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SIR FRANCIS BACON, KNIGHT,
CHOSEN BY THE COMMONS
TO PRESENT A PETITION TOUCHING PURVEYORS:
DELIVERED TO HIS MAJESTY IN THE WITHDRAWING-CHAMBER AT WHITEHALL, IN THE PARLIAMENT HELD
PRIMO ET SECUNDO JACOBI, THE FIRST SESSION
It is well known to your Majesty, excellent king, and portions : so, I say, it appeareth unto us in these that the emperors of Rome, for their better glory two examples, that God hath given your Majesty a and ornament, did use in their titles the additions rare sufficiency, both to compass and fathom the of the countries and nations where they had ob greatest matters, and to discern the least. And for tained victories; as Germanicus, Britannicus, and matter of praise and commendation, which chiefly the like. But after all those names, as in the higher belongeth to goodness, we cannot but with great place, followed the name of Pater Patriæ, as the thankfulness profess, that your Majesty, within the greatest name of all human honour immediately circle of one year of your reign, infra orbem anni preceding that name of Augustus; whereby they took vertentis, hath endeavoured to unite your church, themselves to express some affinity that they had, which was divided; to supply your nobility, which in respect of their office, with divine honour. Your was diminished; and to ease your people in cases Majesty might, with good reason, assume to yourself where they were burdened and oppressed. many of those other names; as Germanicus, Saxoni In the last of these your high merits, that is, the cus, Britannicus, Francicus, Danicus, Gothicus, and ease and comfort of your people, doth fall out to be others, as appertaining to you not by bloodshed, comprehended the message which I now bring unto as they bare them, but by blood ; your Majesty's your Majesty, concerning the great grievance arising royal person being a noble confluence of streams by the manifold abuses of purveyors, differing in some and veins wherein the royal blood of many kingdoms degree from most of the things wherein we deal and of Europe are met and united. But no name is consult; for it is true, that the knights, citizens, and more worthy of you, nor may more truly be ascribed burgesses, in parliament assembled, are a representaunto you, than that name of father of your people, tive body of your commons and third estate; and in which you bear and express not in the formality of many matters, although we apply ourselves to peryour style, but in the real course of your government. form the trust of those that choose us, yet it may be, We ought not to say unto you as was said to Julius we do speak much out of our own senses and disCæsar, “ Quæ miremur, habemus; quæ laudemus, courses. But in this grievance, being of that nature expectamus:" that we have already wherefore to whereunto the poor people is most exposed, and men admire you, and that now we expect somewhat for of quality less, we shall most humbly desire your which to commend you; for we may, without sus. Majesty to conceive, that your Majesty doth not hear picion or flattery, acknowledge, that we have found our opinions or senses, but the very groans and in your Majesty great cause, both of admiration and complaints themselves of your commons more truly commendation. For great is the admiration, where and vively, than by representation. For there is no with you have possessed us since this parliament grievance in your kingdom so general, so continual,
, began in those two causes wherein we have had so sensible, and so bitter unto the common subject, access unto you, and heard your voice, that of the as this whereof we now speak; wherein it may return of Sir Francis Goodwin, and that of the union; please your Majesty to vouchsafe me leave, first, to whereby it seemeth unto us, the one of these being set forth unto you the dutiful and respective carriage so subtle a question of law; and the other so high a of our proceeding; next, the substance of our peticause of estate, that as the Scripture saith of the tion; and thirdly, some reasons and motives which wisest king, “ that his heart was as the sands of the in all humbleness we do offer to your Majesty's sea ;" which though it be one of the largest and royal consideration or commiseration; we assuring vastest bodies, yet it consisteth of the smallest motes ourselves that never king reigned that had better
notions of head, and motions of heart, for the good | ter can stop it. Again, they use a strange and most and comfort of his loving subjects.
