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1621

BUCKINGHAM'S ADVICE.

85

allowed Mompesson's oppressions to flourish under the shadow of his name. But it was only for direct aggressions upon his prerogative that James had eyes, and he was blind to the lesson conveyed by the history which had been unrolled before him. The Lords were in high spirits. They ordered that March 26, the day of the King's last speech, should be yearly held as a sermon day through all England. The two Houses then adjourned for the Easter vacation till April 17.

March 30.

cancelled.

The Lords' committees appointed to examine into Bacon's case were directed to remain sitting during the vacation.1 Three weeks would, however, pass before their report The patents could be made, and there would be time for the animosities of party warfare to cool down. If the charges against him had proceeded, as Bacon once thought, from mere faction, James was doing everything in his power to allay the resentment of the popular party. On March 30, he followed up his recent speech by a proclamation cancelling the patent for gold and silver thread, the patent for inns, and the patent for concealed lands.2

Buckingham

There was one at least by James's side who was not content with such sober measures as these. With the headlong impetuosity which was natural to him, Buckingham advocates a had now thrown himself heart and soul into his dissolution. friend's defence, and he was all the more eager because rumours had reached him that there was a party in the two Houses which had formed the intention of directing against himself the weapons which had proved so serviceable against Bacon. Once more the fears which had driven him to his base desertion of the referees disturbed his mind. He had taken Williams's advice in vain. He had courted popularity only to make the way to his ruin more easy. For the evil which he dreaded there was but one remedy, the immediate dissolution of Parliament. Yet, unaccustomed as he was to plead in vain, he now found the King's ear closed to his appeals. James was indeed capable of quarrelling with a Parliament upon some point of personal dignity; but the 1 Lords' Journals, iii. 73.

2 Proclamation, S. P. Dom. clxxxvii. 91.

great wrong which his favourite now urged him to commit was utterly distasteful to his nature. He would not allow the representatives of the people to return to their homes with the tale, that when grave charges of peculation had been brought against a minister of the Crown, their King had refused them even the common justice of an investigation into the truth of their complaints. So urgent had Buckingham's language been, and so public was the rebuff with which he met, that for some time it was believed at Court that the breach between himself and his Sovereign was irreparable, and that the oftenforetold downfall of the arrogant favourite was at last at hand.1 It is hard work to follow out with accuracy the Protean

1 66

Aspettiamo adesso l'esito del resto, et sopra tutto della causa del Gran Cancilliere, et forse d'altri di qualche qualità perchè il dire che fece il Rè che non risguardassero a persona, non n'eccettando il suo proprio figliuolo, ha dato loro tanto animo che sono d'oppinione che faranno quanto potranno per essaminare le azioni del Signor Marchese di Buckingham, et tanto più quanto credono che questa franca permissione di Sua Maestà proceda da stracchezza verso la parte, la quale se punto apparisca, ognuno puol poi fare giudizio del resto."--Salvetti's News-Letter, March 30

April

"Il Gran Cancelliere se prepara per fare i suoi difesi; ma con apparenza che gli habbino da servire a poco; non scuoprendo nel Parlamento inclinatione nessuna di ammettergliene, et contra del Marchese se bene gli humori sono preparatissimi, credo però che se la passerano con questa voglia."-Salvetti, April 16

6

"Si" le Parlement "eust duré davantage, le Chancelier eust eu le sault; et, comme j'entend, non sans subject, ayant fort malversé en sa charge. Le Marquis de Buckingham l'assiste de tout son pouvoir, et n'en peult venir a bout, non plus que de la rupture du Parlement, qu'il a fort souhaitée; ce que fait juger a aucuns que ce Roy s'en veut deffaire par le moyen dudict Parlement, comme il fist du Comte de Sommerset, et par le moyen de la feue Reine sa femme; soit que la longue conversation qu'il en a eue luy a donné de disgoust, ou bien que, voyant qu'il est mal voulu de tout, et luy pour son subject, il le veuille donner a la haine generale pour se reconcilier les cœurs de ses subjects."-Tillières to Puysieux, April 3, Bibl. Nat. MSS. Harl. 123, 17, fol. 47.

These extracts will, I hope, put an end to the theory which has had extraordinary vitality, that Bacon's fall was caused by Buckingham's weariness of him.

1621

gives way.

BACON'S FEELING.

87

changes of such a mind as Buckingham's. Perhaps he took counsel once more with the cautious Williams. PerApril. Buckingham haps he was really influenced by the arguments of the King, or by rumours which may have reached him of the disclosures which were being made before the Lords' Committees. Before the vacation was at an end, he had completely shifted his ground. As he could not save himself by throwing over the Parliament, he would try to save himself by throwing over Bacon. He was sorry, he was now heard to say, that the Chancellor's conduct had been so bad. He could not be sorry for his disgrace, for that, at least, he had richly deserved. There were not, however, wanting those who thought that Buckingham was merely making a virtue of necessity, and that he shrank from Bacon's defence merely because he saw that it was impossible to save him.1

Bacon's re

But, whatever the truth may have been, Buckingham's insane demand for a dissolution had never been supported by Bacon. Every letter that he wrote, every word that quest for an he uttered, gave token of his readiness to see the charges against him sifted to the uttermost. At first he had believed them to be pure inventions, trumped up to gratify the malice of his enemies; but as the vacation passed, and rumours reached him of the progress of the investigation, he

audience.

