Page images
PDF
EPUB

Ahasuerus's question, to ask, " What should be done to the man that the king would honour?" Meaning that her goodness was without limit, where there was a true concurrence: which I knew in her nature to be true. My lord, on the other side, had a settled opinion, that the queen could be brought to nothing but by a kind of necessity and authority; and I well remember, when by violent courses at any time he had got his will, he would Rsk me, "Now, Sir, whose principles be true?" And I would again say to him j "My lord, these courses be like to hot waters, they will help at a pang; but if you use them you shall spoil the stomach, and you shall be fain still to make them stronger and stronger, and yet in the end they will lessen their operation;" with much other variety, wherewith 1 used to touch that string. Another point was, that I always vehemently dissuaded him from seeking greatness by a military dependence, or by R popular dependence, as that which would breed in the queen jealousy, in himself presumption, and in the state perturbation: and I did usually compare them to Icarus's two wings, which were joined on with wax, and would make him venture to soar too high, and then fail him at the height. And I would farther say unto him; "My lord, stand upon two feet, and fly not upon two wings: the two feet are the two kinds of justice, commutative, and distributive: use your greatness for advancing of merit and virtue, and relieving wrongs and burthens; you shall need no other art or finesse:" but he would tell me, that opinion came not from my mind, but from my robe. But it is very true, that I, that never meant to inthral myself to my lord of Essex, nor any other man, more than stood with the public good, did, though I could little prevail, divert him by all means possible from courses of the wars and popularity: for I saw plainly the queen must either live or die; if she lived, then the times would be as in the declination of an old prince; if she died, the times would be as in the beginning of a new; and that if his lordship did rise too fast in these courses, the times might be dangerous for him, and he for them. Nay, I remember, I was thus plain with him upon his voyage to the islands, when I saw every spring put forth such actions of charge and provocation, that I said to him, " My lord, when I came first unto you, I took you for a physician that desired to cure the diseases of the state; but now I doubt you will be like those physicians which can be content to keep their patients low, because they would always be in request." Which plainness he nevertheless took very well, as he had an excellent ear, and was patientissimus veri, and assured me the case of the realm required it: and I think this speech of mine, and the like renewed afterwards, pricked him to write that Apology which is in many men's hands.

But this difference 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 where they think their courses not approved, between his lordship and myself; so as 1 was not called nor advised with for some year and

a half before his lordship's going into Ireland, as in former time: yet, nevertheless, touching his going into Ireland, it pleased him expressly, and in a set manner, to desire mine opinion and counsel. At which time I did not only dissuade, but protest against his going; telling him with as much vehemency and asseveration as I could, that absence in that kind would exulcerate the queen's mind, whereby it would not be possible for him to carry himself so as to give her sufficient contentment; nor for her to carry herself so as to give him sufficient countenance: which would be ill for her, ill for him, and ill for the state. And because I would omit no argument, I remember I stood also upon the difficulty of the action; setting before him out of histories, that the Irish was such an enemy as the ancient Gauls, or Britons, or Germans were; and that we saw how the Romans, who had such discipline to govern their soldiers, and such donatives to encourage them, and the whole world in a manner to levy them: yet when they came to deal with enemies, which placed their felicity only in liberty, and the sharpness of their sword, and had the natural elemental advantages of woods, and bogs, and hardness of bodies, they ever found they had their hands full of them; and therefore concluded, that going over with such expectation as he did, and through the churlishness of the enterprise not like to answer it, would mightily diminish his reputation: and many other reasons I used, so as I am sure I never in any thing in my life-time dealt with him in like earnestness by speech, by writing, and by all the means I could devise. For I did as plainly see his overthrow chained, as it were by destiny, to that journey, as it is possible for any man to ground a judgment upon future contingents. But my lord, howsoever his ear was open, yet his heart and resolution was shut against that advice, whereby his ruin might have been prevented. After my lord's going, I saw then how true a prophet I was, in regard of the evident alteration which naturally succeeded in the queen's mind; and thereupon I was still in watch to find the best occasion that in the weakness of my power I could either take or minister, to pull him out of the