Page images
PDF
EPUB

or to ftep into fome other Courfe. So as I am more free than ever I was from any Occafion of unworthy_conforming myself to you, more than general Good-manners, or your particular good. Ufage fhall provoke; and if you had not been fhort-fighted in your own Fortune (as I think) you might have had more Ufe of me; but that Tide is paft. I write not this to fhew any Friends what a brave Letter I have writ to Mr. Attorney; I have none of thofe Humours: but that I have written is to a good End, that is, to the more decent Carriage of my Mafter's Service, and to our particular better understanding one another. This Letter, if it fhall be answered by you in Deed, and not in Word, I fuppofe it will not be worfe for us both; else it is but a few Lines loft, which. for a much fmaller Matter I would adventure.. So this being to yourself, I for my Part reft

Your &c.

FR. BACON.

LETTER XVI.

To the SAME, when Lord Chief Justice in difgrace.

My very good Lord,

Hough it be true, that who confidereth the Wind and the Rain, shall neither fow nor reap, Ecclef. ix. 15. yet there is a Seafon for every Action. And fo there is a Time to fpeak, and a Time to keep filence; there is a Time when the Words of a poor fimple Man may profit; and that poor Man in the Preacher which delivered the City by his Wifdom, found; that without this Opportunity,

[ocr errors]

portunity, the Power both of Wisdom and Elo-quence lofe but their Labour, and cannot charm: the deaf Adder. God therefore, before his Son that bringeth Mercy, fent his Servant the Trum peter of Repentance, to level a very high Hill, to prepare the Way before him, making it smooth and ftreight. And as it is in fpiritual Things, where Christ never comes before his Way-maker hath laid even the Heart with Sorrow and Repentance; fince felf-conceited and proud Persons think themselves too good and too wife to learn of their Inferior, and therefore need not the Phyfi cian: fo in the Rules of earthly Wisdom, it is not poffible for Nature to attain any Mediocrity of Perfection, before she be humbled by knowing herfelf and her own Ignorance. Not only Knowledge, but also every other Gift (which we call: the Gift of Fortune) have Power to pull up earthIv- -Afflictions only level thefe Molehills of Pride, plough the Heart, and make it fit for Wifdom to fow her Seed, and for Grace to bring forth her Increase. Happy is that Man therefore, both in regard of heavenly and earthly Wisdom, that is thus wounded, to be cured; thus broken, to be made straight; thus made acquainted with his own Imperfections, that he may be perfected.

Suppofing this to be the time of your Affliction, that which I have propounded to myself is, by tak ing this seasonable Advantage, like a true Friend (though far unworthy to be counted fo) to fhew you your true Shape in a. Glafs, and that not in a false one to flatter you, nor yet in one that should make you feem worse than you are, and fo offend you; but in one, made by the Reflection of your own Words and Actions, from whofe Light proceeds the Voice of the People, which is often not unfitly

unfitly called the Voice of God. But therein (fince I purposed a Truth) I must intreat liberty to be plain, a Liberty at this time I know not whether or no I may ufe fafely; I am fure at other times I could not yet of this refolve yourself, it proceedeth from Love, and a true Defire to do you good; that you, knowing the general Opinion, may not altogether neglect or contemn it, but mend what you find amifs in yourself, and retain what your Judgment fhall approve; for to this end shall Truth be delivered as naked as if yourself were to be anatomized by the Hand of Opinion. All Men can see their own Profit; that Part of the Wallet hangs before. A true Friend (whofe worthy Office I would perform, fince I fear both yourself and all great Men want fuch, being themselves true Friends to few or none) is firft to fhew the other, and which is from your Eyes.

your

First therefore behold your Errors. In Difcourfe you delight to speak too much, not to hear other Men; this fome fay becomes a Pleader, not a Judge. For by this fometimes Affections are intangled with a Love of your own Arguments, though they be the weaker; and rejecting of thofe, which when your Affections were fetled, your own Judgment would allow for ftrongeft. Thus while you speak in your own Element, the Law, no Man ordinarily equals you; but when you wander (as you often delight to do) you then wander indeed, and give never fuch Satisfaction as the curious Time requires. This is not caused by any natural Defect, but firft for want of Election, when you, having a large and fruitful Mind, fhould not fo much labour what to fpeak, as to find what to leave unspoken, Rich Soils are often to be weedcd.

Secondly,

Secondly, you cloy your Auditory, when you would be obferved. Speech must either be fweet or fhort.

Thirdly, you converfe with Books, not Men, and Books fpecially Humane, and have no excellent Choice with Men, who are the beft Books for a Man of Action and Imployment you seldom converse with, and then but with your Underlings; not freely, but as a Schoolmafter with his Scholars, ever to teach, never to learn. But if fometimes you would in your familiar Difcourfe hear others, and make election of fuch as know what they fpeak, you should know many of these Tales you tell to be but ordinary, and many other things which you delight to repeat, and ferve in for Novelties, to be but ftale. As in your Pleadings you were wont to infult over Mifery, and to inveigh bitterly at the Perfons (which bred you many Enemies whofe Poifon yet fwelleth, and the Effects now appear,) fo are you ftill wont to be a little careless in this Point to praise or difpraise upon flight Grounds, and that fometimes untruly, fo that your Reproofs or Commendations are for the most part neglected and contemned; when the Cenfure of a Judge (coming flow but fure) should be a Brand to the Guilty, and a Crown to the Virtuous. You will jeft a Man in Public, without refpect to the Perfon's Dignity, or your own. This difgraceth your Gravity more than it can advance the Opinion of your Wit; and fo do all Actions which we fee you do directly with a Touch of Vain-glory, having no Respect to the true End. You make the Law to lean too much to your Opinion, whereby you fhew yourself to be a legal Tyrant, ftriking with that Weapon where you please, fince you are able to turn the Edge any

way.

way. For thus the wife Master of the Law gives warning to young Students, that they should be wary, left while they hope to be inftructed by your Integrity and Knowledge, they should be deceived with your Skill, armed with Authority. Your too much Love of the World is too much feen, when having the Living of 10000l. you relieve few or none. The Hand that hath taken fo much, can it give fo little? Herein you fhew no Bowels of Compaffion, as if you thought all too little for yourself; or that God had given you all that you have (if you think Wealth to be his Gift, I mean that you get well, for I know fure the reft is not) only to that End you should still gather more, and never be fatisfied, but try how much you could gather, to account for all at the great and general Audit-day. We defire you to amend this, and let your poor Tenants in Norfolk find fome Comfort, where nothing of your Eftate is fpent towards their Relief, but all brought up hither, to the impoverishing of your Country.

In your last, which might have been your best piece of Service to the State, affectioned to follow that old Rule which giveth Juftice leaden Heels and iron Hands, you afed too many Delays, till the Delinquent's Hands were loofed, and yours bound. In that Work you feemed another Fabius; here the Humour of Marcellus would have done better. What needed you have fought more Evidences. than enough? while you pretended the finding out of more (mifling your aim) you difcredited what . you had found. This beft Judgments think, though you never ufed fuch Speeches as are fatherupon you, yet you might well have done it, and but righly: for this Crime was fecond to none but the Powder-plot; That would have blown up

ed

all

« EelmineJätka »