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"Cogitata et Visa"

A. D. 1612.

asking promotion.

and execution of this Scotch nobleman have been justly considered as reflecting great credit on the administration of justice in the reign of James.

Bacon's practice at the bar, as he expected, did increase considerably by the prestige of office. The most important civil case in which he was concerned was that of Sutton's Hospital, in which the validity of the noble foundation of the Charter House was established against his strenuous and able efforts.*

A new court being established, called the "Court of the Verge of the Palace," he was appointed Judge of it, and he opened it with a charge to the Jury, recommending a strict execution of the law against duelling.

Mr. Solicitor in the mean time steadily went on with his philosophical labours, of which he occasionally gave a taste to the world in anticipation of what was still to be expected. He now published the "Cogitata et Visa," perhaps his most wonderful effort of subtle reasoning, and the "De Sapientiâ Veterum," decidedly his most successful display of imagination and wit. Of these he sent copies to his friend Mr. Matthew, saying, "My great work† goeth forward, and, after my manner, I alter ever when I add.” He likewise published a new and greatly enlarged edition of his Essays.

But, after all, what was nearest his heart was his official advancement. He was impatient to be Attorney General, for the superior profit and dignity of that situation; -and to secure it to himself on the next vacancy, he wrote the following letter to the King:

"It may please your Majesty,

"Your great and princely favours towards me, in adletter to the vancing me to place; and, that which is to me of no less King comfort, your Majesty's benign and gracious acceptation, from time to time, of my poor services, much above the merit and value of them; hath almost brought me to an opinion that I may sooner, perchance, be wanting to myself in not asking, than find your Majesty wanting to me in any my reasonable and modest desires. And, therefore, perceiving

* 10 Co. 1.

† Novum Organum.


how, at this time, preferments of law fly about mine ears, to СНАР. some above me, and to some below me, I did conceive your Majesty may think it rather a kind of dulness, or want of faith, than modesty, if I should not come with my pitcher to Jacob's well, as others do. Wherein I shall propound to your Majesty that which tendeth not so much to the raising of my fortune, as to the settling of my mind; being sometimes assailed with this cogitation, that by reason of my slowness to see and apprehend sudden occasions, keeping in one plain course of painful service, I may, in fine dierum, be in danger to be neglected and forgotten; and if that should be, then were it much better for me now, while I stand in your Majesty's good opinion, though unworthy, and have some little reputation in the world, to give over the course I am in, and to make proof to do you some honour by my pen, either by writing some faithful narrative of your happy, though not untraduced times; or by recompiling your laws, which, I perceive, your Majesty laboureth with; and hath in your head, as Jupiter had Pallas, or some other the like work, for without some endeavour to do you honour, I would not live; than to spend my wits and time in this laborious place wherein I now serve; if it shall be deprived of those outward ornaments which it was wont to have, in respect of an assured succession to some place of more dignity and rest, which seemeth now to be an hope altogether casual, if not wholly intercepted. Wherefore, not to hold your Majesty long, my humble suit to your Majesty is that, than the which I cannot well go lower; which is, that I may obtain your royal promise to succeed, if I live, into the Attorney's place, whensoever it shall be void; it being but the natural and immediate step and rise which the place I now hold hath ever, in sort, made claim to, and almost never failed of. In this suit I make no friends but to your Majesty, rely upon no other motive but your grace, nor any other assurance but your word; whereof I had good experience, when I came to the Solicitor's place, that it was like to the two great lights, which, in their motions, are never retrograde. So with my best prayers for your Majesty's happiness, I rest."*



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James admitted him to an audience, and promised, on the word of a King, that his request should be granted. Some time after, Hobart fell dangerously ill, upon which Bacon wrote to remind his Majesty of his promise.

"It may please your most excellent Majesty,

"I do understand by some of my good friends, to my great letter to comfort, that your Majesty hath in mind your Majesty's royal the King respecting promise, which to me is anchora spei, touching the Attorney's place. I hope Mr. Attorney shall do well. I thank God I wish no man's death, nor much mine own life, more than to do your Majesty service. For I account my life the accident, and my duty the substance. For this I will be bold to say, if it please God that I ever serve your Majesty in the Attorney's place, I have known an Attorney Coke, and an Attorney Hobart, both worthy men, and far above myself; but if I should not find a middle way between their two dispositions and carriages, I should not satisfy myself. But these things are far or near, as it shall please God. Meanwhile, I most humbly pray your Majesty to accept my sacrifice of thanksgiving for your gracious favour. God preserve your Majesty. I ever remain,

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If he was sincere in his hope that "Mr. Attorney should do well," he was gratified by Sir Henry's entire recovery.

