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The works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 3) online

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conspiracies that have been made against her life;
thereby declaring to the world that he will indeed
preserve that instrument which he hath magnified.
But the corruptions of these times are wonderful, when
that wars, which are the highest trials of right between
princes, that acknowledge no superior jurisdiction, and
ought to be prosecuted with all honour, shall be stained
and infamed with such foul and inhuman practices.
"Wherein if so great a king hath been named, the rule
of the civil law, which is a rule of common reason,
tmus be remembered ; Frits tra legis auxilium implorat,
qui in legem committit. He that hath sought to violate
the majesty royal, in the highest degree, cannot claim
the pre-eminence thereof to be exempted from just
imputation.

* Lopez was executed jth June, 1594.



t 320 ]

THE

* PROCEEDINGS

OF THE

EARL OF ESSEX.

The points of form worthy to be observed.

X HE fifth of June in Trinity term, upon Thursday,
being no Star-chamber day, at the ordinary hour when
the courts sit at Westminster, were assembled together
at the lord-keeper's house in the great chamber, her
majesty's privy-council, enlarged and assisted for that
time and cause by the special call and associating of
certain select persons, viz. four earls, two barons, and
four judges of the law, making in the whole a council
or court of eighteen persons, who were attended by
four of her majesty's learned counsel for charging the
earl ; and two clerks of the council, the one to read,
the other as a register ; and an auditory of persons, to
the number, as I could guess, of two hundred, almost
all men of quality, but of every kind or profession ;
nobility, court, law, country, city. The upper end of
the table left void for the earl's appearance, w ? ho, after
the commissioners had sat a while, and the auditory
was quiet from the first throng to get in, and the doors
shut, presented himself and kneeled down at the
board's end, and so continued till he was licensed to
Stand up.

The names of the commissioners.

Lord Archbishop,
Lord Keeper, etc.

* At York-House, in June, 1600, prepared for queen Elizabeth
by her- command, and read to her by Mr, Bacon, but never pub*
lished.



TJie Proceedings of the Earl of Essex. 121

IT was opened, that her majesty being imperial, and A
immediate under God, was not holden to render ac-
count of her actions to any ; howbeit, because she
had chosen ever to govern, as well with satisfaction i
as with sovereignty, and the rather, to command down
the winds of malicious and seditious rumours where-
with mens conceits may have been tossed to and fro*
she w r as pleased to call the world to an understanding
of her princely course held towards the earl of Essex,
as well in here-before protracting as in now pro-
ceeding.

The earl repairing from his government into this
realm in August last, contrary to her majesty's express
and most judicial commandment, though the contempt
were in that point visible, and her majesty's mind pre-
pared to a just and high displeasure, in regard of that
realm of Ireland set at hazard by his former disobe-
dience to her royal directions, yet kept that stay, as
she commanded my lord only to his chamber in court,
until his allegations might by her privy-council be
questioned and heard; which account taken, and my
lord's answers appearing to be of no defence, that
shadow of defence which was offered consisted of
two parts, the one his own conceit of some likeli-
hood of good effects to ensue of the course held, the
other a vehement and over-ruling persuasion of the
council there, though he were indeed as absolutely
freed from opinion of the council of Ireland, as he
was absolutely tied to her majesty's trust and instruc-
tions. Nevertheless, her majesty not unwilling to
admit any extenuation of his offence ; and consider-
ing the one point required advertisement out of Ireland,
and the other further expectation of the event and
sequel of the affairs there, and so both points asked
time and protraction: her majesty proceeded still with
reservation, not to any restraint of my lord according
to the nature and degree of his offence, but to a com-
mitment of him sub Libcra custodia, in the lord-
keeper's house.

