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and the pursuit of worldly honours, that, sooner | modestly ascribing his success to the remembrance or later, he might escape into the calm regions of of his father's virtues, he immediately acknowphilosophy.
ledged his obligation to the queen. This reverAt this period the court was divided into two sion, however, was not of any immediate value; parties : at the head of the one were the two Ce-for, not falling into possession till after the lapse rils; of the other, the Earl of Leicester, and after- of twenty years, he said that “it was like another wards his son-in-law, the Earl of Essex. man's ground buttailing upon his house, which
To the Cecils Bacon was allied. He was the might mend his prospect, but it did not fill his nephew of Lord Burleigh, and first cousin to Sir barns." Robert Cecil, the principal secretary of state ; but, In the parliament which met on February 19, connected as he was to the Cecils by blood, his 1592, and which was chiefly called for consultaaffections were with Essex. Generous, ardent, tion and preparation against the ambitious designs and highly cultivated, with all the romantic en- of the King of Spain, Bacon sat as one of the thusiasm of chivalry, and all the graces and accom- knights for Middlesex. On the 25th of February, plishments of a court, Essex was formed to gain 1592, he, in his first speech, earnestly recompartisans, and attach friends. Attracted by his mended the improvement of the law, an improvemind and character, Bacon could have but little ment which through life he availed himself of every sympathy with Burleigh, who thought £100 an opportunity to encourage, not only by his speeches, extravagant gratuity to the author of the Fairy but by his works; in which he admonishes lawQueen, which he was pleased to term “ an old yers, that although they have a tendency to resist song," and, probably, deemed the listeners to such the progress of legal improvement, and are not songs little better than idle dreamers. There was the best improvers of law, it is their duty to visit much grave learning and much pedantry at court, and strengthen the roots and foundation of their but literature of the lighter sort was regarded with science, productive of such blessings to themselves coldness, and philosophy with suspicion : instead, and to the community; and he submitted to the therefore, of uniting himself to the party in power, king that the most sacred trust to sovereign power he not only formed an early friendship himself consisted in the establishing good laws for the with Essex, but attached to his service his brother regulation of the kingdom, and as an example to Anthony, who had returned from abroad, with a the world. great reputation for ability and a knowledge of To assist in the improvement which he recomforeign affairs.
mended, he, in after life, prepared a plan for a This intimacy could not fail to excite the jea- digest and amendment of the whole law, and partilousy of Lord Burleigh ; and, in after life, Bacon cularly of the penal law of England, and a tract was himself sensible that he had acted unwisely, upon Universal Justice; the one like a fruitful and that his noble kinsmen had some right to com- shower, profitable and good for the latitude of plain of the readiness with which he and his bro- ground on which it falls, the other like the benether had embraced the views of their powerful fits of heaven, permanent and universal. rival. But, attached as he was to Essex, Bacon In another debate on the 7th of March, Bacon was not so imprudent as to neglect an application forcibly represented, as reasons for deferring for to them whenever opportunity offered to forward six years the payment of the subsidies to which his interests. In a letter written in the year 1591 the house had consented, the distresses of the to Lord Burleigh, in which he says that “thirty- people, the danger of raising public discontent, one years is a great deal of sand in the hour-glass,” and the evil of making so bad a precedent against he made another effort to extricate himself from themselves and posterity. With this speech the the slavery of the law, by endeavouring to procure queen was much displeased, and caused her dissome appointment at court; that, “ not being a pleasure to be communicated to Bacon both by man born under Sol that loveth honour, nor under the lord treasurer and by the lord keeper. He Jupiter that loveth business, but wholly carried heard them with the calmness of a philosopher, away by the contemplative planet,” he might by saying, that he spoke in discharge of his conthat mean become a true pioneer in the deep mines science and duty to God, to the queen, and to his of truth. To these applications, the Cecils were country; that he well knew the common beaten not entirely inattentive; for, although not influ- road to favour, and the impossibility that he enced by any synıpathy for genius, “ for a specu- who selected a course of life . estimate only by lative man indulging himself in philosophical the few,' should be approved by the many." He reveries, and calculated more to perplex than to said this, not in anger, but in the consciousness promote public business," as he was represented of the dignity of his pursuits, and with the full by his cousin, Sir Robert Cecil, they procured knowledge of the doctrine and consequences both for him the reversion of the Registership of the of concealment and revelation of opinion: of the Star Chamber,worth about £1600 a year, for which, time to speak and the time to be silent.
