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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 had 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 paked facts, they need no comment. Every reader will make his own reflections
upon them. 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 the pleasure of the crown, doth no honour to the persons concerned in a transaction so insidious and unconstitutional, and at the same time greatly weakeneth the authority of the judgment."
In a tract entitled An Enquiry into the conduct of a late Right Honourable Commoner, 4th edit. Lond. 1766, 8vo. p. 1, the same observation is thus repeated : “ In the tide of almost every great man's life there is commonly one period, which is not only more remarkable than the rest, but conveys with it strong characteristic marks of the complexion of him to whom it belongs. Thus the great Bacon, when he saw the only road to preferment was through Buckingham, attached himself to that favourite, and undertook to second the views of the crown. We read of his excessive pliancy in transactions wholly below his rank and character; particularly several attempts to corrupt and bias the judges in causes which the King or his minister had much at heart. • Avarice, says Mr. Justice Foster (who in his discourse on high treason has recorded these instances of his baseness), 'I think, was not his ruling passion. But, whenever a false ambition, ever lestless and craving, over-heated 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 her 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.' Whoever is at the pains of reading Bacon’s life, will find that from the moment of his attaching himself to Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, his character takes a new turn. We see no more of the firm friend, nor honest man ; both are sunk in the scandalous instrument of a favourite, without honour, and of a court without veracity; and Villiers and he were afterwards impeached by the Commons. The King indeed endeavoured to save Villiers; but Bacon was sacrificed. It is true he had been made a lord, but he was sequestered from parliament; and the pangs of his conscience were evidenced by every passage of bis future life.”
NOTE Α Α Α Α. .
Biographia, p. 3853.—He lived in a private frugal manner, being resolved to dispose of his great estate in some important charity. But before he had fixed upon any particular plan for carrying that design into execution, he was greatly alarmed in the year 1608, with the news of a design to raise him to the peerage, in the view of laying him thereby under an obligation to make King Charles I. then Duke of York, his heir. Upon the first notice that came to his ears of this project, he immediately put a stop to it. (a)
(a) The project was laid before King James by Sir John Harrison, who had proposed it to Mr. Sutton; but as soon as he heard what was doing at court, he dispatched the following letter to the Lord Chancellor Ellesmere and the Lord Treasurer Salisbury, both feoffees for his intended hospital :
May it please your Lordships,-I understand that his majesty is possessed
Upon the first day of the term, when he was to take his place in court, he dea clined the attendance of his great friends, who offered, as the manner was, to bring him to his first settling with a pomp of an inauguration. But he set out early in the morning with the company of the judges and some few more, and passing through the cloisters into the Abbey, he carried them with him into the chapel of Henry the Seventh, where he prayed on his knees (silently, but very devoutly, as might be seen by his gesture) almost a quarter of an hour; then rising up cheerfully, he was conducted with no other train, to a mighty confluence that expected him in the hall, whom from the bench of the court of Chancery, he greeted with this speech.
“ My Lords and Gentlemen all, I would to God my former course of life had so qualified me for this great place (wherein by the will of God and the special favour of the King I am for a time to bestow myself) that I might have fallen to my business without any farther preface or salutation, especially considering, that, as the orator observes, Id ipsum dicere nunquam sit non ineptum, nisi cusu est necessarium. This kind of orationing hath ever a tincture of levity, if it be not occasioned by some urgent necessity. For my own part, I am as far from affecting this speech, as I was from the ambition of this place; but having found by private experience that sudden and unexpected eruptions put all the world into a gaze and wonderment, I thought it most convenient to break the ice with this short deliberation, which I will limit to these two heads : my calling, and my carriage in this place of judicature.
