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plan was as novel as its execution was perfect. The author's object was to examine the amount of knowledge possessed by the intellectual world in his day; to show what portions of intellect's wide domain had been cultivated with success; what had been neglected, and in what direction search should be made for undiscovered regions; and, finally, to point out by what means new discoveries might be effected and knowledge already acquired brought to perfection. Assuredly a greater service could hardly be rendered to humanity, than to determine the sources of errors which had prevailed for ages, to show the means by which they might be corrected, to delineate the empire already possessed by mind, and to indicate the untravelled paths which remained to be explored.

This work was first published in English, but the author to render it more universally useful employed Dr. Playfair of Cambridge to render it into Latin. Playfair was a mere pedant, and he strove rather to produce elegant Latinity than to render the sense and force of his author's meaning. Bacon having seen some specimens of the translation, did not encourage the Doctor to persevere at a later period of his life he undertook the work himself, and the Latin version, considerably augmented by new matter, appeared in 1623.

There is a tendency in the human mind to believe in the honourable purposes of genius. Bacon's services to philosophy procured for him an oblivion of his political offences; he was chosen by the House of Commons to present their great petition for redress of grievances, arising from impositions and purveyance, and he executed the task with so much address as to satisfy both king and parliament. From the monarch he received a small pension, and the Commons honoured him with an unanimous vote of thanks. His speech, on presenting the petition to the king at Whitehall in the presence of Henry Prince of Wales and Charles Duke of York, is omitted in most editions of his works, but it deserves to be preserved for the independence and manliness of its tone as compared with the courtly speeches usual at this time. "Most gracious sovereign; the knights, citizens, and burgesses in parliament assembled, in the house of your commons, in all humbleness do exhibit and present unto your most sacred majesty, in their own words though by my hands, their petitions and grievances. They are here conceived and set down in writing, according to ancient custom of parliament: they are also prefaced according to the manner and taste of these latter times. Therefore for me to make any additional preface were neither warranted nor convenient; especially speaking before a king, the exactness of whose judgment ought to scatter and chase away all unnecessary speech as the sun doth a vapour. This only I must say, Since this session of parliament we have seen your glory in the solemnity of the creation of this most noble prince (Henry Prince of Wales); we have heard your wisdom in many excellent speeches which you have delivered amongst us. Now we hope to find and feel the effects of your goodness, in your gracious answer to these our petitions. For this we are persuaded that the attribute which was given by one of the wisest to two of the best emperors, Divus Trajanus et Divus Nerva, saith Tacitus, res olim insociabiles miscuerunt, imperium et libertatem 1—may be truly applied to your majesty. For never was there such a conservator of dignity in a crown, nor ever such a protector of lawful freedom in a subject.

"Only this, excellent sovereign, let not the sound of grievances, though it be sad, seem harsh

1 The divine Trajan and the divine Nerva comlined things previously deemed inconsistent,-empire and liberty.

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to your princely ears. It is but gemitus columbæ, 'the mourning of a dove,' with that patience and humility of heart which appertaineth to loving and loyal subjects. And far be it from us, but that in the midst of the sense of our grievances, we should remember and acknowledge the infinite benefits, which by your majesty, next under God, we do enjoy, which bend us to wish unto your life fulness of days, and unto your line royal a succession and continuance even unto the world's end.

"It resteth that unto these petitions here included I do add one more that goeth to them all, which is, that if in the words and frame of them there be anything offensive; or that we have expressed ourselves otherwise than we should or would, that your majesty would cover it and cast the veil of your grace upon it, and accept of our good intentions, and help them by your benign interpretation.

"Lastly, I am most humbly to crave a particular pardon for myself that have used these few words; and scarcely should have been able to have used any at all, in respect of the reverence which I bear to your person and judgment, had I not been somewhat relieved and comforted by the experience which in my service and access I have had of your continual grace and favour."

In 1610 Bacon published his treatise on the Wisdom of the Ancients. It is a work of great original power and creative fancy. He endeavours to show that the fables of the ancient mythology were mysterious parables, under which were veiled the physical, moral, and political truths, which it required the exertion of genius like his own to discover. His theory convinced nobody, but it delighted everybody; the ocean of his mighty mind could not be agitated even by an irregular breeze without casting up treasure.

