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CHAP.
LII.

ton.

is impossible to love and to be wise."* He did not, on this occasion, at all depart from his notions of what was becoming in "a great and worthy person;" for instead of offering incense to Venus, he was only considering of a scheme to make his pot boil. A daughter of Sir Thomas Cecil, the eldest son of Lord Burghley, had married Sir William Hatton, the nephew and heir of Lord Chancellor Hatton, and was soon after left a widow with a very large fortune at her own disposal. She was likewise noted for her wit, spirit, and turn for fashionable amusements. What was worse, she was said to Courts the be of a capricious and violent temper. Upon the whole, Bacon Lady Hatthought that the advantages of the connection predominated, and after a proper course of attention, in which he met with little encouragement, he proposed to her. It was a curious circumstance that she was at the same time addressed by his successful rival for the offices of Attorney and Solicitor General, Sir Edward Coke, who was then a widower with a large family and an immense fortune. If she had not read Francis Bacon's Essay on Love, and so suspected him to be of a cold constitution, one would have thought that she could not have hesitated for a moment between her accomplished cousin, —a bachelor between thirty and forty,—although then a briefless barrister, yet destined to high office,—and the crabbed Attorney General with all his practice and large estates,-who was well stricken in years, and to whom there were " seven objections-his six children and himself." Bacon met with a flat refusal, and she evidently favoured his rival. He thought, however, that he might succeed through the recommendation of Essex, who was then embarking on his famous expedition to Cadiz, and whom he thus addressed:-" My suit to your Lordship is for your several letters to be left with me dormant to the gentlewoman and either of her parents. Wherein I do not doubt but as the beams of your favour have often dissolved the coldness of my fortune, so in this argument your Lordship will do the like with your pen."

Is sup

ported by Essex.

Essex's letter to the cruel young widow would have been a great curiosity, but it is lost. To Sir Thomas Cecil he writes,

* Essay on Love.

CHAP.

LII.

marries

Sir Ed

ward Coke.

"My dear and worthy friend, Mr. Francis Bacon is a suitor to my Lady Hatton, your daughter. What his virtues and excellent parts are, you are not ignorant. What advantages you may give, both to yourself and to your house, by having a son-in-law so qualified, and so likely to rise in his profession, you may easily judge. Therefore, to warrant my moving of you to incline favourably to his suit, I will only add this, that if she were my sister or daughter, I protest I would as confidently resolve to farther it as I now persuade you." He wrote a similar letter to Lady Cecil, who was one of the co-heirs of Neville Lord Latimer, assuring her that she would happily bestow her daughter on Francis Bacon, "and if," says he, "my faith be any thing, I protest, if I had one as near to me as she is to you, I had rather match her with him than with men of far greater titles." Nevertheless, the wayward The Lady Lady Hatton thought fit to run off with the future Chief Hatton Justice, and to enter into a clandestine and irregular marriage with him, for which they were both prosecuted in the Ecclesiastical Court. Bacon, in the result, had great reason to rejoice at this escape; for the lady, from the honeymoon onwards, led Coke a most wretched life-refusing even to take his name, separating from him, doing every thing to vex and annoy him, and teaching his child to rebel against him. However, the first effect of this discomfiture of Bacon, Bacon is which, as we may suppose, was much talked of at Court and in the City, was to bring down upon him a relentless creditor; and, instead of entertaining Elizabeth as he had expected at Harefield, part of Lady Hatton's possessions which had belonged to Sir Christopher, he soon found himself confined in a spunging-house. He had borrowed the sum of 3007. from a usurer in Lombard Street of the name of Sympson, for which he had given a bond. An action having been brought against him on the bond, -as he had no defence, he gave a cognovit, with a stay of execution. The time of forbearance expired, and he was still unprepared to pay. He denounces "the Lombard* " as very hard-hearted, seemingly without much reason; for when there was a writ out against him

This seems then to have been used as a term of reproach, as Jew now is with us.

arrested for

debt.

CHAP.
LII.

house.

was

in the city, and he came to dine with Sheriff More, orders were given to the officer not to disturb the festivity of the Carried to day by arresting him. But a few days after, information a spunging- being given that he had been seen to enter the Tower, he "trained" as he returned through the city, and the "b —— bailiff" sacrilegiously placed his hand on the shoulder of the future Lord Chancellor, and author of the Novum Organum. They wished to carry him immediately to gaol; but his friend Sheriff More "recommended him to an handsome house in Coleman Street." The "Lombard," who lived close by, was sent for divers times, but would not so much as vouchsafe to come and speak with the poor prisoner, or take any order in the affair, but would leave him to his fate; "although," says Bacon, "a man I never provoked with a cross word no, nor with many delays."

He is liberated.

