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My dearest Lord,-It is both in cares and kindness, that small ones float up to the tongue and great ones sink down into the heart in silence. Therefore I could speak little to your lordship to-day, neither had I fit time. But I must profess thus much, that in this day's work you are the truest and perfectest mirror and example of firm and generous friendship that ever was in court. And I shall count every day lost, wherein I shall not either study your well doing in thought, or do your name honour in speech, or perform you service in deed. Good my lord, account and accept me your most bounden and devoted friend and servant of all men living,

March 7, 1616-17.


part nothing worth; that is, they can judge well of the mode of attaining the end, but ill of the value of the end itself."

He would have warned ambition that "the seeled dove mounts and mounts because he is unable to look about him."

To the supposition" that worldly power is the means to do good," he would have said, “A man who spends his life in an impartial search after truth, is a better friend to mankind than any statesman or hero, whose merits are commonly confined within the circle of an age or a nation, and are not unlike seasonable and favouring showers, which, though they be profitable and desirable, yet serve for that season only wherein they fall, and for a latitude of ground which they water; but the benefices of the philosopher, like the

Such is the nature of human delight; such the influences of the sun and the heavenly bodies, are nature of human foresight!

As he must have known, what he has so beautifully taught, that a man of genius can seldom be permanently influenced by worldly distinction; as he well knew that his own happiness and utility consisted not in action but in contemplation; as he had published his opinion that "men in great place are thrice servants; servants of the sovereign or state, servants of fame, and servants of business; so as they have no freedom, neither in their person, nor in their actions, nor in their times," it is probable that he was urged to this and to every other step on the road to aggrandizement, either by the importunities of his family, or by his favourite opinion, that "knowledge is never so dignified and exalted as when contemplation and action are nearly and strongly conjoined together: a conjunction like unto that of the two highest planets, Saturn, the planet of rest and contemplation, and Jupiter, the planet of civil society and action."

It has been said by some of the ancient magicians, that they could see clearly all which was to befall others, but that of their own future life they could discern nothing. It might be a curious speculation for any admirer of the works of this great man, to collect the oracles he would have delivered to warn any other philosopher of the probable danger and certain infelicity of accepting such an office in such times,

To the hope of wealth he would have said, "it diverts and interrupts the prosecution and advancement of knowledge, like unto the golden ball thrown before Atalanta, which, while she goeth aside and stoopeth to take it up, the race is hindered.

"Declinat cursus aurumq. volubile tollit."

To the importunities of friends he would have answered by his favourite maxim, "You do not duly estimate the value of pleasures; for if you observe well, you shall find the logical part of some men's minds good, but the mathematical VOL. I.-(9)

for time permanent, for place universal: those again are commonly mixed with strife and perturbation; but these have the true character of divine presence, and come in aura leni without noise or agitation."

The flattering illusion of good to result from the union of contemplation and action, would have been dissipated by the admonition, that the life and faculties of man are so short and limited that this union has always failed, and must be injurious both to the politician and to the philosopher. To the politician, as, from variety of speculation, he would neither be prompt in action nor consistent in general conduct; and as, from meditating upon the universal frame of nature, he would have little disposition to confine his views to the circle where his usefulness might be most beneficial. To the philosopher, as powers intended to enlarge the province of knowledge, and enlighten distant ages, would be wasted upon subjects of mere temporary interest, debates in courts of justice, and the mechanism of state business. That Bacon should have been doomed to such occupations, that he, who stood the lofty beacon of science, evermore guiding the exploring scholar in voyages of discovery to improve and bless mankind, should voluntarily have descended to the shifting quicksands of politics, is a theme for wonder and pity. He could have pointed cut to another the shoals, the sunken rocks, and the treacherous nature of the current; but he adventured,-and little minds can now point out where he was lost, and where the waters went over his soul.

Much as it is to be lamented that he should have accepted this office, the loss to science seems, in some sort, to have been compensated by his entire devotion to his professional and political duties: duties for which he possessed unrivalled powers.

