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I rest in no contempt, nor have to my knowledge broken any order made by your lordship concerning the trust, either for the payment of money, or assignment of land; yet, by reason of my close imprisonment, and the unusual carriage of this cause against me, I can get no council, who will in open court deliver my case unto your lordship. I must therefore humbly leave unto your lordship’s wisdom, how far your lordship will, upon my adversary's fraudulent bill exhibited by the wife without her husband's privity, extend the most powerful arm of your authority against me, who desire nothing but the honest performance of a trust, which I know not how to leave, if I would. So, nothing doubting but your lordship will do what appertaineth to justice, and the eminent place of equity your lordship holdeth, I must, since I cannot understand from your lordship the cause of my late close restraint, rest, during your lordship's pleasure, your lordship’s close prisoner in the Fleet, October 28, 1617.
FR. ENGLEFYLD. To the Lord Chancellor. Most honourable Lord, -Herewithal I presumed to send a note inclosed, both of my business in Chancery, and with my Lord Roos, which it pleased your lordship to demand of me, that so you might better do me good in utroque genere. It may please your lordship, after having perused it, to commend it over to the care of Mr. Meautys for better custody.
At my parting last from your lordship, the grief I had to leave your lordship's presence, though but for a little time, was such, as that being accompanied with some small corporal indisposition that I was in, made me forgetful to say that, which now for his majesty's service I thought myself bound not to silence. I was credibly informed and assured, when the Spanish ambassador went away, that howsoever Ralegh and the prentices should fall out to be proceeded withal, no more instances would be made hereafter on the part of Spain for justice to be done ever in these particulars : but that if slackness were used here, they would be laid up in the deck, and would serve for materials (this was the very word) of future and final discontentments. Now as the humour and design of some may carry them towards troubling of the waters, so I know your lordship’s both nature and great place require an appeasing them at your hands. And I have not presumed to say this little out of any mind at all, that I may have, to meddle with matters so far above me, but out of a thought I had, that I was tied in duty to lay thus much under your lordship's eye; because I know and consider of whom I heard that speech, and with how grave circumstances it was delivered.
I beseech Jesus to give continuance and increase to your lordship's happiness; and that, if it may stand with his will, myself may one day have the honour of casting some small mite into that rich treasury. So I humbly do your lordship reverence, and continue the most obliged of your Lordship's many faithful servants,
Tobie MATTHEW. Nottingham, Aug. 21, 1618.
After the time of Lord Bacon.
Bishop Williams. In part of his life Bishop Hackett says, “ And within the compass of this time he says he dreamt the Lord Keeper was dead, and that he went by and saw his grave a making. And how doth he expound this vision which he saw in his sleep, but that he was dead in my Lord Buckingham's affections? Some are like to ask what it was that did the ill office to shake the steadfastness of their friendship? That will break out hereafter. But the quarrel began that some decrees had been made in Chancery for whose better speed my lord marquess had undertaken. An undertaker he was without confinement of im. portunity. There was not a cause of moment but as soon as it came to public cation one of the parties brought letters from this mig peer and the lord keeper's patron. For the lord marquess was of a kind nature, in courtesy more
luxuriant than was fit in his place, not willing to deny a suit but prone to gratify all strangers, chiefly if any of his kindred brought them in his hand, and was far more apt to believe them that asked him a favour, than those that would persuade him it was not to be granted. These that haunted him without shame, to have their suits recommended to great officers, made him quickly weary of his faithful ministers that could not justly satisfy him. I had mentioned none but that I am beholden to the cabal to fall upon one, the worst of twenty. Sir John Michel, of whose unreasonableness the Lord Keeper writes thus : God is my witness I have never denied either justice or favour (which was to be justified) to this man, or any other that had the least relation to your good and most noble mother. And I hope your lordship is persuaded thereof.'
