« VorigeDoorgaan »
Coventry. Nevertheless thus much I do direct that none shall be lecturer (if he be English) except he be master of arts of seven years standing, and that he be not professed, in divinity, law, or physic, as long as he remains lecturer ; and that it be without difference whether (he) be a stranger or English ; and I wish my executors to consider of the precedent of Sir Henry Savil's lectures for their better instruction.
William Bagwell, in a preface to his Mystery of Astronomy, 1655, tells the reader that he had long wished for an opportunity to deposit his work in some university or college, and that he found none so acceptable as the erection of Sir Francis Bacon's college, intended to be established in Lambeth Marsh, near London, a worthy institution for the advancement of learning. See a catalogue of royal and noble authors, I think by Walpole, continued by T. Park, article Bacon. It is possible that this may have been an attempt by Bushel, his admirer, who, if I mistake not, died in Lambeth Marsh.
N.-New Atlantis. Life, p. xvi. The first edition of the new Atlantis was published, in folio, in 1627, at the conclusion of the first edition of the Sylva Sylvarum, of which there were eleven editions between the years 1627 and 1676, and in each of these editions, the new Atlantis will be found. It will be found in vol. ii, of this edition, p. 323. The following is the preface :
TO THE READER.
“ This fable my lord devised, to the end that hee might exhibite therein, a modell or description of a college, instituted for the interpreting of nature, and the producing of great and marvellous works for the benefit of men ; under the name of Salomons House, or the College of the Six Dayes Works.
And even so farre his lordship hath proceeded, as to finish that part. Certainly, the modell is more vast and high than can possibly be imitated in all things; notwithstanding most things therin are within mens power to effect. His lordship thought also in this present fable, to have composed a frame of lawes, or of the best state or mould of a commonwealth ; but foreseeing it would be a long worke, his desire of collecting the naturall historie diverted him, which he preferred many degrees before it. This worke of the new Atlantis, (as much as concerneth the English edition) his lordship designed for this place ; in regard it hath so neere affinitie (in one part of it) with the preceding naturall historie.”
W. RAWLEY. Tennison, speaking of the new Atlantis, says, “ Neither do we, here, unfitly place the Fable of the New Atlantis : for it is the model of a college to be instituted by some king who philosophizeth, for the interpreting of nature and the improving of arts. His lordship did it seems) think of finishing this fable, by adding to it a frame of laws, or a kind of Utopian commonwealth ; but he was diverted by his desire of collecting the natural history which was first in his
There is a copy of the New Atlantis in Bushel's Abridgment, the following is the title page : New Atlantis, a Work unfinished. Written by the Right Honourable Francis, Lord Verulam, Viscount St. Alban. London, printed by Thomas Newcomb, 1659.
Of the New Atlantis there have been various translations. It was translated into French in 1631. It is in 8vo. There is a copy in the British Museum ; the title is as follows : L'Atlas Nouveau, De Messire Francois Bacon, Baron de Verulam, Vicomte de S. Alban, et Chancelier d'Angleterre.
Histoire Naturelle de Mre. Francois Bacon, Baron de Verulam, Vicomte de Sainct Alban, et Chancelier d'Angleterre. A Paris, chez Antoine de Sommaville et Andre Sovbron, associez, au Palais dans la petite Salie. M.DC.xxxi. Avec Privilege du Roy.
There is another French edition in 1702 : La Nouvelle Atlantide de Francois Bacon, etc. Par M, R. A Paris, chez Jean Musier, etc. M.DCC.II.
It was translated into Latin in 1633 : Novus Atlas, opus imperfectum Latine
conscriptum ab Illustri viro Francisco Bacone, de Verulamio, etc.
Cum Præfatione W. Rawley. Of this edition Tennison says, “ This fable of the New Atlantis in the Latin edition of it, and in the Frankfort collection, goeth under the false and absurd title of Novus Atlas : as if his lordship had alluded to a person, or a mountain, and not to a great island, which according to Plato perished in the ocean.”
It was translated into Latin by Rawley, and published by him in folio, in the year 1638, in his volume containing many other tracts. The following is the title : Nova Atlantis Fragmentorum alterum.
