Francis Bacon.

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

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the earl said, that he had a black bag about his neck
that should tell no tales.



The examination of the lord CROMWELL, taken
the 7th of March 1(500, by Sir J. POPHAM, lord
Chief Justice; CHRIST. YELVERTON, her
majesty's serjeant; and FR. BACON, of her
majesty's learned counsel.

* AT the sheriff's house this examinate pressed in
with the rest, and found the earls shifting themselves

* This examination, as appeareth by the date, was taken after
Essex's arraignment, but is inserted, to shew how the speech, of the
realm to be sold to the Infanta, which at his arraignment lie derived
from Mr. Secretary, at sheriff Smith's house he said was advertised
out of Ireland: and with this latter concur many other examinations.

204- Confessions and other Evidences.

in an inner chamber, where he heard my lord of
Essex certify the company, that he had been ad-
vertised out of Ireland, which he would not now hide
from them, that the realm should be delivered over to
the hands of the Infanta of Spain, and that he was
wished to look to it; farther, that he was to seek re-
dress for injuries ; and that he had left at his house for
pledges, the lord Keeper, the earl of Worcester, Sir
William Knolles, and the lord Chief Justice.



Sir CHRISTOPHER BLUNT, knight, at the time of
his arraignment, did openly at the bar desire
to speak with the lord Admiral and Mr Se-
cretary ; before whom he made this confession
following; which the earl of SOUTHAMPTON
confirmed afterwards, and he himself likewise
at his death.

HE confesseth, That at the castle of Dublin, in that
lodging which was once the earl of Southampton's, the
earl of Essex purposing his return into England, ad-
vised with the earl of Southampton and himself, of his
best manner of going into England for his security,
seeing to go he was resolved.

At that time he propounded his going with a com-
petent number of soldiers, to the number of two or
three thousand, to have made good his first landing
with that force, until he could have drawn unto him-
self a sufficient strength to have proceeded farther.

From this purpose this examinate did use all forcible
persuasions, alledging not only his own ruin, which should
follow thereof, and all those which should adhere to him
in that action -, but urging it to him as a matter most foul,
because he was not only held a patron of his country,
-which by this means he should have destroyed ; but
also should have laid upon himself an irrevocable
blot, having been so deeply bound to her majesty. To
which dissuasion the earl of Southampton also inclined.

Confessions and other Evidences. 205

This design being thus dissuaded by them, then they
fell to a second consideration: and therein this exami-
nate confesseth, That he rather advised him, if needs
he would go, to take with him some competent num-
ber of choice men.

He did not name unto him any particular power
that would come to him at his landing, but assured
himself that his army would have been quickly in-
creased by all sorts of discontented people.

He did confess before his going, That he was as-
sured that many of the rebels would be advised by
him, but named none in particular.

The examination of the earl of SOUTHAMPTON
after his arraignment; taken before the earl
of NOTTINGHAM, lord High Admiral; Sir
ROBERT CECIL, principal Secretary; and Mr.
JOHN HERBERT, second Secretary of estate.

lying in the castle of Dublin, in a chamber which had
been mine, the earl of Essex one day took me thither
\vith him, where being none but we three, he told us,
He found it necessary for him to go into England, and
thought it fit to carry with him as much of the army as
he could conveniently transport, to go on shore with him
to Wales, and there to make good his landing with
those, till he could send for more; not doubting but
his army would so increase in a small time, that he
should be able to march to London, and make his
conditions as he desired.

To which project I answered, That I held it alto-
gether unfit, as well in respect of his conscience to
God, as his love to his country, as his duty to his
sovereign, of which he, of all men, ought to have
greatest regard, seeing her majesty's favours to him had
been so extraordinary : wherefore I could never give
any consent unto it. Sir Christopher Blunt joined with
me in this opinion.


206 Confessions and other Evidences.

The speech of Sir CHRISTOPHER BLUNT, at the
time of his death, as near as it could be re-
membered, March 18, 1600.

