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who named the innocent as well as the guilty;" | instance of an offering, even to the case of he contrived to praise Buckingham, and to turn Wraynham, who had been punished for his the charge itself into a dexterous commendation scurrilous libel against the chancellor and the both of his favourite and the prince.
master of the rolls. The parliament was then adjourned to the 17th Of this virulence the chancellor thus complainof April, with the hope that, during the reeess, ed to Buckingham : “ Your lordship spoke of the favourite or his master might contrive some purgatory. I am now in it; but my mind is in a expedient to delay or defeat investigation; and calm; for my fortune is not my felicity. I know that time might mitigate the displeasure which, I have clean hands and a clean heart, and I hope in both Houses, seemed strong against the chan- a clean house for friends or servants. But Job cellor.
himself, or whosoever was the justest judge, by The proceedings within the House were sus- such hunting for matters against him, as hath pended, but the chancellor's opponents, unchecked been used against me, may for a time seem foul, or secretly encouraged by his pretended friends, especially in a time when greatness is the mark, continued their exertions, actuated either by vir- and accusation is the game. And if this be to be a tuous indignation at the supposition of his guilt, chancellor, I think if the great seal lay upon Hounor by motives less pure,—the hope of gaining by slow Heath, nobody would take it up. But the his fall, cr envy of the greatness which over- king and your lordship will I hope put an end to shadowed them.
these my straits, one way or other." And in a The state of the chancellor's mind during this subsequent letter he said, “I perceive, by some storm has been variously represented; by some speech that passed between your lordship and of his contemporaries he is said to have been de- Mr. Meautys, that some wretched detractor hath pressed: by others that he was merry, and not told you, that it were strange I should be in debt; doubting that he should be able to ride safely for that I could not but have received a hunthrough the tempest. His playfulness of spirit dred thousand pounds gifts since I had the seal, never forsook him. When, upon the charge be- which is an abominable falsehood. Such tales ing first made, his servants rose as he passed as these made St. James say that the tongue is a through the hall, “Sit down, my friends,” he said, fire, and itself fired from hell, wbither when these “your rise has been my fall;" and when one of tongues shall return, they will beg a drop of his friends said, “ You must look around you,” water to cool them. I praise God for it, I never he replied, “ I look above me.” Playfulness in took penny for any benefice or ecclesiastical affliction is, however, only an equivocal test living; I never took penny for releasing any of cheerfulness; in a powerful mind grief rests thing I stopped at the seal; I never took penny itself in the exercise of the antagonist feelings, for any commission, or things of that nature : I and, by a convulsive effort, throws off the load never shared with any servant for any second or of despair.
inferior profit.” Difficult as it may be to discover the real state About the same period he thus wrote to the of his mind, it cannot be supposed, accustomed king, in a letter which he intrusted to the discreas he was to active life, and well aware of the tion of Buckingham to withhold or deliver: intrigues of courts, that, in this moment of peril, his sagacity slumbered, or that he was so It may please your most excellent majesty, little attentive to his own interests, as to be shel-Time hath been when I have brought unto you tered in the shades of Gorhambury, all meaner - Gemitum Columbæ" from others, now I bring things forgotten, watching the progress of some it from myself. I fly unto your majesty with the chymical experiment, or wandering with Hobbes wings of a dove, which, once within these seven in the mazes of metaphysics.
days, I thought would have carried me a higher His enemies, who were compassing his ruin, flight. When I enter into myself, I find not the might imagine that he was thus indulging in the materials of such a tempest as is come upon me. day-dreanis of philosophy, but, so imagining, I have been (as your majesty knoweth best) never they were ignorant of his favourite doctrine, that author of any immoderate counsel, but always de“ Learning is not like some small bird, as the sired to have things carried “ suavibus modis." I lark, that can mount and sing, and please herself, have been no avaricious oppressor of the people. and nothing else, but that she holds as well of the I have been no haughty, or intolerable, or hateful hawk, that can soar aloft, and at the right mo- man in my conversation or carriage: I have inment can stoop and seize upon her prey.” The herited no hatred from my father, but am a good chancellor retired to prepare for his defence, to patriot born. Whence should this be; for these view the nature of the attack, and the strength of are the things that use to raise dislikes abroad. his assailants.
