My very good Lord.|
I am much bound to your Lordship for your honourable promise to Dr. Rawley. He chooseth rather to depend upon the same in general, than to pitch upon any particular; which modesty of choice I commend.
I find that the ancients (as Cicero, Demosthenes, Plinius Secundus, and others), have preserved both their orations and their epistles. In imitation of whom I have done the like to my own; which nevertheless I will not publish while I live. But I have been bold to bequeath them to your Lordship, and Mr. Chancellor of the Duchy. My speeches (perhaps) you will think fit to publish. The letters, many of them, touch too much upon late matters of state, to be published; yet I was willing they should not be lost. I have also by my Will erected two lectures in perpetuity, in either University one, with an endowment of 200l. per annum apiece. They to be for Natural Philosophy, and the sciences thereupon depending; which foundations I have required my executors to order, by the advice and direction of your Lordship, and my Lord Bishop of Coventry and Litchfield. These be my thoughts now. I rest
The Bishop's Answer to the Preceding Letter.Right honourable and my very noble Lord,
Mr. Doctor Rawley, by his modest choice, hath much obliged me to be careful of him, when God shall send any opportunity. And if his Majesty shall remove me from this see, before any such occasion be offered, not to change my intentions with my bishopric.
It is true that those ancients, Cicero, Demosthenes, and Plinius Secundus, have preserved their orations (the heads and effects of them at the least) and their epistles; and I have ever been of opinion, that those two pieces are the principal pieces of our antiquities. Those orations discovering the form of administering justice, and the letters the carriage of the affairs in those times. For our histories (or rather lives of men) borrow as much from the affections and phantasies of the writers, as from the truth itself, and are for the most of them built altogether from unwritten relations and traditions. But letters written è re natâ, and bearing a synchronism or equality of time cum rebus gestis, have no other fault than that which was imputed unto Virgil nihil peccat, nisi quod nihil peccet; they speak the truth too plainly, and cast too glaring a light for that age, wherein they were, or are written.
Your Lordship doeth most worthily therefore in preserving those two pieces, amongst the rest of those matchless monuments you shall leave behind you; considering that as one age hath not bred your experience, so is it not fit it should be confined to one age, and not imparted to the times to come. For my part therein, I do embrace the honour with all thankfulness, and the trust imposed upon me with all religion and devotion. For those two lectures in natural philosophy, and the sciences woven and involved with the same; it is a great and a noble foundation both for the use, and the salary, and a foot that will teach the age to come to guess in part at the greatness of that Herculean mind which gave them their existence. Only your Lordship may be advised for the seats of this foundation. The two universities are the two eyes of this land, and fittest to contemplate the lustre of this bounty: these two lectures are as the two apples of these eyes. An apple when it is single is an ornament, when double a pearl or a blemish in the eye. Your Lordship may therefore inform yourself if one Sidley of Kent hath not already founded in Oxford a lecture of this nature and condition. But if Oxford in this kind be an Argus, I am sure poor Cambridge is a right Polyphemus; it hath but one eye, and that not so steadily or artificially placed; but bonum est facile sui diffusivum: your Lordship being so full of goodness, will quickly find an object to pour it on. That which made me say thus much, I will say in verse, that your Lordship may remember it better;
I will conclude with this vow: Deus, qui animum istum tibi, animo isti tempus quam longissimum tribuat. It is the most affectionate prayer of
[@ Works XIV, 546-8]