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In the summer of 1588 the Spanish armada lost half its 130 armed ships and had 600 men killed and 397 captured in the battle at Gravelines while the English did not lose a ship and had less than a hundred men killed. Yet disease took the lives of about 20,000 Spaniards and 7,000 English. Despite this devastating defeat Spain would rebuild, and the war would continue, depressing the English economy. Competition with Dutch trade was stiff. In a 1585 treaty Queen Elizabeth had promised to spend up to £126,000 on military support of the Dutch, and musters showed that in 1588 England had 2,364 infantry outside Bergen, 1,245 in Ostend, 913 in Flushing and Brielle, and 206 in Utrecht. England had 7,000 soldiers in the Netherlands but only about 1,750 in Ireland. The Duke of Parma besieged Bergen-op-Zoom with his Spanish army from September 23 to November 13. Taxes from 1589 to 1603 were more than in the previous thirty years, and the annual parliamentary subsidies tripled. Yet these taxes covered only half the war expenditures. The government borrowed £73,000 on Privy Seals in 1588 and paid it back in 1592, raised £84,000 in 1590 and repaid it in 1595, but the loan of £98,000 in 1597 was never repaid. Between 1585 and 1602 about 75,000 English were conscripted into the armed forces, and about half were sent to Ireland. The population of England in 1600 was about four million with 250,000 in London.
Robert Devereux, the 2nd Earl of Essex, was born on November 10, 1565. His father died ten years later, and Robert became a ward of Queen Elizabeth and was entrusted to the care of William Cecil. His mother married his godfather Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, in September 1578. Young Essex served in the army in the Netherlands, and Queen Elizabeth appointed him Master of the Horse in June 1587, and he joined the Privy Council in February 1593.
Parliament met from February 4, 1589 to March 29 and approved a double subsidy of £320,000. Francis Drake and John Norreys (Norris) in April led an expedition with about 17,500 soldiers on 83 ships and 60 Dutch flyboats to try to reinstate Don Antonio in Lisbon, Portugal. Queen Elizabeth and London merchants helped finance the £100,000 campaign with Elizabeth contributing £46,000. They plundered and burned Corunna, and then 6,000 troops landed at Peniche and marched toward Cascaes under Norreys while Drake led the fleet into the Tagus River and seized dozens of German merchant ships. However, disease and lack of supplies and artillery discouraged an attack on the capital. The young Earl of Essex challenged the Spanish commander to single combat, but the English retreated. Norreys landed 2,000 men in Spain on June 19 and stole the wine from Vigo before burning the town and returning to England in the fall. They had lost about 5,500 men on the expedition.
Francis Walsingham had served Queen Elizabeth since 1573 and was in charge of English spying, but he suffered long illnesses and died on April 6, 1590. John Hawkins and Martin Frobisher failed to capture Spanish treasure-ships. At Flores in August 1591 Richard Grenville and two-thirds of his men were dying or dead, and his crew surrendered the Revenge to Spaniards. That month Burghley’s son Robert Cecil was appointed to the Privy Council. Spain’s use of convoys to protect valuable cargoes was succeeding. However, in August 1592 Elizabeth, Walter Raleigh and London merchants financed a squadron led by John Burrows that captured the Madre de Dios and goods estimated at £250,000. Most of the Asian spices were sold at cheap prices, but Elizabeth gained about £80,000 from her £3,000 investment.
The English supported the Protestant Henri of Navarre who became King Henri IV of France after the assassination of Henri III in July 1589. In 1588 and 1589 England sent nearly 24,000 soldiers to Portugal and France, and about half never returned; the cost to the Exchequer was more than £522,000. Queen Elizabeth loaned him £20,000 in September, bringing his debt to her to £81,000. She also sent an army of 3,600 men with at least 200 officers under Baron Peregrine Bertie Willoughby, and they helped Henri IV besiege Paris in October 1590. By December 20 Willoughby had only 800 effective soldiers.
In May 1591 Elizabeth sent John Norreys to Paimpol with 3,000 soldiers to help the French fight the Spaniards. Roger Williams led 600 men into Normandy, and Essex reinforced them in August with 3,600 troops. Norreys was assigned the guard the coast from Brest to St. Malo while Essex waited with troops at Dieppe. They joined Henri IV’s siege of Rouen in October 1591. When Essex was recalled to England in January 1592, less than a thousand English soldiers could fight. Elizabeth complained that Essex had dubbed 24 new knights. On February 19 Elizabeth ordered 1,600 men levied and transported to France, and they were joined by others from the Netherlands, providing 5,000 more soldiers to help protect Rouen. The Spaniards defeated the English at Craon in May as Norreys ran out of ammunition, and about 500 of the English were killed.
Henri IV became a Catholic in July 1593. Elizabeth was upset and worked on translating the Latin text of The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius. Parliament was summoned again to grant more subsidies. The double subsidy had brought in only £280,000, but Elizabeth spent more than a million on the war over five years—£750,000 in the Netherlands, £46,000 in Portugal, and more than £300,000 in France. More than a hundred privateers attacked enemy ships every year after 1588 and cost the Exchequer £172,259. From 1589 to 1591 they captured 300 prizes worth about £400,000, but this decreased to £75,000 in 1598. The Commons passed three subsidies for four years. Francis Bacon had criticized them, and Elizabeth banned him from her court. In 1593 Parliament made refusal to attend the Anglican Church punishable by imprisonment, and continued disobedience could result in banishment and forfeiture of goods.
In September 1594 Frobisher and Norreys with eight warships and 4,000 men besieged Fort Crozen near Brest and captured it on November 7, killing 350 Spaniards as only 13 survived, and razing the fort. In five years England had sent 19,000 men to Portugal and 20,000 soldiers to France. The English also had troops in Ireland and 7,000 in the Netherlands. English troops were used to help France defend Brittany from the Spaniards. Norreys managed to win a victory at Brest and left Paimpol on February 18, 1595, leaving no English-paid soldiers in France for the first time in four years. About 1,200 of his men were sent to Ireland in April.
In 1594 Richard Hooker published the first four books of his treatise Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity to defend the Church of England from attacks by Catholics and the Puritans. He hoped his arguments would reconcile and unite evangelicals, Catholics, and rationalists. His fifth book was published in 1597, but the last three books were not published until long after his death in 1600. As one of the first books on theology written in English, it had great influence. He accepted scripture as authoritative and respected tradition but also advised using reason. He valued the Book of Common Prayer and believed the English should accept the religion of the Queen as the law of the land.
John Gerard (1564-1637) was a Catholic priest who came to England with three other priests in 1588 as missionaries risking martyrdom. Two of them were soon captured and executed. Another priest eluded capture for eighteen years but then was caught, tortured, and executed. Gerard wrote an account of his adventures secretly acting as a banned priest. In the spring of 1594 he was betrayed by an informer employed by the family protecting him. He refused to give the names of the Catholics he served who harbored him, and he was chained for three months. Then a bribe improved his imprisonment. In 1597 he was transferred to the Tower of London and questioned by a board that included Attorney General Edward Coke and Francis Bacon. He was tortured twice but would not give information. In October he escaped and continued his work with Catholic recusants. In 1599 Gerard converted Everard Digby, who was part of the conspiracy in the Gunpowder Plot that was stopped on November 5, 1605. Digby surrendered three days later and was hanged on January 30, 1606. The search for Gerard was increased, and he escaped from England on May 3 and spent the rest of his life in Flanders and Rome.
England had bad harvests from 1594 through 1598, raising the price of wheat from 23 shillings a quarter to 50 before it began decreasing. A food riot broke out in Kent in 1595, and in June apprentices rebelled on Tower Hill in London. Martial law was declared, and five men were hanged. From 1595 to 1597 the death rate increased by more than 50%.
In August 1595 Drake and Hawkins commanded 27 ships and 2,500 men who sailed to the West Indies. Hawkins died of illness in Puerto Rico, and Drake could not take San Juan, though his men plundered Rio de la Hacha and Santa Marta, and occupied Nombre de Dios on December 27. Their trek across the isthmus at Panama was blocked by Spanish forces. They retreated and burned Nombre de Dios on January 5, 1596. Drake suffered from dysentery and died on the 27th. Thomas Baskerville led the ships back to England in the spring of 1596.
Spanish forces from the Netherlands attacked Calais in April. Essex and Charles Howard of Effingham were ordered to relieve the important port. They conscripted 6,000 men from southeastern counties and pressed Londoners into service by locking the churches they were required to attend on Sundays. The Spanish forces led by Archduke Albrecht of Austria captured the garrison on April 24. Francis Vere, Essex, and Charles Howard led 17 royal ships with 47 other warships and a Dutch squadron of 18 vessels with 6,300 soldiers and attacked Cadiz on June 30. The Spaniards burned their fleet. After sacking the city the English burned Cadiz on July 14. Essex and Admiral Howard dubbed 68 new knights. Elizabeth was upset by that and their burning of the merchant fleet that was worth £3.5 million. England and France signed a new treaty in May that was joined by the Dutch in October.
King Felipe II had lost twelve million ducats at Cadiz and mobilized at La Coruña a second armada of more than a hundred ships and 16,000 men; but in October a storm sank a quarter of the ships as 3,000 men were lost. In March 1597 Essex was appointed master of the ordnance office. In July he, Howard, Raleigh, and a Dutch admiral led a fleet with more than a hundred ships and 6,000 men to Ferrol, but bad weather drove them back also. An English expedition to the Azores in September also failed. A Spanish fleet of 136 ships with 4,000 sailors and 9,000 soldiers sailed from Ferrol in October to attack Falmouth but was scattered by a storm. That month Francis Bacon reminded the Parliament of the dangers they were facing, and they voted for three annual subsidies. Bacon also introduced bills to preserve land tillage and to prevent the destruction of farms. The Commons protested against monopolies and patents that protected manufactures.
France made peace with Spain in April 1598, but Essex wanted to continue the war. In the Privy Council on July 1 when Elizabeth opposed Essex’s wish to send George Carew to Ireland, he turned his back on her; she slapped his head and angrily told him to leave. Essex put his hand on his sword but was restrained by the Admiral William Howard. Essex did not return to court until November. Elizabeth’s trusted advisor and Treasurer William Cecil, Baron Burghley, advocated peace. He was nearly 78 and was accused of tolerating the corruption of royal officials, but he died on August 4. His son Robert Cecil succeeded as Lord Privy Seal and the Queen’s most important adviser, and Thomas Sackville was appointed Lord Treasurer. Thomas Cecil succeeded as Lord Burghley and became President of the Council in the North. Walter Raleigh, an enemy of Essex, became Governor of Jersey. England and the Dutch renewed their alliance, but the cost of English forces in the Netherlands was reduced to less than £30,000 a year. Ailing Felipe II weakened the Spanish threat, and he died at the age of 71 on September 13.
In Ireland after a truce made in May 1596 ended in June 1598, Earl Hugh O’Neill of Tyrone besieged the Blackwater Fort. Henry Bagenal led a force of 5,000 soldiers north in August to relieve the garrison; but he was killed, and they were defeated by Tyrone’s men. Only half the English returned to Armagh. O’Donnell gained control of most of Connacht, and rebels drove the English out of Munster. By autumn England had lost most of Ireland except that Thomas Butler, Earl of Ormond, held Leinster with 6,000 troops from England. Francis Bacon persuaded the Earl of Essex to lead an expedition to Ireland, and Queen Elizabeth granted him an army of 16,000 infantry and 1,300 cavalry who left London in March 1599. Essex led a march north from Dublin and spent two months trying to pacify Munster and Limerick. In July the Queen ordered him to attack Tyrone; but Essex’s force had been depleted to less than 4,000 by assigning men to garrisons, and outnumbered by the Irish he made a truce with Tyrone. That fall a performance of Shakespeare’s Henry V included lines by the Chorus in Act 5 about “the general of our gracious empress” returning from Ireland “bringing rebellion broached on his sword,” but they were deleted from the quarto publication in 1600 as too dangerous. Essex conferred about eighty more knighthoods while in Ireland.
Essex disobeyed the Queen by returning to her court on September 28, and three days later she had him put under house arrest. Robert Cecil made a speech defending the Queen and criticizing Essex. Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy, was appointed to govern Ireland in January 1600, and he commanded 14,000 infantry and 1,200 cavalry. George Carew was sent with 3,000 men to subdue Munster, and he won over its chieftain in October and later Sugane Earl of Desmond.