It has been truly said by the biographer of Bacon's successor, that "the chancellorship of England is not a chariot for every scholar to get (2)

As a Statesman, we have seen that he was cradled in politics; that his works abound with notices of his political exertions; that his advice to Sir George Villiers is an essay upon all the various duties of a statesman, with respect to religion, justice, the council table, foreign negotiations, peace and war, trade, the colonies, and the court; and of his parliamentary eloquence his friend Ben Jonson says, "There happened in my time one noble speaker, who was full of gravity in his speaking; his language, where he could spare or pass by a jest, was nobly censorious. No man ever spake more neatly, more pressly, more weightily, or suffered less emptiness, less idleness, in what he uttered. No member of his speech but consisted of his own graces. His hearers could not cough or look aside from him without loss. He commanded where he spoke, and had his judges angry and pleased at his devotion. No man had their affections more in his power. The fear of every man that heard him was lest he should make an end."

up and ride in. Saving this one, perhaps it would | or state above them :" and in his addresses to take a long day to find another. Our laws are the judges upon their appointment or promotion, the wisdom of many ages, consisting of a world he availed himself of every opportunity to explain of customs, maxims, intricate decisions, which them. are responsa prudentum. Tully could never have boasted, if he had lived amongst us, Si mihi vehementer occupato stomachum moverint, triduo me jurisconsultum profitebor. He is altogether deceived, that thinks he is fit for the exercise of our judicature, because he is a great rabbi in some academical authors; for this hath little or no copulation with our encyclopedia of arts and sciences. Quintilian might judge right upon the branches of oratory and philosophy, Omnes disciplinas inter se conjunctionem rerum, et communionem habere. But our law is a plant that grew alone, and is not entwined into the hedge of other professions; yet the small insight that some have into deep matters, cause them to think that it is no insuperable task for an unexpert man to be the chief arbiter in a court of equity. Bring reason and conscience with you, the good stock of nature, and the thing is done. Equitas optimo cuique notissima est, is a trivial saying, a very good man cannot be ignorant of equity; and who knows not that extreme right is extreme injury? But they that look no further than so, are shortsighted for there is no strain of wisdom more sublime, than upon all complaints to measure the just distance between law and equity; because in this high place, it is not equity at lust and pleasure that is moved for, but equity according to decrees and precedents foregoing, as the dewbeaters have trod the way for those that come after them."

Of Bacon's fitness for this office, some estimate may be formed by a consideration of the four principal qualifications of a chancellor, as

A Lawyer,

A Judge,

A Statesman,

And the Patron of Preferment.

As a Lawyer he had for a series of years been engaged in professional life. He had been solicitor and attorney-general; had published upon diferent parts of the law; had deeply meditated upon the principles of equity, and had availed himself of every opportunity to assist in improvement of the law, in obedience to his favourite maxim," that every man is a debtor to his profession, from the which, as men do of course seek countenance and profit, so ought they of duty to endeavour themselves, by way of amends, to be a help and ornament."

As a Patron, he considered preferment a sacred trust, to preserve and promote high feeling, encourage merit, and counteract the tendency of learning to dispose men to leisure and privateness.

In his advice to Villiers, as to the patrimony of the church, he says, " You will be often solicited, and perhaps importuned to prefer scholars to church livings; you may further your friends in that way, 'cæteris paribus;' otherwise remember, I pray, that these are not places merely of favour; the charge of souls lies upon them, the greatest account whereof will be required at their own hands; but they will share deeply in their faults who are the instruments of their preferment."

A few weeks after he was appointed lord keeper, he thus writes to a clergyman of Trinity College, Cambridge: "After my hearty commendations, I have heard of you, as a man well deserving, and of able gifts to become profitable in the church; and there being fallen within my gift the rectory of Frome St. Quintin, with the chapel of Evershot, in Dorsetshire, which seems to be a thing of good value, eighteen pounds in the king's books, and in a good country, I have thought good to make offer of it to you: the rather for that you are of Trinity College, whereof myself was some time and my purpose is to make choice of men rather by care and inquiry, than by their own suits and commendatory letters. So I bid you farewell.

As a Judge, he, from his infancy, had seen the different modes in which judicial duties were discharged, had meditated deeply and published his opinions upon the perfection of these duties "to the suitors, to the advocates, to the officers of justice underneath them, and to the sovereign From Dorset House, 23d April, 1617.

