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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and a prince almost heroical, except it be in the point
of revolt from religion, at a time when he was as it
\vere to mount on horseback for the commanding of
the greatest forces that of long time had been levied
in France, this King likewise stillettoed by a rascal
votary, which had been enchanted and conjured for
the purpose.

In England, Queen Elizabeth, of blessed memory,
a Queen comparable to be ranked with the greatest
Kings, oftentimes attempted by like votaries, Sommer-
vile, Parry, Savage, and others, but still protected by
the watchman that slumbereth not. Again, our excel-
lent sovereign King James, the sweetness and cle-
mency of whose nature were enough to quench and
mortify all malignity, and a King shielded and sup-
ported by posterity; yet this King in the chair of Ma-
jesty, his vine and olive branches about him, attended
by his nobles and third estate in parliament ; ready in
the twinkling of an eye, as if it had been a particular
dooms-day, to have been brought to ashes, dispersed

Cl targe against William Talbot. 4 '2 3

to the four winds. I noted the last day, my lord chief
justice, when he spake of this powder treason, he la-
boured for words; though they came from hi:n \vilh
great efficacy, yet he truly confessed, and so must all
men, that that treason is above the charge and report
of any words whatsoever.

Now, my lords, I can-not let pass, but in these
glasses which I speak of, besides the facts themselves
and danger, to shew you two things ; the one, the
ways of God Almighty, which turneth the sword of
Rome upon the Kings that are the vassals of Rome,
and over them gives it power; but protecteth those
Kings which have not accepted the yoke of his tv-
ranny, from the effects of his malice : the other, that,
as I said at first, this is a common cause of Princes; it
involveth Kings of both religions ; and therefore his
Majesty did most worthily and prudently ring out the
alarm-bell, to awake all other Princes to think of it
seriously, and in time. But this is a miserable case
the while, that these Roman soldiers do either thrust
the spear into the sides of God's anointed, or at least
they crown them with thorns ; that is, piercing and
pricking cares and fears, that they can never be quiet
or secure of their lives or states. And as this peril is
common to Princes of both religions, so Princes of
both religions have been likewise equally sensible of
every injury that touched their temporals.

Thuanus reports in his story, that when the realm
of France was interdicted by the violent proceedings
of Pope Julius the second, the King, otherwise noted
for a moderate Prince, caused coins of gold to be
stamped with his own image, and this superscription,
Per dam noni en Baby Ion is terra. 'Of which Thuanus
saith, himself had seen divers pieces thereof. So as
this catholic King was so much incensed at that time,
in respect of the Pope's usurpation, as he did apply
Babylon to Rome. Charles the fifth, emperor, who
was accounted one of the Pope's best sons, yet pro-
ceeded in matter temporal towards Pope Clement with
strange rigour: never regarding the pontificality, but
kept him prisoner thirteen months in a pestilent prison;

42-4 Charge against William Talbot.

and was hardly dissuaded by his council from having
sent him captive into Spain ; and made sport with the
threats of Frosberg the German, who wore a silk rope
under his cassock, which he would shew in all com-
panies ; telling them that he carried it to strangle the
Pope with his own hands. As for Philip the fair, it is
the ordinary example, how he brought Pope Boniface
the eighth to an ignominious end, dying mad and en-
raged ; and how he stiled his rescript to the Pope's
bull, whereby he challenged his temporals, Sciatfa-
tuitas vestra, not your beatitude, but your stultitude;
a stile worthy to be continued in the like cases ; for
certainly that claim is mere folly and fury. As for
native examples here, it is too long a field to enter into
them. Never Kings of any nation kept the partition-
wall between temporal and spiritual better in times of
greatest superstition : I report me to King Edward I.
that set up so many crosses, and yet crossed that part
of the Pope's jurisdiction, no man more strongly. But
these things have passed better pens and speeches ;
here I end them.