For the House of Commons, I began my credit The charges, which were at first confined to there, and now it must be the place of the sepulAubrey and Egerton, were now accumulated ture thereof. And yet this parliament, upon the to twenty-three in number, by raking up every message touching religion, the old love revived, Vol. I.—(12)
and they said, I was the same man still, only vocate that the presents were made on behalf of honesty was turned to honour.
the suitors, by men of character, counsellors, and For the Upper House, even within these days, members of parliament, Sir George Hastings, before these troubles, they seemed as to take me Sir Richard Young, Sir Henry Holmes, Mr. into their arms, finding in me ingenuity, which Jenkins, Mr. Thelwall, Mr. Toby Matthew, and they took to be the true, straight line of noble- Sir Thomas Perrott; and that they were made ness, without crooks or angles.
openly, with the greatest publicity, both from the And for the briberies and gifts wherewith I am nature of the presents themselves, and from the charged, when the book of hearts shall be open- manner in which they were presented; so openly, ed, I hope I shall not be found to have the trou- that even Sir Edward Coke admitted the fact, bled fountain of a corrupt heart, in a 'depraved that they were delivered in the presence of withabit of taking rewards to pervert justice; how-nesses; and the chancellor, in answer to the 21st soever I may be frail, and partake of the abuses charge, that, “ upon a dispute between three of the times.
public companies of the apothecaries and grocers, And therefore I am resolved, when I come to he had received presents from each of the commy answer, not to trick my innocency (as I writ panies,” instantly said, “Could I have taken to the lords) by cavillations or voidances, but to these presents in the nature of a bribe, when I speak to them the language that my heart speak- knew it could not be concealed, because it must eth to me, in excusing, extenuating, or ingenuous needs be put to the account of the three several confessing; praying God to give me the grace to companies, each of whom was jealous of the see to the bottom of my faults, and that no hardness other?" of heart do steal upon me, under show of more Who can suppose that, if secrecy had been the neatness of conscience, than is cause.
object, presents of articles constantly in sight But not to trouble your majesty any longer, would have been selected; gold buttons, tasters craving pardon for this long mourning letter, that of gold, ambergrease, cabinets, and suits of hangwhich I thirst after, as the hart after the streams, ings for furniture; they were made, as was nois, that I may know by my matchless friend that torious, according to the established custom, in presenteth to you this letter, your majesty's heart this, and in all countries, a custom which, as the (which is an abyssus of goodness, as I am an Chancellor l'Hôpital endeavoured to abolish in abyssus of misery) towards me. I have been France, the Chancellor Bacon would most gladly ever your man, and counted myself but a usu- have abolished in England, and demanded from fructuary of myself, the property being yours. the country a proper remuneration for the arduous And now making myself an oblation, to do with labours of his high office. me as may best conduce to the honour of your No man felt more deeply the evils which then justice, the honour of your mercy, and the use existed, or the interference by the crown and by of your service, resting as clay in your majesty's statesmen to influence judges. How beautifully gracious hands, Fr. St. Alban, Canc. did he admonish Buckingham, regardless as he
proved of all admonition, “By no means be you March 25, 1620.
persuaded to interpose yourself, either by word or To the preparation of his defence he now pro- letter, in any cause depending, or like to be de ceeded—preparation which could scarcely to pending, in any court of justice, nor suffer any any advocate have been attended with difficulty, other great man to do it where you can hinder it; whether considering the general nature of the and by all means dissuade the king himself from complaints, or the weight due to each particular it, upon the importunity of any for themselves or charge.
their friends. If it should prevail, it perverts There are circumstances attending these accu- justice; but if the judge be so just and of such sations, by which at this time the judgment may courage, as he ought to be, as not to be inclined be warped, that did not exist two centuries since thereby, yet it always leaves a taint of suspicion We may be misled by transferring the opinions behind it; judges must be chaste as Cæsar's wife, of the present to past times, and by supposing neither to be, nor to be suspected to be unjust: that the accusations were preferred by some or all and, sir, the honour of the judges in their judicaof thes uitors whose names are mentioned, and on ture is the king's honour, whose person they whose behalf the presents were offered after the represent." termination of their causes; but it was then well Thus did he raise his voice in opposition to an known, that these suitors reluctantly attended, in inveterate practice. The first mode of correcting robedience to the summons obtained in consequence error, whether in individuals or in the community, of the petitions presented by the two discontented is by proclaiming its existence; the next is, when persons against whom the chancellor had decided, ripe for action, by acting. notwithstanding their supposition that his judg- That the presents influenced the judgment of ment was to be purchased.
