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of all instability and peregrinations ; so that as it cometh to pass in massive bodies, that they have certain trepidations and waverings before they fix and settle; so it seemeth that by the providence of God, this monarchy, before it was to settle in your majesty and your generations, in which, I hope, it is now established forever,) had these prelusive changes and varieties.” And the same passage is repeated in the treatise “ De Augmentis," which was published in the
“ year 1623, with the omission of the praise of the reign of Elizabeth.
HISTORY OF HENRY VII.
The history of Henry VII. was written in English, and was the first book which he composed after his retirement from active life, 1 In a letter to the king, dated 20th of March, 1621,
“ To the King's most excellent majesty. 6. May it please your majesty, “I acknowledge myself in all humbleness infinitely bounden to your majesty's grace and goodness, for that, at the intercession of my noble and constant friend, my lord marquis, your majesty hath been pleased to grant me that which the civilians say is . res inestimabilis,' my liberty. So that now, whenever God calleth me, I shall not die a prisoner. Nay, farther, your majesty hath vouchsafed to cast a second and iterate aspect of your eye of compassion upon me, in referring the consideration of my broken estate to my good lord the treasurer ; which as it is a singular bounty in your majesty, so I have yet so much left of a late commissioner of your treasure, as I would be sorry to sue for any thing that might seem immodest. These your majesty's great benefits, in casting your bread upon the waters, as the Scripture saith, because my thanks cannot any ways be sufficient to attain, I have raised your progenitor of famous memory, (and now, I hope, of more famous memory than before,) King Henry VII., to give your majesty thanks for me; which work, most humbly kissing your majesty's hands, I do present. And because, in the beginning of my trouble, when in the midst of the tempest I had a kenning of the harbour, which I hope now by your majesty's favour I am entering into, I made a tender to your majesty of two works, ó A History of England,' and · A digest of your laws;' as I have, by a figure of pars pro toto, performed the one, so I have herewith sent your majesty, by way of an epistle, a new offer of the other. But my desire is farther, if it stand with your majesty's good pleasure, since now my study is my exchange, and my pen my factor, for the use of my talent; that your majesty, who is a great master in these things, would be pleased to appoint me some task to write, and that I shall take for an oracle. And because my • Instauration,' which I esteem my great work, and do still go on with silence, was dedicated to your majesty; and this · History of King Henry VII.' to your lively and excellent image the prince; if now your majesty will be pleased to give me a theme to dedicate to my Lord of Buckingham, whom I have so much reason to honour, I should with more alacrity embrace your majesty's direction than my own choice. Your majesty will pardon me for troubling you thus long. God evermore preserve and prosper you. Your majesty's poor beadsman most devoted,
« FR. ST. ALBAN. " Gorhambury, 20 Mar. 1621.”
“ To the Right Honourable his very good lord, the Lord Marquis of Buckingham, High-Admiral of England.
• My very good lord, “ These main and real favours which I have lately received from your good lordship, in procuring my liberty, and a reference of the consideration of my release, are such, as I now find that in building upon your lordship's noble nature and friendship, I have built upon the rock, where neither winds nor waves can cause overthrow. I humbly pray your lordship to accept from me such thanks as ought to come from him whom you have so much comforted in fortune, and much more comforted in showing your love and affection to him; of which also I have heard by my Lord Falkland, Sir Edward Sackville, Mr. Mathews, and otherways.
" I have written, as my duty was, to his majesty, thanks touching the same, by the letter here put into your noble hands.
“I have made also, in that letter, an offer to his majesty, of my service, for bringing into better
1 «His historical works are these :-the first is the history of Henry the Seventh, written elegantly, by his lordship in the English tongue, and addressed to his Highness the Prince of Wales : and turned afterwards into Latin. A history which required such a reporter : those times being times both of great revolution, and selllement, through the division and union of the roses.
