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casting reflections on a deceased friend, entitled him, he might have claimed it. The people were so clamorous even against the Queen herself on the death of Essex, that it was thought necessary to vindicate the conduct of the administration. This was assigned to Bacon, which brought on him universal censure, nay his very life was threatened. Upon the accession of King James, he was soon raised to considerable honours; and wrote in favour of the union of the two kingdoms of Scotland and England, which the king so passionately desired. In 1616, he was sworn of the privy-council. He then applied himself to the reducing and recomposing the laws of England. He distinguished himself, when attorneygeneral, by his endeavours to restrain the custom of duels, then very frequent: and, in 1617, was appointed lord keeper of the great seal. In 1618, he was made lord chancellor of England, and created Lord Verulam. In the midst of these honours and applauses, and multiplicity of business, he forgot not his philosophy; but, in 1620, published his great work entitled Novum Organum. We find by several letters of his, that he thought convening of parliaments was the best expedient for the king and people. In 1621, he was advanced to the dignity of Viscount St. Albans, and appeared with the greatest splendour at the opening of the session of parliament. But he was soon after surprised with a melancholy reverse of fortune. For, about the 12th of March, a committee of the house of commons was appointed to inspect the abuses of the courts of justice. The first thing they fell upon was bribery and corruption, of which the lord chancellor was accused. For that very year
complaints being made to the house of commons of his lordship's having received bribes, those complaints were sent up to the house of lords; and new ones being daily made of a like nature, things soon grew too high to be got over. The King found it was impossible to save both his chancellor, who was openly accused of corruption, and Buckingham, his favourite, who was secretly and therefore more dangerously attacked as the encourager of whatever was deemed most illegal and oppressive. He therefore forced the former to abandon his defence, giving him positive advice to submit himself to his peers, and promising upon his princely word to screen him in the last determination, or, if that could not be, to reward him afterwards with ample retribution of favour. The chancellor, though he foresaw his approaching ruin if he did not plead for himself, resolved to obey; and the house of peers, on the 3d of May, 1631, gave judgment against him, "That he should be fined 40,000l. and remain prisoner in the tower during the King's pleasure; that he should for ever be incapable of any office, place, or employment, in the state or commonwealth; and that he should never sit in parliament, or come within the verge of the court." The fault which, next to his ingratitude to Essex, thus tarnished the glory of this illustrious man, is said to have principally pro ceeded from an indulgence to his servants, who made a corrupt use of it. One day, during his trial, passing through a room where several of his domestics were sitting, upon their rising up to salute him, he said, "Sit down, my masters; your rise hath been my fall." Stephens, p. 54. And we are told by Rushworth in his
historical collections, "That he treasured up nothing for himself or family, but was over-indulgent to his servants, and connived at their takings, and their ways betrayed him to that error; they were profuse and expensive, and had at their command whatever he was master of. The gifts taken were for the most part for interlocutory orders; his decrees were generally made with so much equity, that though gifts rendered him suspected for injustice, yet never any decree made by him was reversed as unjust." It was peculiar to this great man (say the authors of the Biogr. Brit.) to have nothing narrow and selfish in his composition: he gave away without concern whatever he possessed; and believing other men of the same mould, he received with as little consideration. He retired, after a short imprisonment, from the engagements of an active life, to which he had been called much against his genius, to the shade of a contemplative one, which he had always loved. The King remitted his fine, and he was summoned to parliament in the first year of King Charles I. It appears from the works composed during his retirement, that his thoughts were still free, vigorous, and noble. The last five years of his life he devoted wholly to his studies. In his recess he composed the greatest part of his English and Latin works. He expired on the 9th of April, 1626; and was buried in St. Michael's church at St. Albans, according to the direction of his last will, where a monument was erected to him by Sir Thomas Meautys, formerly his secretary, and afterward clerk of the privy council under two kings. A complete edition of this great man's works was published at London in the year 1740. Addison has said of him,
"That he had the sound, distinct, comprehensive knowledge of Aristotle, with all the beautiful light graces and embellishments of Cicero." The honourable Mr. Walpole calls him the Prophet of Arts, which Newton was afterwards to reveal; and adds, that his genius and his works will be universally admired as long as science exists. "As long as ingratitude and adulation are despicable, so long shall we lament the depravity of this great man's heart. Alas! that he who could command immortal fame, should have stooped to the little ambition of power." And another great character further says, "The faculties of his mind were great and happily united; for his imagination, memory and reason were all extraordinary. He was indefatigable in study, and found himself better turned for that than any thing else; as having a mind quick and ready to perceive the correspondence of things; fixed and intent to discover their nicer differences; and this joined with a love of equity; a patience of doubting; a pleasure in contemplation; a backwardness in assenting; a readiness in acknowledging an error; and a scrupulous exactness in disposing and methodizing; at the same time neither affecting novelty, nor adoring antiquity; but hating all kinds of imposture and delusion.
"To consider him in his philosophical capacity, history scarce affords us a proper philosopher wherewith to compare him.
"Plato and Aristotle were men of a different cast; they did not pay so great a regard to truth and utility; nor instructed mankind so justly; nor opened the hidden veins of science so successfully; nor taught the art of philosophical invention so happily as Lord Bacon."
TO MR. ANTHONY BACON,
HIS DEAR BROTHER.
LOVING and beloved brother, I do now like some that have an orchard ill neighboured, that gather their fruit before it is ripe, to prevent stealing. These fragments of my conceits were going to print: to labour the stay of them had been troublesome, and subject to interpretation; to let them pass had been to adventure the wrong they might receive by untrue copies, or by some garnishment which it might please any that should set them forth to bestow upon them; therefore I held it best discretion to publish them myself, as they passed long ago from my pen, without any further disgrace than the weakness of the author; and as I did ever hold, there might be as great a vanity in retiring and withdrawing men's conceits, (except they be of some