If, after this admonition, he was more cautious 1 There is a letter containing this expression, but I cannot in the expression of his sentiments, he did not
relax in his parliamentary exertions, or sacrifice or value for his attainments, in the hope of prethe interests of the public at the foot of the throne. venting his opposition, rather than from any He spoke often, and always with such force and expectation of his support; and he calculated eloquence as to insure the attention of the house; rightly upon the lord keeper's disposition towards and, though he spoke generally on the side of the him, for, either hurt by Bacon's manner, of which court, he was regarded as the advocate of the peo- he appeared to have complained, or from the ple: a powerful advocate, according to his friend, usual antipathy of common minds to intellectual Ben Jonson, who thus speaks of his parliament- superiority, the lord keeper represented to the ary eloquence: “ There happened in my time one queen that two lawyers, of the names of Brograve noble speaker, who was full of gravity in his and Brathwayte,were more meritorious candidates. speaking: his language, where he could spare or Of the conduct of the lord keeper he felt and spoke , pass by a jest, was nobly censorious. No man indignantly. “ If,” he says, “it please your lordever spake inore neatly, more pressly, more weight- ship but to call to mind from whom I am descendily, or suffered less emptiness, less idleness in ed, and by whom, next to God, her majesty, and what he uttered : no member of his speech but your own virtue, your lordship is ascended, I consisted of its own graces. His hearers could know you will have a compunction of mind to do not cough or look aside from him without loss: me any wrong." he commanded when he spoke, and had his judges To Lord Burleigh he applied as to his relation angry and pleased at his devotion. No man had and patron, and, as a motive to insure his protectheir affections more in his power: the fear oftion, he intimated his intention to devote himself every man that heard him was lest he should to legal pursuits, an intimation likely to be of make an end."
more efficacy to this statesman than the assurance It would have been fortunate for society if this that the completion of the Novum Organum decheck had impressed upon his mind the vanity of pended upon his success: and he formed a correct attempting to unite the scarcely reconcileable cha- estimate of the lord treasurer, who strongly interracters of the philosopher and the courtier. His ceded with the queen, and kindly communicated high birth and elegant taste unfitted Bacon for the to Bacon the motives by which she was influenced common walks of life, and by surrounding him against him. with artificial wants, compelled him to exertions To Sir Robert Cecil he also applied, as to a uncongenial to his nature : but the love of truth, kinsman; and, during the course of his solicitaof his country, and an undying spirit of improve- tion, having suspected that he had been bribed by ment, ever in the train of knowledge, ill suited his opponent, openly accused him; but, having hiin for the trammels in which he was expected discovered his error, he immediately acknowto move. Through the whole of his life he en- ledged that his suspicions were unfounded. He deavoured to burst his bonds, and escape from law still, however, maintained that there had been and politics, from mental slavery to intellectual treachery somewhere, and that a word the queen liberty. Perhaps the charge of inconsistency, so had used against him had been put into her mouth often preferred against him, may be attributed to by Sir Robert's messenger. the varying impulse of such opposite motives.? Essex, with all the zeal of his noble and ardent
In the spring of 1594,9 by the promotion of Sir nature, endeavoured to influence the queen on beElward Coke to the office of Attorney General, half of his friend, by every power which he posthe solicitorship became vacant. This had been sessed over her affections and her understanding; forescen by Bacon, and, from his near alliance to availing himself of the most happy moments to the lord treasurer; from the friendship of Lord address her, refuting all the reasons which she Essex; from the honourable testimony of the bar could adduce against his promotion, and repreand of the bench; from the protection he had a senting the rejection of his suit as an injustice to right to hope for from the queen, for his father's the public, and a great unkindness to himself. sake; from the consciousness of his own merits Not content with these earnest solicitations, Esand of the weakness of his competitors, Bacon could sex applied to every person by whom the queen scarcely doubt of his success. He did not, how-was likely to be influenced. ever, rest in an idle security ; for though, to use That Bacon had a powerful enemy was evinced his own expression, he was “voiced with great not only by the whole of Elizabeth's conduct durexpectation, and the wishes of all men,” yet he ing this protracted suit, but by the anger with strenuously applied to the lord keeper, to Lord which she met the earnest pleadings of Essex; by Burleigh, to Sir Robert Cecil, and to his noble her perpetual refusals to come to any decision, friend Lord Essex, to further his suit.
