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sense wish, that women shoul! Se highly edu- changed, their relative value, when compared cated, speak with rapture of the English ladies with the whole mass of mental wealth possess. of the sixteenth century, and lament that they ed by mankind, has been constantly falling. can find no modern damsel resembling those They were the intellectual all of our ancestors. fair pupils of Ascham and Aylmer who com- They are but a part of our treasures. Over pared, over their embroidery, the styles of Iso- what tragedy could Lady Jane Grey have wepi, crates and Lysias, and who, while the horns over what comedy could she have smiled, if were sounding and the dogs in full cry, sat in the ancient dramatists had not been in her the lonely oriel, with eyes riveted to that library? A modern reader can make shirt immortal page which tells how meekly and without Edips and Medea, while he pos. bravely the first great martyr of intellectual sesses Othello and Hamlet. If he knows noliberty took the cup from his weeping jailer. thing of Pyrgopolynices and Thraso, he is fa. But surely these coinplaints have very little miliar with Bobadil, and Bessus, and Pistol, foundation. We would by no means dispa- and Parolles. If he cannot enjoy the delicious rage the 'adies of the sixteenih century or their irony of Plato, he may find some compensation pursuits But we conceive that those who in that of Pascal. If he is shut out from Ne. extol them at the expense of the women of phelococcygia, he may take refuge in Lilliput. our time forget one very obvious and very We are guilty, we hope, of no irreverence important circumstance. In the reign of towards those great nations to which the huHenry the Eighth, and Edward the Sixth, a man race owes art, science, taste, civil and person who did not read Greek and Latin intellectual freedom, when we say, that the could read nothing, or next to nothing. The stock bequeathed by them to us has been so Italian was the cnly modern language which carefully improved that the accumulated in. possessed any thing that could be called a terest now exceeds the principal. We believe literature. All the valuable books then extant that the books which have been written in the in all the vernacular dialects of Europe would languages of western Europe, during the last hardly have filled a single shelf. England did two hundred and fifty years, are of greater not yet possess Shakspeare's plays, and the value than all the books which, at the beginning Faerie Queen; nor France Montaigne's Essays; of that period, were extant in the world. With nor Spain Don Quixote. In looking round the modern languages of Europe English woa we'l-furnished library, how few English or men are at least as well acquainted as English French books can we find which were extant men. When, therefore, we compare the acwhen Lady Jane Grey and Queen Elizabeth quirements of Lady Jane Grey and those of an receive the education. Chaucer, Gower, accomplished young woman of our own time, Froissart, Comines, Rabelais, nearly complete we have no hesitation in awarding the supethe list. It was therefore absolutely necessary riority to the latter. We hope that our readers that a woman should be uneducated or classi- will pardon this digression. It is long; but it cally educated. Indeed, without a knowledge can hardly be called unseasonable, if it tends of one of the ancient languages no person to convince them that they are mistaken in could then have any clear notions of what was thinking that their great-great-grandmothers passing in the political, the literary, or the were superior women to their sisters and their religious world. The Latin was in the six- wives. teenth century all and more than all that the Francis Bacon, the youngest son of Sir French was in the eighteenth. It was the lan- Nicholas, was born at York House, his father's guage of courts as well as of the schools. It residence in the Strand, on the 22d of January, was the language of diplomacy; it was the 1561. His health was very delicate, and to language of theological and political contro- this circumstance may be partly attributed versy. Being a fixed language, while the living that gravity of carriage, and that love of selanguages were in a state of Auctuation, be- dentary pursuits, which distinguished him from ing universally known to the learned and the other boys. Everybody knows how much his polite, it was employed by almost every writer premature readiness of wit and sobriety of who aspired to a wide and durable reputation. deportment amused the queen ; and how she A person who was ignorant of it was shut out used to call him her young Lord Keeper. We from all acquaintance-not merely with Ci- are told that while still a mere child he stole cero and Virgil-not merely with heavy trea- away from his playfellows 10 a vault in St. tises on canon-law and school divinity—but James's Fields, for the purpose of investiwith the most interesting memoirs, state pa- gating the cause of a singular echo which he pers, and pamphlets of his own time; nay, had observed there. It is certain that, at only even with the most admired poetry and the twelve, he busied himself with very ingenimost popular squibs which appeared on the ous speculations on the art of legerdemainfleeting topics of the day-with Buchanan's a subject which, as Professor Dugald Stewart complimentary verses, with Erasmus's dia- has most justly observed, merits much more logues, with Hutton's epistles.
