Francis Bacon.

The works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 4) online

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gation of it -, such men do but make a rent in the
garment, and such are by you to be inquired of. But
much more, such as are not only differing, but in a
sort opposite unto it, by using a superstitious and
corrupted form of divine service ; I mean such as say
or hear mass.

These offences which I have recited to you, are
against the service and worship of God : there remains
two which likewise pertain to the dishonour of God ;
the one, is the abuse of his name by perjury ; the other,
is the adhering to God's declared enemies, evil and
out-cast spirits, by conjuration and witchcraft.
Perjury. For perjury, it is hard to say whether it be more
odious to God, or pernicious to man ; for an oath,
saith the apostle, is the end of controversies : if there-
fore that boundary of suits be taken away or mis-set,
where shall be the end ? Therefore you are to inquire
of wilful and corrupt perjury in any of the King's courts,
yea of court-barons and the like, and that as well of
the actors, as of the procurer and suborner.
conjuration For witchcraft, by the former law it was not death,
undwitch- except it were actual and gross invocation of evil
i'. jac.c.i.2. spirits, or making covenant with them, or taking away
life by witchcraft : but now by an act in his Majesty's
times, charms and sorceries in certain cases of procur-
ing of unlawful love or bodily hurt, and some others,
are made felony the second offence ; the first being im-
prisonment and pillory.

Supremacy And here I do conclude my first part concerning
ofcnc&of religion and ecclesiastical causes : wherein it may be
thought that I do forget matters of supremacy, or of

Commission for the Verge. 387

Jesuits, and seminaries, and the like, which are usually
sorted with causes of religion : but I must have leave
to direct myself according to mine own persuasion,
which is, that, whatsoever hath been said or written
on the other side, all the late statures, which inflict
capital punishment upon extollers of the Pope's su-
premacy, deniers of the King's supremacy, Jesuits and
seminaries, and other offenders of that nature, have
for their principal scope, not the punishment of the
error of conscience, but the repressing of the pearl of
the estate. This is the true spirit of these laws, and
therefore I will place them under my second division,
which is of offences that concern the King and his
estate, to which now I come.

THESE offences therefore respect either the safety The King
of the King's person, or the safety of his estate and ^ z
kingdom, which though they cannot be dissevered in
deed, yet they may be distinguished in speech. First The King's
then, if any have conspired against the life of the peison>
King, which God have in his custody ! or of the Queen's
Majesty, or of the most noble Prince their eldest son ;
the very compassing and inward imagination thereof
is high treason, if it can be proved by any fact that is
overt : for in the case of so sudden, dark, and perni-
cious, and peremptory attempts, it w.ere too late for
the law to take a blow before it gives; and this high
treason of all other is most hainous, of which you
shall inquire, though I hope there be no cause.

There is another capital offence that hath an affinity Privy coun-
with this, whereof you here within the verge are most Cl1 '
properly to inquire; the King's privy council are as the
principal watch over the safety of the King, so as their
safety is a portion of his : if therefore any of the King's
servants within his cheque-roll, for 10 them only the
Jaw extends, have conspired the death of any the
King's privy-council, this is felony, and thereof you shall

And since we are now in that branch of the King's Represent*
person, I will speak also of the King' person by re- r n s ^ h "
presentation, and the treasons which touch the same.

c c 2

Judicial Charge upon the

The King's person and authority is represented in
three things ;' in his seals, in his monies, and in his
principal magistrates : if therefore any have counter-
feited the King's great seal, privy seal, or seal manual ;
or counterfeited, clipped, or sealed his monies, or
other monies current, this is high treason ; so it is to
kill certain great officers or judges executing their

The estate. We will now pass to those treasons which concern
the safety of the King's estate, which are of three
kinds, answering to three perils which may happen to
an estate ; these perils are, foreign invasion, open
rebellion and sedition, and privy practice to alienate
and estrange the hearts of the subjects, and to pre-
pare them either to adhere to enemies, or to burst out
into tumults and commotions of themselves.
invasion^ Therefore if any person have solicited or procured
fion/ 6 any invasion from foreigners; or if any have combined
to raise and stir the people to rebellion within the
realm ; these are high treasons, tending to the over-
throw of the estate of this commonwealth, and to be
inquired of.

