Bacon eBook

Richard William Church
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 253 pages of information about Bacon.
was made, not unsuccessfully, to extend it wider, under the direction of Lionel Cranfield, a self-made man of business from the city; but with such a Court the task was an impossible one.  It was not Bacon’s fault, though he sadly mismanaged his own private affairs, that the King’s expenditure was not managed soberly and wisely.  Nor was it Bacon’s fault, as far as advice went, that James was always trying either to evade or to outwit a Parliament which he could not, like the Tudors, overawe.  Bacon’s uniform counsel had been—­Look on a Parliament as a certain necessity, but not only as a necessity, as also a unique and most precious means for uniting the Crown with the nation, and proving to the world outside how Englishmen love and honour their King, and their King trusts his subjects.  Deal with it frankly and nobly as becomes a king, not suspiciously like a huckster in a bargain.  Do not be afraid of Parliament.  Be skilful in calling it, but don’t attempt to “pack” it.  Use all due adroitness and knowledge of human nature, and necessary firmness and majesty, in managing it; keep unruly and mischievous people in their place, but do not be too anxious to meddle—­“let nature work;” and above all, though of course you want money from it, do not let that appear as the chief or real cause of calling it.  Take the lead in legislation.  Be ready with some interesting or imposing points of reform, or policy, about which you ask your Parliament to take counsel with you.  Take care to “frame and have ready some commonwealth bills, that may add respect to the King’s government and acknowledgment of his care; not wooing bills to make the King and his graces cheap, but good matter to set the Parliament on work, that an empty stomach do not feed on humour.”  So from the first had Bacon always thought; so he thought when he watched, as a spectator, James’s blunders with his first Parliament of 1604; so had he earnestly counselled James, when admitted to his confidence, as to the Parliaments of 1614 and 1615; so again, but in vain, as Chancellor, he advised him to meet the Parliament of 1620.  It was wise, and from his point of view honest advice, though there runs all through it too much reliance on appearances which were not all that they seemed; there was too much thought of throwing dust in the eyes of troublesome and inconvenient people.  But whatever motives there might have been behind, it would have been well if James had learned from Bacon how to deal with Englishmen.  But he could not.  “I wonder,” said James one day to Gondomar, “that my ancestors should ever have permitted such an institution as the House of Commons to have come into existence.  I am a stranger, and found it here when I arrived, so that I am obliged to put up with what I cannot get rid of.”  James was the only one of our many foreign kings who, to the last, struggled to avoid submitting himself to the conditions of an English throne.


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Bacon from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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