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delinquents were conveyed from their cells to the place of execution. The rope being fastened to the tree, was placed on their necks, and in this state they were allowed, for a few moments, to address the people who were collected around them. These awful moments were employed in avowing their unfeigned loyalty to the queen, and submission to the civil government of their country. They affirmed, that in what they had published they were far from meaning evil towards her Majesty, or the magistracy of the realm ; and if aught had escaped them which partook of irreverence as to any man's person, they confessed their sorrow, and implored forgiveness of the injured party. They acknowledged what they had written in support of their doctrine, but admonished the people to adopt their opinions only as they should find sound proof of the same in holy Scripture ;' and concluded with exhorting them not only to support the civil power, but, if need be, to submit to an unjust death, rather than resist it. When they had prayed for the queen, their country, and for all their enemies, and were in the act of closing their eyes upon the world, they were told that a reprieve had been sent by her Majesty. • This message,' the prisoners observe, was not only thankfully received of us, but with exceeding rejoicing of all the people, both at the place of execution, and in the ways, streets, and houses, as we returned.' On that day, Barrow sent a statement of these occurrences to a distinguished relative, having access to Elizabeth, and urged, that as his attachment to the queen's person and government could be no longer doubtful, he might be set at liberty, or at least be removed from the ' loathsome gayle' of Newgate. On the morning, however, of the following day, these deluded victims were conveyed secretly to the place of slaughter, and were there put to death.”
This is an instance of deliberate, judicial assassination ; and while Francis Bacon was “counsel extraordinary,” murder was one of his “good remedies !” Between Elizabeth and Mary, in religious matters, there is in fact little to choose, it is a mere question of degrees of blood-guiltiness. We may extenuate, but can never defend their conduct. They were both ecclesiastical tyrants, and the latter the more disinterested of the two. Mary butchered for the supremacy of the pope, Elizabeth for her own. The one was a consistent persecutor; she laboured in her vocation, she decimated under an indulgence; but the other was no legitimate purveyor to the seven-hilled monster, and her bishops did not belong to his kennel of ban-dogs ;—she was a protestant, her creed was the Bible; she shook her own throne when she made it so like his, and when she began to hang, draw, quarter, and burn, her conduct is branded with an infamy as black as that which settles on the memory of her sister.
It remains for this age, enlightened by centuries of bitter experience, to deprive the spirit of persecution of the means of mischief.
The three tracts next to be noticed relate to the unfortunate Earl of Essex, and the part which Bacon acted towards him as a friend and as an adverse counsel.
The first of these pieces was prepared by our author just after the extra-judicial investigation at York House, in June 1600, under the title of Proceedings of the Earl of Essex ; and it is a mere statement of the matters then and there “ laid to the earl's charge,” for the satisfaction of the queen. It was not “ imprinted” at the time, and Elizabeth never intended that it should be, for it really exhibits the whole inquiry as a mock-heroic farce, got up by “ her Majesty's servants,” rather to justify the doting queen’s dilatoriness, than to punish her refractory minion. After Whyte's, and Camden's, and Morrison's grave account of the trial, it lets us into the court secret, and shows how the folly of Elizabeth set in solemn motion the truckling privy council,“ enlarged and assisted,” as it was, by a corps of legal janizaries. Essex had disobeyed his orders, and a similar disobedience in modern times would have cost him his head; but it is evident from the prefatory matter of this tract, that the heroical septuagenarian never intended to punish him. It is perfectly astonishing that the sagacious relator of the earl's "proceedings" did not see their ridiculous incongruity with her Majesty's conduct. The ludicrous effect is considerably heightened by the
pompous assertion at the onset, of her Majesty being “imperial, and immediate under God, and not holden to render account of her actions to any."
Bacon played a part in this serio-comical affair, but it was a very inconsiderable one. There were four counsel engaged “ for charging the earl,” the Attorney-general, Sergeant Yelverton, the Solicitor-general, and Mr. Bacon," all her Highness's learned counsel,” and each had his character assigned. What were the instructions in our author's brief? “Her Majesty's pleasure was that we should all have parts in the business; and the lords falling into a dis
a tribution of our parts, it was allotted to me, that I should set forth some undutiful carriage of my Lord, in giving occasion and countenance to a seditious pamphlet, as it was termed, which was dedicated unto him.” Our worthy counsel demurs to that allotment on the very important ground, that it was an old matter, and had nothing to do with the charge; but he was told that that part was fittest for him, which did Essex the least hurt; and, whatever others did, he served both Crown and culprit well.