unjust exaction, in causing the subjects to pay For the first: in the course of remedy which we poundage of their own debts, due from your Madesire, we pretend not, nor intend not, in any sort, jesty unto them ; so as a poor man, when he hath to derogate from your Majesty's prerogative, nor to had his hay, or his wood, or his poultry, which pertouch, diminish, or question any of your Majesty's chance he was full loth to part with, and had for the regalities or rights. For we seek nothing but the provision of his own family, and not to put to sale, reformation of abuses, and the execution of former taken from him, and that not at a just price, but laws whereunto we are born. And although it be under the value, and cometh to receive his money, no strange thing in parliament for new abuses to he shall have after the rate of twelve pence in the crave new remedies, yet nevertheless in these abuses, pound abated for poundage of his due payment, upon which if not in nature, yet in extremity and height so hard conditions. Nay farther, they are grown to of them, are most of them new, we content ourselves that extremity, as is affirmed, though it be scarce with the old laws: only we desire a confirmation credible, save that in such persons all things are and quickening of them in their execution ; so far are credible, that they will take double poundage, once we from any humour of innovation or encroachment when the debenture is made, and again the second
As to the court of the green cloth, ordained for the time when the money is paid. provision of your Majesty's most honourable house For the second point, most gracious sovereign, hold, we hold it ancient, we hold it reverend. Other touching the quantity which they take, far above courts respect your politic person, but that respects that which is answered to your Majesty's use : they your natural person. But yet, notwithstanding, are the only multipliers in the world ; they have most excellent king, to use that freedom which to the art of multiplication. For it is affirmed unto subjects that pour out their griefs before so gracious me by divers gentlemen of good report and experia king, is allowable, we may very well allege unto ence in these causes, as a matter which I may safely your Majesty, a comparison or similitude used by avouch before your Majesty, to whom we owe all one of the fathers * in another matter, and not unfitly truth, as well of information as subjection, that there representing our case in this point: and it is of the is no pound profit which redoundeth to your Majesty leaves and roots of nettles; the leaves are venomous in this course, but induceth and begetteth three and stinging where they touch; the root is not so, pound damage upon your subjects, besides the disbut is without venom or malignity; and yet it is the contentment. And to the end they may make their root that bears and supports all the leaves. This spoil more securely, what do they? Whereas divers needs no farther application.
statutes do strictly provide, that whatsoever they To come now to the substance of our petition. It take, shall be registered and attested, to the end, is no other, than by the benefit of your Majesty's that by making a collation of that which is taken laws to be relieved of the abuses of purveyors ; which from the country, and that which is answered above, abuses do naturally divide themselves into three their deceits might appear; they, to the end to obsorts: the first, they take in kind that they ought scure their deceits, utterly omit the observation of not to take; the second, they take in quantity a far this, which the law prescribeth. greater proportion than cometh to your Majesty's
And therefore to descend, if it may please your use; the third, they take in an unlawful manner, in Majesty, to the third sort of abuse, which is of the a manner, I say, directly and expressly prohibited unlawful manner of their taking, whereof this omisby divers laws.
sion is a branch; and it is so manifold, as it rather For the first of these, I am a little to alter their asketh an enumeration of some of the particulars, name; for instead of takers, they become taxers ; than a prosecution of all. For their price: by law instead of taking provision for your Majesty's ser- they ought to take as they can agree with the subvice, they tax your people ad redimendam vexa- ject; by abuse they take at an imposed and enforced tionem: imposing upon them, and extorting from price : by law they ought to make but one apprisethem, divers sums of money, sometimes in gross, ment by neighbours in the country; by abuse they sometimes in the nature of stipends annually paid, make a second apprisement at the court-gate; and ne noceant, to be freed and eased of their oppression. when the subject's cattle come up many miles lean, Again, they take trees, which by law they cannot and out of plight, by reason of their great travel, do; timber-trees, which are the beauty, countenance, then they prize them anew at an abated price : by and shelter of men's houses ; that men have long law they ought to take between sun and sun; by spared from their own purse and profit; that men abuse they take by twilight, and in the night-time, esteem, for their use and delight, above ten times the a time well chosen for malefactors : by law they value; that are a loss which men cannot repair or ought not to take in the highways, a place by your
These do they take, to the defacing and Majesty's high prerogative protected, and by statute spoiling of your subjects' mansions and dwellings, by special words excepted; by abuse they take in except they may be compounded with their own the ways, in contempt of your Majesty's prerogative appetites. And if a gentleman be too hard for them and laws: by law they ought to show their comwhile he is at home, they will watch their time mission, and the form of commission is by law set when there is but a bailiff or a servant remaining, and down; the commissions they bring down, are against put the axe to the root of the tree, ere ever the mas- the law, and because they know so much, they will * St. Augustine.
