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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did artificially nourish him in that voyage, is cut to
pieces with his army in Africa : then hath the king of
Spain work cut out to make all things in readiness
during the old cardinal's time for the conquest of Portu-
gal; whereby his desire of invading of England was
slackened and put offsome years, and by that means was
put in execution at a time for some respects much more
to his disadvantage. And the same invasion, like and
as if it had been attempted before, it had the time much
more proper and favourable ; so likewise had it in
true discourse a better season afterwards : for, if
it had been dissolved till time that the League had
been better confirmed in France ; which no doubt
would have been, if the duke of Guise, who was the
only man of worth on that side, had lived ; and the
French king durst never have laid hand upon him,
had he not been animated by the English victory
against the Spaniards precedent. And then, if some
maritime town had been gotten into the hands of the
League, it had been a great surety and strength to the
enterprise. The popes, to consider of them whose
course and policy it had been, knowing her majesty's
natural clemency, to have temporized and dispensed
with the Papists coming to church, that through the
mask of their hypocrisy they might have been brought
into places of government in the state and in the coun-
try : these, contrariwise, by the instigation of some
fugitive scholars that advised him, not that was best
for the see of Rome, but what agreed best with their (
eager humours and desperate states ; discover and de-
clare themselves so far by sending most seminaries, and
taking of reconcilements, as there is now severity of
laws introduced for the repressing of that sort, and
men of that religion are become the suspect. What

38 A Discourse in Praise of Queen Elizabeth.

should I speak of so many conspiracies miraculously
detected? the records shew the treasons : but it is yet
hidden in many of them how they came to light. What
should I speak of the opportune death of her enemies,
and the wicked instruments towards her estate ? Don
Juan died not amiss : Damleigh, duke of Lenox, who
was used as an instrument to divorce Scotland from
the amity of England, died in no ill season : a man
withdrawn indeed at that time to France ; but not
without great help. I may not mention the death of
some that occur to mind : but still methinks, they live
that should live, and they die that should die. I
would not have the king of Spain die yet; he is seges
gloriae : but when he groweth dangerous, or any other
besides him; I am persuaded they will die. What
should I speak of the fortunes of her armies, which,
notwithstanding the inward peace of this nation, were
never more renowned? What should I recount Leith
and Newhaven for the honourable skirmishes and ser-
vices ? they are no blemish at all to the militia of

. In the Low Countries ; the Lammas day, the re-
treat of Ghent, the day of Zutphen, and the prospe-
rous progress of this summer : the bravado in Portu-
gal, and the honourable exploits in the aid of the
French king, besides the memorable voyages in the
Indies ; and lastly, the good entertainment of the in-
vincible navy, which was chased till the chasers were
weary, after infinite loss, without taking a cock-boat,
without firing a sheep-cot, sailed on the mercies of the
wind, and the discretion of their adventures, making
a perambulation or pilgrimage about the northern seas,
and ignobjing many shores and points of land by ship-
wreck : and so returned home with scorn and disho-
nour much greater, than the terror and expectation of
their setting forth.

These virtues and perfections, with so great felicity,
have made her the honour of her times, the admira-
tion of the world, the suit and aspiring of greatest
kings and princes, who yet durst never have aspired
unto her, but as their minds were raised by love.

A Discourse in Praise of Queen Elizabeth. 39

But why do I forget, that words do extenuate and
embase matters of so great weight ? Time is her best
commender, which never brought forth such a prince,
whose imperial virtues contend with the excellency of
her person : both virtues contend with her fortune :
and both virtue and fortune contend with her fame.
Orbis amor^ famae carmen, codique pupilla:
Tu dccus omne tins, tu decus ipsa tibi !



