Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

he is purposed to have the patent of the late-created earl altered : who absolutely refuses to consent to it.” “The Queen,” it seems, “ by this patience and long-suffering of my Lord Essex, was grown to consider and understand better the wrong done unto him.” “I hear” (continues the same reporter, in the next paragraph of the same letter) " that my Lord Essex desires to have right done unto him, either by a commission to examine it, or by combat either against the Earl of Nottingham or any of his sons or of his name that will defend it. Or that her Majesty will please to see the wrong done unto him; and so will he suffer himself to be commanded by her as she please herself. Here is such ado about it, as it troubles this place and all other proceedings. Sir Walter Ralegh is employed by the Queen to end this quarrel and to make an atonement between them. But this is the resolution of Lord Essex, not to yield but with altering the patent, which cannot be done but by persuasion to bring the Earl of Nottingham unto it.”?

I give the story in the words of the contemporary reporter (who writes simply and seriously, without any touch of irony), because it is difficult to tell it in one's own without some colour from the feel. ing which it excites. But that this was the real ground of offence seems indisputable,-especially when we correct the narrative by introducing a fact which the writer did not then know of, but which supplies the true explanation of Essex’s reappearance in public. Among the offices which gave precedence above all persons of equal degree, that of Earl Marshal came before that of Lord High Admiral. Now, on the 18th of December,-three days before,-Essex had been created by patent Earl Marshal of England :: and he was happy again.

3.

In Rawley's edition of Bacon's 'Collection of Apophthegms' (Resuscitatio, ed. 1661) we find the following anecdode:4—"A great officer at Court, when my Lord of Essex was first in trouble, and that he and those that dealt for him would talk much of my Lord's friends and of his enemies, answered one of them, I will tell you, I know but one friend and one enemy my Lord hath : and that one friend is the Queen, and that one enemy is himself.The truth of the remark could not have been better illustrated than by these last quarrels and the issue of them. It must have been a very singular personal charm which in a temper and judgment like the Queen's

Sydn. Pap. ii. 77. ? It is possible that the date of the letter (St. Thomas's Day, 1597) is the date of the postscript only. The part which I have quoted may have been written before. But the postscript shows that the writer had not then heard the news. 3 Birch, ii. p. 365.

+ See vol. vii. p. 167.

could so often prevail over such trials as he put them to. His last quarrel had made him Master of the Ordnance: this has made him Earl Marshal: the very offices which Bacon, in October, 1596, had tried to dissuade him from seeking, as being most likely to bring him into trouble. Judging indeed by the immediate event, it might seem that he knew best what he was about. But to those friends who bad watched his proceedings in the meantime, it could only have been a respite from anxiety:-one more danger escaped ;-one more chance of striking into a safer path.

Bacon, whom even the splendid success of Cadiz had not deceived into the belief that war was a fit vocation for him,—who had urged him to use that glory as an honourable resting-place, and to aspire after another kind of greatness,—could not be altered in opinion by the results of the island voyage. Another chance was now offered ; and several accidents concurred to favour it.

Philip II. of Spain had begun to feel that he was dying, and was anxious to wind up his many businesses and transmit a settled kingdom to his son. Henry IV. of France was longing to give his kingdom rest after twelve years of war, and try his hand at the arts of peace. He had just retaken Amiens, and finding Philip willing to come to terms, was loath to forego so advantageous an opportunity. But his former necessities had involved him in alliances and obligations with England and the Netherland States, which gave them both a right to interfere. England, as far as she was herself concerned, might have been glad enough to join in a peace; for towards Spain she stood at advantage, while in Ireland she had a difficult business on hand. But she could not leave the States in the lurch, and Spain being released from France would be the harder to deal with. This made it necessary to send a first-rate ambassador to Henry, to represent her case and remind him of his engagements. On which mission Sir Robert Cecil was dispatched in the middle of February, 1597-8. In the meantime the affairs of Ireland had become very critical. The Earl of Tyrone,--a man of Irish genius improved by English cultivation ;' a soldier of tried valour and full of resources, combining with shameless facility in breaking or evading promises past, an extraordinary power of inducing people to accept his promises for the future,-had now been for three years in open rebellion, suspended only by truces, which the government was at all times only too ready to grant for the purpose of hearing his grievances and his offers of submission. Certain arbitrary proceedings of Sir William Fitzwilliams, who was Lord Deputy from 1590 to

1 “Lived sometimes in Ireland, and much in the Court of England.”—Moryson's Itinerary, part ii. p. 7.

1594, supplied him with some plausible grounds of complaint and some colour for alleging fear of personal danger as his motive for taking up arms; upon which he was always ready with a case for the consideration of a new Lord Deputy, and for reference to the English Government. Sir John Norreys, the greatest soldier of his time, sent out as Lord General in 1595,—Sir W. Russell, with whom he did not well agree, being Lord Deputy,-after two years spent chiefly in fruitless negotiations, was by the appointment of a new Lord Deputy with supreme authority for war as well as peace superseded ; and died soon after ;-of a broken heart it was thought; of heartdisease likely enough; for brave men do die of that. Lord Burgh, by whom he was superseded, beginning with a resolution to listen to no treaties, but to march directly against the principal stronghold of the rebellion, died suddenly on the march ; thus leaving another interregnum ; of which Tyrone knew how to make use. The civil government being now (October, 1597) provisionally entrusted to two Lords Justices, and the command-in-chief of martial affairs to the Earl of Ormond, Tyrone opened afresh his old budget of grievances and promises, and was admitted to a meeting at Dundalk ; where upon offers of submission, protestations of penitence, entreaties for pardon, etc., a truce of eight weeks dating from the 22nd of December was accorded, that his case might be laid before the Queen.

