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Essex for the entertainment of her Majesty,” as a piece of evidence bearing materially upon the question which I was about to raise. If it be certain that that was his own composition, it is hardly possible, I think, in any similar case, to decide by the style whether he or Bacon were the writer. There is another paper which I must produce for the same reason, as bearing even more materially on the same question: a paper on a different subject and in a different style; but 80 very Baconian in matter and manner, that I see no reason why every word of it (the opening and closing paragraphs excepted) might not have been written by Bacon himself in his own person. Unluckily, instead of settling the last question, it only raises a fresh one: for what evidence we have as to the authorship proves at most only that Essex was the reputed author of it, and leaves the secret history of it (if it had any) entirely unexplained. The occasion seems to have been one not unlike that we have just discussed. It is a letter of advice addressed to Fulke Greville (date unfortunately not known) all about books and studies : such a letter as Bacon would undoubtedly at this time have wished Essex to write and the Queen to know he had written. For the rest, I must leave it to speak for itself; for all I know is that I found it in the Bodleian Library, among the
papers of Archbishop Sancroft: a manuscript in the hand of some person whom he seems to bave employed; lying among copies (some in the same hand and some in the Archbishop's own) of papers by or relating to the Earl of Essex, annexed to an account of his trial; but with nothing to indicate whence it came. But as I believe it has never been printed, even those who totally reject its claims to be considered as one of Bacon's occasional works, will not the less be glad to have the opportunity of reading it. Nor can it even on that supposition be regarded as altogether irrelevant to Bacon himself : for if he had no hand in it, it cannot but suggest a doubt whether, even as a thinker and a writer, he did not owe to Essex more than has been suspected.
ROBERT, EARL OF Essex, to Sir POULKE GREVILLE. Cousin Foulke,
You tell me that you are going to Cambridge, and that the ends of your going are to get a scholar to your liking to live with you, and two or three others to remain in the University and gather for you; and you require my opinion what instruction you shall give these gatherers. To which I yield more out
| Tanner MSS. vol. 76, fo. 82.
of affection for your satisfaction to do what I can, than out of confidence that I can do anything; and though you get nothing else by this idle discourse, yet you shall learn this, that if
you will have your friend perform what you require, you must require nothing above his strength.
He that shall out of his own reading gather for the use of another, must (as I think) do it by Epitome or Abridgment, or under Heads and Commonplaces. Epitomes also may be of two sorts; of any one art or part of knowledge out of many books, or of one book by itself. Of the first kind we have many patterns : as for Civil Law, Justinian; Littleton for our own; Ramus, Logic; Valerius, Physics ;' Lipsius, Politics;- and Machiavell's art of War. Some in every kind, and divers in some one. In matters of story I will not cite Carion, Functius, Melancthon, nor the new French Bibliothèque historian ;* because they are rather calendars to direct a man to stories than abridgments of story. But the reading of the best of these (and these be the best we have) will no more make a man a good Civilian, Common Lawyer, Logician, Naturalist, Politician, nor Soldier, than the seeing of the names of London, Bristol, York, Lincoln, and some few other places of note, in a Mercator's general map will make a stranger understand the cosmography of England.5
And if the works of so excellent men be so fruitless, what shall their abridgments be? who can give us no great proportion of knowledge if they gave us all they understand themselves. I do not deny but he that hath such abridgments of all arts shall have a general notion of all kinds of knowledge. But he shall be like a man of many trades, that thrives less than he that seriously follows one. For it is Seneca's rule, multum non multa.
It may be objected that knowledge is so infinite, and [to read] 1 Physicæ, seu de Naturæ Philosophia Institutio perspicue et breviter explicata à Cornelio Valerio Ultrajectino, publico linguæ Latinæ, in collegio trilingui Buslidiano, professore. Antverpiæ, ex officina Christophori Plantini, Architypographi Regii. MDLXXIIII.
* Politica sive Civiles Doctrinæ, cum notis. Lugd. Bat. 1589. 3 Carion (Joh.), Chronicorum libellus, 89, Par. 1543.--Chronicon Carionis expositum et auctum à Ph. Melancthone et Casp. Pencero. 16°, Par. 1544.-Funccius (Joh.) Chronologia cum Commentariis. 4®, Bas. 1554.
Pierre Pithou was the first (according to the editor of the ‘Bibliothèque Historique de la France, 1768), who conceived the idea of publishing in one body some of the old annalists who had written the history of their own times. His collection, under the title ‘Annalium et Historia Francorum, ab anno Christi DCCVIII ad ann. Docccxc, scriptores coætanei XII,' appeared in 1588, and a continuation of it in 1596.
5 Compare “Advancement of Learning,' Works, iii. pp. 154-5.
the writers of every sort of it so tedious, as it is reason to
may be thought the slowness of mine own conceit in this point corrupts my judgment. But surely I do not measure all men by myself ; for the wants I have shall make me more honour great gifts in them. I confess excellent wits will make use of every little thing. But yet against all slothful students I learn this rule out of Livy: Nunquam nec opera sine emolumento, nec emolumentum sine impensá operá est. Labor voluptasque, dis milia natura, societate quádem naturali inter se conjuncta sunt.