MY lords, and you that be present, although I must
confess, that it were better fitting the little time I have to
breathe, to bestow the same in asking God forgiveness
for my manifold and abominable sins, than to use any
other discourse, especially having both an imperfection
of speech, and, God knows, a weak memory, by reason
of my late grievous wound: yet to satisfy all those that
are present, what course hath been held by me in
this late enterprise, because I was said to be an insti-
gator and setter on of the late earl, I will truly, and
upon the peril of my soul, speak the truth.

It is true, that the first time that ever I understood of
any dangerous discontentment in my lord of Essex,
was about three years ago, at Wanstead, upon his
coming one day from Greenwich. At that time he
spake many things unto me, but descended into no
particulars, but in general terms.

After which time, he never brake with me in any
matter tending to the alteration of the state, I protest
before God, until he came into Ireland, other than I
might conceive, that he was of an ambitious and dis-
contented mind. But when I lay at the castle of
Thomas Lee, called Reban, in Ireland, grievously hurt,
and doubted of my life, he came to visit me, and then
began to acquaint me with his intent.

[As he thus spake, the sheriff began to interrupt him,
and told him the hour was past. But my lord Gray,
and Sir Walter Raleigh captain of the guard, called
to the sheriff, and required him not to interrupt him,
but to suffer him quietly to finish his prayers and con-
fessions. Sir Christopher Blunt said, Is Sir Walter
Raleigh there? Those on the scaffold answered, Yea.
To whom Sir Christopher Blunt spake on this manner:]

Sir Walter Raleigh, I thank God that you are pre-
sent: I had an infinite desire to speak with you, to ask
you forgiveness ere I died, both for the wrong done

Confessions and oilier Evidences. 207

you, and for my particular ill intent towards you : I
beseech you forgive me.

Sir Walter Raleigh answered, That he most wil-
lingly forgave him, and besought God ,to forgive him,
and to give him his divine comfort: protesting before
the Lord, That whatsoever Sir Christopher Blunt meant
towards him, for his part he never had any ill intent
towards him: and farther said to Sir Christopher Blunt,
" I pray you without offence let me put you in mind
" that you have been esteemed, not only a principal
" provoker and persuader of the earl of Essex in all
" his undutiful courses, but especially an adviser in
" that which hath been confessed of his purpose to
" transport a great part of her majesty's army out of
" Ireland into England, to land at Milford, and thence
" to turn it against her sacred person. You shall do
" well to tell the truth, and to satisfy the world." To
which he answered thus:

Sir, if you will give me patience, I will deliver a
truth, speaking now my last, in the presence of God,
in whose mercy I trust. [And then he directed him-
self to my lord Gray and my lord Compton, and the
rest that sat on horseback near the scaffold.]

When I was brought from Reban to Dublin, and
lodged in the castle, his lordship and the earl of South-
ampton came to visit me : and to be short, he began
thus plainly with me : That he intended to transport
a choice part of the army of Ireland into England,
and land .them in Wales, at Milford or thereabouts ;
and so securing his descent thereby, would gather such
other forces as might enable him to march to London.
To which I protest before the Lord God, I made this
or the like answer : That I would that night consider
of it ; which I did.

And the next day the earls came again: I told them,
that such an enterprise, as it was most dangerous, so
would it cost much blood, as I could not like of it ;
besides many hazards, which at this time I cannot re-
member unto you, neither willthe time permit it. But
I rather advised him to go over himself with a good
train, and make sure of the court, and then make his
own conditions.

