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that rested in your majesty's good pleasure, as you would require it. And though the ordinary course was to assemble them, yet there might intervene cases wherein the other course was more convenient. The like answer made Justice Crook ; Justice Houghton, who is a soft man, seemed desirous first to confer ; alleging that the other three judges had all served the crown before they were judges, but that he had not been much acquainted with business of this nature. We purpose therefore, forth with, they shall be made acquainted with the papers; and if that could be done as suddenly as this was, I should make small doubt of their opinions; and howsoever, I hope, force of law and precedent will bind them to the truth: neither am I wholly out of hope, that my lord Cooke himself, when I have in some dark manner put him in doubt that he shall be left aloue, will not continue singular.
For Owen, I know not the reason why there should have been no mention made thereof in the last advertisement; for I must say for myself, that I have lost no moment of time in it, as my lord of Canterbury can bear me witness. For having received from my lord an additional of great importance, which was, that Owen of his own accord, after examination, should compare the case of your majesty (if you were excommunicate) to the case of a prisoner condemned at the bar, which additional was subscribed by one witness, but yet I perceived it was spoken aloud, and in the hearing of others; I presently sent down a copy thereof, which is now come up, attested with the hands of three more, lest there should have been any scruple of singularis testis ; so as for this case, I may say omnia parata ; and we expect but a direction from your majesty for the acquainting the judges severally, or the four judges of tbe King's Bench, as your majesty shall think good.
I forget not, nor forslow not your majesty's commandment touching recosants, of which, when it is ripe, I will give your majesty a true account, and what is possible to be done, and where the impediment is, Mr. Secretary bringeth bonum voluntatem, but he is not versed much in these things, and sometimes urgeth the conclusion without the premises, and by haste hindereth. It is my lord treasurer and the Exchequer must help it, if it bě holpen. I have heard more ways than one, of an offer of 20,0001. per annum for farming the penalties of recusants, not including any offence, capital or of premunire; wherein I will presume to say that my poor endeavours, since I was by your great and sole grace your attorney, have been no small spurs to make them feel your laws, and seek this redemption, wherein I must also say, my lord Cooke hath done his part; and I do assure your majesty I know, somewhat inwardly and groundedly, that by the courses we have taken, they conform daily and in great numbers; and I would to God, it were as well a conversion as a conformity; but if it should die by dispensation or dissimulation, then I fear that whereas your majesty hath now so many ill subjects, poor and detected, you shall then have them rich and dissembled. And therefore I hold this offer very considerable, of so great an increase of revenue, if it can pass the fiery trial of religion and honour, which I wish all projects may pass.
Thus, inasmuch as I have made to your majesty somewhat a naked and particular account of business, I hope your majesty will use it accordingly. God preserve your majesty.
Your Majesty's most humble and devoted subject and servant.
To the King, concerning Owen's cause, &c. It may please your excellent Majesty,—Myself, with the rest of your counsel learned, conferred with my lord Coke, and the rest of the judges of the King's Bench only, being met at my lord's chamber, concerning the business of Owen. For although it be true, that your majesty in your letter did mention that the same course might be held in the taking of opinions apart in this, which was prescribed and used in Peacham's cause; yet both my lords of the council, and we amongst ourselves, holding it, in a case so clear, not needful; but rather that it would import a diffidence in us, and deprive us of the means to debate it with the judges, if cause were, more strongly, which is somewhat, we thought best rather to use this form. The judges desired us to leave the examinations and papers with them for some litile time, to consider, which is a thing they use, but I conceive, there will be no manner of question made of it. My Lord Chief Justice, to shew forwardness, as I interpret it, shewed us passages of Suarez and others, thereby to prove that though your majesty stood not excommunicate by particular sentence, yet by the general bulls of Cæna Domini, and others, you were upon the matter excommunicate ; and therefore that the treason was as de præsenti. But I (that foresee that if that course should be held, when it cometh to a public day, to disseminate to the vulgar an opinion, that your majesty's case is all one, as if you were de facto particularly and expressly excommunicate; it would but increase the danger of your person with those that are desperate papists; and that it is needless) commended my lord's diligence, but withal put it by, and fell upon the other course, which is the true way ; that is, that whosoever shall affirm, in diem, or sub conditione, that your majesty may be destroyed, is a traitor de presenti; for that he maketh you but tenant for life, at the will of another. And I put the Duke of Buckingham's case, who said that if the king caused him to be arrested of treason, he would stab him; and the case of the impostress Elizabeth Barton, that said, that if king Henry the Eighth took not his wife again, Catherine dowager, he should be no longer king, and the like.