But now to come to the particular charge of this
man, 1 must inform your lordships the occasion and
nature of this offence: There hath been published lately
to the world a work of Suarez a Portuguese, a Professor
in the university of Coimbra, a confident and daring
writer, such an one as Tully describes in derision ;
nihil tarn verens, quam ne dubitare aliqua de re vide-
retur : one that fears nothing but this, lest he should
seem to doubt of any thing. A fellow that thinks
with his magistracy and goose-quill to give laws and
rnenages to crowns and scepters. In this man's writ-
ing this doctrine of deposing or murdering Kings
seems to come to a higher elevation than heretofore;
and it is more arted and positived than in others.
For in the passages which your lordships shall hear
read anon, 1 find three assertions which run not in the
vulgar track, but are such as wherewith mens ears, as I
suppose, are not much acquainted -, whereof the first
is, That the Pope hath a superiority over Kings, as
subjects, to depose them ; not only for spiritual crimes,

Charge against William Talbol. 425

as heresy and schism, but for faults of a temporal na-
ture ; forasmuch as a tyrannical government tendeth
ever to the destruction of souls. So by this position,
Kings of either religion are alike comprehended, and
none exempted. The second, that after a sentence
given by the Pope, this writer hath defined of a series,
or succession, or substitution of hangmen, or hour-
reauxy to be sure, lest an executioner should fail.
For he saith, That when a King is sentenced by the
Pope to deprivation or death, the executioner, who is
first in place, is he to whom the Pope shall commit
the authority, which may be a foreign prince, it may
be a particular subject, it may be general, to the first
undertaker. But if there be no direction or as-
signation in the sentence special nor general, then, de
jure, it appertains to the next successor, a natural and
pious opinion ; for commonly they are sons, or bro-
thers, or near of kin, all is one : so as the successor
be apparent ; and also that he be a catholic. But if he
be doubtful, or that he be no catholic, then it devolves
to the commonalty of the kingdom ; so as he will be
sure to have it done by one minister or other. The
third is, he distinguished! of two kinds of tyrants, a
tyrant in title, and a tyrant in regiment; the tyrant in
regiment cannot be resisted or killed without a sen-
tence precedent by the Pope ; but a tyrant in title may
be killed by any private man whatsoever. By which
doctrine he hath put the judgment of Kings titles,
which I will undertake are never so clean but that
some vain quarrel or exception may be made unto
them, upon the fancy of every private man ; and also
couples the judgment and execution together, that he
may judge him by a blow, without any other sentence.

Your lordships see what monstrous opinions these
are, and how both these beasts, the beast with seven
heads, and the beast with many heads, Pope and peo-
ple, are at once let in, and set upon the sacred persons
of Kings.

Now to go on with the narrative ; there was an
extract made of certain sentences and portions of this
book, being of this nature that 1 have set forth, by a

Charge against William Talbot.

great prelate and counsellor, upon a just occasion ;
and there being some hollown-ess and hesitation in
these matters, wherein it is a thing impious to doubt,
discovered and perceived in Talbot; he was asked
his opinion concerning these assertions, in the presence
of the best : and afterwards they were delivered to
him, that upon advice, and sedato anifno, he might
declare himself. Whereupon, under his hand, he
subscribes thus;

May it please your honourable good lordships: Con-
ccrning this doctrine of Suarcz, I do perceive , by what
1 hare read in this book, that the same doth concern
Blatter of faith, the controversy growing upon exposi-
tion of Scriptures and councils, wherein, being ignorant
nr/d not studied, 1 cannot take upon me to judge ; but
J do submit my opinion therein to the. judgment of the
catholic Roman church, as in all other points concern-
ing fail h I do. And for matter concerning my loyalty,
I do acknowledge my Sovereign Liege Lord King
James, to be lawful and undoubted King of all the
kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland; and I
will bear true faith and allegiance to his Ilig/uiess
during my life.


My lords, upon these words I conceive Talbot hath
committed a great offence, and such a one. as if he
had entered into a voluntary and malicious publication
of the like writing, it would have been too great an
offence for the capacity of this court. But because
it grew by a question asked by a council of estate,
and so rather seemeth, in a favourable construction, to
proceed from a kind of submission to answer, than
from any malicious or insolent will ; it was fit, accord-
ing to the clemency of these times, to proceed in this
manner before your lordships: and yet let the hearers
take these things right ; for certainly, if a man be re-
quired by the council to deliver -his opinion whether
King James be King or no? and he deliver his opinion
that lie is not, this is high treason: but I do not say that

Charge against William Talbot.

these words amount to that; and therefore let me open
them truly to your lordships, and therein open also the
understanding of the offender himself, how far they

My lords, a man's allegiance must be independent
and certain, and not dependent and conditional. Eliza-
beth Barton, that was called the h )ly maid of Kent,
affirmed, that if King Henry VIII. did not take Catha-
rine of Spain again to his wife within a twelvemonth,
he should be no King: and this was treason. For
though this act be contingent and future, yet the pre-
paring of the treason is present.