attention from philosophers than it has ever This is no longer the case. All political received. These are trifles. But the eininence and religious controversy is now conducted in which Bacon afterwards attained renders them the modern languages. The ancient tongues interesting. are used only in comments on the ancient In the thirteenth year of his age he was en. writers. The great productions of Athenian tered at Trinity College, Cambridge. Tha! and Roman genius are indeed still what they celebrated school of learning enjoyed the pe were. But !hough their positive value is un culiar favour of the Lord Treasurer and ihe
Lord Keeper; and acknowledged the advan- of deciphering with great interest; and inventtages which it derived from their patronage in ed one cipher so ingenious that many years a public letter which bears date just a month later he thought it deserving of a place in the after the admission of Francis Bacon.* The De Augmentis. In February, 1550, while enmaster was Whitgift, afterwards Archbishop gaged in these pursuits, he received intelliof Canterbury, a narrow-minded, mean, and gence of the almost sudden death of his father, tyrannical priest, who gained power by servili- and instantly returned to England. iy and adulation, and employed in persecuting His prospects were greatly overcast by this with impartial cruelty those who agreed with event. He was most desirous to obtain a proCalvin about church government, and those vision which might enable him to devole him. who differed from Calvin touching the doc- self to literature and politics. He applied tu trine of reprobation. He was now in the chry. the government, and it seems strange that he salis state-putting off the worm and putting should have applied in vain. His wishes on the dragon-fly-a kind of intermediate grub were moderate. His hereditary claims on the between sycophant and oppressor. He was administration were great. He had himself indemnifying himself for the court which he been favourably noticed by the queen. His found it expedient to pay to the ministers, by uncle was Prime Minister. His own talents
exercising much petty tyranny within his own were such as any minister might have been \ college. It would be unjust, however, to deny ! eager to enlist in the public service. But his
him the praise of having rendered about this solicitations were unsuccessful. The truth is, time one important service to letters. He stood that the Cecils disliked him, and did all that up manfully against those who wished to make they could decently do to keep him down. It Trinity College a mere appendage to West- has never been alleged that Bacon had done minster school, and by this act, the only good any thing to merit this dislike; nor is it at all act, as far as we remember, of his long public probable that a man whose temper was nalu. life, he saved the noblest place of education rally mild, whose manners were courteous, in England from the degrading fate of King's who, through life, nursed his fortunes with the College and New College.
utmost care, and who was fearful even to a It has often been said that Bacon, while still fault of offending the powerful, would have at college, planned that great intellectual revo- given any just canse of displeasure to a kinslution with which his name is inseparably man who had the means of rendering him esconnected. The evidence on this subject, sential service, and of doing him irreparable however, is hardly sufficient to prove what is injury. The real explanation, we have no in itself so improbable as that any definite doubt, is this : Roberi Cecil, the Treasurer's scheme of that kind should have been so early second son, was younger by a few months formed, even by so powerful and active à than Bacon. He had been educated with the mind. But it is certain that, after a residence utmost care; had been initiated, while still a of three years at Cambridge, Bacon departed, boy, in the mysteries of diplomacy and court carrying with him a profound contempt for the intrigue; and was just at this time about to be course of study pursued there; a fixed convic- introduced on the stage of public life. The tion that the system of academic education in wish nearest to Burleigh's heart was that his England was radically vicious; a just scorn own greatness might descend to this favourite for the trifles on which the followers of Aris-child. But even Burleigh's fatherly partiality totle had wasted their powers, and no great could hardly prevent him from perceiving that reverence for Aristotle himself.