“For my calling unto this office, it was (as most here present cannot but know) not the cause, but the effect of a resolution in the state, to change or reduce the governor of this court from a professor of our municipal laws to some one of the nobility, gentry, or clergy of this kingdom. Of such a conclusion of state (quæ aliquando incognita semper justa), as I dare not take upon me to discover the cause, so I hope I shall not endure the envy. Peradventure the managing of this court of equity doth Recipere magis et minus, and is as soon diverted with too much as too little law. Surely those worthy lords, which to their eternal fame, for the most part of an hundred years governed and honoured
by Sir John Harrington, or by some other by his means, that I intend to make his highness's son, the Duke of York, my heir; whereupon, as it is reported, his highness proposeth to bestow the honour of a baron on me; whereof as I am most unworthy, so I vow to God and your lordships, I never harboured the least thought or proud desire of any such matter. My mind, in my younger times, hath been ever free from ambition; and now I am going to my grave, to gape for such a thing were mere dotage in me, so unworthy also, as I confess unto your lordships. That this knight hath been often tampering with me to that purpose, to entertain honour, and to make the noble duke my heir, is true ; to whom I made that answer, as, had he either wit or honesty (with reverence to your lordships be it spoken), he never would have engaged himself in this business, so egregiously to delude his majesty, and wrong me. My humble suit unto your lordships is, that considering this occasion hath brought me into question, and in his hazard of his highness's displeasure, having never given Sir John Harrington, or any man living, either promise or semblance to do any such act, but upon his motions grew into utter dislike with him for such idle speeches, your lordships will vouchsafe me this favour, to inform his bighness aright, how things have proceeded directly without my privity; and withal, that my trust is in his gracious disposition, not to conceit the worse of me for other men's follies; but that I may have free liberty with his princely leave, wherein I rest most assured, to dispose of my own, as other his majesty's loyal subjects, And so, most humbly recommending my duty and service to your lordships, for the increase of whose honours and happiness I shall ever pray, I rest,
" Your Lordship's pour beadsman, Thomas SUTTON,"
this noble court; as they equalled many of their own profession in the know. ledge of the laws, so did they excel the most of all other professions in learning, wisdom, gravity, and mature experience. In such a case, it were but poor philosophy to restrain those effects to the former, which were produced and brought forth by those latter endowments. Examine them all, and you shall find them in their several ages to have the commendation of the completest men, but not of the deepest lawyers. I except only that mirror of our age and glory of his profession, my reverenced master, who was as eminent in the universal, as any other one of them all in his choicest particular. Sparguntur in omnes, uno hoc mista fluunt, et quæ diversa beatos efficiunt, conjuncta tenet. Again, it may be, the continual practice of the strict law, without a special mixture of other knowledge, makes a man unapt and undisposed for a court of equity. Juris consultus ipse per se nihil nisi lugubrius quidam cantus et acutus, as M. Crassus was wont to define him. They are (and that cannot be otherwise) of the same profession with the rhetorics at Rome, as much used to defend the wrong, as to protect and maintain the most upright cause. And if any of them should
prove corrupt, he carries about him, armatam nequitiam, that skill and cunning to palliate the
same, that that mis-sentence, which pronounced by a plain and understanding man would appear most gross and palpable, by their colours, quotations, and wrenches of the law, would be made to pass for current and specious. Some will add hereunto the boldness and confidence, which their former clients will take upon them, when, as St. Austin speaks in another case, they find the man to be their judge, who was the other day their hired advocate. Marie that, deprædandi memoria, as St. Jerom calls it, that proneness to take money, as accustomed to fees, is but a base and scandalous aspersion, and as incident to the divine, if he want the fear of God, as to the common lawyer, or most sordid artizan. But that that former breeding and education in the strictness of law might (without good care and integrity) somewhat indispose a practiser thereof for the rule and government of a court of equity, I learned long ago from Plinius Secundus, a most excellent lawyer in his time, and a man of singular rank in the Roman estate; for in bis second, third, and sixth epistles, making comparison between the scholastici, as he calls them, which were gentlemen of the better sort, bred up privately in feigned pleadings and schools of eloquence, for the qualifying of themselves for civil employments, and another sort of gentlemen, termed forenses, who were pleaders at the bar, and trained up in real causes : he makes the former more innocent and harmless a great deal than the latter, and yields hereof the principal reason, Nos enim, qui in foro verisque litibus terimur, multum matitiæ, quamvis nolimus, addiscimus. For we, saith he, that are bred in real quirks and personal contentions, cannot but reserve some fang thereof, whether we will or no. These reasons, though they please some men, yet, God be praised, if we do but right to this noble profession, there are in our commonwealth no way concluding or demonstrative; for I make no question, but there are many scores which profess our laws, who, beside their skill and practice in this kind, are so richly enabled in all moral and intellectual endowments, Ut omnia tanquam singula preficiant, that there is no court of equity in the world but might be most safely committed unto them. I leave, therefore, the reason of this alteration as a reason of state not to be fathomed by any reason of mine, and will say no more of my calling in the general.