From your loving friend,


Upon sending to Buckingham his patent for prayed unto thee that it might stretch her branches creating him a viscount, he says, "I recommend to the seas and to the floods." unto you principally, that which I think was never done since I was born, and which, because it is not done, hath bred almost a wilderness and solitude in the king's service; which is, that you countenance, and encourage, and advance able men, in all kinds, degrees, and professions. For in the time of the Cecils, the father and the son, able men were by design and of purpose suppressed; and though of late choice goeth better, both in church and commonwealth, yet money and time-serving, and cunning canvasses and importunity prevaileth too much. And in places of moment, rather make able and honest men yours, than advance those that are otherwise, because they are yours."

Whatever were Sir Francis's gratifications, attendant upon the dignity of this promotion, in direct pecuniary profit he sustained great loss: as he relinquished his office of attorney-general, worth at least £6000 a year, his chancellorship to the prince, and his post of Registrar of the Star Chamber, worth about £1600 a year, whilst the direct profits of the great seal were only £918, 15s. Of the amount of the indirect profits from fees and presents it is, of course, impossible to form a correct estimate. It must, however, have been considerable, as, according to the oriental customs of the times, statesmen were then seldom approached by a suitor without some acceptable offering.

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And in his appointment of judges, it will be The new year's gifts, regularly presented to seen that he was influenced only by an anxiety the king, were of immense value, and were given to select the greatest ability and integrity, "sci- by the great officers of state, peers and peeresses, ence and conscience," for these important trusts. the bishops, knights, and their ladies, gentlemen In the exercise of this virtue there was not any and gentlewomen, and even from the tradesmen, merit peculiar to Bacon. It was the common and all the officers of the household. These presympathy for intellect, which, from consciousness sents were chiefly in money, but sometimes vaof the imbecility and wretchedness attendant upon ried by the taste of the donors. As a matter of ignorance, uses power to promote merit and re- curiosity, it may be noticed, that Sir Francis lieve wrongs. It passes by the particular infirmi- Bacon gave to the queen" one pettycoat of white ties of those who contribute any thing to the sattin, embrodered all over like feathers and biladvancement of general learning, judging it lets, with three broad borders, fair embrodered fitter that men of abilities should jointly engage with snakes and fruitage, emblems of wisdom against ignorance and barbarism. This had and bounty;' exhibiting, even at that day, many years before his promotion been stated a fancy delighting in splendour and allegory; by Bacon: "Neither can this point otherwise and so general was the practice, that when Bacon be; for learning endueth men's minds with a applied to the queen to be appointed solicitortrue sense of the frailty of their persons, the general, his application was accompanied by the casualty of their fortunes, and the dignity of their present of a jewel. soul and vocation: so that it is impossible for them to esteem that any greatness of their own fortune can be a true or worthy end of their being and ordainment; whereas the corrupter sort of mere politicians, that have not their thoughts established by learning in the love and apprehension of duty, nor ever look abroad into universality, do refer all things to themselves, and thrust themselves into the centre of the world, as if all lines should meet in them and their fortunes; never caring, in all tempests, what becomes of the ship of state, so they may save themselves in the cockboat of their own fortune."

This custom of making presents to persons in power was not confined to the reigning monarch, but extended to statesmen. They were made, as of course, to Lord Salisbury, to Lord Burleigh, and to all persons in office, and made by the most virtuous members of the community. The same custom extended to the chancellor, and to the judges. In the time of Henry the Sixth the practice existed. In the time of Sir Thomas More, when the custom seems to have been waning, presents were, without any offence, offered to that righteous man; and it is mentioned by the biographer of Sir Augustine Nicholls, one of the judges in the time of James the First, as an

integrity, even to the rejection of gratuities after judgment given, and a charge to his followers that they came to their places clear-handed, and that they should not meddle with any mouons to him, that he might be secured from all appearance of corruption."

This truth, necessarily attendant upon all knowledge, is not excluded from judicial know-instance of his virtue, that "he had exemplary ledge. It has influenced all intelligent judges: Sir Thomas More; the Chancellor de l'Hôpital; Lord Somers, to whom he has been compared; D'Aguesseau; Sir Edward Coke, and Sir Matthew Hale. Bacon's favourite maxim therefore was, "Detur digniori: qui beneficium digno dat omnes obligat;" and in his prayer, worthy of a chancellor, he daily said, "This vine, which my right-hand hath planted in this nation, I have ever

This custom, which, more or less, seems to have prevailed at all times in nations approaching civilization, was, about the year 1560, partially

abolished in France by the exertions of l'Hôpital, | practice was afterwards abolished; the amount of which abolition is thus stated by Mr. Butler, in his life of the chancellor:

"Another reformation in the administration of justice, which l'Hôpital wished to effect, was the abolition of the épices, or presents made, on some occasions, by the parties in a cause to the judges by whom it was tried.

