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little more diligence, and more accurate preparation ; whereas, on the contrary, it may be stated as a fact, that the ways and means hitherto discovered and observed, of effecting any matter or work, are for the most part of little value, and that all really efficient power depends, and is really to be deduced from the sources of forms, none of which have yet been discovered. Thus,” he adds; “ if any power had meditated on balistic machines and battering rams, as they were used by the ancients, whatever application he might have exerted, and though he might have consumed a whole life in the pursuit, yet would he never have hit upon the invention of flaming engines, acting by means of gunpowder ; nor would any person, who had made woollen manufactories and cotton the subject of his observation and reflection, have ever discovered thereby the nature of the silkworm or of silk.” Unfortunately, therefore, the mode of remedying this evil in the court of Chancery was, not by resorting to any new expedient, but by calculating upon increased exertion on the part of the Chancellor; and the consequence has been, such an inadequacy of power to subdue the business, that the word Chancery has been for centuries, and is proverbial for delay and expence.
The increased diligence on the part of the court has always manifested itself in proportion to the intelligence and expanded mind of the judge, as appears from the exertions of Lord Egerton, of Lord Eldon, and of Sir M. Hale.
I well remember the perplexities in which Lord Eldon was placed. The pressure of the business was so great, and the time requisite for politics was, during the French Revolution, so excessive, that it was impossible that the business of the court could be subdued by his, or by any mind. On the one side he was surrounded by the senseless yells of ignorance, which he might have pacified by affected dispatch : on the other side, he had to preserve the interests of the suitors and his own approbation, by the consciousness of acting as a judge ought to act, without any fear but the fear of deciding unjustly. He preferred the latter. He went right onward in his course, regardless of the bayings at him; and, to the disgrace of the country, he was censured by the great mass of the community for having sacredly preserved the interests of the suitors and the dignified administration of justice. It may be well for a moment to consider Lord Bacon's sentiments upon judicial delay and dispatch.
" Cf Dispatch” he says, “ Affected dispatch is one of the most dangerous things to business that can be : it is like that which the physicians call predigestion, or hasty digestion ; which is sure to fill the body full of crudities and secret seeds of diseases : therefore measure not dispatch by the times of sitting, but by the advancement of the business; and as, in races, it is not the large stride, or high lift, that makes the speed; so in business, the keeping close to a matter, and not taking of it too much at once, procureth dispatch. It is the care of some only to come off speedily for the time, or to contrive some false periods of business, because they may seem men of dispatch ; but it is one thing to abbreviate by contracting, another by cutting off ; and business so handled at several sittings or meetings, goeth commonly backward and forward in an unsteady manner. I knew wise man that had it for a byword, when he saw men hasten to a conclusion, “Stay a little, that we make an end the sooner.'
“ On the other side, true dispatch is a rich thing; for time is the measure of business, as money is of wares; and business is bought at a dear hand where there is small dispatch.
“ There be three parts of business : the preparation, the debate, or examination, and the perfection; whereof if you look for dispatch, let the middle only be the work of many, and the first and last the work of few. The proceeding upon somewhat conceived in writing doth for the most part facilitate dispatch; for though it should be wholly rejected, yet that negative is more pregnant of direction than an indefinite, as ashes are more generative than dust.”
And in his speech, when he took his seat as Chancellor, he says, “There is another point of true expedition, which resteth much in myself, and that is in my manner of giving orders. For I have seen an affectation of dispatch turn
in his essay
utterly to delay at length; for the manner of it is to take the tale out of the counsellor at the bar his mouth, and to give a cursory order, nothing tending or conducing to the end of the business. It makes me remember what I heard one say of a judge that sat in Chancery; that he would make forly orders in a morning out of the way, and it was out of the way indeed; for it was nothing to the end of the business: and this is that which makes sixty, eighty, an hundred orders in a cause, to and fro, begetting one another; and like Penelope's web, doing and undoing. But I mean not to purchase the praise of expeditive in that kind; but as one that have a feeling of my duty, and of the case of others. My endeavour shall be to hear patiently, and to cast my order into such a mould as may soonest bring the subject to the end of his journey.
To the same effect he says, in his essay “Of Delays," " The ripeness or unripeness of the occasion (as we said) must ever be well weighed ; and generally it is good to commit the beginnings of all great actions to Argos with his hundred eyes, and the ends to Briareus with his hundred hands; first to watch, and then to speed; for the helmet of Pluto, which maketh the politic man go invisible, is secrecy in the council, and celerity in the execution ; for when things are once come to the execution, there is no secrecy comparable to celerity; like the motion of a bullet in the air, which flieth so swift as it outruns the eye.'