The Lord Keeper to the Duke about the Lord Treasurer. My most noble Lord,-- That I neither wrote unto your lordship, nor waited upon your lordship sithence my intolerable scandalizing by the Lord Treasurer, this is the true and only cause : I was so moved to have all my diligent service, pains, and unspotted justice thus rewarded by a lord, who is reputed wise, that I have neither slept, read, written, or eaten any thing since that time; until the last night, that the ladies sent for me (I believe of purpose) to Wallingford House, and put me out of my humour. I have lost the love and affection of my men, by seizing upon their papers, perusing all their answers to petitions, casting up their monies, received by way of fees (even to half-crowns and two shillings) and finding them all to be poor honest gentlemen, that have maintained themselves in my service by the greatness of my pains, and not the greatness of their fees. They are, most of them, landed men, that do not serve me for gain, but for experience and reputation; and desire to be brought to the test, to show their several books, and to be confronted by any one man, with whom they contracted, or from whom they demanded any fee at all; the greatest sum in their books is five pounds, and those very few, and sent unto them from earls and barons; all the rest are, some twenty shillings, ten shillings, five shillings, two shillings and sixpence, and two shillings. And this is the oppression in my house, that the kingdom (of the common lawyers, peradventure, who have lost, I confess, hereby twenty thousand pounds at the least, saved in the purses of the subjects) doth now groan under.
Now I humbly beseech your lordship to peruse this paper here inclosed, and the issue I do join with the Lord Treasurer; and to acquaint (at the least) the king and the prince, how unworthily I am used by this lord ; who (in my soul and conscience I believe it) either invents these things out of his own head, and ignorance of this court, or hath taken them up from base, unworthy, and most unexperienced people. Lastly, because no act of mine (who am so much indebted for all my frugality) could in the thoughts of a devil incarnate, breed any suspicion that I gained by this office, excepting the purchase of my grandfather's lands, whereunto my Lord Chamberlain's nobleness, and your lordship’s encouragement, gave the invitation, I do make your lordship (as your lordship hath been often pleased to honor me) my faithful confessor in that business, and do send your lordship a note inclosed, what money I paid, what I borrowed, and what is still owing for the purchase.
I beseech your lordship to cast your eye upon the paper, and lay it aside, that it be not lost. And having now poured out my soul and sorrow into your lord ship's breast, I find my heart much eased, and humbly beseech your lordship to compassionate the wrongs of your most humble and honest servant, Sept. 9, 1622,
J. L. C. S.
The Lord Keeper to the Duke, concerning Sir John Michel. My most noble Lord,- In the cause of Sir John Michel, which hath so often wearied this court, vexed my lady your mother, and now flieth (as it seemeth) unto your lordship, I have made an order the last day of the term, assisted by the Master of the Rolls and Mr. Baron Bromley in the presence, and with the full consent of Sir John Michel, who then objected nothing against the same; but now in a dead vacation, when both the adverse party and his counsel are out of town, and that I cannot possibly bear otherwise than with one ear, he clamours against me (most ancivis), and would have me, contrary to all conscience and bonestly reverse the same. The substance of the order is not so difficult and intricate, but your lordstip will easily find out the equity or harshness thereof.
Sir Lawrence Hide males a motion in behalf of one Strelley (a party whose face I never saw), that whereas Sir John Michel had put a bill into this court against him, and one Sayers, Eve years ago for certain lands and woods, (determinable properly at the common law) and having upon a certificate betwixt himself and Sayers, without the knowiedge of the said Strelley, procured an injunction from the last Lord Chancellor for the possession of the same, locks up the said Stelley with the said injunction, and never proceeds to bring his cause to hearing within five years.
It was moved, therefore, that either Sir John's bill might be dismissed to a trial at the common law, or else that he might be ordered to bring it to hearing in this court, with a direction to save all wastes of timber trees (in favour of either party, that should prove the true owner) until the cause should receive hearing
Sir John being present in court, made choice of this last offer, and so it was ordered accordingly. And this is that order, that this strange man hath so often of late complained of to your mother, and now, as it seemeth, to your lordship. God is my witness, I have never denied either justice or favour (which was to be justified ) to this man, or any other, that had the least relation to your good and most noble mother. And I hope your lordship is persuaded thereof. If your lordship will give me leave (without your lordship’s trouble) to wait upon you, at any time this day, your lordship shall appoint, I would impart two or three words unto your lordship, concerning your lordship’s own business,
Aug. 8, 1622.
