Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Henry VIII – the case for Francis Bacon - 5 - exactions wholesome laws


Act 1, Sc2 17-~96 (continued) [this segment from the play is the most important for the many parallels/echoes to Bacon’s writings in one continuous scene]
 [next are lines begging at about line 30]

NORFOLK:     Not almost appears,
It doth appear; for, upon these taxations,
The clothiers all, not able to maintain
The many to them longing, have put off
The spinsters carders, fullers, weavers, who,
Unfit for other life, compelled by hunger
And lack of other means, in desperate manner,
Daring th’ event to th’ teeth, are all in uproar,
And danger serves among them.
KING:                              Taxation?
Wherein, and what taxation? My lord Cardinal,
Know you of this taxation?
WOLSEY:                        Please you sir,
I know but of a single part in aught
Pertains to th’ state, and front but in that file
Where others tell steps with me

Bacon’s warning of “Danger and discontentment” to Elizabeth from excessive taxation of “the general commonalty.”
(Life,  i. p. 223)
And Bacon warns Parliament of discontentment caused by the oppression of the poor people and the consequent danger to the queen.
These earlier warnings would be followed later by similar ones in the time of King James:
“They tax your people ad redimendam vexationem imposing upon them and extorting from them divers sums of money.”
(Life, iii. p.  184)

Act 1, Sc2 17-~96   (continued)

KATHERNE:                      No, my lord,
You know no more than others, but you frame
Things that are known alike, which are not wholesome
To those which would not know them and yet must
Perforce be their acquaintance. These exactions
Whereof my sovereign would have note, they are
Most pestilent to th’ hearing, and to bear ‘em
The back is sacrifice to th’ load. They say
They are devised by you, or else you suffer
Too hard an exclamation.
KING:                                 Still ‘exaction’!
The nature of it? In what kind, let’s know,
Is this exaction?
KATHERINE:             I am much too venturous
In tempting of your patience, but am boldened
Under your promised pardon. The subjects’ grief
Comes through commissions which compels from
The sixth part of his substance, to be levied
Without delay; and the pretence for this
Is named your wars in France. This makes bold mouths:
Tongues spit their duties out, and cold hearts freeze
Allegiance in them Their curses now
Live where their prayers did, and it’s come to pass
This tractable obedience is a slave
To each incensed will. I would your highness
Would give it quick consideration, for
There is no primer baseness.

“Look into the state of your laws and justice of your land; purge out multiplicity of laws, clear the incertainty of them, repeal those that are snaring, and press the execution of those that are wholesome and necessary.” (Life, i. p. 339)
“Again they use a strange and most unjust exaction.” (Life, iii, p. 184)
“….that there is no pound profit which redoundeth to your Majesty in this course, but induceth and begetteth three pound damage upon your subjects, besides the discontentment.” (Life, iii. P. 185)
War was made but a pretence to poll and pill the people.” (Bacon’s History of Henry VII)

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