A declaration of the true causes of the great troubles^ presupposed t
be intended against the realm of England*

IT were just and honourable for princes being in wars
together, that howsoever they prosecute their quarrels
and debates by arms and acts of hostility; yea, though
the wars be such, as they pretend the utter ruin and
overthrow of the forces and states one of another, yet
they so limit their passions as they preserve two things
sacred and inviolable ; that is, the life and good name
each of other. For the wars are no massacres and
confusions ; but they are the highest trials of right ;
when princes and states, that acknowledge no
superior upon earth, shall put themselves upon the
justice of God for the deciding of their controversies
by such success, as it shall please him to give on
either side. And as in the process of particular pleas
between private men, all things ought to be ordered
by the rules of civil laws j so in the proceedings
of the war, nothing ought to be done against the
law of nations, or the law of honour ; which laws
have ever pronounced these two sorts of rnen ; the
one, conspirators against the persons of princes ;
the other, libellers against their good fame ; to be
such enemies of common society as are not to be
cherished, no not by enemies. For in the exam-
ples of times, which were less corrupted, we find
that when in the greatest heats and extremities of
wars, there have been made offers of murderous and
traiterous attempts against the person of a prince to
the enemy, they have been not only rejected, but also

Observations on a Libel.

revealed : and in like manner, when dishonourable
mention hath been made of a prince before an enemy
prince, by some that have thought therein to please
his humour, he hath shewed himself, contrariwise,
utterly distasted therewith, and been ready to contest
for the honour of an enemy.

According to which noble and magnanimous kind of
proceeding, it will be found, that in the whole course
of her majesty's proceeding with the king of Spain,
since the amity interrupted, there was never any
project by her majesty, or any of her ministers, either
moved or assented unto, for the taking away of the
life of the said king: neither hath there been any
declaration or writing of estate, no nor book allowed,
wherein his honour hath been touched or taxed, other-
wise than for his ambition; a point which is neces-
sarily interlaced with her majesty's own justification.
So that no man needeth to doubt, but that those wars
are grounded, upon her majesty's part, upon just and
honourable causes, which have so just and honourable
a prosecution ; considering it is a much harder matter
when a prince is entered into wars, to hold respect
then, and not to be transported with passion, than to
make moderate and just resolutions in the begin-
nings. -

But now if a man look on the other part, it will
appear that, rather, as it is to be thought, by the soli-
citation of traiterous subjects, which is the only poison
and corruption of all honourable war between foreign-
ers, or by the presumption of his agents and ministers,
than by the proper inclination of that king, there hath
been, if not plotted and practised, yet at the least
comforted, conspiracies against her majesty's sacred
person ; which nevertheless God's goodness hath used
and turned, to shew by such miraculous discoveries
into how near and precious care and custody it hath
pleased him to receive her majesty's life and preser-
vation. But in the other point it is strange what a
number of libellous and defamatory books and writ-
ings, and in what variety, with what art and cunning
handled, have been allowed to pass through the world

Observations on a Libtl.

in all languages against her majesty and he:
me- ties pretending the gravity and authority

church stories : .lief; sometimes formed

- and I , inents of estate to

move regard; sometir .\i as it were in tra-

gedies of i mentions of catholics to move pin ;

:rived into : pasquils and satires

IS there is no shape v\ hereunto these
have not t ed themselves: nor no hu-

mour nor r. in the mind of man to which they

:n- to insinuate

tr untruths and abuses to the worl, \
I man k x . and he shall rind them the

onlv triumphant Ives that ever wore confuted b^
cumsta time and place ; confuted by contra-

riety in the \ the witness of infinite

kS that li\ and have had particular k

:' the matters; but yet avouched with such
s if either thev \\ ore fallen into that
stra mind, which a wise writer de-

scribeth in thes :$unf simul crt\htnfque : or

they '. .-. principal I and

.Binaries, lUtditcfrr ctihtmniuri,

semper illiquid katret . the race

which in old time were wont to help the:' with

rnir. I

that there r out of this

eager and unquiet scholars, whom
their own turbulent and humourous nature presseth out
:heir adventure- : . ; and that, on the other

a rather in listening after news
xl intel' :igs, than in any com-

mendable learning ; and after a time, when either
their iv : their ambitious appc

importune them, they fall on c. tint do some

acceptable service to that side which maintaineth
them; so as ever when their credit waxeth cold with
foreign prir. that their pensions are ill pal,

son: at which thev level, straight-

I ;th a libel, pretending thereby to keep
:o the party, which within the realm is contrary

Observations on a Libel. 43

to the state, wherein they ;ire as wise as he that
thinketh to kindle a lire by blowing the dead allies ;
when, I say, a man looketh into the cause and ground
of this plentiful \ield of libels, he will cease to marvel,
Considering the concurrence which is, as well in the
nature of the seed, as in the travel of tilling and dress-
ing ; \ca, and in the fitness of the season for the bring-
ing up of those infectious \\ecds.

