« ZurückWeiter »
FROM THE PUBLICATION OF THE WISDOM OF THE
In consequence of the limitation, in the court of King's Marshal-
When Solicitor he argued in the case of Sutton's Hos- Charter pital, or the Charter House, (d) against the legality of the IIouse
(a) Michelbonn's case, 6 Co. 20.
(6) A history of this court, its officers, &c. may be found in a tract published by Clarke and Co. Law-booksellers, Portugal Street, A.D. 1812. See also Buckley on Jurisdiction of Marshalsea, 1827.
(c) See vol. vi. p. 85.
(rf) 10 Co. 1.
foundation, and, fortunately for the advancement of charity and of knowledge, he argued without success, as its validity was confirmed; and in 1611 this noble institution was opened, to the honour of its munificent founder, who preferred the consciousness of doing good to the empty honours which were offered to divert him from his course, (a) It seems, however, that Bacon's objections to the charity were not confined to his argument at the bar, but were the expression of his judgment, as he afterwards addressed a letter of advice to the King, pointing out many imaginary or real defects of the project, (£) in which he says, " I wish Mr. Sutton's intentions were exalted a degree; and that which he meant for teachers of children, your majesty should make for teachers of men; wherein it hath been my ancient opinion and observation, (c) that in the universities of this realm, which I take to be of the best endowed universities of Europe, there is nothing more wanting towards the flourishing state of learning than the honourable and plentiful salaries of readers in arts and professions; for, if you will have sciences flourish, you must observe David's military law, which was, ' that those which staid with the carriage should have equal part with those which were in the action.'" (c) 1612. In the year 1612, he published a new edition of his D^th5f essavs, enlarged and enlivened by illustrations and imathe Prince, gery,(<0 which, upon the sudden death of Prince Henry,(e) and
(a) See note AAA A at the end.
(c) Advancement of Learning, vol. ii. p. 94.
(d) See note 31 at the end.
(e) Prince Henry died 6th Nov. 1612. See the intended dedication, in note 3 I at the end. See the character of Prince Henry, in Hume's history. See Wilson's history.
to whom it was intended to be dedicated, he inscribed to his brother, (a)
In this year he, as Solicitor General, appeared on behalf of the crown, upon the prosecution of the Lord Sanquhar, a Scottish nobleman, for murder; and his speech, which has been preserved, is a specimen of the mildness ever attendant upon knowledge. (6) After having clearly stated the case, he thus concludes: "I will conclude toward you, my lord, that though your offence hath been great, yet your confession hath been free, and your behaviour and speech full of discretion; and this shews, that though you could not resist the tempter, yet you bear a christian and generous mind, answerable to the noble family of which you are descended, (c)
(a) To my loving Brother, Sir John Constable, Knight.*
My last essays I dedicated to my dear brother, Master Anthony Bacon, who is with God. Looking amongst my papers this vacation, I found others of the same nature; which, if I myself shall not suffer to be lost, it seemeth the world will not, by the often printing of the former. Missing my brother, I found you next, in respect of bond both of near alliance and of straight friendship and society, and particularly of communication in studies, wherein I must acknowledge myself beholding to you; for as my business found rest in my contemplations, so my contemplations ever found rest in your loving conference and judgment. So wishing you all good, I remain
Your loving brother and friend, Fra. Bacon.t See the dedication to Goldsmith's Traveller.
(6) See note (c), next page.
(c) He was executed before Westminster Hall-gate. The reader, for his fuller information in this story of the Lord Sanquhar, is desired to peruse
• Brother to Lady Bacon.
t See note 31 at the end.
During the time he was Solicitor, he composed, as it seems, his " Confession of Faith." (a) Attorney Bacon as Solicitor naturally looked forward to the office General. 0f Attorney General, to which he succeeded on the 27th of October, upon the promotion of Sir Henry Hobart to the Chief Justiceship of the Common Pleas. (6) Never was man more qualified for the office of Attorney General than Bacon. With great general knowledge, ever tending to humanize (c) and generate a love of improvement ;(d) with great insight into the principles of politics (e) and of universal justice, (e) and such worldly experience as to enable him to apply his knowledge to the times in which he lived. "Non in republica Platonis; sed tanquam in fasce Romuli;" with long unwearied professional exertion in the law of England, publications upon existing parts of the law, and efforts to improve it, he entered upon the duties of his office with the well founded hope in the profession, that he would be an honour to his name and his country,
the case in the ninth book of the Lord Coke's reports; at the end of which the whole series of the murder and trial is exactly related. See also vol. vi. p. 167.
(a) See the preface to vol. vii. p. xix.
(b) There are extant two letters to Lord Salisbury (see vol. xii. p. 63), one to the Chancellor, vol. xii. p. 105, and one to the King, vol. xii. p. 106, respecting this appointment.
(c) Advancement of Learning, vol. ii. p. 80. "It is an assured truth which is contained in the verses:
'Scilicet ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes,
It taketh away the wildness and barbarism and fierceness of men's minds;
(<i) Advancement of Learning, vol. ii. p. 82. "The unlearned man knows not what it is to descend into himself, or to call himself to account; nor the pleasure of that * suavissima vita, indies sentire se fieri meliorem.'"
(t) See note C C at the end.
and without any fear that he would be injured by the dangerous authority with which he was entrusted. Although power has, upon ordinary minds, a tendency to shape and deprave the possessor, upon intelligence it tends more to humble than to elevate. When Cromwell, indignant that Sir Matthew Hale had dismissed a jury because he was convinced that it had been partially selected, said to this venerable magistrate, "You are not fit to be a judge," Sir Matthew answered, "It is very true." When Alexander received letters out of Greece of some fights and services there, which were commonly for a passage or a fort, or some walled town at the most, he said, "It seemed to him, that he was advertised of the battle of the frogs and the mice, that the old tales went of: so certainly, if a man meditate much upon the universal frame of nature, the earth with men upon it, the divineness of souls except, will not seem much other than an ant-hill, where as some ants carry corn, and some carry their young, and some go empty, and all to and fro a little heap of dust." (a)
With the duties of the office he was well acquainted. As a politician he never omitted an opportunity to ameliorate the condition of society, and exerted himself in all the usual House of Commons questions: thus dilating and contracting his sight and too readily giving up to party what was meant for mankind. As public prosecutor, he did not suffer the arm of justice to be weakened either by improper lenity or severity at variance with public feeling. (6)
(a) Advancement of Learning, vol. ii. p. 81.
(A) See his advice to Villiers, vol. vi. p. 419, in which he says, "A. word more, if you please to give me leave, for the true rules of moderation of justice on the King's part. The execution of justice is committed to his judges, which seemeth to be the severer part; but the milder part, which