and above all, by her remarkable expressions, that To the Lord Keeper Puckering he applied as to Bacon had a great wit, and much learning, but a lawyer, having no sympathy with his pursuits that in law he could show to the uttermost of his
knowledge, and was not deep.” Essex was con. During this year he published a tract, containing obser- vinced that his enemy was the lord keeper, to vations upon libel. See p. 000. 10 April, Dug. Orig.
whom he wrote, desiring “ that the lord keeper VOL. I.-(1)
would no longer consider him a suitor for Bacon, which when he is nearest flieth away and lighteth
To the queen, Bacon applied by a letter worthy Fleming was appointed solicitor-general, to the surof them both. He addressed her respectfully, but prise of the public, and the deep-felt mortification with a full consciousness that he deserved the ap- of Bacon, and of his patron and friend, Lord Essex. pointment, and that he had not deserved the re- The mortification of Essex partook strongly of the primand he had received from her majesty, for the extremes of his character; of the generous regard honest exercise of his duty in parliament. Apolo- of wounded affection, and the bitter vexation of gizing for his boldness and plainness, he told the wounded pride; he complained that a man every queen, “ that his mind turned upon other wheels way worthy had “ fared ill, because he had made than those of profit; that he sought no great mat- him a mean and dependence;" but he did not rest ter, but a place in his profession, often given to here: he generously undertook the care of Bacon's younger men; that he had never sought her but future fortunes, and, by the gift of an estate, worth by her own desire, and that he would not wrong about £1800, at the beautiful village of Twickenhimself by doing it at that time, when it might ham, endeavoured to remunerate him for his great be thought he did it for profit; and that if her loss of time and grievous disappointment. majesty fonnd other and abler men, he should be How bitterly Bacon felt the disgrace of the glad there was such choice of them.” This letter, queen’s rejection, is apparent by his own letter, according to the custom of the times, he accom- where he says, that "rejected with such circumpanied by a present of a jewel. When the queen, stances, he could no longer look upon his friends, with the usual property of royalty, not to forget, and that he should travel, and hoped that her mamentioned his speech in parliament which yet jesty would not be offended that, no longer able rankled in her mind, and with an antipathy, un- to endure the sun, he had fled into the shade.” worthy of her love of letters, said, “ he was rather His greatest annoyance during this contest had a man of study, than of practice and experience;" arisen from the interruption of thoughts generally he reminded her of his father, who was made so- devoted to higher things. After a short retirelicitor of the Augmentation Office when he was ment, “ where he once again enjoyed the blessings only twenty-seven years old, and had never prac- of contemplation in that sweet solitariness which tised, and that Mr. Brograve, who had been re-collecteth the mind, as shutting the eyes does the commended by the lord keeper, was without prac- sight,” during which he seems to have invented tice.