the chancellor was never for a moment supposed It could not have escaped the notice of any ad- | by any man. Fourteen out of the twenty-two
charges related to presents made long after the easy would it have been to have examined each causes were terminated, and the complaints of his particular charge, by separating the bundle, and accusers were, not that the gratuities had, but that breaking it stick by stick ? they had not influenced his judgment, as he had In the case of Holman and Young, it was aldecided against them.
leged that £1000 had been given to the chancelSuch topics would have occurred to any advo- lor by Young. Upon investigation it appeared,
With what force would they have been on this charge of a discontented suitor, that instead urged by the chancellor? In his Novum Or- of £1000 having been advanced, the sum was ganum, which he had published in the previous £100, which was presented on behalf of Young year, he had warned society, that " at the entrance after the decree, either by Young or Mr. Toby of every inquiry our first duty is to eradicate any Matthew, a son of the Archbishop of York, idol by which the judgment may be warped; as through life an intimate friend and correspondent the kingdom of man can be entered only as the of the chancellor's, and in 1623 knighted by King kingdom of God, in the simplicity of little child- James. ren.” How powerfully, then, would he have In the cause of Worth and Mainwaring, it was called upon the lovers of truth and of justice to alleged that the chancellor had been bribed by divest their minds of all prejudice; to be, when £100. Upon examination it appeared, that some sitting in judgment upon a judge, themselves months after the decree, which was for a great impartial. Knowing the nature of the high tribu- inheritance, the successful party presented £100 nal before whom he was to appear, there could, to the chancellor. inueed, have been scarcely any necessity for such In the case of Hody and Hody, the charge an appeal. He knew the joy which they " would was, that £100 or £200 was presented to the feel, if he could clear his honour.” He knew chancellor. The fact was, that some time after that, however grateful it may be to common the suit was terminated, Sir Thomas Perrot and minds to indulge in the vulgar pleasure of imagi- Sir Henry Holmes presented the chancellor with nary self-importance from the depression of supe- some gold buttons, worth forty guineas. riority, a disinclination to condemn, even if truth In the case between Reynell and Peacock, the call for conviction, is an attribute of every charge was, that there was much money given on noble mind, always afflicted at the infirmities of both sides, and a diamond ring. The facts genius. Knowing that, amongst the peers, many turned out to be that presents were given on both valued themselves upon ancient learning, he sides; that Sir George Reynell was a near ally would have reminded them, that “ the tree of the chancellor's, and presented a gratuity as a scathed with lightning, was with them of the new year's gift for former favours, when the olden time ever held sacred. Sure no tree of the great seal was first delivered to the lord keeper, 'forest, under Jove's favour, ever flourished more and when presents were, as of course, presented than myself; witness for me all those who, by various persons ; and that, by the intervention while the dews of heaven rested on me, were re- of a friend and neighbour at St. Alban's, he borjoiced to shelter under my branches: and I the rowed a sum of Peacock. more readily, my lords, remind you of an ensam- In the cause of Barker and Hill, the charge ple of heathen piety, because I would not in the was, that the chancellor had been bribed by a presence of some of you speak of Christian cha- present made by Barker. The fact was, that the rity, which, if it were not recorded by one who sum was presented some time after the decree cannot lie, I have found so cold that I might sup- had been made. pose it to be only painted forth in books, but, in- In the case of Smithwick and Wyche, the deed, without life, or heat, or motion."
charge was, that Smithwick had presented £600 He could not have thought it necessary to warn to the chancellor, but he had decided against the lords, as he had apprized the king, that him, and the money was repaid. The fact was, “when from private appetite it is resolved that a that Smithwick had paid £200 to Hunt, one of creature shall be sacrificed, it is easy to pick up the chancellor's servants, unknown to the chansticks enough from any thicket whither it hath cellor; that the decision was against Smithwick, strayed, to make a fire to offer it with;” nor to have and that the chancellor, when he saw an entry of said to the lords, as he had said to the king, the sum in his servant's account, had defalced it, “For the briberies and gifts wherewith I am and ordered it to be returned. charged, when the book of hearts shall be opened, He might, in the same manner, have decomI hope I shall not be found to have the troubled posed all the charges. He might have selected fountain of a corrupt heart, in a depraved habit the fourteen cases in which the presents were of taking rewards to pervert justice: howsoever I made after, and many of them long after judgment may be frail, and partake of the abuses of the had been pronounced. He might have taken times." For such appeals there would not, be each particular case where the presents were before such a tribunal, have been any necessity. fore judgment, and the decrees against the donors
Passing from these general observations, how He might have explained that, in some of the
cases, he acted only as arbitrator; and in others | appease. Can it be doubted, that the prudent that the sums received were not gifts, but loans, course will be the chancellor's submission, as an and that he had decided against his creditor; and atonement for all who are under popular suspicion ? in others that the sums offered were refused and The only difficulty will be to prevail upon him to returned. And to the twenty-eighth charge, submit. He has resolved to defend himself, and “ that the lord chancellor hath given way to great in speech he is all-powerful; but he is of a exactions by his servants,” he surely might have yielding nature, a lover of letters, in mind conadmitted that he was negligent in not looking templative, although in life active; his love of better to his servants. Standing on a cliff, and retirement may be wrought upon; the king can surveying the whole intellectual world, he did remit any fine, and, the means once secured to not see every pebble on the shore.
