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one man's conceit doth so much differ from another's; and also because the bare note itself is nothing so much worth as the suggestion it gives the reader. Next I think no profit is gotten of his notes that is not judicious in that whereof he makes his notes. But you will say I exceed
my commission; for instead of advice I do dehort. I do confess I would have you gather the chiefest things and out of the chiefest books yourself, and to use your other collectors in gathering arguments and examples to prove or illustrate any particular position or question. For they should like labourers bring stone, timber, mortar, and other necessaries to your building. But you should put them together and be the master-workman yourself; and instruction is easilier given and will be better followed in one point than in many.
As I began, so I must end; assuring you that I have no end but your satisfaction, no not of thanks from you; for you cannot be so much pleased with seeing a proof of the credit you have with me, as you will be distasted with the insufficiency of that you sought to be satisfied in. Make you this private to conceal my weakness, and I will by many better trials than this publish to the world that affection with which it is undertaken. Your affectionate cousin and assured friend,
To decide upon the merits of disputes between borrower and lender from such casual evidence as this kind of correspondence discloses, would be a hopeless task. Where the necessity is urgent, the transaction seldom passes without misunderstandings and complaints on both sides ; and to judge which has most reason, one must hear both parties. But though the point of equity must be left undetermined, there need be no doubt about the fact; and the necessity of borrowing upon such terms as can be got, is a condition too important to be left out of sight in any attenpt to follow and interpret the actions of the borrower. The letter which comes next in order affords only a glimpse, but it comes in conveniently to remind us of Bacon's real position at this juncture. Among the many disadvantages of the delusive hopes of speedy preferment which he had been so long encouraged to entertain, one was—and it was not the least, but (rightly understood) perhaps the greatest of all—that it had made borrowing easier than it would otherwise have been; for the same disappointment which made repayment difficult, made the lenders more anxious to be repaid. To satisfy some of these demands, it seems that he had been forced to borrow £1000 upon the security of lands worth not more than £1700. And now that the time of redemption was at hand, he was forced to sell the land in order to save the difference. A bargain had been concluded for this
a man in the City:" but afterwards, within little more than a week of the redemption-day, a doubt arose or a difficulty was made about the assurance. In this exigency he applied to his friends Maynard and Hickes (joint secretaries to Burghley) for help; with what success we do not know; further than that no record remains of dissatisfaction, that Hickes continued for many years afterwards to be a resource to him in similar difficulties, and that the tone of the letters which relate to such transactions between them is always very friendly and cordial.
I conclude therefore that if they lent him the money, the loan did not in this case lose either itself or friend.
Mr. Maynard and Mr. Hickes,
I build somewhat upon the conceit I have of your good wills, which maketh me direct my request to you in so pressing an occasion as is fallen unto me by the strange slipping and incertain or cunning dealing of a man in the City, who having concluded a bargain with me for certain marsh lands now in mortgage for a thousand pounds, and standing to be redeemed the four-andtwentieth of this present, which is but twelve days hence, and being to give me sixteen hundreth and odd pounds for the sale, doth now, upon a point as clear as any case in Littleton, and wherein Mr. Attorney-General, Mr. Brograve, Mr. Heskett, Mr. Gerard, Mr. Altham, and all I can speak with, make no manner of doubt, quarrel upon the assurance, and so in this time of diffi. culty for money provisions and in so instant a quantity of time as twelve days, plunge me to seek my redemption-money or to forfeit land to seven hundreth pound loss and more. This maketh me desire the help of two so good friends as I esteem yourselves to be, the rather because the collateral pawn which I would offer, which is the assurance of my lease of Twicknam, being a thing which will pass with easy and short assurance, and is every way clear and unsubject to incumbrance, (because it is my pleasure and my dwelling) I would not offer but to a private friend. Upon which assurance my desire is that upon your joint means or credit I mought be furnished at my day, and if either of you like the bargain of my marsh lands, you shall have the refusal, and I shall think you true and timely friends. So in great haste I bid you both farewell. From my chamber, this 12th of March, 1595. Your friend, loving and assured,
It was at this time that the Earl of Essex took a leading part in the memorable expedition against Spain, which issued in the taking of
1 Lansd. MSS. lxxx. fo. 176. Original: own hand. Addressed, “ To the r. w. his very loving friends, M' He: Maynard and M Mich: Hickes, be these deld.”
