Bribery

 

In "Henry VI," Part 2, is a character, Lord Saye, a Justice, who is arrested by Cade and accused of various crimes and misdemeanours. In the Quarto Editions of 1594, 1600 and 1619 he answers his accusers in four lines, but in the First Folio of 1623 his speech is enlarged and contains the following lines:

"Justice with favour have I always done
Prayers and tears have mov'd me, gifts could never.
What have I aught exacted at your hands
But to maintain the King, the realm and you?
Large gifts have I bestow'd on learned clerks,
Because my book preferred me to the King."
-Act 4, Scene 7.

Is it a coincidence that three passages in this speech clearly apply to Francis Bacon?
1.- The judge denies that he has received gifts and been guilty of bribery. Why make this denial when he is not accused of bribery in the play? Francis Bacon, who fell from power in 1621 under charges of bribery, always strenuously denied these charges, declaring them to be false and of which subsequent history has proved him innocent.

2. -The judge states that he had sent a book of which he was author to the King and had been "preferred" on account of it.
Bacon sent a copy of his Novum Organon in 1620 to King James, who immediately afterwards created him Viscount St. Alban.

3.- The judge states that he has bestowed large gifts on persons of subordinate rank. Bacon was noted for his generosity to the same class of people, and gave large gratuities to messengers who came to him with gifts from various friends.
Note that the above additions to Lord Saye's speech were made after 1621 when Bacon was accused of bribery, and seven years after the death of Will Shaksper in 1616.

***

return to the directory