208 Confessions and other Evidences.

And although it be true, that, as we all protested
in our examinations and arraignments, we never
resolved of doing hurt to her majesty's per&on, for in
none of our consultations was there set down any such
purpose ; yet, I know, and must confess, if we had
failed of our ends, we should, rather than have been
disappointed, even have drawn blood from herself.
From henceforward he dealt no more with me herein,
until he was discharged of his keeper at Essex-house.
And then, he again asked mine advice, and disputed
the matter with me ; but resolved not. I went then
into the country, and before he sent for me, which
was some ten days before his rebellion, I never heard
more of the matter. And then he wrote unto me to
come up, upon pretence of making some assurances
of land, and the like. I will leave the rest unto my
confessions, given to that honourable lord Admiral,
and worthy Mr. Secretary, to whom I beseech you,
Sir Walter Raleigh, commend me; I can requite
their favourable and charitable dealing with me, with
nought else but my prayers for them. And I beseech
God of his mercy, to save and preserve the queen,
who hath given comfort to my soul, in that I hear she
hath forgiven me all, but the sentence of the law,
which I most worthily deserved, and do most willingly
embrace ; and hope that God will have mercy and
compassion on me, who have offended him as many
ways as ever sinful wretch did. I have led a life so
far from his precepts, as no sinner more. God forgive
it me, and forgive me my wicked thoughts, my licen-
tious life, and this right arm of mine, which I fear me
hath drawn blood in this last action. And I beseech
you all bear witness, that I die a Catholic, yet so, as
I hope to be saved only by the death and passion of
Christ, and by his merits, not ascribing any thing to
mine own works. And I trust you are all good people,
and your prayers may profit me. Farewel, my worthy
lord Gray, and my lord Compton, and to you all;
God send you both to live long in honour. I will
desire to say a few prayers, and embrace my death
most willingly.

Confessions and other Evidences. 209

With that he turned from the rail towards the exe-
cutioner ; and the minister offering to speak with him,
he came again to the rail, and besought that his con-
science might not be troubled, for he was resolved ;
which he desired for God's sake. Whereupon com-
mandment was given, that the minister should not in-
terrupt him any farther. After which he prepared
himself to the block, and so died very manfully and

An abstract out of the earl of ESSEX'S confession
under his own hand.

UPON Saturday the twenty-first of February, after
the late earl of Essex had desired us to come to him, as
well to deliver his knowledge of those treasons which
he had formerly denied at the bar, as also to recom-
mend his humble and earnest request, that her majesty
would be pleased, out of her grace and favour, to
suffer him to die privately in the Tower ; he did mar-
vellous earnestly desire, that we would surfer him to
speak unto Curie his secretary: against whom he vehe-
mently complained unto us, to have been a principal
instigator to these violent courses which he had under-
taken. Wherein he protested, that he chiefly desired
that he might make it appear that he was not the only
persuader of those great offences which they had com-
mitted; but that Blunt, Cuffe, Temple, besides those
other persons who were at the private conspiracy at
Drury-house, to which, though these three were not
called, yet they were privy, had most malicious and
bloody purposes to subvert the state and government :
which could not have been prevented, if his project
had gone forward.

This request being granted him, and Cuffe brought
before him, he there directly and vehemently charged
him ; and among other speeches used these words :
" Henry Cuffe, call to God for mercy, and to the
" queen, and deserve it by declaring truth. For I,
" that must now prepare for another world, have re-


210 Confessions and other Evidences.

" solved to deal clearly with God and the world : and
" must needs say this to you ; You have been one of
" thechiefest instigators of me to all these my disloyal
" courses into which I have fallen."

Testified by THO. EGERTON, C. S.

The earl of ESSEX his confession to three minis-
ters, whose names are underwritten, the 25th
of February, 1600.

THE late earl of Essex thanked God most heartily,
That he had given him a deeper insight into his offence,
being sorry he had so stood upon his justification at his
arraignment, for he was since that become another

He thanked God that his course was so prevented ;
for if his project had taken effect, God knows, said he,
what harm it had wrought in the realm.

He humbly thanked her majesty, that he should die
in so private a manner, lest the acclamation of the
people might have been a temptation unto him. To
which he added, that all popularity and trust in man
was vain : the experience whereof himself had felt.

He acknowledged with thankfulness to God, that
he was thus justly spued out of the realm.

He publicly in 'his prayer and protestation, as also
privately, aggravated the detestation of his offence;
and especially in the hearing of them that were present
at the execution, he exaggerated it with four epithets,
desiring God to forgive him his great, his bloody, his
crying, and his infectious sin : which word infectious
he privately had explained to us, that it was a leprosy
that had infected far and near.

ABDY ASHTON, his chaplain.