Per Franciscum Baconum, Baronem de Verulamio, Vice-Comitem S. Albani. Londini,. Typis Ioh. Havi. land. Prostant ad Insignia Regia in Cæmeterio D. Pauli, apud Iocosam Norton et Richardum Whitakerum, 1638.
There are some works connected with the New Atlantis which ought to be noticed. In the year 1660 a work was published, of which the following is the title : New Atlantis begun by the Lord Verulam, Viscount St. Albans: and continued by R. H. Esquire. Wherein is set forth a Platform of Monarchial Government, with a pleasant intermixture of divers rare Inventions, and wholsom Customs, fit to be introduced into all Kingdoms, States, and Common-Wealths. Nunquam Libertas gratior ertat quam sub Rege pio. London, printed for John Crooke, at the Signe of the Ship in St. Paul's Church Yard, 1660.
Of this work Tennison says, “ This Supplement has been lately made by another hand : a great and hardy adventure, to finish a piece after the Lord Verulam's pencil.”
In the year 1676 a work was published, of which the following is the titlepage : Essays on several important Subjects in Philosophy and Religion. By Joseph Glanvill, Chaplain in Ordinary to His Majesty, and Fellow of the R. S. Imprimatur, Martii 27, 1675, Thomas Tomkins. London, printed by J. D. for John Baker, at the Three Pidgeons, and Henry Mortlock, at the Phænix, in St. Paul's Church Yard, 1676.
The last essay in this volume is thus entitled : Anti-fanatical Religion and Free Philosophy, in a continuation of the New Atlantis, Essay VII. And the title opens thus, Essay VII. The Summe of my Lord Bacon's New Atlantis.
After he had passed the circle of the liberal arts, his father thought fit to frame and mould him for the arts of state ; and for that end sent him over into France, with Sir Amyas Paulet, then employed Ambassadour Lieger into France; by whom he was, after a while, held fit to be entrusted with some message or advertisement to the Queen ; which having performed with great approbation, he returned back into France again, with intention to continue for some years there. Rawley.
That he was sent to France when he was sixteen appears from the following fact. Sir Amias Paulet was sent ambassador to France in September, 1576. He was succeeded by Sir Edward Stafford, in December, 1578.
Extract from a letter, dated June 22, 1577. “ One year is already spent since my departure from you, and yet one year more, and then I will begin to hearken for a successor." To Mr. Nicholas Wadham.
In a letter to the lord keeper, dated September, 1577: “This quiet time doth give me no occasion to trouble your lordship with long letters; only I must tell you, that I rejoice much to see that your son, my companion, hath, by the grace of God, passed the brunt and peril of this journey : whereof I am the more glad, because, in the beginning of these last troubles, it pleased your lordship to refer his continuance with me to my consideration. I thank God these dangers are past, and your son is safe, sound, and in good health, and worthy of your fatherly favour. And thus, &c. (a)
* See R. H. conten, of N. Atlantis, Octo. Lon. 1660.
Q. Life, p. xvii.
STATE OF EUROPE.
