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with favour upon the son of a minister, who had served her faithfully for twenty long years, and upon a young man whom, when he was a child, she had caressed, she had distinguished by the appellation of her "young Lord Keeper." But Francis Bacon was abandoned and perhaps opposed by the colleague and nearest friend of his father, the brother-in-law of his mother, his maternal uncle Lord Burleigh, then Prime Minister, who feared for his son the rivalry of his all-talented nephew, It is a trick common to envy and detraction, to convert a man's very qualities into their concomitant defects; and because Bacon was a great thinker, he was represented as unfit for the active duties of business, as "a man rather of show than of depth," as a speculative man, indulging himself in philosophical reveries and calculated more to perplex than to promote public business 1." Thus was the future ornament of his country and of mankind sacrificed to Robert, afterwards Sir Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, of whose history fame has learned but little, save the execution of Essex and Mary Queen of Scots, the name and this petty act of mean jealousy of his father! In the disposal of patronage and place, acts and even motives of this species are not so unfrequent as the world would appear to imagine. In all ages, it is to be feared, many and great, as in Shakspeare's time, are

the spurns

That patient merit of th' unworthy takes.

It is however but justice to the morals of Lord Burleigh to add that he was insensible to literary merit; he thought a hundred pounds too great a reward to be given to Spenser for what he termed "an old song," for so he denominated the "Faery Queen."

Bacon then selected the law as his profession; and in 1580 he was entered of Gray's Inn 2; he resisted the temptations of his companions and friends (for his company was much courted), and diligently pursued the study he had chosen; but he did not at this time entirely lose sight of his philosophical speculations, for he then published his "Temporis partus

1 Sir Robert Cecil.

2 Gray's Inn is one of the four Inns or companies for the study of law.

maximus, or the Greatest Birth of Time." This work, notwithstanding its pompous title, was unnoticed or rather fell still-born from the press; the sole trace of it is found in one of his letters to Father Fulgentio.

In 1586 he was called to the bar; his practice there appears to have been limited, although not without success; for the Queen and the Court are said to have gone to hear him when he was engaged in any celebrated cause. He was, at this period of his life, frequently admitted to the Queen's presence and conversation. He was appointed her Majesty's Counsel extraordinary', but he had no salary and small fees.

In 1592 his uncle, the Lord Treasurer, procured for him the reversion of the registrarship of the Star Chamber, worth 16007. (40,000 francs) a year; but the office did not become vacant till twenty years after, so that, as Bacon justly observes, "it might mend his prospects but did not fill his barns.

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A parliament was summoned in 1593 and Bacon was returned to the House of Commons for the County of Middlesex; he distinguished himself here as a speaker. "The fear of every man who heard him, says his contemporary, Ben Jonson, was lest he should make an end. He made, however, on one occasion a speech which much displeased the Queen and Court. Elizabeth directed the Lord Keeper to intimate to him that he must expect neither favour nor promotion; the repentant courtier replied in writing that Majesty's favour was dearer to him than his life 2.

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In the following year the situation of Solicitor General 3 became vacant. Bacon ardently aspired to it. He applied successively to Lord Burleigh his uncle, to Lord Puckering his father's successor, to the Earl of Essex their rival, and finally to

1 King's or Queen's Counsel are barristers that plead for the government; they receive fees but no salary; the first were appointed in the reign of Charles II. Queen's Counsel extraordinary was a title peculiar to Bacon, granted, as the patent specially states, honoris causa. 2 Letter to Lord Burleigh.

3 The Solicitor General is a law-officer inferior in rank to the Attorney General, with whom he is associated in the management of the law business of the crown. He pleads also for private individuals, but not against government. He has a small salary, but very considerable fees. The salary in Bacon's time was but seventy pounds. (V. note 1, page 10.)

the Queen herself, accompanying his letters, as was the custom of the times, with a present, a jewel'. But once more he saw mediocrity preferred and himself rejected. A Serjeant Fleming was appointed her Majesty's Solicitor General. Bacon overwhelmed by this disappointment wished to retire from public life and to reside abroad. "I hope, ' said he in a letter to Sir Robert Cecil," her Majesty would not be offended that, not able to endure the sun, I fled into the shade.


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The Earl of Essex, whose mind, says Mr. Macaulay, “naturally disposed to admiration of all that is great and beautiful, was fascinated by the genius and the accomplishments of Bacon a. " He had exerted every effort in Bacon's behalf; to use his own language he spent all his power, might, authority and amity;" he now sought to indemnify him and, with royal munificence, presented him with an estate of the value of nearly two thousand pounds, a sum worth perhaps four or five times the amount in the money of our days. If any thing could enhance the benefaction, it was the delicacy with which it was conferred, or, as Bacon himself expresses it," with so kind and noble circumstances as the manner was worth more than the matter.