Hut to verify the saying of our Saviour, uon est dis-
cipnlns super inagistrum ; as they have sought to de-
prave her majesty's government in herself, so have
they not forgotten to do the same in her principal ser-
vants and counsellors ; thinking, belike, that as the
immediate invectives against her majesty do best sa-
tisfy the malice of the foreigner, so the slander and
calumniation of her principal counsellors agreed best
with the humours o( some malccontents within the
realm ; imagining also, that it was like they should
be more scattered here, and free Her dispersed ; and
also should be less odious to those foreigners which
\verc not merely partial and passionate, who have for
the most part in detestation the traiterous libellings of
subjects directly against their natural prince.

Amongst the rest in this kind, there hath been pub-
lished this present year of IJJJ'J, a libel that givclh
place to none of the rest in malice and untruths;
though inferior to most of them in penning and stile;
the author having chosen the vein of a Lucianist, and
yet being a counterfeit even in that kind. This libel

is intitled, A declaration of t In* true causes of tkc great

troubles presupposed lo be intended against, the. realm
of England \ and hath a semblance as if it were bent
againt the doings of her majesty's ancient and worthy
counsellor the lord Burlcigh ; whose carefulness and
pains her majesty hath used in her counsels and actions
of this realm for these thirty-lour years space, in all
dangerous times, and amidst many and mighty prac-
tises; and with such success, as our enemies aie put
Still to their paper-shot of such libels as these ; the
memory of whom will remain in this land, when all
these libels shall be extinct and forgotten , according

Observations on a Libel.

to the Scripture, Memoria justi cum laudibus, at im-
piorum nomen putrescet. But it is more than evident,
by the parts of the same book, that the author's malice
was to her majesty and her government, as may spe-
cially appear in this, that he charged not his lordship
with any particular actions of his private life, such
power had truth, whereas the libels made against
other counsellors have principally insisted upon that
part : but hath only wrested and distorted such actions
of state as in times of his service have been managed ;
and depraving them, hath ascribed and imputed to
him the effects that have followed ; indeed, to the
good of the realm, and the honour of her majesty,
though sometimes to the provoking of the nhalice, but
abridging of the power and means of desperate and
incorrigible subjects.

All which slanders, as his lordship might justly
despise, both for their manifest untruths, and for the
baseness and obscurity of the author ; so nevertheless,
according to the moderation which his lordship useth
in all things, never claiming the privilege of his autho-
rity, when it is question of satisfying the world, he
hath been content that they be not passed over alto-
gether in silence ; whereupon I have, in particular
duty to his lordship, amongst others that do honour
and love his lordship, and that have diligently observed
his actions, and in zeal of truth, collected, upon the
reading of the said libel, certain observations, not in
form of a just answer, lest I should fall into the error
whereof Solomon speaketh thus, Answer not a fool in
his own kind, lest thou also be like him ; but only to
discover the malice, and to reprove and convict the
untruths thereof.

The points that I have observed upon the reading
of this libel, are these following :

I. Of the scope or drift of the libeller.

II. Of the present state of this realm of England,
whether it may be truly avouched to be prosperous or

III. Of the proceedings against the pretended ca-

Observations on a Libel. 45

tholics, whether they have been violent, or moderate,
and necessary.

IV. Of the disturbance of the quiet of Christendom,
and to what causes it may be justly imputed.

V. Of the cunning of the libeller, in palliation of
his malicious invective against her majesty and the
state, with pretence of taxing only the actions of the
lord Burleigh.

VI. Certain true general notes upon the actions of
the lord Burleigh.

VII. Of divers particular untruths and abuses dis-
persed through the libel.

VIII. Of the height of impudency that these men
are grown unto, in publishing and avouching untruths;
with a particular recital of some of them for an assay.