Present Times. That it is customary in the present times for suitors to solicit the judges, every person who has any knowledge of human nature, or has been in any judicial situation must well know. The hope of success and the belief in the justice of his case are passions too strong to restrain suitors from attempting to intercede with the judge. I have again and again heard Lord Eldon, and I think I may say every chancellor, complain of these applications; and as a commissioner of bankrupts even, scarcely a month passes without some application being made to me.
Suitors' Presents. Was it customary for suitors in the time of Lord Bacon to make presents to the judges ?
Merchant of Venice.
Before time of James.
Before time of Bacon.
Proof that similar presents were made to other statesmen.
Sir M. Hale.
Preface. It is, says Lord Bacon, (a) a secret in the art of discovery, that the nature of any thing is seldom discovered in the thing itself. If this doctrine is true, it may be expedient in entering upon this inquiry, to ascertain what has been the custom in other times and in other countries, with respect to solicitations and presents being made by the suitors to the judges.
Custom in former times.
Λαοί δ' άμφοτέροισιν επήπυον, άμφις αρωγοί: (a) The nature of any thing is seldom discovered in the thing itself.--It commonly happens, that men make experiments slightly, and as in the way of diversion, somewhat varying those already known ; and if they succeed not to their expectation, they grow sick of the attempt, and forsake it. Or, if they apply in earnest to experiments, they commonly bestow all their labour upon some one thing, as Gilbert upon the loadstone, and the alchemists upon gold. But this procedure is as unskilful as it is fruitless : for no man can advantageously discover the nature of any thing in that thing itself; but the inquiry must be extended to matters that are more common.
And if any one applies himself to nature, and endeavours to strike out something new, yet he will generally propose and fix upon some one invention, without further search : for example, the nature of the loadstone, the tides, the theory of the heavens, and the like ; which seem to conceal some secret, and have been hitherto unsuccessfully explained; whereas it is, in the highest degree, unskilful to examine the nature of any thing in that thing itself. For the same nature which in some things lies hid and concealed, appears open and obvious in others, so as to excite admiration in the one, and to pass unobserved in the other ; thus the nature of consistence is not taken notice of in wood or stone, but slighted under the term of solidity, without further inquiry into its avoidance of separation, or solution of continuity; whilst the same thing appears subtile and of deeper inquiry, in bubbles of water, which throw themselves into their skins of a curious hemispherical figure, in order, for the instant, to avoid a solution of continuity.
And again, those very things which are accounted secrets, have, in other cases, a common and manifest nature, which can never be discovered whilst the experiments and thoughts of men run wholly upon them.
Whoever shall reject the feigned divorces of superlunary and sublunary bodies; and shall intentively observe the appetences of matter and the most universal passions, which in either globe are exceeding potent, and transverberate the universal nature of things, he shall receive clear information concerning celestial matters from the things seen here with us : and contrariwise from those motions which are practised in heaven, he shall learn many observations which now are latent, touching the motion of bodies here below, not only so far as their inferior motions are moderated by superior, but in regard they have a mutual intercourse by passions common to them both.
Κήρυκες δ' άρα λαόν έρήτυον οι δε γέροντες
Plutarch. By supplying the people with money for the public diversions, (a) and for their attendance in courts of judicature, and by other pensions and gratuities, he (Pericles) so inveigled them as to avail himself of their interest against the council of the Areopagus, &c.
Merchant of Venice.
BASSANIO. Most worthy gentleman, I and my friend
Ant. And stand indebted over and above
Portia. He is well paid who is well satisfied,
Bas. Dear sir, of force I must attempt you further.
Por. You press me far, and therefore I will yield.
(a) There were several courts of judicature in Athens, composed of a certain number of the citizens, who sometimes received one obolus each for every cause they tried ; and sometimes men who aimed at popularity procured this fee be increased. Translator's note. Plutarch's Lives. Langhorne. Life of Pericles.