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the false ambition of supporting his official splendor, not by the baser goadings of avarice, or the more venial cravings of family provision; or that it was, in many instances, incurred by his blind indulgence of his servants.* Of this latter cause however, after it
* Rushworth affirms, that "the gifts taken were, for the most part, for interlocutory orders." That this is not correctly true, may perhaps safely be conjectured from the unwarrantable expression of Lord Clifford, who wished he had stabbed the LordKeeper;' a wish, hardly to be accounted for without the supposition of some signal injury. But the matter is placed beyond conjecture by the item in the black bead-roll of extortion, acknowledged by Lord Bacon on the proceedings before the House of Lords, respecting the able and unhappy Wraynham or Wrayngham; in whose case this President of a Court of Equity confessed, that upon his removing to York House he had received a suit of hangings to the value of 160l. and upward, which Sir Edward Fisher (Wraynham's adversary) gave him, by advice of Mr. Chute, toward furnishing his house. For complaining of this injustice in a petition to the King, that oppressed gentleman was prosecuted in the horrid Court of Star-Chamber, was fined and imprisoned (even unto death) instead of being relieved, and had the still heavier misery of seeing his family reduced from affluence to beggary. What the Lords, on their proceedings against Wraynham in the Star-Chamber for charging Lord Chancellor Bacon with injustice,' considered a libel and a slander, the Lords on their proceedings in parliament against the same Lord Chancellor, upon an impeachment for bribery and corruption in the execution of his high office,' considered a well-founded complaint and true in every particular! All this Bacon knew he knew Wraynham innocent and injured, himself guilty, and the Lords abused and misled; and yet he suffered him and his family to sink under calamities, from which after the long lapse of nearly two centuries they are but just under the providence of God beginning slowly to emerge. See State-Trials, VII. 102. The sentence pronounced against Mr. Wraynham is to be found in Popham's Reports, p. 135. Mr. Chalmers' short statement, in which he calls the injured party Wrenham,' does not appear to be drawn up with his accustomed candour and accuracy.
was too late, he became so sensible that when upon passing, during his prosecution, through a room where they were sitting, they all stood up, he said, "Sit down, my masters; your rise hath been my fall."*
The King, however, quickly released him from the Tower, made a grant of his fine to some trustees for his benefit, and settled upon him a pension of 1800/. per ann. But, as he applied the greatest part of his income to the payment of debtst contracted while he was in office, his expenses in procuring materials for experiments in natural philosophy compelled him to make such applications to James, as prove at once his consummate address and his perfect knowledge of that prince's disposition.
Sir Francis Bacon to the King.
For now it is thus with me; I am a year and half old in misery, though (I must ever acknowledge) not without some mixture of your Majesty's grace and mercy. For I do not think it possible, that any you once loved should be totally miserable. My own
While he sat abstracted at the upper end of the table, they are said to have cheated him at the lower.
What arms, asks one of his biographers, could suit him better than his own! Part of them are mullets, or stars: and "falling stars (says Guillim) are the emblem of the inconstancy of for tune, and unsure footing of ambitious aspirers, which may shine for a time; but in a moment fall headlong from the heaven of their hopes, and from the height of their honours, by the strokes of justice and by their own demerits."
† Yet, though about this time he discharged encumbrances to the amount of 8000l., he died nearly thrice that sum in debt. Such indeed, even after his fall, was his insuppressible passion for the parade of equipage, that Prince Charles observed one day (on seeing his retinue) "Well, do what we can, this man scorns to go out like a snuff.”
means, through mine own improvidence, are poor and weak, little better than my father left me. The poor things, which I have had from your Majesty, are either in question, or at courtesy. My dignities remain marks of your past favour, but yet burthens withal of my present fortune. The poor remnants which I had of my former fortunes, in plate or jewels, I have spread upon poor men, unto whom I owed, scarce leaving myself bread. So as, to conclude, I must pour out my misery before your Majesty, so far as to say; Si deseris tu, perimus.
But as I can offer to your Majesty's compassion little arising from myself to move you, except it be my extreme misery, which I have truly laid open; so looking up to your Majesty yourself, I should think I committed Cain's fault, if I should despair. Your Majesty is a King, whose heart is as inscrutable for secret motions of goodness, as for depth of wisdom. You are, Creator-like, factive, and not destructive: you are a prince, in whom I have ever noted an aversion against any thing that savoured of a hard heart: as, on the other side, your princely eye was wont to meet with any motion that was made on the relieving part. Therefore, as one that hath had the happiness to know your Majesty near hand, I have (most gracious Sovereign) faith enough for a miracle, much more for a grace that your Majesty will not suffer your poor creature to be utterly defaced, nor blot that name quite out of your book, upon which your sacred hand hath been so oft for new ornaments and additions. Unto this degree of compassion, I hope, God above (of whose mercy toward me, both in my prosperity and adversity, I have had great testimonies and pledges, though
mine own manifold and wretched unthankfulness might have averted them) will dispose your princely heart, already prepared to all piety. And why should I not think, but that thrice noble prince, who would have pulled me out of the fire of a sentence, will help to pull me (if I may use that homely phrase) out of the mire of an abject and sordid condition in my last days? And that excellent favourite of yours (the goodness of whose nature contendeth with the greatness of his fortune, and who counteth it a prize, a second prize to be a good friend, after that prize which he carrieth to be a good servant) will kiss your hands with joy, for any work of piety you shall do for me? And as all commiserating persons (specially such, as find their hearts void of malice) are apt to think, that all men pity them, I assure myself that the Lords of the Council (who, out of their wisdom and nobleness, cannot but be sensible of human events) will, in this way which I go for the relief of my estate, further and advance your Majesty's goodness toward me. For there is a kind of fraternity between great men that are, and those that have
been, being but the several tenses of one verb. Nay, I do farther presume, that both Houses of Parliament will love their justice the better, if it end not in my ruin. For I have been often told by many of my Lords (as it were, in excusing the severity of the sentence) that they knew, they left me in good hands.' And your Majesty knoweth well, I have been all my life long acceptable to those assemblies, not by flattery but by moderation, and by honest expressing of a desire to have all things go fairly and well.
But (if it may please your Majesty) for Saints, I shall give them reverence, but no adoration.
address is to your Majesty, the fountain of goodness: your Majesty shall, by the grace of God, not feel that in gift, which I shall extremely feel in help: for my desires are moderate, and my courses measured to a life orderly and reserved; hoping still to do your Majesty honour in my way. Only I most humbly beseech your Majesty to give me leave to conclude with those words, which necessity speaketh: Help me, dear Sovereign Lord and Master; and pity me so far, as I, that have borne a bag, be not now in my age forced in effect to bear a wallet; nor I, that desire to live to study, may not be driven to study to live. I most humbly crave pardon of a long letter, after a long silence. God of heaven ever bless, preserve, and prosper your Majesty ! Your Majesty's poor ancient Servant and Beadsman,
FR. ST. ALBAN.
He appears indeed, in some measure, to have regained his Sovereign's favour, and on the prorogation of parliament was consulted as to the proper methods of reforming the Courts of Justice, and taking away other public grievances, upon which he drew up a memorial still extant in his works. By additional marks, likewise, of royal indulgence he was so much soothed, amidst the anguish of a wounded character, that he resumed his studies with his accustomed ardor;* and, in the spring of 1622, published
"In his humiliated state," says Dr. Aikin, " he found some comfort in comparing his condition with that of three great men of antiquity-Demosthenes, Cicero, and Seneca-all of whom, after occupying high stations in their respective countries, had fallen into deliquency and been banished into retirement, where VOL. II. 2 H