Altercation with Sir Edward Coke in

Court of

In this extremity he wrote a letter to Lord Keeper Egerton, suggesting that, as he had gone to the Tower on "a service of the Queen of no mean importance," he was privileged from arrest even in execution, "eundo manendo et redeundo;" but, without insisting on his privilege, requesting the Lord Keeper to send for Sympson, and to bring him to some reason. He wrote a similar letter from his place of captivity to Mr. Secretary Cecil, in which he says, "To belay me while he knew I came from the Tower about her Majesty's special service was, to my understanding, very bold." A satisfactory arrangement was made for the payment of the debt, and in a few days he was set at liberty.

*

To this disgrazia Coke ungenerously alluded in the famous altercation he afterwards had with Bacon at the bar of the Court of Exchequer. Mr. Attorney seems to have taken Exchequer, great offence because without his sanction, and without his having a brief and a fee, the Queen's Counsel had presumed to make a motion about re-seizing the lands of a relapsed recusant in which the Crown was concerned. Bacon in his own defence having used as gentle and reasonable terms as might be, Mr. Attorney kindled and said, "Mr. Bacon, if you

Letters to the Lord Keeper and Sir R. Cecil. Oct. 1598. Works, † Ibid.

vol. vi. 42.

have any tooth against me, pluck it out, for it will do you more hurt than all the teeth in your head will do you good." Bacon (coldly). "Mr. Attorney, I respect you; I fear you not: and the less you speak of your own greatness, the more I will think of it."

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Mr. Attorney. "I think scorn to stand upon terms of greatness towards you, who are less than little, less than the least," (adding other such strange light terms, with that insulting which cannot be expressed).

Bacon (stirred, yet self-possessed). "Mr. Attorney, do not depress me so far; for I have been your better and may be again, when it please the Queen."

"With this," says Bacon, "he spake neither I nor himself could tell what, as if he had been born Attorney General, and in the end bade me not meddle with the Queen's business but with mine own, and that I was unsworn." *

Bacon. "Sworn or not sworn is all one to an honest man; I have ever set my service first and myself second; and I wish to God that you would do the like."

Mr. Attorney. "It were good to clap a capias utlegatum upon your back."

Bacon. "I thank God you cannot, but you are at fault and hunt upon an old scent.Ӡ

An account of this scene was immediately sent by Bacon to Secretary Cecil, "as one careful of his advancement and jealous of his wrongs," and it must be taken with some grains of allowance, though he says, " he dared trust rumour in it, unless it were malicious or extreme partial," but on both sides it greatly exceeded the licence of forensic logomachy in our times, and with us much less must have led to a hostile meeting on Wimbledon Common or at Calais. But the law of the duello which was studied so sedulously in the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. by all other classes of gentlemen, seems to have been entirely neglected by those who addicted themselves to the common law of this realm.

Coke, conscious of his own inferiority in all liberal acquirements, continued to take every opportunity to "disgrace and

i.e. not sworn as Attorney or Solicitor General; yet he must have taken the oaths to serve her Majesty as Queen's Counsel.

CHAP.

LII.

CHAP.
LII.

Enmity of

Sir E.
Coke.

disable" Bacon's law, and his experience, and his discretion as an advocate. Yet this year, the Essayist and leader of the House of Commons gave proofs of professional learning and skill, which ought for ever to have saved him from such taunts. He wrote "the History of the Alienation Office," "History of a treatise worthy of Hale, showing a most copious and accurate acquaintance with existing law, and with our legal antiquities.

Bacon's

the Alien

ation Office."

His celebrated ar

gument in

Chud

leigh's case.

A. D. 1600.
Reading

on Statute
of Uses."

He likewise delivered his celebrated argument in the Exchequer Chamber in Chudleigh's Case, or "the Case of Perpetuities."* This was a very important crisis in the History of the Law of Real Property in England. An attempt, which in the succeeding century succeeded in Scotland, was making to introduce by the artifices of conveyancing, a system of unlimited substitutions or strict entails, which should effectually bar every species of alienation. "The great question in this particular case was, whether, there being a remainder limited by way of use upon a contingency, the destruction of the contingent estate by feoffment before the contingent remainder came in esse destroyed the contingent remainder?"—it being denied that where the contingent remainder was limited by way of use, there was any necessity that it should vest as at common law, at or before the determination of the preceding estate. Bacon's argument against this subtle device to create a perpetuity,-one of the most masterly ever heard in Westminster Hall,-was equal to that of Blackstone in Perrin v. Blake. He afterwards shaped it into a "Reading on the Statute of Uses," which he delivered when Double Reader of Gray's Inn, a tract which we now possess, and which shows the legal acuteness of a Fearne or a Sugden. He did not himself undervalue his exertions in placing the law on the satisfactory footing on which it has remained in England ever since,-striking the happy medium between mere life interests and perpetuities, and providing at once for the stability of families necessary in a mixed monarchy and freedom of commerce in land necessary for wealth under every form of government whatever. "I have chosen," says he,

* 1 Rep. 120. a.

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