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lish." The injustice with which Bacon stancy hardly to be expected of his was treated roused his keenest sympa- impulsive nature. For a year and a thy, and he engaged to “spend his ut half he urged Bacon's claims, in season termost credit, friendship and authority -and, more often, out of season-till against whomsoever" to secure Ba- the Queen and the whole Court were con's preferment. Nobody-not Mr. weary of Bacon's very name. Mr. Spedding, certainly not Bacon him- Spedding conjectures that Essex's inself-has ever denied that he kept his judicious vehemence spoiled Bacon's word. To Bacon, depressed by nine chance; but Burghley told Bacon that years' unsuccessful supplication, this the real difficulty lay in the offence unexpected support must have given which the Queen had taken at a speech new life, and not the least of his obli- he had made in Parliament. It is to gations to Essex lay in this, that he Bacon's credit that, believing himself believed in him when, among persons to be in the right in the matter of this of influence at any rate, no one else did. speech, he neither apologized for nor It was perhaps due to the fresh hopes retracted it. At last the Queen dethus excited that Bacon's “civil ends"
cided against Bacon, and in that hour gradually became less moderate. With
of cruel discouragement he half rethe support of his powerful and enthu- solved to give up public life and return siastic patron, the highest offices in the topbilosophy. Essex was almost State might not be beyond his reach. equally upset. He generously took Power to Bacon would mean power to
upon himself the whole blame of the do good; no one saw, as he thought he failure; "you fare ill," he said, “besaw, the real needs and dangers of the cause you have chosen me for your country. And Science would share in mean and dependence," and he prebis advancement. It was impossible sented Bacon with “a piece of land" for a private individual to work out
worth in our money about £6000. schemes so vast as his; and he reflects
When telling the story in after years," that “good thoughts, though God accept
Bacon paused to pay a tribute to the them, yet towards men are little bet
grace with which Essex bestowed his ter than good dreams, except they be
gift: “such kind and noble circumput in act, and that cannot be without stances as the manner was worth as power and place." *
much as the matter." In 1594 the Attorney-Generalship be
In estimating the extent of Bacon's came vacant, and Essex undertook to obligations to Essex, Mr. Spedding resecure it for Bacon. The attempt was minds us that “during the last five or most unfair to the Solicitor-General,
six years Bacon and his brother had Coke, who had clearly a prior claim; been performing
been performing for Essex a kind of but minor points like this Essex, in his service for which £1000 a year would headlong zeal, would not stop to con- not nowadays be thought very high sider. He was opposed by Burghley,
pay, and for which he had as yet rewho represented that Bacon was too
ceived in money or money's worth inexperienced for the post. The Queen
nothing whatever. Such services were chose to be guided by Burghley; Coke
in those days paid by great men, not was appointed, and became thence
5“ Sir Francis Bacon, his apology in cerforth Bacon's bitter enemy.
tain imputations concerning the late Earl of Essex then tried to get Bacon ap Essex."
Anthony Bacon, who was Essex's private pointed Solicitor-General. He showed
secretary. He was invaluable to Essex in the in Bacon's interests a degree of con
way of supplying him with foreign intelli* Essay, “ of Great Place."
in salaries, but in patronage.... kind, in so far as they were bound up Bacon lost the Solicitorship because with his own prospects. When Essex Essex urged his claims so intemper- returned from Ireland Bacon honestly ately. In such a case what more natu- did what he could to bring about his ral than to feel that he owed him some restoration to favor. The Queen seems thing?”? That Essex may have spoilt to have been in the habit of consultBacon's chance is quite arguable, ing Bacon at this time, though she still though Burghley, who was in a posi- failed to promote him; and it is clear tion to know, took a different view. that for the first six months of the year However that may be, it is safe to as 1600 Bacon was faithfully devoted to sert that any patron but Essex would his patron's interests. When Essex have thought Bacon's services more was summoned to answer for his misthan repaid by his unparalleled ex- management in Ireland, Bacon wrote ertions on his behalf. Mr. Sidney Lee offering to appear as one of the prosefinds Essex "quixotic" in giving Bacon cuting counsel; but he explains that anything. In fact the interest Essex he did so with a view to serving Eshad shown, the affectionate enthusiasm, sex more effectually afterwards. Then the “manner worth as much as the Essex passed into open treason, after matter," were such as cannot be valued which no one could have blamed Bacon in money or services. Macaulay says for holding aloof. Unfortunately, he finely of Essex that "unlike the vul- did not hold aloof. When Essex was gar herd of benefactors, he desired put on trial for his life Bacon again to inspire not gratitude, but affec- appeared against him. In the “Apoltion.”
