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Sir Henry Montagu, 1563?-1642

First Earl of Manchester. Judge and senior statesman; trusted advisor of Charles I, close friend and political ally of Francis Bacon.

Entered Cambridge, 1583; Middle Temple; parliament, 1601; took the popular side against the doctrine that the king could impose taxes at will; elected recorder of London, 1603; knighted, 1603; supervised execution of Jesuit Henry Garnet for Gunpowder Plot, 1606; ingratiated himself to king James, appointed to king's council, 1607; serjeant-at-law, 1610; king's serjeant, 1610; chief justice of the king's bench, 1616; ordered execution of Sir Walter Raleigh , 1618; lord high treasurer of England, 1620; was created Baron Montague, Viscount Mandeville; resigned lord-treasureship at insistence of Buckingham, 1620; master of the court of wards, 1624; head of Virginia commission, 1624; lord privy seal, 1628; member of the court of star-chamber.

Trusted advisor to Charles I. One of the guardians of the realm during the kings absence in Scotland; 1641.

Henry was a good friend and close political ally of Francis Bacon . Francis Bacon and Henry formed a political duo at the highest levels of power. Francis Bacon is considered by many to be the first modern philosopher of science, that is, to have first synthesized and explicated the modern idea of science.

Francis Bacon is considered the father of the saying that `Knowledge is power'. Bacon considered the universe to exist independent of consciousness or ideology; another of his famous quotes is `Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.':

"Francis Bacon has traditionally been understood as an extreme advocate of the `primacy of practical reason'. In the same vein, Baconian philosophy has been read as the `philosophy of industrial science' and Bacon himself hailed as the `prophet of Big Business'. ...

Bacon gave the aphorism `Knowledge and power meet in one' ..." (Perez-Ramos)

One of the problems here is that Francis Bacon and Edward Coke were bitter enemies, with both trying to excel in a political environment dominated by Buckingham's influence over the king. The king had become openly homosexual by this point and Buckingham was his favorite, a troubled situation that would have considerable historical impact.

While Bacon is considered a founder of the spirit of modern science, Coke is one of the four legal writers considered key founders of the spirit of the modern common law.

"In his `Letter of Advice to Villiers', written in ... 1616, he (Bacon, ed.) had set forth the duties and responsibilities of a man `in so eminent a place and of so much danger - but also of so much `power to do good'.

All Bacon's political ideas were expressed in this paper. ...

... the two men who were to be most directly responsible for Bacon's downfall had both recently married into the tribe (Buckingham's family, ed.) Sir Lionel Cranfield had found himself obliged, much against his will, to give up his betrothal to Lady Effingham and engage himself instead to marry a niece with neither dowry nor looks... Sir Edward Coke, after haggling three years before over the dowry... had finally bought his way back on to the Council by giving his reluctant daughter in marriage to this same brother of the favourite (Buckingham, ed.) ...

... both Cranfield and Coke were lobbying for parliamentary support in their struggle for power. They saw in the new Parliament an opportunity of gaining influence at Bacon's expense...

On Bacon's side the difficulty - shared with many others, including the King - was that of working with a man who identified the public good with his own eminently subjective and changeable opinions...

... another high office had passed him (Coke, ed.) by ... to make matters worse it (the Lord Treasurer, ed.) had gone (for a high price, as we have seen) to Sir Henry Montagu, the very man who had replaced Coke as Chief Justice in 1616... When Coke realized that his hopes of high office were at an end... he sought a new opening (he went into Parliament, ed.) ...

... men he (Bacon, ed.) had trusted as relations of Buckingham, had exceeded their warrant in every direction ... in ... 1620, he set to work, with the assistance of Coke, Montagu, Hobart and Crewe, on an exhaustive review of the monopolies that had been complained of... Buckingham's relations had actually made very little out of the monopolies. ..." (Mathews)

A dangerous political situation was developing. It would seem that the real problem was that many people, and the Parliament that was meeting, had finally had it with Buckingham's influence over the King (and the resulting political influence of Buckingham's family). Instead of attacking the King directly, Coke and parliament attacked the two highest ministers, Bacon and Henry.