It may be these particulars are not worth the relating ; but because I find nothing in the world so important to your service, as to have you throughly informed, the ability of your direction considered, it maketh me thus to do; most humbly praying your majesty to admonish me if I be over troublesome.
For Peacham, the rest of my fellows are ready to make their report to your majesty, at such time and in such manner as your majesty shall require it. Myself yesterday took my lord Coke aside, after the rest were gone, and told him all the rest were ready, and I was now to require his lordship’s opinion, according to my commission. He said I should have it; and repeated that twice or thrice, as thinking he had gone too far in that kind of negative to deliver any opinion apart before ; and said, he would tell it me within a very short time, though he were not that instant ready. I have tossed this business in omnes partes, whereof I will give your majesty knowledge when time serveth. God preserve your majesty.
Your Majesty's most bumble and devoted subject and servant, Feb. 11, 1614.
FR. Bacon. Foster, on High Treason, when speaking of Peacham's case, says, case weigheth very little, and no great regard hath been paid to it ever since. And perhaps still less regard will be paid to it if it be considered that the king, who appeareth to have had the success of the prosecution much at heart, and took a part in it unbecoming the majesty of the crown, condescended to instruct his attorney general with regard to the proper measures to be taken in the examination of the defendant; that the attorney, at his majesty's command, submitted to the drudgery of sounding the opinions of the judges upon the point of law before it was thought advisable to risk it at an open trial ; that the judges were to be sifted separately, and soon, before they could have an opportunity of conferring together; and that for this purpose four gentlemen in the profession in the service of the crown were immediately dispatched, one to each of the judges; Mr. Attorney himself undertaking to practice upon the chief justice, of whom some doubt was then entertained. Is it possible that a gentleman of Bacon's great talents could submit to a service so much below his rank and character! But he did submit to it, and acquitted himself notably in it.
“ Others of his letters shew that the same kind of intercourse was kept up between the king and his attorney general with regard to many cases then depending in judgment, in which the king was pleased to take a part, or thought his prerogative concerned, particularly in the case of one Owen, executed for treasonable words; in that of Mr. Oliver St. John, touching the benevolence in the dispute between the courts of King's Bench and Chancery in the case of præmunire, and in the proceedings against the Earl and Countess of Somerset.” VOL, xv.
“Of the fact of these applications having been made, no doubt can be entertained. The inferences to be deduced from the fact alone vary.
It was the custom of the times, is one and a legitimate inference.
Judge Foster, applying the sentiments of his own more intelligent times to this conduct, says, " Every reader will make his own reflections upon it. I have but one to make in this place. This method of forestalling the judgment of a court in a case of blood then depending, at a time too when the judges were removeable at pleasure of the crown, doth no honour to the memory of the persons concerned in a transaction so insidious and unconstitutional, and at the same time weakeneth the authority of the judgment.”
And speaking of Bacon, he says, “ Avarice, I think, was not his ruling passion ; but whenever a false ambition, ever restless and craving, overheated in the pursuit of the honours which the crown alone can confer, happeneth to stimulate an heart otherwise formed for great and noble pursuits, it hath frequently betrayed it into measures full as mean as avarice itself could have suggested to the wretched animals who live and die under its dominion. For these passions, however they may seem to be at variance, have ordinarily produced the same effects. Both degrade the man; both contract his views into the little point of self interest, and equally steel the heart against the rebukes of conscience, or the sense of true honour. Bacon having undertaken the service, informeth his majesty, in a letter addressed to him, that with regard to three of the judges, whom he nameth, he bad small doubt of their concurrence. · Neither,' saith he,' am I wholly out of hope that my lord Coke himself, when I have, in some dark manner, put him in doubt that he shall be left alone, will not continue singular.' These are plain naked facts ; they need no comment.
