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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
To Villiers on his Patent as a Viscount
By Francis Bacon (1561–1626)
From ‘Letters and Life,’ by James Spedding

I HAVE sent you now your patent of creation of Lord Blechly of Blechly, and of Viscount Villiers. Blechly is your own, and I like the sound of the name better than Whaddon; but the name will be hid, for you will be called Viscount Villiers. I have put them both in a patent, after the manner of the patents of Earls where baronies are joined; but the chief reason was, because I would avoid double prefaces which had not been fit; nevertheless the ceremony of robing and otherwise must be double.
  And now, because I am in the country, I will send you some of my country fruits; which with me are good meditations; which when I am in the city are choked with business.  2
  After that the King shall have watered your new dignities with his bounty of the lands which he intends you, and that some other things concerning your means which are now likewise in intention shall be settled upon you; I do not see but you may think your private fortunes established; and, therefore, it is now time that you should refer your actions chiefly to the good of your sovereign and your country. It is the life of an ox or beast always to eat, and never to exercise; but men are born (and especially Christian men), not to cram in their fortunes, but to exercise their virtues; and yet the other hath been the unworthy, and (thanks be to God) sometimes the unlucky humor of great persons in our times. Neither will your further fortune be the further off: for assure yourself that fortune is of a woman’s nature, that will sooner follow you by slighting than by too much wooing. And in this dedication of yourself to the public, I recommend unto you principally that which I think was never done since I was born; and which not done hath bred almost a wilderness and solitude in the King’s service; which is, that you countenance, and encourage, and advance able men and virtuous men, and meriting men in all kinds, degrees, and professions. For in the time of the Cecils, the father and the son, able men were by design and of purpose suppressed; and though of late choice goeth better both in church and commonwealth, yet money, and turn-serving, and cunning canvasses, and importunity prevail too much. And in places of moment rather make able and honest men yours, than advance those that are otherwise because they are yours. As for cunning and corrupt men, you must (I know) sometimes use them; but keep them at a distance; and let it appear that you make use of them, rather than that they lead you. Above all, depend wholly (next to God) upon the King; and be ruled (as hitherto you have been) by his instructions; for that is best for yourself. For the King’s care and thoughts concerning you are according to the thoughts of a great King; whereas your thoughts concerning yourself are and ought to be according to the thoughts of a modest man. But let me not weary you. The sum is that you think goodness the best part of greatness; and that you remember whence your rising comes, and make return accordingly.  3
  God ever keep you.
  GORHAMBURY, August 12th, 1616.

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