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SIR FRANCIS BACON, KNIGHT,
CHOSEN BY THE COMMONS
TO PRESENT A PETITION TOUCHING PURVEYORS:
DELIVERED TO HIS MAJBSTY IN THE WITHDRAWING-CHAMBER AT WHITEHALL, IN THE PARLIAMENT HELD PR1MO ET SECCKDO JACOBI, THB FIRST SESSION.
It is well known to your Majesty, excellent king, that the emperors of Rome, for their better glory and ornament, did use in their titles the additions of the countries and nations where they had obtained victories; as Germanicus, Britannicus, and the like. But after all those names, as in the higher place, followed the name of Pater Patriae, as the greatest name of all human honour immediately preceding that name of Augustus; whereby they took themselves to express some affinity that they had, in respect of their office, with divine honour. Your Majesty might, with good reason, assume to yourself many of those other names; as Germanicus, Saxonicus, Britannicus, Francicus, Danicus, Gothicus, and others, as appertaining to you not by bloodshed, as they bare them, but by blood; your Majesty's royal person being a noble confluence of streams and veins wherein the royal blood of many kingdoms of Europe are met and united. But no name is more worthy of you, nor may more truly be ascribed unto you, than that name of father of your people, which you bear and express not in the formality of your style, but in the real course of your government. We ought not to say unto you as was said to Julius Cssar, " Quae miremur, habemus; qua? laudemus, expectamtis:" that we have already wherefore to admire you, and that now we expect somewhat for which to commend you; for we may, without suspicion or flattery, acknowledge, that we have found in your Majesty great cause, both of admiration and commendation. For great is the admiration, wherewith you have possessed us since this parliament began in those two causes wherein we have had access unto you, and heard your voice, that of the return of Sir Francis Goodwin, and that of the union; whereby it seemeth unto us, the one of these being so subtle a question of law; and the other so high a cause of estate, that as the Scripture saith of the wisest king, " that his heart was as the sands of the sea j" which though it be one of the largest and vastest bodies, yet it consisteth of the smallest motes
and portions: so, I say, it appeareth unto us in these two examples, that God hath given your Majesty a rare sufficiency, both to compass and fathom the greatest matters, and to discern the least. And for matter of praise and commendation, which chiefly belongeth to goodness, we cannot but with great thankfulness profess, that your Majesty, within the circle of one year of your reign, infra orbem anni vertentis, hath endeavoured to unite your church, which was divided; to supply your nobility, which was diminished; and to ease your people in cases where they were burdened and oppressed.
In the last of these your high merits, that is, the ease and comfort of your people, doth fall out to be comprehended the message which I now bring unto your Majesty, concerning the great grievance arising by the manifold abuses of purveyors, differing in some degree from most of the things wherein we deal and consult; for it is true, that the knights, citizens, and burgesses, in parliament assembled, are a representative body of your commons and third estate; and in many matters, although we apply ourselves to perform the trust of those that choose us, yet it may be, we do speak much out of our own senses and discourses. But in this grievance, being of that nature whereunto the poor people is most exposed, and men of quality less, we shall most humbly desire your Majesty to conceive, that your Majesty doth not hear our opinions or senses, but the very groans and complaints themselves of your commons more truly and vively, than by representation. For there is no grievance in your kingdom so general, so continual, so sensible, and so bitter unto the common subject, as this whereof we now speak; wherein it may please your Majesty to vouchsafe me leave, first, to set forth unto you the dutiful and respective carriage of our proceeding; next, the substance of our petition; and thirdly, some reasons and motives which in all humbleness we do offer to your Majesty's royal consideration or commiseration; we assuring ourselves that never king reigned that had belter notions of head, and motions of heart, for the good and comfort of his loving subjects.
For the first: in the course of remedy which we desire, we pretend not, nor intend not, in any sort, to derogate from your Majesty's prerogative, nor to touch, diminish, or question any of your Majesty's regalities or rights. For we seek nothing but the reformation of abuses, and the execution of former laws whereunto we are born. And although it be no strange thing in parliament for new abuses to crave new remedies, yet nevertheless in these abuses, which if not in nature, yet in extremity and height of them, are most of them new, we content ourselves with the old laws: only we desire a confirmation and quickening of them in their execution ; ^o far are we from any humour of innovation or encroachment.
