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abolished in France by the exertions of l'Hôpital, | practice was afterwards abolished; the amount of which abolition is thus stated by Mr. Butler, in his life of the chancellor:
"Another reformation in the administration of justice, which l'Hôpital wished to effect, was the abolition of the épices, or presents made, on some occasions, by the parties in a cause to the judges by whom it was tried.
"A passage in Homer, where he describes a compartment in the shield of Achilles, in which two talents of gold were placed between two judges, as the reward of the best speaker, is generally cited to prove that, even in the earliest times, the judges were paid for their administration of justice.
"Plutarch mentions, that, under the administration of Pericles, the Athenian magistrates were first authorized to require a remuneration from the suitors of their courts. In ancient Rome, the magistrates were wholly paid by the public; but Justinian allowed some magistrates of an inferior description to receive presents, which he limited to a certain amount, from the suitors before them. Montesquieu observes, that, in the early ages of the feudal law, when legal proceedings were short and simple, the lord defrayed the whole expense of the administration of justice in his court. In proportion as society became refined, a more complex administration of justice became necessary; and it was considered that not only the party who was cast should, on account of his having instituted a bad cause, but that the successful party should, on account of the benefit which he had derived from the proceedings of the court, contribute, in some degree, to the expenses attending them; and that the public, on account of the general benefit which it derived from the administration of justice, should make up the deficiency.'
the épices was regulated; and, in many cases, the taking of them was absolutely forbidden. Speaking generally, they were not payable till final judgment; and if the matter were not heard in court, but referred to a judge for him to hear, and report to the court upon it, he was entitled to a proportion only of the épices, and the other judges were entitled to no part of them. Those among the magistrates who were most punctual and diligent in their attendance in court, and the discharge of their duty, had most causes referred to them, and were therefore richest in épices; but the superior amount of them, however it might prove their superior exertions, added little to their fortune, as it did not often exceed £50, and never £100 a year. The judges had some other perquisites, and also some remuneration from government; but the whole of the perquisites and remuneration of any judge, except those of the presidents, amounted to little more than the èpices. The presidents of the parliament had a higher remuneration; but the price which they paid for their offices was proportionably higher, and the whole amount received by a judge for his épices, perquisites, and other remunerations, fell short of the interest of the money which he paid for the charge; so that it is generally true, that the French judges administered justice not only without salary, but even with some pecuniary loss. Their real remuneration was the rank and consideration which their office gave them in society, and the respect and regard of their fellow-citizens. How well does this illustrate Montesquieu's aphorism, that the principle of the French monarchy was honour! It may be truly said, that the world has not produced a more learned, enlightened, or honourable order in society, than the French magistracy.
"Englishmen are much scandalized, when they are informed that the French judges were per
families and protectors, and by any other person whom the suitors thought likely to influence the decision of the causes in their favour. But it all amounted to nothing:-to all these solicitations the judges listened with equal external reverence and internal indifference; and they availed themselves of the first moment when it could be done with decency, to bow the parties respectfully out of the room: it was a corvée on their time which they most bitterly lamented."
“To secure to the judges the proportion which the suitors were to contribute towards the ex-sonally solicited by the suitors in court, their penses of justice, it was provided, by an ordonnance of St. Louis, that, at the commencement of a suit, each party should deposit in court the amount of one-tenth part of the property in dispute that the tenth deposited by the unsuccessful party should be paid over to the judges on their passing sentence; and that the tenth of the successful party should then be returned to him. This was varied by subsequent ordonnances. Insensibly it became a custom for the successful party to wait on the judges, after sentence was passed, and, as an acknowledgment of their attention to the cause, to present them with a box of sweetmeats, which was then called épices, or spices. By degrees, this custom became a legal perquisite of the judges; and it was converted into a present of money, and required by the judges before the cause came to hearing: Non deliberetur donec solventur species, say some of the ancient registers of the parliaments of France. That
Bacon had scarcely been an hour appointed lord keeper, when these presents of gold and of furniture, and of other costly articles, were showered upon him by various persons, and, amongst others, by the suitors of the court.
