Full text: Religion, colonising & trade

a debt of gratitude, which grows with the growing 
years, to an Archdeacon of the Church of England, 
who lived his life to inspire Englishmen with the high- 
est motives for Empire. Hisis a very extraordinary 
case of large and lasting influence produced, not by 
originality of thought or brilliancy of expression, but 
by single-minded, patient and patriotic industry in 
setting forth to his countrymen what had been done, 
and what it was, as he conceived it, their duty to do. 
As he was an original member of the Virginia Company, 
so was Bacon of the Bristol and London Company, 
formed in 1610 for the colonisation of Newfoundland, 
and specially associated with the name of the Bristol 
alderman, John Guy. 
There are various passages in Bacon’s writings 
which bear on the Empire, wise and enlightened 
beyond his day. Take first his letter of advice to 
King James dated February 25, 1615-6, in regard to 
the export of cloth. “I do confess I did ever think 
that trading in companies is most agreeable to the 
English nature, which wanteth that same general vein 
of a republic which runneth in the Dutch and serveth 
to them instead of a company; and therefore I dare 
not advise to adventure this great trade of the King- 
dom (which hath been so long under government) 
in a free or loose trade’! Under government’ 
meant under the government of a company, the 
powerful company of the Merchant Adventurers of 
England, who for generations under their successive 
patents and charters had controlled the export of 
* Letters and Life of Francis Bacon (1869), edited by James Spedding, 
vol. v, p. 259.

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