And in like manner, if a man should voluntarily
publish or maintain, that whensoever a bull of depri-
vation shall come forth against the King, that from
thenceforth he is no longer King ; this is of like na-
ture. But with this I do not charge you neither ; but
this is the true latitude of your words, That if the
doctrine touching the killing of Kings be matter of
faith, then you submit yourself to the judgment of
the catholic Roman church : so as now, to do you
right, your allegiance doth not depend simply upon a
sentence of the Pope's deprivation against the King;
but upon another point also, if these of doctrines be
already, or shall be declared to be matter of faith.
But, my lords, there is little won in this : there may
be some difference to the guilt of the party, but there
is little to the danger of the King. For the same
Pope of Rome may, with the same breath, declare
both. So as still, upon the matter, the King is made
but tenant at will of his life and kingdoms; and the
allegiance of his subjects is pinned upon the Pope's
acts. And certainly, it is time to stop the current of
this opinion of acknowledgment of the Pope's power
in temper alibUS ; or else it will sap and supplant the
seat of Kings. And let it not be mistaken, that Mr.
Talbot's offence should be no more than the refusing
the oath of allegiance. For it is one thing to be si-
lent, and another thing to affirm. As for the point of
matter of faith, or not of faith, to tell your lordships
plain, it would astonish a man to see the gulf of this

428 Charge against William Talbot.

implied belief. Is nothing excepted from it? If a
man should ask Mr. Talbot, Whether he do condemn
murder, or adultery, or rape, or the doctrine of Ma-
homet, or of Arius, instead of Suarez? Must the
answer be with this exception, that if the question
concern matter of faith, as no question it doth, for
the moral law is matter of faith, that therein he will
submit himself to what the church shall determine ?
And, no doubt, the murder of princes is more than
simple murder. But to conclude, Talbot, I will do
you this right, and I will not be reserved in this, but
to declare that, that is true; that you came afterwards
to a better mind ; wherein, if you had been constant,
the King, out of his great goodness, was resolved not
to have proceeded with you in course of justice: but
then again you started aside like a broken bow. So
that by your variety and vascillation you lost the ac-
ceptable time of the first grace, which was not to
have con vented you.

Nay, I will go farther with you : your last submis-
sion I conceive to be satisfactory and complete ; but
then it was too late, the King's honour was upon it ;
it was published and a day appointed for hearing ; yet
what preparation that may be to the second grace of
pardon, that I know not : but I know my lords, out
of their accustomed favour, will admit you not only
to your defence concerning that that hath been charg-
ed ; but to extenuate your fault by any submission
that now God shall put into your mind to make.

[ 429 ]








Scandalizing and traducing in the Public Sessions,
Letters sent from the Lords of the Council touching
the Benevolence.


JL SHALL inform you ore tenns^ against this gentle-
man Mr. I. S. a gentleman, as it seems, of an ancient
house and name ; but, tor the present, I can think of
him by no other name, than the name of a great of-
fender. The nature and quality of his offence, in
sum, is this : This gentleman hath, upon advice, not
suddenly by his pen, nor by the slip of his tongue ;
not privately, or in a corner, but publicly, as it were,
to the face of the King's ministers and justices, slan-
dered and traduced the King our sovereign, the law
of the land, the parliament, and infinite particulars of
his Majesty's worthy and loving subjects. Nay, the
slander is of that nature, that it may seem to interest
the people in grief and discontent agninst the state ;
whence might have ensued matter of murmur and
sedition. So that it is not a simple slander, but a se-
ditious slander, like to that the poet speaketh of
Calamosqne armarc veneno. A venomous dart that
hath both iron and poison,

To open to your lordships the true state of this of-
fence, I will set before you, first the occasion where-

4 CO Charge against Mr. Oliver St. John.

upon Mr. I. S. wrought: then the offence itself in his
own words : and lastly, the points of his charge.