Notwithstanding a good deal of declamation on this subject, we think the conduct of Bacon was defensible. He had given Essex the soundest advice, and so long as the young man followed it, he was prosperous. His patron, or rather his generous client, had now got into disgrace by neglecting it, but he was in no danger, and before and at the very time when the frivolous part was assigned him against his friend, he was using his influence with the queen to procure a less ostentatious reconciliation. In fact he was professionally concerned for both parties, in the forthcoming masque of “ All for Love." It is well known that by the express direction of Elizabeth, there was no register or clerk to take the sentence against the earl, and no record or memorial inade of the proceeding. When the earl was“ at his liberty, Bacon made it his task and scope to take and give
, occasions for his redintegration in his fortunes," and no sooner was he“ at his liberty," than he embarked in fatal courses. Bacon did not forsake him, when to all appearance he had forsaken himself. “ Having received from his Lordship a courteous and loving acceptation of my good will and endeavours, I did apply it in all my accesses to the queen, which were very many at that time ; and purposely sought and wrought upon other variable pretences, but only and chiefly for that purpose. And on the other side, I did not forbear to give my Lord from time to time faithful advertisement what I found and what I wished.” The fact is that he exerted himself to the uttermost on behalf of his old friend. " And I drew for him, by his appointment, some letters to her Majesty; which though I knew well his Lordship’s gift and style was far better than mine own, yet because he required it, alleging that by his long restraint he was grown almost a stranger to the queen's present conceits, I was ready to perform it: and sure I am, that for the space of six weeks or two months, it prospered so well, as I expected continually his restoring to his attendance. And I was never better welcome to the queen, nor more made of, than when I spake fullest and boldest for him.” The reader will find the letters referred to, as “two letters framed, the one as from Mr. Antony Bacon to the Earl of Essex; the other as the earl's answer thereunto," being the substance of a letter he wished his Lordship should write to her Majesty. Afterwards the earl plunged into treasonable projects and practices, and Bacon determined to meddle no more in the matter. But he was made to “ meddle" as a counsel for the crown; and on the trial, which was a more serious affair than the last, Essex actually flung in Bacon's face the letters we have alluded to,—the letters drawn by Bacon, with his privity and by his appointment. Bacon never sought the service, either of evidence or examination; it was imposed upon him “ with the rest of his fellows ;” and though he was but once with the queen, between the sentence and its execution, he“ took hardiness to extenuate not the fact,” says he, “ for that I durst not, but the danger, telling her that if some base or cruelminded persons had entered into such an action, it might have caused much blood and combustion ; but it appeared well, they were such as knew not how to play the malefactors.”
Bacon offended all parties in this business ; the Cecils were not pacified, the friends of Essex were exasperated, the queen could not appreciate his involuntary obedience, and popular odium was his lot for years. He foresaw all this, and counted the cost; he did his duty by his friend, his queen, and his country, though no one thanked him for it.
But while we deem Bacon justifiable, as counsel in both trials, up to this time, and cannot but express our surprise that they who, in order to implicate him, resolve the whole duty of man into gratitude, should have completely forgotten the boundless obligations which Essex was under to his sovereign, compared with which his derivative present of Twickenham estate to Bacon was a trumpery gratuity; we confess that he should not have identified himself with A Declaration of the Practices and Treasons attempted and committed by Robert late Earl of Essex. Bacon should have left the penning of that book to Cecil, or Raleigh. Her Majesty had no control of his pen, whatever claim she might have to his tongue. He was perfectly at liberty here, and the fact of his lending himself to the job of posthumous condemnation excites some suspicion of the performance itself. We have a right to insist upon no garbling. The diligence of Mr. Jardine, in his work on Criminal Trials, has discovered that Bacon has been guilty of several important sins of omission ; that on comparing the depositions in the State Paper Office, which were proved on the trial of Essex, with those asserted by Bacon to be “taken out of the originals,” those passages which show that the treasons of Essex were vague proposals, destitute of malice prepense, are carefully left out. author “ gave only words and form of style” to this piece, (as he remarks in his Apology, from which we have often quoted, and to which we beg to refer our readers, for a very able and ingenuous statement of the whole business,) he gave every thing; he takes the court tract upon himself, and having afterwards acknowledged it, his reputation cannot be assoiled of it. Party morality, however, is notoriously lax; and literary hirelings now are not one jot less venal or less scrupulous than they were then. We believe that this was the first time that Bacon “ lent” his pen.