As to the court of the green cloth, ordained for the provision of your Majesty's most honourable household, we hold it ancient, we hold it reverend. Other courts respect your politic person, but that respects your natural person. But yet, notwithstanding, most excellent king, to use that freedom which to subjects that pour out their griefs before so gracious a king, is allowable, we may very well allege unto your Majesty, a comparison or similitude used by one of the fathers * in another matter, and not unfitly representing our case in this point: and it is of the leaves and roots of nettles; the leaves are venomous and stinging where they touch; the root is not so, but is without venom or malignity; and yet it is the root that bears and supports all the leaves. This needs no farther application.
To come now to the substance of our petition. It is no other, than by the benefit of your Majesty's laws to be relieved of the abuses of purveyors; which abuses do naturally divide themselves into three sorts: the first, they take in kind that they ought not to take; the second, they take in quantity a far greater proportion than cometh to your Majesty's use; the third, they take in an unlawful manner, in a manner, I say, directly and expressly prohibited by divers laws.
For the first of these, I am a little to alter their name; for instead of takers, they become taxers; instead of taking provision for your Majesty's service, they tax your people ad redimendam vexationem: imposing upon them, and extorting from them, divers sums of money, sometimes in gross, sometimes in the nature of stipends annually paid, ne noceant, to be freed and eased of their oppression. Again, they take trees, which by law they cannot do; timber-trees,which are the beauty, countenance, and shelter of men's houses; that men have long spared from their own purse and profit; that men esteem, for their use and delight, above ten times the value; that are a loss which men cannot repair or recover. These do they take, to the defacing and spoiling of your subjects' mansions and dwellings, except they may be compounded with their own appetites. And if a gentleman be too hard for them while he is at home, they will watch their time when there is but a bailiff or a servant remaining, and put the axe to the root of the tree, ere ever the mas• St. Augustine.
ter can stop it. Again, they use a strange and most unjust exaction, in causing the subjects to pay poundage of their own debts, due from your Majesty unto them; so as a poor man, when he hath had his hay, or his wood, or his poultry, which perchance he was full loth to part with, and had for the provision of his own family, and not to put to sale, taken from him, and that not at a just price, but under the value, and cometh to receive his money, he shall have after the rate of twelve pence in the pound abated for poundage of his due payment, upon so hard conditions. Nay farther, they are grown to that extremity, as is affirmed, though it be scarce credible, save that in such persons all things are credible, that they will take double poundage, once when the debenture is made, and again the second time when the money is paid.
For the second point, most gracious sovereign, touching the quantity which they lake, far above that which is answered to your Majesty's use: they are the only multipliers in the world; they have the art of multiplication. For it is affirmed unto me by divers gentlemen of good report and experience in these causes, as a matter which I may safely avouch before your Majesty, to whom we owe all truth, as well of information as subjection, that there is no pound profit which redoundeth to your Majesty in this course, but induceth and begetteth three pound damage upon your subjects, besides the discontentment. And to the end they may make their spoil more securely, what do they? Whereas divers statutes do strictly provide, that whatsoever they take, shall be registered and attested, to the end, that by making a collation of that which is taken from the country, and that which is answered above, their deceits might appear; they, to the end to obscure their deceits, utterly omit the observation of this, which the law prescribeth.
And therefore to descend, if it may please your Majesty, to the third sort of abuse, which is of the unlawful manner of their taking, whereof this omission is a branch; and it is so manifold, as it rather askelh an enumeration of some of the particulars, than a prosecution of all. For their price: by law they ought to take as they can agree with the subject; by abuse they take at an imposed and enforced price: by law they ought to make but one apprisement by neighbours in the country; by abuse they make a second apprisement at the court-gate; and when the subject's cattle come up many miles lean, and out of plight, by reason of their great travel, then they prize them anew at an abated price: by law they ought to take between sun and sun; by abuse they take by twilight, and in the night-time, a time well chosen for malefactors: by law they ought not to take in the highways, a place by your Majesty's high prerogative protected, and by statute by special words excepted; by abuse they take in the ways, in contempt of your Majesty's prerogative and laws: by law they ought to show their commission, and the form of commission is by law set down; the commissions they bring down, are against the law, and because they know so much, they will not show them. A number of other particulars there are, whereof as I have given your Majesty a taste, so the chief of them upon deliberate advice are set down in writing by the labour of some committees, and approbation of the whole house, more particularly and lively than I can express them, myself having them at the second hand by reason of my abode above. But this writing is a collection of theirs who dwell amongst the abuses of these offenders, and the complaints of the people j and therefore must needs have a more perfect understanding of all the circumstances of them.