an instrument resembling a barometer, he resumed This contest lasted from April, 1594, till No- his usual habits of study, consoled by the convember, 1595; and what at first was merely doubt sciousness of worth, which, though it may at first and hesitation in the queen's mind, became a imbitter defeat from a sense of injustice, never struggle against the ascendency which she was fails ultimately to mitigate disappointment, by conscious Essex had obtained over her, as she insuring the sympathy of the wise and the good. more than once urged that “if either party were This cloud soon passed away ; for, though Bato give way, it ought to be Essex; that his affection con had stooped to politics, his mind, when he for Bacon should yield to her mislike.” Of this resumed his natural position, was far above the latent cause Essex became sensible, and said to agitation of disappointed ambition. During his Bacon, “ I never found the queen passionate retirement he wrote to the queen, expressing his against you till I was passionate for you." submission to the providence of God, which he
Such was the nature of this contest, which was says findeth it expedient for me “ tolerare jugum so long protracted, that success could not compen- in juventute mea;" and assuring her majesty that sate for the trouble of the pursuit; of this, and the her service should not be injured by any want of difficulties of his situation, he bitterly complained. his exertions. His forbearance was not lost upon “ To be,” he said, “ like a child following a bird, the queen, who, satisfied with her victory, soon
afterwards, with an expression of kindness, em* To the right honourable the lord keeper, &c.-My very good lord, The want of assistance from them which should be Mr. ployed him in her service: and some effort was Fr. Bacon's friends, makes (me) the more industrious my- made to create a new vacancy by the advancement self, and the more earnest in soliciting mine own friends. Upon ine the labour must lie of his establishment, and upon of Fleming. me the disgrace will light of his being refused. Therefore I pray your lordship, now account me not as a solicitor only of
During the contest, the University of Cambridge my friend's cause, but as a party interested in this; and em- had conferred upon him the degree of master of ploy all your lordship's favour to me, or strength for me, in procuring a short and speedy end. 'For though I know it arts, and he had in the first throes of vexation de will never be carried any other way, yet I hold both my clared his intention of retiring there, a resolution, friend and myself disgraced by this protraction. More I would write, but that I know to go honourable and kind a friend, which, unfortunately for philosophy, he did not this which I have said is enough. And so I commend your lordship to God's best protection, resting, at your lordship's put into practice. commandment,-Essex.
3 See Dug. Orig. Jud.
In the year 1596 Bacon completed a valuable in the soldiery, chiefly volunteers, and by the contract upon the elements and use of the common tentions of their officers, too equal to be easily law. It consists in the first part of twenty-five commanded, yet he did not forget the interests of legal maxims, as specimens selected from three Bacon, but wrote from Plymouth to the newhundred, in which he was desirous to establish in placed lord keeper, and all his friends in power, the science of law, as he was to establish in all strongly recommending him to their protection. science, general truths for the diminution of indi- In the early part of the year 1597 his first pubvidual labour, and the foundation of future disco- lication appeared. It is a small 12mo. volume of Feries : and, his opinion being that general truths Essays, Religious Meditations, and a table of the could be discovered only by an extensive collec- Colours of Good and Evil. In his dedication to tion of particulars, he proceeded in this work upon his loving and beloved brother, he states that he the plan suggested in his Novum Organum. published to check the circulation of spurious
In the second part he explains the use of the copies, “ like some owners of orchards, who galaw for the security of persons, reputation, and thered the fruit before it was ripe, to prevent stealproperty ; which, with the greatest anxiety to ing;” and he expresses his conviction that there advance freedom of thought and liberty of action, was nothing in the volume contrary, but rather he well knew and always inculcated, was to be medicinable to religion and manners, and his hope obtained only by the strength of the law restrain- that the Essays would, to use his own words, ing and directing individual strength. In Or- be like the late new halfpence, which, though pheus's Theatre, he says, “all beasts and birds the pieces were small, the silver was good.” assembled, and forgetting their several appetites, The Essays, which are ten’ in number, abound some of prey, some of game, and some of quarrel, with condensed thought and practical wisdom, stood all sociably together, listening to the airs neatly, pressly, and weightily stated,' and, like and accords of the harp; the sound whereof no all his early works, are simple, without imagery. sonner ceased, or was drowned by some louder They are written in his favourite style of aphornoise, but every beast returned to his own nature; isms, although each essay is apparently a conwherein is aptly described the nature and con- tinued work ;4 and without that love of antithesis dition of men : who are are full of savage and and false glitter to which truth and justness of unreclaimed desires of profit, of lust, of revenge, thought is frequently sacrificed by the writers of which as long as they give ear to precepts, to maxims. laws, to religion, sweetly touched with eloquence, Another edition, with a translation of the Meand persuasion of books, of sermons, and ha-ditationes Sacræ, was published in the next year; rangues; so long is society and peace maintained ; and a third in 1612, when he was solicitor-general; but if these instruments be silent, or sedition and and a fourth in 1625, the year before his death. tumult make them not audible, all things dissolve The essays in the subsequent editions are into anarchy and confusion."