After, when both parts of this defence plainly failed
my lord, yea and proved utterly adverse to him, for the



1 22 The Proceedings of the Earl of Essex.

council of Ireland in plain terms disavowed all those
his proceedings, and the event made a miserable in-
terpretation of them, then her majesty began to behold
the offence in nature and likeness, as it was divested
from any palliation or cover, and in the true proportion
and magnitude thereof, importing the peril of a king-
dom : which consideration wrought in her majesty a
strange effect, if any thing which is heroical in virtue
can be strange in her nature ; for when offence was
grown unmeasurably offensive, then did grace supera-
bound ; and in the heat of all the ill news out of Ire-
land, and other advertisements thence to my lord's
disadvantage, her majesty entered into a resolution,
out of herself and her inscrutable goodness, not to
overthrow my lord's fortune irreparably, by public and
proportionable justice : notwithstanding, inasmuch as
about that time there did fly about in London streets
and theatres divers seditious libels ; and Powles and
ordinaries were full of bold and factious discourses,
\vhereby not only many of her majesty's faithful and
zealous counsellors and servants were taxed, but
withal the hard estate of Ireland was imputed to any
thing rather than unto the true cause, the earl's de-
faults, though this might have made any prince on
earth to lay aside straightways the former resolution
taken, yet her majesty in her moderation persisted in
her course of clemency, and bethought herself of a
mean to right her own honour, and yet spare the earl's
ruin ' y and therefore taking a just and most necessary
occasion upon these libels, of an admonition to be
given seasonably, and as is oft accustomed; the last
Star-chamber day of Michaelmas term, was pleased,
that declaration should be made, by way of testimony,
of all her honourable privy council, of her majesty's
infinite care, royal provisions, and prudent directions
for the prosecutions in Ireland, wherein the earl's
errors, by which means so great care and charge was
frustrated, were incidently touched,

But as in bodies very corrupt, the medicine rather
stirreth and exasperateth the humour than purgeth it,
so some turbulent spirits laid hold of this proceeding in



The Proceedings of the Earl of Essex. 123

so singular partiality towards my lord, as if it bad been
to his disadvantage, and gave out that this was to con-
demn a man unheard, and to wound him on his back,
and to leave Justice her sword, and take away her
balance, which consisted of an accusation and a de-
fence ; and such other seditious phrases: whereupon
her majesty seeing herself interested in honour, which
she hath ever sought to preserve as her eye, clear and
without mote, was inforced to resolve of a judicial
hearing of the cause, which was accordingly appointed
in the end of Hilary term. At the which time, warn-
ing being given to my lord to prepare himself, he fall-
ing, as it seemed, in a deep consideration of his estate,
made unto her majesty by letter an humble and effec-
tual submission, beseeching her that that bitter cup of
justice might pass from him, for those were his words;
which wrought such an impression in her majesty's
mind, that it not only revived in her her former resolu-
tion to forbear any public hearing, but it fetched this
virtue out of mercy by the only touch, a few days after
my lord was removed to further liberty in his own
house, her majesty hoping that these bruits and mali-
cious imputations would of themselves wax old and
vanish : but finding it otherwise in proof, upon taste
taken by some intermission of time, and especially
beholding the humour of the time in a letter presumed
to be written to her majesty herself by a lady, to
whom, though nearest in blood to my lord, it apper-
tained little to intermeddle in matters of this nature,
otherwise than in course of humility to have solicited
her grace and mercy; in which letter, in a certain
violent and mineral spirit of bitterness, remonstrance
and representation is made to her majesty, as if my
lord suffered under passion and faction, and not under
justice mixed with mercy; which letter, though writ-
ten to her sacred majesty, and therefore unfit to pass
in vulgar hands, yet was first divulged by copies every
where, that being, as it seemeth, the newest and
finest form of libelling, and since committed to the
press : her majesty in her wisdom seeing manifestly
these rumours thus nourished had got too great a head



124 The Proceedings of the Earl of Essex.

to be repressed without some hearing of the cause,
and calling my lord to answer ; and yet on the other
side, being still informed touching my lord himself of
his continuance of penitence and submission, did in
conclusion resolve to use justice, but with the edge
and point taken off and rebated ; for whereas nothing
Icaveth that teint upon honour, which In a person of
my lord's condition is hardliest repaired, in question
of justice, as to be called to the ordinary and open
place of offenders and criminals, her majesty had or-
dered that the hearing should be intra domesticos pa-
rie/eSy and not luce forensi. And whereas again in
the Star-chamber there be certain formalities, not fit in
regard of example to be dispensed with, which would
Strike deeper both into my lord's fortune and reputa-
tation ; as the fine which is incident to a sentence
there given, and the imprisonment of the Tower,
which in case of contempts that touch the point of
estate doth likewise follow ; her majesty turning this
course, hath directed that the matters should receive,
before a great, honourable, and selected council, a
full and deliberate, and yet in respect, a private, mild,
and gracious hearing.