Elizabeth had Essex tried at York House in June 1600 for misgoverning Ireland and desertion, and he was found guilty of contempt. He lost his office of the ordnance and the monopoly on sweet wines that had made him rich, and he remained a prisoner. Essex no longer had the support of Francis Bacon and other prominent men, and by the end of the year he was broke and desperate. He devised a plot to take over the court, and five conspirators led by the third Earl of Southampton met at Drury House on February 3, 1601. John Hayward had published a history of Henry IV in 1599 dedicated to Essex which condoned the deposition of Richard II, and he was arrested and questioned. Shakespeare’s Richard II had been staged at the Globe Theater, and on February 7 Essex and his supporters were summoned by the Council. The next day the Queen sent Chief Justice Popham and three former friends of Essex to order him to come to court. Essex had them held as prisoners by Gelly Meyrick, and with 140 prominent followers he tried to win support in London. Essex was delayed, was blocked from entering the city at Ludgate where three men were killed, and retreated by boat to Essex House which was besieged until he surrendered that night.
Francis Bacon criticized Essex for his militarism and assisted Attorney General Edward Coke in the trial of Essex and others for treason. The nobles Essex, Christopher Blount, and Charles Danvers were beheaded, and Meyrick and Henry Cuffe were hanged. Southampton and a few were imprisoned for a while, and others were fined. Elizabeth ordered Francis Bacon to write a narrative for plain men, and in April he published a book on the treasons of Essex.
Meanwhile on July 2, 1600 about 1,650 English soldiers led by Francis Vere helped the Dutch defeat the Spaniards in the battle of Nieuwpoort. Parliament was summoned in October 1601, and three subsidies for a total of £602,000 were authorized. Elizabeth had also raised £400,000 by selling crown lands. Francis Bacon and Walter Raleigh wanted taxes on the poor reduced because they were paying most of their incomes while the rich paid less than a hundredth of their assets. On November 8 they canceled monopolies on the manufacture of salt, vinegar, starch, and other items. In October 1601 Juan del Aguila and 3,400 Spaniards landed at Kinsale to aid the Irish at the English siege of Kinsale. The English besieged Kinsale with about 9,000 men, and Aguila surrendered in January 1602. That year it was reported that 8,000 English troops were in the Netherlands. Gradually the Irish chiefs submitted until Tyrone gave in on March 30, 1603 and was granted a pardon.
From 1588 to 1603 the English had sent 105,800 men overseas to fight. In 1602 Robert Cecil calculated that her wars had cost the crown almost £5,000,000 which was £651,131 more than the subsidies provided. They had spent more than £2,300,000 in Ireland and £1,419,596 in the Low Countries. The Treasury had been depleted; lands and jewels were sold, and at the end of Elizabeth’s reign they could hardly pay the bills. Taxes became harder to bear, and a mutiny against levies erupted at Gloucester in May 1602. Yet Elizabeth refused to grant religious liberty to Catholics, and censorship was only relaxed to build a case against arch-priest George Blackwell and Jesuits. Then in November 1602 the Queen expelled all Jesuits and secular priests from England.
Queen Elizabeth had no children and refused to discuss the succession. The Puritan Peter Wentworth wrote a book on the subject, had a copy given to her, and some copies were distributed. For this he was imprisoned and released, but after speaking out in Parliament in 1593 he was imprisoned again until his death in 1596. John Harington of Kelston argued that King James VI of Scotland would be best for the Protestants as well as the Catholics and Puritans. He was the leading candidate, though some Catholics wanted the Spanish Infanta Maria. Suspected Catholic gentry were put under restraint. Secretary of State Robert Cecil wrote to James secretly. Elizabeth’s health declined, and she died on March 24, 1603. Robert Carey rode with the news to James who began his progress south.
In 1588 William FitzWilliam was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland, and he supported the accusations that his predecessor John Perrot had plotted with Spain’s Felipe II to overthrow Queen Elizabeth. FitzWilliam ordered the execution of about 2,000 Spanish survivors of the shipwrecked armada, and he pursued an aggressive policy in Ireland. In 1589 the English gained control of Monaghan south of Ulster, sent a sheriff, and divided it among seven MacMahons and a Mackenna. Next the English put a sheriff in Fermanagh. By 1590 about 3,000 English tenants had settled in Munster, and by 1598 there would be 12,000. Richard Bingham was President of Connacht 1584-96, and he forced the rebel Brian O’Rourke to flee from Breifne in 1591. That year FitzWilliam executed Hugh Roe MacMahon for treason.
In March 1592 Trinity College was founded in Dublin, having been influenced by and named after Trinity College of Cambridge. In 1592 Pope Clement VIII sent Bishop James O’Hely of Tuam to Ulster promising aid from Spain. Hugh Roe O’Donnell began planning an uprising with the chiefs, and O’Hely sent a letter to Spain’s Felipe II offering 7,000 infantry and 600 cavalry to fight the English. In February 1594 English forces led by Captain John Dowdall besieged and captured Enniskillen Castle, but Hugh Maguire retook it in May 1595. Red Hugh O’Donnell had been captured by the English when he was 15 and imprisoned for four years before he escaped in January 1592. In August 1594 he led forces that went to aid Fermanagh and defeated the English near Enniskillen.
In 1595 Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, succeeded Turlogh Luineach and was hailed as leader in Ulster. In March he sent his brother Art, and the Irish took Fort Portmore at Clontibret by Blackwater River, killing about 500 English. In June the English proclaimed Tyrone a traitor. A “cess” was exacted on the people of the Pale to finance the army. Tyrone negotiated a truce with the English from October to May 1596 when he was pardoned after breaking off negotiations with Spain. Alonzo de Cobos brought gold and munitions to Tyrone and O’Donnell in April, but the Spanish navy was wrecked by a storm in October and failed again a year later. That year Lord Thomas Burgh became Deputy in Ireland, and Conyers Clifford replaced Bingham in Connacht. In 1597 Burgh direct an invasion of the north through Armagh as Clifford advanced toward Ballyshannon. Burgh garrisoned the Portmore Fort before he died of typhus in October. Tyrone’s Irish army blockaded the fort.
On August 14, 1598 Tyrone’s army and Red Hugh’s force defeated the English relief force of 4,000 infantry and 300 cavalry led by Henry Bagenal at the Yellow Ford. About 900 English were killed, and another 9,000 deserted while the Irish lost 300 dead. Red Hugh raided English homesteads in Connacht, forcing settlers into castles and towns. The O’Rourkes of Connacht defeated Conyers Clifford, and the rebellion spread. James Fitzgerald, Earl of Desmond, was proclaimed sugane of Munster. Tyrone had an army of 30,000 men and raided the Pale. Felipe III sent a third armada to Tyrone in the summer of 1599, but once again bad weather prevented their landing in Ireland.
In April 1599 the Earl of Essex arrived at Dublin with 16,000 foot soldiers and 1,300 horses. In late May the English captured Cahir Castle in Munster. On August 15, the Irish led by Red Hugh O’Donnell defeated an English army of 2,000 and killed 500 at Curlew Pass in Roscommon. The English occupied Munster with garrisons, but they were weakened by lack of food because of Tyrone’s scorched-earth tactics. Tyrone proposed a peace parley, and Essex accepted a truce on September 8 and left Ireland on the 24th.
Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy, arrived with an English army in Ireland in February 1600 and established a stronghold at Lough Foyle. In the spring and summer of 1601 George Carew led 3,000 English and suppressed the rebellion in Munster by destroying crops, driving off livestock, and taking the main castles. Carew claimed they killed 1,200 rebels and that 10,000 surrendered. Only Ulster continued to resist. About 4,000 English commanded by Henry Docwra sailed from Carrickfergus and occupied Derry. Mountjoy’s army continued to cut down crops, slaughter cattle, and burn houses. About 3,500 Spanish troops arrived on September 21 at Kinsale in Munster, but they had no horses and could not forage for food. Mountjoy’s army of about 9,000 men besieged Kinsale on October 26, and bombarding began on November 12. Tyrone and O’Donnell led a combined force of 5,500 and attacked Mountjoy’s siege. They were joined by 500 men from Munster and fewer than 200 Spaniards. In a battle on December 23 the Irish lost 2,000 men, and on January 2, 1602 the Spaniards led by Juan d’Aguila negotiated a capitulation that enabled them to return home. Red Hugh went to ask aid from Spain’s Felipe III and died of poison instigated by George Carew on September 10, 1602. English forces closed in on Ulster, and after 3,000 starved to death Tyrone surrendered on March 30, 1603, getting back most of his land and his earldom. This Irish war had cost England £1,250,000, but Ireland had been subjugated completely for the first time.
King James VI had begun to rule Scotland in 1583 and had made peace with England at Berwick on July 6, 1586. He was 20 years old when his mother Mary Stuart was beheaded in England on February 8, 1587. He accepted this because he hoped to succeed England’s Queen Elizabeth. During the failed attack by the Spanish armada in the summer of 1588 his army suppressed a revolt led by John Maxwell in the southwest. That year George Gordon, Earl of Huntly, married the Catholic Henriette Stuart. James appointed him captain of the royal guard, but in 1589 he learned that Huntly and the Catholic earls of Errol and Angus were corresponding with Spain. James dismissed Huntly and made the earls submit at the Bridge of Dee. After his marriage to 14-year-old Princess Anne of Denmark was arranged, he sailed to Norway and wed her at Oslo on November 23, 1589. She brought a dowry of 150,000 Scots pounds and trading concessions. The Scots pound decreased in value from seven and a third equaling one English pound in 1587 to 12 to one in 1600. James sent envoys to German princes hoping to form a Protestant league. After 1587 the landed classes in Scotland elected representatives from every shire. From 1588 to 1603 James summoned five Parliaments and 49 conventions.
King James returned to Scotland with Queen Anne on May 1, 1590. Between 1590 and 1662 witchcraft prosecutions in Scotland led to the death of more than a thousand people, mostly women. In 1591 witches at Berwick claimed they had raised storms to try to kill King James on his way to Denmark, and Francis Stewart-Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell, a cousin of James, in April was accused of hiring them. Bothwell and other nobles were angered by the execution of Queen Mary. Bothwell was arrested but escaped in June. On December 27 he raided Holyroodhouse. Trials for witchcraft in Scotland were prevalent from 1590 to 1597 when James wrote Daemonologie, which was published in 1597 and criticized the skepticism about witchcraft by Reginald Scot, an Englishman, and the German Johann Weyer. The devil using witches to attack him fit in with his theory of the divine right of kings. Yet James no longer wanted witches prosecuted, and in 1597 he revoked the commissions on witchcraft he had initiated in 1591. He urged the magistrates to protect the innocent, not just punish the guilty. In 1603 two editions of Daemonologie were published in London.
In 1591 King James asked the Kirk (Church) to convene the Assembly in Edinburgh so that he could attend. The next year they passed the Golden Act which affirmed the importance of the religious Second Book of Discipline, and they made the laws against Catholics stricter. Yet the King’s policy toward the Pope and Catholic Europe was friendly. In 1592 the Scottish church tried to block charters with French merchants, and in 1593 the General Assembly persuaded the Convention of royal burghs to prohibit trade with Spain.
In February 1592 during a raid Huntly killed the Protestant James Stuart, the 2nd Earl of Moray. Bothwell tried to abduct the King in June. Seventeen of the 31 lords were privy councilors by 1592, and they were prominent in the conventions. By 1593 the elders controlled the Presbyterian Church except in the west and the Hebrides. James did not appoint any new bishops between 1585 and 1600. On July 21, 1593 the Earl of Bothwell was attainted by the Parliament, but three days later he forcibly entered the privy chamber to submit to James, who accepted him back into favor. On August 10 Bothwell was acquitted on the old witchcraft charge. He raided Leith, and on April 2, 1594 the Privy Council mobilized a force against him. However, he joined Huntly’s Catholic rebels and was excommunicated by the Kirk. After a rebel victory at Glenlivet on October 3 against a much larger royal force, the royal army defeated Errol and Huntly at Strathbogie and Slains. On February 18 Bothwell was charged with treason, and that day his half-brother Hercules was executed. In March 1595 the northern Catholic earls surrendered and agreed to leave Scotland. Bothwell left in April and died in Naples in 1612. Huntly and Errol returned to Scotland in June 1596 and were reconciled with the King, the General Assembly, the Protestant Church, and the Parliament by November 1597.