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Bacon published his Essays in 1597, he considered them but as the "recreations of his other studies. The idea of them was probably first suggested by Montaigne's Essais, but there is little resemblance between the two works beyond the titles. The first edition, contained but ten Essays which were shorter than they now are. The work was reprinted in 4598, with little or no variation; again in 1606; and in 1612 there was a fourth edition, etc. However he afterwards, he says, enlarged it both in number and weight;" but it did not assume its present form until the ninth edition in 1625, that is, twenty eight years after its first publication, and one year before the death of the author. It appeared under the new title of "The Essaies or Covnsels Civill and Morall, of Francis Lo. Vervlam,

1 Bacon was, like other courtiers, in the habit of presenting the Queen with a New Year's gift. On one occasion it was a white satin petticoat embroidered with snakes and fruitage, as emblems of wisdom and beauty. The donors varied in rank from the Lord Keeper down to the dust-man.

2 Essays.

Viscovnt St. Alban. Newly enlarged." This is not followed by the "Religious Meditations, Places of Perswasion and Disswasion, seene and allowed." The Essays were soon translated into Italian with the title of " Saggi Morali del Signore Francesco Bacono, Cavagliero Inglese, Gran Cancelliero d'Inghilterra." This translation was dedicated to Cosmo de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany; and was reprinted in London in 4648. Of the three Essays added after Bacon's decease, two of them of a King and Of Death are not genuine; the Fragment of an Essay on Fame alone is Bacon's.

In this same year (1597) he again took his seat in parliament. He soon made ample amends for his opposition speech in the previous session; but this time he gained the favour of the Court without forfeiting his popularity in the House of Commons.

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He now thought of strengthening his interest or increasing his fortune by a matrimonial connexion; and he sought the hand of a rich widow, Lady Hatton, his second cousin; but here he was again doomed to disappointment; a preference was given to his old rival, the Attorney General, Sir Edward Coke, notwithstanding the "seven objections to him six children and himself." But although Bacon was perhaps unaware of it, the rejection of his suit was one of the happiest events of his life; for the eccentric manners and violent temper of the lady rendered her a torment to all around her and probably most of all to her husband. In reality, as has been wittily observed, the lady was doubly kind to him; "she rejected him and she accepted his enemy.

Another mortification awaited him at this period. A relentless creditor, a usurer had him arrested for a debt of 300 pounds and he was conveyed to a spunging-house, where he was confined for a few days, until arrangements could be made to satisfy the claim or the claimant.

We now arrive at a painfully sad point in the life of Bacon; a dark foul spot which should be hidden for ever, did not history, like the magistrate of Egypt that interrogated the dead, demand that the truth, the whole truth should be told.

We have seen that between Bacon and the Earl of Essex all was disinterested affection on the part of the latter; the Earl employed his good offices for him, exerted heart and soul to ensure his success as Solicitor General and on Bacon's failure

conferred on him a princely favour, a gift of no ordinary value. When Essex's fortunes declined and the earl fell into disgrace, Bacon endeavoured to mediate between the Queen and her favourite. The case became hopeless. Essex left his command in Ireland without leave, was ordered in confinement and after a long imprisonment and trial before the Privy Council he was liberated. Irritated by the refusal of a favour he solicited, he was betrayed into reflections on the Queen's age and person, which were never to be forgiven, and he engaged in a conspiracy to seize on the Queen and to settle a new plan of government. On the failure of this attempt he was arrested, committed to the Tower and brought to trial for high treason before the House of Peers. During his long captivity, who does not expect to see Bacon, his friend, a frequent visitor in his cell? Before the two tribunals can we fail to meet Bacon, his Counsel at his side? We trace Bacon at Court where, he assures us, after Elizabeth's death, that he endeavoured to appease and reconcile the Queen; but the palace was too distant from the prison : for he never visited there his fallen friend.

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At the first trial, Bacon did indeed make his appearance but as" her Majesty's Counsel extraordinary," not for the defense but for the prosecution of the prisoner. But he may be expected at least to have treated him leniently? He admits he did not on account, as he tells us, of the "superior duty he owed to the Queen's fame and honour in a public proceeding. But hitherto the Earl's liberty alone had been endangered; now his life is at stake. Do not the manifold favours, the munificent benefactions all arise in the generous mind of Bacon? Does he not waive all thought of interest and promotion and worldly honour to devote himself wholly to the sacred task of saving his patron, benefactor and friend? Her Majesty's Counsel extraordinary appeared in the place of the Solicitor General, to reply to Essex's defense; he compared the accused first to Cain, then to Pisistratus. The Earl made a pathetic appeal to his judges; Bacon showed he had not answered his objections and compared him to the Duke of Guise, the most odious comparison he could have instituted. Essex was condemned; the Queen wavered in her resolution to execute him; his friend's intercession might perhaps have been able to save

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