All this was not spoken in one undivided speech,
but partly by the first that spake of the learned coun-
cil, and partly by some of the commissioners : for in
this and the rest I keep order of matter, and not of
circumstance.

The matters laid to my Lord's charge.

The charge. The matters wherewith my lord was charged were
of two several natures ; of an higher, and of an inferior
degree of offence.

The former kind purported great and high con-
temps and points of misgovernance in his office of her
majesty's lieutenant and governor of her realm of Ire-
land ; and in the trust and authority thereby to him
committed.

The latter contained divers notorious errors and neg-
lects of duty, as well in his government as otherwise.



Tlie Proceedings of the Earl of Essex. 125

The great contempts and points of misgovernment
and malversation in his office, were articulated into
three heads.

I. The first was the journey into Munster, whereby
the prosecution in due time upon Tyrone in U1-
ster was overthrown : wherein he proceeded con-
trary to his directions, arid the whole design of
his employment ; whereof ensued the consump-
tion of her majesty's army, treasure, and provi-
sions, and the evident peril of that kingdom.

II. The second was the ' dishonourable and dan-
gerous treaty held, and cessation concluded with
the same arch-rebel Tyrone.

III. The third was his contemptuous leaving his
government, contrary to her majesty's absolute
mandate under her hand and signet, and in a
time of so imminent and instant danger.

For the first, it had two parts ; that her majesty'sTtats*
resolution and direction was precise and absolute
the northern prosecution, and that the same direction
was by my lord, in regard of the journey to Munster,
wilfully and contemptuously broken.

It was therefore delivered, that her majesty, touched pm
with a true and princely sense of the torn and broken
estate of that kingdom of Ireland, entered into a most
Christian and magnanimous resolution to leave no fa-
culty of her regal power or policy unimployed for the
reduction of that people, and for the suppressing and
utter quenching of that flame of rebellion, wherewith
that country was and is wasted : whereupon her majesty
was pleased to take knowledge of the general conceit,
how the former making and managing of the actions
there had been taxed, upon two exceptions ; the one,
that the proportions of forces which had been there
maintained and continued by supplies, were not suffi-
cient to bring the prosecutions to a period : the other,
that the prosecutions had been also intermixed and in-
terrupted with too many temporizing treaties, whereby
the rebel did not only gather strength, but also find his



126 The Proceedings of the Earl of Essex.

strength more and more, so as ever such smothers
broke forth again into greater flames. Which kind of
discourses and objections, as they were entertained in
a popular kind of observation, so were they ever chiefly
patronized and apprehended by the earl, both upon
former times and occasions, and now last when this
matter was in deliberation. So as her majesty, to
acquit her honour and regal function, and to give this
satisfaction to herself and others, that she had left no
way untried, resolved to undertake the action with a
royal army and puissant forces, under the leading of
some principal nobleman ; in such sort, that, as far as
human discourse might discern, it might be hoped,
that by the expedition of a summer things might be
brought to that state, as both realms may feel some
ease and respiration ; this from charge and levies, and
that from troubles and perils. Upon this ground her
majesty made choice of my lord of Essex for that ser-
vice, a principal peer and officer of her realm, a per-
son honoured with the trust of a privy counsellor,
graced with the note of her majesty's special favour,
infallibly betokening and redoubling his worth and va-
lue, enabled with the experience and reputation of
former services, and honourable charges in the wars ;
a man every way eminent, select, and qualified for a
general of a great enterprise, intended for the recovery
and reduction of that kingdom, and not only or merely
as a lieutenant or governor of Ireland.