After his Chancellor John Maitland of Thirlestane died in 1595, James relied on some Catholic advisors. In 1596 to reform finances he appointed an Exchequer Commission with eight men who were called “Octavians,” and they were headed by the Catholic Alexander Seton, Earl of Dunfermline. Their reforms provoked a riot on December 17 in Edinburgh, and political opposition led by St. Andrews minister David Black caused James to disband them in 1597, and he went back to working with the 32 councilors he appointed. James responded by moving the law-courts to Linlithgow so that Edinburgh would not be considered the capital. James banned doctors and regents at universities from attending synods, presbyteries, and sessions. In December the Parliament passed a law that prelates chosen by the King should have a seat in Parliament, and seats were given to 51 ministers. In January 1598 a royal bankruptcy greatly increased the debts of the state’s bankers Thomas Foulis and Robert Joussie by £160,522 (Scots). In 1598 a new law required the nobles to settle the murder cases in their feuds in the royal law-courts. In 1600 bishops were appointed to the sees in Aberdeen, Ross, and Caithness.
Queen Anne became a Catholic about 1600, and she implied her husband might do the same to keep him from being excommunicated. Bad weather and poor harvests raised food prices and caused the poor economy in the 1590s which coincided with the persecution of witches. After Felipe II died in 1598, James negotiated with Spain and Archduke Albrecht in the Netherlands. James took control when the General Assembly of the Kirk met, and he summoned meetings at Perth and Dundee in 1597, at Dundee in 1598, at Montrose in 1600, at Burntisland in 1601, and at Holyroodhouse in 1602.
James wrote The True Law of Free Monarchies and had it published anonymously in Edinburgh in 1598, and three editions came out in London in 1603. James referred to the example of King David and interpreted the advice of Samuel to King Saul. His Basilicon Doron (The King’s Gift) was written to instruct his son Henry, and he later revised it for Charles, urging them to claim supremacy and enforce the laws. Only seven copies were printed in 1599, but in 1603 a revision was published in London, printing 14,000 copies. The next year a Latin translation and partial Welsh version appeared. The advice of a king to a prince was a common humanistic theme during the Renaissance. The main topics are a king’s Christian duty to God, a king’s duty in his office, and a king’s behavior in indifferent things. James considered murder, incest, sodomy, poisoning, and counterfeiting such horrible crimes that he should not forgive them.
On August 5, 1600 Alexander Ruthven, the younger brother of John Ruthven, Earl of Gowrie, tried to capture James, and the two Ruthvens were killed. Grateful for his escape, James made August 5 a feast day celebrated in Scotland. James offered to send Highlanders to aid England’s Deputy in Ireland, and he corresponded with the influential Robert Cecil to arrange his succession in England.
On March 24, 1603, the day Elizabeth I died, England’s Privy Council proclaimed the accession of Scotland’s James VI who would succeed as King James I, and this was widely accepted. Soon after receiving the news James sent an envoy to take control of the English fortress by the border at Berwick, and he wrote a letter to Robert Cecil. On April 5 James confirmed the officeholders in England and left Scotland. He took a month to proceed south and was greeted along the way with cheers. He rewarded gentry who came to him by making almost a thousand knights in his first year. This aroused suspicions as did his having a cut-purse hanged without a trial.
Robert Cecil continued as Secretary of State and would become the Earl of Salisbury by 1605. James added five Scots to the Privy Council. He released the Earl of Southampton and the others imprisoned for the Essex rebellion. On May 19 James ordered his subjects
to repute, hold, and esteem both the two Realms
as presently united, and as one Realm and Kingdom,
and the Subjects of both the Realms
as one people, brethren, and members of one body.1
He also ordered his English and Scottish subjects on the border not to raid each other anymore, and the border laws were repealed. In June he announced that the English were to stop capturing Spanish prizes at sea. He wanted peace with other nations and the union of England and Scotland. He ordered monopolies to be examined, and most were canceled. He urged that tithes be used to pay higher salaries to ministers. James and Anne were crowned on July 25, but a plague in London limited the parading. James took an oath to uphold the laws and customs. Puritans presented a “Millenary Petition” supported by more than a thousand people asking for minor reforms to the Church laws. Catholics pledged their devotion, remembering his mother Queen Mary, and urging tolerance. Others wanted religious uniformity, but most did not want to disturb Papists or Puritans.
At first Catholics were not punished, and they claimed to have converted 10,000 people by May. Needing money, that month James ordered fines collected from Catholic recusants. Secular priest William Watson plotted to abduct the King, but two Catholic priests exposed the conspiracy in July 1603. Henry Brooke (Baron Cobham) was suspected and then accused Walter Raleigh who was not told the charges against him until his trial began on November 17. He was accused of conspiring to put Arabella Stuart, the cousin of King James, on the throne and other treasonous offenses. He was not allowed to differentiate the contradictory charges, and the jury convicted him in 15 minutes. Watson and two others were executed, and Cobham, Raleigh, and Griffin Markham had their capital sentences commuted to life in prison. James stopped enforcing recusancy fines for the rest of the year. Many Catholics stayed away from church, and fearing their increase, James ordered all Jesuits and Catholic priests to leave his realm by March 19, 1604.
James I summoned a conference at Hampton Court that began on January 14, 1604. Puritans were allowed to criticize Church ceremonies, and James agreed to allow preaching ministries, abolishing lay baptism, revising the catechism, and amending the Book of Common Prayer. He authorized a new English version of the Bible that would be completed by scholars in 1611. A proclamation in early March called for conformity to the Book of Common Prayer.
The plague in London had taken more than 25,000 lives, and Parliament met on March 19. The Commons asserted its right to decide disputed elections, and they protected the immunity of members from imprisonment during a session. After he reprimanded members at Whitehall on May 30, the Commons debated “The Form of Apology and Satisfaction,” calling for free elections, free speech, and protection of members of Parliament from arrest. Though differing opinions prevented its passage, this document was often quoted in future sessions. James read it and prorogued the Parliament on July 7. Parliament had prohibited archbishops and bishops from alienating church property. James had few allies in the House of Commons because he awarded noble titles to his councilors who then moved into the House of Lords.
Also in 1604 James warned against the dangers of smoking in his Counterblast against Tobacco and how it polluted the air people breathe. Captain John Hawkins first brought tobacco to England from the West Indies by 1565, though Walter Raleigh was given credit for introducing tobacco to England. Ralph Lane brought new supplies from the colony on Roanoke Island in 1587, and it became popular in the 1590s. Several defenses of smoking tobacco had appeared in 1602, and some claimed that it could cure diseases. James concluded his essay with this description of the dangers of smoking, calling it, “A custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless.”2
England and Spain agreed to a treaty at London on August 18 that guaranteed English trade with Spain and the Spanish Netherlands. That day James hired Francis Bacon as his counsel. Archbishop John Whitgift of Canterbury had died on February 29, and King James nominated Richard Bancroft who was installed in November. He promulgated the new canons of 1604 approved by the ecclesiastical convocation that could excommunicate anyone who impugned royal supremacy, the Book of Common Prayer, or the 39 Articles. Any beneficed clergy who violated the canons was to be deprived of their living.
On October 20 James proclaimed himself “King of Great Britain;” but the Parliament could not accept the union because English and Scottish laws were different, and judges argued that using this title would cancel existing laws. James required ministers to subscribe to new religious canons by the end of November. That month more than 200 yeomen petitioned the King at Royston not to enforce subscription, but he had the leaders arrested and tried for sedition. In December the Archbishop of York, Matthew Hutton, warned Cecil that the King was being criticized in the House of Lords for his extravagance and obsession with hunting. Petitions on the subscription also came from Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, and Northamptonshire by February 1605, and the two leaders of the last one were stripped of their offices and banished. About eighty (less than 1%) of the ministers refused to subscribe and were deprived. Former Attorney General Thomas Egerton urged judges to punish recusants, and in the spring more than 5,000 were convicted and fined. On April 5 James ordered the universities to administer a new oath.
In reaction Catholics Robert Catesby, Thomas Percy, Guy Fawkes, and others planned to move many boxes of gunpowder under the Parliament in the Westminster building while the King was there at the opening on November 5; but Guy Fawkes was arrested the night before, and thanksgiving celebrations on the 5th became an annual event known as Guy Fawkes Day. Catesby and others were killed in a battle. Fawkes, three priests, and four others were prosecuted by Attorney General Coke, tried for treason before eleven prominent commissioners, convicted, and hanged at the end of January 1606.
Relieved Parliament approved £453,000 in taxes for 1606, and James used £44,000 to pay debts of three Scottish courtiers. A new oath of allegiance required Catholics to recognize James as lawful King and renounce the Pope and doctrines that would depose princes and kill their subjects. Pope Paul V condemned the oath. Convictions of recusants increased, but many fines were not collected. Most of the clergy who were deprived of their incomes in the reign of James lost them in 1605 and 1606. “The Instrument for the Union” was introduced in Parliament on November 20, 1606, but only a few hostile laws were removed. Scots in England born after James acceded in 1603 were considered his natural subjects with the same rights as the English. James had a wife and children, and his expanded establishment increased the crown’s debt to £734,000. In his first five years he spent £600,000 on the military in Ireland and £26,000 annually on the English garrisons in the Dutch towns. Also in 1606 they created a new flag for England and Scotland that was a forerunner of the Union Jack, and the title “King of Great Britain” was used on the common coins shared by the two kingdoms with free trade.
Bartholomew Gosnold had tried and failed to found a colony called Northern Virginia in 1602, but he came back to England enthusiastic about the idea. On April 10, 1606 King James chartered two stock companies to settle the Atlantic coast of North America. The next year the Plymouth Company tried and failed to establish a colony by the Kennebec River, but in May the Virginia Company established the first successful settlement by the Chesapeake Bay at Jamestown.
In the spring of 1607 the Midland Rising spread from Northamptonshire to Leicestershire, Warwickshire, and other counties as “levelers” pulled down enclosures that Parliament had banned in 1604. Farmers did not want their tilled land used as pasture, and 350 farms had been destroyed in Northamptonshire, evicting 1,500 people. Soldiers at Newton killed about forty rebels on June 21. A year later wheat prices had increased 30%, and Elizabethan dearth orders were issued. After 1607 the attempt to unite England and Scotland faded, and James ruled both as separate nations. In 1607 he wrote his Apology for the Oath of Allegiance to explain his policy toward the Catholics.
Treasurer Thomas Sackville had become Earl of Dorset. He took advantage of his office so much that he was called “Lord Fill-Sack.” He died on April 19, 1608 and was replaced by Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury. England’s debt passed £1,000,000 in 1608, but Salisbury managed to reduce it to £280,000 by 1610 when there was an annual deficit of £50,000 by imposing new tariffs. The new Book of Rates increased impositions. On May 6, 1609 James decreed that all aliens must get a license to fish off the English coast, but the Dutch claimed freedom of the sea based on legal arguments in Mare Liberum by Hugo Grotius.
News of Henri IV’s assassination in Paris in May 1610 stimulated James to disarm all Catholics and order priests and Jesuits to leave England or face death. All subjects were required to take the oath. On May 21 King James warned both Houses of Parliament that it was not lawful for them to dispute what the King does. The Commons disagreed, and four days later they asserted their undoubted right to debate freely on whatever concerns the subject. James presented impositions in peace time that might be extended to his heirs indefinitely, but in the previous five centuries royal impositions had been laid only six times because of war and only for a year or two. They also discussed a Great Contract for an annual grant of £200,000 in exchange for concessions that included ending the wardship (collecting income from estates left to minors) and purveyance (buying things at less than the market price) and the hated use of informers to increase fines. They could not agree on this, and the Commons only passed one subsidy and one fifteenth worth about £107,000. James prorogued the Parliament on December 6 and dissolved it on February 9, 1611. The Parliament that met 1604-1610 had passed 72 acts in 1604 and 56 in 1606.
To raise funds King James began creating baronets and selling them for £1,095 each, and they brought in £90,885 by March 1614; but after he went beyond the fixed number he had promised, the price fell to £220 by 1622. When Salisbury (Cecil) died in 1612 the annual deficit was £160,000, and in 1613 the debt passed £500,000. To confirm his alliance with the Protestant Union of German princes James offered his daughter Elizabeth to the Calvinist Elector Friedrich V, Count Palatine, and they were married at Whitehall on February 14, 1613. Henry, Prince of Wales, had died of typhoid fever at the age of 16 in November 1612. Their brother Charles was born on November 19, 1600, and he became Prince of Wales in November 1616.
Edward Coke helped develop common law when he served as Chief Justice of the Common Pleas from 1603 until 1613 when he was promoted to Chief Justice of the King’s Bench. In 1616 he refused to take an oath to consult the King before handling any cases involving prerogative, and his rivals Chancellor Ellesmere (Thomas Egerton), Francis Bacon, and Archbishop Abbott got Coke removed. Coke believed that laws came from community customs rather than the will of a monarch, but James was committed to the divine right of kings. Nonetheless James appointed him to his Privy Council in 1617. Early in his career Coke had been Speaker of the House of Commons, and he was elected to a seat in Parliament again in 1620. There Coke criticized patents and monopolies and led the opposition to the King.
