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intellect, which, from consciousness of the imbecility and wretchedness attendant upon ignorance, uses power to promote merit and relieve wrongs. It passes by the particular infirmities of those who contribute any thing to the advancement of general learning: judging it fitter that men of abilities should jointly engage against ignorance and barbarism. This had many years before his promotion been stated by Bacon: "Neither can this point otherwise be; for learning endueth men's minds with a true sense of the frailty of their persons, the casualty of their fortunes, and the dignity of their soul and vocation: so that it is impossible for them to esteem that any greatness of their own fortune can be a true or worthy end of their being and ordainment; whereas the corrupter sort of mere politicians, that have not their thoughts established by learning in the love and apprehension of duty, nor ever look abroad into universality, do refer all things to themselves, and thrust themselves into the centre of the world, as if all lines should meet in them and their fortunes; never caring, in all tempests, what becomes of the ship of state, so they may save themselves in the cockboat of their own fortune." (6)
(A) "Napoleon happened to see a captain or lieutenant-colonel of engineers, who was modestly assisting in the fortifications of the place, and with whom he entered into a discussion of certain points connected with the business in which he was engaged. Shortly after, the officer unexpectedly received a letter, informing him that he was appointed aidde-camp to the Emperor, and directing him to repair to the Tuileries, to enter upon his duties. The poor officer was filled with astonishment; he thought he was dreaming, or that the letter had been misdirected. He was so extremely diffident, and possessed so little knowledge of the world, that this announcement of his promotion threw him into great perplexity. He recollected having once seen me at Antwerp, and he begged I would render him my assistance. Accordingly, on his arrival in Paris, he came and assured me of his total ignorance of court manners, and the embarrassment he felt in presenting himself to the Emperor.
This truth, necessarily attendant upon all knowledge, is not excluded from judicial knowledge. It has influenced all intelligent judges: Sir Thomas More; the Chancellor de l'Hopital; Lord Somers, to whom he has been compared; d'Aguesseau; Sir Edward Coke, and Sir Matthew Hale. Bacon's favourite maxim therefore was, " Detur digniori: qui beneficium digno dat omnes obligat;" and in his prayer, (a) worthy of a Chancellor, he daily said, " This vine which my right hand hath planted in this nation I have ever prayed unto thee that it might stretch her branches to the seas and to the floods."
Whatever were Sir Francis's gratifications, attendant upon the dignity of this promotion, in direct pecuniary profit he sustained great loss: as he relinquished his office of Attorney General, worth at least £6000. a year, his Chancellorship to the Prince, and his post of Registrar of the Star Chamber, worth about £1600. a year, (6) whilst the direct profits of the great seal were only £918. 15s.(c) Of the amount of the indirect profits from fees and presents it is, of course, impossible to form a correct estimate. It must, however, have been considerable, as, according to
However, I soon succeeded in encouraging him; and before he reached the gate of the palace, he had mustered a tolerable degree of confidence. This officer was General Bernard, whose great talents were brought into notice by this circumstance, and who, at the time of our disasters, proceeded to America, where he was placed at the head of the military works of the United States."—Las Cases, iv. 62.
"A man who by a partial, prejudiced, or corrupt vote, disappoints a worthy candidate of a station in life, upon which his hopes, possibly, or livelihood, depended, and who thereby grievously discourages merit and emulation in others, commits, I am persuaded, a much greater crime, than if he filched a book out of a library, or picked a pocket of a handkerchief."
(a) Vol. vii. p. 1.
(6) Biog. Brit. p. 392.
(c) See note E E E at the end.
the oriental customs of the times, statesmen were then seldom approached by a suitor without some acceptable offering.
The new year's gifts, regularly presented to the King, were of immense value, and were given by the great officers of state, peers and peeresses, the bishops, knights, and their ladies, gentlemen and gentlewomen, and even from the tradesmen, and all the officers of the household. These presents were chiefly in money, but sometimes varied by the taste of the donors. As a matter of curiosity, it may be noticed, that Sir Francis Bacon gave to the Queen "one pettycoat of white sattin, embrodered all over like feathers and billets, with three broad borders, fair embrodered with snakes and fruitage, 'emblems of wisdom and bounty exhibiting, even at that day, a fancy delighting in splendour and allegory(a) and so general was the practice, that when Bacon applied to the Queen to be appointed Solicitor General, his application was accompanied by the present of a jewel, (b)
This custom of making presents to persons in power was not confined to the reigning monarch, but extended to statesmen. They were made, as of course, to Lord Salisbury, to Lord Burleigh, and to all persons in office, and made by the most virtuous members of the community, (c) The same custom extended to the Chan
(u) See note Z Z Z Z at the end.
(6) See ante, p. xxxii, and note R R at the end.
