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Spedding has undertaken, namely, "a careful collation of all existing manuscripts,"* and, secondly, to pass in review a specimen of the value of the work done by the Historical Manuscript Com.


We commence with his boyhood. An interesting discovery of a curious letter among the manuscripts of the Corporation of St. Albans, written by John Thomas, a native of Bois-le-duc, in Holland, and, at that time, Master of the Grammar School of St. Albans, has opened up the obscure question of his early education. Those who have studied his writings and traced step by step, the progress of his mind, as it gradually unfettered itself from the trammels of the scholiast philosophy, deem the most plausible account of his early education to be, that he received it at the hands of his accomplished mother; and that, like Swift, Goldsmith, Gibbon, Adam Smith and others, he felt himself incapable of submitting to any systematic course of study. From the discovery of this letter, however, written in 1583, Mr. Riley thinks it is worth while suggesting whether John Thomas may not have owed his appointment to Sir Nicholas Bacon, and have been one of the early instructors of the young Francis. Sir Nicholas is known to have interested himself in the school; and in confirmation of this there is a patent in Latin, bearing date 24th March, in the 12th year of Queen Elizabeth (A.D. 1570), whereby, at the request of the lord keeper of the Great Seal, "for the relief and sustentation" of the schoolmaster and grammar school, she grants to the mayor and Burgesses the liberty of licensing two taverns for the sale of wine; they to receive, in behalf of the school, the sums due for such licence.† Though the report does not mention the name of this schoolmaster, there is no doubt it was the same John Thomas, and the date proves him to have been there when Bacon was nine years of age, and three years before he went to Cambridge. On the monument of this John Thomas, still to be seen at the Abbey Church, it is stated that his scholars were a company of generous birth-generosa cohors-and it certainly does not seem improbable that Bacon should have the first yearnings of his great intellect tutored by the experience of a man who had nothing in common with the scholiast, who had been a teacher of eminence in France, Belgium, and Ireland, who had been driven away from his native land most likely for his opinions or writings, and who, if he knew other languages as well as he wrote English, would have been just such a man who would be likely to influence the mind of the young boy whose giant intellect so soon began to develop itself.‡

Fifth Report, page 565.

* Preface to Mr. Spedding's Edition.
Vide Fifth Report, p. 566, where the letter in question is given in full.

As we pass away into the active life of Bacon's manhood, the evidence which the reports give may be divided into two principal groups, personal and political. Of the documents relating to what I have termed personal matters, may be classed those which have reference to his connection with the favourites of the two monarchs whom he served-the Earl of Essex and the Duke of Buckingham; and, when his political career had drawn to its close, those which reveal his character as the falling and fallen statesman. It will be scon that it is more convenient to note the political documents first; and let it be here observed that this arbitrary division is not one of my own, but one which I deem will be more applicable to the present controversy than a strictly chronological arrangement.

Strictly speaking, his official career does not commence until James had ascended the throne, and his services were commanded in the famous Gunpowder Plot. An interesting bundle of papers, belonging to W. Phelps, Esq., of Montacute House, Somersetshire, the descendant of Sir Edward Phillips, Speaker of the House of Commons in the reign of James the First, and Bacon's great enemy, reveals many secrets of this great plot which, says the reporter, have never been used in any printed account. Sir Francis Bacon was appointed one of the Commissioners during the year 1605, and we see his usual activity displayed by his signature to the depositions of the prisoners, a specimen of which is given in the first report.*

It was not, however, until 1607, the year he was appointed Solicitor-General, that he got his foot on the first rounds of the ladder of office-to use the words of Professor Craik. The terrible Court of Star Chamber is inseparably connected with Bacon's name, as the witness" to the degradation of his own mind;" first, from his oppressive actions as the principal lawyer of the crown; and, secondly, after his great fall, when he found time to wield his pen in the cause by which he had fallen so low, and to descant on "one of the safest and noblest institutions of this kingdom."+

The valuable Hatton collection (first report, pp. 14 to 34), of course, contains much that is pertinent to Bacon. We find mention of several of his speeches in the great trials wherein he was concerned for the government. The collection belonging to the Duke of Northumberland (third report, page 61) contains some valuable notes, taken apparently at the time of the proceedings in the Star Chamber, which, upon examination, would doubtless throw much light upon the transactions in this court. Among the

First Report, page 58, and Third Report, page 281.

