Page images

formerly dismembered ; and the kingdom of Spain being of more fresh memory united and made entire by the annexing of Portugal in the person of Philip the Second ; there remained but this third and last union, for the counterpoising of the power of these three great monarchies, and the disposing of the affairs of Europe thereby to a more assured and universal peace and concord. And this event did hold men's observations and discourses the more, because the Island of Great Britain, divided from the rest of the world, was never before united in itself under one King ; notwithstanding the people be of one language, and not separate by mountains or great waters; and notwithstanding also that the uniting of them has been in former times industriously attempted both by war and treaty. Therefore it seemed a manifest work of Providence and case of reservation for these times ; insomuch as the vulgar conceived that there was now an end given and a consummation to superstitious prophecies (the belief of fools, but the talk soinetimes of wise men), and to an ancient tacit expectation which had by tradition been infused and inveterated into men's minds. But as the best divinations and predictions are the politic and probable foresight and conjectures of wise men, so in this matter the providence of King Henry the Seventh was in all men's mouths, who, being one of the deepest and most prudent princes of the world, upon the deliberation concerning the marriage of his eldest daughter into Scotland, had by some speech uttered by him showed himself sensible and almost prescient of this event.

Neither did there want a concurrence of divers rare external circumstances (besides the virtues and condition of the person) which gave great reputation to this succession. A king, in the strength of his years, supported with great alliances abroad, established with royal issue at home, at peace with all the world, practised in the regiment of such a kingdom as mought rather enable a king by variety of accidents than corrupt him with affluence or vain glory ; and one that besides his universal capacity and judgment, was notably exercised and practised in matters of religion and the church ; which in these times by the confused use of both swords are become so intermixed with considerations of estate, as most of the counsels of sovereign princes or republics depend upon them. But nothing did more fill foreign nations with admiration and expectation of his succession, than the wonderful and (by them) unexpected consent of all estates and subjects of England for the receiving of the King without the least scruple, pause, or question. For it had been generally dispersed by the fugitives beyond the seas (who partly to apply themselves to the ambition of foreigners, and partly to give estimation and value to their own employments, nsed to represent the state of England in a false light), that after Queen Elizabeth's decease there must follow in England nothing but confusions, interreigns, and perturbations of estate; likely far to exceed the ancient calamities of the civil wars between the houses of Lancaster and York, by how much more the dissensions were like to be more mortal and bloody when foreign competition should be added to domestical, and divisions for religion to matter of title to the crown. And in special, Parsons the Jesuit, under a disguised name, had not long before published an express treatise, wherein whether his malice made him believe his own fancies, or whether he thought it the fittest way to move sedition, like evil spirits which seem to foretell the tempest they mean to move, he laboured to display and give colour to all the vain pretences and dreams of succession which he could imagine ; and thereby had possessed many abroad, that knew not the affairs here, with those his vanities. Neither wanted there here within this realm divers persons both wise and well affected, who though they doubted not of the undoubted right, yet setting before themselves the waves of people's hearts (guided no less by sudden temporary winds than by the natural course and motion of the waters), were not without fear what mought be the event. For Queen Elizabeth, being a Prince of extreme caution, and yet one that loved admiration above safety, and knowing the declaration of a successor mought in point of safety be disputable, but in point of admiration and respect assuredly to her disadvantage, had from the beginning set it down for a maxim of estate to impose a silence touching succession. Neither was it only reserved as a secret of estate, but restrained by severe laws, that no man should presume to give opinion or maintain argument touching the same; so though the evidence of right drew all the subjects of the land to think one thing, yet the fear of danger of law made no man privy to other's thought. And therefore it rejoiced all men to see so fair a morning of a kingdom, and to be thoroughly secured of former apprehensions ; as a man that awaketh out of a fearful dream. But so it was, that not only the consent but the applause and joy was infinite and not to be expressed throughout the realm of England upon this succession ; whereof the consent

[ocr errors]


(10 doubt) may be truly ascribed to the clearness of the right; but the general joy, alacrity, and gratulation were the effects of differing causes. For Queen Elizabeth, though she had the use of many both virtues and demonstrations that mought draw and knit unto her the heart of her people, yet nevertheless carrying a hand restrained in gift and strained in points of prerogative, could not answer the votes either of servants or subjects to a full contentment; especially in her latter days, when the continuance of her reign (which extended to five and forty years) mought discover in people their natural desire and inclination towards change; so that a new court and a new reign were not to many unwelcome. Many were glad, and especially those of settled estate and fortunes, that the fears and incertainties were overblown and that the dye was cast: others that had made their way with the King or offered their service in the time of the former Queen, thought now the time was come for which they had prepared : and generally all such as had any dependance upon the late Earl of Essex (who had mingled the secrecy of his own ends with the popular pretence of advancing the King's title) made account their cause was amended. Again such as mought misdoubt they had given the King any occasion of distaste, did continuel by their forwardness and confidence to shew it was but their fastness to the former government, and that those affections ended with the time. The Papists nourished their hopes by collating the case of the Papists in England and under Queen Elizabeth and the case of the Papists in Scotland under the King; interpreting that the condition of them in Scotland was the less grievous, and divining of the King's government here accordingly ; besides the comfort they ministered themselves from the memory of the Queen his mother. The ministers, and those which stood for the Presbytery, thought their cause had more sympathy with the discipline of Scotlanıl than the hierarchy of England, and so took themselves to be a degree nearer their desires. Thus had every condition of persons some contemplation of benefit which they promised themselves ; overreaching perhaps, according to the nature of hope, but yet not without some probable ground of conjecture. At which time also there came forth in print the King's book, entitled Baoinenov Aupov, containing matter of instruction to the Prince his son touching the office of a king; which book falling into every man's hand filled the whole realm as with a good perfume or incense before the King's coming in. For being excellently written, and having nothing of affectation, it did not only satisfy better than particular reports touching the King's disposition ; but far exceeded any formal or curious edict or declaration which could have been devised of that nature, wherewith Princes at the beginning of their reigns do use to grace themselves, or at least express themselves gracious, in the eyes of their people. And this. was, for the general, the state and constitution of men's minds upon this change. The actions themselves passed in this manner, etc.

1 So in the original. Bacon probably wrote “contend.”



[The rest is wanting.]

« PreviousContinue »