It remaineth only that 1 use a few words, the rather to move your Majesty in this cause: a few words, I say, a very few; for neither need so great enormities any aggravating, neither needeth so great grace, as useth of itself to flow from your Majesty's princely goodness, any artificial persuading. There be two things only which I think good to set before your Majesty; rtie one the example of your most noble progenitors kings of this realm, who from the first king that endowed this kingdom with the great charters of their liberties, until the last, all save one, who as he was singular in many excellent things, so I would he had not been alone in this, have ordained, every one of them in their several reigns, some laws or law against this kind of offenders: and especially the example of one of them, that king, who for his greatness, wisdom, glory, and union
of several kingdoms, resembleth your Majesty most, both in virtue and fortune, king Edward III. who, in his time only, made ten several laws against this mischief. The second is the example of God himself; who hath said and pronounced, "That he will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." For all these great misdemeanors are committed in and under your Majesty's name: and therefore we hope your Majesty will hold them twice guilty that commit these offences; once for the oppressing of the people, and once more for doing it under the colour and abuse of your Majesty's most dreaded and beloved name. So then I will conclude with the saying of Pindarns, "Optima res aqua;" not for the excellency, but for the common use of it; and so contrariwise the matter of abuse of purveyance, if it be not the most heinous abuse, yet certainly it is the most common and general abuse of all others in this kingdom.
It resteth, that, according to the command laid upon me, I do in all humbleness present this writing to your Majesty's royal hands, with most humble petition on the behalf of the commons, that as your Majesty hath been pleased to vouchsafe your gracious audience to hear me speak, so you would be pleased to enlarge your patience to hear this writing read, which is more material.
A BRIEF DISCOURSE
HAPPY UNION OF THE KINGDOMS OF ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND.
DEDICATED IN PRIVATE TO HIS MAJESTY."
I Do not find it strange, excellent king, that when Heraclitus, he that was surnamed the obscure, had set forth a certain book which is not now extant, many men took it for a discourse of nature, and many others took it for a treatise of policy. For there is a great affinity and consent between the rules of nature, and the true rules of policy: the one being nothing else but an order in the government of the world; and the other an order in the government of an estate. And therefore the education and erudition of the kings of Persia was in a science which was termed by a name then of great reverence, but now degenerate and taken in the ill part. For the Persian magic, which was the secret literature of their kings, was an application of the contemplations and observations of nature unto a sense politic; taking the fundamental laws of nature, and the branches and passages of them, as an original or first model, whence to take and describe a copy and imitation for government.
After this manner the foresaid instructors set be« Printed in 1603, in 12mo.
Vol. I. 2 G
fore their kings the examples of the celestial bodies, the sun, the moon, and the rest, which have great glory and veneration, but no rest or intermission: being in a perpetual office of motion, for the cherishing, in turn and in course of inferior bodies; expressing likewise the true manner of the motions of government, which though they ought to be swift and rapid in respect of despatch and occasions, yet are they to be constant and regular, without wavering or confusion.
So did they represent unto them how the heavens do not enrich themselves by the earth and the seas, nor keep no dead stock nor untouched treasures of that they draw to them from below; but whatsoever moisture they do levy and take from both elements in vapours, they do spend and turn back again in showers, only holding and storing them up for a time, to the end to issue and distribute them in season.
But chiefly they did express and expound unto them that fundamental law of nature, whereby all things do subsist and are preserved; which is, that every thing in nature, although it hath its private and particular affection and appetite, and doth follow and pursue the same in small moments, and when it is free and delivered from more general and common respects; yet, nevertheless, when there is question or case for sustaining of the more general, they forsake their own particularities, and attend and conspire to uphold the public.
So we see the iron in small quantity will ascend and approach to the loadstone upon a particular sympathy: but if it be any quantity of moment, it leaveth its appetite of amity to the loadstone, and, like a good patriot, falleth to the earth, which is the place and region of massy bodies.
So again the water and other like bodies do fall towards the centre of the earth, which is, as was said, their region or country : and yet we see nothing more usual in all water-works and engines, than that the water, rather than to suffer any distraction or disunion in nature, will ascend, forsaking the love to its own region or country, and applying itself to the body next adjoining.