ogy" Bacon protests that he did not Bacon asserted that when he accepted on this occasion offer his services; the Essex's gift he stipulated that "it must work “was merely laid upon me with be with the ancient savings"-that is, the rest of my fellows." The fact is of duty to the Queen and country; and that he was, occasionally and irreguin a letter to Essex of this period he larly, employed as counsel for the makes the curious reservation, “I crown; he was not one of the ordinary reckon myself to be a common . ., and counsel, and was not always called to so much as is lawful to be enclosed of appear at State trials. Unless it cati a common, so much your Lordship be shown not only that Essex's conshall be sure to have." The sentiment viction was necessary to the safety of is in every way appropriate to one who, the State, but that without Bacon's born for mankind, could not be ex- help there was no reasonable chance pected to narrow his mind to the con- of securing it, it seems obvious that dition of a vulgar partisan; but it can
common good feeling should have not be supposed that Bacon meant thus prompted him to stay away; and nothto release himself from the ordinary ing could be more cold-blooded than the obligations which every honest man manner in which he turned and adowes to those who have befriended
dressed his attack to Essex personally. him.
Professor Gardiner, while admitting Not many years later Bacon found that Bacon's conduct indicated "povhimself called upon to reconcile the erty of moral feeling," points out that claims of Essex with those of the "our sentiment of the precedence of Queen and country, and also of man- personal over political ties is based ** Evenings with a Reviewer," i. 106.
upon our increased sense of political 8“ Great Englishmen of the Sixteenth Cen
security, and is hardly applicable" to a tury" (p. 221). Bacon's "Apology."
period when "a government without all LIVING AGE. VOL. xxxv. 1822
armed force was liable to be over- Cæsar, but would have scorned to take turned by a man who, like Essex, was a pecuniary recompense. the darling of the military class." 16 This grant was the only reward BaMr. Spedding justifies Bacon on the con received. He had not advanced a plea that public duty must supersede fraction in the confidence of the Queen all others; among later writers there is or Cecil. But the reign of Elizabeth much divergence of opinion."
was drawing to a close, and all men's Nothing is more certain than that Ba- eyes were turning towards her succon believed himself to have acted cessor. On the accession of James, rightly. “There is nothing in my life. Bacon was naturally anxious to secure time," he wrote afterwards, “which a good reception; he therefore strove comes to my mind with more clearness to ingratiate himself with every one and less check of conscience." To who seemed likely to have any influanderstand his point of view it would ence. He desires Cecil's agent to "let perhaps be necessary to be transported him know that he is the person in the to the sixteenth century; yet he admits State that I love most." The Earl of that even in his own day his conduct Northumberland was thought to be was widely censured “in common coming to the front, and Bacon disspeech." 12 After the execution of Es- covers, what apparently no one had sex, Bacon was employed to draw up suspected, that there had “long lain in the official “Declaration" of his “trea- his mind a seed of affection and zeal sons attempted and committed.” For towards his lordship.” He even importhis, and his services at the trial, he tunes the friends of Essex; he assures received a grant of £1200; "the Queen Southampton, newly released from the hath done somewhat for me," he wrote, Tower, “I can now safely be to your "but not in the proportion I had hoped." Lordship what I truly was before"; One wishes that he had refused it and to the Earl of Devonshire he dediBrutus might think it his duty to stab cates his "Apology," excusing and ex
19“ Dictionary of National Biography"; art plaining his conduct to Essex. To Bacon,
modern ideas all this is undignified; it 11 Mr. Sidney Lee considers that Bacon “sacrificed all ordinary considerations of honor
would hardly appear so to Bacon's conin his treatment of Essex.” (“Great English temporaries. In those days, when men," p. 223.) Dean Church takes the same
