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TO MY LORD HENRY HOWARD.
There be very few besides yourself to whom I would perform this respect. For I contemn mendacia fame, as it walks among inferiors; though I neglect it not, as it may have entrance into some ears. For your Lordship's love, rooted upon good opinion, I esteem it highly, because I have tasted of the fruits of it; and we both have tasted of the best waters, in my account, to knit minds together. There is shaped a tale in London's forge, that beateth apace at this time, That I should deliver opinion to the Queen in my Lord of Essex cause : first, that it was præmunire; and now last, that it was high treason; and this opinion to be in opposition and encounter of the Lord Chief Justice's opinion and the Attorney-General's. My Lord, I thank God my wit serveth me not to deliver any opinion to the Queen, which my stomach serveth me not to maintain: one and the same conscience of duty guiding me and fortifying me. But the untruth of this fable God and my sovereign can witness, and there I leave it; knowing no more remedy against lies, than others do against libels. The root no question of it is, partly some light-headed envy at my accesses to her Majesty; which being begun and continued since my childhood, as long as her Majesty shall think me worthy of them I scorn those that shall think the contrary. And another reason is, the aspersion of this tale and the envy thereof upon some greater man, in regard of my nearness. And therefore (my Lord) I pray you answer for me to any person that you think worthy your own reply and my defence. For my Lord of Essex, I am not servile to him, having regard to my superiors duty. I have been much bound unto him. And on the other side, I have spent more time and more thoughts about his well doing, than ever I did about mine own. you his friends amongst you be in the right. Nulla remedia tam faciunt dolorem quam quæ sunt salutaria. For my part, I have deserved better than to have my name objected to envy, or iny life to a ruffian's violence. But I have the privy coat of a good conscience. I am sure these courses and bruits hurt my Lord more than all. So having written to your Lordship, I deRawley's ’s ‘Resuscitatio,' Supplement, p. 100.
eare in original. superiour's in the original.
I pray God
sire exceedingly to be preferred in your good opinion and love : and so leave you to God's goodness.
To SIR ROBERT CECIL. It may please your good Honour,
I am apt enough to contemn mendacia famæ; yet it is with this distinction; as fame walks among inferiors, and not as it hath entrance into some ears. And yet nevertheless in that kind also I intend to avoid a suspicious silence, but not to make any base apology. It is blown about the town, that I should give opinion touching my Lord of Essex cause; first, that it was a præmunire ; and now last, that it reached to high treason ; and this opinion should be given in opposition to the opinion of the Lord Chief Justice and of Mr. Attorney-General. Sir, I thank God, whatsoever opinion my head serveth me to deliver to her Majesty, being asked, my heart serveth me to maintain, the same honest duty directing me and assisting me. But the utter untruth of this report God and the Queen can witness; and the improbability of it every man that hath wit more or less can conceive. The root of this I discern to be, not so much a light and humorous envy at my accesses to her Majesty (which of her Majesty's grace being begun in my first years, I would be sorry she should estrange in my last years; for so I account them, reckoning by health not by age), as a deep malice to your honourable self; upon whom, by me, through nearness, they think to make some aspersion. But as I know no remedy against libels and lies; so I hope it shall make no manner of disseverance of your honourable good conceits and affection towards me; which is the thing I confess to fear. For as for
For as for any violence to be offered to me, wherewith my friends tell me to no small terror that I am threatened, I thank God I have the privy coat of a good conscience; and have a good while since put off any fearful care of life or the accidents of life. So desiring to be preserved in your good opinion, I remain.
From this time till the 20th of March, Essex remained at York House under the same conditions. But though he was supposed to
| Rawley's 'Resuscitatio,' Supplement, p. 98.
see nobody, not even his wife, without the Queen's special leave, he was really in communication all this time with Southampton, Sir Christopher Blount, Sir Charles Davers, and others, upon certain projects which it will be necessary to bring out in more prominence than has been usually given to them. For though the Government knew nothing of them at the time, and when they did come to light covered them up with a discreet silence (in consequence of which they have almost dropped out of the story as it is commonly told, though the evidence has been long accessible to everybody in a well-known book), yet they certainly formed a very important part of the case which we shall presently have to consider,
But I will first dispose of two or three other letters of Bacon's, which stand next in the chronological order of his compositions and would otherwise come in as an interruption.
In a list of new-year's gifts given to the Queen at Richmond in 1599-1600, I find the following item :
"By Mr. Frauncis Bacon, one pettycote of white satten, embrothered all over like feathers and billets, with three brode borders, faire embrothered with snakes and frutage.”!
