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These his last hopes were vain: the King did not, he could not interpose.

of my business, and therein prostrate myself again, by my letter at your majesty's feet.

Your majesty can bear me witness, that at my last so comfortable access, I did not so much as move your majesty by your absolute power of pardon, or otherwise, to take my cause into your hands, and to interpose between the sentence of the house. And according to my desire, your majesty left it to the sentence of the house by my Lord Treasurer's report.

But now if not per omnipotentiam, as the divines say, but per potestatem suaviter disponentem, your majesty will graciously save me from a sentence, with the good liking of the house, and that cup may pass from me, it is the utmost of my desires. This I move with the more belief, because I assure myself, that if it be reformation that is sought, the very taking away of the seal, upon my general submission, will be as much in example, for these four hundred years, as any further severity.

The means of this I most humbly leave unto your majesty, but surely I should conceive, that your majesty opening yourself in this kind to the Lords, Counsellors, and a motion of the Prince, after my submission, and my Lord Marquis using his interest with his friends in the house, may affect the sparing of the sentence: I making my humble suit to the house for that purpose, joined with the delivery up of the seal into your majesty's hands. This is my last suit that I shall make to your majesty in this business, prostrating myself at your mercy-seat, after fifteen years' service, wherein I have served your majesty in my poor endeavours, with an entire heart. And, as I presume to say unto your majesty, am still a virgin, for matters that concern your person or crown, and now only craving that after eight steps of honour, I be not precipitated altogether.

May 3.

His silence.

On the 3rd of May the Lords adjudged, “that, upon his own confession, they had found him guilty: and therefore that he shall undergo fine and ransom of forty thousand pounds; be imprisoned in the Tower during the King's pleasure; be for ever incapable of any office, place, or employment in the state or commonwealth; and shall never sit in parliament, nor come within the verge of the court."

Thus fell from the height of worldly prosperity Francis Lord Chancellor of Great Britain.

The cause of his having deserted his defence he never revealed. He patiently endured the agony of uncommunicated grief. (a) He confidently relied upon the justice of future ages. There are, however, passages in his writings where his deep feeling of the injury appear.

In his Advancement of Learning we are admonished that, "Words best disclose our minds when we are agitated,

Vino tortus et ira;

for, as Proteus never changed shapes till he was straitened and held fast with cords, so our nature appears most fully in trials and vexations." (b)

But because he that hath taken bribes is apt to give bribes, I will go further, and present your majesty with bribe; for if your majesty give me peace and leisure, and God give me life, I will present you with a good History of England, and a better Digest of your Laws. And so concluding with my prayers, I rest

May 2, 1621.

Clay in your Majesty's hands,

(a) See Essay on Friendship, vol. i.

(b) The following is the passage :-" As for words, though they be, like waters to physicians, full or flattery and uncertainty, yet they are not to be despised, specially with the advantage of passion and affection. For so we

By observing his words in moments of agitation the

state of his mind is manifest.

When imprisoned in the Tower, he instantly wrote to Letter from Buckingham, saying, "However I have acknowledged the Tower. that the sentence is just, and for reformation sake fit, I have been a trusty and honest, and Christ-loving friend to your lordship, and the justest chancellor that hath been in the five changes since my father's time." (b)

In another letter, "God is my witness that, when I examine myself, I find all well, and that I have approved myself to your lordship a true friend both in the watery trial of prosperity and in the fiery trial of adversity:" (c) "I hope his majesty may reap honour out of my adversity, as he hath done strength out of my prosperity." (d)

"For the briberies and gifts wherewith I am charged, Letter to when the book of hearts shall be opened, I hope I shall the King. not be found to have the troubled fountain of a corrupt heart, in a depraved habit of taking rewards to pervert justice; howsoever I may be frail, and partake of the abuses of the times," was his expression in the midst of his agony. (e)

see Tiberius, upon a stinging and incensing speech of Agrippina, came a step forth of his dissimulation, when he said, 'You are hurt, because you do not reign;' of which Tacitus saith, ‘Audita hæc raram occulti pectoris vocem elicuere, correptamque Græco versu admonuit: ideo lædi, quia non regnaret.' And therefore the poet doth elegantly call passions, tortures, that urge men to confess their secrets:

'Vino tortus et ira.'