[ 211 ]







To the Right Honourable his very good Lord



may please your good lordship, I cannot be igno-
rant, and ought to be sensible of the wrong which I
sustain in common speech, as if I had been false or
unthankful to that noble, but unfortunate earl, the
earl of Essex : and for satisfying the vulgar sort, I do
not so much regard it ; though I love a good name,
but yet as an handmaid and attendant of honesty and ** ;
virtue. For I am of his opinion that said pleasantly,
<e That it was a shame to him that was a suitor to the
" mistress, to make love to the waiting-woman ;" and
therefore to woo or court common fame, otherwise than
it followeth on honest courses, I, for my part, find not
myself fit or disposed. But, on the other side, there
is no worldly thing that concerneth myself, which I
hold more dear than the good opinion of certain per-
sons ; among which there is none I would more wil-
lingly give satisfaction unto, than to your lordship.
First, because you loved my lord of Essex, and there-
fore will not be partial -towards me, which is part of
that I desire : next, because it hath ever pleased you
to shew yourself to me an honourable friend, and so no

p 2

Sir Francis Bacon's Apology.

baseness In me to seek to satisfy you: and lastly, be-
cause I know your lordship is excellently grounded in
the true rules and habits of duties and moralities, which
must be they which shall decide this matter ; wherein,
my lord, my defence needeth to be but simple anci
brief; namely, that whatsoever I did concerning that
action and proceeding, was done in my duty and ser-
vice to the queen and the state ; in which I would
not shew myself false-hearted, nor faint-hearted, for
any man's sake living. For every honest man that hath
liis heart well planted, will forsake his king rather than
forsake God, and forsake his friend rather than forsake
his king ; and yet will forsake any earthly commodity,
yea, and his own life in some cases, rather than forsake
his friend. I hope the world hath not forgotten these
degrees, else the heathen saying, Amicus usque ad aras,
shall judge them.

And if any shall say, I did officiously intrude myself
into that business, because I had no ordinary place ; the
like may be said of all the business in 'effect that passed
the hands of the learned counsel, either of state or re-
venues, these many years, wherein I was continually
used. For, as your lordship may remember, the queen
knew her strength so well, as she looked her word
should be a warrant; and, after the manner of the
choicest princes before her, did not always tye her
trust to place, but did sometimes divide private favour
from office. And I for my part, though I was not so
unseen in the world, but I knew the condition was
subject to envy and peril ; yet because I knew again
she was constant in her favours, and made an end
where she began : and especially because she upheld
me with extraordinary access, and other demonstra-
tions of confidence and grace, I resolved to endure it
in expectation of better. But my scope and desire is,
that your lordship would be pleased to have the ho-
nourable patience to know the truth, in some parti-
cularity, of all that passed in this cause, wherein I
had any part, that you may perceive how honest a
heart I ever bare to my sovereign, and to my country,
and to that nobleman, who had so well deserved of

Sir Francis Bacon's Apology. 213

me, and so well accepted of my deservings, whose
fortune I cannot remember without much grief. But
for any action of mine towards him, there is nothing
that passed me in my life-time, that cometh to my re-
membrance with more clearness, and less check of
conscience : for it will appear to your lordship, that I
was not only not opposite to my lord of Essex, but
that I did occupy the utmost of my wits, and adven-
ture my fortune with the queen, to have reintegrated
his, and so continued faithfully and industriously, till
his last fatal impatience, for so I will call it, after
which day there was not time tow 7 ork for him ; though
the same, my affection, when it could not work on the
subject proper, went to the next, w r ith no ill effect to-
wards some others, who, I think, do rather not know'
it, than not acknowledge it. And this I will assure
your lordship, I will leave nothing untold, that is
truth, for any enemy that I have, to add ; and on the
other side, I must reserve much which makes for me,
in many respects of duty, which I esteem above my
credit : and what I have here set down to your lord-
ship, I protest, as I hope to have any part in God's
favour, is true.