When Bacon was Chancellor. It will be remembered that Sir Francis was appointed Lord Keeper on the 3rd of March, and that he did not take his seat in the court until the 7th of May, but he had scarcely been entrusted with the seals when an application was made to him out of court by Buckingham on behalf of a suitor, in a letter which explains in a postscript that similar applications had been made to Sir Francis's predecessor; and similar applications were, as a matter of course, made during the whole time he was entrusted with the great seal. This will appear from the following letters :
To the Lord Keeper. (a) My honourable Lord,—Whereas the late Lord Chancellor thought it fit to dismiss out of the Chancery a cause touching Henry Skipwith to the common law, where he desireth it should be decided ; these are to entreat your lordship in the gentleman's favour, that if the adverse party shall attempt to bring it now back again into your lordship’s court, you would not retain it there, but let it rest in the place where now it is, that without more vexation unto him in posting him from one to another, he may have a final hearing and determination thereof.
And so I rest your Lordship's ever at command, G. BUCKINGHAM. My Lord, This is a business wherein I spake to my Lord Chancellor, whereupon he dismissed the suit.—Lincoln, the 4th of April, 1617.
(a) This is the first of many letters, which the Marquis of Buckingham wrote to Lord Bacon, in favour of persons who had causes depending in, or likely to come into the court of Chancery; and it is not improbable that such recommendations were considered in that age as less extraordinary and irregular than they would appear now. The marquis made the same kind of applications to Lord Bacon's successor, the Lord Keeper Williams, in whose life, by Bishop Hacket, part i. p. 107, we are informed, that "there was not a cause of moment, but, as soon as it came to publication, one of the parties brought letters from this mighty peer, and the lord keeper's patron.” Birch.
To the Lord Keeper. My honourable Lord,-His majesty hath spent some time with Sir Lionel Cranfield about his own business, wherewith he acquainted his majesty. He hath had some conference with your lordship, upon whose report to his majesty of your real and care of his service, which his majesty accepteth very well át your hands, he hath commanded Sir L. Cranfield to attend your lordship, to signify his farther pleasure for the furtherance of his service; unto whose relation I refer you. His majesty's farther pleasure is, you acquaint no creature living with it, he having resolved to rely upon your care and trust only. Thus, wishing you all happiness, I rest your Lordship’s faithful
friend and servant, October 26, 1617.
G. BUCKINGHAM. To the Lord Keeper. My honourable Lord, I have thought good to renew my motion to your lordship, in the behalf of my Lord of Huntingdon, my Lord Stanhope, and Sir Thomas Gerard; for that I am more particularly acquainted with their desires ; they only seeking the true advancement of the charitable uses, unto which the land, given by their grandfather, was intended ; which, as I am informed, was meant by way of a corporation, and by this means, that it might be settled upon the schoolmaster, usher, and poor, and the coheirs to be visitors. The tenants might be conscionably dealt withal ; and so it will be out of the power of any feoffees to abuse the trust; which, it hath been lately proved, have been hitherto the hindrance of this good work. These coheirs desire only the honour of their ancestor's gift, and wish the money, misemployed and ordered to be paid into court by Sir John Harper, may rather be bestowed by your lordship’s discretion for the augmentation of the foundation of their ancestors, than by the censure of any other. And so I rest your Lordship servant, G. BUCKINGHAM. Theobalds, Nov. 12.-Indorsed, 1617.
