I do write, because I have not yet had time fully to express my conceit, nor now, to attend you touching Irish matters, considering them as they may concern the state; that it is one of the aptest particulars that hath come, or can come upon the stage, for your lordship to purchase honour upon, I am moved to think for three reasons; because it is ingenerate in your house in respect of my lord your father's noble attempts; because of all the accidents of state at this time, the labour resteth upon that most; and because the world will make a kind of comparison between those that set it out of frame, and those that shall bring it into frame: which kind of honour giveth
p.16the quickest kind of reflection. The transferring this honour upon yourself consisteth in two points: the one, if the principal persons employed come in by you, and depend upon you; the other, if your lordship declare yourself to undertake a care of that matter. For the persons, it falleth out well that your lordship hath had no interest in the persons of imputation: For neither Sir William FitzWilliams, nor Sir John Norris was yours: Sir William Russell was conceived yours, but was curbed: Sir Conyers Clifford, as I conceive it, dependeth upon you, who is said to do well; and if my Lord of Ormond in this interim do accommodate well, I take it he hath always had good understanding with your lordship. So as all things are not only whole and entire, but of favourable aspect towards your lordship, if you now choose well: wherein, in your wisdom, you will remember there is a great difference in choice of the persons, as you shall think the affairs to incline to composition, or to war. For your care-taking, popular conceit hath been, that Irish causes have been much neglected, whereby the very reputation of better care will be a strength: and I am sure, her Majesty and my lords of the council do not think their care dissolved, when they have chosen whom to employ; but that they will proceed in a spirit of state, and not leave the main point to discretion. Then if a resolution be taken; a consultation must proceed; and the consultation must be governed upon information to be had from such as know the place, and matters in fact; and in taking of information I have always noted there is a skill and a wisdom. For I cannot tell what account or inquiry hath been taken of Sir William Russell, of Sir Ralph Bingham, of the Earl of Thomond, of Mr. Wilbraham: but I am of opinion, much more would be had of them, if your lordship shall be pleased severally to confer, not obiter, but expressly, upon some caveat given them to think of it before, for, bene docet qui prudenter
p.17interrogat. For the points of opposing them, I am too much a stranger to the business, to deduce them: but in a topic methinks the pertinent interrogations must be either of the possibility and means of accord, or of the nature of the war, or of the reformation of the particular abuses, or of the joining of practice with force in the disunion of the rebels. If your lordship doubt to put your sickle in other men's harvests, yet consider you have these advantages. First, time being fit to you in Mr. Secretary's absence: next, vis unita fortior: thirdly, the business being mixed with matters of war, it is fittest for you: lastly, I know your lordship will carry it with that modesty and respect towards aged dignity, and that good correspondence towards my dear ally, and your good friend, now abroad, as no inconvenience may grow that way. Thus have I played the ignorant statesman, which I do to nobody but your lordship, except I do it to the queen sometimes, when she trains me on. But your lordship will accept my duty and good meaning, and secure me touching the privateness of that I write.
Your Lordship's, to be commanded,Fr. Bacon