Nevertheless, on the death of Fleming, the object was, with a little intriguing, accomplished. Bacon immediately wrote the following letter to the King:

"It may please your most excellent Majesty,

"Having understood of the death of the Lord Chief Justice, I do ground in all humbleness as an assured hope, that your Majesty will not think of any other but your poor servants, your Attorney and your Solicitor, one of them for that place. Else we shall be like Noah's dove, not knowing where to rest our feet. For the places of rest after the extreme painful places wherein we serve, have used to be either the Lord Chancellor's place, or the Mastership of the Rolls, or the places of Chief Justices; whereof for the first I could be almost loth to live to see this worthy councillor fail.† The † Ellesmere.

* Works, v. 323.

Mastership of the Rolls is blocked with a reversion.* My Lord Coke is likely to outlive us both. So as if this turn fail, I for my part know not whither to look. I have served your Majesty above a prenticehood full seven years and more as your Solicitor, which is, I think, one of the painfullest places in your kingdom, especially as my employments have been; and God hath brought mine own years to fifty-two, which I think is older than ever any Solicitor continued unpreferred. My suit is principally that you would remove Mr. Attorney to the place. If he refuse, then I hope your Majesty will seek no farther than myself, that I may at last, out of your Majesty's grace and favour, step forwards to a place either of more comfort or more ease. Besides, how necessary it is for your Majesty to strengthen your service amongst the Judges by a Chief Justice which is sure to your prerogative, your Majesty knoweth. Therefore I cease farther to trouble your Majesty, humbly craving pardon, and relying wholly on your goodness and remembrance, and resting in all true humbleness, &c."t

The King was ready to appoint either the Attorney or Solicitor; but Hobart was unwilling to resign his present office, which, thrice as profitable as that offered him, and held by as good a tenure, and Bacon himself, notwithstanding what he said about the worthy Chancellor Ellesmere, was eager for the Great Seal. He therefore resorted to a most masterly stroke of policy, to remove Coke to the King's Bench, and to make a vacancy in the office of Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, which, from its superior profit as well as quiet, Hobart was very willing to accept. With this view he drew up and submitted to the King

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"Reasons why it should be exceedingly much for his Majesty's service to remove the Lord Coke from the place he now holdeth to be Chief Justice of England, and the Attorney to succeed him, and the Solicitor the Attorney.

"First, It will strengthen the King's causes greatly amongst the Judges, for both my Lord Coke will think himself near a

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CHAP. Privy Councillor's place, and thereupon turn obsequious, and the Attorney General, a new man and a grave person in a Judge's place, will come in well to the other, and hold him hard to it, not without emulation between them who shall please the King best.

Oct. 27. 1613. Bacon,





"Secondly, The Attorney General sorteth not so well with his present place, being a man timid and scrupulous, both in parliament and other business, and one, in a word, that was made fit for the late Lord Treasurer's seat, which was to do little with much formality and protestation; whereas the new Solicitor, going more roundly to work, and being of a quicker and more earnest temper, and more effectual in that he dealeth in, is like to recover that strength to the King's prerogative which it hath had in times past, and which is due unto it. And for that purpose there must be brought to be Solicitor some man of courage and speech, and a grounded lawyer; which done, his Majesty will speedily find a marvellous change in his business. For it is not to purpose for the Judges to stand well disposed, except the King's counsel, which is the active and moving part, put the Judges well to it; for in a weapon what is a back without an edge?

"Thirdly, The King shall continue and add reputation to the Attorney's and Solicitor's place by this orderly advancement of them; which two places are the champion's places for his rights and prerogative, and being stripped of their expectaations and successions to great place, will wax vile, and then his Majesty's prerogative goeth down the wind. Besides this remove of my Lord Coke to a place of less profit, though it be with his will, yet will be thought abroad a kind of discipline to him for opposing himself in the King's causes, the example whereof will contain others in more awe." *

This plan was immediately adopted: Hobart, the Attorney General, became Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and Bacon Attorney General.

Soon after, the new Chief Justice of the King's Bench meeting the new Attorney General, said to him, "Mr. Attorney and torney, this is all your doing: it is you that has made this

Mr. At

* Works, vi. 71.

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