Robert, with all his abilities and acquirements, In his sixteenth year he visited Paris, and was no match for his cousin Francis. This resided there for some time, under the care of seems to us the only rational explanation of Sir Amias Paulet, Elizabeth's minister at the the Treasurer's conduct. Mr. Montagu is French court, and one of the ablest and most more charitable. He supposes that Burleigh upright of the many valuable servants whom was influenced merely by affection for his she employed. France was at that time in a nephew, and was “little disposed to encourage deplorable state of agitation. The Huguenots him to rely on others rather than on himself, and the Catholics were mustering all their and to venture on the quicksands of politics, force for the fiercest and most protracted of instead of the certain profession of the law." their many struggles: while the prince, whose If such were Burleigh's feelings, it seems duty it was to protect and to restrain both, had strange that he should have suffered his son to by his vices and follies degraded himself so venture on those quicksands from which he so deeply that he had no authority over either. carefully preserved his nephew. But the Bacon, however, made a tour through several truth is, that if Burleigh had been so disposed, provinces, and appears to have passed some he might easily have secured to Bacon a comtime at Poitiers. We have abundant proof fortable provision which should have been exthat during his stay on the continent he did posed to no risk. And it is equally certain not neglect literary and scientific pursuits. that he showed as little disposition to enable But nis attention seems to have been chiefly his nephew to live by a profession as to enable directed to statistics and diplomacy. It was at him to live without a profession. That Baco? this time that he wrote those Noles on the himself attributed the conduct of his relative 3 State of Europe which are printed in his to jealousy of his superior talents, we have works. He studied the principles of the art not the smallest doubt. In a letter, written
many years after to Villiers, he expresses Strype's Life of Whitgift.
himself thus: “Countenance, encourage, and advance able men in all kinds, degrees, and young barrister than his nearest kinsmen had professions. For in the time of the Cecils, the been. In his twenty-sixth year he became a
father and the son, able men were by design bencher of his Inn; and two years later he and of purpose suppressed."*
was appointed Lent reader. At length, in Whatever Burleigh's motives might be, his 1590, he obtained for the first time some show purpose was unalterable. The supplications of favour from the court. He was sworn in which Francis addressed to his uncle and aunt Queen's Counsel extraordinary. But this mark were earnest, humble, and almost servile. He of honour was not accompanied by any pecu. was the most promising and accomplished niary emolument. He continued, therefore, to young man of his time. His father had been solicit his powerful relatives for some provithe brother-in-law, the most useful colleague, sion which might enable him to live without the nearest friend of the minister. But all this drudging at his profession. He bore with a availed poor Francis nothing. He was forced, patience and serenity, which, we fear, bordermuch against his will, to betake himself to the ed on meanness, the morose humors of his study of the law. He was admitted at Gray's uncle, and the sneering reflections which his Inn, and, during some years, he laboured there cousin cast on speculative men, lost in philoin obscurity.
sophical dreams, and too wise to be capable What the extent of his legal attainments of transacting public business. At length the may have been, it is difficult to say. It was Cecils were generous enough to procure for not hard for a man of his powers to acquire him the reversion of the Registrarship of the that very moderate portion of technical know-Star-Chamber. This was a lucrative place; ledge which, when joined to quickness, tact, but as many years elapsed before it fell in, he wit, ingenuity, eloquence, and knowledge of was still under the necessity of labouring for the world, is sufficient to raise an advocate to his daily bread. the highest professional eminence. The gene- In the Parliament which was called in 1593 ral opinion appears to have been that which he sat as member for the county of Middlesex, was on one occasion expressed by Elizabeth. and soon attained eminence as a debater. It « Bacon,” said she,“ had a great wit and much is easy to perceive from the scanty remains learning; but in law showeth to the uttermost of his oratory, that the same compactness of of his knowledge, and is not deep.” The Ce-expression and richness of fancy which appear cils, we suspect, did their best to spread this in his writings characterized his speeches; opinion by whispers and insinuations. Coke and that his extensive acquaintance with liteopenly proclaimed it with that rancorous inso-rature and history enabled him to entertain lence which was habitual to him. No reports his audience with a vast variety of illustraare more readily believed than those which tions and allusions which were generally hapdisparage genius and soothe the envy of con- py and apposite, but which were probably not scious mediocrity. It must have been inex- least pleasing to the taste of that age when pressibly consoling to a stupid sergeant, the they were such as would now be thought forerunner of him who, a hundred and fifty childish or pedantic. It is evident also that years later, “shook his head at Murray as a he was, as indeed might have been expected, wit,” to know that the most profound thinker, perfectly free from those faults which are and the most accomplished orator of the age, generally found in an advocate who, after havwas very imperfectly acquainted with the law ing risen to eminence at the bar, enters the touching bastard eigné and mulier puisné, and House of Commons; that it was his habit to confounded the right of free fishery with that deal with every great question, not in small of common of piscary.