It is evident Lord Bacon thought the number of the judges ought to be increased. Although in the infancy of the science of equity its administration ought perhaps to be entrusted to one master mind, yet, when the science advances, it swells beyond the power of
any individual. Hence Lord Bacon, in the thirty-eighth aphorism of his “ Justitia Universalis," says, " At curiæ illæ uni viro ne committantur sed ex pluribus constent.” And he says to the same effect in his tract on the perfection of the Church : “ But there be two circumstances in the administration of bishops, wherein, I confess, I could never be satisfied; the one, the sole exercise of their authority ; the other, the deputation of their authority,
• For the first, the bishop giveth orders alone, excommunicateth alone, judgeth alone. This seemeth to be a thing almost without example in good government, and therefore not unlikely to have crept in in the degenerate and corrupt times. We see the greatest kings and monarchs have their councils. There is no temporal court in England of the higher sort where the authority doth rest in one person. The king's bench, common pleas, and the exchequer, are benches of a certain number of judges. The chancellor of England hath an assistance of twelve masters of the chancery. The master of the wards hath a council of the court : so hath the chancellor of the duchy. In the exchequer chamber, the lord treasurer is joined with the chancellor and the barons. The masters of the requests are ever more than one. The justices of assize are two. The lord presidents in the North and in Wales have councils of divers. The star-chamber is an assembly of the king's privy council, aspersed with the lords spiritual and temporal : so as in courts the principal person hath ever either colleagues or assessors.
“ The like is to be found in other well governed commonwealths abroad, where the jurisdiction is yet more dispersed: as in the court of parliament of France, and in other places. No man will deny but the acts that pass the bishop's jurisdiction are of as great importance as those that pass the civil courts : for men's souls are more precious than their bodies or goods, and so are their good names. Bishops have their infirmities, and have no exception from that general malediction which is pronounced against all men living, “ Væ soli, nam si occideret, &c.” Nay, we see that the first warrant in spiritual causes is directed to a number, « Dic Ecclesiæ;' which is not so in temporal matters : and we see that in general causes of church government there are as well assemblies of all the clergy in councils as of all the states in parliament. Whence should this sole exercise of jurisdiction come? Surely I do suppose, and I think upon good ground, that ab initio non fuit ita ;' and that the deans and chapters were councils about the sees and chairs of bishops at the first, and were unto them a presbytery or consistory; and intermeddled not only in the disposing of their revenues and endowments, but much more in jurisdiction ecclesiastical. But it is probable, that the deans and chapters stuck close to the bishops in matters of profit and the world, and would not lose their hold; but in matters of jurisdiction, which they accounted but trouble and attendance, they suffered the bishops to incroach and usurp; and so the one continueth, and the other is lost. And we see that the bishop of Rome, * fas enim et ab hoste doceri,' and no question in that church the first institutions were excellent, performeth all ecclesiastical jurisdiction as in consistory.
"And whereof consisteth this consistory, but of the parish priests of Rome, which term themselves cardinals, “a cardinibus mundi,' because the bishop pretendeth to be universal over the whole world? And hereof again we see many shadows yet remaining : as, that the dean and chapter, .pro forma,' chooseth the bishop, which is the highest point of jurisdiction ; and that the bishop, when he giveth orders, if there be any ministers casually present, calleth them to join with him in imposition of hands, and some other particulars. And therefore it seemeth to me a thing reasonable and religious, and according to the first institution, that bishops, in the greatest causes, and those which require a spiritual discerning, namely, in ordaining, suspending, or depriving ministers, in excommunication, being restored to the true and proper use, as shall be afterwards touched, in sentencing the validity of marriages and legitimations, in judging causes criminous, as simony, incest, blasphemy, and the like, should not proceed sole and unassisted : which point, as I understand it, is a reformation that may be planted sine strepitu, without any perturbation at all: and is a matter which will give strength to the bishops, countenance to the inferior degrees of prelates or ministers, and the better issue or proceeding to those causes that shall pass.”
Mar. 3, 1617. Rex invisit Cancellarium languentem, et ex invalidâ senectâ officio cedere volentem ; sigillumque in manus Regis lachrymantis tradidit.Annalium Apparatus, Camdeni Epistolæ, page 24, pub. 1691.