Immediately after his appointment as lord keeper, he waited upon the late lord chancellor to acquit himself of the debt of personal gratitude which he owed to that worthy person, and to ac quaint him with his master's gracious intentions
With respect to the excess of jurisdiction, or tumour of the court, which was the first admonition, the lord keeper dilated upon all the causes of excess, and concluded with an assurance of his temperate use of authority, and his conviction that the health of a court as well as of a body consisted in temperance.
to confer upon him the title of an earl, with a | intention to obey what he was pleased to call his pension for life; an honour which, as he died on majesty's righteous commandments. the 15th of the month, before the completion of the arrangements, was transferred to his son, who was created Earl of Bridgewater by the first patent to which the new lord keeper affixed the seal. On the 14th of March the king quitted England, to visit his native country; and Sir Francis had scarcely been a week raised to the office of lord keeper, when he was placed at the head of the council, and intrusted with the management of all public affairs.
With respect to the cautious sealing of patents, which was the second admonition, the lord keeper having stated six principal cases in which this The king was accompanied by Buckingham, caution was peculiarly requisite, and to which who, in his double capacity of prime minister, he declared that his attention should be directed, and master of the revels, assisted with equal thus concluded: "And your lordships see in readiness at the discussions which were to direct this matter of the seal, and his majesty's royal the nation, and the pastimes contrived to amuse commandment concerning the same, I mean to the king. Graceful in all exercises, and a fine walk in the light, so that men may know where dancer, Buckingham brought that diversion into to find me; and this publishing thereof plainly, great request, while his associates willingly lent | I hope will save the king from a great deal of themselves to the devices which his better taste abuse, and me from a great deal of envy; when disdained; for James is said to have loved such men shall see that no particular turn or end leads representations and disguises as were witty and me, but a general rule. sudden, the more ridiculous the more pleasant.
The policy of the favourite seems to be clear. He had endeavoured to prevent the king's visit; and, in surrounding his royal master with these buffooneries, he well knew that he should disgust the better part of the Scottish nobility, and keep aloof all those grave and wise councillors, who could not recognise, under the disguise of a masquer, the learned pupil of Buchanan, and the ruler of two kingdoms.
Through the whole of this progress a constant communication was maintained between Buckingham and the lord keeper.
On the 7th of May, being the first day of term, the lord keeper went in great state to Westminster, in the following order:
1. Clerks and inferior officers in chancery. 2. Students in law.
3. Gentlemen servants to the keeper, sergeants-at-arms, and the seal-bearer, all
4. Himself, on horseback, in a gown of purple satin, between the treasurer and the keeper of the privy seal.
5. Earls, barons, and privy councillors. 6. Noblemen of all ranks.
With respect to speedy justice, which was the third admonition, and upon which, in his essays on "Delay and Despatch," it appears that he had maturely deliberated, he explained the nature of true and affected despatch; and, having divided delays, into the delays of the judge and of the suitor, he said, "For myself, I am resolved that my decree shall come speedily, if not instantly after the hearing, and my signed decree speedily upon my decree pronounced. For fresh justice is the sweetest; and to the end that there be no delay of justice, nor any other means-making or labouring, but the labouring of the counsel at the bar.
"Again, because justice is a sacred thing, and the end for which I am called to this place, and therefore is my way to heaven; and if it be shorter, it is never a whit the worse, I shall, by the grace of God, as far as God will give me strength, add the afternoon to the forenoon, and some fourth night of the vacation to the term, for the expediting and clearing of the causes of the Court; only the depth of the three long vacations
I would reserve in some measure free from busi-
7. Judges, to whom the next place to the which resteth much in myself, and that is in my
privy councillors was assigned.
In this pomp he entered the hall. How different from the mode in which his successor took his seat!
Upon the lord keeper's entrance, he, in the presence of so many honourable witnesses, addressed the bar, stating the nature of the charge which had been given to him by the king, when he was intrusted with the great seal, and the modes by which, under the protection of God, it was his
manner of giving orders. For I have seen an affectation of despatch turn utterly to delay at length: for the manner of it is to take the tale out of the counsellor at the bar his mouth, and to give a cursory order, nothing tending or conducing to the end of the business. It makes me remember what I heard one say of a judge that sat in chancery; that he would make forty orders in a morning out of the way, and it was out of the way indeed; for it was nothing to the end of the busi
take some fit time to show it his majesty, because, if I misunderstood him in any thing, I may amend it, because I know his judgment is higher and deeper than mine.”
ness; and this is that which makes sixty, eighty, | such a preparation for a parliament; which was a a hundred orders in a cause, to and fro, begetting commendation, I confess, pleased me well. I pray one another; and, like Penelope's web, doing and undoing. But I mean not to purchase the praise of expeditive in that kind; but as one that have a feeling of my duty, and of the case of others. My endeavour shall be to hear patiently, and to cast my order into such a mould as may soonest bring the subject to the end of his journey.'