detached portions, but as a whole; that he reIt is certain that no man in that age, or in- fined little, and that his reasonings were those deed during the century and a half which of a capacious rather than a subtle mind. followed, was better acquainted with the phi- Ben Jonson, a most unexceptionable judge, losophy of law. His technical knowledge was has described his eloquence in words, which, quite sufficient, with the help of his admirable though often quoted, will bear to be quoted talents, and his insinuating audress, to procure again. “ There happened in my time one noclients. He rose very rapidly into business, ble speaker who was full of gravity in his and soon entertained hopes of being called speaking. His language, where he could spare within the bar. He applied to Lord Burleigh or pass by a jest, was nobly censorious. No for that purpose, but received a testy refusal. man ever spoke more neatly, more pressly, Of the grounds of that refusal we can, in some more weightily, or suffered less emptiness, less measure, judge by Bacon's answer, which is idleness, in what he uttered. No member of still extant. It seems that the old lord, whose his speech but consisted of his own graces. temper, age, and gout had by no means altered His hearers could not cough or look uside for the better, and who omitted no opportunity from him without loss. He commanded where of marking his dislike of the showy, quick- he spoke, and had his judges angry and pleased witted young men of the rising generation, at his devotion. No man had ineir affections took this opportunity to read Francis a very more in his power. The fear of every man sharp lecture on his vanity, and want of re- that heard him was lest he should make an speci for his betters. Francis returned a most end." From the mention which is made of submissive reply, thanked the Treasurer for judges, it would seem that Jonson had heard the admonition, and promised to profit by it. Bacon only at the bar. Indeed, we imagine Strangers meanwhile were less unjust to the that the House of Commons was then almost speak in Parliament exactly as he spoke in ened with fear and envy as he contemplated the Court of King's Bench. But the graces the rising fame and influence of Essex. of manner and language must, to a great ex- The history of the factions which, towards tent, have been common between the Queen's the close of the reign of Elizabeth, divided her Counsel and the Knight of the Shire.
inaccessible to strangers. It is not probable See page 61, vol. xii. of the present edition. that a man of Bacon's nice observation would Vol. II.-32.
court and her council, though pregnant with Bacon tried to play a very difficult game in instruction, is by no means interesting or pleaspolitics. He wished to be at once a favourite ing. Both parties employed the means which at court and popular with the multitude. If are familiar to unscrupulous statesmen; and any man could have succeeded in this attempt, neither had, or even pretended to have, any ima man of talents so rare, of judgment so pre-portant end in view. The public mind was maturely ripe, of temper so calm, and of man- then reposing from one great effort, and colners so plausible, might have been expected lecting strength for another. That impetuous 10 succeed. Nor indeed did he wholly fail. and appalling rush with which the human inOnce, however, he indulged in a burst of pa- tellect had moved forward in the career of truth triotisun which cost him a long and bitter re- and liberty, during the fifty years which followmorse, and which he never ventured to repeat. ed the separation of Luther from the conimuThe court asked for large subsidies, and for nion of the Church of Rome, was now over. speedy payment. The remains of Bacon's The boundary between Protestantism and Pospeech breathe all the spirit of the Long Par- pery had been fixed very nearly where it still liament. “The gentlemen," said he, “must remains. England, Scotland, the Northern sell their plate, and the farmers their brass kingdoms were on one side; Ireland, Spain, pots, ere this will be paid; and for us, we are Portugal, Italy, on the other. The line of dehere to search the wounds of the realm, and marcation ran, as it still runs, through the not to skin them over. The dangers are these. midst of the Netherlands, of Germany, and of First, we shall breed discontent and endanger Switzerland—dividing province from province, her majesty's safety, which must consist more electorate from electorate, and canton from in the love of the people than their wealth. canton. France might be considered as a deSecondly, this being granted in this sort, other batable land, in which the contest was still unprinces hereafter will look for the like; so that decided. Since that time, the two religions we shall put an evil precedent on ourselves have done little more than maintain their and on our posterity; and in histories, it is to ground. A few occasional incursions have be observed, of all nations, the English are not been made. But the general frontier remains to be subject, base, or taxable." The queen the same. During two hundred and fifty years and her ministers resented this outbreak of no great society has risen up like one man, public spirit in the highest manner. Indeed, and emancipated itself by one