Mar. 7, 1617. Sigillum magnum traditur Francisco Bacono Attornato Regio ; anno ætatis 54 quem Rex admonuit, ut nihil nisi deliberate sigillet, ex equo et bono judicet, nec prærogativam Regiam nimio plus extendat.Annalium Apparatus, Camdeni Epistolæ, page 24, pub. 1691. But see his speech upon taking his seat in Chancery, in which he states that there were four admonitions, which he explains as stated in the text.
In his address to the bar, upon taking his seat in Chancery, he said, “The king's charge, which is my lanthorn, rested upon four heads.
• The first was that I should contain the jurisdiction of the court within its true and due limits, without swelling or excess.
“ The second, that I should think the putting of the great seal to letters patents was not a matter of course after precedent warrants, but that I should take it to be the maturity and fulness of the king's intentions; and therefore that it was one of the greatest parts of my trust, if I saw any scruple or cause of stay, that I should acquaint him concluding with a quod dubites ne feceris.
“ T'he third was that I should retrench all unnecessary delays, that the subject might find that he did enjoy the same remedy against the fainting of the seal, and against the consumption of the means and estate, which was speedy justice, bis dat, qui cito dat.
“ The fourth was that justice might pass with as easy charge as might be, and that those same brambles that grow about justice of needless charge and expense, and all manner of exactions might be rooted out so far as might be.
“ These commandments, my lords, are righteous, and (as I may term them) sacred ; and therefore, to use a sacred form, I pray God bless the king for his great care over the justice of the land ; and give me his poor servant power to observe his precepts.”
The Lord Chancellor Ellesmere about this time, weary of his public employment, and weakened with age, desired the king's leave to retire, that he might
make use of the short time left him to cast up his accounts for another world. The king gave the seal, and the place of Lord Chancellor, to Sir Francis Bacon, his attorney general; and the old Lord Ellesmere wore out the remnant of his life in quiet, dying in a good old age, and full of virtuous fame, leaving a noble posterity, who enjoy a great estate, with the title of Earl of Bridgwater.-Wilson's History of Great Britain, page 97, pub. 1616.
Upon the 21st of July, 1 Jac. Sir Thomas Egerton was raised to the degree of a baron of this realm, by the title of Lord Ellesmere ; also, upon the 24th of the same month made Lord Chancellor of England; and lastly, viz. 7 Nov. 14 Jac. advanced to the dignity of Viscount Brackley.—Dugdale's Baronage of England, vol. ii. page 414, pub. 1675. The following is a copy of the patent:
Pro Francisco Bacon, milite, domino custode magni sigilli Angliæ. James, by the grace of God, &c.—To the Treasurer and Barons of our Exchequer, and to the auditor or auditors of the accompt of the clerk or keeper of our Hanaper in our Chancery, and of our chief butler of England, and of our keeper of our great garderobe, and to the clerk or keeper of our said Hanaper, to our said chief butler of England, and to the keeper and clerk of our said garderobe, and to every of them that now be, and for the time hereafter shall be, greeting
Whereas we, of our grace especial, certain knowledge and mere motion, for the great trust and confidence that we have in the wisdom and dexterity of our right trusty and well beloved counseller Sir Francis Bacon, knight, lord keeper of our great seal of England, and for certain other special causes us moving, have given and granted unto the said Sir Francis Bacon, knight, the office of lord keeper of the great seal of England, and given authority to the said lord keeper to hear, examine, and determine causes, matters, and suits as shall happen to be, as well in our Chancery as in our Star Chamber, like as the chancellor of England, or keeper of the great seal of England of us, or our progenitors, for the time being, heretofore hath used, done, and practised, with all and singular manner of fees and commodities to or with the same room or office of chancellor or keeper of the great seal of England, in any wise, or by any manner of mean, due, appertaining, used or belonging in like, and in as ample manner and form as any lord chancellor of England or lord keeper of the great seal of England either in the time of King Henry the Eighth or King Edward the Sixth, or in the times of Queen Mary or Queen Elizabeth, or in our time hath had, enjoyed, perceived, and received for and in the same. And therefore we will, charge and command, not only the clerk or keeper of our Hanaper, in our said Chancery, for the time being, that ye, of such our money as is, or shall come to your hands of ours, or to our use, do content and pay, or cause to be contented and paid unto the said Sir Francis Bacon, knight, from time to time, for his wages, diets, robes, and liveries of himself and the masters of our Chancery like fees and rewards, and in as large manner, and as large sum and sums of money, as any of the said lord chancellors, or lord keepers of the great seal had and perceived for the same room or office of lord chancellor or lord keeper of the great seal ; that is to say, five hundred forty-two pounds and fifteen shillings