My lord, after that he had taken the charge upon
him, tell strajgbtways to make propositions answerable
to her majesty's ends, and answerable to his own for-
mer discourses and opinions ; and chiefly did set down
one full and distinct resolution, that the design and
action, which of all others was most final and sum-
mary towards an end of those troubles, and which was
worthy her majesty's enterprise with great and puissant
forces, was a prosecution to be made upon the arch-
traitor Tyrone in his own strengths within the province
of Ulster, whereby both the interior rebels which rely
upon him, and the foreigner upon whom he relieth,
might be discouraged, and so to cut asunder both de-



The Proceedings of the Earl of Essex. 127

pendencies : and for the proceeding with greater
strength and policy in that action, that the main inva-
sion and impression of her majesty's army should be
accompanied and corresponded unto by the plantation
of strong garrisons in the north, as well upon the river
of Loghfoile as a postern of that province, as upon the
hither frontiers, both for the distracting and bridling of
the rebels forces during the action, and again, for the
keeping possession of the victory, if God should send it.

This proposition and project moving from my lord,
was debated in many consultations. The principal
men of judgment and service in the wars, as a council
of war to assist a council of state, were called at times
unto it ; and this opinion of my lord was by himself
fortified and maintained against all contradiction and
opposite argument ; and in the end, ex unanimi con-
sensu, it was concluded and resolved that the ax should
be put to the root of the tree: which resolution was
ratified and confirmed by the binding and royal judg-
ment of her sacred majesty, who vouchsafed her royal
presence at most of those consultations.

According to a proposition and enterprise of this
nature, were the proportions of forces and provi-
sions thereunto allotted. The first proportion set
down by my lord was the number of 12,000 foot and
120O horse; which being agreed unto, upon some other
accident out of Ireland, the earl propounded to have
it made 14,OOO foot, and 1300 horse, which was like-
wise accorded : within a little while after the earl did
newly insist to have an augmentation of 2000 more,
using great persuasions and confident significations of
good effect, if those numbers might be yielded to him,
as which he also obtained before his departure ; and
besides the supplies of 2000 arriving in July, he had
authority to raise 2000 Irish more, which he procured
by his letters out of Ireland, with pretence to further
the northern service ; so as the army was raised in the
conclusion and list to 16,000 foot, and 1300 horse, sup-
plied with 2000 more at three months end, and in-
creased with 2000 Irish upon this new demand;



128 The Proceedings of the Earl of Essex.

whereby her majesty at that time paid 18,000 foot and
130O horse in the realm of Ireland. Of these forces,
divers companies drawn out of the experienced bands
of the Low Countries ; special care taken that the
new levies in the country should be of the ablest, and
most disposed bodies ; the army also animated and en-
couraged with the service of divers brave and valiant no-
blemen and gentlemen voluntaries ; in sum, the most
flourishing and complete troops that have been known
to have been sent out of our nation in any late memory.
A great mass of treasure provided and issued, amounting
to such a total, as the charge of that army, all manner
of ways, from the time of the first provisions and set-
ting forth, to the time of my lord's returning into Eng-
land, was verified to have drawn out of the coffers,
besides the charge of the country, the quantity of
300,0001. and so ordered, as he carried with him
three months pay beforehand, and likewise victual,
munition, and all habiliments of war whatsoever,
with attendance of shipping allowed and furnished in
a sortable proportion, and to the full of all my lord's
own demands. For my lord being himself a principal
counsellor for the preparations, as he was to be an
absolute commander in the execution, his spirit was
in every conference and conclusion in such sort, as
when there happened . any points of difference upon
demands, my lord using the forcible advantages of the
toleration and liberty which her majesty's special fa-
vour did give unto him, and the great devotion and
forwardness of his fellow-counsellors to the general
cause, and the necessity of his then present service, he
did ever prevail and carry it; insomuch as it was ob-
jected and laid to my lord's charge as one of his errors
and presumptions, that he did oftentimes, upon their
propositions and demands, enter into contestations
with her majesty, more a great deal than was fit. All
which propositions before mentioned being to the
utmost of my lord's own askings, and of that height
and greatness, might really and demonstratively express
and intimate unto him, besides his particular know-



The Proceedings of the Earl of Essex. 1 29

ledge which he had, as a counsellor of estate, of the
means both of her majesty and this kingdom, that he
was not to expect to have the commandment of 16,OOO
foot and 1300 horse, as an appurtenance to his lieute-
nancy of Ireland, which was impossible to be main-
tained ; but contrariwise, that in truth of intention he
was designed as general for one great action and expe-
dition, unto which the rest of his authority was but
accessary and accommodated.