"A passage in Homer, where he describes a compartment in the shield of Achilles, in which two talents of gold were placed between two judges, as the reward of the best speaker, is generally cited to prove that, even in the earliest times, the judges were paid for their administration of justice.

"Plutarch mentions, that, under the administration of Pericles, the Athenian magistrates were first authorized to require a remuneration from the suitors of their courts. In ancient Rome, the magistrates were wholly paid by the public; but Justinian allowed some magistrates of an inferior description to receive presents, which he limited to a certain amount, from the suitors before them. "Montesquieu observes, that, in the early ages of the feudal law, when legal proceedings were short and simple, the lord defrayed the whole expense of the administration of justice in his court. In proportion as society became refined, a more complex administration of justice became necessary; and it was considered that not only the party who was cast should, on account of his having instituted a bad cause, but that the successful party should, on account of the benefit which he had derived from the proceedings of the court, contribute, in some degree, to the expenses attending them; and that the public, on account of the general benefit which it derived from the administration of justice, should make up the deficiency.'

the épices was regulated; and, in many cases, the taking of them was absolutely forbidden. Speaking generally, they were not payable till final judgment; and if the matter were not heard in court, but referred to a judge for him to hear, and report to the court upon it, he was entitled to a proportion only of the épices, and the other judges were entitled to no part of them. Those among the magistrates who were most punctual and diligent in their attendance in court, and the discharge of their duty, had most causes referred to them, and were therefore richest in épices; but the superior amount of them, however it might prove their superior exertions, added little to their fortune, as it did not often exceed £50, and never £100 a year. The judges had some other perquisites, and also some remuneration from government; but the whole of the perquisites and remuneration of any judge, except those of the presidents, amounted to little more than the èpices. The presi dents of the parliament had a higher remuneration; but the price which they paid for their offices was proportionably higher, and the whole amount received by a judge for his épices, perquisites, and other remunerations, fell short of the interest of the money which he paid for the charge; so that it is generally true, that the French judges administered justice not only without salary, but even with some pecuniary loss. Their real remuneration was the rank and consideration which their office gave them in society, and the respect and regard of their fellow-citizens. How well does this illustrate Montesquieu's aphorism, that the principle of the French monarchy was honour! It may be truly said, that the world has not produced a more learned, enlightened, or honourable order in society, than the French magistracy.


families and protectors, and by any other person whom the suitors thought likely to influence the decision of the causes in their favour. But it all amounted to nothing:-to all these solicitations the judges listened with equal external reverence and internal indifference; and they availed themselves of the first moment when it could be done with decency, to bow the parties respectfully out of the room: it was a corvée on their time which they most bitterly lamented."

Englishmen are much scandalized, when they "To secure to the judges the proportion which are informed that the French judges were perthe suitors were to contribute towards the ex-sonally solicited by the suitors in court, their penses of justice, it was provided, by an ordonnance of St. Louis, that, at the commencement of a suit, each party should deposit in court the amount of one-tenth part of the property in dispute that the tenth deposited by the unsuccessful party should be paid over to the judges on their passing sentence; and that the tenth of the successful party should then be returned to him. This was varied by subsequent ordonnances. Insensibly it became a custom for the successful party to wait on the judges, after sentence was passed, and, as an acknowledgment of their attention to the cause, to present them with a box of sweetmeats, which was then called épices, or spices. By degrees, this custom became a legal perquisite of the judges; and it was converted into a present of money, and required by the judges before the cause came to hearing: Non deliberetur donec solventur species, say some of the ancient registers of the parliaments of France.


Bacon had scarcely been an hour appointed lord keeper, when these presents of gold and of furniture, and of other costly articles, were showered upon him by various persons, and, amongst others, by the suitors of the court.