We now come to Bacon's Speech on the Motion of a Subsidy, on the 7th of March, 1592, which was rather too free for her Majesty, and for which he apologized to the lord treasurer and lord keeper, in two letters which are preserved. An extract from Dewe's Journal of the House of Commons, places our author in the position of the country party. This isolated speech was never forgiven. Thenceforth he determined to identify himself with the court, though his policy lay with the independent interest, with which he would have been allpowerful, and by which he was afterwards brought so low.
James was now on the throne, and our assiduous author had in readiness for him A Proclamation, drawn for his Majesty's first coming in. It was never used, and every one of its many predictions or promises was falsified. The other Draft of a Proclamation touching his Majesty's Stile, is of a nobler cast, it is a most eloquent document, but it was never used. Bacon now grew rapidly into fortune and distinction.
The discourses on the Union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland are of permanent value, and the principles which he unfolds and illustrates, will be found by no means destitute of a powerful bearing on a moot question of modern times, which already agitates England and Ireland, and will soon be discussed upon a larger scale in America. The tracts and speeches on this business abound in eloquence and wisdom of the highest and most sterling quality. He opens the first discourse in a manner which must have somewhat puzzled his pedantic master.
“I do not find it strange, excellent king, that when Heraclitus, he that was surnamed the obscure, set forth a certain book which is not now extant, many men took it for a discourse of nature, and many others took it for a treatise of policy. For there is a great affinity and consent between the rules of nature and the true rules of policy; the one being nothing else but an order in the government of the world, and the other an order in the
government of an estate. And therefore the education and erudition of the kings of Persia was in a science which was termed by a name then of great reverence, but now degenerate and taken in the ill part. For the Persian magic, which was the secret literature of their kings, was an application of the contemplations and observations of nature unto a sense politic; taking the fundamental laws of nature, and the branches and passages of them, as an original, a first model, whence to take and describe a copy and imitation for government.” He then produces a few examples of his meaning, and inflicts upon the pupil of Buchanan his attempt to revive in one particular a wisdom almost lost.
In the Articles or Considerations touching the Union of the Kingdoms, he seems to have abandoned the magic of the Persian and political chemistry, " for his Majesty's better service.” He alludes however to the first tract: “ In this argument I presumed at your Majesty's first entrance to write a few lines, indeed scholastically and speculatively, and not actively or politicly, as I held it fit for me at that time; when neither your Majesty was in that your desire declared, nor myself in that service used or trusted.” And thus proceeds with the present one: “But now that both your Majesty hath opened your desire and purpose with much admiration, even of those who give it not so full an approbation, and that myself was by the Commons graced with the first vote of all the Commons selected for that cause; not in any estimation of my ability, for therein so wise an assembly could not be so much deceived, but in an acknowledgment of my extreme labours and integrity in that business, I thought myself
every way bound, both in duty to your Majesty, and in trust to that house of parliament, and in consent to the matter itself, and in conformity to mine own travels and beginnings, not to neglect any pains that may tend to the furtherance of so excellent a work; wherein I will endeavour that that which I shall set down be nihil minus quam verba : for length and ornament of speech are to be used for persuasion of multitudes, and not for information of kings ; especially such a king as is the only instance that ever I knew to make a man of Plato's opinion, that all knowledge is but remembrance, and that the mind of man knoweth all things, and demandeth only to have her own notions excited and awaked.' This famous flattery finds its way into the Advancement of Learning. He therefore speaks to his Majesty as a remembrancer rather than as a counsellor, and lays before him the articles and points of this union, that he may the more readily call to mind which of them is to be embraced, and which to be rejected: which proceeded with presently, and which postponed ; which required authority of parliament, and which should be effected by prerogative; and lastly, which would be difficult and which easy of accomplishment.
In addition to these able pamphlets, we have two great speeches on The General Naturalization of the Scottish Nation, and The Union of Laws.