him of learned leisure for the few remaining years Some defence of this nature could not but have of his life, he will easily be induced to quit the occurred to the chancellor ?
paradise of earthly honours.” Whatever doubt may exist as to the state of his So spoke the prelate; and the voice that promind, there is none with respect either to the king mised present immunity to the king and his humor Buckingham. The king was disquieted, and bled favourite, seemed to them the voice of an Buckingham robbed of all peace. This was the angel: but the remedies of a state empiric, like very state of mental fusion favourable for experi- those of all empirics, are only immediate relief; ment by a shrewd politician. “It is the doctrine " they help at a pang, but soon leese their operaof philosophy that to be speculative into another tion.” man, to the end to know how to work him, or The king fatally resolved upon this concession, wind him, or govern him, proceedeth from a heart and Bacon's remarkable prediction fell upon him that is double and cloven, and not entire and in- and his successor, “ They who will strike at genuous.” This is not the politician's creed. your chancellor will strike at your crown.”'
The king's fears, notwithstanding his pecuniary There was not any suggestion by Williams that distresses, disposed him to dissolve the parlia- the chancellor could not have anticipated, except ment, to which he had been advised, though by the monstrous fact that the king and Buckingham this measure he should lose his two subsidies. were consenting to his downfall. Once convinced Williams dissuaded him from such an expedient. that his weak and cowardly master was not only “ There is,” he said, “no colour to quarrel at this willing but anxious to interpose him between an general assembly of the kingdom, for tracing delin- enraged people and his culpable favourite, his quents to their form : it is their proper work, and line of conduct became evident: he was as much your majesty hath nobly encouraged them to it. bound to the stake as if already chained there; Your lordship,” he said, turning to Buckingham, and, when the fate of Essex and of Somerset re“ is jealous, if the parliament continue imbodied, curred to him, he must have felt how little deof your own safety. Follow it, swim with the pendence could be placed upon court favour, and tide: trust me and your other servants that have how certain was the utter ruin of a man who some credit with the most active members, to attempts to oppose a despotic prince. He keep you clear from the strife of tongues; but if might well say, "he was become clay in the you break up this parliament, in pursuit of justice, king's hand.” He who is robbed of all that cononly to save some cormorants who have devoured stitutes a inan, freedom of thought and action, that which they must disgorge, you will pluck up which is the breath of his nostrils, becomes noa sluice which will overwhelm you all.”
thing but a lifeless statue. The king listened to the advice of Williams; Before the 16th of April the king sent for the and his determination not to dissolve the parlia- chancellor, who instantly prepared minutes for ment was followed, of course, by the consideration their conference, in which he says, “ The law of how the charges were to be met, by resistance or nature teaches me to speak in my own defence. by submission.
