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extant to reconcile us for the loss of the rest: - 1. "An argument to show that the persons of noblemen are attachable by law for contempts in the High Court of Chancery;" and, 2. "A Palinode, proving the right of succession to the Crown of England to be in the family of the Stuarts descended from Henry VII., exclusive of Mary Queen of Scots, who had forfeited her rights."



His bon mots have had better luck, for several of them His jests. which have been preserved show that, for a Keeper of the Great Seal, he was by no means a contemptible jester.

Being asked his opinion, by the Earl of Leicester, concerning two persons of whom the Queen seemed to think well, "By my troth, my Lord," said he, "the one is a grave Councillor; the other is a proper young man, and so he will be as long as he lives.” *

At a time when there was a great clamour about monopolies created by a licence to make a particular manufacture, with a prohibition to all others to do the like,- being asked by Queen Elizabeth what he thought of these monopoly licences, he answered, "Madam, will you have me speak the truth? Licentiâ omnes deteriores sumus. We are all the worse for licences."

Once going the Northern Circuit as Judge, before he had the Great Seal, he was about to pass sentence on a thief convicted before him,—when the prisoner, after various pleas had been overruled, asked for mercy on account of kindred. "Prithee," said my Lord Judge, "how comes this about?" Why, if it please you, my Lord, your name is Bacon, and mine is Hog, and, in all ages, Hog and Bacon have been so near kindred that they are not to be separated." Ay, but," replied the Judge, "you and I cannot be kindred except you be hanged, for Hog is not Bacon until it be well hanged."



He used to tell a story which he was supposed to have invented or embellished, that at the next assize town a notorious rogue, knowing that there was a clear case against him,

This (indifferent as it is) was stolen from Sir Thomas More, who when his wife at last had a son who turned out rather silly, observed to her that she had so long prayed for a boy, he was afraid her son would continue a boy as long as


Lord Keeper questioned at the gate of Heaven

a decree.

and hoping that he might have some chance from my Lord Judge's love of humour,—instead of pleading, took to himself the liberty of jesting; and, as if the Judge having some evil design, he had been to swear the peace against him, -exclaimed, "I charge you in the Queen's name to seize and take away that man in the red gown there, for I go in danger of my life because of him."

At times he had a slight hesitation, which impeded his utterance. A certain nimble-witted councillor at the bar having often interrupted him, he at last said, "There is a great difference between me and you, a pain for me to speak, and a pain to you to hold your peace." There was then a glimpse of silence, of which the Lord Keeper took advantage to finish his sentence.

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On a bill exhibited to discover where lands lay, being told that the plaintiffs had a certain quantity of land, but could not set it forth, he was wont to say, "And if you cannot find your land in the country, how do you expect me to find it for you in the Court of Chancery."

Soon after his death, a wag at the Chancery bar, to expose the practice beginning to prevail too much of referring every thing to the Master (then called "the Doctor," from the Masters being all Doctors of the civil law), feigned a tale respecting that Sir Nicholas, when he came to Heaven's gate, was opposed in respect of an unjust decree which he had made while Lord Keeper. He desired to see the order, and, finding it to begin "Veneris," &c., "Why," saith he, "this being done on a Friday, I was then sitting in the Star Chamber: it concerns the Master of the Rolls: let him answer it." Sir William Cordell, M.R., who died soon after, following, he was likewise stayed upon it. Looking into the order, he found it ran thus: "Upon reading the report of Dr. Gibson, to whom this cause stood referred, it is ordered, &c." And so he put it upon Dr. Gibson; who, next coming up, said that the Lord Keeper and his Honour the Master of the Rolls were the parties who ought to suffer, for not doing their own work ;-whereupon they were all three turned back.

* Lord Bacon's Apothegms. Works, ii. 401.