mighty effort many an honest member of the House of Com- from the enthralling superstition of ages. This m.ns had, for a much smaller matter, been spectacle was common in the middle of the sent to the Tower by the proud and hot-blooded sixteenth century. Why has it ceased to be Tudors. The young patriot condescended to so? Why has so violent a movement been make the most abject apologies. He adjured followed by so long a repose? The doctrines the Lord Treasurer to show some favour to of the Reformers are not less agreeable to reahis poor servant and ally. He bemoaned him- son or to revelation now than formerly. The sell to the Lord Keeper, in a letter which may public mind is assuredly not less enlightened keep in countenance the most unmanly of now than formerly. Why is it that Protestantthe epistles which Cicero wrote during his ism, after carrying every thing before it in a banishment. The lesson was not thrown time of comparatively little knowledge and litaway. Bacon never offended in the same tle freedom, should make no perceptible promanner again.
gress in a reasoning and tolerant age; that the He was now satisfied that he had little to Luthers, the Calvins, the Knoxes, the Zwingles, hope from the patronage of those powerful should have left no successors; that during kinsmen whom he had solicited during twelve two centuries and a half fewer converts should years with such meek pertinacity; and he be- have been brought over from the Church of gan to look towards a different quarter. Among Rome than at the time of the Reformation were the courtiers of Elizabeth had lately appeared sometimes gained in a year? This has always a new favourite-young, noble, wealthy, ac- appeared to us one of the most curious and complished, eloqaent, brave, generous, aspiring interesting problems in history. On some -a favourite who had obtained from the gray- other occasion we may perhaps attempt to solve headed queen such marks of regard as she had it. At present it is enough to say, that at the scarce vouchsased to Leicester in the season close of Elizabeth's reign, the Protestant party, of the passions; who was at once the orna- to borrow the language of the Apocalypse, had ment of the palace and the idol of the city; left its first love and had ceased to do its first who was the common patron of men of letters works. and of men of the sword; who was the com- The great struggle of the sixteenth century mon refuge or the persecuted Catholic and of was over. The great struggle of the seventhe persecutea Puritan. The calm prudence teenth century had not commenced. The con. which had enabled Burleigh to shape his fessors of Mary's reign were dead. The memcourse through so many dangers, and the vast bers of the Long Parliament were still in their experience which he had acquired in dealing cradles. The Papists had been deprived of all with two generations of colleagues and rivals, power in the state. The Puritans had not yet see ned scarcely sufficient to support him in attained any formidable extent of power. True this new competition; and Robert Cecil sick-'it is, that a student well acquainted with the
history of the next generation can easily dis- | so unlikely a matter. Can you name one pre cern in the proceedings of the last Parliaments cedent of so raw a youth promoted to so great of Elizabeth the germ of great and ever-memo- a place ?" This objection came with a singurable events. But to the eye of a contempo- | larly bad grace from a man who, though young, rary nothing of this appeared. The two sec- er than Bacon, was in daily expectation of tions of ambitious men who were struggling being made Secretary of State. The blet was for power differed from each other on no im- too obvious to be missed by Essex, who seldom portant public question. Both belonged to the forbore to speak his mind. “I have made no Established Church. Both professed bound-search,” said he, “ for precedents of young men less loyalty to the queen. Both approved the who have filled the office of Attorney-General. war with Spain. There is not, as far as we But I could name to you, Sir Robert, a man are aware, any reason to believe that they en-younger than Francis, less learned, and equally tertained different views concerning the suc- inexperienced, who is suing and striving with cession to the crown. Certainly neither fac- all his mighi for an office of far greater weight.” tion had any great measure of reform in view. Sir Robert had nothing to say but that he Neither attempted to redress any public griev- thought his own abilities equal to the place ance. The most odious and pernicious griev- which he hoped to obtain ; and that his father's ance under which the nation then suffered was long services deserved such a mark of gratitude a source of profit to both, and was defended by from the queen; as if his abilities were com: both with equal zeal. Raleigh held a monopoly parable to his cousin's, or as if Sir Nicholas of cards-Essex a monopoly of sweet wines. Bacon had done no service to the state. Cecil In fact, the only ground of quarrel between the then hinted that if Bacon would be satisfied parties was, that they could not agree as to with the Solicitorship, that might be of easier their respective shares of power and patron- digestion to the queen. “ Digest me no digesage.