Probably certain marsh lands at Woolwich, upon the sale of which he paid Mr. Trott £300, as will be seen hercafter.
Cadiz and the destruction of the fleet stationed there;-a leading part not only in the action, but in the counsels which led to it. It would have been very interesting to know what Bacon thought of that enterprise when it was in project; but I have not met with any letter or other writing of his in which his opinion is stated : except so much of it as may be inferred from an expression in a letter of advice addressed to Essex some months after it was over; an expression which seems to imply that he had been, if not against the expedition itself, at least against the course which Essex had taken in regard to it. "And here, my Lord” (he writes), “I pray mistake me not. ... I am infinitely glad of this last journey, now it is past: the rather because you make so honourable a full point for a time.”
The project of an attack upon the coasts and fleet of Spain had been agitated in the winter, when fears were entertained of a new Spanish invasion; and Burghley is supposed to have been against it. It is not improbable that Bacon shared his apprehensions at that time: and there were reasons, no doubt, independent of the policy of the expedition itself, for the friends of Essex to be anxious as to the result. Though he had qualities which made him very popular as a leader, and showed a gallant spirit in particular actions, I cannot think that he was a fit man to conduct military enterprises on a large scale. His plans and hopes were large and his self-confidence great, and where these meet there is always an imposing tale for those who cannot
compare the means with the ends : but his judgment was no match for his imagination, and his strength of will was shown rather in overruling the reasons of those who differed from him than in patiently examining and steadily pursuing his own designs. In cases where his propositions were overruled by his colleagues, it may always be said that if they had been adopted they would have succeeded: but it cannot be affirmed that the actions in which he had the sole direction were the most successful, or most deserved success. It would even seem that though he pulled so hard against the rein, yet when his head was given him he did not always know which way to go. Impatient of authority and oppugnant to advice, he was ill fitted to act either under a superior or with colleagues. Placed so early in high command, he had had no schooling in his profession ;he had never been obliged, against his own judgment, to follow the course prescribed by maturer experience, and so to see the effect fairly tried; nor had he had opportunities enough of observing the consequences of his own mistakes. So that unless nature had given him some peculiar genius not only for leading soldiers, but for managing the movements of armies, he could hardly be considered a match for such a power as Spain under such a king as Philip II.
The capture of Calais by the Archduke of Austria, in April, hurried the deliberations to a close, and an offensive movement was resolved on; the command in chief of the land forces being confided to Essex; and when Bacon's next letter was written the enterprise was on foot, and all that could be done was to wish it success. The tone in which the wish is expressed seems to me to betray a latent anxiety ; but the immediate business of the letter had no reference to the expedition.
On the 30th of April, 1596, the Lord Keeper Puckering died suddenly of apoplexy : an event of importance to Bacon, because it made a vacancy in the line of his own advancement. Egerton, then Master of the Rolls, was made Lord Keeper at once. And on the 10th of May, Bacon wrote to Essex, who was then at Plymouth, the following letter.
TO THE EARL OF Essex. My singular good Lord,
I have no other argument to write on to your good Lordship, but upon demonstration of my deepest and most bounden duty, in fullness whereof I mourn for your Lordship's absence, though I mitigate it as much as I can with the hope of your happy success, the greatest part whereof (be it never so great) will be the safety of your most honourable person; for the which in first place, and then for the prosperity of your enterprises, I fervently pray. And as in so great discomfort it hath pleased God some ways to regard my desolateness, by raising me so great and so worthy a friend in your absence, as the new-placed Lord Keeper; in whose placing as it hath pleased God to establish mightily one of the chief pillars of this estate, that is, the justice of the land, which began to shake and sink; and for that purpose no doubt gave her Majesty strength of heart of herself to do that in six days which the deepest judgments thought would be the work of many months; so for my particular, I do find in an extraordinary manner that his Lordship doth succeed my father almost in his fatherly care of me and love towards me, as much as he professeth to follow him in his honourable and sound courses of justice and estate; of which so special favour the open
| Birch's Memorials, i. 481.
? Lambeth MSS. 657. 43. Copy: docketed, “De Mons Fra. Bacon a Mons' le Compte d'Essex, le 10me de May, 1596."