With respect to this charge of bribery, I am as There cannot be any difficulty in following the innocent as any born upon St. Innocent's day: I train of Williams's reasoning in this conclave. never had bribe or reward in my eye or thought - Resistance will be attended with danger to when pronouncing sentence or order. If, howyour lordship and to his majesty. These popular ever, it is absolutely necessary, the king's will outeries thrive by opposition, and when they shall be obeyed. I am ready to make an oblacease to be opposed, they cease to exist. The tion of myself to the king, in whose hands I am chancellor has been accused. He cannot escape as clay, to be made a vessel of honour or dishounheard. He must be acquitted or convicted. nour." He cannot, in this time of excitement and pre- That an interview between the king and Bacon judgnient, expect justice. His mind will easily took place is clear, from the following entry in be impressed by the fate of other great men, sa- the journals of the House of Lords of April 17: crifices to the blind ignorance of a vulgar popu- • The lord treasurer signified, that in the inlace, whom talent will not propitiate or innocenca terim of this cessation, the lord chancellor was an
humble suitor unto his majesty, that he might see words: “I am the first; I wish I may be the last his majesty and speak with him; and although sacrifice.” his majesty, in respect of the lord chancellor's The parts were now cast, and the last act of the person, and of the place he holds, might have drama alone remained to be performed. given his lordship that favour, yet, for that his On the 17th of April, 1621, the House met, lordship is under the trial of this house, his when some account of the king's interview with majesty would not on the sudden grant it. the chancellor was narrated by the lord treasu
“ That on Sunday last, the king calling all the rer, and ordered to be entered upon the journals lords of this house which were of his council be- of the House ; and, a rumour having been circufore him, it pleased his majesty to show their lord- lated that Buckingham had sent his brother ships what was desired by the lord chancellor, abroad to escape inquiry, he protested unto the demanding their lordships' advice therein. lords, “ that whereas the opinion of the world is,
“The lords did not presume to advise his that his lordship had sent his brother, Sir Edward majesty ; for that his majesty did suddenly pro- Villiers, abroad in the king's service, of purpose pound such a course as all the world could not to avoid his trial touching some grievances comadvise a better; which was, that his majesty plained of by the Commons, his lordship was so would speak with him privately.
far from that, that his lordship did hasten his “ That yesterday, his majesty admitting the coming home ; and, if any thing blameworthy can lord chancellor to his presence, his lordship de- be objected against him, his lordship is as ready sired that he might have a particular of those mat- to censure him as he was Mompesson.” ters wherewith he is charged before the lords of It was then moved by the Earl of Arundel, that this house; for that it was not possible for him, the three several committees do make their report who passed so many orders and decrees in a year, to-morrow morning of the examinations by them to remember all things that fell out in them; taken touching the lord chancellor. and that, this being granted, his lordship would On the 20th, the chancellor wrote to the king, desire two requests of his majesty. 1. That, to thank him for the goodness manifested in his where his answers should be fair and clear, access on the 16th, and expressing an assured to those things objected against him, his lordship hope, that, as the king imitated Christ, by not might stand upon his innocency. 2. Where his breaking the broken reed, orquenching the smokanswer should not be so fair and clear, there his ing flax, so would the lords of the Upper House in lordship might be admitted to the extenuation of grace and mercy imitate their royal master: and the charge; and where the proofs were full and un- on the 22d of April he addressed a letter to the deniable, his lordship would ingenuously confess House of Lords, which had, of course, been subthem, and put himself upon the mercy of the mitted to Buckingham and the king, and was in lords.
due time communicated to their lordships by the “ Unto all which his majesty's answer was, he Prince of Wales. referred him to the lords of this house, and there- In that letter, which can be understood only fore his majesty willed his lordship to make re- by those who are in possession of the facts now port to their lordships.
stated, he consented to desert his defence; and “ It was thereupon ordered, that the lord trea- that word, used by a man so rich in language, so surer should signify unto his majesty, that the felicitous in every shade of expression, fully dislords do thankfully acknowledge his majesty's closes what was passing in his mind. He praised favour, and hold themselves highly bound unto the king, chiefly for his mercy, recommended his majesty for the same.'
him as an example to the lords, and reminded the At this interview the king, who had determined prelates that they were the servants of Christ. to sacrifice the “ oracle of his counsel rather than He concluded his address by intimating what he the favourite of his affection,” gave him his advice, hoped would be the measure of his punishment, as it was termed, " that he should submit himself but not till he had related some passages, from to the House of Peers, and that upon his princely ancient history, in his usual manner, and consiword he would then restore him again, if they in dered the case and its results to society with a detheir honours should not be sensible of his gree of philosophical calmness, which could not merits."
possibly contemplate the ruin that ensued, or any How little this command accorded with the punishment beyond the loss of his office. chancellor's intention to defend himself, may be On the morning of the 24th, the king addressed gathered from his distress and passionate remon- the house in a speech, which showed his disposistrance. “I see my approaching ruin : there is tion to meet the wishes of the people by admitno hope of mercy in a multitude, if I do not plead ting, “ that as many complaints are already made for myself, when my enemies are to give fire. against courts of judicature, which are in examiThose who strike at your chancellor will strike at nation, and are to be proceeded upon by the lords, your crown." All remonstrance proving fruitless, his majesty will add some, which he thinks fit to he took leave of the king with these memorable be also complained of and redressed, viz.: That no