"... the more aggressive newly elected Members ... opened fire on the patents for inns and alehouses... Two of the patentees for inns were brothers of Buckingham... two lawyers were instructed to search the records for precedents (to see if the House of Commons could act as a court, ed.) ... They reported... The Lower House had no such right, but some two and a half centuries earlier the House of Lords had functioned for a time as a judicial court; the Commons had acted as prosecutor and the Lords as judge and jury. (this is how impeachment works in the U.S., ed.) ... Coke already had Bacon in mind.

... Coke was no doubt sincerely convinced that curtailing Chancery's powers (the court in charge of granting patents, ed.) and the removal of the Chancellor were the best things that could befall the country. ... Throughput his life Coke wanted power to be where he was. His whole effort in this Parliament would be to deny Chancery the authority of a court of record ...

... Attacking an old monopoly for the engrossing of bills for law suits, he declared that whoever had drawn up this patent deserved to be hanged. It had been drawn up by the then Attorney General, Sir Edward Coke, in person, the patentee replied. ...

... Who had certified the patent for inns? ... Chiefly responsible, however, as Coke well knew, were two active referees, at present the two highest guardians of the law: Bacon, now Chancellor, and Sir Henry Montagu, Viscount Mandeville, now Lord Treasurer. `If these did certify it', said Coke, recalling no doubt that James (the King, ed.) himself had sealed it, `no King in Christendom but would have granted it.' ...

... The two principal referees were finally mentioned by name. Phelips accused Members of refraining from confronting the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Treasurer out of respect for their great places, and blamed the Speaker for refusing to charge the to their faces with corruption and illegality. ... `The referees are the guilty men,' Cranfield once again insisted, `nothing but their condemnation can now clear the King.' ...

... After Bacon was gone, James, determined that his Treasurer should not fall with his Chancellor, would warn Parliament `not to condemn men for an error in opinion'. ...

... faced with a massive attack that touched his favourite so nearly, he had not the courage of his convictions. ... he had used (the king's power, ed.) to aggrandize Buckingham's family... The nation was now demanding retribution. ... A cold logic would have pointed to the only answer: give up the real culprit. Unfortunately, this was what James could not face. ... He praised Buckingham as an administrator and welcomed from Coke the proposal he had refused Bacon: to abolish the monopolies.

... after the King had spoken in the Lords, Bacon and Mandeville (Henry, ed.) were allowed a few words to justify themselves, and Bacon gave a brief and straightforward explanation... `May it please your Majesty,' he added, turning on his real accuser, `for all my Lord Coke hath said, I hope in future ages my acts and honesty shall well appear before his, and my honesty overbalance and weigh his, and be found heavier in the scale.' ...

It is generally accepted today that Bacon fell because the King allowed it. ... Bacon fell - and Mandeville, the more strongly attacked of the two, survived - because... the King so willed. ...

On 3 May Bacon was pronounced generally guilty ... (Bacon was fined and imprisoned in the Tower, ed.) ...

... from all sides we here similar expressions of sympathy and support... when he returned to London ... visitors were not lacking... Among them ... his old friend, Lord Treasurer Mandeville (Henry, ed.) , whose complaint that he was now being kicked upstairs to be President of the Council provoked the fallen Chancellor, an incurable punster, into exclaiming, `Why, my Lord, they have made me an example and you a Precedent.' " (Mathews)

Mathews book is published by Yale University Press (1996), and is very thorough and readable, a good place to start if you are interested in Francis Bacon.

Incidentally, Basil Montagu, 1770-1851 was the first to publish Francis Bacon's collected works.

Sir Karl Popper, a very influential philosopher of science:

"Thus we may say that Bacon's Utopia, like most Utopias, was an attempt to bring heaven down to earth. And so far as it promises an increase of power and of wealth through self-help and self-liberation through new knowledge, it is perhaps the one Utopia that has (so far) kept its promise. Indeed it has kept it to an almost unbelievable extent."