fire, if it had been possible: and not long after, methought I saw some overture thereof, which I apprehended readily; a particularity which I think to be known to very few, and the which I do the rather relate unto your lordship, because I hear it should be talked, that while my lord was in Ireland I revealed some matters against him, or I cannot tell what; which if it were not a mere slander, as the rest is, but had any, though never so little, colour, was surely upon this occasion. The queen one day at Nonesuch, a little, as I remember, before Cuffe's coming over, where I attended her, showed a passionate distaste of my lord's proceedings in Ireland, as if they were unfortunate, without judgment, contemptuous, and not without some private end of his own, and all that might be; and was pleased, as she spake of it to many that she trusted least, so to fall into the like speech with me. Whereupon I, who was still awake, and true to my grounds which I thought surest for my lord's good, said to this effect: "Madam, I know not the particulars of estate, and I know this, that princes' actions must have no abrupt periods or conclusions; but otherwise I would think, that if you had my lord of Essex here with a white staff in his hand, as my lord of Leicester had, and continued him still about you for society to yourself, and for an honour and ornament to your attendance and court in the eyes of your people, and in the eyes of foreign ambassadors, then were he in his right element; for to discontent him as you do, and yet to put arms and power into his hands, may be a kind of temptation to make him prove cumbersome and unruly. And therefore if you would imponere bonam clausulam, and send for him and satisfy him with honour here near you, if your affairs, which, as I have said, I am not acquainted with, will permit it, I think were the best way." Which course your lordship knoweth, if it had been taken, then all had been well, and no contempt in my lord's coming over, nor continuance of these jealousies, which that employment of Ireland bred, and my lord here in his former greatness. Well, the next news that I heard was, that my lord was come over, and that he was committed to his chamber for leaving Ireland without the queen's licence; this was at Nonesuch, where, as my duty was, I came to his lordship, and talked with him privately about a quarter of an hour, and he asked mine opinion of the course that was taken with him: I told him, "My lord, 'Nubecula est, cito transibit;' it is but a mist. But shall I tell your lordship, it is as mists are: if it go upwards, it may perhaps cause a shower: if downwards, it will clear up. And therefore, good my lord, carry it so as you take away by all means all umbrages and distastes from the queen; and especially if I were worthy to advise you, as I have been by yourself thought, and now your question imports the continuance of that opinion, observe three points: first, make not this cessation or peace, which is concluded with Tyrone, as a service wherein you glory, but as a shuffling up of a prosecution which was not very fortunate. Next, represent not to the queen any necessity of estate, whereby, as by a coercion or wrench, she should think herself enforced to send you back into Ireland, but leave it to her. Thirdly, seek access importune, opportune, seriously, sportingly, every way." I remember my lord was willing to hear me, but spake very few words, and shaked his head sometimes, as if he thought I was in the wrong; but, sure I am, he did just contrary in every one of these three points. After this, during the while since my lord was committed to my lord keeper's, I came divers times to the queen, as I had used to do, about causes of her revenue and law business, as is well known; by reason of which accesses, according to the ordinary charities of court, it was given out, that I was one of them that incensed the queen against my lord of Essex. These speeches I cannot tell, nor I will not think, that they grew any way from her Majesty's own speeches, whose memory I will ever honour; if they did, she is with God, and "Miserutn est ab illis lsdi, de quibus non possis

queri." But I must give this testimony to my lord Cecil, that one time in his house at the Savoy he dealt with me directly, and said to me, "Cousin, I hear it, but I believe it not, that you should do some ill office to my lord of Essex; for my part . I am merely passive, and not active in this action: and I follow the queen, and that heavily, and I lead her not; my lord of Essex is one that in nature I could consent with as well as with any one living; the queen indeed is my sovereign, and I am her creature, I may not lose her, and the same course I would wish you to take." Whereupon I satisfied him how far I was from any such mind. And as sometimes it cometh to pass, that men's inclinations are opened more in a toy, than in a serious matter: a little before that time, being about _the middle of Michaelmas term, her Majesty had a purpose to dine at my lodge at Twicknam Park, at which time I had, though I profess not to be a poet, prepared a sonnet directly tending and alluding to draw on her Majesty's reconcilement to my lord; which, I remember, also I showed to a great person, and one of my lord's nearest friends, who commended