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In consequence of the charges brought against him, he was sentenced to a heavy fine, to be imprisoned during the king's pleasure, and to be for ever disqualified from holding any public office or employment. Bacon indeed denied the truth of the accusations with which he was charged; and declared that he never had a bribe or a reward in his eye, or in his thoughts.
, It had long been the custom, a wrong one certainly, for presents to be offered to the Lord Chancellor, and it was urged in Bacon's defence, that he had only acted as others had done; that the gifts he received had been given openly, and in the presence of witnesses ; and that "though gifts rendered him suspected for injustice, yet never any decree made by him was reversed as unjust." All this may in some measure palliate his guilt, but it cannot wholly excuse him. We know that the Bible, which Bacon studied, not only commands us to “abhor that which is evil,” but even to “ abstain from all appearance of evil.” Had this celebrated man been more careful to attend to that injunction, his enemies would not have ventured to accuse him as they did ; and his friends would not have had to lament his humiliating fall from his former high position.
Bacon was however liberated after three days' imprisonment in the Tower ; he was also released from the fine which the House of Lords had imposed ; and some months after, he received pardon from the king. The remainder of his life was devoted to literary and philosophical pursuits, and it is remarkable that his death at last was the consequence of his zeal in the cause of science.
While travelling one day in spring, when the ground was covered with snow, the thought struck him, that perhaps flesh might be preserved in snow as well as in salt; and he determined to try the experiment immediately. Accordingly he alighted from the carriage, and baying purchased a fowl of a poor woman, he proceeded to stuff the body of the bird with snow. The chill whicb this operation occasioned, produced an illness which, in a few days, terminated the philosopher's life. He died in the year 1626, when about 65 years old.
XXX. A SAD PAGE IN ENGLISH
We too are friends to loyalty. We love
He is ours,
From what you have already heard of Charles, and of his early training, you may suppose that, amiable and gentle as he was, he was hardly likely to become a wise and firm king. He was still under the influence of the unprincipled Duke of Buckingham, who soon brought him into a great deal of trouble and vexation. One of the first acts of Buckingham, was to involve the country in a war with France. This occasioned consideraable expense to the nation, without producing any good effects; he naturally became disliked by the people, as the occasion of the evils from which they suffered, and remonstrances on his ill-conduct were made by the Commons in Parliament.
Soon after this, Buckingham had occasion to go to Portsmouth, upon some matters connected with the fleet and the army. While there, and engaged in conversation with one the colonels, he felt a sudden blow, and perceived that he had been stabbed by some unknown hand among the crowd that surrounded him. He cried out that he was killed, drew the knife from the fatal wound, and almost immediately expired. A general confusion followed ; and for some time, no one knew how or by whom the murder had been committed; but, at last, a hat was discovered, to which was sewn a paper containing the remonstrance of the Commons against Buckingham, and declaring him to be the enemy of the country. It was concluded therefore, that this hat belonged to the assassin. Presently a man was seen quietly walking before the door, without a hat. Some one called out,
- There is the man who killed the Duke.” - Where?
which is he?” cried the people. The stranger turned round, and calmly replied, “I am he." Several, in the beat of the moment, rushed upon him with drawn swords ; he made no effort to defend himself; and when they asked him who he was, and who had sent him to commit that dreadful murder, he replied, that he acted by himself alone, to satisfy the impulse of bis conscience. This singular person was found to be a man named Felton, who had served in the army under the command of the Duke of Buckingham. He was of a peculiar temperament of mind, and having heard the general complaints of the nation against Buckingham, he had worked himself up to imagine that he was appointed by Heaven to deliver his country from so wicked a man, and to fall a sacrifice in the attempt.
But the death of Buckingham did not produce much effect in turning the minds of the Commons towards the king. Charles had indeed been doing exceedingly wrong, in illegally levying certain taxes without the consent of bis Parliament. This act gave great offence, and was one cause, amongst many, of the subsequent evils of which we shall soon hear. The Commons complained of the illegality of the proceeding, and then Charles sent immediately to dissolve Parliament, and he did not call another for the space
of eleven years. Q