But it were too long a digression to proceed to more examples of this kind. Your Majesty yourself did fall upon a passage of this nature in your gracious speech of thanks unto your council, when acknowledging princely their vigilances and welldeservings, it pleased you to note, that it was a success and event above the course of nature, to have so great change with so great a quiet: forasmuch as sudden mutations, as well in state as in nature, are rarely without violence and perturbation: so as still I conclude there is, as was said, a congruity between the principles of nature and policy. And lest that instance may seem to oppone to this assertion, I may even in that particular, with your Majesty's favour, offer unto you a type or pattern in nature, much resembling this event in your state; namely, earthquakes, which many of them bring ever much terror and wonder, but no actual hurt j the earth trembling for a moment, and suddenly stablishing in perfect quiet as it was before.
This knowledge then of making the government of the world a mirror for the government of a state, being a wisdom almost lost, whereof the reason I take to be because of the difficulty for one man to embrace both philosophies, I have thought good to make some proof as far as my weakness and the straits of time will suffer, to revive in the handling of one particular, wherewith now I most humbly present your Majesty : for surely, as hath been said, it is a form of discourse anciently used towards kings; and to what king should it be more proper than to a king that is studious to conjoin contemplative virtue and active virtue together?
Your Majesty is the first king that had the honour to be lapis angularis, to unite these two mighty and warlike nations of England and Scotland under one sovereignty and monarchy. It doth not appear by the records and memoirs of any true history, or scarcely by the fiction and pleasure of any fabulous narration or tradition, that ever, of any antiquity, this island of Great Britain was united under one king before this day. And yet there be no mountains nor races of hills, there be no seas or great rivers, there
is no diversity of tongue or language that hath invited or provoked this ancient separation or divorce. The lot of Spain was to have the several kingdoms of that continent, Portugal only excepted, to be united in an age not long past; and now in our age that of Portugal also, which was the last that held out, to be incorporate with the rest. The lot of France hath been, much about the same time, likewise, to have re-annexed unto that crown the several duchies and portions which were in former times dismembered. The lot of this island is the last reserved for your Majesty's happy times, by the special providence and favour of God, who hath brought your Majesty to this happy conjunction with great consent of hearts, and in the strength of your years, and in the maturity of your experience. It resteth but that, as I promised, I set before your Majesty's princely consideration, the grounds of nature touching the union and commixture of bodies, and the correspondence which they have with the grounds of policy in the conjunction of states and kingdoms.
First, therefore, that position, Vis unita fortior, being one of the common notions of the mind, needeth not much to be induced or illustrated.
We see the sun when he entereth, and while he continueth under the sign of Leo, causeth more vehement heats than when he is in Cancer, what time his beams are nevertheless more perpendicular. The reason whereof, in great part, hath been truly ascribed to the conjunction and corradiation, in that place of heaven, of the sun with the four stars of the first magnitude, Sirius, Canicula, Cor Leonis, and Cauda Leonis.
So the moon likewise, by ancient tradition, while she is in the same sign of Leo, is said to be at the heart, wrhich is not for any affinity which that place of heaven can have with that part of man's body, but only because the moon is then, by reason of the conjunction and nearness with the stars aforenamed, in greatest strength of influence, and so worketh upon that part in inferior bodies, which is most vital and principal.
So we see waters and liquors, in small quantity, do easily putrify and corrupt; but in large quantitysubsist long, by reason of the strength they receive by union.
So in earthquakes, the more general do little hurt, by reason of the united weight which they offer to subvert; but narrow and particular earthquakes have many times overturned whole towns and cities.
So then this point touching the force of union is evident: and therefore it is more fit to speak of the manner of union; wherein again it will not be pertinent to handle one kind of union, which is union by victory, when one body doth merely subdue another, and converteth the same into its own nature, extinguishing and expulsing what part soever of it it cannot overcome. As when the fire converteth the wood into fire, purging away the smoke and the ashes as unapt matter to inflame : or when the bodv of a living creature doth convert and assimilate food and nourishment, purging and expelling whatsoever it cannot convert. For these representations do answer in matter of policy to union of countries by conquest, where the conquering state doth extinguish, extirpate, and expulse any part of the state conquered, which it findeth so contrary as it cannot alter and convert it. And therefore, leaving violent unions, we will consider only of natural unions.