it. This, though it be as I said but a toy, yet it showed plainly in what spirit I proceeded; and that I was ready not only to do my lord good offices, but to publish and declare myself for him: and never was I so ambitious of any thing in my life-time, as I was to have carried some token or favour from her Majesty to my lord; using all the art I had, both to procure her Majesty to send, and myself to be the messenger. For as to the former, I feared not to allege to her, that this proceeding toward my lord was a thing towards the people very implausible; and therefore wished her Majesty, however she did, yet to discharge herself of it, and lay it upon others; and therefore that she would intermix her proceeding with some immediate graces from herself, that the world might take knowledge of her princely nature and goodness, lest it should alienate the hearts of her people from her: which I did stand upon; knowing well that if she once relented to send or visit, those demonstrations would prove matter of substance for my lord's good. And to draw that employment upon myself, I advised her Majesty, that whensoever God should move her to turn the light of her favours towards my lord, to make signification to him thereof; that her Majesty, if she did it not in person, would at the least use some such mean as might not entitle themselves to any part of the thanks, as persons that were thought mighty with her to work her, or to bring her about; but to use some such as could not be thought but a mere conduit of her own goodness. But I could never prevail with her, though I am persuaded she saw plainly whereat I levelled; and she plainly had me in jealousy, that I was not hers entirely, but still had inward and deep respects towards my lord, more than stood at that time with her will and pleasure. About the same time I remember an answer of mine in a matter which had some affinity with my lord's cause, which though it grew from me, went after about in others' names. For her Majesty being mightily incensed with that book which was dedicated to my lord of Essex, being a story of the first year of king Henry IV. thinking it a seditious prelude to put into the people's head boldness and faction, said, She had an opinion that there was treason in it, and asked me if I could not find any places in it that might be drawn within case of treason: whereto I answered; For treason surely I found none, but for felony very many. And when her Majesty hastily asked me, Wherein? I told her, the author had committed very apparent theft; for he had taken most of the sentences of Cornelius Tacitus, and translated them into English, and put them into his text. And another time when the queen would not be persuaded that it was his writing whose name was to it, but that it had some more mischievous author; and said with great indignation, That she would have him racked to produce his author: I replied; "Nay, madam, lie is a doctor, never rack his person, but rack his style; let him have pen, ink, and paper, and help of books, and be enjoined to continue the story where it breaketli off, and I will undertake by collating the styles to judge whether he were the author or no." But for the main matter, sure I am, when the queen at any time asked mine opinion of my lord's case, I ever in one tenour said unto her; That they were faults which the law might term contempts; because they were the transgressions of her particular directions and instructions: but then what defence might be made of them, in regard of the great interest the person had in her Majesty's favour; in regard of the greatness of his place, and the ampleness of his commission j in regard of the nature of the business, being action of war, which in common cases cannot be tied to strictness of instructions; in regard of the distance of the place, having also a sea between, that his demands and her commands must be subject to wind and weather; in regard of a council of state in Ireland, which he had at his back to avow his actions upon; and lastly, in regard of a good intention that he would allege for himself; which, I told her, in some religions was held to be a sufficient dispensation for God's commandments, much more for princes: in all these regards, I besought her Majesty to be advised again and again, how she brought the cause into any public question. Nay, I went farther; for I told her, my lord was an eloquent and well-spoken man; and besides his eloquence of nature or art, he had an eloquence of accident which passed them both, which was the pity and benevolence of his hearers; and therefore, that when he should come to his answer for himself, I doubted his words would have so unequal a passage above theirs that should charge him, as would not be for her Majesty's honour; and therefore wished the conclusion might be, that they might wrap it up privately between themselves; and that she would restore my lord to his former attendance, with some addition of honour to take away discontent But this I will never deny; that I did show no approbation generally of his being sent back again into Ireland, both because it would have carried a repugnancy with my former discourse, and because I was in mine own heart fully persuaded that it was