not show them. A number of other particulars
there are, whereof as I have given your Majesty a of several kingdoms, resembleth your Majesty most, taste, so the chief of them upon deliberate advice both in virtue and fortune, king Edward III, who, are set down in writing by the labour of some com- in his time only, made ten several laws against this mittees, and approbation of the whole house, more mischief. The second is the example of God himparticularly and lively than I can express them, self; who hath said and pronounced, " That he will myself having them at the second hand by reason not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” of my abode above. But this writing is a collection For all these great misdemeanors are committed in of theirs who dwell amongst the abuses of these and under your Majesty's name: and therefore we offenders, and the complaints of the people ; and hope your Majesty will hold them twice guilty that therefore must needs have a more perfect under-commit these offences; once for the oppressing of standing of all the circumstances of them.
the people, and once more for doing it under the It remaineth only that I use a few words, the colour and abuse of your Majesty's most dreaded rather to move your Majesty in this cause: a few and beloved name. So then I will conclude with words, I say, a very few; for neither need so great the saying of Pindarus, "Optima res aqua ;' not for enormities any aggravating, neither needeth so great the excellency, but for the common use of it; and grace, as useth of itself to flow from your Majesty's so contrariwise the matter of abuse of purveyance, princely goodness, any artificial persuading. There if it be not the most heinous abuse, yet certainly it be two things only which I think good to set before is the most common and general abuse of all others your Majesty; the one the example of your most in this kingdom. noble progenitors kings of this realm, who from the It resteth, that, according to the command laid first king that endowed this kingdom with the great upon me, I do in all humbleness present this writing charters of their liberties, until the last, all save one, to your Majesty's royal hands, with most humble who as he was singular in many excellent things, petition on the behalf of the commons, that as your so I would he had not been alone in this, have or- Majesty hath been pleased to vouchsafe your gradained, every one of them in their several reigns, cious audience to hear me speak, so you would be some laws or law against this kind of offenders : pleased to enlarge your patience to hear this writing and especially the example one of them, that read, which is more material. king, who for his greatness, wisdom, glory, and union
A BRIEF DISCOURSE
HAPPY UNION OF THE KINGDOMS OF ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND.
DEDICATED IN PRIVATE TO HIS MAJESTY:
I do not find it strange, excellent king, that when fore their kings the examples of the celestial bodies, Heraclitus, he that was surnamed the obscure, had the sun, the moon, and the rest, which have great set forth a certain book which is not now extant, glory and veneration, but no rest or intermission : many men took it for a discourse of nature, and being in a perpetual office of motion, for the cherishmany others took it for a treatise of policy. For ing, in turn and in course of inferior bodies; exthere is a great affinity and consent between the pressing likewise the true manner of the motions of rules of nature, and the true rules of policy: the government, which though they ought to be swift one being nothing else but an order in the govern- and rapid in respect of despatch and occasions, yet ment of the world; and the other an order in the are they to be constant and regular, without wavergovernment of an estate. And therefore the educa ing or confusion. tion and erudition of the kings of Persia was in a So did they represent unto them how the heavens science which was termed by a name then of great do not enrich themselves by the earth and the seas, reverence, but now degenerate and taken in the ill nor keep no dead stock nor untouched treasures of part. For the Persian magic, which was the secret that they draw to them from below; but whatsoever literature of their kings, was an application of the moisture they do levy and take from both elements contemplations and observations of nature unto a in vapours, they do spend and turn back again in sense politic; taking the fundamental laws of nature, showers, only holding and storing them up for a and the branches and passages of them, as an ori- time, to the end to issue and distribute them in season. ginal or first model, whence to take and describe a But chiefly they did express and expound unto copy and imitation for government.
them that fundamental law of nature, whereby all After this manner the foresaid instructors set be things do subsist and are preserved; which is, that * Printed in 1603, in 12mo.
every thing in nature, although it hath its private
and particular affection and appetite, and doth follow | is no diversity of tongue or language that hath and pursue the same in small moments, and when invited or provoked this ancient separation or it is free and delivered from more general and com- divorce. The lot of Spain was to have the several mon respects; yet, nevertheless, when there is ques. kingdoms of that continent, Portugal only excepted, tion or case for sustaining of the more general, they to be united in an age not long past; and now in our forsake their own particularities, and attend and age that of Portugal also, which was the last that conspire to uphold the public.
held out, to be incorporate with the rest. The lot So we see the iron in small quantity will ascend of France hath been, much about the same time, and approach to the loadstone upon a particular likewise, to have re-annexed unto that crown the sympathy: but if it be any quantity of moment, it several duchies and portions which were in former leaveth its appetite of amity to the loadstone, and, times dismembered. The lot of this island is the like a good patriot, falleth to the earth, which is last reserved for your Majesty's happy times, by the the place and region of massy bodies.
