I have given speeches all my entire life but never given one as I am givng you tonight.
Sixty years have I lived on this earth and dedicated myself to the scientific advancement of mankind. Unlike others before me, I am not a maker of gadgets but pure in my experimentation of the mind.
A man can be at the very height of his career in his sixtieth year and yet it can take only a single moment of indiscretion to cause his fall from grace.
Sincerely friends, if it can happen to me, then it can surely happen to you too.
In another five years on a cold Good Friday morning in the north London parish of Highgate, I swear Iwill draw my last breath and the world at large will come to wonder of my legacy both then and for years thereafter, as you might wonder now.
You might visit St. Michaels Church in the city of St. Albans and look at both my statue and the crypt where I shall be supposedly be laid to rest.
You might visit the country estate in the environs of St. Albans where I shall shortly go to write up my memoirs and the substance of my legacy.
I am a man of royal blood, of that I am absolutely certain, and I was born to be a king.
By the same token, I am the Queen’s bastard, conceived by a noble woman who would produce no natural heir to the throne of England and by her lover, Robert Dudley, a beast of a man who would stop at nothing to get his way.
What dastardly thing did the Queen contrive in the summer of 1571 so that no rightful successor such as I could ever be allowed to fulfil his destiny according to God.
Contrived by the Queen’s conjurer-in-chief, William Cecil, later his son Robert, who made things happen as only they could..
I cannot put to words how I felt when my foster mother, Anne Bacon, a relation of the Cecils, let it slip that we shared no common blood but in truth that I had always known,
My few years to serve as asssistant ambassador in France as soon as I completed my scholarship at Trinity College Cambridge ought to have been recognition and deserving credit of a mother’s pride for a son as well as providing training for his future regal role.
Alas, nothing could be further from the reality as she set about distancing herself from me as a mother and embarking on a sham which stills mocks me to this day as it did then and will continue to mock me beyond this night.
France and the ambassadorial travels I made across the European continent were a whole episode in my life which I cannot and I do not regret.
I would not have met Queen Marguerite of Dubois and experienced the youthful exuberance of infatuation and love.
I would not have written the 154 Sonnets – was it really that many? – that gave testimony to true love and which I kept preciously secret until a trusted housekeeper came upon them in my absence and saw opportunity to financially benefit from their publication in 1609.
If I did not go to France, perhaps I might not have been inspired to provide the source, the material and at times the collaboration to many of the theatrical plays which many of you here tonight have enjoyed in all their gore and glory by the Shakespeare name.
If my dear beloved mother Elizabeth Tudor had not seen fit to refuse her consent to my intended marriage to Marguerite, how I might wonder how different my life would and could have been.
My Queen Marguerite, and she will always be such in my heart, was the most gracious and ingraciating woman I have ever known.
It matters not to me one iota that she was a catholic and would have had to divorce her King in order to be my partner before God and challenge the constitution of the English state which I always felt, it was my duty to rule.
Marguerite ultimately chose exile and lived out the remaining years of her life from a quaint, modest hostel on the banks of the Seine, as I shall live out mine with equal modesty in St. Albans when this speech is done and dusted and the consequences of it have been addressed.
It be a little less than six years since her mortal demise and I miss her dearly, my dearest marigold now resting peacefully in the garden of her eden.
My foster father, Nicholas, the Queen’s senior legal adviser and keeper by another name, a man quick to get the bottle, passed away while I was amidst the French commission and I was hastily withdrawn back to England.
My foster brother, Anthony, forever a confidante, was always supportive, even when the news broke that I would inherit nothing from Nicholas Bacon’s estate.
If fortune favours the brave, then I would suggest that I was always at least one stop short of the grant of the favour, for whatever reason.
Debt has plagued me almost all my life, yet I have enjoyed economic privilege, been educated well and I am not a man without means. I am possessed by a need to give away what I have and I must admit it is a need which I do not know how to control.
My thanks to Anthony for more than once coming to my rescue and securing my release from a debtor’s gaol, a shaming but humbling experience for any man, whatever his status and station in life.
Of course, the plague of debt had an impact on my second attempt at romance and to get married, inevitably so.
It is true that I was very much interested for the hand in marriage of Elizabeth Cecil, grand-daughter of William Cecil, niece to Robert, widowed at 20 by Sir William Hatton and snatched from my eternal grasp by Sir Edward Coke, a rival in all aspects of life ever since we first crossed swords..
A few years later, a couple after the passing of Queen Elizabeth and on the persuasion of your majesty King James, I did eventually marry, Alice Barnham, the fourteen year old daughter of a London councillor..
Our marriage has produced no children, through no fault of mine or hers. It may just be an indisputable fact that I prefer bedfellows but I dare anyone to say I have ever solicited rent-boys or been homosexual by nature.
Dear brethren before me, I am at heart a humble man and it has been my lifelong project to establish an intelectual community dedicated to the discovery of scientific knowledge for the use and benfit of all mankind.
Those who know me just a little know that knowledge is my province.
I am probably done as a lawyer, counseller, politician. As Lord Chanceller, I have surely reached the highest station in life to which God is allowing me to aspire.
I vow to spend my remaining years devoted to the literary, scientific and philosophical cultural legacy destined to bless the modern world.
Edward Coke, I hold no grudge against you over the affair with Elizabeth or indeed the political humiliation you have had me endure for best part of twenty odd years.
Allow no man to challenge where my loyalty lies as I stand before you now and to deny that royal prerogative is superior to common law.
And yes, there is blood on my hands from the duties I have carried out. I have played my part according to law to execute two people who were once good friends and who shared their genius so readily at the Good Pens Meeting I hosted back in Twickenham in 1596.
Richard Devereux, Earl of Essex, and more recently Walter Raleigh,
These sixty years, I have learnt to be vocal in so many different ways. If I had been King on my mothers death, then certainly the name of William Shakespeare would not be up there in neon-flashy lights, if one day they ever exist.
Because I could not have devoted time to inspiring the Bard to write the plays and Ben Jonson, Earl Pembroke, to mention but two, would not be in the final stages of putting together a fantastic collection of the plays in one volume.
Yes brethren, good people, I am one just like you.
I have been a scholar.
I have been a lawyer,
I have been a politician.
I have been a diplomat.
I have been a scientist.
I have been a crytologist.
I have been a philosopher.
I have been a writer.
It is I, John Barclay, pseudonomously speaking.
It is I, Francis Bacon. It is I. Thank you very much. And good night..