“ Now when I reflect upon myself in particular, Quis sum ego? aut quis filius Ishai? What am I, or what can there be in me in regard of knowledge, gravity, or experience, that should afford me the least qualification in the world for so weighty a place ? Surely, if a sincere, upright, and well meaning, heart doth not cover thousands of other imperfections, I am the unfittest man in the kingdom to supply the place. And therefore must say of my creation, as the poet said of the creation of the world, Materiam noti quærere, nulla fuit. Trouble not your heads to find out the cause, I confess there was none at all. It was, (without the least inclination or thought of mine own) the immediate work of God my king. And their actions are no ordinary eft
but exLiaordinary miracles. What then ? should I beyond the limits and duty of
obedience despond, and refuse to make some few years trial in this place ? Nor, Tuus, 0 Jacobe, quod optas explorare labor, mihi jussa capessere fas est. I will therefore conclude this point with the excuse of that poet, whom the Emperor Gratian would needs enforce to set out his poem, whether he would or no, Non habeo ingenium, Cæsar sed jussit habebo. Cur mue posse negem, posse quod ille putet. I am no way fit for this great place, but because God and the king will have it so, I will endeavour, as much as I can, to make myself fit, and put my whole confidence in his grace and mercy, Qui neminem dignum eligit, sed eligendo dignum facit, as St. Austin speaks. And so much of my calling, now I come unto my carriage in this place.
“It is an observation which fully makes, In causis direndis effugere solebat Antonius, ne succederet Crasso. Antonius was ever afraid to come after Crassus, a most eloquent and powerful orator. And the greatest discouragement I find in this place is, that I am to come after (after, indeed, nec passibus æquis) my two immediate predecessors, the one of them excellent in most things, the other in all things. But both of them so bred in this course of life, Ut illis plurimarum rerum agitatio frequens, nihil esse ignotum patiebatur: as Pliny speaks of the pleaders of his times. It were too much to expect at my hands, a man bred in other studies, that readiness, or quickness, or dispatch which was effected by them, Lords, both of them brought up in the King's courts, and not in the King's chapel. My comfort is this, that arriving here as a stranger, I may say as Archimedes did when he found those geometrical lines and angles drawn everywhere in the sands of Egypt, Video vestigia humana : I see in this court the footsteps of wise men, many excellent rules and orders for the managing the same, the which, though I might want learning and knowledge to invent, (if they were not thus offered to my hands) yet I hope I shall not want the honesty to act and put in execution, these rules I will precisely follow, without the least deflexion at all, until experience shall teach me better. Every thing by the course of nature hath a certain and regular motion. The air and fire still upward, the earth and water fall downward: The celestial bodies whirl about in one and the self same course and circularity, and so should every court of justice, otherwise it grows presently to be had in jealousy and suspicion. For as Vel. Paterculus observes very well, In iis homines extraordinaria reformidant, qui modum in voluntate habent. Men ever suspect the worst of those rules which vary, with the judge's will and pleasure. I will descend to some few particulars.