James called for an election on February 19, 1614, and the Parliament opened on April 5. James said that he did not want any more laws against Catholics nor any persecution because heresy can never be extirpated by violence. Tired of the debate on impositions, on May 4 James made a speech asking for financial relief, and he promised to never lay impositions on “homebred commodities.” Finally on June 7 he dissolved the session and declared it not a Parliament, allowing statutes to remain in force that would have lapsed. The “Addled Parliament” had not passed one thing. The royal debt was £680,000, and a convocation of bishops offered gifts that raised only £5,000. Shires contributed £66,100. In 1615 they began selling peerages with earldoms going for £10,000 each. Alderman Cockayne suggested granting a monopoly on the export of finished cloth; but they could not finish as much as the white cloth they were exporting, and the Dutch embargoed imported English cloth. The English industry and trade were severely damaged for several years, even after riots in 1616 led to repeal in 1617. The Dutch bought back the Cautionary Towns of Brill and Flushing for £250,000 which also ended the annual garrison cost of £26,000. The major writings of King James were published as his Folio Workes in 1617, a few months after the First Folio of his court poet, Ben Jonson. This collection included his speeches to Parliament in 1604, 1607, 1610
The Scottish Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset, was the King’s favorite and had been made Viscount Rochester in March 1611 and a privy councilor. He fell in love with beautiful Frances Howard, daughter of the Earl of Suffolk and wife of the Earl of Essex. She gained the support of the King and had her marriage annulled based on Essex’s impotence. Somerset’s secretary Thomas Overbury hated Frances and Somerset’s closeness to the Howards. James resented Overbury’s influence on Somerset and wanted to send him abroad as an ambassador. Overbury refused and in April 1613 was sent to the Tower where he died five months later. The King paid for the wedding of Somerset and Frances in December. When the Treasurer, Earl Henry Howard of Northampton, died in June 1614, James replaced him with Earl Thomas Howard of Suffolk. Somerset succeeded his father-in-law as chamberlain in July. The Earl of Pembroke and Archbishop George Abbot of Canterbury introduced the handsome George Villiers to James on a progress in August, and the King became jealous of his favorite’s wife Frances. James liked Villiers, and in the summer of 1615 Somerset threatened Villiers, and then Frances was accused of poisoning Overbury in the Tower. James appointed a commission in October, and Frances and her husband were found guilty and sentenced to death. James commuted their sentence, and they were treated well in the Tower until 1622 when they were allowed to retire in the country.
Somerset was replaced by Villiers who became Master of the Horse in January 1616, then a viscount in August, Earl of Buckingham in January 1617, a privy councilor the next month, Lord Admiral in 1618, and Duke of Buckingham in 1623. James visited Scotland in 1617 and paid for it with a loan of £100,000 from the city of London he never paid back. That year his Principal Secretary Winwood died. James left the position open and used Buckingham as his private secretary. The Treasurer Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk and his wife Katherine had accepted £1,000 annually from army officers in Ireland and were convicted of embezzlement and bribes before the Star Chamber in November 1619.
Walter Raleigh was confined in the Tower with his wife and about 500 books for 12 years. He had previously written much poetry, but now he spent five years writing The History of the World which was published in 1614 and banned by James. Raleigh in the Preface had made some comments on the recent history of England since the Norman conquest and Henry I. After praising King James he wrote,
I could say much more of the King’s majesty without flatteries
did I not fear the imputation of presumption
and withal suspect that it might befall these papers of mine,
(though the loss were little)
as it did the pictures of Queen Elizabeth
made by unskillful and common painters,
which by her own commandment
were knocked in pieces and cast into the fire.3
The first two books are based primarily on the Old Testament, and books 3-5 describe the Persian empire, Greece, and Rome from the fall of the Assyrian empire in 609 BC to 168 BC by which time the Roman empire extended from Spain to Asia Minor. Yet this book of about 1,600 pages became very popular and had ten English editions, influencing John Milton, Oliver Cromwell, and John Locke. Raleigh challenged the authority of unjust monarchs and other leaders by showing how they were punished for their crimes while the virtuous and pious prospered. Historians have criticized its errors, but it stimulated revolutionary thinking.
In March 1616 James released Raleigh from the Tower so that he could lead an expedition looking for El Dorado by the Orinoco River in South America. They sailed in August 1617, but they found little gold or silver. Raleigh became ill, and his men attacked the Spanish town of San Thomé. When they returned, Raleigh was arrested and beheaded on October 29, 1618 because of his previous sentence. When the executioner let him touch the axe, he quipped, “This is sharp medicine, but it is a sure cure for all diseases.”
In January 1618 Francis Bacon became Chancellor and sought reform. James sent a delegation to a Calvinist synod at Dort in Holland but also pleased Spain by releasing a hundred priests who were allowed to leave the country. In May he published the Book of Sports directing that games were not to be played until after attending church, and he reproached the Puritans for objecting to any games. Sports permitted included archery, dancing, leaping, vaulting, May-games, Whitsun-ales, and Morris-dances, but bear-baiting and bull-baiting were prohibited along with interludes (short plays) and bowling. His council urged counties to acquire improved muskets even though they cost more. England’s debt reached £900,000.
The London merchant Lionel Cranfield became master of the court in January 1619 and implemented economies to reduce spending by the navy, the ordnance office, and the wardrobe, and he negotiated a duty on tobacco imported from Virginia and increased revenue from the court of wards. One year later they had a £45,000 surplus, and the royal debt went down to £712,206 by March 1620. That year Henry Montague paid £20,000 to become Treasurer. About £350,000 was paid for Scottish and Irish titles of nobility over thirteen years, though less than half went into the Treasury. James granted monopoly patents to his friends and Buckingham’s. Francis Bacon persuaded the government to discourage the use of informers, and the number actions by informers in the court of the exchequer fell to a sixth in six years. The earliest English newspapers were printed in Holland on foreign affairs. England was in an economic recession 1619-24. Queen Anne died of tuberculosis and edema on March 2, 1619, and James suffered from gout, poor circulation, arthritis, and bronchitis. He drank much, had few teeth, and did not chew his food.
In 1618 Protestants in Bohemia rebelled against their Catholic King Ferdinand II, and on November 4, 1619 Friedrich V was crowned King of Bohemia. Spaniards invaded the Palatine in September 1620, and the Habsburg’s imperial army defeated Friedrich in the battle of White Mountain near Prague on November 8. By April 1621 Friedrich and Elizabeth were living in exile at The Hague. Many English people wanted to help their King’s daughter and son-in-law. James ordered six navy ships prepared and raised money from London and sea-port towns, and he permitted Friedrich’s agent to accept donations and recruit volunteers in England, Scotland, and Ireland. He summoned Parliament and prohibited discussing matters of state. He had to be carried on a chair to the opening of Parliament on January 30, 1621. He spoke for more than an hour about their need for money and the crisis in Bohemia. They estimated that a Palatinate campaign would cost more than £200,000 to raise the force and £190,000 a year. The Congress granted two subsidies of about £160,000 but refrained from imposing the usual tenths and fifteenths that burdened the poor during the deepest part of the worst depression of the century. The summer harvest failed, and in the fall floods brought devastation. Currency manipulation by Baltic states hurt the English currency while making English goods cost more abroad. Decreasing exports and lack of money increased unemployment. To reduce religious conflict James replaced his Protestant secretary of state with the Catholic George Calvert.
Parliament was intimidated by the arrest of Edwin Sandys and the earls of Southampton and Oxford (Henry de Vere). The new Chancellor John Williams suggested a general amnesty, and they were released along with Henry Percy, the 9th Earl of Northumberland who had been in prison since 1605 as one of the conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot. Francis Mitchell and Giles Mompesson were accused of enforcing monopolies on alehouse licenses and manufacturing gold and silver thread. Mompesson had prosecuted 3,320 innkeepers, and he fled and was banished. Mitchell was fined, lost his knighthood, and was imprisoned. On July 10 James canceled 18 monopolies and promised to prosecute 17 more, and a law against monopolies was enacted in 1624 that left loopholes for government, corporations, inventions, and royal officers. On April 30, 1621 Chancellor Francis Bacon was impeached by the Commons for taking bribes. He confessed, resigned, and was fined £40,000. Satirists accused him of preferring young men and sodomy.
In 1614 James had appointed William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, Master of Requests. He acted as his private secretary and joined the Privy Council in 1615. In 1621 the King granted Alexander a royal charter in North America called Nova Scotia (New Scotland). Pioneering expeditions were sent in 1622 and 1623, but the first permanent settlement was not until 1629. Alexander was also an outstanding poet. He collaborated with James on a new translation of the Psalms and was most famous for his epic Doomes-day.
James made Cranfield a baron in July and appointed him Treasurer in September, and he no longer spoke in the Commons but in the Lords. On November 28 the House of Commons voted for another subsidy, and on December 18 they issued a “Protestation” to insist on their liberties and privileges; but on the 30th James tore the Protestation out of the Commons Journal before his Privy Council during a ceremony at Whitehall. When he dissolved Parliament on January 6, 1622, he lost the added subsidy; but he had five members of Parliament arrested. That year they started a commission to investigate which eventually became the effective Board of Trade. James ordered judges to go easier on Catholics, and he released imprisoned recusants in August. In September he wrote Pope Gregory XV asking him to intervene to stop the wars, but the Pope was supporting the Catholic League. In England the Protestant preachers were ordered to avoid controversial issues. High grain prices caused inflation. Rioting broke out in clothing counties, and in 1623 people in Lincolnshire were selling everything they had. In the northwest death-rates doubled.
In February 1623 Prince Charles and Buckingham traveled incognito to Madrid to see the Infanta Maria, and on his return Charles met Princess Henrietta Maria. Many English were glad the Spanish match had failed, and they welcomed the Prince home in October.
Parliament opened again on February 19, 1624. King James emphasized that maintaining peace continued to be his highest priority while defending the rule of law and protecting the Protestant religion. Though many were still concerned about his attempt to form a marriage alliance with Spain, his positive message was applauded. In three months they enacted 73 statutes after passing only two in 1621. The Commons approved about £300,000 from three subsidies and three fifteenths. On March 5 James told the Parliament that he was willing to go to war if necessary to restore the Palatine to exiled Friedrich V and Elizabeth. The long effort to marry his son Charles to the Spanish Infanta Maria was given up, and on March 23 James announced cancellation of their treaties with Spain. Parliament debated funding the war. The Treasurer Lionel Cranfield, who favored Spain, was convicted of bribery and was fined £50,000 and sent to the Tower; but after the Parliamentary session ended, James released him and made him gentleman of his bedchamber. In June the Dutch and the English agreed on a treaty. England also formed an alliance with Kristian IV of Denmark. In August A Game at Chess by Thomas Middleton satirized Spain and its ambassador Gondomar with nine performances for 3,000 people a day until James had the play suppressed.
After Prince Charles courted Henriette Marie and negotiated with her brother Louis XIII, they agreed to a dowry of £120,000. She was allowed to have freedom of religion and 28 religious attendants. James hired the German mercenary Count Ernst von Mansfeld, and in November 1624 he came to recruit 12,000 men in England and 10,000 in Scotland; but the French failed to provide the troops they promised. Lack of money for pay and food led to mutinies and desertions. They spoiled the country around Dover, and thousands died. King James had a stroke and died of dysentery on March 27, 1625. The government’s annual expenditures had increased to £720,000, and he left behind a debt of £1,000,000.
The proclamation that James I was King of England was not accepted in Cork, and in early May 1603 Mountjoy led 3,000 soldiers to Waterford where they were refused entry, but he placed garrisons while allowing private worship. James wanted to allow freedom of religion but still imposed disabilities on Catholics. Rory O’Donnell became Earl of Tyrconnell in 1603 and was investigated in 1605 for having dispossessed the MacSweeneys and O’Boyles in Donegal. The King’s Irish Council urged an anti-catholic policy in July, and in October he decreed that Catholic clergy must leave his realm by December 10. This was not enforced, and the English colonists urged him to be tolerant. In March 1605 James proclaimed that all subjects in Ireland were equal before the law. Only the Palesman Patrick Barnewall was kept in jail after having criticized a judge. In April 1607 the English Privy Council advised a policy of conversion rather than repression. Hugh O’Neill and Rory O’Donnell fled to Europe in 1607. That year the last Catholic judge John Everard was dismissed. Henry Docwra was replaced as governor of Derry by George Paulet who abused Cahir O’Doherty of Inishowen. In April 1608 O’Doherty rose up to capture the Culmore fort and burn Derry. Marshal Wingfield and the English army pursued O’Doherty and in July killed him at Kilmcrenan in Donegal.