1 "Pour le Chancelier il n'est remis sur le trottoir, mais il y sera bientost avec asseurance de sa perte. Je l'ay apris de M. le Marquis de Bouquinguam, qui est son amy, et lequel m'a tesmoigné de recepvoir a deplaisir non pas sa ruyne, car il dit qu'il l'a bien meritée, mais son mauvais gouvernement, estant homme qui avoit de bonnes partyes, et mis de sa main en la charge qu'il possede, mais que pour luy il est si affectionné au service de son maitre et du bien de son pays, qu'il, abandonneroit son propre frere s'il avoit malversé. Quelqu'uns, croyent que ceste sincerité n'est qu'en parolles, et qu'en effect il a fait son pouvoir pour le sauver, mais qu'il ne l'a peu, ce qui donne subject aux plusieurs autres considerations de continuer l'opinion que je vous ay mandée par quelques unes de mes depeches de la defaveur dudit M. de Boquinguam, laquelle est fondu sur des autres apparences, dont les unes sont entierement speculatives et par un rapport du present au passé, les autres plus apparentes, mais toutes April 22 incertaines."-Tillières to Puysieux, Bibl. Nat. MSS. Harl. 223, May 2 17, fol. 60.

was driven to abandon the ground which he had taken up. He now could no longer deny that, at least through inadvertence, he might have erred. Being sufficiently recovered to leave his house, he requested the King to grant him an audience. James accorded his petition, having first taken the precaution of informing the Council of his intention.

His memoranda.

The papers on which the Chancellor jotted down the memmoranda of which he intended to avail himself, have fortunately been preserved. "There be three causes of bribery," he wrote, "charged or supposed in a judge. "The first, of bargain or contract for reward, to pervert justice.

"The second, where the judge conceives the cause to be at an end by the information of the party or otherwise, and useth not such diligence as he ought to inquire of it.

"And the third, when the cause is really ended, and it is sine fraude, without relation to any precedent promise.

"Now, if I may see the particulars of my charge, I should deal plainly with your Majesty, in whether of these causes my particular case falls. But for the first of them I take myself to be as innocent as any born upon St. Innocent's Day in my heart. For the second, I doubt, in some particulars I may be faulty; and for the last, I conceived it to be no fault, but therein I desire to be better informed, that I may be twice penitent, once for the fact, and again for the error. For I had rather be a briber than a defender of bribes.

"I must likewise confess to your Majesty that, at new year's tides, and likewise at my first coming in (which was, as it were, my wedding), I did not so precisely, as perhaps I ought, examine whether those that presented me had causes before me, yea or no. And this is simply all that I can say for the present concerning my charge, until I may receive it more particularly.” Accordingly on April 16, the last day of the vacation,

April 16. His inter

view with the King.

1

Bacon was admitted to an audience. How far he carried out the programme which he had laid down for himself we do not know, but there was one point upon which he was specially desirous of the King's 1 Bacon's Works, ed. Montagu, xvi. note G. G. G.

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BACON'S FEELING.

89

assistance. Properly enough, he had not yet received a copy of the charges made against him ; for till the witnesses had been examined, it was impossible to say how far their statements would be adopted by the House of Lords, and till the Lords had adopted them, there was no formal accusation in existence to which he could be called upon to answer.1 Bacon, however, seems to have feared lest he should be judged in the dark. He therefore begged the King to request. the Lords to grant him a fair trial, and to allow him an opportunity of making his defence. To this very reasonable demand, James at once acceded, so far as to direct the Lord Treasurer to inform the House of what had passed between them.2

Accordingly, as soon as the Houses met on the following day, the Lords were informed by Mandeville of Bacon's request, and of the King's reply. Fresh witnesses were then April 17 Re-assembly sworn, and fresh names were added to the comof the Houses. mittees.3 On the 18th it was resolved, at Arundel's April 18. motion, that a report of the examinations should be brought in on the following day, to the end their lordships might give the Lord Chancellor such particulars of his charge as their lordships should judge fit. The next morning, as soon as the evidence taken by the committee over which Arundel presided, had been read, Buckingham rose. The attitude which he now assumed, after some vacillation, was that of an advocate who, without venturing to deny his client's guilt, watches the case with the intention of taking advantage of any point that may be raised in his favour. The evidence just read, he now pointed out, was altogether in the handwriting of the persons who had been interrogated. There might, therefore, have

1 There has been considerable misunderstanding on this point, arising probably from a careless supposition that Bacon had been impeached by the Commons. This was not the case. No accusation had as yet been brought against him. The examination of witnesses was merely a preliminary investigation for the purpose of giving information to the Upper House. When the Lords had made up their minds to act upon it, then, and not till then, Bacon would be put on his trial, and would have a right to a copy of the charges.

2 Lords' Journals, iii. 75.

8 Ibid.

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