Page:The house of Cecil.djvu/182

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154 T HE CECILS

negotiate, or to couch in writing, or to make report, or discreetly to consider of the circumstances and aptly to draw things to a point ; and all this joined with a very good nature, and a great respect to all men, as is daily more and more revealed. And for his experience, it is easy to think that his training and helps hath made it already such as many that have served long prentishood for it have not attained the like. So as if it be true that qui beneficium digno dat omnes obligat, not his father only but the State is bound unto her Majesty for the choice and employment of so sufficient and worthy a gentleman." *

One has to remember that Bacon was a candidate for office, and the spirit of the age encouraged more outspoken flattery of those in power than would be possible nowadays. Making every allowance for Bacon's self-seeking, however, such a description remains a high tribute to Sir Robert's true merit. And though Bacon was his first cousin, yet he and his elder brother, Anthony, had already thrown in their lot with Essex, with whose party Cecil's rapid rise to a position of influence brought him into active opposition. The Bacons had joined Essex, chiefly from admiration of that fascinating person and a belief that he was the coming man, but partly also out of jealousy of Cecil, by whom they considered themselves slighted. Three years before, a correspondent of Anthony Bacon wrote, " There never was in Court such emulation, such envy, such backbiting, as is now at this time," and as time went on, and old Burghley's

1 " Observations on a libel, etc." (Spedding's Life and Letters of Bacon, I. 206).

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