In 1609 the English government moved the Irish from 500,000 acres of cultivable land. Then they colonized northern Ireland with the plantation of the six Ulster counties of Armagh, Cavan, Coleraine (renamed Londonderry because of investments by Londoners), Donegal, Fermanagh, and Tyrone. They required the English and Scottish undertakers to receive their grants of up to 3,000 acres in Ireland by June 24, 1610 and to begin settling before September 29. Wealthy undertakers and servitors who had been in the army or government were required to take the oath of supremacy, swearing allegiance to King James and the Church of England. Most of the undertakers developed part of their estates, were to settle ten English and lowland-Scots families per 1,000 acres, and rented the rest to the Irish. Natives were removed, and the deadline was extended for a year in 1611, though it was not enforced. Natives paid fines and double rents that impoverished them and were allowed to remain on one-quarter of each estate, and those landowners had to pay the crown £8 rent per 1,000 acres. Only Catholic landowners were challenged because Protestants had immunity. Children of the English born in Ireland were called “Old English,” and these settlers were the “New English.” In 1612 English gaming laws were applied to Ireland; only landowners were permitted to shoot deer, hare, partridge, and pheasant.
King James sent George Carew to Ireland in July 1612, and three months later he presented a plan to take control of the parliament. In five months forty new boroughs were issued charters with 18 in Ulster. Municipal officials elected by May 1613 were required to take the oath of supremacy, and those who refused were deposed. Towns that did not elect Protestants could have their charters revoked and replaced by royal governors. The new boroughs elected 84 Protestants. In others Catholics outnumbered them 2-1, but the Protestants had a majority of 24-12 in the Lords and 132-100 in the Commons. Most of the 100 Catholics were Old English. Catholics protested that 14 sheriffs had made false returns and that many members were not qualified because they did not live in their constituencies. James appointed a commission headed by Arthur Chichester (Lord Deputy of Ireland 1605-16); the result was that the government majority was reduced, and anti-catholic bills were withdrawn.
John Davies, who was solicitor general (1603-06) and attorney general (1606-19) in Ireland, published in 1612 his Discovery of the True Causes why Ireland was Never entirely Subdued and Brought under Obedience of the Crown of England until his Majesty’s Happy Reign in which he asserted they could make the Irish become English by establishing the national jurisdiction of England with fixed units of landholding, arable farming, and English laws of property and inheritance. Davies was Speaker of the Irish House of Commons 1613-15.
By 1614 there would be 300 Irish students and 3,000 Irish soldiers in the Spanish Netherlands. In the summer of 1614 Catholic lawyers were disqualified, and Catholics were removed from county commissions. Parliament assembled on October 11; but the opposition had a majority in the Commons, and the subsidy bill was not passed. In the elections of 1616 many recusants were elected, deposed, and fined, and in March 1618 chancery revoked Wexford’s charter and installed a governor. By 1620 the plantation scheme was extended to the midland counties of Leitrim, Longford, and Ely O’Carroll and a few other places. A survey taken in 1622 found that many absentee landlords had been imposed on the Irish in these counties and in Wexford. This survey also counted 6,215 British male settlers on plantation land.
Before leaving Scotland in April 1603 to rule England, James VI appointed Ludovic Stewart, Duke of Lennox, as his representative in Scotland. James governed by writing with his pen, confident that what he wrote was done. Thomas Hamilton had been Lord Advocate since 1596, and he served as the King’s secretary from 1612 to 1626. George Home was Treasurer 1601-11, but he also lived mainly in England. The Privy Council was reduced to mostly royal officials and used the Lords of the Articles committee to influence Parliament with eight members from each estate. In 1606 King James sent his list of nominees who were accepted. James also reached out to influence the election of local burgh officials, and in 1610 justices of the peace were established based on the English model. Between 1603 and 1625 James ennobled 29 men increasing the peerages in Scotland to 92.
In 1584 the Black Acts had denounced the presbyteries and confirmed episcopal authority, but now James insisted that bishops and commissioners be responsible to the King. He overthrew the General Assembly by not allowing ministers to meet in 1604 and 1605, though 19 ministers met at Aberdeen in July 1605. Fourteen of them were imprisoned, and six of those were convicted and banished for life. When the Scottish General Assembly met at Perth in July 1606, a bishop was in every diocese, which had not happened since 1586. In August 1606 James summoned eight leading ministers to England and detained James Melville and his uncle Andrew who was kept in the Tower until 1611. The Melvilles were never allowed to return to Scotland, and the other six ministers were confined in Scotland. Andrew’s doctrine of two kingdoms denied ecclesiastical authority to princes, but James wanted unity under his authority. The Parliament restored the estate of the bishops, and the Kirk was controlled by the bishops led by John Spottiswoode who became Archbishop of Glasgow in 1610 and of St. Andrews in 1615. In December 1606 a convention of 136 ministers met at Linlithgow and were pressured to decide that every Presbytery would have a permanent Moderator, and in April 1607 the convention transformed the General Assembly with Moderators of the provincial synods and presbyteries. In 1610 expenses were paid for the 138 ministers attending the General Assembly at Glasgow that approved the power of the bishops. James allowed the building of abbeys and priories.
An act in 1609 restored the jurisdictions of the prelates that had been dissolved by the Reformation. In 1610 a Court of High Commission was assigned to each archbishop. A General Assembly accepted these, and Parliament confirmed them in 1612. In 1615 all the courts were unified under the Archbishop of St. Andrews. The Jesuit John Ogilvy refused to accept the King’s jurisdiction and was hanged on March 10. In 1616 a General Assembly at Aberdeen approved a new confession of faith, a new catechism, and a new liturgy. James then imposed unpopular ceremonies that included kneeling at communion, private communion when needed, private baptism, and observing great feasts. Spottiswoode warned the King, and on May 13, 1617 James arrived in Scotland to enforce them and urged the High Commission to deprive disobedient ministers. However, Parliament defeated them. After the King left on August 4, a General Assembly at St. Andrews in November made concessions with exceptions that irritated James. The next year at Perth they were compelled to accept his proposals, and Parliament by a vote of 85-59 ratified the Five Articles of Perth in 1621. Bishops became the “Lords of the Articles” and promoted the absolutism of the King.
In 1605 a joint commission on the borders was appointed with five English and five Scots. William Cranston commanded the police force, and he had 25 mounted police and claimed that 140 thieves were hanged in one year. In 1603 the Macgregors had raided Glen Fruin and massacred Colquhouns. Archibald Campbell, 7th Earl of Argyll, took charge of punishing them. The Macgregor chief was given safe-conduct to cross the border, but he was arrested in England where it was not considered valid and then hanged at Edinburgh. In 1610 a “fire and sword” commission subdued the Macgregors, and the Privy Council and Parliament abolished the name in 1617. In 1608 some chiefs from West Highland plotting against Irish relatives were tricked into boarding a ship and taken to a conference at Iona where they accepted the Statutes of Icolmkill. They were urged to obey the laws, live in peace, build churches, reduce feudal burdens on tenants, and send their children to school in the Lowlands. Chiefs were made responsible for the actions of their clans.
Also in 1608 Bishop James Law of Orkney complained about the tyranny of Earl Patrick of Orkney who was imprisoned in 1609; after his son Robert rebelled, both were executed in 1615. The Crown annexed Orkney in 1612. While Argyll was governing the south, the Earl of Caithness had power in the north. Argyll was given crown lands in Kintyre and the southern islands, and he expelled the MacDonalds and the MacLeans. The MacDonalds rebelled in 1614 and were suppressed the next year. A law in 1616 required one to know English before one could inherit property in the Isles. By 1620 feuds and the borders were so quiet that fighting Scots emigrated to Sweden to serve King Gustav Adolf. In 1621 the border police were disbanded because they were no longer needed.
The King James Version of the Bible was published in 1611 and was also distributed in Scotland, influencing its literature. William Welwood wrote the first English treatise on maritime law, publishing his Abridgment of all Sea Lawes in 1613. John Napier of Merchiston (1550-1617) was an inventor and discovered logarithms in 1614.
By the time James VI died on March 27, 1625 Scotland had become more peaceful and prosperous; but there were signs of dissatisfaction. The number of witchcraft cases multiplied from 74 in the decade 1610-19 to 358 in 1620-29. Prince Charles had been raised in England from the age of four in 1604 as the Duke of York and then from 1616 as Prince of Wales.
Nicholas Bacon (1510-79) was granted manors by Henry VIII taken from the monasteries, and he became a member of Parliament in 1545. When Elizabeth became Queen of England in 1558, she appointed Nicholas Lord Keeper of the Seal; his brother-in-law William Cecil became the influential Secretary of State. As Keeper he acted as Chancellor, presided over the House of Lords, and lived at York House next to the royal palace of Whitehall. Nicholas had five children by his first wife, and after her death he married Anne Cooke in 1553. She gave birth to Anthony Bacon in 1558 and to Francis Bacon on January 22, 1561. She worked at court as a translator and could read Greek, Latin, Italian, and French as well as English, and her father was a royal tutor. She was a Calvinist, and the family read the Bible and worshipped at home. Nicholas was Anglican and believed in educating the sons under the Court of Wards in athletics, morals, fine arts, and literature. A painting in their house showed Ceres planting grain, and another of her had the legend Monii Meliora which means “Instruction brings progress.” As a child Francis visited his father’s office daily and often met the Queen. Nicholas had a new house built at Gorhambury where he entertained Elizabeth and added a gallery for her sake by 1576. Every room had running water. Francis often stayed in bed sick because of his constant studying. He and his brother memorized the maxim, “Violent action creates equally violent reaction.”
In April 1573 Francis Bacon and his older brother Anthony enrolled in Trinity College at Cambridge University under the master John Whitgift, who would become Archbishop of Canterbury (1583-1604). They learned to speak Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Francis criticized the “unfruitfulness” of Aristotle’s philosophy because it did not produce works to benefit human life. Aristotle had said that stars in the constellation Cassiopeia were unchangeable, but a new star appeared there in 1572 and disappeared in 1574. A plague from August 1574 to March 1575 kept the Bacon brothers home then, and at Christmas they both withdrew from Cambridge. They began studying law at Gray’s Inn in June 1576, but a few months later Amias Paulet became ambassador to France and took Francis as an embassy attaché to Paris. Francis learned that France had a political class who were Catholic but also respected the Huguenot Protestants. He devised a secret code using a biliteral cipher, and he was sent with diplomatic messages to Queen Elizabeth. In February 1579 their father Nicholas died, and Francis returned to England. The other four sons each inherited an estate, but Francis received only one-fifth of what was left. He began borrowing money and was in debt for the rest of his life.
Francis Bacon went back to Gray’s Inn in 1579 and became a barrister in 1582. He was elected to Parliament and represented Melcombe Regis in 1584, Taunton in 1586, Liverpool in 1589, and Middlesex in 1593, but that year he irritated Queen Elizabeth by opposing higher taxes. In 1584 he wrote his Letter of Advice to Queen Elizabeth. In 1588 Francis joined other members of Gray’s Inn in writing and producing a play called The Misfortunes of Arthur. In 1589 Francis wrote An Advertisement Touching the Controversies of the Church of England that was published the next year. He wrote,
To turn religion into a comedy or satire;
to search and rip up wounds with a laughing countenance;
to intermix Scripture and scurrility some time in one sentence;
is a thing far from the devout reverence of a Christian.4
In 1592 he had written to William Cecil, hoping to serve the Queen, but added that he had “taken all knowledge as my province.” In early 1593 Bacon wrote Certain Observations Made upon a Libel in which he warned that warfare should not violate the law of nations or of honor so that England’s good name would be preserved. Francis became the clerk of the Star Chamber with a salary of £1,600 and in 1594 a member of the Queen’s Counsel of Law without pay. That year he was awarded the master of arts degree by Cambridge University, but he was disappointed that his rival Edward Coke became Attorney General. Francis was interested in the rich widow Lady Elizabeth Hatton, but Coke married her in 1598. During the Christmas season of 1594 Francis helped the Gray’s Inn students put on the masque Gesta Grayorum and a Comedy of Errors. A year later a masque celebrating the marriage of Princess Elizabeth and the Count Palatine of the Rhine was dedicated to Francis Bacon. On January 6, 1614 Bacon sponsored The Masque of Flowers at Whitehall.
Anthony Bacon was devoted to Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, and Francis sometimes worked as Essex’s secretary. He tried to get Francis appointed Solicitor General, but he was considered too young. When Essex was tried for treason in February 1601, Francis was commissioned to interrogate the conspirators. After the execution of Essex and the death of Anthony in May, Elizabeth compelled Francis to write his account of the treasons for the press. He later published his defense in 1604.