I hold collections under heads and commonplaces of far more profit and use;because they have in them a kind of observation, without the which neither long life breeds experience, nor great reading great knowledge. For id demum scimus cujus causam scimus. As for example: He that will out of Curtius or Plutarch make an epitome of the life of Alexander, considers but
As for the corruptions and moths of history, which are Epitomes, the use of them deserveth to be banished,” etc.-Adv. of L. Works, iii. 334.
? " I cannot likewise be ignorant of a form of writing which some great and wise men have used, containing a scattered history of those actions which they have thought worthy of memory, with politic discourse and observation thereupon,” etc. -Adv. of L. Works, ii. 339.
the number of years he lived, the names of places he conquered, the humours and affections he had, and the variety of accidents he met withal in the course of his life. But he that will draw notes out of his life under heads will show, under the title of a Conqueror, That to begin in the strength and flower of his age; to have a way made to greatness by his father; to find an army disciplined, and a council of great captains; and to procure himself to be made head of a league against a common enemy, whereby both his quarrel may be made popular and his assistance great; are necessary helps to great conquests :-Under the title of War, That the invader hath ever the advantage of the invaded; for he comes resolved, strikes terror, hath all if he win, and if he lose, loseth but his hopes; that it is not the number of soldiers, so much as the goodness of them and the conduct of the leaders, that is cause of victory; and that before any man make foreign wars, he must (according to Alexander's example) be sure to settle all near home :-Under the title of Periods or Revolutions of States, That the uncertainty of succession, the equal greatness of divers grandees, and the overmuch (if I may so speak) unwieldiness of a state, are sufficient causes to ruin the greatest monarchy. The last may seem somewhat strange; but as I conceive it to be a true cause of the dissipation or loss of the Grecian monarchy, so sure it was of the Roman : which made Livy in his time, foreseeing the fall of it, say of that commonwealth, Quod ab exiguis profecta initiis eo creverit ut jam magnitudine laboret suá. And in another place, Tempora quibus prævalentis populi vires se ipsæ conficiant. I name these few heads only to show the difference between these kinds of collections; which I think is soon discerned.
But though I prefer the second kind of collections before the first, yet neither is that anything, if these three circumstances be not observed : Choice to be made of the heads under which all things are reduced; of the books out of which they are to be taken; and above all things of the notes themselves that shall be set down. For the first, you will say your abridgers shall follow patterns; for the second, that they may read the books that are in reputation in the university; for the third, you will trust their judgment. But I answer, the patterns they shall find either are made by young students like themselves, or by common bookmakers that follow an alphabet, and fill the index with many idle
heads,' enough to make him that shall follow their pattern to fill his paper-book as full of idle notes. Therefore special advice I would wish him to take that shall make heads, and to make far fewer than he shall find in any pattern.
The judgment of the university I do infinitely reverence. But the general reputation of books (I think) will little direct them. My reasons are that all or most of grounded judgment do only follow one of the three professions, Divinity, Law, or Physic; and are strangers to the books your abridgers should read, because they despise them; and other young students are better satisfied with a flowing easy style then with excellent matter in harsh words. Of the choice (because you mean only study of humanity) I think story of most, and I had almost said of only use. For poets, I can commend none, being resolved to be ever a stranger to them. Of orators, if I must choose you any, it shall be Demosthenes, both for the argument he handles, and for that his eloquence is more proper for a statesman than Cicero's. Of all stories, I think Tacitus simply the best ; Livy very good ; Thucydides above any of the writers of Greek matters; and the worst of these, and divers others of the ancients, to be preferred before the best of our moderns.
The third and the hardest point is the choice of the notes themselves; which must be natural, moral, politic, or military. Of the two first, your gatherers may have good judgment, but you shall have little use: of the two latter, your use is greatest, and their judgment least. I doubt not but in the university you shall find choice of many excellent wits; and in things wherein they have waded, many of good understanding. But they that have the best eyes are not always the best lapidaries, and according to the proverb, the greatest clerks are not always the wisest men. A mere scholar, in state or military matters, will no more satisfy you than Phormio did Hannibal. Therefore to speak plainly of the gathering of heads or commonplaces, I think first in general that one man's notes will little profit another, because
1" But this is true, that of the methods of Commonplaces that I hare seen, there is none of any sufficient worth, all of them carrying merely the face of a school and not of a world, and referring to vulgar matters and pedantical divisions,—without all life or respect to action."--Adv. of L. Works, iii. 398.
9 mocks in Ms.
3 « The writing of speculative men of active matter for the most part doth seem to men of experience as Phormio's argument of the wars seemed to Hannibal, to be but dreams and dotage."-Adv. of L. Works, iii. 429.