special providence and favour of God, who hath So again the water and other like bodies do fall brought your Majesty to this happy conjunction with towards the centre of the earth, which is, as was great consent of hearts, and in the strength of your said, their region or country : and yet we see nothing years, and in the maturity of your experience. It more usual in all water-works and engines, than resteth but that, as I promised, I set before your that the water, rather than to suffer any distraction Majesty's princely consideration, the grounds of or disunion in nature, will ascend, forsaking the love nature touching the union and commixture of bodies, to its own region or country, and applying itself to and the correspondence which they have with the the body next adjoining.
grounds of policy in the conjunction of states and But it were too long a digression to proceed to kingdoms. more examples of this kind. Your Majesty your First, therefore, that position, Vis unita fortior, self did fall upon a passage of this nature in your being one of the common notions of the mind, gracious speech of thanks unto your council, when needeth not much to be induced or illustrated. acknowledging princely their vigilances and well We see the sun when he entereth, and while he deservings, it pleased you to note, that it was a suc continueth under the sign of Leo, causeth more cess and event above the course of nature, to have vehement heats than when he is in Cancer, what so great change with so great a quiet: forasmuch time his beams are nevertheless more perpendicular. as sudden mutations, as well in state as in nature, The reason whereof, in great part, hath been truly are rarely without violence and perturbation : so as ascribed to the conjunction and corradiation, in that still I conclude there is, as was said, a congruity place of heaven, of the sun with the four stars of the between the principles of nature and policy. And first magnitude, Sirius, Canicula, Cor Leonis, and lest that instance may seem to oppone to this asser
Cauda Leonis. tion, I may even in that particular, with your So the moon likewise, by ancient tradition, while Majesty's favour, offer unto you a type or pattern in she is in the same sign of Leo, is said to be at the nature, much resembling this event in your state ; heart, which is not for any affinity which that place namely, earthquakes, which many of them bring of heaven can have with that part of man's body, but ever much terror and wonder, but no actual hurt; only because the moon is then, by reason of the the earth trembling for a moment, and suddenly conjunction and nearness with the stars aforenamed, stablishing in perfect quiet as it was before. in greatest strength of influence, and so worketh
This knowledge then of making the government upon that part in inferior bodies, which is most vital of the world a mirror for the government of a state, and principal. being a wisdom almost lost, whereof the reason I So we see waters and liquors, in small quantity, take to be because of the difficulty for one man to do easily putrify and corrupt; but in large quantity embrace both philosophies, I have thought good to subsist long, by reason of the strength they receive make some proof as far as my weakness and the by union. straits of time will suffer, to revive in the handling So in earthqu kes, the more general do little of one particular, wherewith now I most humbly hurt, by reason of the united weight which they present your Majesty : for surely, as hath been said, offer to subvert; but narrow and particular earthit is a form of discourse anciently used towards quakes have many times overturned whole towns kings; and to what king should it be more proper and cities. than to a king that is studious to conjoin contem So then this point touching the force of union is plative virtue and active virtue together?
evident: and therefore it is more fit to speak of the Your Majesty is the first king that had the honour manner of union ; wherein again it will not be perto be lapis angularis, to unite these two mighty and tinent to handle one kind of union, which is union warlike nations of England and Scotland under one by victory, when one body doth merely subdue ansovereignty and monarchy. It doth not appear by other, and converteth the same into its own nature, the records and memoirs of any true history, or extinguishing and expulsing what part soever of it scarcely by the fiction and pleasure of any fabulous it cannot overcome. As when the fire converteth narration or tradition, that ever, of any antiquity, this the wood into fire, purging away the smoke and the island of Great Britain was united under one king ashes as unapt matter to inflame: or when the body before this day. And yet there be no mountains nor of a living creature doth convert and assimilate food races of hills, there be no seas or great rivers, there and nourishment, purging and expelling whatsoever
it cannot convert. For these representations do In the antiquities of Rome, Virgil bringeth in answer in matter of policy to union of countries by Jupiter by way of oracle or prediction speaking of conquest, where the conquering state doth extin- the mixture of the Trojans and the Italians : guish, extirpate, and expulse any part of the state
“ Sermonem Ausonii patrium moresque tenebunt : conquered, which it findeth so contrary as it cannot Utque est, nomen erit: commixti corpore tantum alter and convert it. And therefore, leaving violent Subsident Teucri; morem ritusque sacrorum
Adjiciam : faciamque omnes uno ore Latinos. unions, we will consider only of natural unions.