Aiimation The third part of practice hath divers branches,
.1 nearts. but one p r j nc jp a j roo t m these our times, which is the
rast and over-spreading ambition and usurpation of
the see of Rome j for the Pope of Rome is, according
to his late challenges and pretences, become a com-
petitor and corrival with the King, for the hearts and
obediences of the King's subjects : he stands for it,
he sends over his love-tokens and brokers, under co-
lour of conscience, to steal and win away the hearts
and allegiances of the people, and to make them as
fuel ready to take fire upon any his commandments.

This is that yoke which this kingdom hath happily
cast off, even at such time when the popish religion was
nevertheless continued, and that divers states, which
are the Pope's vassals, do likewise begin to shake off.
supremacy, If therefore any person have maintained and ex-
treason, etc. tolled, the usurped authority of the bishop of Rome

oEHzcap.l. i i T" i i - i

Jesuits. within the King s dominions, by writing, preaching,
sjac.cap.4, or deed, advisedly, directly and maliciously ; or if any

Commission for the Verge. 389

person have published or put in use any of the Pope's
bulls or instruments of absolution; or if any person
have withdrawn, and reconciled, any of the King's
subjects from their obedience, or been withdrawn and
reconciled ; or if any subject have refused. the second
time to take the oath of supremacy lawfully tendred ;
or if any Jesuit or seminary come and abide within
this realm ; these are by several statutes made cases of
high treason, the law accounting these things as pre-
paratives, and the first wheels and secret motions of 28EUa r- 1 '
seditions and revolts from the King's obedience. Of
these you are to inquire, both of the actors and of their
abettors, comforters, receivers, maintainers ; and con- isEi.cap.s.
cealers, which in some cases are traitors, as well as the 23 EL cap. i.
principal, in some cases mprtfmunire, in some other, in
misprision of treason, which I will not stand to distin-
guish, and in some other, felony; as namely, that of the
receiving and relieving of Jesuits and priests ; the bring-
ing in and dispersing of Agnus Deis, crosses, pictures* AgmtiDeft.
or such trash, is likewise, pr&mnnire; and so is the
denial to take the oath of supremacy the first time.

And because in the disposition of a state to troubles Military
and perturbations, military men are most tickle and men -
dangerous ; therefore if any of the King's subjects go
over to serve in foreign parts, and do not first endure
the touch, that is, take the oath of allegiance ; or if
he have born office in any army, and do not enter into
bond with sureties as is prescribed, this is made fe-
lony ; and such as shall you inquire.

Lastly, because the vulgar people are sometimes led Prophecies,
with vain and fond prophecies ; if any such shall be
published, to the end to move stirs or tumults, this is
not felony, but punished by a year's imprisonment and
loss of goods: and of this also shall you inquire.

You shall likewise understand that the escape of any
prisoner committed for treason, is treason ; whereof
you are likewise to inquire.

Now come I to the third part of my division ; that The people,
is, those offences which concern the King's people, capital.
and are capital ; which nevertheless the law terms
offences against the crown, in respect of the protection

390 Judicial Charge upon the

that the King hath of his people, and the interest he
hath in them and their welfare ; for touch them, touch
the King. These offences are of three natures : the
first concerneth the conservation of their lives; the
second, of honour and honesty of their persons and
families ; and the third, of their substance.
Life. First for life. I must say unto you in general, that

life is grown too cheap in these times, it is set at the
price of words, and every petty scorn and disgrace
can have no other reparation ; nay so many mens lives
are taken away with impunity, that the very life of
the law is almost taken away, which is the execution ;
and therefore though we cannot restore the life of those
men that are slain, yet I pray let us restore the law to
her life, by proceeding with due severity against the
offenders ; and most especially this plot of ground,
which, as I said, is the King's carpet, ought not to be
stained with blood, crying in the ears of God and
the King. It is true nevertheless, that the law doth
make divers just differences of life taken away ; but
yet no such differences as the wanton humours and
braveries of men have under a reverend name of ho-
nour and reputation invented.

The highest degree is where such a one is killed,
unto whom the offender did bear faith and obedience ;
as the servant to the master, the wife to the husband,
the clerk to the prelate ; and I shall ever add, for so I
conceive of the law, the child to the father or the
mother; and this the law terms petty treason.

