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"to read upon the Statute of Uses, a law whereupon the inheritances of this realm are tossed at this day like a ship upon the sea, in such sort, that it is hard to say which bark will sink and which will get to the haven; that is to say, what assurances will stand good, and what will not. Neither is this any lack or default in the pilots, the grave and learned Judges, but the tides and currents of received error, and unwarranted and abusive experience, have been so strong as they were not able to keep a right course according to the law. Herein, though I could not be ignorant either of the difficulty of the matter which he that taketh in hand shall soon find, or much less of my own unableness which I have continual sense and feeling of, yet because I had more means of absolution than the younger sort, and more leisure than the greater sort, I did think it not impossible to work some profitable effect; the rather where an inferior wit is bent and constant upon one subject, he shall many times, with patience and meditation, dissolve and undo many of the knots which a greater wit, distracted with many matters, would rather cut in two than unknit; and, at the least, if my invention or judgment be too barren or too weak, yet by the benefit of other arts, I did hope to dispose and digest the authorities and opinions which are in cases of uses in such order and method as they should take light one from another, though they took no light from me."




This I think may be considered the most auspicious period Bacon's of Bacon's career. By increased practice at the bar he had prosperous overcome his pecuniary difficulties. He was sure of professional advancement upon the next vacancy. He had been slighted by Lady Hatton, but the Queen showed much more personal favour to him than to his rival, Coke, the Attorney General, and consulted him about the progress and conduct of all her law and revenue causes. She not only gave him frequent audiences at her palace, but visited him and dined with him in a quiet way in his lodge at Twickenham.*


• Bacon has himself given us a very amusing specimen of the royal talk on such occasions. It seems her Majesty was mightily incensed against a book lately published, which she denounced as “a seditious prelude to put into the people's head boldness and faction," and, having an opinion that there was treason in it, asked him "if he could not find any places in it that might be drawn within case of treason?"- Bacon. "For treason, Madam, I surely find none; but for


CHAP. literary eminence was very great both in England and on the Continent, not only from what he had already published, but from the great works he was known to have on hand, an outline of which he was at all times willing to communicate to such as were capable of appreciating his plans and discoveries. Above all, his reputation was as yet untarnished. His sudden wheel from the liberal to the conservative sidean occurrence which, even in our days, society easily pardons from its frequency- - was then considered merely as the ju dicious correction of a youthful indiscretion. All was now bright hope with him for the future without self-reproach when he reflected on the past.

felony very many.”— Elizabeth (very eagerly). “Wherein?”- Bacon. "Madam, the author hath committed very apparent theft, for he hath taken most of the sentences of Cornelius Tacitus, and translated them into English, and put them into his text."- Apology. Works, vol. vi. 221.




TRANSACTIONS now come upon us, which, though they did not seriously mar Bacon's fortunes, have affixed a greater stain upon his memory than even that judicial corruption by which he was at once precipitated from the height of power gratitute to and greatness.

We have seen how Essex behaved to him with princely munificence, and with more than fraternal affection. Their intimacy continued without abatement till the ill-fated young nobleman had incurred the displeasure of his Sovereign. He steadily supported the interest of his friend at Court by his personal exertions; and when he was to be absent in his expedition to the coast of Spain, he most earnestly recommended him to the Queen and all over whom he could expect to exercise any influence. Bacon repaid this kindness by the salutary advice he gave him, and above all by cautioning him against going as Lord Deputy to Ireland — a service unfit for his abilities, and which, from the errors he was in danger of committing in it, and the advantage to be taken of his absence by his enemies, was likely to lead to his ruin.

Bacon's in


turn from


In spite of Essex's unfortunate campaign, and unsuccessful Essex's renegotiations in Ireland, Bacon stuck by him as a defender, believing that he retained his place in the Queen's heart, and that he would yet have the disposal of the patronage of the Crown. On his sudden return without leave from his command, and his hurrying down to Nonsuch, where the Court lay, Bacon followed him, and had the mortification to find, that, after a gleam of returning favour, the Earl had been ordered into confinement. But, to guard against exaggeration of the misconduct about to be exposed, I most eagerly admit that



tions to the


his offences on the scaffold, Bacon showed him as much countenance as was entirely consistent with his own safety, convenience, and hope of advancement.