And experience sheweth, there are few men so true to themselves, and so settled, but that, sometimes upon heat, sometimes upon bravery, sometimes upon kindness, sometimes upon trouble of mind and weakness, they open themselves; specially if they be put to it with a counter-dissimulation, according to the proverb of Spoin, 'Di mentira, y sacaras verdad:' tell a lie, and find a truth."

(b) See postea, page ccclxxix. (d) See postea, p. ccclxxxiv.

(c) See postea, page ccclxxxiii.
(e) See ante, p. cccxxxii.



Silence of friends!


In a collection of his letters in the Lambeth Library there is the following passage in Greek characters: Op μy οφενσ, φαρ βε ιτ φρομ με το σαγ, δατ νενιαμ κορνις ; νεξατ κενσυρα κολυμβασ : βυτ ι ωιλλ σαγ θατ ι ανε γοοδ ωαρραντ φορ : θεγ ωερε νοτ θε γρεατεστ οφφενδερς ιν Ισραελ υπον ώγομ θε ωαλλ φελλ. (α)

In his will, he says, "For my name and memory, I leave it to men's charitable speeches, to foreign nations, and the next ages."

These words, not to be read till he was at rest from his labours, were cautiously selected, (b) with the knowledge, which he, above all men, possessed of the power of expression, and of their certain influence, sooner or later, upon society. (c)

The obligation to silence, imposed upon Bacon, extended to his friends after he was in the grave.

Dr. Rawley, his first and last chaplain, says, "Some papers touching matters of estate, tread too near to the heels of truth, and to the times of the persons concerned."

Archbishop Tennison says, "The great cause of his suffering is to some a secret. I leave them to find it out by his words to King James: 'I wish that as I am the

(a) Decyphered it is as follows: Of my offence, far be it from me to say, dat veniam corvis; vexat censura Columbas : but I will say that I have good warrant for: they were not the greatest offenders in Israel upon whom the wall fell.

(b) In a former will (see Baconiana, p. 203) there is the same wish expressed, not in such polished terms. The sentence is, "For my name and memory, I leave it to foreign nations and to mine own countrymen, after some time be passed over."




is the opening of the Novum Organum.

first, so I may be the last of sacrifices in your times:' and when, from private appetite, it is resolved that a creature shall be sacrificed, it is easy to pick up sticks enough from any thicket whither it hath strayed, to make a fire to offer it with."

From these observations it may be seen, that there was a conflict in the minds of these excellent men between their inclination to speak and their duty to be silent. They did not violate this duty; but one of his most sincere and grateful admirers, who, although he had painfully, but sacredly, preserved the secret from his youth to his old age, at last thus spoke : (a)

"Before this could be accomplished to his own content, Bushel. there arose such complaints against his lordship, and the then favourite at court, that for some days put the King to this quere, whether he should permit the favourite of his affection, or the oracle of his council, to sink in his service; whereupon his lordship was sent for by the King, who, after some discourse, gave him this positive advice, to submit himself to his house of peers, and that, upon his princely word, he would then restore him again, if they, in their honours, should not be sensible of his merits. Now, though my lord saw his approaching ruin, and told his majesty there was little hopes of mercy in a multitude, when his enemies were to give fire, if he did not plead for himself: yet such was his obedience to him from whom he had his being, that he resolved his majesty's will should be his only law; and so took leave of him with these words: Those that will strike at your chancellor, it is much to be feared, will strike at your crown; and wished, that as he was then the first, so he might be the last of sacrifices.

(a) For an account of Bushel, see note G G G. At the time of Bacon's death, in 1626, he was about twenty-six years of age: he published the tract in 1659.

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