Considering that he held the Great Seal above twenty years, he left behind him a very moderate fortune, which was chiefly inherited by his eldest son,-Francis and the younger His forchildren being but slenderly provided for. His town resi- tune. dence was York House, near Charing Cross, where he exercised great hospitality. After the visit from Queen Elizabeth, he added wings to his house at Gorhambury, and laid out a great deal of money in planting and gardening there. The decorations of his grounds, however, displayed the bad taste of the age. For example, in a little banqueting house there was a series of pictorial designs emblematic of the LIBERAL ARTS, to wit, GRAMMAR, ARITHMETIC, LOGIC, MUSIC, RHETORIC, GEOMETRY, and ASTROLOGY, with hideous portraits of their most celebrated professors, and each one with a barbarous Latin couplet. Over the hall door was an inscription, which marks the period of the erection as the 10th year of his Keepership (1668):

"Hæc cum perfecit Nicholaus tecta Baconus

Elizabeth regni lustra fuere duo.

Factus Eques, magni custos erat ipse sigilli;
Gloria sit sola tota tributa Deo.


He was extremely popular with the English nation, but particularly odious in Scotland, from the part he took in the continued imprisonment of Queen Mary, and the reports spread of his dislike to all the inhabitants of that country. libels against him were printed at Edinburgh, and circulated industriously in London. The Queen issued a proclamation ordering them to be burnt, and highly commending the services of the Lord Keeper.

Sir Nicholas Bacon was twice married; first, to Jane, His daughter of William Fernly, Esq., of West Creding, in children. Suffolk, by whom he had several sons and daughters; and, secondly, to Anne, daughter of Anthony Cooke, Esq., of Giddy Hall, in Essex, by whom he had two sons, Sir Anthony, -and Francis, the immortal Lord Verulam, Viscount St. Alban's. It was by this latter marriage that the connection was created between the Cecils and the Bacons.



His son

The subject of this memoir would probably have filled a greater space in the eyes of posterity had it not been for the glory of his son; but one of the grounds on which we ought to admire and to respect him is the manner in which he assisted in forming a mind so supereminent; he pointed out the path by which FRANCIS BACON reached such distinction in literature and eloquence, and became the first philosopher of any country or any age.

See Rawley's Life of Bacon. Baconiana. Lord Bacon's Works, ii, 407. 422. 426.; iii. 96.; vi. 368.




Feb. 1579.

Great Seal in personal custody of

two months

the Queen.

Ox the sudden death of Lord Keeper Bacon great perplexity CHAP. existed with respect to the appointment of his successor. On the day he expired the Queen sent Lord Burghley and Lord Leicester to York House for the Great Seal, and they having received it from Lady Bacon, his widow, in a bag sealed with his private signet, took it to the Queen, who was in her palace at Westminster. She retained it in her own keeping above two months, while she considered with whom she should intrust it. Luckily, this period was in the interval between Hilary and Easter terms, so that the delay in filling up the office did not cause any serious interruption to the despatch of business in the Court of Chancery. The sealing Her mode of writs and patents was accomplished under the Queen's of using it. immediate orders. To show her impartiality, she handed it over for this purpose, alternately, to the heads of the two opposite parties, Burghley and Leicester; except that, on one occasion, the latter being absent to prepare for receiving a royal visit at Kenilworth, Secretary Walsingham was substituted for him. The Close Roll records, with much circumstantiality, no fewer than seven instances of the Great Seal being so used between the 20th of February and the 26th of April.*

I shall copy as a specimen of this entry the recovery of the Great Seal on Sir N. Bacon's death, and the first instance of its being used while in the Queen's custody. "Memdum qd Die Veneris &c. (Feb. 20. 1 Eliz.) circa horam nonam ante meridiem ejusdem diei Magnum Sigillum suum regium post mortem egregii viri Nichi Bacon militis tunc nuper Custodis ejusdem Magni Sigilli exist. in quadam baga de corio inclus. et signato ejusdem Nichi sigillatum et cooperta alia baga de velueto rubeo insigniis regiis ornat. nobilibus viris Willo Dno Burghley Dno Thesaurario Angl. et Robo Comiti Leicester ex mandato ejusdem Dne Regne apud Hospicium ejusdem Nichi vocatum Yorke Place prope Charing Crosse in quadam interiori Camera ibidem per dominam Annam Bacon Viduam nuper uxem ejusdem Nichi liberatum fuit; Quiquidem Wills Ds Burghley et Robertus Comes Leicestr sigillum predictum in baga predicta in

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