In a short interview which he had with him at Nonsuch, he said, "My Lord, Nubecula est, cito transibit; it is but a mist;" and he wisely advised him "to seek access to the Queen importune, opportune, seriously, sportingly, every way.'

While Essex was a prisoner in the custody of Lord Keeper representa- Egerton, at York House, as Bacon had frequent interviews with the Queen, which, he says, were only "about causes of her revenue and law business," the rumour ran that he was incensing her against his old patron; and even Robert Cecil mentioned it to him, saying one day in his house at the Savoy, "Cousin, I hear it, but I believe it not, that you should do some ill office to my Lord of Essex; for my part I am merely passive, and not active in this action; and I follow the Queen, and that heavily, and I lead her not. The same course I would wish you to take." Francis justified himself, and we believe truly, from the imputation. According to his own account he did every thing in his power to induce her to restore him to favour, resorting for this purpose to rhime as well as to reason. About the middle of Michaelmas term, 1600, as she intimated her intention to dine with him at Twickenham, "though he professed not to be a poet, he prepared a sonnet, directly tending and alluding to draw on her Majesty's reconcilement to my Lord," — which he presented to her at her departure. He likewise, as he says, strongly dissuaded her from prosecuting Essex, on account of his great popularity; and he adds, "Never was I so ambitious of any thing in my lifetime as I was to have carried some token or favour from her Majesty to my Lord, ---- using all the art I had both to procure her Majesty to send, and myself to be the messenger." Elizabeth mentioning to him one day at Whitehall the nomination of Lord Mountjoy for Deputy in Ireland, Bacon said to her, "Surely, Madam, if you mean not to employ my Lord of Essex thither again,

Apology. Works, vol. vi. 219.



your Majesty cannot make a better choice." "Essex!" said
she; "whensoever I send Essex back again into Ireland, I
will marry you; claim it of me." Whereunto, out of zeal
for the imprisoned Earl, he said, "Well, Madam, I will
release that contract, if his going be for the good of your
state." She was so far offended, that in Christmas, Lent,
and Easter term following, when he came to her on law
business, her face and manner were not so clear and
him as usual, and she was entirely silent respecting Essex.
After that she declared that she was resolved to proceed
against him by information ore tenus in the Star Cham-
ber, although it should be ad castigationem, et non ad destruc-
tionem. Then, to divert her entirely from this purpose,
Bacon said, "Madam, if you will have me speak to you in
this argument, I must speak to you as Friar Bacon's head
spake, that said first Time is, and then Time was, and Time
will never be; it is now far too late the matter is cold, and
hath taken too much wind."



account by Queen

We have the account of these dialogues only from himself Different after her death, and it is to be regarded with great suspicion, as there is reason to think that she gave a somewhat different Elizabeth. version of them in her lifetime; for, introducing his narrative, and alluding to the stories circulated against him, he says, "I will not think that they grew any way from her Majesty's own speeches, whose memory I will ever honour; if they did, she is with God, and miserum est lædi de quibus non possis queri."

Essex at

He takes to himself the entire merit of having the Star ProsecuChamber prosecution converted into the extrajudicial inquiry tion against before the Lord Keeper and other Commissioners at York York House*, by saying to her, "Why, Madam, if Why, Madam, if you will needs have a proceeding, you were best have it in some such sort as Ovid spoke of his mistress, est aliquid luce patente minus.”


ceases to

It is quite certain, however, that he had never ventured to Bacon visit his friend during his long captivity, or to give him any visit Essex. public support; and the people (to the honour of England be it spoken) ever shocked by private treachery and ingratitude,

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