First, I will never make any decree that shall cross the grounds of the common or statute laws; for 1 hold by my place the custody not of mine own, but of the King's conscience: and it were most absurd to let the King's conscience be at enmity and opposition with his laws and statutes. This court (as I conceive it) may be often occasioned to open and confirm, but never to thwart and oppose the grounds of the laws. I will therefore omit no pains of mine own, nor conference with the learned judges, to furnish myself with competency of knowledge, to keep my resolution in this point firm and inviolable. Secondly, I will never give a willing ear to any motion made at this bar, which shall not apparently tend to further and hasten the hearing of the cause. The very word motion, derived a movendo, to move, doth teach us that the hearing is, Finis, perfectio, &c. terminem ad quem, the end, perfection, and proper home, as it were, of the matter propounded. If a counsellor, therefore, will needs endeavour, as Velleius writes of the Gracchi, Optimo ingenio pessime uti, to make that bad use of a good wit, as to justle a cause out of the King's highway, which I hold in this court to be bill, answer, replication, rejoinder, examination and hearing, I will ever regard it as a wild-goose chase, and not a learned motion. The further a man runs out of his way, the further he is from home, the end of his journey, as Seneca speaks: so the more a man tattles besides these points, the further it is from the nature of a motion. Such a motion is a motion. Per Antiphrasin, ut mons a non movendo. It tends to nothing but certamen ingenii, a combat of wit, which is infinite and endless. For whes it once comes to that pass, some will sooner a great deal lose the cause than the last word. Thirdly, I would have no man to conceive that I come to this place to overthrow without special motives the orders and decrees of my predecessors. I would be loth to succeed any man, as Metellus did, Caius verres, cujus omnia erant ejusmodi, ut totam verris Præturam retexere videretur; whose carriage, saith Tully, was a mere Penelope's web, and untwisting of all the acts of Verres's prætorship. Upon new matter, I cannot avoid the reviewing a cause, but I will ever expect the forbearing of persons, so as the ashes of the dead may be hereafter spared, and the dust of the living no further raked. Fourthly, I will be as cautious as I can in referring of causes, which I hold of the same nature as a by-way motion. For one reference that spurs on a cause there are ten that bridle it in, and hold it from hearing. This is that which Bias calls the backward forwarding of a cause ; for as the historian speaks, Quod procedere non protest recedit. Filthly, I profess beforehand, that this court shall be no sanctuary for undirect and desperate sureties. It is a ground of the common law, that a man shall make no advantage of his own follies and laches. When the money is to be borrowed, the surely is the first in the intention; and therefore, if it be not paid, let him a God's name be the first in execution. Lastly, I will follow the rules of this court in all circumstances, as near as I can, and considering that, as Pliny speaks, Stultissimum est ad imitandum, non optima quæq. proponere : It were a great folly to make choice of any other than the very best for imitation, I will propound my old master for my pattern and precedent in all things. Beseeching Almighty God so to direct me, that while I hold this place, I may follow him by a true and constant imitation. And if I prove unfit and unable for the same, that I may not play the mountebank so in this place, as to abuse the king and the state, but follow the same most worthy lord in his cheerful and voluntary resignation, Sic mihi contingat vivere, sicq. mori.”
NOTE XXX X.
When Coke said, “ I know with whom I deal," and “ For we have to deal to-day with a man of wit,” more was conveyed than meets our ears at present.
The monopoly of playing cards had been granted to Raleigh by Elizabeth ; and the casual mention of this monopoly in the House of Commons had, two years before, stung Raleigh sensibly. "It was with him therefore, who had owned the cards that the Attorney had now to deal.
Sir Simonds d'Ewes reports in his Journals, that on the 20th November, 1601, in a debate on a bill, " For the explanation of the common law in certain cases of Letters Patent,” Dr. Bennet said, “ He that will go about to debate her majesty's prerogative royal had need walk warily. In respect of a grievance out of the city for which come, I think myself bound to speak that now which I had not intended to speak before ; I mean a monopoly of salt. It is an old proverb, Sal sapit omnia ; fire and water are not more necessary. But for other monopolies, cards (at which Sir Walter Raleigh blusht), dice, starch, and the like, they are (because monopolies), I must confess, very hurtful, though not all alike hurtful.” The bystanders at Raleigh's trial seemed to have understood Coke's allusion in his use and repetition of the word “ deal.” A letter hitherto unpublished, and from an eye-witness, contains a curious passage which furnishes a conclusive comment upon these cruel words of the King's Attorney, and thus describes the game.
“The managing of this arraignment was like the sett at Mawge. The King's Attorney did at the first inforce the evidence with slender proofes, and reserved in the decke the ace of hearts. Sir Walter, on the other side, kept close the knave of the game, as he supposed, wherewith to take the ace. For after Sir Walter had much disabled the first evidence, and seemed in the opinion of divers not cleerely guiltie (though noe verie honest man), then did the Kinges Attorney produce a full and voluntarie accusation subscribed with the L. Cobham's owne hand, sheweinge that Sir Walter was the principall contryver, plotter, and deviser of all the treasons. Which Sir Walter seeing, seemed to wonder, and draweinge out of his bosome a paper, first used theis speeches in