My lords, you may remember that there was the last
parliament an expectation to have had the King sup-
plied with treasure, although the event failed. Herein
it is not fit for me to give opinion of an house of par-
liament, but I will give testimony of truth in all
places. I served in the lower house, and I observed
somewhat. This I do affirm, that I never could per-
ceive but that there was in that house a general dis-
position to give, and to give largely. The clocks in
the house perchance might differ; some went too fast,
some went too slow; but the disposition to give was
general : so that I think I may truly say, solo tern fore
Lapsus amor.

This accident happening thus besides expectation, it
stirred up and awaked in divers of his Majesty's wor-
thy servants and subjects of the clergy, the nobility,
the court, and others here near at hand, an affection
loving and chearful, to present the King some with
plate, some with money, as free-will offerings, a thii>g
that God Almighty loves, a chearful giver: what an
evil eye doth 1 know not. And, my lords, let me
speak it plainly unto you : God forbid any body
should be so wretched as to think that the obligation
of love and duty, from the subject to the King, should
be joint and not several, No, my lords, it is both.
The subject petitioneth to the King in parliament.
He petitioneth likewise out of parliament. The King
on the other side gives graces to the subject in parlia-
ment : he gives them likewise, and poureth them
upon his people out of parliament ; and so no doubt
the subject may give to the King in parliament, and
out of parliament. It is true the parliament is inter-
curstts magmts, the great intercourse and main cur-
rent of graces and donatives from the King to the
people, from the people to the King: but parliaments
are held but at certain times; whereas the passages
are always open for particulars ; even as you see great
rivers have their tides, but particular springs and foun-
tains run continually.

Charge against Mr. Oliver St. John. 431

To proceed therefore : As the occasion, which was
the failing of supply by parliament, did awake the love
and benevolence of those that were at hand to give ;
so it was apprehended and thought fit by my lords of
the council to make a proof whether the occasion and
example both, would not awake those in the country
of the better sort to follow. Whereupon, their lord-
ships devised and directed letters unto the sheriffs and
justices, which declared what was done here above,
and wished that the country might be >moved, espe-
cially men of value.

Now, my lords, I beseech you give me favour and
attention to set forth and observe unto you five points:
I will number them, because other men may note
them ; and [ will but touch them, because they shall
not be drowned or lost in discourse, which I hold
worthy the observation, for the honour of the state and
confusion of slanderers ; whereby it will appear most
evidently what care was taken, that that which was
then done mi-ght not have the effect, no nor the shew,
no nor so much as tke shadow of a tax ; and that it
was so far from breeding or bringing in any ill pre-
cedent or example, as contrariwise it is a corrective
that doth correct and allay the harshness and danger
of former examples.

The fin:t is, that what was done was done imme-
diately after such a parliament, as made general pro-
fession to give, and was interrupted by accident : so as
you may truly and justly esteem it, tanquam posthuma
proles parliament i, as an alter-child of the parliament;
and in pursuit, in some small measure, of the first in-
tent of a parliament past. You may take it also, if you
will, as an advance or provisional help until a future
parliament ; or as a gratification simply without any
relation to a parliament ; you can no ways "take ii;

The second is, that it wrought upon example, as a
thing -not devised or projected, or required; no nor so.
much as recommended., until matly that were never
moved nor dealt with, ex mero molu, had freely and
frankly sent in their presents. So that the letters w<Ji

432 Charge against Mr. Oliver St. John.

rather like letters of news, what was done at London,
than otherwise : and we know exempla ducunt, iron
trahunt : examples they do but lead, they do not draw
nor drive.

The third is, that it was not done by commission
under the great seal ; a thing warranted by a multitude
of precedents, both ancient, and of late time, as you
shall hear anon, and no doubt warranted by law : so
that the commissions be of that stile and tenour, as that
they be to move and not to levy : but this was done
by letters of the council, and no higher hand or form.

The fourth is, that these letters had no manner of
shew of any binding act of state : for they contain not
any special frame or direction how the business should
be managed ; but were written as upon trust, leaving
the matter wholly to the industry and confidence of
those in the country ; so that it was an absque compoto ;
such a form of letters as no man could fitly be called
to account upon.