Francis Bacon published ten Essays himself in 1597 which were increased to 38 Essays in 1612 and finally to 58 Essays in 1625. The 1597 publication of Essays also included his Meditationes Sacrae and the Colours of Good and Evil.
The first essay “Of Studies” is brilliant and short enough to quote in its entirety.
Studies serve for pastimes, for ornament, and for abilities;
their chief use for pastimes is in privateness and retiring;
for ornaments in discourse; and for ability in judgment;
for expert men can execute,
but learned men are more fit to judge and censure.
To spend too much time in them is sloth;
to use them too much for ornament is affectation;
to make judgment wholly by their rules
is the humor of a scholar; they perfect nature,
and are themselves perfected by experience;
crafty men condemn them; wise men use them;
simple men admire them;
for they teach not their own use,
but that there is a wisdom without them
and above them won by observation.
Read not to contradict nor to believe,
but to weigh and consider.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed,
and some few to be chewed and digested;
that is, some are to be read only in parts;
others to be read but curiously,
and some few to be read wholly with diligence and attention.
Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready,
and writing an exact man;
therefore, if a man write little, he had need of a great memory;
if he confer little, he had need of a present wit;
and if he read little, he had need of much cunning
to seem to know that he does not know.
Histories make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtle;
natural philosophy deep; moral grave;
logic and rhetoric able to contend.
In “Of Truth” he wrote,
Truth, which only does judge itself, teaches that
the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making or wooing of it,
the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it,
and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it,
is the sovereign good of human nature.
“Of Revenge” begins,
Revenge is a kind of wild justice,
which, the more man’s nature runs to,
the more ought law to weed it out:
for as for the first wrong, it does but offend the law,
but the revenge of that wrong puts the law out of office.
Certainly, in taking revenge a man is but even with his enemy,
but in passing it over, he is superior,
for it is a prince's part to pardon.
In “Of Adversity” he wrote, “The virtue of prosperity is temperance; the virtue of adversity is fortitude; which in morals is the more heroic virtue,” and he concluded, “For prosperity does best discover vice; but adversity does best discover virtue.” In “Of Love” Bacon wrote,
There is in man's nature, a secret inclination and motion,
towards love of others, which if it be not spent upon some one
or a few, does naturally spread itself towards many,
and maketh men become humane and charitable;
as it is seen sometime in friars.
In “Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature” Bacon noted, “Goodness answers to the theological virtue charity and admits no excess but error.” In “Of Nobility” he found democratic virtues in the governments of Switzerland and the Dutch Republic.
We see the Switzers last well, notwithstanding
their diversity of religion, and of cantons.
For utility is their bond, and not respects.
The united provinces of the Low Countries,
in their government, excel; for where there is an equality,
the consultations are more indifferent,
and the payments and tributes, more cheerful.
In “Of Sedition and Troubles” he named the four pillars of government as religion, justice, counsel, and treasure, and he warned against gathering the wealth in the state into few hands. He also wrote,
The causes and motives of seditions are:
innovation in religion; taxes; alteration of laws and customs;
breaking of privileges; general oppression;
advancement of unworthy persons; strangers; dearths;
disbanded soldiers; factions grown desperate;
and whatsoever, in offending people
joins and knits them in a common cause.
In “Of Atheism” Bacon observed,
It is true that a little philosophy
inclines man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy
brings men’s minds about to religion; for while
the mind of man looks upon second causes scattered,
it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further;
but when it beholds the chain of them,
confederate and linked together,
it must needs fly to Providence and Deity.
In “Of Wisdom for a Man’s Self” Bacon wrote, “Divide with reason between self-love and society and be so true to thyself as thou be not false to others.” In “Of Friendship” he wrote,
For friendship maketh indeed a fair day in the affections,
from storm and tempests;
but it maketh daylight in the understanding,
out of darkness and confusion of thoughts.
Neither is this to be understood only of faithful counsel,
which a man receives from his friend;
but before you come to that, certain it is that
whosoever hath his mind fraught with many thoughts,
his wits and understanding do clarify and break up,
in the communicating and discoursing with another;
he tosses his thoughts more easily;
he marshals them more orderly;
he sees how they look when they are turned into words. Finally, he waxes wiser than himself, and that
more by an hour’s discourse than by a day’s meditation….
For there is no such flatterer as is a man’s self;
and there is no such remedy against flattery of a man’s self
as the liberty of a friend.
Bacon began “Of Expense” with the sentence, “Riches are for spending, and spending for honor and good actions.” In “Of Usury” he noted that usury brings the treasure of a “state into a few hands,” and he believed that “a state flourishes when wealth is more equally spread.” In “Of Negotiating” he wrote,
If you would work any man, you must either
know his nature and fashions, and so lead him;
or his ends, and so persuade him;
or his weakness and disadvantages, and so awe him;
or those that have interest in him, and so govern him.
He began “Of Judicature” by writing, “Judges ought to remember that their office is jus dicere, and not jus dare—to interpret law, and not to make law, or give law.” He also wrote, “The principal duty of a judge is to suppress force and fraud; whereof force is the more pernicious when it is open; and fraud, when it is close and disguised.”
In “Of Anger,” Bacon advised meditating on the effects of anger when the fit is over. He diagnosed the three causes or motives of anger as feeling hurt, feeling contempt, and concern for one’s reputation. A remedy is to delay revenge, and another is to avoid anything which is not revocable.
Here are a few of Bacon’s “Elegant Sentences.”
He conquers twice, who restrains himself in victory.
To deliberate about useful things is the safest delay.
Pain makes even the innocent man a liar.
A man dies as often as he loses his friends.
In adversity only the virtuous can entertain hope.
He that injures one, threatens many.
He of whom many are afraid, ought himself to fear many.
O life! an age to the miserable, a moment to the happy.
Francis Bacon had inherited a debt of £2,600 from his brother Anthony in 1601, and Francis owed £7,400. He supported the accession of King James who knighted him with 300 other men on July 23, 1603.
In 1603 Francis Bacon wrote in On the Interpretation of Nature,
Believing that I was born for the service of mankind,
and regarding the care of the commonwealth
as a kind of common property
which like the air and the water belongs to everybody,
I set myself to consider in what way
mankind might be best served, and what service
I was myself best fitted by nature to perform.
Now among all the benefits
that could be conferred upon mankind,
I found none so great as the discovery of new arts,
endowments, and commodities for the bettering of man’s life.5
He noted that the work of an inventor lasts forever and illuminates the frontiers of knowledge to reveal the hidden secrets of the world. Such persons become champions of liberty and conquerors of necessities. As someone who was devoted to the study of Truth, he believed he had
a mind nimble and versatile enough to catch
the resemblances of things (which is the chief point),
and at the same time steady enough
to fix and distinguish their subtler differences;
as being gifted by nature with desire to seek,
patience to doubt, fondness to meditate,
slowness to assert, readiness to reconsider,
carefulness to dispose and set in order; and as being a man that neither affects what is new nor admires what is old,
and that hates every kind of imposture.6
In 1605 Francis Bacon published Advancement of Learning. He dedicated it to King James and praised him for his knowledge. He referred to Plato’s idea that all knowledge is remembering, and he asserted that the human mind man can know all things. The only thing that can expand the human soul is God and the contemplation of God who has created the mind as a mirror capable of imaging the universe. Receiving these impressions is as joyful as perceiving light, and one may delight in discerning ordinances and decrees. The human spirit is like the lamp of God by which one may search inner secrets. Bacon was concerned that the increase of knowledge and progress be devoted to works of charity rather than pride. He diagnosed three diseases of learning as fantasy, contention, and deceit and noted each is vain. Fantasy is caused by studying words instead of what they represent. Contention is worse because contrary material can lead to endless arguments and questions. Deceit is the worst because it destroys knowledge. Both the impostor deceiving and the credulous one deceived are at fault. Students may temporarily believe their teachers and suspend their judgment until they are fully instructed, but time enables us to discover more truth.
Bacon also warned against too much specialization in arts and sciences which may abandon the universality of philosophy needed for progress. Another error is adoring the mind too much and withdrawing from the observation of nature. Rather than starting with certainties and ending up with doubt, he advised starting with doubt so that one can move toward certainty. The greatest error is to learn for selfish goals rather than for the benefit of all people. Knowledge of the attributes and acts of God is wisdom and leads to the power of virtue. The angels of love and light come before the angels of power. Humans are created to contemplate and experiment as well as work. Bacon noted that the reform of the Roman Church by Protestants and Jesuits led to a renaissance of learning. He observed that the Roman Empire was better guided by the series of learned emperors Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and the philosopher Marcus Aurelius. Alexander was tutored by Aristotle and greatly influenced civilization as did Julius Caesar with his actions and writing. Bacon agreed with Ovid who wrote, “A true proficiency in liberal learning softens and humanizes the manners.”7 Kings and kingdoms depend on arms and soldiers, but religion and the priesthood are based on learning. Knowledge is pleasurable when one sees the errors of others. Learning enables people to excel beasts and ascend to the heavens, aspiring to immortality by raising families and foundations which last longer than physical monuments. Inventions improve human life, persist, and lead to more benefits.
In the second book of his Advancement of Learning Bacon noted that works which advance learning are amplified by reward, made sound by direction, and magnified by combined labor. Use of iron depends on its sharpness and strength but much more on wisdom. Learning requires places, books, and students. As water is made useful by collecting it in spring-heads, conduits, cisterns, and pools, so learning is advanced by books, traditions, conferences, schools, colleges, and universities. Libraries make books available as do new editions with corrections, better translations, and helpful glosses and annotations. Persons engaged in sciences and inventions can be rewarded along with writers and those inquiring into other subjects. Philosophy is important because of its universality and coordination of other subjects. Expenses for experiments must be provided.
Bacon divided learning into three major areas. History relates to memory, poetry and other arts to imagination, and philosophy and other sciences to reason. He discussed four kinds of history—natural, civil, ecclesiastical, and literary, which is most lacking. Poetry can also express the mysteries of religion, philosophy, and policy through fables and parables. Philosophy studies the divine, natural, and human. The body can affect the mind, and the mind influences the body. The four goods of the body are health, beauty, strength, and pleasure, and learning can enhance each of these. Study of the mind is of the soul and its faculties or functions which would be sense perception, memory, imagination, reason, and intuition. Because the soul comes from God, true knowledge of it must come from similar inspiration and philosophy. When the mind is withdrawn and collected into itself or when asleep or in ecstasy or near death, it may be illumined from within.
Bacon divided the knowledge of the faculties into understanding by reason and the moral faculties which are related to affections, appetites, and the will. Reason searches for the truth, but the goal of action is what is good. Sometimes by faith and religion the imagination can take the mind above reason. Bacon described four intellectual arts as inquiry or invention, examination or judgment, custody or memory, and elocution or tradition. Invention can occur in the arts and the sciences. Bacon argued that the senses can certify and report the truth and that deceit is more likely to come from intellectual abilities. His four kinds of demonstration are by the immediate consent of the mind or senses, induction from experience, logical syllogism, and congruity. Reason can be disturbed by sophism using logic, by imagination with rhetoric, and by the affections and passions of morality. Yet the goal of morality is to use reason to moderate the affections, and the end of rhetoric is to support reason with imagination.
The goals of morality are the good, virtue, duty, and happiness, and the process involves the will and the appetites. Moral virtues do not come from nature but are made by persuasion and doctrines that become habits. The student should be in love with the lesson, not the teacher. The mind may describe the good and prescribe rules for attaining it, and the will may subdue, apply, and accommodate one to that. The conscience of good intentions may bring more continual joy than provisions made for security and repose. The divine attribute of magnanimity was recommended by Aristotle, and this takes pleasure in the good of another. Bacon found that astrology could be useful in understanding the various natures of people that love quiet, action, victory, honor, pleasure, the arts, change, and so on. One also needs to know the diseases of the mind and the distemper of the feelings. Poetry and histories are often the best doctors of this knowledge for they describe human lives and show how emotions are incited, pacified, and restrained. Civil states use rewards and punishments to influence conduct through hope and fear.
