoms, so the king will redeliver them quiet possession of their places; rather filling places void, than removing men placed. So etc. 1603.


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

I DO hold it a thing formal and necessary for the king to forerun his coming, be it never so speedy, with some gracious declaration for the cherishing, entertaining, and preparing of men's affections 3. For which purpose I have conceived a draught, it being it being a thing familiar in my mistress her times to have my pen used in public writings of satisfaction. The use of this may be in two

'Henry Piercy, the ninth earl of Northumberland of that name, had not only great learning himself, but was also patron of other learned men, especially mathematicians. And though no man espoused the title of king James to the English throne with a greater zeal than himself, declaring he would remove all impediments by his sword; yet the king, perhaps fearing that one who thought he could confer crowns, might attempt to resume them, caused this great man to be so effectually prosecuted in the star-chamber in the year 1606, upon the supposition of his being privy to the powder-plot, or at least of concealing his cousin Mr. Thomas Piercy, one of the conspirators therein: that he was fined 30,000l. and condemned to perpetual imprisonment. But the lord Hay, afterwards created viscount Doncaster and earl of Carlisle, marrying in 1617 his youngest daughter the lady Lucy Piercy, a lady of the most celebrated wit and beauty of any in her times; his release from the Tower was obtained about the year 1621. Though it is said, the earl was with great difficulty prevailed to accept of this favour, because procured by a man he disdained to own to be so near a relation, as that of a son. Stephens.

2 Rawley's Resuscitatio.

Instead of this declaration, Sir Francis Bacon tells us, that "at this time there came forth in print the king's book containing matter of instruction to the prince his son, touching the office of a king; which falling into every man's hand, filled the whole realm as with a good perfume or incense before the king's coming in; and far exceeded any formal or curious edict or declaration, which could have been devised of that nature, wherewith princes in the beginning of their reigns do use to grace themselves, or at least express themselves gracious in the eyes of their peo ple." Vol. V. p. 200.

« PreviousContinue »