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out; make it Essex, or the late Earl of Essex." thus amended, it still remains "the most gentle and moderate State Paper ever published in any kingdom.”
There was a sumptuousness-or, shall we say, a sensuousness-in Bacon's intellectual nature which was keenly responsive to the beauty of form and colour. He delighted in the bloom and fragrance of flowers, in the harmonies of sweet music, the richness of rare tapestries, and gems, and marbles, and the glory of a well-ordered garden, with its murmur of fountains and shade of cedar alleys. When he sought a wife, be looked, therefore, for comeliness of person as well as the graces of an accomplished mind. For, as he himself says, with his usual rhythm of language : “Beauty is as summer fruits, which are easy to corrupt, and cannot last; and, for the most part, it makes a dissolute youth, and an age a little out of countenance; but yet certainly again, if it light well, it maketh virtues shine and vices blush."
Writing to Sir Robert Cecil, he says : “I have found an alderman's daughter, a handsome maiden, to my liking.” This was Alice Barnham, the daughter of Alderman Benedict Barnham and Dorothy his wife. Mistress Dorothy, about 1603, had become a widow, but being beautiful, accomplished, and ambitious, she aimed at making a second marriage which should give her rank and social position. She obtained her desire, wedding Sir John Pakington, of Hampton Court. Her ambition expanded farther, and she looked out for a splendid match for her lovely daughter. When Bacon presented himself, she by no means encouraged his suit; and it was not until he had won a knight's spurs from James I. (21st July, 1603), had distinguished himself as a debater in the House of Commons, and burst upon the world with his great work on “ The Advancement of Learning," that Dame Pakington could be induced to yield her assent.
And then the marriage-day was named—10th May, 1606. Of the festivities which graced it, a vivid picture has been sketched by Mr. Hepworth Dixon :
“Feathers and lace lighted up the rooms in the Strand (where Sir John Pakington, the bride's step-father resided). Cecil (Sir Robert] was invited to come over from Salisbury House and taste the feast; but the hunchback earl would not cross the street. Three of his gentlemen—Sir Walter Cope, Sir Baptist Hicks, and Sir Hugh Baston-hard drinkers, and men about town, struted over in his stead, flaunting in their swords and plumes; yet the prodigal bridegroom, sumptuous in his tastes as in his genius, clad in a suit of Genoese velvet, purple from cap to shoe, outbraved them all. The bride was richly dight; her whole dowry, as her guests observed, seeming to be piled on her in cloth of silver and ornaments of gold. The wedding rite was performed at St. Marylebone Chapel, two miles from the Strand, among the lanes and suburbs winding towards the foot of Hampstead Hill. Who that is blessed with sympathy or poetry cannot see how that glad and shining party rode to the rural church on the sunny 10th of May? How the girls would laugh, and Sir John would joke, as they wound through lanes then white with thorn and the bloom of pears? How the bridesmaids scattered rosemary, and the groomsmen struggled for the kiss? Who cannot imagine that dinner in the Strand, though Salisbury would not come over to Sir John's lodging to kiss the bride? We know that the wit must have been good, for Bacon was there; we may trust Sir John for the quality of his wine. Alice brought to her husband two hundred and twenty pounds a-year, with a further claim, on her mother's death, of one hundred and forty pounds a-year. As Lady Pakington long outlived Bacon, that increase never came into his hands. Two hundred and twenty pounds a-year was his wife's whole fortune. What was not spent in lace and satin for her bridal dress he allowed her to invest for her separate use. From his own estate he settled on her five hundred pounds a-year.”
I am unable to see that such a match deserves the epithet of “ mercenary” which Bacon's calumniators have applied to it. With more justice, I fear, it may be styled “unhappy.” There was no scandal, no open rupture ; but the alderman's daughter cannot have been a "helpmeet” for a man like Bacon. At all events, it is impossible to ignore the significance of the fact that Bacon, in a codicil to his will, revoked “for just and great causes" all previous bequests to his wife, and left her nothing but her marriage settlement.