much augmented, according to his own words; His preface contains his favourite doctrine, that “ I always alter when I add, so that nothing is “ there is a debt of obligation from every member finished till all his finished," and they are adorned of a profession to assist in improving the science by happy and familiar illustration, as in the essay in which he has successfully practised," and he of Wisdom for a Man's self,” which concludes dedicated his work to the queen, as a sheaf and in the edition of 1625 with the following extract, cluster of fruit of the good and favourable season not to be found in the previous edition :— Wisenjoyed by the nation, from the influence of her dom for a man's self is in many branches thereof happy government, by which the people were a depraved thing. It is the wisdom of rats, that taught that part of the study of a good prince was will be sure to leave a house somewhat before it to adorn and honour times of peace by the im
11. Of Study. provement of the laws. Although this tract was
3. Of Ceremonies and Respect. written in the year 1596, and although he was always a great admirer of Elizabeth, it was not
6. Of Expense. published till after his death.
7. Or Regiment of Health, The exertions which had been made by Essex
8. Of Honour and Reputation. to obtain the solicitorship for his friend, and his
10. Of Negociating. generous anxiety to mitigate his disappointment, ment, ante. 25.
3 See Ben Jonson's description of his speaking in parliahad united them by the strongest bonds of affec- • The following is selected as a specimen from his first tion.
T Reade not to contradict, nor to believe, but to waigh and In the summer of 1596, Essex was appointed consider.
1 Some bookes are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, to the command of an expedition against Spain; and some few to be chewed and digested. That is, some and though he was much troubled during the em- bookes are to be read only in partes, others to be read but
cursorily, and some few to be read wholly and with diligence barkation of his troops, by the want of discipline and attention.
2. Of Discourse.
4. Of Followers and Friends.
9. Of Faction.
| Histories make men wise, poets wittie, the maibe. In societati civili, aut lex aut vis valet.-Justitia Univer- maticke subtle, natural philosophie deepe, moral, grave; lom
gicke, and rhetoricke able to contend.
fall. It is the wisdom of the fox, that thrusts out pretend, and I know it will be impossible for me, by the badger, who digged and made room for him. any pleading of mine, to reverse the judgmenteither It is the wisdom of crocodiles, who shed tears when of Æsop's cock, that preferred the barleycorn before they would devour. But that which is specially the gem; or of Midas, that, being chosen judge beto be noted is, that those which, as Cicero says tween Apollo, president of the muses, and Pan, of Pompey, are sui amantes sine rivali, are many god of the flocks, judged for plenty ; or of Paris, times unfortunate. And whereas they have all that judged for beauty and love against wisdom their time sacrificed to themselves, they become and power. For these things continue as they in the end themselves sacrifices to the inconstancy have been ; but so will that also continue whereof fortune, whose wings they thought by their self- upon learning hath ever relied, and which faileth wisdom to have pinioned.”