tions," said the generous and ardent earl. “The Nothing in the political conduct of Eszex Attorneyship for Francis is that I must have; entitles him to esteem; and the pity with which and in that I will spend all my power, might, we regard his early and terrible end is dimi- authority, and amily; and with tooth and nail nished by the consideration, that he put to ha- procure the same for him against whomsozard the lives and fortunes of his most attached ever; whosoever getteth this office out of my friends, and endeavoured to throw the whole hands for any cther, before he have it, it shall country into confusion, for objects purely per-cost him the coming by. And this be you assonal. Still, it is impossible not to be deeply sured of, Sir Robert, for now I fully declare interested for a man so brave, high-spirited, myself; and for my own part, Sir Robert, 1 and generous ;-for a man who, while he con- think strange both of my Lord Treasurer and ducted himself towards his sovereign with a you, that can have the mind to seek ihe preboldness such as was then found in no other ference of a stranger before so near a kinssubject, conducted himself towards his depend man; for if you weigh in a balance the parts ants with a delicacy such as has rarely been every way of his competitor and him, only exfound in any other patron. Unlike the vulgar cepting five poor years of admitting to a house herd of benefactors, he desired to inspire, not of court before Francis, you shall find in all gratitude, but affection. He tried to make those other respects whatsoever no comparison bewhom he befriended to feel towards him as tween them." towards an equal. His mind, ardent, suscepti- When the office of Attorney-General was ble, naturally disposed to admiration of all that filled up, the earl pressed the queen to make is great and beautiful, was fascinated by the Bacon Solicitor-General, and, on this occasion, genius and the accomplishments of Bacon. A the old Lord Treasurer professed himself noi close friendship was soon formed between them unfavourable to his nephew's pretensions. -a friendship destined to have a dark, a But after a contest which lasted more than a mournful, a shameful end.
year and a half, and in which Essex, to use ! In 1594 the office of Attorney-General bell his own words, “ spent all his power, might, came vacant, and Bacon hoped to obtain it. authority, and amity,” the place was given to Essex made his friend's cause his own-sued, another. Essex felt this disappointment keenexpostulated, promised, threatened, but all in ly, but found consolation in the most munifivain. It is probable that the dislike felt by the cent and delicate liberality. He presented Cecils for Bacon had been increased by the Bacon with an estate, worth near two thousand connection which he had lately formed with pounds, situated at Twickenham, and this, as the earl. Robert was then on the point of Bacon owned many years after, “with so kind being made Secretary of State. He happened and noble circumstances as the manner was one day to be in the same coach with Essex, worth more than the matter." and a remarkable conversation took place be- It was soon after these events that Bacon first tween them. “My lord,” said Sir Robert, “the appeared before the public as a writer. Early in queen has determined to appoint an Attorney- 1597 he published a small volume of Essays, General without more delay. I pray your which was afterwards enlarged by successive Jordship to let me know whom you will fa- additions to many times its original bulk. This vour." "I wonder at your question," replied little work was, as it well deserved to be, ex the earl. “You cannot but know that reso- ceedingly popular. It was reprinted in a leve lutely, against all the world, I stand for your months; it was translated into Jalin, French, cousin, Francis Bacon." “Good Lord,” cried and Italian; and it seems to have at once es. Cecil, unable to bridle his temper, “I wonder tablished the literary reputaui.n of its a:1!bor your lordship should spend your strength on But though Bacon's repartiin roues, his lor