It was delivered further, that in the authority of his
commission, which was more ample in many points
than any former lieutenant had been vested with, there
were many direct and evident marks of his designation
to the northern action, as principally a clause whereby
mcrum arbitrium belli et pads was reposed in his sole
trust and discretion, whereas all the lieutenants were
ever tied unto the peremptory assistance and admoni-
tion of a certain number of voices of the council of
Ireland. The occasion of which clause so passed to
my lord, doth notably disclose and point unto the pre-
cise trust committed to my lord for the northern jour-
ney; for when his commission was drawn at first ac-
cording to former precedents, and on the other side
my lord insisted strongly to have this new and prim a
facie vast and exorbitant authority, he used this argu-
ment ; that the council of Ireland had many of them
livings and possessions in or near the province of Lem-
ster and Munster ; but that Ulster was abandoned
from any such particular respects, whereby it was
like, the council there would be glad to use her ma-
jesty's forces for the clearing and assuring of those ter-
ritories and countries where their fortunes and estates
were planted : so as, if he should be tied to their
voices, he were like to be diverted from the main ser-
vice intended : upon which reason that clause was
yielded unto.

So as it was then concluded, that all circumstances
tended to one point, that there was a full and precise in-
tention and direction for Ulster, and that my lord could
not descend into the consideration of his own quality
and value; he could not muster his fair army; he

VOL. in/ K



130 The Proceedings of the Earl of Essex.

could not account with the treasurer, and take con-
sideration of the great mass of treasure issued ; he could
not look into the ample and new clause of his letters
patents, he could not look back, either to bis own
former discourses, or to the late propositions whereof
himself was author, nor to the conferences, consulta-
tions, and conclusions thereupon, nor principally to
her majesty's royal direction and expectation, nor ge-
nerally to the conceit both of subjects of this realm,
and the rebels themselves in Ireland ; but which way
soever he turned, he must find himself trusted, directed,
and engaged wholly for the northern expedition.

The parts of this that was charged were verified by
three proofs: the first, the most authentical but the
least pressed, and that was her majesty's own royal
affirmation, both by her speech now and her precedent
letters ; the second, the testimony of the privy council,
who upon their honours did avouch the substance of
that was charged, and referred themselves also to many
of their lordships letters to the same effect ; the third,
letters written from my lord after his being in Ireland,
whereby the resolution touching the design of the
north is often acknowledged.

The proofs. There follow some clauses both of her majesty's
letters and of the lords of her council, and of the earl's
and the council of Ireland, for the verification of this
point.

Her majesty, in her letter of the 19th of July to my
lord of Essex, upon the lingering of the northern
journey, doubting my lord did value service, rather
by the labour he endured, than by the advantage of her
majesty's royal ends, hath these words:

Hermajesty " You have in this dispatch given us small light,

Essex T9ih f<c either when or in what order you intend particularly

of juiy, im-" to proceed to the northern action ; wherein if you

aforti!? " compare the time that is run on, and the excessive

Munster charges that are spent, with the effects of any thing

journey. (< wrought by this voyage, howsoever we remain satis-

" fied with your own particular cares and travails of

" body and mind, yet you must needs think that we,

" that have the eyes of foreign princes upon our



The Proceedings of the Earl of Essex. 131

cc actions, and have the hearts of people to comfort
cc and cherish, who groan under the burthen of continual
" levies and impositions, which are occasioned by these
" late actions, can little please ourself hitherto with
c{ any thing that hath been effected."

In another branch of the same letter, reflecting her
royal regard upon her own honour interested in this
delay, hath these words :

" Whereunto we will add this one thing that doth A second
" more displease us than any charge or offence that
" happens, which is, that it must be the queen of
cc England's fortune, who hath held down the greatest
" enemy she had, to make a base bushkern to be ac-
" counted so famous a rebel, as to be a person against



Online LibraryFrancis BaconThe works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 3) → online text (page 11 of 45)