Page images
PDF
EPUB

arms, might be deterred from any attempt to bring the Irish army over into England. And yet these devices of the Queen were even by the common people suspected and taken in bad part; insomuch that they forbore not from scoffs, saying that in the year '88 Spain had sent an Invincible Armada against us and now she had sent an Invisible Armada ; and muttering that if the council had celebrated this kind of May-game in the begining of May, it might have been thought more suitable, but to call the people away from the harvest for it (for it was now full autumn) was too serious a jest.

The substance of this story is given by Fuller in his Church History (ix. 41.) on the authority of Camden's MS. Life of Queen Elizabeth, which it seems he had seen. It is the more worthy of notice because any one collecting the history of the time from the documents now remaining in the State Paper Office might easily conclude that the danger, or at least the alarm, was a real one. For though the occasion was pretended the preparations were in earnest.

Fuller makes a remark upon the last sentence, which is strange for a man of his judgment. “My author addeth (he says) that people affirmed that such May-games had been fitter in the spring (when sports were used amongst the Romans to Flora) and not in the autumn when people were seriously employed to fetch in the fruits of the earth. But by his leave, these expressions flow from critics, and fly far above the capacities of countrymen.Here Fuller seems to have been deceived by his own learning, and to have forgotten that the May-game was an incident of spring in England as well as at Rome. The incongruity of May-games (ludi florales means no more) in harvest time, must have been intelligible enough to any Englishman.

XIV.

The only remaining additions or corrections which I find in Bacon's hand occur in the trial of the Earl of Essex for treason in February 1600-1. They are few and slight, but sufficient to shew that he had read that part of the history with care. As it stands in Hearne's edition, in which these corrections are introduced, it may be regarded as having in a manner received his sanction.

1.

Camden had represented Bacon himself (p. 853.) as saying at the trial (in answer to Essex's assertion that the violence of Cobham, Cecil, and Raleigh had driven him to take up arms in necessary self-defence) that Cobham, Cecil, and Raleigh were such sincere honest men, and had such large estates (adeo sincere probos esse, et ab opibus instructos), that they would never overthrow their estates and hopes by committing such a crime. For the words adeo sincere probos, fc. Bacon substitutes (Faust. F. ix. fo. 82.) tales esse et animo et fortunis: were of such a condition both in mind and in fortunes, that they would never &c. Which

Which agrees with the summary of the argument as given in the Declaration of Treasons. “ Then it was shewed how improbable it was, considering that my Lord Cobham and Sir Walter Raleigh were men whose estates were better settled and established than to overthrow their fortunes by such a crime."

2. In the next sentence Camden had represented him as observing that the fictions put forward by Essex of a plot against his life, fell to the ground by reason of their inconsistency and variety-inasmuch as Essex, not keeping to one story, cried out at one time that he was to have been murdered in his bed, at another in a boat, at another by the Jesuits; and likewise by the vanity of them (necnon e vanitate), since he exclaimed that the kingdom of England was to have been sold to the Spaniard. For necnon e vanitate, cum exclamaret fc. Bacon substitutes Quinetiam subinde exclamaret &c. (nay and he cried out presently after &c.) His argument, as represented both in the contemporary reports of the trial and in the Declaration, was not that the story about the kingdom being to be sold to the Spaniard was so vain a fiction as to shake the credit of the whole plea (the vanity of it was proved by other evidence), but that it was irrelevant to the point in question, which was the taking up arms in self-defence against private enemies.

3. Camden had represented him as adding, that it was a familiar thing to traitors (proditoribus) to strike at princes not directly but through the sides of their ministers. For proditoribus Bacon substitutes defectionem et rebellionem tentantibus : attempters of revolt and rebellion.

4. In the next sentence, Camden had represented him as taxing Essex with deep dissimulation, as if he had put on the mask of piety; and likening him to Pisistratus of Athens, who had gashed his body, &c. (Essexium profundæ dissimulationis arguit, quasi pietatis larvam induerat : et Pisistrato Atheniensi assimilat, qui corpus &c.) For this Bacon substitutes Essexii factum profunde dissimulationis arguit, quale fuit illud Pisistrati Atheniensis, qui corpus fc. He taxes the action of Essex with deep dissimulation; comparing it to that of Pisistratus, &c. There is nothing about the “mask of piety” either in the report or in the Declaration. Such an imputation would indeed have been quite from the purpose; for Pisistratus's object was not to gain a reputation for piety, but to make people think that he was in danger of his life. The report of the trial says, “I cannot resemble your proceedings more rightly than to one Pisistratus, &c. And in the Declaration, the substance of the argument is thus given, “ It was said .... that this action of his resembled the action of Pisistratus of Athens, that proceeded so far in this kind of fiction and dissimulation, as he lanced his own body, &c.”

5. At a later stage of the trial, Essex argued that if he had meant anything else than his own defence against private persons, he would not have gone forth with so small a force and so slightly armed. To which (Camden had added, p. 856.) Bacon replied, “ This was cunningly done of you, who placed all your hope in the citizens' arms, expecting them to arm both yourself and your party and to take arms in your behalf; imitating herein the Duke of Guise, &c. (vafre hoc a te factum, qui in civium armis spem totam defixisti, ut te tuosque armarent et pro te arma caperent; imitatus in hoc Guisium, qui Lutetiam 8c.) For this Bacon substitutes (in accordance, as before, with the contemporary reports and with the Declaration) “Cui Baconus: at in hoc imitatus es recens exemplum Guisii, qui Lutetiam non ita pridem cum pauculis ingressus, cives nihilominus ad arma ita concitavit ut Regem urbe exturbaret.” But in this you imitated the recent example of the Duke of Guise,

PREFACE.

AMONG the innumerable editions of Bacon's Essays that have been published, there are only four which, as authorities for the text, have any original or independent value ; namely those published by Bacon himself in 1597, in 1612, and in 1625; and the Latin version published by Dr. Rawley in 1638. The rest are merely reprints of one or other of these.

The edition of 1597 contained ten essays, together with the Meditationes Sacræ, and the Colours of Good and Evil. That of 1612, a small volume in 8vo. contained essays only; but the number was increased to thirty-eight, of which twenty-nine were quite new, and all the rest more or less corrected and enlarged. That of 1625, a 4to. and one of the latest of Bacon's publications, contained fifty-eight essays, of which twenty were new, and most of the rest altered and enlarged.

The gradual growth of this volume, containing as it does the earliest and the latest fruits of Bacon's observation in that field in which its value has been most approved by universal and undiminished popularity, is a matter of considerable interest; and as the successive changes are not such as could be represented by a general description or conveniently specified in foot-notes, I have thought it best to reprint the two first editions entire, and add them in an appendix. Considering also that, although it has been thought expedient throughout the text of this edition of Bacon's works to modernize the spelling, it may nevertheless be convenient to the reader to have a specimen of the orthography of Bacon's time, I have taken this opportunity of giving one; and preserved the original spelling throughout both these reprints.

I have also been able to supply from a manuscript in the British Museum evidence of another stage in the growth of this volume, intermediate between the editions of 1597 and 1612; of which manuscript, in connexion with the reprint of the latter, a complete account will be given.

« PreviousContinue »