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A. D. 1585.
Bacon at 24, in a letter to the Queen's principal secretary, Sir Francis Walsinghani, urges his some time pending suit, which is to determine his "course of practice "—supposed to mean a shortening of the five years' probation required to become a pleader.
He writes an essay entitled "Greatest Birth of Time," foreshadowing his scientific works.
His mother in her zeal for the Nonconformists urges their cause in person before Lord Treasurer Burleigh, and follows it by a letter to the same in which she says:
"I confess as one that hath found mercy, that I have profited more in the inward feeling knowledge of God his holy will, though but in small measure, by an ordinary preaching within these seven or eight years, than I did by hearing odd sermons at Paul's well nigh twenty years together."
Shakspere at 21 is still living at Stratford, the father of three children—two of them twins. His father is said to have been a butcher as well as a dealer in wool; and gossiping John Aubrey says he was told by some of the' neighbors that when the boy William "kill'd a calfe, he wold doe it in a high style, and make a speeche.''
Mr. Richard Grant White guesses that William may have gone to London this year or the next.
A. D. 1586.
Bacon at 25 writes a letter, May 6th, to Lord Treasurer Burleigh, his uncle, saying:
'' I find in my simple observation that they which live as it were in umbra and not in public or frequent action, how moderately and modestly soever they behave themselves, yet laborant invidia. I find also that such persons as are of nature bashful (as myself is,) whereby they want that plausible familiarity which others have, are often mistaken for proud. But once I know well, and I most humbly beseech your Lordship to believe that arrogancy and overweening is so far from my nature, as, if I think well of myself in anything, it is in this, that I am free from that vice."
He is again elected to Parliament. The conspirators who attempted to liberate Mary of Scotland have been tried, condemned, and sentenced. The case is brought before the Parliament. Bacon is one of the speakers in "the Great Cause," and one of the committees to whom it is referred.
Shakspere at 22 is probably still at Stratford,, though Mr. White presumes he has become connected with the London stage this year, or perhaps a little later.
To be continued to the end of both lives, making a book of 300 pages or more, including this pamphlet as an appendix, with important additions. All the essential facts of Lord Bacon's life will be presented, whereby his secret authorship will be more abundantly proved, and his moral character vindicated, against the aspersions of 260 years.
The spelling of the five autographs of the "Bard of Avon " is S-h a-k-s-p-e-r, without a final e.
This is plain enough in the earliest signature, subscribed to the deed of March 10, 1613. (See No. 1, on next page.)
The signature to the mortgage, dated March 11, 1613 (No. 2), reads ""William Shakspe." There was no space left for another letter on the sealed tag, so he wrote above the e what looks like an a, but was probably an attempt at an r.^"
The next autograph (No. 3) was written three years later, being the first of the three signatures to as many sheets of his will. It has a final letter, which has been mistaken for an e, but is a German script r, much like our script w tilted up at the left. Woodbury's "Method of Learning the German Language," lesson III, has it as shown on next page.
In the remaining autographs (4 and 5) the terminal letters after p are illegible.
The original autographs being more or less defaced by time, I have restored the obliterated parts in the appended copies from engrossed facsimiles in Drake's "Shakspeare and His Times," 1817.
Those which I published in 1886 have been extensively copied. I traced them with my own hand from Drake's engravings, which were faithfully correct, as shown by the recent photographs of the original manuscripts. But Drake reproduced near the end of signature 4, in the vacant space shown, what appears to be a superfluous flourish. It is not a part of the signature, but belongs ic the body of the will, and is a "ye." Shaksper had to skip it between the e and r of his signature.
In the Will the name is twice written Shackspeare; in the Deeds of 1613 it is Shakespeare.
The discovery of the German script r in autograph 3 was made by Mr. W. H. Edwards, of Coalburg, W. Va. £f
WM. HENRY BURR.
Washington, D. C, Sept. 4, 1899.