“This was the first book which he composed after his retirement from an active life. Upon which occasion he wrote thus to the Bishop of Winchester. Being (as I am) no more able to do my country service, it remaineth unto me, to do it bonour; which I have endeavoured to do in my work of the reign of King Henry the Seventh."-Baconiana.
order and frame the laws of England: the declaration whereof I have left with Sir Edward Sackville, because it were no good manners to clog his majesty, at this time of triumph and recreation, with a business of this nature; so as your lordship may be pleased to call for it to Sir Edward Sackville when you think the time seasonable.
“ I am bold likewise to present your lordship with a book of my · History of King Henry the Seventh.' And now that, in summer was twelve months, I dedicated a book to his majesty ; and this last summer, this book to the prince; your lordship’s turn is next, and this summer that cometh (if I live to it) shall be yours. I have desired his majesty to appoint me the task, otherwise I shall use my own choice; for this is the best retribution I can make to your lordship. God prosper you. I rest “ Your lordship’s most obliged friend and faithful servant,
* FR. ST. ALBAN. "Gorhambury, this 20th of March, 1621."
On September 5, 1621, Bacon, in a letter to the Marquis of Buckingham, says, “I am much fallen in love with a private life; but yet I shall so spend my time, as shall not decay my abilities for use.
On the 8th of October, 1621, he wrote the following letter to the king.
" It may please your most excellent majesty,—I do very humbly thank your majesty for your gracious remission of my fine. I can now, I thank God and you, die, and make a will.
" I desire to do, for the little time God shall send me life, like the merchants of London, which when they give over trade, lay out their money upon land. So, being freed from civil business, I lay forth my poor talent upon those things, which may be perpetual, still having relation to do you honour with those powers I have left.
I have therefore chosen to write the reign of King Henry the Seventh, who was in a sort your forrunner, and whose spirit, as well as his blood, is doubled upon your majesty.
I durst not have presumed to entreat your majesty to look over the book, and correct it, or at least to signify what you would have amended. But since you are pleased to send for the book, I will hope for it.
“God knoweth, whether ever I shall see you again: but I will pray for you to the last gasp, resting 1 the same, your true beadsman,
FR. ST. ALBAN. “ October 8th, 1621."
During the progress of the work, considerable expectation was excited respecting the history. Rawley, in his life of Bacon, says, “ His fame is greater, and sounds louder, in foreign parts abroad than at home, in his own nation. Thereby verifying that divine sentence; a prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. Concerning which, I will give you a taste only, out of a letter written from Italy, (the storehouse of refined wits,) to the late Earl of Devonshire;' then the Lord Cavendish. I will expect the new Essays of my Lord Chancellor Bacon, as also his history, with a great deal of desire: and whatsoever else he shall compose. But in particular, of his history, I promise myself, a thing perfect, and singular; especially in Henry the Seventh, where he may exercise the talent of his divine understanding."
After the completion of the work there seems to have been a demur with respect to its publication, in a letter from Sir Thomas Meautys,' he says, “ May it please your lordship, I have been attending upon my lord marquis’ minutes for the signing of the warrant."
The letter then continues, and, in the conclusion, says, “ Your books are ready, and passing well bound up. If your lordship's letters to the king, prince, and my lord marquis were ready, I think it were good to lose no time in their delivery ; for the printer's fingers itch to be selling."
It seems by the following letter, that there was another letter from Sir Thomas Meautys complain ing of this demur.
“Good Mr. Meautys, for the difference of the warrant, it is not material at the first. not stir till I have it; and therefore I expect it to-morrow.
“ For my Lord of London's stay, there may be an error in my book; but I am sure there is none in me, since the king had it three months by him, and allowed it; if there be any thing to be mended it is better to be espied now than hereafter.
" I send you the copies of the three letters, which you have; and, in mine own opinion, this demur, as you term it, in my Lord of London, maketh it more necessary than before, that they were delivered, specially in regard they contain withal my thanks. It may be signified they were sent lie fore I knew of any stay: and being but in those three hands, they are private enough. But this I leave merely at your discretion, resting your most affectionate and assured friend,
“ FR. ST. ALBAN. “ March 21, 1621.”