I. Of the scope or drift of the libeller.

It is good advice, in dealing with cautelous and ma-
licious persons, whose speech is ever at distance with
their meanings, non quid dixerint, sed quo spectdrint,
videndum: a man is not to regard what they affirm, or
what they hold ; but what they would convey under
their pretended discovery, and what turn they would
serve. It soundeth strangely in the ears of an En- *
glishman, that the miseries of the present state of
England exceed them of former times whatsoever.
One would straightway think with himself, doth this
man believe what he saith ? Or, not believing it, doth
he think it possible to make us believe it ? Surely, in
my conceit, neither of both ; but his end, no doubt,
was to round the pope and the king of Spain in the
ear, by seeming to tell a tale to the people of Eng-
land. For such books are ever wont to be translated
into divers languages; and, no doubt, the man was
not so simple as to think he could persuade the people
of England the contrary of what they taste and feel.
But he thought he might better abuse the states abroad,
if he directed his speech to them who could best con-
vict him, and disprove him if he said untrue ; so that
as Livy saith in the like case, Aetolos mugis, cor am
quibus verba facerent, quam ad quos, pensi habere ;

4(? Observations on a Libel.

That the ^Etolians, in their tale, did more respect
those who did overhear them, than those to whom
they directed their speech ; so in this matter this fel-
low cared not to be counted a lyar by all English, upon
price of deceiving of Spain and Italy ; for it must be
understood, that it hath been the general practice of
this kind of men many years, of the one side, to abuse
the foreign estates, by making them believe that all is
out of joint and ruinous here in England, and that
there is great part ready to join with the invader ; and
on the other side, to make the evil subjects of England
believe of great preparations abroad, and in great rea-
diness to be put in act, and so to deceive on both
sides: and this I take to be his principal drift. So
again, it is an extravagant and incredible conceit, to
imagine that all the conclusions and actions of estate
which have passed during her majesty's reign, should
be ascribed to one counsellor alone ; and to such an
one as was never noted for an imperious or over- ruling
man ; and to say, that though he carried them not by
violence, yet he compassed them by devise, there is
no man of judgment that looketh into the nature of
these times, but will easily descry that the wits of these
days are too much refined for any man to walk invisi-
ble, or to make all the world his instruments ; and
therefore, no not in this point assuredly, the libeller
spake as he thought ; but this he foresaw, that the
imputation of cunning doth breed suspicion, and the
imputation of greatness and sway doth breed envy ;
and therefore finding where he was most wrong, and
by whose policy and experience their plots were most
crossed, the mark he shot at was to see whether he
could heave at his lordship's authority, by making him
suspected to the queen, or generally odious to the
realm ; knowing well enough for the one point, that there
are not only jealousies, but certain revolutions in
princes minds : so that it is a rare virtue in the rarest
princes, to continue constant to the end in their fa-
vours and employments. And knowing for the other
point, that envy ever accompanieth greatness, though
never so well deserved : and that his lordship hath al-

Observations on a Libel. 47

ways marched a round and a real course in service ;
and as he hath not moved envy by pomp and ostenta-
tion, so hath he never extinguished it by any popular
or insinuating carriage of himself: and this no doubt
was his second drift.

A third drift was, to assay if he could supplant and
weaken, by this violent kind of libelling, and turning
the whole imputation upon his lordship, his resolu-
tion and courage ; and to make him proceed more
cautiously, and not so thoroughly and strongly against
them ; knowing his lordship to be a politic man, and
one that hath a great stake to lose.

Lastly, lest, while I discover the cunning and art
of this fellow, I should make him wiser than he was,
I think a great part of this book was passion ; dijficile
est tacere, cum doleas. The humours of these men
being of themselves eager and fierce, have, by the
abortion and blasting of their hopes, been blinded and
enraged. And surely this book is, of all that sort that
have been written, of the meanest workmanship ;
being fraught with sundry base scoffs, and cold am-
plifications, and other characters of despite ; but void
of all judgment or ornament.

