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Portrait of Lord Francis Bacon by Paul Van Somer

Then there's the apparent disconnect between the life that William Shakespeare lived and the ones he wrote about. Anti-Stratfordians claim that Shakespeare's plays show a keen grasp of literature, language, court life and foreign travel — not the kinds of things that a small-town actor without a university education would be familiar with. As the Declaration says, "scholars know nothing about how he acquired the breadth and depth of knowledge displayed in the works." And so doubting scholars look to well-traveled writers and aristocrats — essayist Francis Bacon; poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe; theater patron Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford — as the more likely candidates.

This complete text of Essays of Francis Bacon is in the public domain.

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The complete text of Essays of Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon Retrospective, , Monaco2 July and runs until 4 September.

Topics Covered
Lord Bacon as portrayed by Macaulay
His great defects of character
Contrast made between the man and the philosopher
Bacon’s youth and accomplishments
Enters Parliament
Seeks office
At the height of fortune and fame
His misfortunes
Consideration of charges against him
His counterbalancing merits
The exaltation by Macaulay of material life
Bacon made its exponent
But the aims of Bacon were higher
The true spirit of his philosophy
Deductive philosophies
His new method
Bacon’s Works
Relations of his philosophy
Material science and knowledge
Comparison of knowledge with wisdom

After a busy career as an English parliamentarian, judge and advisor of King James I, Bacon published in his final years The Advancement of Learning, which included his New Atlantis, with its prescient vision of human accomplishments, many achieved only in the past century.

Classic British Essays: Of Travel by Francis Bacon

This essay contends that it is a misunderstanding and distortion to view Bacon’s use of religious language and concepts as disingenuous and manipulative. It demonstrates that Bacon’s program of utopian reform, as presented in “New Atlantis,” is grounded in genuinely and deeply felt religious convictions, which serve as the foundation for his program of political and social prosperity through the advancement of learning.

Stephen A. McKnight, "Francis Bacon’s God," The New Atlantis, Number 10, Fall 2005, pp. 73-100.

In 1593 Bacon fell out favor with the queen on account of hisrefusal to comply with her request for funds from Parliament. Althoughhe did not vote against granting three subsidies to the government, hedemanded that these should be paid over a period six, rather thanthree, years. This led Sir Robert Cecil and Sir Walter Raleigh to argueagainst him in Parliament. Bacon's patron, the Earl of Essex, forwhom he had already served as a close political advisor and informer,was not able to mollify the queen's anger over the subsidies; andall Essex's attempts to secure a high post for Bacon(attorney-general or solicitor-general) came to nothing. Nevertheless,the queen valued Bacon's competence as a man of law. He wasinvolved in the treason trial of Roderigo Lopez and later on in theproceedings against the Earl of Essex. In his contribution to theGesta Grayorum (the traditional Christmas revels held inGray's Inn) of 1594–5, Bacon had emphasized the necessity ofscientific improvement and progress. Since he failed to secure forhimself a position in the government, he considered thepossibility of giving up politics and concentrating on naturalphilosophy. It is no wonder, then, that Bacon engaged in many scholarlyand literary pursuits in the 1590s. His letters of advice to the Earlof Rutland and to the Earl of Essex should be mentioned in thiscontext. The advice given to Essex is of particular importance becauseBacon recommended that he should behave in a careful and intelligentmanner in public, above all abstaining from aspiring to militarycommands. Bacon also worked in this phase of his career for thereform of English law. In 1597 his first book was published, theseminal version of his Essays, which contained only ten pieces(Klein 2004b). His financial situation was still insecure; but hisplan to marry the rich widow Lady Hatton failed because she wassuccessfully courted by Sir Edward Coke. In 1598 Bacon was unable tosell his reversion of the Star Chamber clerkship, so that he wasimprisoned for a short time on account of his debts. His parliamentaryactivities in 1597–98, mainly involving committee work, wereimpressive; but when the Earl of Essex in 1599 took command of theattempt to pacify the Irish rebels, Bacon's hopes sank. Essex didnot solve the Irish question, returned to court and fell from grace, asBacon had anticipated he would. He therefore lost a valuable patron andspokesman for his projects. Bacon tried to reconcile the queen andEssex; but when the earl rebelled against the crown in 1601, he coulddo nothing to help him. The queen ordered Bacon to participate in thetreason trial against Essex. In 1601 Bacon sat in Elizabeth'slast parliament, playing an extremely active role.