It is well known, how I did many years since dedi-
cate my travels and studies to the use, and, as I may
term if, service of my lord of Essex, which, I protest
before God, I did not, making election of him as the
likeliest mean of mine own advancement, but out of the
humour of a man, that ever from the time I had any
use of reason, whether it were reading upon good
books, or upon the example of a good father, or by
nature, I loved my country more than was answerable
to my fortune ; and I held at that time my lord to be
the fittest instrument to do good to the state, and
therefore I applied myself to him in a manner which I
think happeneth rarely among men: for I did not only
labour carefully and industriously in that he set me
about, whether it were matter of advice or otherwise,
but neglecting the queen's service, mine own fortune,
and in a sort my vocation, I did nothing but advise
and ruminate with myself, to the best of my under-

Sir Francis Bacon's Apology.

standing, propositions and memorials of any thing that
might concern his lordship's honour, fortune, or ser-
vice. And when, not long after I entered into
this course, my brother Mr. Anthony Bacon, came
from beyond the seas, being a gentleman whose abi-
lity the world taketh knowledge of for matters of state,
especially foreign, I did likewise knit his service to be
at my lord's disposing. And on the other side, I must
and will ever acknowledge my lord's love, trust, and
favour towards me : and last of all his liberality, hav-
ing infeoffed me of land which I sold for eighteen
hundred pounds to Mr. Reynold Nicholas, which 1 think
was more worth ; and that at such a time, and with
so kind and noble circumstances, as the manner was
as much as the matter ; which though it be but an
idle digression, yet because I am not willing to be
short in commemoration ot his benefits, I will presume
to trouble your lordship with relating to you the manner
of it. After the queen had denied me the solicitor's
place, for the which his lordship had been a long and
earnest suitor on my behalf, it pleased him to come to
me from Richmond to Twicknam Park, and brake
with me, and said : " Mr. Bacon, the queen hath de-
<c nied me the place for you, and hath placed another;
" I know you are the least part of your own matter,
" but you fare ill because you have chosen me for
cc your mean and dependence : you have spent your
" time and thoughts in my matters ; I die," these were
his very words, " if I do not somew ? hat towards your
" fortune, you shall not deny to accept a piece of land
" which I will bestow upon you." My answer, I re-
member, was, that ior my fortune it was no great
matter ; but that his lordship's offer made me call to
mind what was wont to be said, when I was in France,
of the duke of Guise, that he was the greatest usurer
in France, because he had turned all his estate into
obligations: meaning, that he had left himself nothing,
but only had bound numbers of persons to him. " Now,
" my lord, said I, I would not have you imitate his
" course, nor turn your state thus by great gifts into
" obligations, for you will find many bad debtors. "

Sir Francis Bacon's Apology.

He bade me take no care for that, and pressed it :
whereupon I said, " My lord I see I must be your
" homager, and hold land of your gift ; but do you
" know the manner of 'doing homage in law? Always
" it is with a saving of his faith to the king and his
" other lords ; and therefore, my lord, said I, I cannot
f< be no more yours than I was, and it must be with
" the antient savings ; and if I grow to be a rich man,
" you will give me leave to give it back again to some
" of your unrewarded followers."

But to return : sure I am, though I can arrogate
nothing to myself but that I was a faithful remem-
brancer to his lordship, that while I had most credit
with him his fortune went on best: and yet in two
main points we always directly and contradictorily dif-
fered, which I will mention to your lordship, because
it giveth light to all that followed. The one was, I
ever set this down, that the only course to be held with
the queen, was by obsequiousness and observance ;
and I remember I would usually engage confidently,
that if he would take that course constantly, and with
choice of good particulars to express it, the queen
would be brought in time to Ahasuerus's question, to
ask, What should be done to the man that the king
would honour? Meaning, that her; goodness was with-
out limit, where there was a true concurrence : which
I knew in her nature to be true. My lord, on the other
side, had a settled opinion^ that the queen could be
brought to nothing but by a kind of necessity and au-
thority ; and I well remember, when by violent courses
at any time he had got his will, he would ask me,
(f Now, Sir, whose principles be true ?" And I would
again say to him ; " My lord, these courses be like to
" hot waters, they will help at a pang ; but if you use
" them you shall spoil the stomach, and you shall be
<l fain still to make them stronger, and stronger, and
ce yet in the end they will lessen their operation j"
with much other variety, wherewith I used to touch
that string. Another point was, that I always vehe-
mently dissuaded him from seeking greatness by a
military dependence, or by a popular dependence, as

Online LibraryFrancis BaconThe works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 3) → online text (page 18 of 45)