Harisson, in A Jacobean Journal illustrates the arrival of James I from Scotland to London using a speech by Henry on 15 March, 1604:

"Between ten and eleven o'clock ... the King, the Queen, and the young Prince made their triumphal passage from the Tower of London through the Royal City of London towards Westminister, accompanied by all the Court in procession. ...

The Companies of the City, marshaled according to their degree, were placed ready...

... the Recorder of the City, Sir Henry Montague, ... made a short gratulatory oration, saying:

`High Imperial Majesty, it is not yet a year in days since with acclamations of the people, citizens and nobles, auspiciously here at this Cross was proclaimed your true succession to the Crown. If it was joyous then with hats, hands and hearts lift to heaven, to cry King James, what is it now to see King James? Come therefore, O worthiest of Kings, as a glorious bridegroom through your royal chamber; but to come nearer, Adest quem quaerimus. Twenty and more are the Sovereigns we have served since our Conquest, but conquerors of hearts, it is you, and your posterity, that we have vowed to love, and wish to serve, whilst London is a City. In pledge whereof, My Lord Mayor, the Aldermen and commons of this City, wishing a golden reign unto you, present your Greatness with a little cup of gold.'
The oration being ended, three cups of gold were given in the name of the Lord Mayor and the whole of the City to the King, the Queen, and the young Prince." (A Jacobean Journal, Harrison)

Harrison also contains a description of the execution of Henry Garnet, the head of the Jesuits in England. Garnet was executed for the Gunpowder Plot, which was seen as a Catholic conspiracy to overthrow Protestant England. He was executed 3-May-1606:

"Henry Garnet was drawn ... from the Tower to the scaffold ... where the Recorder of London (Henry, ed.) was present...

Then the Recorder asked Garnet if he had anything to say unto the people before he died...

Then followed certain disputations between Garnet and the Recorder and the Dean of Winchester concerning the proof of his guiltiness; but at length he confessed himself justly condemned. Hereupon the Recorder led him to the scaffold to make his confession public.

Then Garnet said, `Good countrymen, I am come hither this blessed day of The Invention of the Holy Cross to end all my crosses in this life. The cause of my suffering is not unknown to you. I confess I have offended the King, and am sorry for it, so far as I was guilty; which was in concealing it, and for that I ask pardon of his Majesty. The treason intended against the King and the State was bloody, myself should have detested it had it taken effect. And I am heartily sorry that any Catholics ever had so cruel a design.'

Then addressing himself to execution he kneeled ... to pray... When he stood up, the Recorder finding in his behaviour as it were an expectation of pardon, wished him not to deceive himself, nor beguile his own soul, he was come to die, and he must die. He required him not to equivocate with his last breath; if he knew anything that might be a danger to the King or State, he should now utter it.

Garnet replied that he did not now equivocate, and more than he had confessed he did not know.

Having ascended the ladder, he used these words: `I commend me to all good Catholics, and I pray God preserve his Majesty, the Queen, and all their posterity, and my Lords of the Privy Council, to whom I remember my humble duties, and I am sorry that I did dissemble with them; but I did not think they had such proof against me, till it was showed me; but when that was proved, I held it more honour for me at that time to confess than before to have accused myself. ... I pray God the Catholics may not fare the worse for my sake, and I exhort them all to take heed they enter not into any treasons, rebellions or insurrections against the King.' And with that he ended speaking and fell to praying. In the midst of these prayers the ladder was taken away ... he hung till he was dead, before his body was quartered." (A Jacobean Journal, Harrison)

The following book, written by Henry, can apparently still be found in libraries:

Contemplatio Mortis et Immortalitatis, Printed in London by Robert Barker and the Assignes of John Bill, 1631. ( Contemplating Death and Immortality).

The DNB,
Francis Bacon, Mathews.
A Jacobean Journal, Harrison.
Check-List or Brief Catalogue of the Library of Henry E. Huntington, Cole.

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