(c) In April, 1595, the Bishop of Durbam thus wrote to Lord Burleigh: "Right Honourable, Your L. having alwaies been an especial patron to the see of Duresme, wherein it hath now pleased God and her majesty to place me, thoughe unworthie; and myself reaping the fruite of your L. and extraordinarie furtherance in obtayning the same, I could not without great note of ingratitude (the monster of nature) but yelde your L. some signification of a thankful minde. And seeking by all good means, but contrary to myne expectation, not finding any office or other particular eellor, (a) and to the Judges. In the time of Henry the Sixth the practice existed, (a) In the time of Sir Thomas
presentlie voyde, either fitt for me to offer your lordship, or sure for your L. to receive at my hande, I have presumed in lieu thereof to present your good lordship with an hundred pounds in golde, which this bringer will deliver to your L. It is no recompense any waie proportionable, I confesse, to your lordship's great goodnesse towards me, but onely a sclender token of my dutie most bounden to your L. and a pledge of my service alwaies to be at your L. commandment afore and above any man alive, which I beseech your lordship to accept in such part as is simply and faithfully meant. And so desyring the continuance and encrease of your L. honorable opinion and favour, of the which I shall endeavour, by God's grace, your L. shall never repent yourselfe. I most humblie betake your good L. to the blessed tuition of the Almighty. Your Lordship's most humble and bounden, Torias Dunelm."
A mode of address, which about the same period, was adopted by the Duke of Wirtemberg: "Monsieur, Je ne double que vous ne soyez aduertij de ce que j'ay par cij deuant, comme mesmes auec ceste commodite, escrit et demande humblement a La Serenissime Royne d'Angleterre et de me laisser passer environ 1000 pieces de trap hors le renommé royaulme d'Icelle, librement et sans aulcun peage, et pource que je scay, que vous pourrez beaucoup en cest affaire. Je vous prye bien fort, vous ij employer. Affin que je puisse aùoir vne bonne et brefue respounce, telle comme je le desire et demande, dont mon commis le present porteur a charge, vous je present de ma part vne chaîne d'or pov. vos peines. Laquelle accepterez: s'il vous plaist de bon cueur. En tous lieux la on j'auray moyen de recognoistre cela en vre endroict j'en suis content de vous grattiffier a vre contentement, de telle volunte, comme apres mes affectionnees recommendatione. Prye Dieu vous avoir, Monsieur, en sa sainte digne garde. De Stuctgart ce 12me de Decembre, 1594. Vre bien affectionné, Frinerich."
See note Z Z at the end, where various instances will be found.
(a) Receiving presents was a practice neither uncommon among his predecessors in that court, nor, I believe, imputed to them for unrighteousness. This will appear plainly by the curious anecdote that follows; which I myself copied from the original manuscript, in the possession of Henry Wise, Esq. of Hampton Court.
"Declarant etiam executores predicti quod ipsi ad speciale rogatum prcedicti domini Henrici fili docti Domini nuper comitis, quod erat eis ad preceptum, dederunt Domino Cancellario Angliae, 1 shaving bacyn argeuti, quae erat predicti domini patris sui, viz. Ad excitandum dictum Dominum More, when the custom seems to have been waning, presents were, without any offence, offered to that righteous man; (6) and it is mentioned by the biographer of Sir
Cancellarium fore benevomm et benefacientem materiis dicti Domini Henvici in curiis Domini regis pendentibus pretium viii£.
"Declarant etiam executores predicti quod ipsi dederant Domini Archi. Cantuariae Cancellario Angliae, J. saultauri ad similitudinem Cervi jacentis facti, quod erat dicti domini nuper comitis, appretiatum ad £40. 16s. Bd. ad intentionem ut ipse Dom. Archi. et Cane, suum bonum Dominum et anxilium dictis executoribus favorabiliter ostenderet et faceret in certis materiis que versus eosdem executores ad grave prejudicium et impedimentum debite executionis testament! et ultime voluntatis dicti Domini nuper comrtis subtibter movebantur; ad valentiam sicut predicitur."
This paper is called, Declaracio Thomae Huggeford, Nicoli Rody et Willi. Berkswel presbyter. These were executors and feoffees of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, and this declaration was made in the 21st year of Henry the Sixth, to account for certain plate, jewels, and so forth, which had come into their hands as his executors.—Copied by me from some work, which I cannot, at present, find. B. M.
(b) His integrity in his office was sufficiently proved by the reduced state of his circumstances when he resigned the seals; but there are two or three anecdotes which will serve to illustrate this part of his character.
After his fall, the Earl of Wiltshire, the father of Anne Boleyne, preferred a complaint against him to the council, for having taken a bribe from one Vaughan. Sir Thomas confessed that he had received the cup from the hands of Vaughan's wife, but immediately ordering the butler to fill it with wine, he drank to her, and when she had pledged him, says he, "as freely as your husband hath given this cup to me, even so freely give I the same to you again, to give your husband for his new year's gift."
At another time one Gresham having a cause depending in Chancery, sent Sir Thomas a fair gilt cup, the fashion of which pleased him so well, that he caused one of his own, of more value to be delivered to the messenger for his master, nor would he receive it on any other condition.
Being presented by a lady with a pair of gloves, and forty pounds in angels in them, he said to her, " Mistress, since it were against good manners to refuse your new year's gift, I am content to take your gloves, but as for the lining, I utterly refuse it."
The following anecdote of More is given by Lord Bacon in his Essays: A person who had a suit in Chancery sent him two silver flagons, not doubting of the agreeableness of the present. On receiving them, More called one of i :servants, and told him to fill those two vessels with the