not good, either for the queen, or for the state, or for himself: and yet I did not dissuade it neither, but left it ever as locus lubricus. For this particularity I do well remember, that after your lordship was named for the place in Ireland, and not long before your going, it pleased her Majesty at Whitehall to speak to me of that nomination: at which time I said to her; "Surely, madam, if you mean not to employ my lord of Essex thither again, your Majesty cannot make a better choice;" and was going on to show some reason, and her Majesty interrupted me with great passion: "Essex!" said she; "whensoever I send Essex back again into Ireland, I will marry you, claim it of me." Whereunto I said; "Well, madam, I will release that contract, if his going be for the good of your state." Immediately after the queen had thought of a course, which was also executed, to have somewhat published in the Star-chamber, for the satisfaction, of the world, touching my lord of Essex his restraint, and my lord not to be called to it; but occasion to be taken by reason of some libels then dispersed: which when her Majesty propounded unto me, I was utterly against it: and told her plainly, That the people would say, that my lord was wounded upon his back, and that Justice had her balance taken from her, which ever consisted of an accusation and defence; with many other quick and significant terms to that purpose: insomuch that, I remember, I said, that my lord in foro famie, was too hard for her; and therefore wished her, as I had done before, to wrap it up privately. And certainly I offended her at that time, which was rare with me: for I call to mind, that both the Christmas, Lent, and Easter term following, though I came divers times to her upon law business, yet methought her face and manner was not so clear and open to me as it was at the first. And she did directly charge me, that I was absent that day at the Starchamber, which was very true; but I alleged some indisposition of body to excuse it: and during all the time aforesaid, there was altum silentium from her to me touching my lord of Essex's causes.

But towards the end of Easter term her Majesty brake with me, and told me, That she had found my words true: for that the proceeding in the Starchamber had done no good, but rather kindled factions, bruits as she termed them, than quenched them; and therefore, that she was determined now, for the satisfaction of the world, to proceed against my lord in the Star-chamber by an information Ore tenus, and to have my lord brought to his answer: howbeit, she said, she would assure me, that whatsoever she did should be towards my lord "ad castigationem, et non ad destructionem;" as indeed she had often repeated the same phrase before: whereunto I said, to the end utterly to divert her, "Madam, if you will have me speak to you in this argument, I must speak to you as Friar Bacon's head spake, that said first, Time is; and then. Time was; and Time will never be: for certainly, said I, it is now far too late, the matter is cold and hath taken too much wind." Whereat she seemed again offended, and rose from me; and that resolution for a while continued: and after, in the beginning of Midsummer term, I attending her, and finding her settled in that resolution, which I heard of also otherwise, she falling upon the like speech; it is true, that seeing no other remedy, I said to her slightly, "Why, madam, if you will needs have a proceeding, you were best have it in some such sort as Ovid spake of his mistress ; 'est aliquid luce patente minus;' to make a council-table matter of it, and there an end:" which speech again she seemed to take in ill part; but yet I think it did good at that time, and helped to divert that course of proceeding by information in the Star-chamber. Nevertheless, afterwards it pleased her to make a more solemn matter of the proceeding; and some few days after, an order was give that the matter should be heard at York-house, before an assembly of counsellors, peers, and judges, and some audience of men of quality to be admitted : and then did some principal counsellors send for us of the learned counsel, and notify her Majesty's pleasure unto us; save that it was said to me openly by one of them, that her Majesty was not yet resolved whether she would have me forborne in the business or no. And hereupon might arise that other sinister and untrue speech, that, I hear, is raised of me, how I was a suitor to be used against my lord of Essex at that time: for it is very true, that I that knew well what had passed between the queen and me, and what occasion I had given her both of distaste and distrust, in crossing her disposition, by standing stedfastly for my lord of Essex, and suspecting it also to be a stratagem arising from some particular emulation, I writ to her two or three words of compliments, signifying to her Majesty, "That if she would be pleased to spare me in my lord of Essex's cause, out of the consideration she took of my obligation towards him, I should reckon it for one of her greatest favours; but otherwise desiring her Majesty to think that I knew the degrees of duties j and that no particular obligation whatsoever to any subject could supplant or weaken that entireness of duty that I did owe and bear to her and her service." And this was the goodly suit I made, being a respect no man that