This tract is supposed by Mallet to have been the first work written by Lord Bacon, and to have been written about the year 1580, when he was between nineteen and twenty years of age :---because it states, " that Henry III. of France was then thirty years old : now that king began his reign in 1576, at the age of twenty-four years, so that Bacon was then nineteen." How far this evidence is satisfactory, may be collected from other parts of the same tract. It says, “Gregory XIII. of the age of seventy years :"--but Gregory XIII. was seventy years old in the year 1572, when he was elected Pope, so that, according to this reasoning, it might be inferred that it was written when Bacon was twelve years of age. In another part of the tract it states, " The King of Spain, Philip, son to Charles the Fifth, about sixty years of age :" but he was born on the 21st of May, 1527, so that he was sixty years old in 1587, when Bacon was between sixteen and seventeen years old.-- The author of Bacon's Life, in the Biographia Britannica, from these different dates, concludes that the tract was written at different periods of time, beginning, as he must suppose, when Bacon was quite a boy; but, as it was not necessary for the purposes of this tract that the ages of the different monarchs should be ascertained with great precision, it is, perhaps, not probable that they were accurately examined, and the only fair inference is, that it was written at a very early period of his life.*
The same author says, “ But what is extremely remarkable in this small treatise, is the care and accuracy with which he has set down most of the little princes in Germany, with the state of their dominions.” This minute observation, however, extends to all his works : and of all the extraordinary properties of Bacon's wonderful mind, his constant observation of what we, in common parlance, call trifles, appears to be one of the most extraordinary. He says that whoever will not attend to matters because they are too minute or trifling, shall never obtain command or rule over nature. The nature of every thing is best seen in its smallest portions. The philosopher, while he gazed upwards to the stars, fell into the water, but if he had looked down he might have seen the stars in the water. The property of the loadstone was discovered in needles of iron, and not in bars of iron. He who cannot dilate the sight of his mind, should consider whether it is not better for a man in a fair room to set up one great light or branching candlestick of lights, than to go about with a small watchcandle into every corner.
R. Life, p. xxii. His tract upon Universal Justice was published in 1623, in the treatise De Augmentis Scientiarum, and will afterwards be explained. See Note CC postea.
His different works upon practical parts of the law are : 1st. Elements of the Common Law, including Maxims of the Law, and the Use of the Law ; 2ndly. A Treatise on the Statute of Uses ; 3rdly. A Treatise on the Office of Constables; and 4thly. An Account of the Office for Alienations ; the particulars of which will be mentioned in the order of time in which they were written.
He wrote several tractates upon that subject, wherein though some great masters of the law did outgo him in bulk and particularities of cases, yet in the science of the grounds and mysteries of the law he was exceeded by none.Rawley.
* The tract says,
“ D. Antonio, elect King of Portugal, is now in France, where he hath levied soldiers, whereof part are embarked, hoping to be restored again." VOL. XV.
S. Life, p. xxii. Bacon's love of contemplation may be seen in various parts of his works. In a letter to the Lord Treasurer of 21st of March, 1594, he says, This last request I find it more necessary for me to make because (though I am glad of her majesty's favour, that I may with more ease practise the law, which percase I may use now and then for my countenance,) yet to speak plainly, though perhaps vainly, I do not think that the ordinary practice of the law, not serving the queen in place, will be admitted for a good account of the poor talent that God hath given me, so as I make reckoning, I shall reap no great benefit to myself in that course.
In a letter to Esser, dated March 30, 1594, he says: “ When I say I revolve all this, I cannot but conclude with myself, that no man ever read a more exquisite disgrace; and therefore truly, my lord, I was determined, if her majesty reject me, this to do. My nature can take no evil ply; but I will, by God's assistance, with this disgrace of my fortune, and yet with that comfort of the good opinion of so many Ďonourable and worthy persons, retire myself, with a couple of men to Cambridge, and there spend my life in my studies and contemplations without looking back.”
To my Lord of Essex. It may please your good Lordship,— I pray God her majesty's weighing be not like the weight of a balance, “gravia deorsum, levia sursum.” But I am as far from being altered in devotion towards her as I am from distrust that she will be altered in opinion towards me when she knoweth me better. For myself I have lost some opinion, some time, and some means; this is my account : but then, for opinion, it is a blast that goeth and cometh ; for time, it is true, it goeth and cometh not; but yet I have learned that it may be redeemed. For means, I value that most; and the rather, because I am purposed not to follow the practice of the law: if her majesty command me in any particular I shall be ready to do her willing service, and my reason is only because it drinketh too much time, which I have dedicated to better purposes. But even, for that point of estate and means I partly lean to Thales' opinion, " that a philosopher may be rich if he will.” Thus your lordship seeth how I comfort myself; to the increase whereof I would fain please myselí to believe that to be true which my Lord Treasurer writeth, which is, that it is more than a philosopher morally can digest ; but without any such high conceit, I esteem it like the pulling out of an aching tooth, which I remember when I was a child, and had little philosophy, I was glad of when it was done. For your lordship, I do think myself more beholding to you than to any man; and I say I reckon myself as a common, (not popular but common,) and as much as is lawful to be enclosed as a common, so much your lordship shall be sure to have.-Your Lordship's to obey your honourable commands more settled than ever.