The difference is excellent which the best observers in nature do take between compositio and mistio, putting together, and mingling: the one being but a conjunction of bodies in place, the other in quality and consent: the one the mother of sedition and alteration, the other of peace and continuance: the other rather a confusion than an union, the other properly an union. Therefore we see those bodies which they call imperfecte mista, last not, but are speedily dissolved. For take, for example, snow or froth, which are compositions of air and water, and in them you may behold how easily they sever and dissolve, the water closing together and excluding the air.
So these three bodies which the alchemists do so much celebrate as the three principles of things; that is to say, earth, water, and oil, which it pleaseth them to term salt, mercury, and sulphur, we see, if they be united only by composition or putting together, how weakly and rudely they do incorporate: for water and earth make but an imperfect slime; and if they be forced together by agitation, yet upon a little settling, the earth resideth in the bottom. So water and oil, though by agitation it be brought into an ointment, yet after a little settling the oil will float on the top. So as such imperfect mixtures continue no longer than they are forced ; and still in •he end the worthiest getteth above.
But otherwise it is of perfect mixtures. For we see these three bodies, of earth, water, and oil, when they are joined in a vegetable or minaral, they are so united, as without great subtlety of art and force of extraction, they cannot be separated and reduced into the same simple bodies again. So as the difference between compositio and mistio clearly set down is this: that compositio is the joining or putting together of bodies without anew form; and mistio is the joining or putting together of bodies under a new form: for the new form is commune vinculum, and without that the old forms will be at strife and discord.
Now to reflect this light of nature upon matter of estate; there hath been put in practice in government these two several kinds of policy in uniting and conjoining of states and kingdoms; the one to retain the ancient form still severed, and only conjoined in sovereignty; the other to superinduce a new form agreeable and convenient to the entire estate. The former of these hath been more usual, and is more easy; but the latter is more happy. For if a man do attentively revolve histories of all nations, and judge truly thereupon, he will make this conclusion, that there was never any states that were good commixtures but the Romans; which because it was the best state of the world, and is the best example of this point, we will chiefly insist thereupon.
In the antiquities of Rome, Virgil bringeth in Jupiter by way of oracle or prediction speaking of the mixture of the Trojans and the Italians:
"Sermonem Ausouii patrium inoresquc tenebunt:
JEn. xii. 834.
Wherein Jupiter maketh a kind of partition ordistribution: that Italy should give the language and the laws; Troy should give a mixture of men, and some religious rites; and both people should meet in one name of Latins.
Soon after the foundation of the city of Rome, the people of the Romans and the Sabines mingled upon equal terms: wherein the interchange went so even, that, as Livy noteth, the one nation gave the name to the place, the other to the people. For Rome continued the name, but the people were called Quirites, which was the Sabine word, derived of Cures the country of Tatius.
But that which is chiefly to be noted in the whole continuance of the Roman government; they were so liberal of their naturalizations, as in effect they made perpetual mixtures. For the manner was to grant the same, not only to particular persons, but to families and lineages; and not only so, but to whole cities and countries. So as in the end it came to that, that Rome was communis patria, as some of the civilians call it.
So we read of St. Paul, after he had been beaten with rods, and thereupon charged the officer with the violation of the privilege of a citizen of Rome: the captain said to him, " Art thou then a Roman? That privilege hath cost me dear." To whom St. Paul replied, " But I was so born;" and yet in another place, St. Paul professeth himself, that he was a Jew by tribe: so as it is manifest that some of his ancestors were naturalized; and so it was conveyed to him and their other descendants.
So we read, that it was one of the first despites that was done to Julius Cajsar, that whereas he had obtained naturalization for a city in Gaul, one of the city was beaten with rods of the consul Marcellus.
So we read in Tacitus, that in the emperor Claudius's time, the nation of Gaul, that part which is called Comata, the wilder part, were suitors to be made capable of the honour of being senators and officers of Rome. His words are these; "Cum dc supplendo senatu agitaretur, primoresque Gallia?, qiiBj Comata appellatur, foedera, et civitatem Romanam pridem assecuti, jus adipiscendorum in urbe honorem expeterent; multus ea super re variusque rumor, et studiis diversis, apud principem certabatur." And in the end, after long debate, it was ruled they should be admitted.
So likewise, the authority of Nicholas Machiavel seemeth not to be contemned; who, inquiring the causes of the growth of the Roman empire, doth give judgment; there was not one greater than this, that the state did so easily compound and incorporate with strangers.
It is true that most estates and kingdoms have