everything went by influence, men haview ("English Men of Letters: Bacon"). Mr. Goldwin Smith says: "Bacon's impeachment
bitually addressed one another in the of his friend and benefactor is a repulsive language of exorbitant adulation. In relio of the servility which, in the Court of
of his letters, in his essays, in his private
his letters in his assau Henry VIII., laid nature and friendship, as well as truth and justice, at the despot's feet.” notes, Bacon frankly avows his be(“ The United Kingdom,” 1. 402.) Dr. Abbott lief that the way to greatness lay regards it as "a sin, but not a sin of weak
through the favor of great men. Not ness, or pusillanimity, or inconsistency," and as showing “how morally dangerous it is to
being naturally a courtier, he set himbe so imbued and penetrated with the notion self with the utmost deliberation to that one is born for the service of mankind as
$ study and profit by their weaknesses. to be rendered absolutely blind to all the claims of commonplace morality.” (“Intro
Of this “morigeration,” as Bacon calls duction to Bacon's Essays," p. 45.) Professor it, Mr. Spedding says," "I do not myself Fowler (“English Philosophers") and Mr.
recommend it for imitation, and if it Aldis Wright ("Introduction to the Advancement of Learning") follow Mr. Spedding.
be true that no man can be known to Professor Nichol considers that Essex's guilt do such a thing in these days without was of a kind “from the consequences of which past favors could not release him." 13 Robert Cecil succeeded his fathor as chief (“Philosophical Classics : Bacon," 1. 67.)
minister in 1598. 19 Bacon's "Apology."
14 « Letters and Life," iv. 34.
forfeiting his reputation for veracity, I tions and speeches." Nothing could ream glad to hear it." That worldly men move the rooted distrust, due probably have at all times done such things is to jealousy, with which Salisbury retrue enough. From Bacon perhaps garded him; so long as Salisbury lived something better might have been ex Bacon remained, in his own words, was pected.
a hawk tied to another's fist." On
Salisbury's death, in 1612, all his pentWho would not laugh if such a man
up bitterness burst forth. Salisbury is there be ? Who would not weep if Atticus were hardly buried when Bacon writes to the he?
King, censuring his policy- these
courses and others the like are gone, Yet one can understand how keenly I hope, with the deviser of them"-and Bacon must have longed for power at he can hardly refrain from openly conthis moment. A new era was opening; gratulating him on the goodness of a king had succeeded who was cer- Heaven as shown in the taking away tainly a scholar, and might be a lover of that man." of science. Clouds were gathering on It is evident that Bacon had never the political horizon, and every Eng really approved of Salisbury's policy. lishman who loved his country must Nothing could be less to his mind than have wished to do something to avert Salisbury's way of haggling and barthe threatened storm. In the interests gaining with the Commons. All Baof science, and in the interests of Eng. con's political views were on a granu land, Bacon could not but wish for scale. There is no doubt as to the sinpower; while he was too shrewd to cerity of his monarchical principles. -expect to command the end, and not To him, as to other statesmen of his to endure the mean." With patient time, it seemed better to strengthen the care he trimmed his sail to every royal prerogative than to entrust the breeze of fortune. Northumberland's government of the country to the star sank as rapidly as it had risen, House of Commons as it was then. and Bacon's "seed of affection and His ideal was that of a wise king takzeal" withered away. The direction of ing the lead in matters of reform, while State affairs was still in the hands a grateful parliament willingly voted of Cecil (now Earl of Salisbury), and supplies. Bacon was a lover of parliato bim Bacon "applied himself" with a ments, though he did not wish to see constancy which nothing could wear them encroaching on the authority of out. It was in vain that Bacon as the King; and he was frequently emsured him that he counted all things ployed to mediate in disputes between but loss “in comparison of having the the King and the Houses. Religious honor and happiness of being a near differences he would have removed by and well-accepted kinsman to so worthy a more comprehensive ecclesiastical