When James I. ascended the English throne in 1603, Sir Francis Bacon did not fail to address himself to the new sovereign and the new sovereign's favourites, in the hope of obtaining a share of the royal patronage.
This is the manner of his appeal to the pedantic taste of Buchanan's pupil :
“It is observed,” he began, “by some upon a place in the Canticles, Ego sum flos campi et lilium convallium,* but, a dispari, it is not said, Ego sum flos horti et lilium montium, * because the majesty of that person is not enclosed for a few, nor appropriated to the great. And, therefore, most high and mighty king, my most dear and dread sovereign lord, I think there is no subject of your Majesty's which loveth this island, and is not hollow and unworthy, whose heart is not set on fire not only to bring you peace-offerings to make you propitious, but to sacrifice himself a burnt-offering or holocaust to your Majesty's service.”
* I am the flower of the field, and the lily of the valley. + I am the flower of the garden, and the lily of the mountain.
Bacon's keen estimate of his royal master's character we gather from a confidential letter which he wrote to the Earl of Northumberland :
“His speech is swift and cursory, and in the full dialect of his country; in speech of business, short; in speech of discourse, large. He affecteth popularity by gracing such as he hath heard to be popular, and not by any fashions of his own. He is thought somewhat general in his favours, and his virtue of access is rather because he is much abroad and in fears than that he giveth easy audience. He hasteneth to a mixture of both kingdoms faster than policy will well bear. I told your lordship once before that methought His Majesty rather asked counsel of the time past than of the time to come; but it is yet early to ground any settled opinion.”
Cecil and Bacon were now allies if not friends, and at the instigation of the former, Bacon received, as we have already stated, the honour (if such it were) of knighthood. He desired it simply to gratify the alderman's daughter, who wished to be known as “Dame Alice Bacon.” Soon afterwards, in order to silence effectually the slanderous tongues of his many enemies, he published his remarkable “Apology of Sir Francis Bacon in certain imputations concerning the late Earl of Essex ;” a noble piece of selfvindication (as it appears to us), absolutely candid and straightforward, which, as it was certainly accepted by his contemporaries, should hardly be denied by posterity.
In the House of Commons, where he now sat for the borough of Ipswich, his influence rapidly increased. He was the most powerful debater within its walls; while the largeness of his views gave a peculiar dignity and value to his eloquent speeches. He lent a hearty support to the king's favourite project of the Union of England and Scotland, while he did not scruple to maintain bis independence of action by exposing the numerous defects which existed in every department of the administration. Such a man could no longer be neglected, and in 1607 he became solicitor-general. This office he held for six years.
Though its duties were arduous, and his practice at the bar had largely increased, he found time to enrich the literature of his country with the logic of his “
Cogitata et Visa,” and the wit and fancy of his “De Sapientia Velerum." He was active also in his support of the companies of adventurers at whose risk English colonies were settled in Newfoundland and Virginia. Nor did he neglect any opportunity of selfadvancement. In order to secure his promotion to the attorney-generalship when a vacancy occurred, he wrote to King James the following characteristic letter :
“It MAY PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY,—Your great and princely favours towards me in advancing me to place, and, that which is to me of no less comfort, your Majesty's benign and gracious acceptation from time to time of my poor services, much above the merit and value of them, both almost brought me to an opinion that I may sooner, perchance, be wanting to myself in not asking, than find your Majesty wanting to me in any very reasonable and modest desires. And, therefore, perceiving how at this time preferments of law fly about mine ears, to some above me and to some below me, I did conceive your Majesty may think it rather a kind of dulness or want of faith, than modesty, if I should not come with my pitcher to Jacob's well as other do. Wherein I shall propound to your Majesty that which tendeth not so much to the raising of my fortune as to the settling of my mind; being sometimes assailed with this cogitation, that by reason of my slowness to see and apprehend sudden occasions, keeping in one plain course of painful service, I may, in fine dicrum, be in danger to be neglected and forgotten, and if that should be, then were it much better for me