But I may
· Note. This passage has a line drawn over it.
• Dr. George Mountain
It was published in folio, in the year 1625. The following is a copy of the titlepage.
He sent copies of the history, to the Queen of Bohemia, and to the Bishop of Lincoln, Dr. Williams, his successor.
« To the Queen of Bohemia. “It may please your majesty, “ I find in books, and books I dare allege to your majesty in regard of your singular ability to read and judge of them even above your sex, that it is accounted a great bliss for a man to have leisure with honour. That was never my fortune nor is. For time was, I had honour without leisure; and now I have leisure without honour. And I cannot say so neither altogether, considering there remain with me the marks and stamp of the king's, your father's, grace, though I go not for so much in value as I have done. But my desire is now to have leisure without loitering, and not to become an abbey-lubber, as the old proverb was, but to yield some fruit of my private life. Having therefore written the reign of your majesty's famous ancestor, King Henry the Seventh, and it having passed the file of his Majesty's judgment, and been graciously also accepted of the prince, your brother, to whom it is dedicated, I could not forget my duty so far to your excellent majesty, to whom, for that I know and have heard, I have been at all times so much bound, as you are ever present with me, both in affection and admiration, as not to make unto you, in all humbleness, a present thereof, as now being not able to give you tribute of any service. If King Henry the Seventh were alive again, I hope verily he could not be so angry with me for not flattering him, as well pleased in seeing himself so truly described in colours that will last and be believed. I most humbly pray your majesty graciously to accept of my good-will; and so, with all reverence kiss your hands, praying to God above, by his divine and most benign providence, to conduct your affairs to happy issue; and resting “ Your majesty's most humble and devoted servant,
FR. ST. ALBAN. “ April 20, 1622."
" To the Lord Viscount St. Alban. “ My very good lord, “I have received, by this bearer, the privy seal for the survey of coals, which I will lay aside until I shall hear further from my lord steward, and the rest of the lords.
“I am ready to do as much as your lordship desireth, in keeping Mr. Cotton of from the violence of those creditors: only himself is, as yet, wanting in some particular directions.
“I heartily thank your lordship for your book; and all other symbols of your love and affection, which I will endeavour, upon all opportunities, to deserve: and, in the mean time, do rest
“ Your lordship’s assured faithful
“poor friend and servant, “ Westminster College, this 7th of Febuary, 1622.
“ Jo. LINCOLN, C, S. "To the Right Honourable his very good lord, the Lord Viscount St. Alban."
In a letter, written in the year 1622, to the Bishop of Winchester, and prefixed, in the nature of a dedication, to his dialogue touching a holy war, he says, “having in the work of my • Instauratron' had in contemplation the general good of men in their very being, and the dowries of nature;
and in my work of laws, the general good of men likewise in society, and the dowries of government; I thought in duty I owed somewhat unto my own country, which I ever loved; insomuch as although my place hath been far above my desert, yet my thoughts and cares concerning the good thereof were beyond, and over, and above my place: so now being, as I am, no more able to do my country service, it remained unto me to do it honour: which I have endeavoured to do in my work of the reign of King Henry the Seventh."
Soon after the publication, he expressed his anxiety that the history should be translated into Latin. In a letter to Mr. Tobie Matthew, he says, “ It is true, my labours are now most set to have those works, which I had formerly published, as that of Advancement of Learning, that of Henry the Seventh, that of the Essays, being retractate, and made more perfect, well translated into Latin by the help of some good pens, which forsake me not. For these modern languages will, at one time or other, play the bankrupts with books: and since I have lost much time with this age, I would be glad, as God shall give me leave, to recover it with posterity.”
In the year 1627, this history was published in French.? In 1629, there was a new edition in English. In 1638, an edition in Latin was published by Dr. Rawley; and the press has since abounded with editions.
Such was the progress of the History of Henry the Seventh.