pola counsellor, governor, and patriot," icy, while by a warlike foreign policy and that "if I knew in what course of he would have diverted the Commons life to do you best service, I could from the contemplation of their "grievtake it, and make my thoughts, which ances." Bacon was full of plans for now fly to many pieces, be reduced to the aggrandizement of the country; for that centre." In vain does he study to the pacification of Ireland; for the civil*correspond with Salisbury in a habit izing of "the wilds of Scotland"; for of natural but no ways perilous bold- English supremacy abroad, as the cenless." and "at Council Table chiefly to tre of a vast Protestant coalition. Promake good my Lord of Salisbury's mo- fessor Gardiner says, that “if James had been other than he was, the name policy of the government, he may yet of Bacon would have come down to have believed that the government of us as great in politics as it is in sci. a despotic king was to be preferred ence." 15 But Bacon was never to bave to that of an untried and half-organa free hand to work out his ideals. ized House of Commons. When he James had thrown off the yoke of Salis- strove to strengthen the prerogative bury only to submit to that of a against Coke and the lawyers, his acfavorite; and Bacon must either give tion is not to be attributed to mere up the pursuit of power, or follow it "servility”; he took what he honestly by humoring the caprice and vanity of believed to be the better side. Villiers. At first, with characteristic Too much has been made of Baoptimism, he hopes great things of Vil con's action at the trial of Peacham, a liers. He gives him excellent advice, half-mad clergyman, in whose study an reminding him that “it is the life of an unpublished sermon was found, conox or beast to eat and never to exer- taining disloyal reflections on the King cise; but men are born (and especially and government. Peacham was orChristian men) not to cram in their for- dered to be tortured. Bacon did not tunes, but to exercise their virtues." (so far as we know) advise the torture Villiers soon tired of this kind of ex- in this case, though he seems, like hortation, if he ever liked it; the King many good and wise men of the period, remonstrated with Bacon on the “pa- to have regarded torture as a regrettarental tone" which he had presumed to ble necessity. The torture producing adopt towards the favorite. Flattery no result, it was determined to consult was what Villiers wanted, and flattery the judges of the Court of King's - "laid on with a trowel"—is what Ba Bench in order to make sure of a concon henceforth gives him. It was now viction. There was nothing unusual in certain that Bacon would never have this. For a prisoner to be tried and any real power in the State. Promo acquitted would have been considered tion came to him, with honors and equivalent to a defeat of the governrank, but never the power to do good, ment, and it was customary in difficult either to science or the country. cases to take the opinion of the judges James turned from the Novum Organum before bringing the accused to trial. with a speer; and one by one Bacon's The judges whom Bacon consulted in political schemes fell to the ground. Peacham's case were not those who He bad wished to see reform going were to try him. Bacon, it is true, inband in hand with the prerogative; all troduced a dangerous precedent. Fearhe in effect accomplished was to ing that the judges might be overborne strengthen the hands of an oppressive by Coke, he recommended that they government.
should be consulted separately, which It would doubtless have been better was done, Coke loudly protesting. if Bacon, wben he saw his advice neg. Equally defensible from the point of lected, had done as other men have view of a royalist of that time were done in such a case-thrown up office, the proceedings against St. John. The and refused to associate himself with King had tried to raise money by a measures of which he disapproved. "Benevolence." The contributions were But it is to be remembered that Bacon really voluntary, all undue pressure on was by conviction a "peremptory royal the part of government agents being ist"; though not in sympathy with the forbidden. St. John, however, de
claimed against all Benevolences, and 18" Bistory of England from the Accession
expressed his of James I.," i. 181.
opinion in terms SO