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me to them more; and it would be said I gave in evidence mine own tales. It was answered again with good shew, 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." (a) June, On the 5th of June, 1600, this trial took place. It was jEt°40 marked by the same indecision that had characterised the Trial of whole of the Queen's conduct. To give effect to her wishes Essex. Essex should be censured, not sentenced, each man
had his part allotted; and lest this mark of her disapprobation should hereafter be urged against him, she commanded that no official record should be kept of the proceedings, that he might not be rendered incapable of bearing office in her household.
The privy council met at the lord keeper's house, and were assisted by noblemen selected for that purpose. The commissioners were eighteen, the auditory about two hundred; there was much state and solemnity in the assembly, and much humility and contrition on the part of Essex, who knelt while the commission was opened, and so remained till he had leave to rise. From this mode of conduct, which, doubtless, had been prescribed to him, he never departed but once during his examination, and he was then reminded by the lord treasurer of the course he was expected to pursue.
(a) See Bacon's Apology, vol. vi. 264.
The case was opened by a statement, that " to command down the winds of malicious and seditious rumours wherewith men's conceits may have been tossed to and fro, the Queen was pleased to call the world to an understanding of her princely course held towards the Earl of Essex, as well in herebefore protracting, as in now proceeding against him, not in the ordinary and open place of offenders and criminals, which might leave a taint upon his honour, but, on account of his penitence and submission, her majesty had ordered that the hearing should be before a great, honourable, and selected council, a full and deliberate, and yet in respect a private, mild, and gracious hearing." The chief heads of the accusation were then stated by the lawyers, who, with the exception of Bacon, either not in the court secret, or disregarding their instructions, pursued their argument with their usual pertinacity, coloured by the respective characters of the men, and of course, by Sir Edward Coke, with his accustomed rancour. Bacon, on the contrary, though he was favoured with a part of the charge i least likely to be injurious to Essex, still complained that / he might injure his friend, and, though in array against him, evidently fought on his side, (a)
To those persons present who were not already apprised of the Queen's wishes, Bacon's speech would be considered more consistent with his affection for his friend than his duty to the Queen, as it was constructed as much as possible to do him service. "I hope," he said, "that my lord Essex himself, and all who now hear me, will consider that the particular bond of duty, which I do now, and ever will acknowledge that I owe unto his lordship, must be sequestered and laid aside, in discharge of that higher duty, which we all owe unto the Queen, whose grace and
(a) See note 4 C at the end for a full account of the trial.
mercy I cannot enough extol; whereof the earl is a singular work, in that, upon his humble suit, she is content not to prosecute him in her court of justice, the Star Chamber, but, according to his own earnest desire, to remove that cup from him, for those are my lord's own words, and doth now suffer his cause to be heard inter privatos parietes, by way of mercy and favour only, where no manner of disloyalty is laid to his charge, for if that had been the question this had not been the place." In this strain he proceeded through the whole of his address.
He constantly kept in view the Queen's determination neither to injure her favourite in person nor in purse; he averred that there was no charge of disloyalty; he stated nothing as a lawyer; nothing from his own ingenious mind; nothing that could displease the Queen; he repeated only passages from letters, in the Queen's possession, complaining of her cruelty and obduracy; topics which she loved to have set forth in her intercourse with a man whom she was thought to have too much favoured; he selected the most affecting expressions from the earl's letter, and though he at last performed his part of the task, by touching upon Hayward's book, he established in the minds of the hearers the fact that Essex had called in the work a week after he learnt that it was published.
To those who are familiar with Bacon's style, and know the fertility of his imagination, and the force of his reasoning, it is superfluous to observe that he brought to this semblance of a trial only the shadow of a speech; and that under the flimsy veil of an accuser there may easily be detected the face of a friend.
In answer to these charges, Essex, on his knees, declared that, ever since it had pleased her majesty to remove that cup from him, he had laid aside all thought of justifying himself, or of making any contestation with his sovereign; that he had made a divorce between himself and the world, and that, rather than bear a charge of disloyalty or want of affection, he would tear his heart out of his breast with his own hands. The first part of his defence drew tears from many of the hearers; but, being somewhat touched by the sharp speeches and rhetorical flourishes of his accusers, he expressed himself with so much heat, before he had gone half through with his reply, that he was interrupted by the lord keeper, who told him " this was not the course to do him good; that he would do well to commit himself to her majesty's mercy; that he was acquitted by all present of disloyalty, of which he did not stand charged, but of disobedience and contempt; and if he meant to say that he had disobeyed, without an intention of disobedience, it was frivolous and absurd."
In pronouncing the censure, the lord keeper declared, that if Essex had been tried elsewhere, and in another manner, a great fine and imprisonment for life must have been his sentence, but as he was in a course of favour, his censure was, "That the Earl of Essex should be suspended from his offices, and continue a prisoner in his own house till it pleased her majesty to release him." The Earl of Cumberland declared, that, if he thought the censure was to stand, he would ask more time, for it seemed to him somewhat severe; and intimated how easily a general commander might incur the like, but, in confidence of her majesty's mercy, he agreed with the rest.
Of this day's proceedings a confused and imperfect account has been published by several historians,(a) and an unfair view taken of the conduct of Bacon, who could not have any assignable motive for the course they have attributed to him. The Queen was evidently determined to
(a) See particularly Hume.
protect her favourite. The Cecils had abated their animosity. The people were anxious for his reinstatement. Anthony Bacon was at this time living under the protection of Essex, and the brothers were in constant and affectionate intercourse.
6th June, The sentence had scarcely been pronounced, when Bacon's anxiety for his friend again manifested itself. On the very I next day he attended the Queen, fully resolved to exert his utmost endeavours to restore Essex again to favour. The account of his interview with the Queen, from which his friendship and the Queen's affection for Essex may be seen, is thus stated by Bacon: "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 shew that humiliation towards your majesty, as I am persuaded he was never in his lifetime 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