Much is within the power of our will to affect our desires and alter our manners. Morality is influenced by “custom, exercise, habit, education, example, imitation, emulation, company, friends, praise, reproof, exhortation, fame, laws, books, studies,”8 etc. Aristotle taught that virtues and vices become habits, and Bacon wished he would have taught more about how to induce the habits. Bacon advised not trying at first for “too high a strain or too weak.” One should practice both when the mind is disposed and when it is not so that one may make gains and work out the difficulties. Aristotle advised going against one’s natural inclinations in order to straighten oneself. Bacon warned about trying to constrain people because the mind naturally hates being compelled. He observed that young people, who are usually schooled in morality, are not settled in their feelings and therefore are less able to improve their ethics than the more mature, who being out of school are often taught by religion. The mind can be fixed on what is good by vows or resolutions and by observances and exercises. Evil can be removed by expiation of the past and redemption, often by religion. The most effective way of bringing the mind to virtue is by teaching the good and virtuous goals in life, for a person who seeks these will shape oneself into virtue. For Bacon a good mind is sound with moral knowledge, beautiful, and “graced with decency.” He recommended seeking the goods of the mind because the rest will then be provided or not wanted. The greatest value is love or charity which combines all the virtues together. Love teaches one to carry oneself better, and it works one toward perfection more than any doctrine of morality. Bacon believed love cannot be excessive because emulating this divine attribute never transgresses. Jesus even advised loving your enemies and doing good to those who hate you.
Civil knowledge is the contract one has with others and requires an external goodness in personal conversation, business negotiation, and government. Bacon suggested behavior that is dignified and does not interfere with the liberty of others. In conversing a soft answer can mollify better than silence or a rough answer. Laziness and procrastination make things worse later on. In selecting friends one should avoid those who are impatient and quarrelsome. Forgiveness brings reconciliation, and amnesty forgets the past. We can learn by observing personal examples and by studying history which provides a context to understand past examples. Ovid noted that the wise know how to apply themselves to different kinds of people. Bacon observed that human weaknesses and faults can be learned from people’s enemies, abilities and virtues from their friends, customs from their servants, and opinions from their familiar friends. Bacon affirmed that the light of nature is used by sense perception and reasoning, but the human spirit also has an inward conscience which is inspired and revealed by God. Bacon attempted to go beyond what others had done and hoped that others would go beyond his work.
In May 1606 Bacon married Alice Barnham, daughter of an alderman, and the next year King James appointed him Solicitor General. In 1608 he became clerk of the Star Chamber and published Of the True Greatness of the Kingdom of Britain which he dedicated to James. In 1609 Bacon wrote Certain Considerations Touching the Plantation Ireland. Also that year he published in Latin The Wisdom of the Ancients which interprets many fables of the Greeks (mostly taken from Ovid’s Metamorphosis) in terms of his own philosophy and observation of society in his time. Over several years Bacon wrote on astronomy, geography, and natural history.
Francis Bacon persuaded King James to promote his rival Edward Coke from Chief Justice of the Common Pleas Court to Chief Justice of the King’s bench even though the salary was half as much. This enabled Bacon to become Attorney General in 1613. He represented St. Albans, Ipswich, and Cambridge University in Parliament. In June 1616 the King made him a member of his Privy Council. In March 1617 Bacon was appointed Lord Keeper of the Seal and in January 1618 Chancellor. He became Baron Verulam in July. Bacon maintained the house at Gorhambury with fifty servants, and he had a lifetime lease on York House with more than a hundred servants. Bacon was one of the commissioners who condemned Walter Raleigh for treason because he allowed an attack on Spaniards in America, and many people were displeased by Raleigh’s execution. Bacon also antagonized the King and his favorite for opposing the Duke of Buckingham’s monopoly on gold and silver thread and his patent for licensing alehouses.
Bacon published his Novum Organum (New Instrument) in 1620. He began by warning against those who “dogmatize on nature” by “self-conceit or arrogance” and have thus injured philosophy and learning. They have stifled inquiry by getting people to agree with their opinions. Others have asserted that nothing can be known and have caused people to neglect learning. Bacon wrote that he wants to determine degrees of certainty and restore the senses to their importance while rejecting the mental operations which follow. He did not deny the usefulness of philosophical systems for stimulating discussion. He suggested separating the cultivation of the sciences from their discovery. He encouraged people to investigate thoroughly and use judgment based on self-mastery.
In the first book of the Novum Organum Bacon noted that humans minister and interpret nature. He asserted that knowledge increases human power because ignorance causes the opposite. Many effects have been discovered by chance and experiment rather than by science because sciences have not yet developed methods for discovery. The current system of logic, the syllogism, is useless for scientific discovery because it only clarifies what is already known. What is needed for science is inductive logic. First the idols and false notions need to be understood and guarded against. Bacon described the idols that beset humans as the idols of the tribe, the den, the marketplace, and the theater. True induction is the remedy for these idols.
The idols of the tribe are human nature which falsely asserts that human concerns should be the standard for everything. Bacon also found that the “dullness, incompetency, and errors of the senses” can impede understanding. The passions also interfere and are part of these idols of the tribe.
The idols of the den are the individual peculiarities from a person’s mind, body, education, habits, and accidents. Particular pursuits and specialization limit each person’s knowledge. The idols of the den are the characteristics of each individual that corrupt nature by selfish concerns and each person’s limited awareness.
The intercourse and interaction of humans he called the idols of the marketplace. Commerce and human association using language confines and obstructs greater knowledge. The associations of words and names as commonly understood are the idols of the market that lead to controversies and disputes.
The fourth idol of the theater Bacon related to the dogma of philosophical systems and their “perverted rules of demonstration.” These include ideologies and religions which limit freedom of thought. Humans have a tendency to leap to conclusions and overgeneralize. Unproven theories and dogma can lead people astray just like invented plots in stage plays. Bacon described the three kinds of false philosophy as sophistic, empiric, and superstitious. Sophists are corrupted by deductive logic and limited by categories. Empiricists base their theories on experience which may not be tested or universal. Philosophy also degenerates when theology is mixed with superstitious beliefs invented or expressed by poets who flatter.
In the second book of the Novum Organum Bacon set forth how his methods of experimenting and showed how the use of inductive reasoning can contribute to practical advances in inventions and new products. He advised that nature is best investigated by applying mathematics to physics. He concluded,
We must next, however, proceed to the supports
and corrections of induction, and thence to concretes,
the latent process, and latent conformations,
and the other matters we have enumerated
… in order that, like good and faithful guardians,
we may yield up their fortune to mankind
upon the emancipation and majority of their understanding;
from which must necessarily flow an improvement
of their estate and an increase of their power over nature.9
On January 17, 1621 Bacon became Viscount St. Albans. In February a House of Commons committee began investigating judicial malfeasance, and John Churchill, who worked for Bacon, testified that he accepted gifts. The House of Lords took up the case, and on March 25 Bacon wrote to the King admitting he had participated in the common “abuse of the times.” Bacon was charged with accepting 28 bribes and explained that many were gifts received after cases had been adjudicated. The House of Lords convicted him, fined him £40,000, and detained him in the Tower of London at the King’s pleasure. He was dismissed from Parliament and all offices and banned from the royal court. Bacon wrote to Buckingham on May 31, and he was released four days later. James pardoned him on October 17 except for the penalties. Bacon surrendered his interest in York House to Buckingham, and he was allowed to enter the court.
Bacon published his will on December 19, 1625 and directed that copies of his works be given to the libraries of the universities at Oxford and Cambridge and other libraries, and he endowed scholarships for poor students. Bacon’s death was brought on by a successful experiment in which he stuffed snow into a fowl to prove that freezing could preserve meat. In his “History of Life and Death” he had noted that an apple or nut could be conserved in snow and months later be as fresh as if recently picked. He caught a chill, went to the home of an absent friend, and slept in an unheated room. Francis Bacon died on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1626.
Bacon’s incomplete utopian novel New Atlantis was published in 1627. The narrator tells how they sailed west from Peru and were driven north by winds where they discovered an island and people living in Bensalem. The natives treated them with wisdom and kindness and told them how they adopted many good things from other cultures including the wisdom of Solomon and Christianity. They recounted how the great continent of Atlantis was inundated by a deluge. They have had contact with many cultures from America, Europe, and Asia including China. In communicating with strangers they used the principle of avoiding what is harmful while preserving what is good. Their Salomona’s House is dedicated to studying God’s creatures and works. Instead of trading for gold, silver, jewels, silk, or spices they have sought enlightenment in order to understand the knowledge of causes to expand human civilization. They practice grafting and inoculation of fruit trees, and they improve plants with their techniques. By experimenting they have learned how to use medicines. They have also developed the mechanical arts to make paper, linen, silk, tissues, dyes, and other things. They have insulated houses and use glass in many ways including microscopes. They have increased harmonies of sound and use perfumes to imitate smells. They developed various engines and use gunpowder for warfare. They invented ships that fly like birds and that go underwater like submarines. Although they study illusions, they dislike deceit which is forbidden. Pioneers conduct new experiments. Great inventors are rewarded and commemorated with statues, and new inventions and innovations are circulated to others.
For his insights into studying nature and the use of experiments Bacon was a prophet of modern science, and in the 1630s Galileo would publish works on scientific method.
Robert Burton was born on February 8, 1577 at 8:44 a.m. He entered Brasenose College at Oxford University in 1593. In 1597 he consulted the astrologer-physician Simon Forman five times and was diagnosed as melancholic. In 1599 he became a fellow at Christ Church in Oxford and was tutored by John Bancroft who later became Archbishop of Canterbury. Burton lived at Oxford for the next forty years until his death, and he never married. He earned his bachelor of arts in 1602, master of arts in 1605, and bachelor of divinity in 1614. He began tutoring in 1607 and became a master at Oxford in 1610. In November 1616 he was appointed vicar of the St. Thomas church in Oxford. In 1621 he published The Anatomy of Melancholy for the first time and dedicated it to his patron George Lord Berkeley. He added to it and revised it five times before his death on January 25, 1640. He studied astrology and died on the day he predicted; some said by his own hand.
The sixth edition of The Anatomy of Melancholy was published in 1651. Burton consulted the Bodleian Library which expanded from 2,000 volumes in 1602 to 16,000 by 1620, and in 1626 he became librarian at Christ Church. He used the name of the ancient philosopher Democritus as the author of the long book which is filled with quotes by more than 1,250 authors. Some of those Burton mentioned more than ten times are Aelian, Pope Pius II (Aeneas Sylvius), Aetius, Apollonius of Tyana, Ariosto, Aristotle, Athenaeus, Augustine (Austin), Avicenna, Jean Bodin (Bodine), Walter Bruel, George Buchanan, Thomas Campanella, Hieronymus Capivaccius, Hierome Cardan, Cato the Censor, Cornelius Celsus, Chaucer, Strozzius Cicogna, Cicero (Tully), Crato, Cyprian, David, Democritus, Marcilius Ficinus, Forestus, Fracastorius, Galen, Antonio Guianerius, Heliodorus, Hercules de Saxonia, Hildesheim, Hippocrates, Horace, Jason Pratensis, Jerome (Hierom), Paulus Jovius, Lactantius, Laurentius, Ludwig Lavatar, Levinus Lemmius, Justus Lipsius, Livy, Lucan, Lucian, Lucretius, Macrobius, Magninus, Martial, Melancthon, Lodovicus Mercatus, Mercurialis, Aelianus Montaltus, Montanus, Ovid, Paracelsus, Paul, Felix Plater, Plato, Pliny the Elder, Pliiny the Younger, Plotinus, Plutarch, Baptista Porta, Rhazes (Rhasis), Savonarola, Scaliger, Socrates, Tacitus, Tertullian, Trallianus, Franciscus Valesius, Varro, Virgil, Vives, Wierus, Xenophon, and Zanchius.
Burton used the ancient theory of temperaments found in Hippocrates that describes the four humors or liquids of the human body. Sanguine is associated with blood, air, spring, adolescence, the heart, and Jupiter, and is hot, moist, and sweet. Phlegmatic is related to phlegm, water, autumn, maturity, the brain, the moon, and is cold and moist. Choleric is identified with yellow bile, fire, summer, the gall bladder, and Mars, and is hot, dry, and bitter. Melancholic is characterized by black bile, the Earth, winter, old age, the spleen, Saturn, and is cold, dry, thick, and sour. Burton used Aristotle’s division of the soul as vegetal, sensitive, and rational. The vegetal is how the organic body is nourished, grows, and reproduces with the nutritive and generating faculties. The sensible faculty has senses, appetite, judgment, breath, and motion, and it is capable of apprehending and moving. The apprehensive faculty outwardly has the five senses of hearing, sight, smell, touch, and taste and inwardly common sense, fantasy (imagination), and memory. The rational soul has the understanding mind which apprehends, composes, divides, discourses, reasons, remembers, invents, and judges. Others add sense perception, experience, intelligence, faith, suspicion, error, opinion, science, art, prudence, wisdom, director, and conscience which also has a purer part called “synteresis.” The understanding acts and has habits. The will is another power of the rational soul which approves or avoids.