The second is, Where a man is slain upon fore-
thought malice, which the law terms murder; and it
is an offence horrible and odious, and cannot be
blanched, nor made fair, but foul.

The third is, Where a man is killed upon a sudden
heat or affray, whereunto the law gives some little fa-
vour, because a man in fury is not himself, ira furor
brevis, wrath is a short madness ; and the wisdom of
law in his Majesty's time hath made a sub-division of
the stab given, where the party stabbed is out of de-
fence, and had not given the first blow, from other

Commission for the Verge. 391

The fourth degree is, That of killing a man in the
party's own defence, or by misadventure, which though
they be not felonies, yet nevertheless the law doth not
suffer them to go unpunished : because it doth discern
some sparks of a bloody mind in the one, and of care-
lessness in the other.

And the fifth is, Where the law doth admit a kind
of justification, not by plea, for a man may not, that
hath shed blood, affront the law with pleading not
guilty ; but when the case is found by verdict, being
disclosed upon the evidence; as where a man in the
King's highway and peace is assailed to be murdered
or robbed , or when a man defending his house, which
is his castle, against unlawful violence ; or when a
sheriff or minister of justice is resisted in the execution
of his office ; or when the patient dieth in the chi-
rurgeon's hands, upon cutting or otherwise : for these
cases the law doth privilege, because of the necessity,
and because of the innocency of the intention.

Thus much for the death of man, of which cases
you are to inquire : together with the accessories be-
fore and after the fact.

For the second kind, which concerns the honour and Honesty of
chasteness of persons and families; you are to inquire life -
of the ravishment of women, of the taking of women
out of the possession of their parents or guardians against ijac.cap.ii,
their will, or marrying them, or abusing them ; of
double marriages, where there was not first seven years
absence, and no notice that the party so absent was
alive, and other felonies against the honesty of life.

For the third kind, which concerneth mens sub- substance,
stance, you shall inquire of burglaries, robberies, cut-
ting of purses, and taking of any thing from the per-
son : and generally other stealths, as well such as are
plain, as those that are disguised, whereof I will by
and by speak : but first I must require you to use dili-
gence in presenting especially those purloinings and
imbezlements, which are of plate, vessel, or whatso-
ever within the King's house. The King's house is
an open place; it ought to be kept safe by law, and
not by lock, and therefore needeth the more severity.

392 Judicial Charge upon the

28 E. \.Ar- Now for coloured and disguised robberies; I will
cfcr/"c?t. narne two or three of them : the purveyor that takes
33H*6* c 4 'i without warrant, is no better than a thief, and it is
21 His.'c.Y felony > The servant that hath the keeping of his
Majesty's goods, and going away with them, though
he came to the possession of them lawfully, it is fe-
lony. Of these you shall likewise inquire, principals
and accessories. The voluntary escape of a felon is
also felony.

The peopi-, F OR the last part, which is of offences concerning

not capital. , , . . , T -11

me people not capital, they are many : but 1 will
select only such as I think fittest to be remembered
unto you, still dividing, to give you the better light.
They are of four natures.

1. The first, is matter of force and outrage.

2. The second, matter of fraud and deceit.

3. Public nuisances and grievances.

4. The fourth, breach and inobservance of certain
wholesome and politic laws for government.

Force. J? or the first, you shall inquire of riots and unlawful

assemblies of forcible entries, and detainers with force;
and properly of all assaults of striking, drawing wea-
pon or other violence within the King's house, and
the precincts thereof: for the King's house, from
whence example of peace should flow unto the farthest
parts of the kingdom, as the ointment of Aaron's head
to the skirts of his garment, ought to be sacred and
i.iviolate from force and brawls, as well in respect of
reverence to the place, as in respect of danger of
greater tumult, and of ill example to the whole king-
dom ; and therefore in that place all should be full of
peace, order, regard, forbearance, and silence.

Besides open force, there is a kind of force that
cometh with. an armed hand, but disguised, that is no
less hateful and hurtful ; and that is, abuse and op-
pression by authority. And therefore you shall inquire
of all extortions, in officers and ministers ; as sheriffs,
bailiifs of hundreds, escheators, coroners, constables,
ordinaries, and others, who by colour ot office do poll
the people.

