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Richard William Church
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 209 pages of information about Bacon.
fortune; To contract still where mought be had the readiest payment, and not the best bargain; To stir a number of projects for your profit, and then to blast them, and leave your Majesty nothing but the scandal of them; To pretend even carriage between your Majesty’s rights and ease of the people, and to satisfy neither.  These courses and others the like I hope are gone with the deviser of them; which have turned your Majesty to inestimable prejudice.”

And what he thought of saying, but on further consideration struck out, was the following.  It is no wonder that he struck it out, but it shows what he felt towards Cecil.

“I protest to God, though I be not superstitious, when I saw your M.’s book against Vorstius and Arminius, and noted your zeal to deliver the majesty of God from the vain and indign comprehensions of heresy and degenerate philosophy, as you had by your pen formerly endeavoured to deliver kings from the usurpation of Rome, perculsit illico animum that God would set shortly upon you some visible favour, and let me not live if I thought not of the taking away of that man.”

And from this time onwards he scarcely ever mentions Cecil’s name in his correspondence with James but with words of condemnation, which imply that Cecil’s mischievous policy was the result of private ends.  Yet this was the man to whom he had written the “New Year’s Tide” letter six months before; a letter which is but an echo to the last of all that he had been accustomed to write to Cecil when asking assistance or offering congratulation.  Cecil had, indeed, little claim on Bacon’s gratitude; he had spoken him fair in public, and no doubt in secret distrusted and thwarted him.  But to the last Bacon did not choose to acknowledge this.  Had James disclosed something of his dead servant, who left some strange secrets behind him, which showed his unsuspected hostility to Bacon?  Except on this supposition (but there is nothing to support it), no exaggeration of the liberty allowed to the language of compliment is enough to clear Bacon of an insincerity which is almost inconceivable in any but the meanest tools of power.

“I assure myself,” wrote Bacon to the King, “your Majesty taketh not me for one of a busy nature; for my estate being free from all difficulties, and I having such a large field for contemplation, as I have partly and shall much more make manifest unto your Majesty and the world, to occupy my thoughts, nothing could make me active but love and affection.”  So Bacon described his position with questionable accuracy—­for his estate was not “free from difficulties”—­in the new time coming.  He was still kept out of the inner circle of the Council; but from the moment of Salisbury’s death he became a much more important person.  He still sued for advancement, and still met with disappointment; the “mean men” still rose above him.  The lucrative place of Master of the Wards was vacated by Salisbury’s death. 

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