While Bacon, in the shade, had been laying the foundations of his philosophy of nature, and vainly suing for legal or political employment, another man had been steadily rising in the Queen’s favour and carrying all before him at Court—Robert Devereux, Lord Essex; and with Essex Bacon had formed an acquaintance which had ripened into an intimate and affectionate friendship. We commonly think of Essex as a vain and insolent favourite, who did ill the greatest work given him to do—the reduction of Ireland; who did it ill from some unexplained reason of spite and mischief; and who, when called to account for it, broke out into senseless and idle rebellion. This was the end. But he was not always thus. He began life with great gifts and noble ends; he was a serious, modest, and large-minded student both of books and things, and he turned his studies to full account. He had imagination and love of enterprise, which gave him an insight into Bacon’s ideas such as none of Bacon’s contemporaries had. He was a man of simple and earnest religion; he sympathized most with the Puritans, because they were serious and because they were hardly used. Those who most condemn him acknowledge his nobleness and generosity of nature. Bacon in after days, when all was over between them, spoke of him as a man always patientissimus veri; “the more plainly and frankly you shall deal with my lord,” he writes elsewhere, “not only in disclosing particulars, but in giving him caveats and admonishing him of any error which in this action he may commit (such is his lordship’s nature), the better he will take it.” “He must have seemed,” says Mr. Spedding, a little too grandly, “in the eyes of Bacon like the hope of the world.” The two men, certainly, became warmly attached. Their friendship came to be one of the closest kind, full of mutual services, and of genuine affection on both sides. It was not the relation of a great patron and useful dependant; it was, what might be expected in the two men, that of affectionate equality. Each man was equally capable of seeing what the other was, and saw it. What Essex’s feelings were towards Bacon the results showed. Bacon, in after years, repeatedly claimed to have devoted his whole time and labour to Essex’s service. Holding him, he says, to be “the fittest instrument to do good to the State, I applied myself to him in a manner which I think rarely happeneth among men; neglecting the Queen’s service, mine own fortune, and, in a sort, my vocation, I did nothing but advise and ruminate with myself ... anything that might concern his lordship’s honour, fortune, or service.” The claim is far too wide. The “Queen’s service” had hardly as yet come much in Bacon’s way, and he never neglected it when it did come, nor his own fortune or vocation; his letters remain to attest his care in these respects. But no doubt Bacon was then as ready to be of use to Essex, the one man who seemed to understand and value him, as Essex was desirous to be of use to Bacon.