sterling by the year, for and from the seventh day of this instant month of March hitherto, and from henceforth as long as the said Sir Francis Bacon shall exercise the said room or office of lord keeper of our great seal of England ; and also for his attendance in our said Star Chamber, after the rate of fifty pounds sterling every term, and after the rate of three hundred pounds by the year from the said seventh day of this instant month of March hitherto, and from henceforth, as long as the said Sir Francis Bacon shall execute the same room or office of our lord keeper of our great seal, over and above the said allowance, in like manner as the aforesaid lord chancellors or lord keepers of the great seal before this time at any time had and perceived. And also that ye, our chief butler of England for the time being, content and pay, or cause to be contented and paid to the said Sir Francis Bacon, after the rate of threescore pounds for twelve tons of wine by the year, and so after the same rate for and from the aforesaid seventh day of this instant month of March hitherto, and so from henceforth, during the time that he shall occupy and exercise the said room or office of lord keeper of our great seal. And also that ye, the keeper of our great garderobe for and from the same time hitherto, and from henceforth, of such our money or revenue as is or shall be coming to your hands, do content and pay or cause to be contented and paid to the said Sir Francis Bacon, for his wax due to him by reason of his said office of lord keeper of our great seal, after the rate of sixteen pounds by the year, for and from the same time hitherto, and so forth, in like manner and form as the foresaid lord chancellors or lord keepers of the great seal at any time had or received for the same in the said office or room of lord chancellor or lord keeper of the great seal. And further, we will and grant that ye, our said treasurers and barons of our said Exchequer, and the auditors, and all other our officers and ministers for the time being, or that hereafter shail be, and every of you, to whom in this cause it shall appertain, from time to time do make or cause to be made to the said clerk or keeper of our Hanaper, of our said Chancery, and to the said chief butler of England, and also to the said keeper of our great garderobe, for the time being, and to every of them in their several accompt or accompts, of which they or any of them be in yielding, or shall yield before you or any of you, at or for any time or times, due allowance, plain deduction, and discharge of all and several the aforesaid sums of money, as they or any of them shall content and pay for the wages, fees, rewards, robes and wine, as before particularly expressed, by us granted as aforesaid for and from the said seventh day of this instant month of March hitherto, and from henceforth, during the time that the said Sir Francis Bacon shall exercise the said office of lord keeper of our great seal of England.
Any matter, law, course, or cause you or any of you, moving to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding; and these our letters, under our great seal, shall be unto you and every of you sufficient warrant and discharge in this behalf. In witness whereof, &c. Witness ourself at Westminster, the thirtieth day of March.- Per breve de privato-sigillo. See Rymer, vol. xviii. p. 1, 1617. Blackburn, vol. i. 97.
Falsehoods in circulation. As a specimen of the falsehoods in circulation in these times, the following extract from Weldon is inserted : “ Next, Egerton had displeased him by not giving way to his exorbitant desires. He must out, and would not let him seale up his dying eyes with the seals which he had so long carryed, and so well discharged; and to despight him the more, and to vex his very soul in the last agony, he sent Bacon (one he hated yet to be his successor) for the seals, which the old man's spirit could not brook, but sent them by his own servant to the king, and shortly after yielded his soul to his Maker.
“ And to the end you may know what men were made choyce of to serve turns, I shall set you down a true story. This great favorite sent a noble gentleman, and of much worth, to Bacon with this message ; that he knew him to be a man of excellent parts, and as the times were, fit to serve his master in the keeper's place; but he also knew him of a base and ingrateful disposition, and an arrant knave, apt in his prosperity to ruine any that had raised him from adversity; yet for all this, he did so much study his master's service, (knowing how fit an instrument he might be for him) that he had obtained the seals for him; but with this assurance, should he ever requite him, as he had done some others, to whom he had been more bound, he would cast him down as much below scorn, as he had now raised him high above any honor he could ever have expected.
“ Bacon was at that time attorney general, who patiently hearing this message, replyed, 'I am glad my noble lord deals so friendly and freely with me, and hath made that choyce of so discreet and noble a friend, that hath delivered his message in so plain language.' But,' saith he, ‘can my lord know these abilities in me, and can he think when I have attained the highest preferment my profession is capable of, I shall so much faile in my judgment and under