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riding abroad. Whereupon, full of those evil spirits wherewith so many exorcisms had possessed him, he came into the stableyard where her Majesty's horse stood ready saddled, and in a familiar and cheerful manner, in the hearing of divers that stood thereby, having all things ready according to his instructions, he laid his hand upon the pommel of the saddle, and said “God save the Queen” (wherein it pleased God to take his words and not his meaning) and bruised the poison as he was directed.
Thus was her Majesty's sacred and precious life by the “allhail” of a second Judas betrayed, the attempt put in act, and all the conspirator's part played to the uttermost line and tittle; there rested only God's part; for so it was that her Majesty's going abroad held; and as the viper was upon St. Paul's hand and shaked off without hurt, so this done was in July in the heat of the
year, when the pores and veins were openest to receive any malign vapour or tincture, if her Majesty by any accident had laid her hand upon the place. And as the heathenish people at that time did argue and conclude thereupon that St. Paul was a god, so we may Christianly infer that it was God's doing and power, who hath defended his handmaid and servant by his secret and more than natural influence and preservation from so actual and mortal a danger, speaking by these signs to all her disloyal subjects and ambitious enemies, that as he hath done great things by her past ordinary discourse of reason, so he hath done and will do as great things for her beyond the course of his ordinary providence.
For surely if a man consider how many times her life hath been sought and assailed since the beginning of her reign, by violence, by poisoning, by superstitious votaries, by ambitious undertakers, by singular conspirators, by conspirators combined (speaking of those that have been revealed; besides a number (no doubt) of the like which have grovelled in darkness and never come to light), he will not find the like reflexion of God's favour in any sovereign prince that hath reigned.
But in the meantime you see the strange mysteries of the Jesuits' doctrine, that have mingled heaven and hell, and lift up the hands of subjects against the anointed of God; arming them with the invisible armour of Scriptures, sacraments, vows, prayers, and blessings, against their natural sovereign. Wherein there
is great difference between the spirit that wrought in David and this that worketh in them. For David when relation was made to him (by one that thought he had done Saul the last good office) how Saul had fallen upon his own sword in battle, and being in the anguish of death and careful not to fall alive in the hands of the Philistines, a people uncircumcised, desired this soldier to make an end of him, who did so, and was therefore by David adjudged to die because he dared to lay his hands upon the anointed of the Lord; and yet was Saul a king forsaken and abandoned of God; he had taken his mortal wound before, so as this soldier took from his pain and not his life; and it was to a good end, lest a heathenish people should reproach the name of God by insulting upon the person of Saul.
And surely for my part I do wonder that princes do not concur in loosing these bands and suppressing this sect, which maketh a traffic of their sacred lives, concluding and contracting for them with these blinded votaries in the secrecy of confessions and shrifts. For I do not see that pirates (whom the Civilians account to be publici hostes societatis humane, and therefore princes bound, as they affirm, though they be otherwise in no league one with another, yea and though they be enemies, to join in the suppressing and extirpation of them) are any such disturbers of human society as these are. Neither do I think that the Order of the Templars (that was put down throughout Christendom in a few weeks) were ever offenders in so high a degree. And I find somewhat strange that the Bishop of Rome (if it were but to avoid the aspersion of so great a slander and imputation to that religion) should not purge out this leaven so strange and odious.
But to return: within five or six days after this fact committed, Squire went to sea in the Earl's own ship, and belike as Tacitus saith, Ferox scelerum quia prima provenerant, taking the remain of the same poison with him in a little pot in his portmantua, when the Earl was at sea between Faial and St. Michael, he bestowed it upon the pommels of a chair of wood, where the Earl used to dine and sup: but thanks be to God nothing come of it neither.
Now let me acquaint you a little with the manner of detecting of this matter, which God did likewise strangely bring about. Squire slept now in security; for although he failed of success yet he took himself to be out of danger: thinking because it
was carried between his confessor and him, it could never be revealed. But his confessor whom it concerned not so much to keep it secret as it did Squire, tickled belike with the joy that he had such an iron in the fire, imparted it (for his own glory) to some principal of the fugitives there; there raised a great expectation in them of some effect to ensue. When time passed and nothing came of it, they made construction of it that Squire had been false to them. One of the more passionate of them inveigheth bitterly against Squire, tells how he was trusted and how he had undone the cause; and the better to be revenged on him, is content that one (that they let slip hither as if he had fled from them) should give information of this matter, not with the circumstances, but generally, against Squire, partly to win himself credit, partly to wreak himself on Squire. And this fellow because he would be thought to do the better service, would not bring this in his mouth but in a letter, which he pretended to have stolen out of one of their studies. This letter compared with another letter that the same man brought as written from a several person, both which letters had one and the same busy knot to both names, is suspected to be counterfeited : it is so found. Hereupon it is collected that this was but an engine against Squire, and that he was an honest man. Yet because it was a tender matter, Squire was sent for and examined. For a time he denieth ; after, he cometh to some circumstances which concurring with the other's tale gave it to be understood that there was somewhat true, and that all was not an invention against him: hold was taken of that; and thereupon Squire, not knowing how far his confessor had broken trust with him, by good persuasion and God's good working disclosed all without any rigour in the world.