Aubrey, in his anecdotes, says, “about his time, and within his view, were borne all the wits that could honour a nation or help study. He came often to Sr. John Danvers at Chelsey. Sir John told me that when his lordship had wrote the history of Henry the Seventh, he sent the manuscript copy to him to desire his opinion of it before 'twas printed. Qd Sir John, your lordship knows that I am no-scholar. 'Tis no matter, said my lord, I know what a scholar can say: I would know what you can say. Sir John read it, and gave his opinion what he misliked, (which I am sorry I have forgot,) which my lord acknowledged to be true, and mended it. Why,' said he, “a scholar would never have told me this.'"
And it appears by a letter from his faithful friend, Sir Thomas Meautys, that the king did correct the manuscript. The letter is dated January 7, 1621, and directed « To the Lord Viscount St. Alban.” It contains the following passage.
“ Mr. Murray tells me, the king hath given your book to my Lord Brooke, and enjoined him to read it, recommending it much to him: and then my Lord Brooke is to return it to your lordship; and so it may go to the press, when your lordship pleases, with such amendments, as the king hath made, which I have seen, and are very few, and those rather words, as epidemic, and mild instead of debonnaire, &c. Only that of persons attainted, enabled to serve in parliament by a bare reversal of their attainder, the king by all means will have left out. I met with my Lord Brooke, and told him that Mr. Murray had directed me to wait upon him for the book, when he had done with it. He desired to be spared this week, as being to him a week of much business; and the next week I should have it: and he ended in a compliment, that care should be taken, by all means, for good ink and paper to print it in; for that the book deserveth it. I beg leave to kiss your lordship’s hands.”
But notwithstanding this labour and anxiety, the work is perhaps an illustration of Archbishop Tenison's observation upon Dr. Playfer's attempt to translate the “ Advancement of Learning."
“ Men generally come short of themselves when they strive to outdo themselves. They put a force upon their natural genius, and, by straining of it, crack and disable it.”
If, however, in the History of Henry the Seventh, it is vain to look for the vigour or beauty with which the Advancement of Learning abounds: if there is not such nervous language as “the honest and just bounds of observation by one person upon another, extend no farther but to understand him sufficiently whereby not to give him offence, or whereby to be able to give him faithful counsel, or whereby to stand upon reasonable guard and caution in respect of a man's self: but to be speculative into another man, to the end to know how to work him, or wind him, or govern him, proceedeth from a heart that is double and cloven, and not entire and ingenuous."
If there is not such beauty as “men have entered into a desire of learning and knowledge, sometimes upon a natural curiosity, and inquisitive appetite; sometimes to entertain their minds with variety and delighte sometimes for ornament and reputation; and sometimes to enable them to victory of wit and contradiction; and most times for lucre and profession; and seldom sincerely to give a true account of their gift of reason, to the benefit and use of men: as if there were sought in knowledge a couch, whereupon to rest a searching and restless spirit; or a tarrasse for a wandering and variable mind to walk up and down with a fair prospect; or a tower of state, for a proud mind to
1 8vo. Paris, Par Holman, of which there is a copy in the British Museum.
. In 1611, and 1617, and in 1662; and in British Muse there is a MS. (Sloan's collection, 84,) entitled Notes, taken out of his History of the reign of Henry Seventh; and another MS. Harleian, vol. ii. of Catalogue 300, entit ed Notes of lenry Seventh's reign, set down in Ms. by the Lord Chancellor Bacon.
raise itself upon; or a fort or commanding ground, for strife and contention; or a shop, for profit or sale; and not a rich storehouse, for the glory of the Creator, and the relief of man's estate.”
If the intricacies of a court are neither discovered nor illustrated with the same happiness as the intricacies of philosophy, " because the distributions and partitions of knowledge are not like several lines that meet in one angle, and so touch but in a point; but are like branches of a tree, that meet in a stem, which hath a dimension and quantity of entireness and continuance, before it come to discontinue and break itself into arms and boughs; therefore it is good, before we enter into the former distribution, to erect and constitute one universal science, by the name of • • Philosophia Prima,' primitive or summary philosophy, as the main and common way, before we come where the ways part and divide themselves."