About the year 1613 died Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, Bacon's near relation and bitter enemy. The English Belial was conscious of the inferiority of craft and cunning to genuine wisdom, and he therefore resisted Bacon's promotion in the reigns both of Elizabeth and James. His removal opened the doors of promotion to the philosopher, and in 1613 he was created attorneygeneral. Over his conduct in that office it would be well for his fame if a veil could be thrown, but unfortunately his delinquencies were too glaring, and they were directed against almost every privilege that is valuable in a constitutional government. He took an active part in the persecution of the Romish priests, against whom it would seem that the two first monarchs of the house of Stuart became the more vindictive in proportion as they approximated to their opinions; he justified the Protestant burning of heretics; he filed ex officio informations against those who gave utterance to free opinions whether by speaking or writing; and, finally, he had an active share in continuing the mystery which shrouds the nature of Somerset's darkest guilt, and thus conceals the complicity of the king in some incommunicable crime, which kept him in such awe of his condemned favourite, that he dared not consent to his execution. It might perhaps now be possible to explain this mystery of iniquity, but the soul recoils with horror from the disgusting task, and we willingly take leave of the scene of Bacon's lowest degradation. After the fall of Somerset, Villiers, subsequently created Duke of Buckingham, became the sole favourite of the imbecile James, and access to the court could only be obtained through his influence. This profligate minion, who under two reigns was absolute master of England, did not in the whole course of his administration execute or even imagine one measure tending to the general advantage of the community; yet he exacted the most abject submission from the nobles, from the learned, and from all whom consciousness of their capacity induced to

become statesmen. Bacon was among the most subservient of the favourite's courtiers; but deep indeed must his self-mortification have been when he found himself compelled to act as a domestic steward to the haughty young man, and to discharge the functions of a menial.

Bacon had fixed his wishes on the office of chancellor; a dangerous object of ambition for a philosophic lawyer. Such a man hopes that when exalted to that station he will be able to give life and force to the genuine principles of jurisprudence; but no sooner does he make the effort than he finds himself fettered by precedent, opposed by prejudice, and trammelled by petty regulations, weak by themselves, but taken together not less potent than the bonds with which Gulliver was secured by the Lilliputians. Under these circumstances the philosophic lawyer is too apt to let matters take their own course, and to neglect the management of his proper court either for affairs of state, or the pursuit of science. It is rarely however that the philosopher foresees these perils; genius believes itself omnipotent, and cannot conceive how it will be rendered powerless,

When the silent spells have bound it,
And the clankless chains surround it.

It is grievous to add that Bacon did not hesitate to employ tortuous means to gain the object of his ambition. When the declining health of Lord Chancellor Egerton gave promise of a speedy vacancy he redoubled his court to the favourite, he pandered to the despotic desires of the king, he vaunted his influence with the Commons, and he secretly raised prejudices in the royal breast against every one whom he deemed likely to be a rival candidate, but especially against Sir Edward Coke. These arts were common in his day; they were scarcely censured, save by those who had employed them unsuccessfully, a very rigid class of moralists in all ages. But a great mind practising petty arts always exerts more strength than the occasion requires. Hercules did not make more sad havoc with the distaff than Bacon with courtly intrigues, and toɔ many have forgotten the labours of the hero and the services of the philosopher in the exclusive memory of their degradation.

In 1617 Bacon was cursed with success; never was there a more striking example of the truth of Juvenal's aphorism, imitated, perhaps, unconsciously by Shakspeare,—

We ignorant of ourselves,

Beg often our own harms, which the wise powers
Deny us for our good; so find we profit

By losing of our prayers.

He was created keeper of the seals, and two years afterwards became Chancellor of England, with the title of Baron Verulam, and subsequently that of Viscount St. Albans. In 1620 he published his Novum Organum as a second part of his great work, the re-establishment of science. He had spent twelve years in preparing this extraordinary monument of mind; and feeling that he was, in the words of Thucydides, "heaping up the treasure of immortality," he bestowed more sedulous care on this task than on any of his other writings. He adopted a severe style, which admitted no discursive illustration and no superfluous ornament; it is a concatenated series of principles enunciated with a strict purity and closeness of reasoning that reject as degrading the assistance of fancy or imagination. The novelty of his subject almost forced him to create a language; he therefore employs terms in a new and singular sense; a circumstance which has unfortunately limited the number of those who read the work with pleasure and profit. In

this work he propounds the principles of inductive logic, showing that reasoning should be based on observation and experiment, and that conclusions are to be drawn from established facts, and not from prevalent opinions. His double mission was accomplished: the fortress of error was tumbled to the dust, the new temple of true science, though not completed, was raised to a considerable height above the foundations.

We have reached now the most melancholy period of Lord Bacon's history, the date of his degradation and his fall. But before we fix our attention on the principal figure in the sad picture, let us cast a glance at the occupants of the back-ground. James I., a learned fool, and therefore the most mischievous of all fools, was duped by his vanity to believe that he owed the crown of England to some mysterious and occult qualities inherent in himself: the ecclesiastics of the day invented a name for this chimera; they called it "the divine right of kings," and with blasphemous impiety attempted to show that this monstrous doctrine was derived from the Holy Scriptures. They maintained that opposition to the caprices of a fantastic despot was resistance of the ordinances of God. Encouraged by his sacerdotal flatterers, James regarded his subjects as slaves, and his parliaments as hostile powers. He endeavoured to rule without their control, and aided by his minion the Duke of Buckingham, endeavoured to raise money by illegal devices, monopolies, and sale of offices. The duke's mother, a cunning, greedy, intriguing woman, ruled her son with sway as absolute as he exercised over the king, and the court was frequented only by those whom Solomon calls "descendants of the daughter of the horse-leech, whose cry is, Give, give."