Immediately after his appointment as lord keeper, he waited upon the late lord chancellor to acquit himself of the debt of personal gratitude which he owed to that worthy person, and to ac quaint him with his master's gracious intentions

With respect to the excess of jurisdiction, or tumour of the court, which was the first admonition, the lord keeper dilated upon all the causes of excess, and concluded with an assurance of his temperate use of authority, and his conviction that the health of a court as well as of a body consisted in temperance.

to confer upon him the title of an earl, with a | intention to obey what he was pleased to call his pension for life; an honour which, as he died on majesty's righteous commandments. the 15th of the month, before the completion of the arrangements, was transferred to his son, who was created Earl of Bridgewater by the first patent to which the new lord keeper affixed the seal. On the 14th of March the king quitted England, to visit his native country; and Sir Francis had scarcely been a week raised to the office of lord keeper, when he was placed at the head of the council, and intrusted with the management of all public affairs.

The king was accompanied by Buckingham, who, in his double capacity of prime minister, and master of the revels, assisted with equal readiness at the discussions which were to direct the nation, and the pastimes contrived to amuse the king. Graceful in all exercises, and a fine dancer, Buckingham brought that diversion into great request, while his associates willingly lent themselves to the devices which his better taste disdained; for James is said to have loved such representations and disguises as were witty and sudden, the more ridiculous the more pleasant.

The policy of the favourite seems to be clear. He had endeavoured to prevent the king's visit; and, in surrounding his royal master with these buffooneries, he well knew that he should disgust the better part of the Scottish nobility, and keep aloof all those grave and wise councillors, who could not recognise, under the disguise of a masquer, the learned pupil of Buchanan, and the ruler of two kingdoms.

Through the whole of this progress a constant communication was maintained between Buckingham and the lord keeper.

On the 7th of May, being the first day of term, the lord keeper went in great state to Westminster, in the following order:

1. Clerks and inferior officers in chancery. 2. Students in law.

3. Gentlemen servants to the keeper, sergeants-at-arms, and the seal-bearer, all on foot.


4. Himself, on horseback, in a gown purple satin, between the treasurer and the keeper of the privy seal.

5. Earls, barons, and privy councillors. 6. Noblemen of all ranks.

With respect to the cautious sealing of patents, which was the second admonition, the lord keeper having stated six principal cases in which this caution was peculiarly requisite, and to which he declared that his attention should be directed, thus concluded: "And your lordships see in this matter of the seal, and his majesty's royal commandment concerning the same, I mean to walk in the light, so that men may know where to find me; and this publishing thereof plainly, I hope will save the king from a great deal of abuse, and me from a great deal of envy; when men shall see that no particular turn or end leads me, but a general rule.

With respect to speedy justice, which was the third admonition, and upon which, in his essays on "Delay and Despatch," it appears that he had maturely deliberated, he explained the nature of true and affected despatch; and, having divided delays, into the delays of the judge and of the suitor, he said, "For myself, I am resolved that my decree shall come speedily, if not instantly after the hearing, and my signed decree speedily upon my decree pronounced. For fresh justice is the sweetest; and to the end that there be no delay of justice, nor any other means-making or labouring, but the labouring of the counsel at the bar.

"Again, because justice is a sacred thing, and the end for which I am called to this place, and therefore is my way to heaven; and if it be shorter, it is never a whit the worse, I shall, by the grace of God, as far as God will give me strength, add the afternoon to the forenoon, and some fourth night of the vacation to the term, for the expediting and clearing of the causes of the court; only the depth of the three long vacations I would reserve in some measure free from business of estate, and for studies, arts, and sciences, to which in my own nature I am most inclined. There is another point of true expedition,


7. Judges, to whom the next place to the which resteth much in myself, and that is in my

privy councillors was assigned.

In this pomp he entered the hall. How different from the mode in which his successor took his seat!

Upon the lord keeper's entrance, he, in the presence of so many honourable witnesses, addressed the bar, stating the nature of the charge which had been given to him by the king, when he was intrusted with the great seal, and the modes by which, under the protection of God, it was his

manner of giving orders. For I have seen an affectation of despatch turn utterly to delay at length: for the manner of it is to take the tale out of the counsellor at the bar his mouth, and to give a cursory order, nothing tending or conducing to the end of the business. It makes me remember what I heard one say of a judge that sat in chancery; that he would make forty orders in a morning out of the way, and it was out of the way indeed; for it was nothing to the end of the busi

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