had his wits could have omitted: but nevertheless I had a farther reach in it: for I judged that day's work would be a full period of any bitterness or harshness between the queen and my lord: and therefore, if I declared myself fully according to her mind at that time, which could not do my lord any manner of prejudice, I should keep my credit with her ever after, whereby to do my lord service. Hereupon the next news that I heard was, that we were all sent for again; and that her Majesty's pleasure was, we all should have parts in the business; and the lords falling into distribution of our parts, it was allotted to me, that I should set forth some undutiful carriage of my lord, in giving occasion and countenance to a seditious pamphlet, as it was termed, which was dedicated unto him, which was the book before mentioned of king Henry IV. Whereupon I replied to that allotment, and said to their lordships, That it was an old matter, and had no manner of coherence with the rest of the

charge, being matters of Ireland: and therefore, that I having been wronged by bruits before, this would expose me to them more; and it would be said I gave in evidence mine own tales. It was answered again with good show, That because it was considered how I stood tied to my lord of Essex, therefore that part was thought fittest for me, which did him least hurt; for that whereas all the rest was matter of charge and accusation, this only was but matter of caveat and admonition. Wherewith though I was in mine own mind little satisfied, because I knew well a man were better to be charged with some faults, than admonished of some others: yet the conclusion binding upon the queen's pleasure directly, volens nolens, I could not avoid that part that was laid upon me; which part, if in the delivery I did handle not tenderly, though no man before me did in so clear terms free my lord from all disloyalty as I did, that, your lordship knoweth, must be ascribed to the superior duty I did owe to the queen's fame and honour in a public proceeding, and partly to the intention I had to uphold myself in credit and strength with the queen, the better to be able to do my lord good offices afterwards: for as soon as this day was past, I lost no time; but the very next day following, as I remember, I attended her Majesty, fully resolved to try and put in ure my utmost endeavour, so far as I in my weakness could give furtherance, to bring my lord again speedily into court and favour; and knowing, as I supposed at least, how the queen was to be used, I thought that to make her conceive that the matter went well then, was the way to make her leave off there; and I remember well, I said to her, " You have now, madam, obtained victory over two things, which the greatest princes in the world cannot at their wills subdue; the one is over fame; the other is over a great mind: for surely the world is now, I hope, reasonably well satisfied; and for my lord, he did show that humiliation towards your Majesty, as I am persuaded he was never in his life-time more fit for your Majesty's favour than he is now: therefore if your Majesty will not mar it by lingering, but give over at the best, and now you have made so good a full point, receive him again with tenderness, I shall then think, that all that is past is for the best." Whereat, I remember, she took exceeding great contentment, and did often iterate and put me in mind, that she had ever said, That her proceedings should be ad reparationem, and not ad ruinam; as who saith, that now was the time I should well perceive, that that saying of hers should prove true. And farther she willed me to set down in writing all that passed that day. I obeyed her commandment, and within some few days after brought her again the narration, which I did read unto her in two several afternoons: and when I came to that part that set forth my lord's own answer, which was my principal care, I do well bear in mind, that she was extraordinarily moved with it, in kindness and relenting towards my lord; and told me afterwards, speaking how well I had expressed my lord's part, That she perceived old love would not easily be forgotten: whereunto I answered suddenly, that I hoped she meant that by herself. But in conclusion I did advise her, That now she had taken a representation of the matter to herself, that she would let it go no farther: "For, madam," said I, " the fire blazeth well already, what should you tumble it? And besides, it may please you to keep a convenience with yourself in this case; for since your express direction was, there should be no register nor clerk to take this sentence, nor no record or memorial made up of the proceeding, why should you now do that popularly, which you would not admit to be done judicially?" Whereupon she did agree that that writing should be suppressed; and I think there were not five persons that ever saw it. But from this time forth, during the whole latter end of that summer, while the court was at Nonesuch and Oatlands, I made it my task and scope to take and give occasions for my lord's redintegration in his fortunes: which my intention I did also signify to my lord as soon as ever he was at his liberty; whereby I might without peril of the queen's indignation write to him; and having received from his lordship