In the Resuscitatio' I find three undated letters from Bacon to the Queen written to accompany new-year's gifts, and one of them speaks of "a garment” as the gift. It is not improbable therefore that the proper date of this was the 1st of January, 1599-1600, and there being nothing to indicate in the case of the others to which new-year's day they belong, I shall insert all three here.
A LETTER TO QUEEN ELIZABETH, UPON THE SENDING OF A
Most excellent Sovereign Mistress,
The only new-year's gift which I can give your Majesty is that which God hath given to me; which is a mind in all humbleness to wait upon your commandments and business: wherein I would to God that I were hooded, that I saw less, or that I could perform more: for now I am like a hawk, that bates, when I see occasion of service, but cannot fly because I am tied to another's fist. But meanwhile I continue my presumption of
making to your Majesty my poor oblation of a garment, as unworthy the wearing as his service that sends it; but the approach to your excellent person may give worth to both; which is all the happiness I aspire unto.
A LETTER TO QUEEN ELIZABETH, UPON THE SENDING OF A
NEW-YEAR's Gift.1 It may please your Majesty,
According to the ceremony of the time, I would not forget in all humbleness to present your Majesty with a small newyear's gift: nothing to my mind. And therefore to supply it, I can but pray to God to give your Majesty his new-year's gift; that is, a new year that shall be as no year to your body, and as a year with two harvests to your coffers; and every other way prosperous and gladsome. And so I remain.
TO THE QUEEN.2 It may please your excellent Majesty,
I presume, according to the ceremony and good manner of the time and my accustomed duty, in all humbleness to present your Majesty with a simple gift; almost as far from answering my mind as sorting with your greatness; and therewith wish that we may continue to reckon on, and ever, your Majesty's happy years of reign ; and they that reckon upon any other hopes, I would they mought reckon short and to their cost. And so craving pardon most humbly, I commend your Majesty to the preservation of the Divine goodness.
It is long since we heard anything of Bacon's mother. And I am sorry to say that the brief allusion in the next letter (which serves to remind us that she is still at Gorhambury with all her maternal griefs, affections, and solicitudes) is the last we shall hear of her. The collection of papers in which her correspondence with her sons is preserved becomes very scanty after the period at which we are now arrived. It has been conjectured that when the Earl of Essex became an object of suspicion to the Government, Anthony Bacon either destroyed or gave up his papers: which is not improbable. But what1 Resuscitatio, p. 3.
? Ibid., Supplement, p. 99.
ever the reason, there are not many remaining which belong to the last three years of his life.
The letter which contains this allusion does not come from that collection, nor from Bacon's own. It is addressed to the Queen, and being a suit for a gift of certain lands belonging to the Crown, was I presume accompanied with a memorial of the particulars. The Queen would naturally refer it to the officer who had charge of that department of her business. What happened to it during the next two hundred and thirty years, I do not know. But in 1729 the original was in the possession of John Anstis, Garter Principal King-at-Arms; who gave a copy of it to Blackbourn, the editor of the first Opera Omnia, 1730. Blackbourn printed it, not in its place among the letters (for which it probably reached him too late), but in the “ Collections relating to the life of the author," prefixed to the first volume. Whence it has happened that all succeeding editors have overlooked it; and though it was afterwards reprinted by Birch in his Memoirs of Queen Elizabeth,' it is not to be found in any other edition of Bacon's works that I have seen. The original letter has since found its way into the British Museum, and from the original this copy is taken. It is handsomely and carefully written in Bacon's Roman hand. Of the issue of the suit I find no account.
TO THE QUEEN.? Most Gracious Sovereign,
I think I should rest senseless of that wherein others have sense restless, and that is of my particular estate and fortune, were it not that the overthrow of my fortune includeth in it a cutting off of that thrid which is so fastly wreathed with the thrid of
my life that I know they will end together, I mean the thrid of my hopes to do your Majesty furder and better service.
Which consideration only or chiefly constraineth me to make now this motion to your Majesty for the help of my estate; a motion wherein nevertheless I will keep this stay, that I will not insue the common precedent of being suitor to your Majesty for a value, whereby the best of your possessions useth to be pucelled and deflowered, but for three parcels only wherein I am informed ; . arising to the total of eighty and odd pounds, and in all respects ordinary land, which if your Majesty shall be pleased of your benignity and love towards me to confer upon me in the richest manner, which is fee-simple, I can say no more but that Page 57.
2 Add. MSS. 12,514, fo. 97. Original : own hand.