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He received a full pardon from James about three years after his fall, and, in consequence of the death of the king, was summoned to the first parliament under Charles I. He himself, however, died soon after. He seems to have spoken. in the spirit of prophecy, in telling the king that those who struck at his chancellor would take a higher aim. His impeachment may be regarded as one of the first indications of that spirit, which cost Charles his life. The same volume of the state trials contains both their cases.

The remarks which we have to make on the character of lord Bacon must be confined to a few heads, rather than carried out into a formal argument, as the interest of the subject might deserve, if our limits permitted it. In order not to be misapprehended in the conclusions we would draw, we would say, without hesitation, that lord Bacon stands convicted, though not in the most unexceptionable form, of practices inconsistent with the purity of a court of justice, and that an exemplary punishment was therefore merited by him. Having admitted this, we venture to suggest some considerations in extenuation of his offence, and by way of rectifying the extravagant ideas, which prevail of his guilt, principally, we believe, on no better foundation than that of Pope's line. In the first place, then, we derive our knowledge of lord Bacon's guilt from ex parte evidence, and that in the most exceptionable form. He was himself never confronted with the witnesses, had no opportunity of crossexamining them, no opportunity of calling his own. In addition to this, we possess, for the most part, only general results of their testimony, on many of the charges without any of the testimony itself. What court would think it just or safe to condemn a prisoner under these circumstances? It may be replied, indeed, that lord Bacon was condemned by his peers, and that on his own confession. But we have made it more

than probable, we have produced one express authority to prove, that this confession was compulsory; that lord Bacon was brought to it by the mingled threats of the king and his all powerful favorite; and this fact alone deprives lord Bacon's confession of any legal weight. If the confession itself be scanned, it will be found, that every article is palliated, extenuated, excused, or shown in some degree to be different from the allegation; and it is quite plain, that lord Bacon could have gone much farther in this way, but for the miserable dilemma, in which he was placed.

New Series, No. 14.


Secondly, his impeachment originated in private malice. Wrenham, a disappointed suitor at chancery, had some years before petitioned against lord Bacon, and sought to do him ill offices with the king. The affair was thoroughly sifted, and it was found not only, that lord Bacon had behaved with integrity and done no other and no more than his duty, but that he had been very ill-treated by Wrenham. This man's private malice could not digest the loss of his suit, and again the disappointment of his vengeance, and he was the instrument of forwarding, collecting, and pursuing the complaints against the lord chancellor, which ended in his impeachment. We hold, that in any moral inference to be drawn against the character of lord Bacon, in consequence of his trial, it is a matter of great moment, whether he was called to it in the ordinary march of vigilant, but even justice, or whether it was stirred up and forwarded by private malice.

Thirdly, the prosecution was strongly associated with the political odium, in which Buckingham was held. It is true, that lord Bacon personally had been a favorite in either house. It is equally true, however, that the Commons-not sufficiently conscious yet of their power to aim at a higher mark-fixed upon the lord chancellor with a promptness of justice, which had evidently been whetted up, for another victim. The letter of sir A. Ashley, to which we have alluded above, abundantly testifies to this feeling on the part of the Commons, and the whole plot-as we may call it-of lord Bacon's forced confession, was predicated on the necessity of turning off the vengeance of the Commons from Buckingham to the chancellor. This fact is equally important, nay far more so, than the former; for if that prove, that lord Bacon was dragged to trial by a malicious informer, this shows, that his trial was prosecuted before prejudiced judges.

Fourthly, the crime itself, of which lord Bacon was guilty, must not be estimated by a standard inapplicable to the age, in which he lived. It is well known, that the chancellors who preceded him were in the habit of taking presents from suitors; a habit of most dangerous example, and deserving to be broken up, even at as great a sacrifice as that of lord Bacon. Nevertheless, when we speak, not of the justice of his punishment, but of the moral character of his conduct, the circumstance, that preceding chancellors had taken presents, is of material

importance, in ascertaining what degree of guilt was incurred by lord Bacon in doing it. Here, too, the manners of the age are to be considered; the taking of presents was a very extensive practice. On new year's day, the sovereign_was presented by all the wealthy subjects about his court. Quite

as many abstract arguments could be framed on the impropriety of a king's taking gifts of his subjects, as of a lord chancellor's of his suitors. In an age when it is not practised, the crime is monstrous; when it is, it loses its criminality.

Our readers may see the extent of these practices in an extract from the 'Reign of Elizabeth,' by Miss Aikin, an authority the less suspicious here, as that lady has exercised her gifts, which are but small, with great diligence against lord Bacon.

"The ministers of a sovereign, who scrupled not to accept of bribes from parties engaged in law suits, for the exertion of her own interest with the judges, could scarcely be expected to exhibit much delicacy on this head. In fact, the venality of the court of Elizabeth was so great, that no public character appears even to have professed a disdain of the influence of gifts and bribes; and we find lord Burleigh inserting the following among rules moral and prudential, drawn up for the use of his son Robert, when young" Be sure to keep some great man thy friend. But trouble him not for trifles. Compliment him often. Present him with many, yet small gifts, and of little charge. And if thou have cause to bestow any great gratuity, let it be some such thing as may be daily in his sight."