And as to the delays of the suitor, he thus concluded: 66 By the grace of God, I will make injunctions but a hard pillow to sleepers; for if I find that he prosecutes not with effect, he may, perhaps, when he is awake, find not only his injunction dissolved, but his cause dismissed."
The approbation of the king was immediately communicated by Buckingham.
Before the king's departure for Scotland he had appointed commissioners for managing the treaty of marriage between the prince his son and the Infanta of Spain. The lord keeper, who had too much wisdom not to perceive the misfortunes which would result from this union, prudently and honestly advised the king not to proceed with the With respect to the last admonition, that justice treaty, stating the difficulties which had already should not be obstructed by unnecessary expense, occurred from a disunited council; but the king he expressed his determination to diminish all fell into the snare which the politic Gondomar expense, saying in substance what he had said in | had prepared for him, and persisted to negotiate his essay on Judicature: "The place of justice is an alliance, in opposition to his own interests, the a hallowed place; and therefore not only the advice of his ablest councillors, and the universal bench, but the foot-pace, and precincts, and pur-voice of his people. A more unequal game could prise thereof ought to be preserved without scan- not be played, than between the childish cunning dal and corruption; for, certainly, grapes (as of this blundering, obstinate, good-humoured king, the Scripture saith) will not be gathered of thorns and the diplomacy of the smooth, intellectual, or thistles;' neither can justice yield her fruit with determined Gondomar, graceful, supple, and fatal sweetness amongst the briers and brambles of as a serpent. catching and polling clerks and ministers; which justifies the common resemblance of the courts of justice to the bush, whereunto, while the sheep flies for defence in weather, he is sure to lose part of his fleece."
He concludes his address with some observations upon projected improvements in the practice of the court, and his intention to frame ordinances for its better regulation. My lords,” he added, "I have no more to say, but now I will go on to business."
Bacon, who was fully aware of the envy which pursued his advancement, was careful to transmit an exact account of his proceedings, and, in despatches which appeared only to contain a narrative of passing events, conveyed to the king and his favourite many sound maxims of state policy. His royal master, who was not insensible of his services, greatly commended him, and Buckingham expressed his own admiration of the wisdom and prudence of his counsels.
This sunshine was, however, soon after clouded Upon his retirement from the court he commu- by a circumstance, which is worth noting only as nicated to Buckingham, then at Edinburgh, an it shows the temper of the times, and the miseaccount of the day's proceedings, in a letter, say-rable subjection in which the favourite held all ing, Yesterday I took my place in chancery, persons, however eminent in talent or station. which I hold only from the king's grace and Sir Edward Coke, who had been disgraced the favour, and your constant friendship. There was year before, unable to bear retirement, aggravated, much ado, and a great deal of world. But this as it was, by the success of his rival, applied, matter of pomp, which is heaven to some men, is during the king's absence, to Secretary Winwood, hell to me, or purgatory at least. It is true I was submissively desiring to be restored to favour; glad to see that the king's choice was so generally and he, who, in support of the law, had resisted approved, and that I had so much interest in men's the king to his face, and had rejected with scorn good wills and good opinions, because it maketh the proposal of an alliance with the family of me the fitter instrument to do my master service, Buckingham, now offered "to do any thing that and my friend also. was required of him," and to promote, upon their own terms, the marriage of his daughter with Sir John Villiers. Winwood, who, for party purposes, was supposed to enter officiously into this business, readily undertook the negotiation. It was not attended with much difficulty: the young lady, beautiful and opulent, was instantly accepted.