Melancholy is primarily caused by fear or sorrow or both. Burton includes supernatural causes from God, angels, or devils. Natural causes include old age and inheritance. A bad diet from meat, dairy products, beans, peas, spices, black wines, and thick drinks, and eating too much especially meat are also causes. Impure and foggy air also dejects the spirits as does air that is too cold or too hot. Moderate exercise is good, but too much or violent exercise is bad as is lack of exercise or idleness. Solitariness also tends to bring about melancholy. Too little or too much sleep may depress one. Sadness without a cause is a clear sign of melancholy. Other causes include fear, shame, disgrace, envy, hatred, anger which prepares the body for melancholy, discontent, misery, desires, ambition, coveting, immoderate pleasures such as gaming, drinking, and sex; self-love, pride, too much studying, terror or being frightened, being the object of scoffing, calumny, jests, and sarcasm; servitude, imprisonment, poverty, loss of riches, various accidents such as loss of friends, office, reputation, or work; headaches, upset stomach, diseases, suspicion, jealousy, and restlessness. The melancholic person is easily enamored and may dote.
In the second part of The Anatomy of Melancholy Burton describes the cures, beginning by rejecting “unlawful cures” such as sorcery, magic, spells, and charms. Lawful cures may come from God just as Jesus healed people. Catholics call on saints, but he seeks God alone. Physicians may benefit patients with their medicine if the patient cooperates. Diet can be rectified by avoiding fried and roasted meat and by using wholesome herbs. Sweet fruits may be taken after meals. Gluttony and excess meat cause disease. Pure water is important. One should wash one’s hands and face often, change clothes, and bathe frequently. Fresh air is essential, and he digresses on air for many pages and recommends change of air. Exercise is needed for both the body and the mind. He recommends dancing, singing, and stage plays. Study is good for the mind and may include arithmetic, geometry, and acrostics as well as reading. Burton noted that women have their needlework and spinning and adorn their houses. Sleep may be a helpful cure. Listening to sweet music before going to bed may prevent nightmares. Mental and emotional perturbations need to be rectified. They may be resisted oneself or confessed to a friend. We can counsel each other, and sharing our troubles with a trusted friend often helps remove problems by good counseling. When these fail, one should consult a physician. Other remedies include music, mirth, and merry company. Men may be cheered up by the beauty of a woman.
Poverty and want can be rectified. Many philosophers have taught that if one is content, then one has abundance. Having courage enables us to use misery to sharpen our virtue. Hope can refresh us, and hard beginnings can lead to prosperous results. The best of us serve, and we are all prisoners of the world. The banished may find value in other lands. After mourning briefly one may find comfort for the heaviness. Envy, hatred, ambition, and self-love can be cured by love, charity, patience, and peace. One can also survive abuse, contempt, slander, and other discomforts with patience and love. Virtue and integrity prevent us from imitating fools. Spiritual law and Jesus taught to love God above all and your neighbor as yourself. The universal golden rule is to do to others what you would have them do to you. Burton also described many medicines such as herbs and other remedies that have been used to treat melancholy.
The third part of The Anatomy of Melancholy takes up the issues related to love and melancholy. The best cure for love-melancholy is charity that is pleasant, profitable, and honest, and it also includes piety, benevolence, and friendship. A faithful friend is worth more than gold. Burton notes that “heroical” or erotic love often causes melancholy. This love can be a tyrant, and beauty is one of the main causes of romantic love. Remedies for love-melancholy include work, diet, medicine, and fasting. One should avoid idleness and occasions and change one’s place. Counseling may persuade one to understand people’s faults and the results of lust. The last and final cure is to fulfill one’s desire. One may marry for love or take a vow of chastity. Jealousy is defined as a suspicion or fear that one’s lover loves someone else, and it may be caused by idleness, melancholy, impotence, long absence, beauty, or debauchery. Jealousy may be cured by good counsel, by avoiding occasions or by not being idle. Jealousy can be prevented by marrying one of the same age with similar wealth, family, and education, and by using them well.
Religious melancholy is somewhat like love-melancholy because one is expected to love God. This may be caused by the devil, apparitions, oracles, politicians, priests, impostors, or heretics who may use fear, blind zeal, ignorance, solitariness, curiosity, pride, and presumption. Symptoms are love of one’s own sect, hatred of all religions, obstinacy, blind zeal or obedience, fasting, vows, and false beliefs. Epicureans, atheists, hypocrites, the worldly secure, the impious, and unrepentant sinners may also suffer from religious melancholy. This can turn into despair because of melancholy, distrust, lack of faith, rigid ministers, misunderstanding scriptures, and a guilty conscience. The anxiety of despair may lead to atheism, blasphemy, and violence or suicide. Despair can be cured by good counseling and other comforts. The heaven of repentance is always open to distressed souls.
Burton’s satirical comedy Philosophaster (The False Philosopher), written in Latin in 1606 and revised in 1615, was performed during the Shrovetide festival at Oxford on February 16, 1618. The play is set at Osuna in Andalusia (Spain) and satirizes Catholic education by Jesuits. Duke Desiderius has started a university, hired pseudo-philosophers and offered students generous benefits. The Jesuit Polupragmaticus and his servant Aequivocus deceive the nobles Polupistos and Stephano, who wants his son Antonius educated. Lodovicus pretends to be a mathematician, and Pantomagus passes himself off as an alchemist and physician. Simon Acutus is a sophist, Amphimacer a poetaster, Theanus a theologaster, and Pedanus a grammarian who pays for benefices. Staphila is a baud, and her two daughters pretends to be seamstresses. The comical result is that the students learn little of value and become corrupted, seeking advantages and pleasures with gold. Fortunately the capable scholars Polumathes and Philobiblos expose these masquerades and persuade the duke to reform the school.
John Donne was born to Catholic parents on January 22, 1572. His mother was the daughter of the playwright John Heywood and the great niece of Thomas More. His father was a successful merchant in London, but he died in 1576. Donne’s mother remarried a prominent physician. John had a Catholic tutor until he enrolled at Oxford in 1584. After three years he transferred to Cambridge but did not take a degree because he would have had to accept the Act of Supremacy and the 39 Articles of the Anglican Church. He studied law. In 1593 his brother Henry was arrested for harboring the Catholic priest William Harrington who eventually was hanged. Henry died in prison of bubonic plague in early 1594. John received his inheritance that June. In 1596 he volunteered for the naval expedition to Cadiz, and the next year fought in the Azores. In 1598 his friend Thomas Egerton helped Donne become secretary to his father of the same name, the Lord Keeper of the Seal. Donne entered Parliament in 1601.
Donne fell in love with Egerton’s 16-year-old niece Anne More, and in December 1601 they married secretly in violation of canon and civil law. Her father had him arrested in February 1602, but the marriage was ruled valid. Yet Egerton dismissed him, and he had difficulty finding employment. Donne contemplated suicide and wrote possible justifications in 1608, but Bianthanatos was not published in his lifetime. He wrote tracts against the Catholics for Thomas Morton and published Pseudo-martyr in 1610 to defend the oath of allegiance to King James. His fantasy Ignatius his Conclave satirized the Jesuits and was printed in Latin and English in 1611. King James refused to give Donne a position at court because he wanted him to serve in the Church. Donne studied Greek and Hebrew and wrote Essays in Divinity which he called “sermons,” and on January 23, 1615 John King, Bishop of London, ordained him a deacon and priest. He became royal chaplain, and King James commanded Cambridge University to award him an honorary doctorate in divinity. In 1616 he also became divinity reader and spiritual director at Lincoln’s Inn. In the next few years he was given several rectories and then vicarships.
In August 1617 Donne’s wife died after giving birth to their 12th child, who was stillborn; only six of his children outlived him. In May 1619 Donne went as chaplain on an embassy with James Hay, Viscount Doncaster, to Germany to try to end the war that had recently begun and would last thirty years. On November 22, 1621 Donne became dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral. In 1623 Donne became ill with a relapsing fever. While convalescing he wrote Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. Soon after the death of King James in March 1625 King Charles heard a sermon by Donne. He published a few of his sermons that year. He transcribed more than a hundred sermons from his notes that his son published after his death which came on March 31, 1631. His poems were first published in 1633 with a second edition two years later. Izaak Walton wrote the first biography of Donne that was published in 1640 with Eighty Sermons. His son also published Fifty Sermons in 1649.
In his younger years Donne wrote beautiful poetry about romantic love, and these have the intimacy of being written directly to his beloved or includes her as “we”: “The Good-Morrow,” “Woman’s Constancy,” “The Sun Rising,” “The Canonization,” “Lovers Infiniteness,” ”The Legacy,” “A Fever,” “Love’s Exchange,” “The Dream,” “The Flea,” “A Valediction: Of Weeping,” “Love’s Alchemy,” “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,” “The Ecstasy,” “The Blossom,” “The Relique,” “The Prohibition,” and “A Lecture Upon the Shadow.” Here is “The Good-Morrow.”
I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?
’Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.
And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown,
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.
My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres,
Without sharp north, without declining west?
Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.
Donne’s great poem “The Ecstasy” links romantic love and spiritual love.
Where, like a pillow on a bed
A pregnant bank swell’d up to rest
The violet’s reclining head,
Sat we two, one another’s best.
Our hands were firmly cemented
With a fast balm, which thence did spring;
Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread
Our eyes upon one double string;
So to’intergraft our hands, as yet
Was all the means to make us one,
And pictures in our eyes to get
Was all our propagation.
As ’twixt two equal armies fate
Suspends uncertain victory,
Our souls (which to advance their state
Were gone out) hung ’twixt her and me.
And whilst our souls negotiate there,
We like sepulchral statues lay;
All day, the same our postures were,
And we said nothing, all the day.
If any, so by love refin’d
That he soul’s language understood,
And by good love were grown all mind,
Within convenient distance stood,
He (though he knew not which soul spake,
Because both meant, both spake the same)
Might thence a new concoction take
And part far purer than he came.
This ecstasy doth unperplex,
We said, and tell us what we love;
We see by this it was not sex,
We see we saw not what did move;
But as all several souls contain
Mixture of things, they know not what,
Love these mix’d souls doth mix again
And makes both one, each this and that.
A single violet transplant,
The strength, the colour, and the size,
(All which before was poor and scant)
Redoubles still, and multiplies.
When love with one another so
Interinanimates two souls,
That abler soul, which thence doth flow,
Defects of loneliness controls.
We then, who are this new soul, know
Of what we are compos’d and made,
For th’atomies of which we grow
Are souls, whom no change can invade.
But oh alas, so long, so far,
Our bodies why do we forbear?
They’are ours, though they’are not we; we are
The intelligences, they the spheres.
We owe them thanks, because they thus
Did us, to us, at first convey,
Yielded their senses’ force to us,
Nor are dross to us, but allay.
On man heaven’s influence works not so,
But that it first imprints the air;
So soul into the soul may flow,
Though it to body first repair.
As our blood labors to beget
Spirits, as like souls as it can,
Because such fingers need to knit
That subtle knot which makes us man,
So must pure lovers’ souls descend
T’affections, and to faculties,
Which sense may reach and apprehend,
Else a great prince in prison lies.
To’our bodies turn we then, that so
Weak men on love reveal’d may look;
Love’s mysteries in souls do grow,
But yet the body is his book.
And if some lover, such as we,
Have heard this dialogue of one,
Let him still mark us, he shall see
Small change, when we’are to bodies gone.
In Donne’s Holy Sonnets this is number ten:
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
Donne’s Devotions upon Emergent Occasions was published in 1624, and these two passages are from “Meditation XVII.”
All mankind is of one author, and is one volume;
when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book,
but translated into a better language;
and every chapter must be so translated;
God employs several translators; some pieces are translated
by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice;
but God's hand is in every translation,
and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again
for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.
As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon calls not
upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come,
so this bell calls us all….
No man is an island entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were;
any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind,
and therefore never send to know
for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
1. Salisbury, XV, 49 quoted in Great Britain’s Solomon: James VI and I in His Three Kingdoms by Maurice Lee, p. 115.
2. “A Counterblaste to Tobacco” in King James VI and I: Selected Writings ed. Neil Rhodes et al, p. 292.
3. The History of the World by Walter Raleigh ed. C. A. Patrides, p. 59.
4. Quoted in Francis Bacon: Philosopher of Industrial Science by Benjamin Farrington, p. 46.
5. On the Interpretation of Nature by Francis Bacon quoted in Francis Bacon: Philosopher of Industrial Science by Benjamin Farrington, p. 50.
6. Ibid. p. 51.
7. Epistulae ex Ponto II, 9 47.
8. Advancement of Learning Book 2, XXII, 7 by Francis Bacon.
9. Novum Organum, last paragraph by Francis Bacon.