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Essays (Francis Bacon) - Wikipedia


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This complete text of Essays of Francis Bacon is in the public domain.

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Page last updated on November 2003..
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Francis Bacon's Classic Essay of Studies - ThoughtCo

Bacon was a favored man; he belonged to the upper ranks of society. His father, Sir Nicholas Bacon, was a great lawyer, and reached the highest dignities, being Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. His mother’s sister was the wife of William Cecil, the great Lord Burleigh, the most able and influential of Queen Elizabeth’s ministers. Francis Bacon was the youngest son of the Lord Keeper, and was born in London, Jan. 22, 1561. He had a sickly and feeble constitution, but intellectually was a youthful prodigy; and at nine years of age, by his gravity and knowledge, attracted the admiring attention of the Queen, who called him her young Lord Keeper. At the age of ten we find him stealing away from his companions to discover the cause of a singular echo in the brick conduit near his father’s house in the Strand. At twelve he entered the University of Cambridge; at fifteen he quitted it, already disgusted with its pedantries and sophistries; at sixteen he rebelled against the authority of Aristotle, and took up his residence at Gray’s Inn; the same year, 1576, he was sent to Paris in the suite of Sir Amias Paulet, ambassador to the court of France, and delighted the salons of the capital by his wit and profound inquiries; at nineteen he returned to England, having won golden opinions from the doctors of the French Sanhedrim, who saw in him a second Daniel; and in 1582 he was admitted as a barrister of Gray’s Inn, and the following year composed an essay on the Instauration of Philosophy. Thus, at an age when young men now leave the university, he had attacked the existing systems of science and philosophy, proudly taking in all science and knowledge for his realm.

Francis Bacon's Classic Essay on Travel.

During his stay in France, perhaps in autumn 1577,Bacon once visited England as the bearer of diplomatic post,delivering letters to Walsingham, Burghley, Leicester, and to theQueen herself.

Francis Bacon's God - The New Atlantis

In 1591, at the age of thirty-one, he formed the acquaintance of Essex, about his own age, who, as the favorite of the Queen, was regarded as the most influential man in the country. The acquaintance ripened into friendship; and to the solicitation of this powerful patron, who urged the Queen to give Bacon a high office, she is said to have replied: “He has indeed great wit and much learning, but in law, my lord, he is not deeply read,”–an opinion perhaps put into her head by his rival Coke, who did indeed know law but scarcely anything else, or by that class of old-fashioned functionaries who could not conceive how a man could master more than one thing. We should however remember that Bacon had not reached the age when great offices were usually conferred in the professions, and that his efforts to be made solicitor-general at the age of thirty-one, and even earlier, would now seem unreasonable and importunate, whatever might be his attainments. Disappointed in not receiving high office, he meditated a retreat to Cambridge; but his friend Essex gave him a villa in Twickenham, which he soon mortgaged, for he was in debt all his life, although in receipt of sums which would have supported him in comfort and dignity were it not for his habits of extravagance,–the greatest flaw in his character, and which was the indirect cause of his disgrace and fall. He was even arrested for debt when he enjoyed a lucrative practice at the courts. But nothing prevented him from pursuing his literary and scientific studies, amid great distractions,–for he was both a leader at the bar and a leader of the House of Commons; and if he did not receive the rewards to which he felt entitled, he was always consulted by Elizabeth in great legal difficulties.

Francis bacon essay of travel analysis

Although Aristotle provided specific axioms for every scientificdiscipline, what Bacon found lacking in the Greek philosopher'swork was a master principle or general theory of science, which couldbe applied to all branches of natural history and philosophy (Klein2003a). For Bacon, Aristotle's cosmology, as well as his theoryof science, had become obsolete and consequently so too had many of themedieval thinkers who followed his lead. He does not repudiateAristotle completely, but he opposes the humanistic interpretation ofhim, with its emphasis on syllogism and dialectics (scientiaoperativa versus textual hermeneutics) and the metaphysicaltreatment of natural philosophy in favor of natural forms (ornature's effects as structured modes of action, not artifacts),the stages of which correspond—in the shape of a pyramid ofknowledge—to the structural order of nature itself.

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