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And, once again, a pot o'the small to the stewards of Leets and Lawest ale.
days to be put in use in their courts. Servant. Yet would you say ye They may punish ... trades
were beaten out of door, men of all sorts, selling at under And rail upon the hostess of the weight or measure." — Use of the house,
Law (date uncertain). And say you would present her at
the leet, Because she brought stone jugs and
no seal'd quarts." Taming of the Shrew, Induction,
2 (1623). Bacon's interest in the subject of weights and measures was very great, for in 1601 he introduced a bill against abuses in the use of them into the House of Commons, and in the course of his speech, advocating it, he said:
“I'll tell you, Mr. Speaker, I'll speak out of mine own experience that I have learned and observed, having had causes of this nature referred to my report, that this fault of using false weights and measures is grown so intolerable and common that, if you would build churches, you shall not need for battlements and bells other things than false weights of lead and brass."
Bacon's bill appears to have been temporarily “thrown out;” but, according to Chief Justice Campbell, a law was subsequently enacted that “ale should be sold only in sealed vessels of the standard capacity," and not in stone jugs. Bacon appears finally to have been successful, as we learn also from the play.
From Bacon “ King. Your brother is legiti- “If the son marry himself to a mate;
woman defamed, so that she bring Your father's wife did after wed- bastard slips and false progeny lock bear him;
into the family, yet the issue of And if she did play false, the fraud this woman shall inherit the was hers.
land." — Use of the Law.
My mother's son did get your
father's heir; Your father's heir must have your father's land."
King John, i. 1 (1623).
“This is the true doctrine, Pater est quem nuptice demonstrant. It was likewise properly ruled [in 'King John '] that the father's will, in favor of his son Robert, had no power to dispossess the rightful heir.” – CHIEF JUSTICE CAMPBELL.
A FOOL AMONG FOOLS
From Bacon “ Hamlet. Why was he sent into “It was both pleasantly and England ?
wisely said (though I think very Clown. Why? Because he was untruly) by a nuncio of the Pope, mad; he shall recover his wits returning from a certain nation there; or, if he do not, 't is no great where he served as lieger ; whose matter there.
opinion being asked touching the Hamlet. Why?
appointment of one to go in his Clown. 'T will not be seen in place, he wished that in any case him there. There the men are as they did not send one that was too mad as he."-- Hamlet, v. 1 (1603). wise; because no very wise man
“A strange fish! Were I in would ever imagine what they in England now (as once I was), and that country were like to do.” — had but this fish painted, not a Advancement of Learning (1603-5). holiday fool there but would give “To few doubtless would he a piece of silver ; there would this seem mad therein, because the monster make a man; any strange majority of men are mad.” beast there makes a man." - The
Promus (1594–96). Tempest, ii. 2 (1623).
SELF-INFLICTED EVILS “Those wounds heal ill that men “The evil that a man brings on do give themselves.”
himself by his own fault is greater; Troilus and Cressida, iï. 3 (1609). that which is brought on him from
without is less. ... Where the evil is derived from a man's own fault, there all strikes deadly inwards." - Colors of Good and Evil (1597).
466 PURVEYORSHIP GRIEVANCES From Shake-speare
From Bacon " Queen Katharine. Nay, we must “There is no grievance in your kneel longer; I am a suitor. kingdom so general, so continual,
so sensible, and so bitter unto the I am solicited, not by a few, common subject, as this whereof And those of true condition, that we now speak." - Speech on Puryour subjects
veyors (1604). Are in great grievance; there have
been commissions Sent down among 'em, which hath
flaw'd the heart Of all their loyalties; wherein, al
though, My good lord cardinal, they vent
reproaches Most bitterly on you, as putter-on Of these exactions, yet the king,
our master, Whose honor heaven shield from
soil! even he escapes not Language unmannerly; yea, such
which breaks The sides of loyalty, and almost
appears In loud rebellion."
Henry VIII., i. 2 (1623). In 1604, the House of Commons petitioned the king to abate certain evils growing out of the royal purveyorship; that is, out of proceedings established by law for taking merchandise of various kinds from subjects for the use of the king's household. The petition was presented by a committee of which Bacon was spokesman.
In the play of 'Henry VIII.,' a petition of the same kind, and made for the same purpose, was presented to the king by Queen Katharine. Her speech, as given by the dramatist and that of Bacon, are so similar in scope and diction, that, as the late Judge Holmes (to whose work on the 'Author
evils growing established by
for the use of
ship of Shakespeare' we are indebted for this interesting parallelism) said, the two must have “proceeded from the same pen.”
The following are some of the points of resemblance:
1. The exactions are made in the king's name, affecting the king's honor. “ Queen.
SHAKE-SPEARE. “ All these great misdemeanors are committed in and under your Majesty's name. And therefore we hope your Majesty will hold them twice guilty, - once for oppressing of the poor, and once more for doing it under color and abuse of your Majesty's dreaded and beloved name." - Bacon. 2. The exactions are very great and oppressive.
SHAKE-SPEARE. “ 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.” — Bacon.
3. The exactions were made under commissions, against the law. “ Queen.
The subjects' grief
King [to the Cardinal]. Have you a precedent
“They take in an unlawful manner, in a manner (I say) directly and expressly prohibited by divers laws.” — Bacon.
4. The exactions bear heavily upon dealers in wool and woollen goods. “Norfolk. The clothiers all, not able to maintain
The many to them 'longing, have put off
SHAKE-SPEARE. "I do set apart these commodities, wool, wool-fels, and leather.” - Bacon. 5. Another special grievance is the taking of trees.
The air will drink the sap.” SHAKE-SPEARE. “They take trees, which hy law they cannot do ; timber trees, which are the beauty, countenance, and shelter of men's houses. ... They put the axe to the root of the tree, ere ever the master can stop it.” — Bacon.
Bacon's speech was delivered, as we have said, in 1604, the very year in which the reputed poet retired from London and took up his permanent abode in Stratford." It was not printed till 1657, or forty-one years after the latter's death.
From Bacon “You go not till I set you up a glass “That which I have propounded Where you may see the inmost to myself is, ... to show you part of you.”
your true shape in a glass." — LetHamlet, iii. 4 (1604). ter to Sir Edward Coke.
1 Mr. Staunton, in his ‘Life of Shakspere '(excellent Shakespearean author. ity), says that the reputed poet retired to Stratford in the spring of 1604. It is hardly possible, however, that, even if in London at the time, he could have known the contents of a speech of which there was no contemporary public record, and which was delivered before the court and in the presence of a committee of the House of Commons only.