In 1606 he presented to the king, as a new year's gift, Certain Considerations touching the Plantation in Ireland, a politic proposal most beautifully stated. It is the Essay on Plantations applied to a particular case. “It seemeth,” says the mighty speculator, “God hath reserved to your Majesty's times two works, which amongst the works of kings have the supreme pre-eminence; the union, and the plantation of kingdoms." After adverting to the two heroical works, which the king was invited to undertake, the union of the island of Britain, and the plantation of great and noble parts of the island of Ireland, he adverts to the excellency of the latter, and the means of effecting it. Its excellency is fourfold-honour, policy, safety, and utility. Of the first of the four he had spoken already, “were it not that the harp of Ireland puts him in mind of that glorious emblem or allegory, wherein the wisdom of antiquity did figure and shadow out works of this nature.” But, referring our reader to the grand Orphean illustration, we only quote part of the last sentence: that the work would be most memorable, “ if your Majesty join the harp of David, in casting out the evil spirit of superstition, with the harp of Orpheus, in casting out deso
lation and barbarism.” The means to effect the work consist in the encouragement of undertakers, and the order and policy of the project itself, both of which are discussed in a manner which would not disgrace a modern economist. The centralization system, which is the key to modern efforts of colonization, seems to have been clearly understood by him. It may be mentioned, that the Considerations touching the Queen's Service in Ireland, in which he addresses himself to four points—the extinction of the war, the recovery of the hearts of the people, the prevention of new troubles, and plantations and buildings—might have been incorporated with The New Year's Gift, instead of being placed among the letters written in Elizabeth's time.
Some pregnant hints upon poor laws and education, will be found in his advice to the king touching the disposal of Mr. Sutton's estate. The property was great enough to lead into the discussion of three points, an hospital, a school, and a preacher. His views upon the first subject are in accordance with a recent measure of the legislature. “I commend most houses of relief and correction, which are mixt hospitals; where the impotent person is relieved, and the sturdy beggar buckled to work; and the unable person also not maintained to be idle, which is ever joined with drunkenness and impurity, but is sorted with such work as he can manage and perform and where the uses are not distinguished as in other hospitals ; whereof some are for aged and impotent, and some for children, and some for correction of vagabonds ; but are general and promiscuous : so that they may take off poor of every sort from the country, as the country breeds them: and thus the poor themselves shall find the provision, and other people the sweetness of the abatement of the tax.” He would have no distracted government of these places, but every thing would be regulated by "a settled ordinance, subject to a regular visitation.”
The fragment of the True Greatness of the Kingdom of Great Britain, is a very clear and deep dissertation. “I mean not to blazon and amplify, but only to observe and express matter;" and he is as good as his word, by confuting the errors, or rather correcting the excesses, of certain immoderate opinions, which ascribe too much to some points of greatness, which are not so essential, and by reducing those points to a true value and estimation: then by propounding and confirming those other points of greatness which are more solid and principal, though in popular discourse less observed : and incidentally by making a brief application, in both these parts, of these general principles to the state and condition of Great Britain. The negative and affirmative distribution of this extensive subject is most logical, but the only article which is finished is that on largeness of territory. The discussion of the second article, “ that there is too much ascribed to treasure or riches," so far as it goes, is the most striking and valuable part of the tract.
Bacon's Advice to Villiers when he became prime minister, is the manual of those courtiers who have the ambition to become statesmen. He advises the favourite “ for his carriage in so eminent a place; next in particular by what means to give despatches to suitors of all soits, for the king's best service, the suitors' satisfaction, and his own ease.” He gives free and sound general advice, and then divides public business into eight sorts. 1. Matters that concern religion, and the church and churchmen. 2. Matters concerning justice, and the laws, and the professors thereof. 3. Councillors, and the council table, and the great officers and offices of the kingdom. 4. Foreign negociations and embassies. 5. Peace and war, both foreign and civil, and in that the navy and forts, and what belongs to them. 6. Trade at home and abroad. 7. Colonies, and foreign plantations. 8. The court and curiality. “ Whatsoever,” says Bacon, “will not fall naturally under one of these heads, believe me, sir, will not be worthy of your thoughts, in this capacity we now speak of. And of these sorts, I warrant you, you will find enough to keep you in business.” Each head is discussed with equal brevity, prudence, and insight. He was an incomparable counsellor, and though the days of minions are over, there is much instruction for the soundest