II. Of the present state of this realm of England,
whether it may be truly avouched to be pros-
perous or afflicted.

The benefits of almighty God upon this land, since
the time that in his singular providence lie led as it
were by the hand, and placed in the kingdom, his
servant our queen Elizabeth, are such, as not in boast-
ing, or in confidence of ourselves, but in praise of his
holy name, are worthy to be both considered and con-
fessed, yea, and registered in perpetual memory : not-
withstanding, I mean not after the manner of a pane-
gyric to extol the present time : it shall suffice only
that those men, that through the gall and bitterness of
their own heart have lost their taste and judgment,
and would deprive God of his glory, and us of our
senses, in affirming our condition to be miserable, and

48 Observations on a Libel.

full of tokens of the wrath and indignation of God, be

If then it he true, that nemo est miser, nut felix,
nisi comparatus ; whether we shall, keeping ourselves
within the compass of our own island, look into the
memories of times past, or at this present time take a
view of other states abroad'in Europe, we shall find
that we need not give place to the happiness either of
ancestors or neighbours. For if a man weigh well all
the parts of state and religion, laws, administration of
justice, policy of government, manners, civility, learn-
ing and liberal sciences, industry and manual arts,
arms and provisions of wars for sea and land, treasure,
traffic, improvement of the soil, population, honour
and reputation, it will appear that, taking one part
with another, the state of this nation was never more

It is easy to call to remembrance, out of histories,
the kings of England which have in more ancient
times enjoyed greatest happiness ; besides her majesty's
father and grandfather, that reigned in rare felicity, as
is fresh in memory. They have been king Henry I.
king Henry II. king Henry III. king Edward I. king
Edward III. king Henry V. All which have been
princes of royal virtue, great felicity, and famous me-
mory. But it may be truly affirmed, without deroga-
tion to any of these worthy princes, that whatsoever
we find in libels, there is not to be found in the English
chronicles, a king that hath, in all respects laid to-
gether, reigned with such felicity as her majesty hath
done. Eor as for the first three Henries, the first came
in too soon after the conquest ; the second too soon
after an usurpation ; and the third too soon after a
league, or barons war, to reign with security and con-
tentation. King Henry I. also had unnatural wars
with his brother Robert, wherein much nobility was
consumed : he had therewithal tedious wars in Wales ;
and was not without some other seditions and trou-
bles; as namely the great contestation of his prelates.
King Henry II. his happiness was much deformed by
the revolt of his son Henrv, after he had associated

Observations on a Libel. 49

him, and of bis other sons. King Henry TIT. besides
his- continual wars in Wales, was after forty-four years
reign, unquieted with intricate commotions of his ba-
rons ; as may appear by the mad parliament held at
Oxford, and the acts thereupon ensuing His son Ed-
ward I. had a more flourishing time than any of the
other ; came to his kingdom at ripe years, and with
great reputation, after his voyage into the Holy Land,
and was much loved and obeyed, "contrived his wars
with great judgment: first having reclaimed Wales to
a settled allegiance, and being upon the point of
uniting Scotland. But yet I suppose it was more ho-
nour tor her majesty to have so important a piece of
Scotland in her hand, and the same with such justice
to render up, than it was for that worthy king lo have
advanced in such forwardness the conquest of that
nation. And for king Edward III. his reign was vi-
sited with much sickness, and mortality ; so as they
reckoned in his days three several mortalities ; one in
the 2 l 2d year, another in the 35th year, and the last in
the 43d year of his reign ; and being otherwise victo-
rious and in prosperity, was by that only cross more
afflicted, than he was by the other prosperities com-
forted. Besides, he entered hardly; and again 9 ac-
cording to the verse, cedebant ultima primis, his latter
times were not so prosperous. And for king Henry V.
as his success was wonderful, so he wanted continu-
ance , being extinguished after ten years reign in the
prime of his fortunes.

Now for her majesty, we will first speak of the 1. Cominu-
blessing of continuance, as that which wanted in the an
happiest of these kings \ and is not only a great favour
of God unto the prince, but also a singular benefit
unto the people ; for that sentence of the Scripture,
miser a natio cum -multi sunf. principes ejtts, is inter-
preted not only to extend to divisions and distractions
in government, but also to frequent changes in suc-
cession: considering, that the change of a prince
bringeth in many charges, which are harsh and un-

Online LibraryFrancis BaconThe works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 3) → online text (page 4 of 45)