In connexion with this, Miss Aikin quotes the following letter of Hutton, archbishop of York, to the lord treasurer Burleigh:

'I am bold at this time to inform your lordship, what ill success I had in a suit for a pardon for Miles Dawson, seminary priest, whom I converted wholly the last summer from popery. Upon his coming to church, receiving the holy communion, and taking the oath of supremacy, I and the council here, about Michaelmas last, joined in petition to her majesty for her gracious pardon, and commended the matter to one of the masters of requests, and writ also to Mr Secretary to further it, if need were, which he willingly promised to do. In Michaelmas term nothing was done. And therefore in Hilary term, I being put in mind, that all was not done in that court for God's sake only, sent up twenty French crowns of mine own purse, as a remembrancer of the poor man's pardon, which was thankfully accepted of.'

This argument derives new force, when we consider, in the next place, that though lord Bacon were punished for bribery and corruption, he was most certainly innocent of the latter, so far as it is understood of unrighteous judgments. Out of the two thousand orders and decrees published by lord Bacon annually, Rushworth assures us, on the authority of some learned in the law, that no decree of lord Bacon was ever reversed; and one of the profession also said of him,' that if he sold justice, he sold not injustice.' In fact, there is no crime chargeable to lord Bacon's account beyond those, which the conventions of society create. The moral duty of the judge is absolved, if he render equal justice to all; and lord Bacon is not charged with not doing so.

Finally, that we may not omit any portion of the truth, out of supposed tenderness to his fame, the true source of his extravagant taking of presents was his bad husbandry, he being without a large fortune, of expensive habits, no thrift, and given up to his servants. The twenty-eighth article against him in the charge was, that he hath given way to great ex actions by his servants, both in respect of private seals, and otherwise for sealing injunctions;' and to this he replied with equal candor and justice, I confess it was a great fault of neglect in me, that I looked no better to my servants.' It is in allusion to this, that, when his servants rose up at his entrance, he said, 'sit down, my masters; your rise hath been my fall.' It is probable, that abuses were practised to a great extent in his house, and under cover of his authority, of which he knew nothing, but of which the odium was throw: upon him. And justly in a legal point of view, for it was his duty to protect his suitors from the rapacity of his servants; justly in a moral point of view, for a man certainly shall bear the blame of the wrong, that comes of his neglect; but charitably speaking, it is surely less to be weakly negligent as a master, than wilfully corrupt as a chancellor.

We cannot persuade ourselves, that the foregoing reflections are wholly without weight. We confess we have made them, from having sought ourselves in vain, in the history of lord Bacon's fall, for the grounds of that abandonment, with which he is given up as the 'meanest of mankind.' Fatal as his great weakness was, there is neither truth nor justice in the appellation; it does not even tolerably well describe the gene

ral kind of his moral defect. Comparing his character with that of men in much stricter times, we could fix on some of the proudest names in English story, to which deeper moral exceptions might be taken. We will not violate national courtesy, so far as to name the frail and illustrious living, but Pitt and Fox, if they fell into the hands of an epigrammatist, like Pope, would either of them serve to point a moral, as dark as the 'meanest of mankind.' When we consider, moreover, that in the same poem, in which Bacon is thus hung up to proverbial scorn, so long as the English literature shall endure, lord Bolingbroke is crowned with all the honors of a poetical apotheosis, we cannot but feel indignant at this perverse distribution of posthumous renown.

ART. XXI.-The Life of James Otis, of Massachusetts; containing, also, notices of some contemporary characters and events from the year 1760 to 1775. By William Tudor. Boston, 1823. 8vo, pp. 508.

To record the merits of those illustrious men, whose exertions have contributed to the freedom and happiness of our country is the most imperious and interesting duty of American scholars. Few of our readers need to be told how inadequately it has hitherto been performed. As a consolation, if not an excuse, for this lamentable deficiency, we can plead no less an example, than that of our transatlantic brethren; and while scarcely one of the statesmen and heroes, who have flourished in Great Britain during the last and the present century, has found a biographer worthy of his merits, while the lives of Chatham, and Wolfe, and Mansfield are recorded, if at all, only in works too contemptible to be mentioned, while Burke and Pitt have found no better heralds of their virtues, than Bissett, and Gifford, and Tomlins, we cannot feel very deeply mortified, if, under all our literary disadvantages, we have produced no first rate specimen of biography,* with the solitary, though striking exception, of the life of Fisher Ames.

To repair our fault in this respect, to do full justice to the memory of the founders of our republic, is, in many cases, out

* We would not be understood to apply these remarks to the memoirs of Franklin by himself, which break off before the commencement of the most active and important part of his life.

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