That it be a receptacle for all such profitable observations and axioms as fall not within the compass of any of the special parts of philosophy or sciences, but are more common and of a higher stage.' Is not the precept of a musician, to fall from a discord or harsh accord upon a concord or sweet accord, alike true in affection! Is not the trope of music, to avoid or slide from the close or cadence, common with the trope of rhetoric of deceiving expectation? Is not the delight of the quavering upon a stop in music the same with the playing of light upon the water."
If in a work written when the author was more than sixty years of age, and if, after the vexations and labours of a professional and political life, the varieties and sprightliness of youthful imagination, are not to be found, yet the peculiar properties of his mind may easily be traced, and the stateliness of the edifice be discovered from the magnificence of the ruins. His vigilance in recording every fact tending to alleviate misery or to promote happiness, is noticed by Bishop Sprat in his history of the Royal Society, where he says, “I shall instance in the sweating-sickness. The medicine for it was almost infallible: but, before that could be generally published, it had almost dispeopled whole towns. If the same disease should have returned, it might have been again as destructive, had not the Lord Bacon taken care, to set down the particular course of physic for it, in his History of Henry the Seventh, and so put it beyond the possibility of any private man's invading it."
And his account of the same calamity contains an allusion to his favourite doctrine of vital spirit, of which the philosophy is explained in his history of Life and Death, and illustrated in his fable of Proserpine in the Wisdom of the Ancients, and which is thus stated in his Sylva Sylvarum :
“ The knowledge of man, hitherto, hath been determined by the view, or sight; so that whatsoever is invisible, either in respect of the fineness of the body itself; or the smallness of the parts ; or of the subtilty of the motion, is little inquired. And yet these be the things that govern nature principally; and without which, you cannot make any true analysis and indication of the proceedings of nature. The spirits or pneumaticals, that are in all tangible bodies, are scarce known. Sometimes they take them for vacuum; whereas they are the most active of bodies. Sometimes they take them for air; from which they differ exceedingly, as much as wine from water; and as wood from earth. Sometimes they will have them to be natural heat, or a portion of the element of fire; whereas some of them are crude, and cold. And sometimes they will have them to be the virtues and qualities of the tangible parts, which they see; whereas they are things by themselves. And then, when they come to plants, and living creatures, they call them souls. And such superficial speculations they have; like prospectives, that show things inward when they are but paintings. Neither is this a question of words, but infinitely material in nature. For spirits are nothing else but a natural body, rarified to a proportion, and included in the tangible parts of bodies, as in an integument. And they be no less differing one from the other, than the dense or tangible parts: and they are in all tangible bodies whatsoever, more or less; and they are never (almost) at rest : and from them, and their motions, principally proceed arefaction, colliquation, concoction, maturation, putrefaction, vivification, and most of the effects of nature.”
One of his maxims of government for the enlargement of the bounds of empire is to be found in his comment upon the ordinance. “That all houses of husbandry, that were used with twenty acres of ground and upwards, should be maintained and kept'up forever; together with a competent proportion of land to be used and occupied with them;" and which is thus stated in the treatise ** De Augmentis," which was published in the year 1623. “ Let states and kingdoms that aim at greatness by all means take heed how the nobility, and grandees, and that those which we call gentiemen, multiply too fast; for that makes the common subject grow to be a peasant and base swain driven out of heart, and in effect nothing else but the nobleman's bond-slaves and labourers. Even as you may see in coppice-wood, if you leave your studdles too thick, you shall never have clean underwood, but shrubs and bushes: so in a country, if the nobility be too many, the commons will be base and heartless, and you will bring it to that, that not the hundredth pole will be fit for an helmet; especially as to the infantry, which is the nerve of an army; and so there will be great population and little strength. This which I speak of hath been in no nation more clearly confirmed