But upon a second advice, being a man of a very good reach, finding that it had been his wisest way to have confessed the whole plot and subornation, which was known to Walpoole, and there to have stopped, and not to have told of the putting of it in execution, which was only known to himself, and which indeed was
1 See examination of John Stanley, 23rd Sept., 1598. “He heard Creswell say how they had played the villains and broken their vow, having received fifteen hundred crowns before their departure” (meaning Squire and Rowles). See also Stanley's declaration, 18th Oct., 1598 ; and William Monday's examination, 3rd Nov., 1598. “ Thomas Fitzherbert came in from Father Cresswell in a great rage and passion, saying what villain rascals are Rolls and Squire," etc.—ED.
won from him by good following, he endeavoured at his arraignment to have distinguished, and avouching the first part to have retracted the second; pretending that although he undertook it, yet he had not any purpose to perform it.
Whereupon one of the Commissioners, being well acquainted with all the particular circumstances, did set before him the absurdity of his denial, against his former confession, which was voluntary, particular, and needless otherwise than in conscience of truth) : upon which speech he being stricken with remorse and convicted in himself, acknowledged and justified the truth of his former confession in the hearing of all the standers by.
Thus, Sir, have I entertained you with a discourse which I think in reading will affect you diversely as it did me in writing. But in the end I think we shall join in congratulating for our good deliverance and desiring of God the continuance of her Majesty, in whom our good days do consist.
Camden, who gives a concise summary of this case in exact accordance with the above narrative (probably taken from it), adds that “Walpoole, or some other for him, set forth a book in print, wherein he precisely denied with many detestations all wbich Squire had confessed.” But unfortunately the motives of such a denial are obvious and strong, and some of them of a nature which might seem to a person in Walpoole's position to make it a duty above that of telling truth; whereas if the story told by Squire was false, it is impossible to conceive his motive for telling it. Supposing him to have been really involved in some such conspiracy, I can understand how he may have been induced to acknowledge some part of it, and may thereby bave entangled himself in his own admissions till he had no escape. But if the story was all false, what possible inducement could he have for inventing it? He was merely spinning a rope for his own neck. And besides this difficulty (which seems to me insuperable), the principles avowed by the Jesuits in those days must necessarily deprive their assertions of all value. There may be obligations higher than that of veracity, but he who accepts them must be content to have all his words distrusted. A promise is worth nothing from a man who acknowledges an authority that may release him from it. An oath that he speaks truth is worth nothing from a man who
may believe it his duty to declare upon oath that which is false. For my own part I believe the story as here told to
1 It was not till the 23rd of October that he confessed the fact.—ED.
be substantially true. Those who think it a fiction (that is to say, the report of a fiction, for the reporter was certainly not the inventor) will still find it interesting for the manner in which it is told. A better specimen of the art of narration it would be difficult to find. And it is interesting besides as showing Bacon's idea (for I suppose those who are most familiar with his acknowledged writings in this kind will be least inclined to doubt that it is his work) of the manner in which such cases ought to be treated, -cases in which the conduct of the government was sure to be misrepresented by an interested faction.
3. I have already had occasion to observe that the name of an eminent man inserted in the titlepage of a manuscript, we do not know when, by whom, or upon what authority, proves only that somebody at some time has supposed that it was written by him; proves therefore, if not otherwise corroborated, nothing at all. I say an eminent man; because in the case of an obscure man (whose name would not naturally occur to a guesser) such evidence is worth soinething. When I find a work ascribed to so famous a man as Bacon upon this kind of authority, I merely take it as a reason for inquiring whether there is other evidence to connect him with it, and whether the thing is otherwise likely. For the rest, I regard it as a question newly raised, and to be decided upon its own merits without reference to the tradition.
In this position stands a treatise which was first included among Bacon's works by Blackbourn in 1730, on the authority of a manuscript in the library of the Inner Temple, the title of which ascribes it to him; and which has appeared in all subsequent editions, and continues to be spoken of, generally with high praise, as one of his undoubted works: an historical account of the Alienation Office. I was first led to examine Bacon's claim to the authorship of this work by finding that there was a manuscript in the library of Lincoln's Inn with a similar title, but with the name of Wm. Lambarde subscribed. The Inner Temple manuscript told me nothing; being merely a copy in a hand comparatively modern, with no marks about it of any kind to give it authority. But soon after I chanced upon a volume in the Cambridge University Library, which contained so decisive a confirmation of the Lincoln's Inn copy that I considered the question as settled in so far as it concerned me, and did not care
| Maynard Collection, lix. See Report of Record Commission.