"After I was set in chancery, I published his majesty's charge, which he gave me when he gave me the seal,and what rules and resolutions I had taken for the fulfilling his commandments. I send your lordship a copy of that I said. Men tell me, it hath done the king a great deal of honour; insomuch that some of my friends, that are wise men and no vain ones, did not stick to say to me, that there was not these seven years
Bacon, for many cogent reasons, which he fairly expressed both to the king and to Buckingham, strongly opposed this match, displeasing to
While these exactions disclosed to the people the king's poverty, they could daily observe his profuse expenditure and lavish bounty to his favourite; recourse, therefore, was had to Buckingham by all suitors; but neither the distresses of the king, nor the power of the favourite, deterred the lord keeper from staying grants and patents, when his public duty demanded this interposition: an interference which, if Buckingham really resented, he concealed his displeasure; as, so far from expressing himself with his usual haughtiness, he thanked his friend, telling him that he “desired nothing should pass the seal except what was just or convenient."
the political friends of Buckingham, and fraught with bitterness from the opposition of Lady Hatton, the young lady's mother, upon whom her fortune mainly depended. Bacon's dislike to Coke, and the possible consequences to himself from this alliance, were supposed by Buckingham to have influenced this unwise interference; which he resented, first by a cold silence, and afterwards by several haughty and bitter letters: and so effectually excited the king's displeasure, that, on his return, he sharply reprimanded in the privy council those persons who had interfered in this business. Buckingham, who could show his power, as well in allaying as in raising a storm, was soon ashamed of the king's violence, and, seeing the ridicule that must arise from his inflating a family quarrel|and, in July, Baron of Verulam, to which, as into a national grievance, interceded “on his knees" for Bacon. A reconciliation, of course, took place, but not without disgrace to all the parties concerned; exhibiting on the one part unbecoming violence, and on the other the most abject servility. The marriage, which had occasioned so much strife, was solemnized at the close of the month of September; and Sir Edward Coke was recalled to the council table, where, after the death of Winwood, he did not long keep his seat.
This storm having subsided, the lord keeper turned his attention to the subject of finance, and endeavoured to bring the government expenses, now called the civil list, within the compass of the ordinary revenue; a measure more necessary, since there had never been any disposition in parliament to be as liberal to James as to his illustrious predecessor.
On the 4th of January, 1618, the lord keeper was created Lord High Chancellor of England,
stated in the preamble to the patent of nobility, witnessed by the Prince of Wales, Duke of Lenox, and many of the first nobility, the king was "moved by the grateful sense he had of the many faithful services rendered him by this worthy person." In the beginning of the same year the Earl of Buckingham was raised to the degree of marquis.
In August, 1618, the lord keeper, with a due sense of the laudable intentions of the founder, stayed a patent for the foundation of Dulwich College, from the conviction that education was the best charity, and would be best promoted by the foundation of lectures in the university. This, his favourite opinion, which he, when solicitorgeneral, had expressed in his tract upon Sutton's Hospital, and renewed in his will, was immediately communicated to Buckingham, to whom he suggested that part of the founder's bounty ought to be appropriated to the advancement of learning.
Firm, however, as Bacon was with respect to patents, his wishes, as a politician, to relieve the distresses of the king, seem to have had some tendency to influence his mind as a judge. In one of his letters he expresses his anxiety to accellerate the prosecution, saying, “it might, if wind and weather permit, come to hearing in the "the evidence term;" and in another he says, went well, and I will not say I sometimes helped it as far as was fit for a judge.'
The difficulties which the council met in the projected retrenchments, from the officers of state whose interests were affected, confirmed the remark of Cardinal Richelieu, "that the reformation of a king's household is a thing more fit to be done than successfully attempted." This did not discourage the lord keeper, who went manfully to the work, and wrote freely to Buckingham and to the king himself, upon the necessity both of striking at the root, and lopping off the branches; of considering whether Ireland, instead of being a So true is it, as Bacon himself had taught, that burden to England, ought not, in a great measure, to support itself; and of diminishing household | a judge ought to be of a retired nature, and unconexpenses, and abridging pensions and gratuities. nected with politics. So certain is the injury to Notwithstanding these efforts to retrench all unnecessary expenditure in the household, the pecuniary distresses of the king were so great, that expedients, from which he ought to have been protected by the Commons, were adopted, and the grant of patents and infliction of fines was made a profitable source of revenue: although Bacon had, upon the death of Salisbury, earIt was, about this time, discovered that several nestly prayed the king "not to descend to any means, or degree of means, which cometh not Dutch merchants of great opulence had exported ɔf a symmetry with his majesty and greatness. gold and silver to the amount of some millions
the administration of justice, from the attempt to blend the irreconcileable characters of judge and politician: the judge unbending as the oak, the politician pliant as the osier: the judge firm and constant, the same to all men; the politician, ever varying,
"Orpheus in sylvis, inter delphinas Arion."