Commission for the Verge.

For frauds and deceits, I do chiefly commend to
your care the frauds and deceits in that which is the
chief means of all just contract and permutation, which
is, weights and measures; wherein, although God
hath pronounced that a false weight is an abomination,
yet the abuse is so common and so general, I mean of
weights, and I speak upon knowledge and late exa-
mination, that if one were to build a church, he should
need but false weights, and not seek them far, of the
piles of brass to make the bells, and the weights of
lead to make the battlements: and herein you are to
make special inquiry, whether the clerk of the market
within the verge, to whom properly it appertains, hath
done his duty.

For nuisances and grievances, I will for the present Nuisance,
only single out one, that ye present the decays ot high-
ways and bridges ; for where the Majesty of a King's
house draws recourse and access, it is both disgraceful
to the King, and diseaseful to the people, if the ways
near-abouts be not fair and good; wherein it is strange
to see the chargeable pavements and causeways in the
avenues and entrances of towns abroad beyond the
seas ; whereas London, the second city at the least of
Europe, in glory, in greatness, and in wealth, cannot
be discerned by the fairness of the ways, though a
little perhaps by the broadness of them, from a village.

Fot the last part, because 1 pass these things over Breach of
briefly, I will make mention unto you of three laws. statutes -

1. The one, concerning the King's pleasure.

2. The second, concerning the people's food.

3. And the third, concerning wares and manufac-

You shall therefore inquire of the unlawful taking Kin g ' Sp ia-
partridges and pheasants or fowl, the destruction of 8Ure>
the eggs of the wild-fowl, the killing of hares or deer,
and the selling of veaison or hares: for that which is
for exercise, and sport, and courtesv, should not be
turned to gluttony and sale victual.

You shall also inquire whether bakers and brewers Food,
keep their assize, and whether as well they as butchers,
innholders and victuallers, do bell that which is whole-

394 Judicial Charge upon the Commission, $V.

some, and at reasonable prices, and whether they do
link and combine to raise prices.

Manufao Lastly, you shall inquire whether the good statute
tures. be observed, whereby a man may have that he think-
eth he hath, and not be abused or mis-served in that
5Eiiz.c. 4. he buys: I mean that statute that requireth that none
use any manual occupation but such as have been
seven years apprentice to it ; which law being gene-
rally transgressed, makes the people buy in effect chaff
for corn ; for that which is mis-wrought will mis-wear.
There be many more things inquirable by you
throughout all the former parts, which it were over-
long in particular to recite. You may be supplied
either out of your own experience, or out of such
bills and informations as shall be brought unto you, or
upon any question that you shall demand of the court,
which will be ready to give you any farther direction
as far as is fit : but these which I have gone through,
are the principal points of your charge ; which to pre-
sent, you have taken the name of God to witness ;
and in the name of God perform it.

[ 395 ]










The Lord Sanquhar, a Scotch nobleman, having, in
private revenge, suborned Robert Carlile to murder
John Turner, master offence, thought, by his great-
ness, to have born it out; but the King, respecting
nothing so much as justice, would not suffer nobility
to be a shelter for villainy ; but, according to law,
on the 29th of June 1612, the said Lord Sanquhar,
having been arraigned and condemned, by the name
of Robert Creighton, Esq; TV as before Westminster-
hall Gate executed, where he died very penitent.
At ivhose arraignment my Lord Bacon, then Solici-
tor-General to King James, made this speech fol-
lowing :

IN this cause of life and death, the jury's part is in
effect discharged; for after a frank and formal confes-
sion, their labour is at an end: so that what hath been
said by Mr. Attorney, or shall be said by myself, is
rather convenient than necessary.

My lord Sanquhar, your fault is great, and cannot
be extenuated, and it need not be aggravated ; and if
it needed, you have made so full an anatomy of it out
of your own feeling, as it cannot be matched by my-
self, or any man else, out of conceit ; so as that part
of aggravation I leave. Nay, more, this Christian and
penitent course of yours draws me thus far, that I will

Charge against the Lord Sanquhar.

agree, in some sort extenuates it: for certainly, as
even in extreme evils there are degrees; so this parti-
cular of your offence is such, as though it be foul
spilling of blood, yet there are more foul: for if you
had sought to take away a man's life for his vineyard,
as Ahab did ; or for envy, as Cain did ; or to possess
his bed, as David did ; surely the murder had been
more odious.