It was during this time I suppose, and while these matters were under consideration of the Council in England, that the next letter was written.

The Earl of Essex was now on good terms again with everybody. The Queen (at the instance, it was thought, of Sir Robert Cecil) bad on the 10th of February, 1597.8, made him a present of £7000worth of cochineal, part of the booty of the island voyage;' and on the 15th we hear of his“ giving very diligent attendance upon the Queen, and in some sort taking upon him the dispatching of all business, in the absence of the Secretary, that concerns her Majesty's service." This was exactly the position in which Bacon most wished to see him; and although Essex had begun to tire of asking counsel from one who was always advising him not to do the thing he was bent on doing, and had not of late consulted him as he used to do,3

Sydn. Pap. ii. p. 89.

Id. ii. p. 91. 3 The estrangement must have begun in the autumn of 1597, if Bacon's recollections seven or eight years after can be trusted for the dates. “ This difference” (he says in his . Apology) “in two points so main and material, bred in process of time a discontinuance of privateness (as it is the manner of men seldom to communicate when they think their courses are not approved) between his Lordship and myself, 80 as I was not called nor advised with for some year and a half before bis Lordship's going into Ireland, as in former time.” Essex arrived in Dublin on the 15th of April, 1599: about fourteen months after the date of the next letter.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

-it seems that he now found or made an occasion to represent to him the value of the opportunity, and exhort himn to improve it. The Irish difficulty, unfortunate in all other respects, might prove very fortunate for him if he could be induced to take it by the right handle—that is, to address himself earnestly to it in Council. Bacon had opened the matter to him in conversation; and now followed it up

in a letter, which (like several others we shall meet with) has been preserved through two independent channels and in two different forms; one in the collection kept by himself, and printed by Rawley in the 'Resuscitatio :' the other in a collection made we do not know by whom, and printed very incorrectly in the 'Remains' (1648) and afterwards in the ‘Cabala' (1654). The differences between the two copies, which are more and other than could have arisen from errors in transcription, may be accounted for in this way. I imagine that in writing letters of importance, Bacon made first a draft and then a fair copy; that in copying, alterations suggested themselves, which he did not at the time take the trouble to enter in the draft; and that his own collection was made from the drafts, while that in the 'Remains' was from the letters themselves that were sent. The differences are exactly such as would naturally arise under such a process, and therefore both versions are worth preserving ; not indeed in the way they have been partly preserved in most of the modern editions, by taking one copy for the ground and incorporating into it any additional matter which is found in the other: whereby both are in fact misrepresented: but by giving one in the text, and so much of the other in the foot-notes as may put the reader in possession of all the variations which appear to be real variations, and not merely mistakes. I take Bacon's own copy, though I believe it to represent the less perfect form, for the text; because the other is so full of blunders. And as the representative of Bacon's copy, I take the manuscript in the British Museum, in preference to the 'Resuscitatio,' for reasons which I have already explained. The copies in the 'Cabala' are much more correct than those in the 'Remains;' but I am inclined to think the corrections are merely conjectural.

A LETTER OF ADVICE TO THE EARL of Essex, TO TAKE UPON

THE CARE OF Irish CAUSES, WHEN MR. SECRETARY CECIL WAS IN FRANCE.2

HIM

My singular good Lord, I do write, because I had no time fully to express my conceit 1 See Vol. I. p. 233.

Add. MSS. 5503, fo. 3.

to your Lordship’ touching Irish affairs, considering them as they may concern your Lordship; knowing that you will consider them as they may concern the state. That it is one of the aptest particulars? for your Lordship to purchase honour upon, I am moved to think for three reasons. Because it is ingenerate in your house, in respect of my Lord your father's noble attempts : because of all the actions of state on foot at this time, the labour resteth most in that particular: and because the world will make a kind of comparison between those that have set it out of frame and those that shall bring it into frame: which kind of honour giveth the quickest kind of reflexion. The transferring this honour upon yourself consisteth in two points : the one, if the principal persons employed come in by you and depend upon you; the other, if your Lordship declare yourself and profess to have a care of that kingdom. For the persons, it falleth out well that your Lordship hath had no interest in the persons of imputation. For neither Sir William Fitzwilliams nor Sir John Norris was yours. Sir William Russell was conceived yours, but was curbed. Sir Coniers Clifford (as I conceive it) dependeth on you, who is said to do well. And if my Lord of Ormond, in the interim, do accommodate things well (as it is said he doth), I take it he hath always bad good understanding with your Lordship. So as all things hitherto are not only whole and entire, but of favourable aspect towards your Lordship, if hereafter you choose well." Concerning the care of the business, the general and popular conceit hath been, that Irish causes have been much neglected ; whereby the reputation of better care will put life into them.” But for a beginning and key to that which shall follow, it were good your Lordship would have some large and serious conference with Sir William Russell, Sir Richard Bingham, the Earl

1 “Because I have not yet had time fully to express my conceit, nor now to attend you.”– Rem, and Cab.

2 “ One of the aptest particulars, that hath come or can come upon the stage, for,” etc.-R. and C.

3 “Declare yourself to undertertake a care of that matter.R. and C. 4 The copy in the 'Remains' goes on :-“Wherein in your wisdom you will remember there is a great difference in choice of the persons, as you shall think the affairs to incline to composition or to war, For your care-taking, general and popular conceit," etc.

5 The · Cabala' (following the “Remains,' with some corrections) gives it thus: Whereby the very reputation of better care will be a strength. And I am sure her Majesty and my Lords of the Councell do not think their care dissolved when they have chosen whom to employ ; but that they will proceed in a spirit of state, and not leave the main point to discretion. Then, if a resolution be taken, a consultation (must proceed, and the consultation] must be governed (gy. grounded]

« AnteriorContinuar »