Hinc genus, Ausonio mixtum quod sanguine surget, The difference is excellent which the best ob
Supra homines, supra ire Deos pietate videbis.". servers in nature do take between compositio and
Æn, xii. 834. mistio, putting together, and mingling : the one Wherein Jupiter maketh a kind of partition or distribeing but a conjunction of bodies in place, the other bution : that Italy should give the language and the in quality and consent : the one the mother of sedi-laws; Troy should give a mixture of men, and tion and alteration, the other of peace and continu some religious rites ; and both people should meet ance : the other rather a confusion than an union, in one name of Latins. the other properly an union. Therefore we see Soon after the foundation of the city of Rome, those bodies which they call imperfecte mista, last the people of the Romans and the Sabines mingled not, but are speedily dissolved. For take, for ex upon equal terms: wherein the interchange went so ample, snow or froth, which are compositions of air even, that, as Livy noteth, the one nation gave the and water, and in them you may behold how easily name to the place, the other to the people. For they sever and dissolve, the water closing together Rome continued the name, but the people were called and excluding the air.
Quirites, which was the Sabine word, derived of So these three bodies which the alchemists do so Cures the country of Tatius. much celebrate as the three principles of things; But that which is chiefly to be noted in the whole that is to say, earth, water, and oil, which it pleaseth continuance of the Roman government; they were them to term salt, mercury, and sulphur, we see, if so liberal of their naturalizations, as in effect they they be united only by composition or putting toge- made perpetual mixtures. For the manner was to ther, how weakly and rudely they do incorporate : grant the same, not only to particular persons, but for water and earth make but an imperfect slime; to families and lineages ; and not only so, but to and if they be forced together by agitation, yet upon whole cities and countries. So as in the end it came a little settling, the earth resideth in the bottom. to that, that Rome was communis patria, as some of So water and oil, though by agitation it be brought the civilians call it. into an ointment, yet after a little settling the oil So we read of St. Paul, after he had been beaten will float on the top. So as such imperfect mixtures with rods, and thereupon charged the officer with the continue no longer than they are forced ; and still in violation of the privilege of a citizen of Rome : the the end the worthiest getteth above.
captain said to him, “ Art thou then a Roman ? But otherwise it is of perfect mixtures. For we That privilege hath cost me dear.” To whom St. see these three bodies, of earth, water, and oil, when Paul replied, “ But I was so born ;" and yet in anthey are joined in a vegetable or mineral, they are other place, St. Paul professeth himself, that he was 80 united, as without great subtlety of art and a Jew by tribe : so as it is manifest that some of his force of extraction, they cannot be separated and ancestors were naturalized ; and so it was conveyed reduced into the same simple bodies again. So as to him and their other descendants. the difference between compositio and mistio clearly So we read, that it was one of the first despites set down is this : that compositio is the joining or that was done to Julius Cæsar, that whereas he had putting together of bodies without a new form; and obtained naturalization for a city in Gaul, one of the mistio is the joining or putting together of bodies city was beaten with rods of the consul Marcellus. under a new form: for the new form is commune So we read in Tacitus, that in the emperor Clauvinculum, and without that the old forms will be at dius's time, the nation of Gaul, that part which is strife and discord.
called Comata, the wilder part, were suitors to be Now to reflect this light of nature upon matter made capable of the honour of being senators and of estate; there hath been put in practice in govern officers of Rome. His words are these; “ Cum de ment these two several kinds of policy in uniting supplendo senatu agitaretur, primoresque Galliæ, and conjoining of states and kingdoms; the one to quæ Comata appellatur, fædera, et civitatem Roretain the ancient form still severed, and only con manam pridem assecuti, jus adipiscendorum in urbe joined in sovereignty ; the other to superinduce a honorem expeterent; multus ea super re variusque new form agreeable and convenient to the entire rumor, et studiis diversis, apud principem certabatur.” estate. The former of these hath been more usual, And in the end, after long debate, it was ruled they and is more easy ; but the latter is more happy. should be admitted. For if a man do attentively revolve histories of all So likewise, the authority of Nicholas Machiavel nations, and judge truly thereupon, he will make seemeth not to be contemned; who, inquiring the this conclusion, that there was never any states that causes of the growth of the Roman empire, doth were good commixtures but the Romans ; which give judgment; there was not one greater than this, because it was the best state of the world, and is the that the state did so casily compound and incorpobest example of this point, we will chiefly insist rate with strangers. thereupon.
It is true that most estates and kingdoms have