Your temptation was revenge, which the more na-
tural it is to man, the more have laws both divine and
human sought to repress it; Mild vindicta. But in
one thing you and I shall never agree, that generous
spirits, you say, are hard to forgive : no, contrariwise,
generous and magnanimous minds are readiest to for-
give ; and it is a weakness and impotency of mind to
be unable to forgive ;

Corpora magnanimo satis est prostrassc leoni.

But howsoever murders may arise from several mo-
tives, less or more odious, yet the law both of God
and man involves them in one degree, and therefore
you may read that in Joab's case, which was a murder
upon revenge, and matcheth with your case ; he for a
dear brother, and you for a dear part of your own
body ; yet there was a severe charge given, it should
not be unpunished.

And certainly the circumstance of time is heavy
upon you: it is now five years since this unfortunate
man Turner, be it upon accident, or be it upon de-
spite, gave the provocation, which was the seed of
your malice. All passions are suaged with time :
love, hatred, grief; all fire itself burns out with time,
if no new fuel be put to it. Therefore for you to
have been in the gall of bitterness so long, and to have
been in a restless chace of this blood so many years,
is a strange example ; and I must tell you plainly,
that I conceive you have sucked those affections of
dwelling in malice, rather out of Italy, and outlandish
manners, where you have conversed, than out of any
part of this island, England or Scotland.

Charge against the Lord Sanquliar. , 397

But that which is fittest for me to spend time in, the
matter being confessed, is to set forth and magnify to
the hearers the justice of this day; first of God, and
then of the King.

My lord, you have friends and entertainments in
foreign parts ; it had been an easy thing for you to set
Carlile, or some other bloodhound on work, when your
person had been beyond the seas ; and so this news
might have come to you in a packet, and you might
have looked on how the storm would pass : but God
bereaved you of this foresight, and closed you here
under the hand of a King, that though abundant in
clemency, yet is no less zealous of justice.

Again, when you came in at Lambeth, you might
have persisted in the denial of the procurement of the
fact; Carlile, a resolute man, might perhaps have
cleared you, for they that are resolute in mischief, are
commonly obstinate in concealing the procurers, and
so nothing should have been against you but presump-
tion. But then also God, to take away all obstruction
of justice, gave you the grace, which ought indeed to
be more true comfort to you, than any device whereby
you might have escaped, to make a clear and plain

Other impediments there were, not a few, which
might have been an interruption to this day's justice,
had not God in his providence removed them.

But, now that I have given God the honour, let me
give it likewise where it is next due, which is, to the
King our sovereign.

This murder was no sooner committed, and brought
to his Majesty's ears, but his just indignation, where-
with he first was moved, cast itself into a great deal
of care and providence to have justice done. First
came forth his proclamation, somewhat of a rare form,
and devised, and in effect dictated by his Majesty him-
self; and by that he did prosecute the offenders, as it
were with the breath and blast of his mouth. Then
did his Majesty stretch forth his long arms, for Kings
have long arms when they will extend them, one
of them to the sea, where^ he took hold of Grey

Charge against Ike Lord Sanquhar.

shipped for Sweden, who gave the first light of testi-
mony ; the other arm to Scotland, and took hold of
Carlile, ere he was warm in his house, and brought
him the length of his kingdom under such safe watch
and custody, as he could have no means to escape, no
nor to mischief himself, no nor learn any lessons to
stand mute; in which cases, perhaps, this day's justice
might have received a stop. So that I may conclude
his Majesty hath shewed himself God's true lieute-
nant, and that he is no respecter of persons ; but the
English, Scotish, nobleman, fencer, are to him alike
in respect of justice.

Nay, I must say farther, that his Majesty hath had,
in this, a kind of prophetical spirit ; for what time
Carlile and Grey, and you, my lord, yourself, were
fled no man knew whither, to the four winds, the

Online LibraryFrancis BaconThe works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 4) → online text (page 33 of 46)