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BARON VERULAM, VISCOUNT ST. ALBAN, AND LORD HIGH
CHANCELLOR OF ENGLAND.
VOLUME THE FIRST. -12
PRINTED FOR M. JONES, PATERNOSTER-ROW.
ledge, but laid the foundation of that free and useful philosophy which has since opened a way to so many glorious discoveries. On his leaving the university, his father sent him to France; where, before he was nineteen years of age, he wrote a general view of the state of Europe : but Sir Nicholas dying, he was obliged suddenly to return to England; when he applied himself to the study of the common law, at Gray's Inn. At this period the famous Earl of Essex, who could distinguish merit, and who passionately loved it, entered into an intimate friendship with him ; zealously attempted, though without success,
to procure him the office of queen's solicitor ; and, in order to comfort his friend under the disappointment, conferred on him a present of land to the value of £1800. Bacon, notwithstanding the friendship of so great a person; notwithstanding the number and
power of his own relations; and, above all, notwithe standing the early prepossession of her majesty in his favour, met with many obstacles to his preferment during her reign. In particular, his enemies represented him as a speculative man, whose head was filled with philosophical notions, and therefore more likely to perplex than forward public business. It was not without great difficulty that lord treasurer Burleigh obtained for him the reversion of register to the star-chamber, worth about £1600 a year, which place fell to him about 20 years after. Neither did he obtain any other preferment all this reign ; though if obedience to a sovereign in what must be the most disagreeable of all offices, viz. the casting reflections on a deceased friend, entitled him, he might have claimed it. The people were so clamorous
even against the Queen herself on the death of Essex, that it was thought necessary to vindicate the conduct of the administration. This was assigned to Bacon, which brought on him universal censure; nay, his very life was threatened. Upon the accession of King James, he was soon raised to considerable honours; and wrote in favour of the union of the two kingdoms of Scotland and England, which the king so passionately desired. In 1616, he was sworn of the privy council. He then applied himself to the reducing and recomposing the laws of England. He distinguished himself, when attorneygeneral, by his endeavours to restrain the custom of duels, then very frequent; and, in 1617, was appointed lord keeper of the great seal. In 1618, he was made lord chancellor of England, and created Lord Verulam. In the midst of these honours and applauses, and multiplicity of business, he forgot not his philosophy; but, in 1620, published his great work, entitled Novum Organum. We find by several letters of his, that he thought convening of parliaments was the best expedient for the king and people. In 1621, he was advanced to the dignity of Viscount St. Albans, and appeared with the greatest splendour at the opening of the session of parliament. But he was soon after surprised with a melancholy reverse of fortune. For, about the 12th of March, a committee of the house of commons was appointed to inspect the abuses of the courts of justice. The first thing they fell upon was bribery and corruption, of which the lord chancellor was accused. For that very year complaints being made to the house of commons of his lordship having received bribes, those complaints were sent up to the house of lords; and new ones being daily made of a like nature, things soon grew too high to be got over. The king found it was impossible to save both his chancellor, who was openly accused of corruption, and Buckingham, his favourite, who was secretly and therefore more dangerously attacked as the encourager of whatever was deemed most illegal and oppressive. He therefore forced the former to abandon his defence, giving him positive advice to submit himself to his peers, and promising upon his princely word to screen him in the last determination, or, if that could not be, to reward him afterwards with ample retribution of favour. The chancellor, though he foresaw his approaching ruin if he did not plead for himself, resolved to obey; and the house of peers, on the 3d of May, 1631, gave judgment against him, “ That he should be fined £40,000, and remain prisoner in the tower during the King's pleasure; that he should for ever be incapable of any office, place, or employment, in the state or commonwealth ; and that he should never sit in parliament, or come within the verge of the court.” The fault which, next to his ingratitude to Essex, thus tarnished the glory of this illustrious marr, it is said to have principally proceeded from an indulgence to his servants, who made a corrupt use of it. One day, during his trial, passing through a room where several of his domestics were sitting, upon their rising up to salute him, he said, “Sit down, my masters ; your rise huth been my fall.”Stephens, p. 54. And we are told by Rushworth, in his historical collections, " That 'he treasured up nothing for himself or family, but was over-indulgent to his