The fifth and last point is, that the whole carriage of
the business had no circumstance compulsory. There
was no proportion or rate set down, not so much as by
way of a wish ; there was no menace of any that should
deny; no reproof of any that did deny; no certifying
of the names of any that had denied. Indeed, if men
could not content themselves to deny, but that they
must censure and inveigh, nor to excuse themselves,
but they must accuse the state, that is another case.
But I say, for denying, no man was apprehended, no
nor noted. So that I verily think, that there is none so
subtle a disputer in the controversy of liberum arbi-
trium, that can with all his distinctions fasten or carp
upon the act, but that there was free-will in it.

J conclude therefore, my lords, that this was a true
and pure benevolence; not an imposition called a be-
nevolence, which the statute speaks of; as you shall
hear by one of my fellows. There is a great difference,
I tell you, though Pilate would not see it, between
Rex Judccorum and se dicens Regem Jiidccorum. And
there is a great difference between a benevolence and
an exaction called a benevolence, which the duke, of

Charge against Mr. Oliver St. John. 433

Buckingham speaks of in his oration to the city ; and
defineth it to be not what the subject of his good-will
would give, but what the King of his good-will would
take. But this, I say, was a benevolence wherein
every man had a prince's prerogative, a negative voice;
and this word, excuse moy, was a plea peremptory.
And therefore I do wonder how Mr. I. S. could foul
or trouble so clear a fountain ; certainly it was but his
own bitterness and unsound humours.

Now to the particular charge : Amongst other
countries, these letters of the lords came to the justices
of D shire, who signified the contents thereof, and
gave directions and appointments for meetings concern-
ing the business, to several towns and places within
that county : and amongst the rest, notice was given
unto the town of A. The mayor of A conceiving that
this Mr. I. S. being a principal person, and a dweller in
that town, was a man likely to give both money and
good example, dealt with him to know his mind : he
intending, as it seems, to play prizes, would give no
answer to the mayor in private, but would take time.
The next day then being an appointment of the justices
to meet, he takes occasion, or pretends occasion to be
absent, because he would bring his papers upon the
stage : and thereupon takes pen in hand, and instead
-of excusing himself, sits down and contrive th a sedi-
tious and libellous accusation against the King and
state, which your lordships shall -now hear, and sends
it to the mayor : and withal, because the feather of
his quill might fly abroad, he gives authority to the
mayor to impart it to the justices, if he so thought good.
And now, my lords, because I will not mistake or
mis-repeat, you shall hear the seditious libel in the
proper terms and words thereof.

[Here the papers were read.]

MY lords, I know this paper offends your ears much,
and the ears of any good subject ; and sorry 1 am that
the times should produce offences of this nature : but
since they do, I would be more sorry they should be
passed without severe punishment; \mi traditefactum,

VOL. IV, F f

Charge against Mr. Oliver St. John.

as the verse says, altered a little, aut si tradatls facti
qucque tradite poenam. If any man have a mind to
discourse of the fact, let him likewise discourse of the
punishment of the fact.

In this writing, my lords, there appears a monster
with four heads, of the progeny of him that is the father
of lyes, and takes his name from slander.

The first is a wicked and seditious slander ; or, if I
shall use the Scripture phrase, a blaspheming of the
King himself; setting him forth for a Prince perjured
in the great and solemn oath of his coronation, which
is as it were the knot of the diadem ; a Prince that
should be a violator and infringer of the liberties, laws,
and customs of the kingdom ; a mark for an Henry the
Fourth ; a match for a Richard the Second.

The second is a slander and falsification, and wresting
of the law of the land gross and palpable : it is truly said
by a civilian, Tortura legum pessima, the torture ot
laws is worse than the torture of men.

The third is a slander and false charge of the parlia-
ment, that they had denied to give to the King ; a point
of notorious untruth.

And the last is a slander and taunting of an infinite
number of the King's loving subjects, that have given
towards this benevolence and free contribution; charg-
ing them as accessary and co-adjutors to the King's

Online LibraryFrancis BaconThe works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 4) → online text (page 36 of 46)