the natures of Essex and James were entirely dissimilar, they were equally incapable of serving Bacon's high purposes, the king's want of earnestness and unsteadiness of purpose being as fatal to his chance of proving a successful ruler as the inconsistent vehemence of the earl. In weighing the terms of adulation in which Bacon continued to address him to the end, it must, however, be remembered that, if there was some hypocrisy, it was for the most part unconscious, and that Bacon's hopeful disposition was apt to fix as long as possible rather on the signs favourable to success than upon the indications of failure. In James's case the reasons for hoping better things than ultimately resulted from his reign were certainly not wanting. The mind of the new king was capable of taking in large ideas, and he had a dislike of intolerance which promised well, and which must have led Bacon to contrast him favourably with the average Englishman of the time, whose views were represented in the House of Commons.
An unhappy indication of the mode in which James was likely to deal with the ideas which he had in common with Bacon was given at the Hampton Court conference which opened on 14 Jan. 1604, where the intention of introducing rational reforms in the church was smothered in an outbreak of temper, and was followed before long by a resolution to draw the bonds of conformity even more tightly than they had been drawn in the days of Elizabeth.
When James's first parliament met on 19 March 1604, the possibility that Bacon's scheme of church reform might be, at least to some extent, carried out, was not quite at an end. Bacon therefore, when he took his seat in it, might still hope to do something in this direction, and might cherish even greater hopes of doing something in the direction of the union with Scotland. Yet it would be to misunderstand Bacon to associate him merely with the desire to pass particular reforms. Eager as he was to provide remedies for the disorders of his time, he was still more eager to avert that breach of sympathy between the king and the House of Commons which is now understood to have been the root of the miseries of the seventeenth century far more than any special tyrannical propensities of the Stuart kings. It was this intuitive perception of the source of danger which raises Bacon to the first rank amongst statesmen, whilst, at the same time, his failure to recognise that it was as impossible to bring James and the House of Commons to work together, as it had been to bring Elizabeth and Essex to work together — a failure the causes of which lay in Bacon's moral as well as his intellectual nature — led to the great catastrophe of his misused life.
The session of 1604 gave Bacon many opportunities of exercising his reconciling powers. The commons wanted to obtain from the king the redress of grievances arising from feudal tenures, from purveyance and other antiquated rights of the crown, without sufficiently acknowledging the necessity of providing a sufficient income for the fulfilment of the duties of government. On the other hand, James was anxious to press on the union with Scotland without fitting consideration of the prejudices of his new subjects. On all these points, as well as on certain questions of privilege which arose. Bacon had much to say, and what he did say was conciliatory in the best way, by suggesting plans which might carry out the most justifiable desires of both parties. When, however, the end of the session arrived on 7 July, Bacon had effected no reconciliation. The question of the union was referred to a joint committee of Scottish and English commissioners to be put in shape for a future parliament: and the question of the grievances had been discussed with such acrimony, that, in dismissing the commons, the king gave vent to his feelings in a speech of mere scolding.
The breach thus accomplished was practically final; but it was not in Bacon's nature, perhaps not in the nature of any man, to acknowledge that the case was hopeless. His own political position was very similar to his scientific position. In both he had teaching to give which his own generation was incapable of comprehending. In both therefore, all that he could really hope to accomplish was to expound his principles in such a way that future generations might act upon them. It is no wonder that from time to time he felt regret that he had not devoted himself to a scientific life, especially as he was himself unaware that he had not the qualifications of a scientific observer. It is no wonder either that, in addition to the attraction of worldly success, the great attraction of possibly averting the coming evil weighed with him in chaining him to the oar of political service. In so doing he no doubt underestimated the obstacles caused by the commonplace industry of men like Coke and Cecil, and overestimated the receptivity of James's mind. The fact is, that he stood to the English revolution with all its miseries as Turgot stood to the French revolution, and he was as distrustful as Turgot was of the domination of elected political assemblies. Turgot's stern independence of character, however, contrasts nobly with Bacon's suppleness; but both Bacon and Turgot undertook a task