Lord Bacon, placed as it were on the common frontiers of royal authority and public liberty, had not strength to resist the power of corruption. Indeed he must have seen the fruitlessness of opposition at a time when there existed no public opinion to which he could make an appeal. But there are people in the world who seem to expect that patriotism should defend the pass against a host when it does not possess a tithe of the followers that accompanied Leonidas, and that Curtius should be ready to precipitate himself even with the moral certainty that the gulf would remain open after the useless sacrifice. Bacon made some efforts to inspire the king with better counsels; they failed, and he passively surrendered himself to the course of events. The nation was impoverished, but the king was not enriched; the oppressors who employed his name and authority kept the fruit of their rapine, and left him for his share only the public hatred excited by their rapacity. James was forced to call a parliament; and he took advantage of a crisis when the whole nation was anxious to recover the palatinate which Maximilian of Bavaria had wrested from Frederick V., the king's son-in-law.

When the commons assembled they made the king a liberal grant; but at the same time they began a searching examination of all the grievances under which the nation had suffered during the last seven years, the monopolies that Buckingham had granted to his creatures, and the gross abuses that prevailed in the administration of justice. James resolved at all hazards to shield his minion Buckingham; but aware that public indignation required a victim, he consented to sacrifice the chancellor. An impeachment was decreed by the commons, and several creatures of the court by joining in the prosecution gave public proof of the base perfidy of their master.

Bacon's defence would have shown that he was only guilty of complicity, and would have revealed Buckingham as the principal criminal. To prevent such a catastrophe the king insisted that the chancellor should plead guilty, and disarm the parliament by submission:

at the same time he pledged his kingly word, the value of which it would be hard to estimate too low, that he would spare him the shame of a sentence and recompense his humiliation by future favour. Bacon consented, and all was lost.

The chancellor's submission was absolute; but there is one passage in this remarkable paper which deserves to be received as a palliation of his conduct, though not as a valid defence: "Neither will your lordship forget that there are vitia temporis as well as vitia hominis, and that the beginning of reformation hath the contrary power of the Pool of Bethesda, for that had strength to cure only him that is first cast in, and this hath strength to hurt only him that is first cast in; and for my part I wish it may stay there and go no further."

On the 1st of May, 1620, the sentence was pronounced: it was very severe; he was fined forty thousand pounds, committed to prison during the king's pleasure, declared incapable of holding any office under the crown, and excluded from parliament. He did not remain long in prison, and after some delay the fine was remitted; but three years elapsed before he received a complete pardon, which was afterwards followed by a small pension.

Lord Bacon returned to the studies which he had in an evil hour abandoned. The first fruits of his retirement was the History of Henry VII., written by command of James I., who was anxious to have his ancestor represented as the model of a perfect monarch. Bacon did not quite escape from the contagious influence of the royal wishes; he too often dissembles the faults and veils the imperfections of his hero: nevertheless it is not difficult to discover his real opinions of Henry's character, and to find the strongly marked features of avarice and suspicion, the traits by which that sovereign was so eminently distinguished. The political reflections interspersed through the biography evince all the sagacity of a statesman, combined with a high tone of moral feeling, and a judicious appreciation of times and circumstances. The style partakes of the predominant faults of the age, it presents many specimens of affectation and the conceits of false eloquence; but the staple of the language is nervous, animated, and concise, and every sentence is pregnant with thought.

A greater work was his Moral Essays; a treasure of the most profound knowledge of man and human relations, delivered in an eloquent and vigorous style. He augmented this work considerably towards the close of his life, and published two editions of it, the one in Latin and the other in English. In his hands the most trite subjects assume the aspect of novelty; he always sets them in the point of view favourable, for their examination, and points out their relations to the objects by which they are surrounded. No writer has so wondrously accommodated the universe of matter to the universe of mind, or made the aspect of external nature stir up such depths of reflection in the inmost soul. Each essay is in itself a system of thought not less valuable for what it suggests than for what it unfolds.

Bacon was always careless of money: the bribes with which he was charged became the perquisites of his retainers, and there was even more truth than bitterness in his address to his servants when they stood up to salute him after his disgrace, "Sit down, my masters, your

rise has been my fall." After his deprivation he was reduced to great distress; his estate was encumbered with mortgages and debts, his pension was very irregularly paid by a monarch who did not understand the value of money, but lavished it as fast as it came into his hands on folly or profligacy. Full justice is not done to the merit of Bacon's later works, when it is for

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