In a letter to the Lord Treasurer in 1594, he says, I will use no reason to persuade your lordship's mediation but this, that your lordship and my other friends shall in this beg my life of the queen ; for I see well the bar will be my bier, as I must and will use it rather than my poor estate or reputation shall decay; but I stand indifferent whether God call me or her majesty. Had I that in possession which by your lordship's only means against the greatest opposition her majesty granted me, I would never trouble her majesty, but serve her still voluntarily without pay.
The following is from the dedication, in 1597, to the first edition of his Essays, to his brother who was lame : “ I have preferred them to you, that are next myself, dedicating them, such as they are, to our love, in the depth whereof, I assure you, I sometimes wish your infirmities translated upon myself, that her majesty might have the service of so active and able a mind, and I might be with excuse confined to these contemplations and studies for which I am fittest,"
In a letter to the King, April 1, 1616, he says:
It may please your most excellent Majesty,--The last day when it pleased your majesty to express yourself towards me in favour, far above that I can deserve, or could expect, I was surprised by the prince's coming in; I most humbly pray your majesty, therefore, to accept these few lines of acknowledgment. I never had great thoughts for my self, farther than to maintain those great thoughts which I confess I have for your service. I know what honour is, and I know what the times are; but I thank God with me my service is the principal, and it is far from me, under honourable pretences, to cover base desires, which I account them to be, when men refer too much to themselves, especially serving such a king, I am afraid of nothing, but that the master of the horse, your excellent servant, and myself, shall fall out about this, who shall hold your stirrup best; but were your majesty mounted, and seated without difficul. ties and distaste in your business, as I desire and hope to see you, I should “ex animo” desire to spend the decline of my years in my studies, wherein also I should not forget to do him honour, who besides his active and politic virtues, is the best pen of kings, and much more the best subject of a pen. God ever preserve your majesty. Your Majesty's most humble subject, and more and more obliged servant.
To Sir Thomas Bodley. Sir, I think no man may more truly say, with the psalm, Multum incola fuit anima mea,* than my
self; for I do confess since I was of any understanding, my mind bath in effect been absent from that I have done : and in absence are many errors, which I do willingly acknowledge; and amongst the rest, this great one that led the rest; that knowing myself by inward calling to be fitter to hold a book, than to play a part, I have led my life in civil causes; for which I was not very fit by nature, and more unfit by the preoccupation of my mind.
Tennison says, To the like purpose in a MS. letter to the Lord Chancellor Egerton, which I have sometimes perused; he says: “I am not so deceived in myself, but that I know very well (and I think your lordship is major Corde, and in your wisdom you note it more deeply than can in my self) that in practising the law, I play not my best game, which maketh me accept with a nisi quid potius, as the best of my fortune, and a thing better agreeable to better gifts than mine but not to mine. And it appeareth by what he hath said in a letter to the Earl of Essex, that he once thought not to practise in his profession. “ I am purposed,” said he,“ not to follow the practice of the law; and my reason is only because it drinketh too much time, which I have devoted to better purposes."
Upon taking his seat in Chancery, he says, “Only the depth of the three long vacations I would reserve in some measure free from business of estate, and for studies, arts and sciences, to which in my own nature I am most inclined."
T. Life, p. xxiii. The apartments in which Lord Bacon resided are said to be at No. 1, Gray's Ion Square, on the north side, one pair of stairs; I visited them in June 1832. They are said to be, and they appear to be in the same state in which they must have been for the last two centuries; handsome oak wainscot and a beautiful ornament over the chimney-piece. In the garden there was, till within the last three or four years, a small elevation surrounded by trees, called Lord Bacon's mount, and there was a legend that the trees were planted by him ; they were removed to raise the new building now on the west side of the garden, and they stood about three-fourths from the south end. In the books in the Steward's Office there are many of Lord Bacon's autographs of his admission, when he was a bencher, of the different students.