To the Lord Keeper. My honourable Lord,—Though I had resolved to give your lordship no more trouble in matters of controversy depending before you, with what importance soever my letters had been, yet the respect I bear unto this gentleman hath so far forced my resolution, as to recommend unto your lordship the suit, which, I am informed by him, is to receive a hearing before you on Monday next, between Barnaby Leigh and Sir Edward Dyer, plaintiffs, and Sir Thomas Thynne, defendant; wherein I desire your lordship's favour on the plaintiff's so far only as the justice of their cause shall require. And so I rest your Lordship’s faithful servant,
G. BUCKINGHAM. Newmarket, Nov. 15.-Indorsed, 1617.
To the Lord Keeper. My honourable Lord, -The certificate being returned upon the commission touching Sir Richard Haughton's alum-mines, I have thought fit to desire your lordship's furtherance in the business, which his majesty, as your lordship will see by this letter, much affecteth as a bargain for his advantage, and for the present relief of Sir Richard Haughton. What favour your lordship shall do him therein, I will not fail to acknowledge, and will ever rest your Lordship’s faithful servant,
G. BUCKINGHAM. Indorsed, Received Nov. 16, 1617.
To the Lord Keeper. My honourable Lord, -Understanding that Thomas Hukeley, a merchant of London, of whom I have heard a good report, intendeth to bring before your lordship in Chancery a cause depending between him, in the right of his wife, daughter of William Austen, and one John Horsmendon, who married another daughter of the said Austen ; I have thought fit to desire your lordship to give the said Thomas Hukeley a favourable hearing when his cause shall come before
you; and so far to respect him for my sake, as your lordship shall see him grounded upon equity and reason, which is no more than I assure myself your lordship will grant readily, as it is desired by
Your Lordship's faithful friend and servant; G. BUCKINGHAM. Indorsed, Nov. 17, 1617.
To the Lord Keeper. My honourable Lord, -His majesty hath been pleased to refer a petition of one Sir Thomas Blackstones to your lordship, who being brother-in-law to a gentleman whom I much respect, Sir Henry Constable, I have, at his request, yielded to recommend his business so far to your lordship’s favour, as you shall find his case to deserve compassion, and may stand with the rules of equity. And so I rest your Lordship’s faithful friend and servant, G. BUCKINGHAM.
Newmarket, Dec. 4.-Indorsed, 1617.
To the Lord Chancellor. My honourable good Lord,- Whereas in Mr. Hansbye's cause, (a) which formerly, by my means, both his majesty and myself recommended to your lordship’s favour, your lordship thought good, upon a hearing thereof, to decree some part for the young gentleman, and to refer to some masters of the Chancery, for your farther satisfaction, the examination of witnesses to this point ; which seemed to your lordship to be the main thing your lordship doubled of, whether or no the leases, conveyed by old Hansbye to young Hansbye by deed, were to be liable to the legacies, which he gave by will; and that now I am credibly informed, that it will appear upon their report, and by the depositions of witnesses, without all exception, that the said leases are no way liable to those legacies: these shall be earnestly to intreat your lordship, that upon consideration of the report of the masters, and depositions of the witnesses, you will, for my sake, shew as much favour and expedition to young Mr. Hansbye in this cause, as the justness thereof will permit. And I shall receive it at your lordship’s hands as a particular favour. So I take my leave of your lordship, and rest your Lordship's faithful friend and servant, G. BUCKINGHAM.
Greenwich, the 12th of June, 1618.
To the Lord Chancellor. My honourable Lord,-Lest my often writing may make your lordship conceive that this letter hath been drawn from you by importunity, I have thought fit, for preventing of any such conceit, to let your lordship know, that Sir John Wentworth, whose business I now recommend, is a gentleman whom I esteem in more than an ordinary degree. And therefore I desire your lordship to shew him what favour you can for my sake in his suit, which his majesty hath referred to your lordship; which I will acknowledge as a courtesy unto me, and rest
Your Lordship's faithful friend and servant, G. BUCKINGHAM. Newmarket, Jan. 26, 1618.
To the Lord Chancellor. My honorable Lord, -I being desired by a special friend of mine to recom. mend unto your lordship’s favour the case of this petitioner, have thought fit to desire you, for my sake, to shew him all the favour you may in this his desire,
(a) This seems to be one of the causes, on account of which Lord Bacon was afterwards accused by the House of Commons; in answer to whose charge le admits, that in the cause of Sir Ralph Hansbye there being two decrees, one for the inheritance, and the other for goods and chattels ; some time after the first decree, and before the second, there was 5001. delivered to him by Mr. Tobie Matthew; nor could his lordship deny, that this was upon the matter pendente lite.