a courteous and loving acceptation of my good will and endeavours, I did apply it in all my accesses to the queen, which were very many at that time: and purposely sought and wrought upon other variable pretences, but only and chiefly for that purpose. And on the other side, I did not forbear to give my lord from time to time faithful advertisement what I found, and what I wished. And I drew for him, by his appointment, some letters to her Majesty; which though I knew well his lordship's gift and style was far better than mine own, yet, because he required it, alleging, that by his long restraint he was grown almost a stranger to the queen's present conceits, I was ready to perform it: and sure I am, that for the space of six weeks or two months, it prospered so well, as I expected continually his restoring to his attendance. And I was never better welcome to the queen, nor more made of, than when I spake fullest and boldest for him; in which kind the particulars were exceeding many; whereof, for an example, I will remember to your lordship one or two. As at one time, I call to mind, her Majesty was speaking of a fellow that undertook to cure, or at least to ease my brother of his gout, and asked me how it went forward: and I told her Majesty, That at the first he received good by it; but after in the course of his cure he found himself at a stay, or rather worse: the queen said again, "I will tell yon, Bacon, the error of it: the manner of these physicians, and especially these empirics, is to continue one kind of medicine; which at the first is proper, being to draw out the ill humour; but, after, they have not the discretion to change the medicine, but apply still drawing medicines, when they should rather intend to cure and corroborate the part." "Good Lord! madam," said I, "how wisely and aptly can you speak and discern of physic ministered to the body, and consider not that there is the like occasion of physic ministered to the mind: as now in the case of my lord of Essex your princely word ever was, that you intended ever to reform his mind,

and not ruin his fortune: I know well you cannot but think that you have drawn the humour sufficiently | and therefore it were more than time, and it were but for doubt of mortifying or exulcerating, that you did apply and minister strength and comfort unto him: for these same gradations of yours are fitter to corrupt than correct any mind of greatness." And another time I remember she told me for news, That my lord had written unto her some very dutiful letters, and that she had been moved by them; and whe« she took it to be the abundance of his heart, she found it to be but a preparative to a suit for the renewing of his farm of sweet wines. Whereunto I replied, "0 madam, how doth your Majesty construe these things, as if these two could not stand well together, which indeed nature hath planted in all creatures! For there are but two sympathies, the one towards perfection, the other towards preservation; that to perfection, as the iron tendeth to the loadstone; that to preservation, as the vine will creep towards a stake or prop that stands by it; not for any love to the stake, but to uphold itself. And therefore, madam, you must distinguish: my lord's desire to do you service is, as to his perfection, that which he thinks himself to be born for; whereas his desire to obtain this thing of you, is but for a sustentation."

And not to trouble your lordship with many other particulars like unto these, it was at the self-same time that 1 did draw, with my lord's privity, and by his appointment, two letters, the one written as from my brother, the other as an answer returned from my lord, both to be by me in secret manner showed to the queen, which it pleased my lord very strangely to mention at the bar; the scope of which were but to represent and picture forth unto her Majesty my lord's mind to be such, as I knew her Majesty would fainest have had it: which letters whosoever shall see, for they cannot now be retracted or altered, being by reason of my brother's or his lordship's servants' delivery long since come into divers hands, let him judge, especially if he knew the queen, and do remember those times, whether they were not the labours of one that sought to bring the queen about for my lord of Essex his good. The truth is, that the issue of all his dealing grew to this, that the queen, by some slackness of my lord's, as I imagine, liked him worse and worse, and grew more incensed towards him. Then she remembering belike the continual, and incessant, and confident speeches and courses that I had held on my lord's side, became utterly alienated from me, and for the space of, at least, three months, which was between Michaelmas and New-year's-tide following, would not so much as look on me, but turned away from me with express and purpose-like discountenance wheresoever she saw me; and at such time as I desired to speak with her about law-business, ever sent me forth very slight refusals, insomuch as it is most true, that immediately after New-year's-tide I desired to speak with her, and being admitted to her, 1 dealt with her plainly; and said, " Madam, I see you withdraw your favour from me, and now I have lost many friends for your sake, 1 shall lose you too: you

« PreviousContinue »