not. • Justificata est sapientia a filiis suis :'?9 So in the essay upon Adversity, on which he yet he seems to have undervalued this little work, had deeply reflected, before the edition of 1625, which, for two centuries, has been favourably rewhen it first appeared, he says: “ The virtue of ceived by every lover of knowledge and of beauty, prosperity is temperance, the virtue of adversity and is now so well appreciated, that a celebrated is fortitude, which in morals is the more heroical professor of our own times truly says: “ The virtue. Prosperity is the blessing of the Old small volume to which he has given the title of Testament, adversity is the blessing of the New, · Essays,' the best known and the most popular which carrieth the greater benediction, and the of all his works, is one of those where the supeclearer revelation of God's favour. Yet even in riority of his genius appears to the greatest adthe Old Testament, if you listen to David's harp, vantage; the novelty and depth of his reflections you shall hear as many hearse-like airs as carols ; often receiving a strong relief from the triteness and the pencil of the Holy Ghost hath laboured of the subject. It may be read from beginning more in describing the afflictions of Job than the to end in a few hours, and yet after the twentieth felicities of Solomon. Prosperity is not without perusal one seldom fails to remark in it something many fears and distastes; and adversity is not overlooked before. This, indeed, is a characterwithout comforts and hopes. We see in needle- istic of all Bacon's writings, and is only to be works and embroideries, it is more pleasing to accounted for by the inexhaustible aliment they have a lively work upon a sad and solemn ground, furnish to our own thoughts, and the sympathetic than to have a dark and melancholy work upon a activity they impart to our torpid faculties."'4 lightsome ground: judge, therefore, of the plea- During his life, six or more editions, which sures of the heart by the pleasures of the eye. seem to have been pirated, were published ; and, Certainly virtue is like precious odours, most after his death, two spurious essays “ Of Death,” fragrant when they are incensed, or crushed : for and « Of a king,” the only authentic posthumous prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity essay being the fragment of an essay on Fame, doth best discover virtue."
which was published by his friend and chaplain, The essays were immediately translated into Dr. Rawley. French and Italian, and into Latin by some of his The sacred meditations, which are twelve in friends, amongst whom were Hacket, Bishop of number,5 are in the first edition in Latin, and Litchfield, and his constant, affectionate friend, have been partly incorporated into subsequent Ben Jonson.
editions of the Essays, and into the Advancement His own estimate of the value of this work is of Learning. thus stated in his letter to the Bishop of Win- The Colours of Good and Evil, are ten in numchester: “ As for my Essays, and some other par- ber, and were afterwards inserted in the Advanceticulars of that nature, I count them but as the re- ment of Learning, in his tract on Rhetoric. creations of my other studies, and in that manner Such was the nature of his first work, which purpose to continue them; though I am not ig- was gratefully received by his learned contemponorant that these kind of writings would, with raries, as the little cloud seen by the prophet, and less pains and assiduity, perhaps yield more lus- welcomed as the harbinger of showers that would tre and reputation to my name than the others I fertilize the whole country. have in hand.” Although it was not likely that such lustre and See p. 184
• Dugald Stewart. reputation would dazzle him, the admirer of Phocon, who, when applauded, turned to one of his Of the Innocency of the Dove, and the Wisdom of the
Serpent. friends, and asked, " what have I said amiss ?”
of the Exaltation of Charity. although popular judgment was not likely to mis
Of Earthly Hope. lead him who concludes his observations upon Of Hypocrites.
or Impostors. the objections to learning and the advantages of
Of the Works of God and Man.
of the Moderation of Cares.
of the several kinds of Imposture. knowledge, by saying, “ Nevertheless, I do not 1 Tennison. See note (a), p. 226.
of the Church and the Scripture. * Apothegm 30.
6 See p. 216.