We find this passage in his History of Henry VII., and Hallam's view of the growth and jurisdiction of this court is not in any way influenced by hostility to Bacon. -Hallam's England (Murray's reprint), vol i. page 53,

cases in which Sir Francis Bacon is directly named may be mentioned the celebrated one of Lord Sanquier, for procuring the murder of an English fencing master. There exists a copy of his speech at the arraignment in the Hatton collection (i. 31); another copy is in the possession of the Marquis of Westminster (iii. 212); and a third in the possession of the Duke of Devonshire (ili. 43).* In the year 1612, he was engaged in a charge touching duels, upon an information in the Star Chamber against two persons named Prieste and Wright; and his speech, together with the decree of the Star Chamber in the same cause, is to be found among the manusccipts of Lieutenant-Colonel Carew (iv. 374), and the Duke of Bedford, at Woburn (ii.[2). So valuable was this speech considered, that in 1614 it was published as an exposition of the law upon duels, under which date Mr. Spedding has included a copy in his work.+

A writer in "Notes and Queries," for June, 1873, asks if the suspicion that Bacon effectually hindered benevolent intentions with reference to Sutton's hospital is well founded. Mr. Spedding has printed Bacon's advice to the King, which, he says, was altogether independent and prior to the case argued in the Court of Exchequer in 1613; and the Marquis of Westminster possesses a copy of "Bacon's Opinion to King James touching the employment of Sutton's Hospital." It is curious to note also, that LieutenantColonel Carew has among his papers relating to this period a list of the Governors of Sutton's Hospital.||

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Mr. Spedding differs from Hallam as to the remarkable circumstances attending the murder of Overbury, and the documents which the reports have on this case consist of (1) The arraignment of Richard Weston, yeoman, at the Guildhall of London, 19th October, 1615 (sic.) for the poysoning of Sir Thomas Overbury, knight, prisoner in the Tower. Begins: The Commissioners were the Lord Cook Ends: He was condemned, and the next after at Tyburn to be executed, 25th October, 1615.§ (2) Notes taken at the arraignment of the Earl of Somerset, dated 24th September, 1613.¶ (3) The charge, by way of evidence, of Sir Francis Bacon, A.G., before the Lord High Steward and the Peers, against Frances, Countess of Somerset, concerning the poysoning of Overbury.** (4) History of King James, &c.-The Historie of Actiones Done in England aboute the Beginninge of the Raigne of Kinge James, written and sett forth by an unknown Author concerninge Essex, Carr, Northampton, and Overburye.†† But what, perhaps, is the most important is a contemporary letter,

* Spedding's edition, vol. xi, iv., 371. Lord de Tabley, i. 47.

iii. 215.

† Vol. xi. Duke of Northumberland, iii. 62.

** Lieut. Col. Carew, iv. 374. ++ Old Mostyn Cat. : Lord Mostyn, iv. 361.

dated 13th October, 1615, from Rowland White, at London, to the Bishop of Bangor, belonging to J. R. Ormesby Gore, Esq.*

Among the other cases in which Bacon takes a part are, first, that of Whitelocke-Mr. Spedding's edition of Bacon's charge in this case is incomplete, and the charge and account of proceedings at the trial, belonging to the Duke of Devonshire (iii. 43), may be useful in completing this document; and, secondly, the charge against Owen, indited of high treason, in the collection of Colonel Carew (iv. 374), of which Mr. Spedding has printed the rough copy imperfect, and the fair copy also imperfect.


*Given in full at ii. 87.

To be continued.



VALOUR from the battle-field,

Come, with helm and spear, and shield,
Come, and let thy shadow fall
On the cottage-hearth and hall.
Tread the city's winding streets,
Wing the way o'er Britain's fleets;
Let the soldier feel thy breath,
Onward marching to the death;
Tarry by the volunteer,
Till he envy thee thy spear;
Yeoman, too, will dauntless ride,
When they've valour for their guide.
O'er the valley, hill, and glade,
Strike thy shield and lift thy blade;
Thrid the copse and tangled dell,
Let each leaflet feel thy spell,
Every bud and flower that springs,
Know the charm which valour brings.

Stand on Snowdon's highest steep,
So that winds may by thee sweep,
And the breezes all declare,
"Valour leads where men will dare."
Circle round from shore to shore,
Pass and compass all once more,
Touch the noble with thy spear,
Whisper in the peasant's ear,
Stir the crowd till loud their cries,
Where the pillared arches rise,
For the battles hardly won,
Doughty deeds by Britons done;
Lift the latch where mother's be,
With their boys beside their knee;
So fire their souls that each shall cry,
"Valour bids thee do or die.
Front where dangers thick wing rise,
Front thy country's enemies;
See, my son! 'tis Valour's shield;
Onward press but never yield."

Hear me, Valour! Rouse the land,
From the mountain to the strand,
Teaching all who would be free
They must link their hearts to thee.

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