There are various letters extant upon this subject, | God, in the maintenance of the prerogative, and exhibiting the king's pecuniary distresses, his to oblige the hearts of the people to him by the rash facility in making promises, and the discon- administration of justice." tent felt by the people at his improvidence, and partiality for his own countrymen.
Though evidently rejoicing at this windfall for his royal master, Bacon, regardless of the importunities of the attorney-general, refused to issue writes of ne exeat against the merchants till he had obtained evidence to warrant his interposition, and cautioned his majesty against granting the forfeitures accruing from this discovery. He entreated that a commission might be formed, impowering Sir E. Coke, the chancellor of the exchequer, the lord chief justice, and himself, to investigate this matter. These observations were well received, and immediately adopted by the king; and although informations were filed against a hundred and eighty, only twenty of the principal merchants were tried and convicted. They were fined to the amount of £100,000, which, by the intercession of Buckingham, was afterwards remitted to about £30,000. The rest of the prosecutions were stayed at his instance, intercession having been made to him by letters from the States-General, and probably by the merchants themselves, in the way in which he was usually approached by applicants.
From these political expedients he turned to his more interesting judicial duties. How strenuously he exerted himself in the discharge of them may be seen in his honest exultation to Buckingham, and may be easily conceived by those who know how indefatigable genius is in any business in which it is interested: how ardent and strenuous it is in encountering and subduing all difficulties to which it is opposed.
In a letter to Buckingham, of the 8th of June, 1617, he says, "This day I have made even with the business of the kingdom for common justice; not one cause unheard; the lawyers drawn dry of all the motions they were to make; not one petition unanswered. And this, I think, could not be said in our age before. This I speak, not out of ostentation, but out of gladness, when I have done my duty. I know men think I cannot continue if I should thus oppress myself with business: but that account is made. The duties of life are more than life; and if I die now, I shall die before the world be weary of me, which in our times is somewhat rare." And in two other letters he, from the same cause, expresses the same joy.
These exertions did not secure him from the interference of Buckingham, or protect him, as they have never protected judge, from misrepresentation and calumny; but, unmoved by friendship or by slander, he went right onward in his course. He acted as he taught, from the conviction, that "a popular judge is a deformed thing: and plaudits are fitter for players than magistrates. Do good to the people, love them, and give them justice, but let it be nihil inde expectantes;' looking for nothing, neither praise nor
While this cause was pending, the Earl of Suffolk, lord treasurer, was prosecuted, with his lady, in the Star Chamber, for trafficking with the public money to the amount of £50,000; and they were sentenced to imprisonment and fine, not, according to the judgment of Sir Edward Coke, of £100,000, but of £30,000. Bacon commended Coke to the king, as having done his part excellently, but pursued his own constant course, activity in detecting the offence, and moderation in punishing the offender. After a short confinement they were released at the in-profit." tercession of Buckingham, and the fine reduced to £7,000.
Notwithstanding Bacon's warning to Buckingham, that he ought not, as a statesman, The motives by which Buckingham was influ- to interfere, either by word or letter, in any enced in this and similar remissions, may possibly cause depending, or like to be depending in be collected from his conduct in the advance- any court of justice, the temptations to Buckment of Lord Chief Justice Montagu, who, for a ingham were, it seems, too powerful to induce sum of £20,000, was appointed to the treasurer-him to attend to this admonition, in resistship, vacated by the removal of Lord Suffolk, and was created a peer; for which offence this dispenser of the king's favours was, in the reign of Charles the First, impeached by the Commons; but he, after the death of Bacon and of the king, solemnly denied the accusation, by protesting "that the sum was a voluntary loan to the king by the lord treasurer, after his promotion, and not an advance to obtain the appointment.”
ance of a custom so long established and so deeply seated, that the applications were, as a matter of course, made to statesmen and to judges, by the most respectable members of the community, and by the two universities.
Early in March, Sir Francis was appointed lord keeper, and, on the 4th of April, Buckingham thus wrote: "My honourable lord :-Whereas the late lord chancellor thought it fit to disSuch were the occupations to which this phi- miss out of the chancery a cause touching Henry losopher was doomed; occupations which, even Skipwith to the common law, where he desireth it as chancellor, he regretted, saying, most truly, should be decided; these are to entreat your “I know these things do not pertain to me; for | lordship in the gentleman's favour, that if the aday part is to acquit the king's office towards verse party shail attempt to bring it now back.