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British Museum, and of which the following is the title : An Essay of a King, with un explanation what manner of persons those should be that are to execute the power or ordinance of the King's Prerogative. Written by the Right Honorable Francis, Lord Verulam Viscount Suint Albun. Decemb. 2. London, Printed for Richard Best, 1642.
Immediately following this essay is the tract entitled, An Explanation what manner of persons those should be that are to execute the power or ordinance of the King's Prerogative, written by the said Francis Bacon, lute Lord Chancellor, and Lord of St. Albans. This explanation thus concludes : “And to conclude, custom cannot confirm that which any ways unreasonable of itself. Wisdom will not allow that which is many ways dangerous, and no ways profitable. Justice will not approve that government where it cannot be but wrong must be commited. Neither can there be any rule by which to try it, nor means of reformation of it. Therefore, whosoever desireth government must seek such as he is capable of, not such as seemeth to him most easy to execute ; for it is apparent that it is easie to him that knoweth not law nor justice to rule as he listeth, his will never wanting a power to itself; but it is safe and blamelesse both for the judge and people, and honour to the king, that judges be appointed who know the law, and that they be limited to governe according to the law.” Who can suppose that this was the work of Lord Bacon, or doubt
purpose for which, in those tumultuous times, it was composed and ascribed to him ?
6. In 1648, this tract was incorporated in a small 4to. volume, of which the title page is as follows: The Remaines of the Right Honorable Francis Lord Verulan, Viscount of St. Albanes, sometimes Lord Chancellour of England. Being Essayes and severall Letters to severall great Personages, and other pieces of various and high concernment not heretofore published. A Table whereof för the Readers more euse is adjoyned. London : Printed by B. Alsop, for Lawrence Chapman, and are to be sold at his Shop neer the Savoy in the Strand. 1648. The Table of Contents consists of forty-nine subjects, of which the four first
1. An Essay of a King.
to execute the power or ordinance of the King's Prerogative.
4. An Essay on Death. The first article, “ An Essay of a King," with its Appendix, “ An Explanation, &c.” is a copy of this tract published in 1642: who the author was does not appear, nor is there any preface or address, or explanation of the sources from whence the different subjects were selected, or the authority upon which they were ascribed to Lord Bacon. That some of them (for instance, the opinion respecting the Charter House) were his lordship’s is clear : and, but for these authentic documents, it is probable that the other publications would have fallen stillborn from the press; but they may have been supported, as Machiavel intimates that error is often supported by its alliance to truth, when he says, in a passage cited by Lord Bacon, “ the kingdom of the clergy had been long before at an end, if the reputation and reverence towards the poverty of friars had not borne out the scandal of the superfluities and excesses of bishops and prelates." Let it not, therefore, be hastily inferred that the essay is genuine, because it appears in some good company: in some, not all, for the Essay of Death, which has not found any advocate, is in the same volume.
7. In 1656, a tract was published, of which the following is the title page : The Mirrour of State and Eloquence. Represented in the Incomparable Letters of the Famous Sir Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam, St. Allians, to Queene Elizabeth, King James, and other Personages of the highest trust, and honour in the three Nations of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Concerning the better and more sure Establishment of those Nations in the affaires of Peace and Warre. With an ample and admirable accompt of his Faith, written by the express Command of King lames : Together with the Character of a true Christian, and
some other adjuncts of rare Devotion. London. Printed for Lawrence Chapman, and are to be sold at his Shop net doore to the Fountain Taverne in the Strand, 1646. This is, I conceive, merely a new title page prefixed to the unsold copies of the edition of 1648 : as the publisher is the same; the contents are the same; every page is the same; and the table of errata, at the conclusion of the volume, is the same.
8. In the year 1657, the first edition of the Resuscitatio was published by Rawley; and in 1679, the Baconiana, by Archbishop Tennison ; but the Essay of a King is not noticed in either of these publications.
9. For near a century, that is, from 1656 to 1740, this essay seems to have been forgotten ; but in 1740 it was revived by Blackburn, in his edition of the works of Lord Bacon, who, in that edition, not only published it as an essay of Lord Bacon's, but incorporated it amongst the other essays ;-—why he so incorporated it, instead of annexing it as a posthumous and uncertain publication, he does not explain : although, as an admirer of Lord Bacon, he ought not to have forgotten the admonition that doubtful things ought neither to be rejected nor received as certainties, but to be entered in the calendar of doubts. ". The registering of doubts hath,” says Lord Bacon, “ two excellent uses: the one, that it saveth philosophy from errors and falsehoods ; when that which is not fully appearing is not collected into assertion, whereby error might draw error, but is reserved in doubt." The reason which he assigns for having ascribed this essay to Lord Bacon is as follows :-" I have inserted from the Remains an Essay of a King; and my reason is, it is so collated and corrected by Archbishop Sancroft's well known hand, that it appears to be a new work; and though it consists of short propositions mostly, yet I will be so presumptuous as to say, that I think it now breathes the true spirit of our author : there seems to be an obvious reason why it was omitted before.”
With respect to the opinion of Sancroft, there appears not to be any evidence that he thought the essay authentic ; and, even if he had so thought, it cannot be necessary to add that it does not prove the fact. Why the examination of this essay by Sancroft, without knowing the nature of his observations, by which he was induced totally to alter the essay, should be evidence that the Archbishop thought it authentic, it seems difficult to discover. Is the present examination of the essay any evidence of my opinion of its authenticity?' With respect to the style of Lord Bacon being perceptible in this essay, Blackburn has not explained in what the resemblance consists. I have not been able to discover it: the only passage which may be supposed to have some resemblance, some shade of a shadow of resemblance, is the following :-“A wise king must do loss in altering his laws than he may; for new government is ever dangorous. It being true in the body politic, as in the corporal, that "omnis subila immutatio est periculosa ;” and though it be for the better, yet it is not without a fearful apprehension ; for he that changeth the fundamental laws of a kingdom, thinketh there is no good title to a crown, but by conquest.” Let this be contrasted with his Essay on Innovation; and, if any resemblance can be discovered, does it mark the hand of the master or of an imitator : “ As the births of living creatures at first are ill-shape so are all innovations, which are the births of time ; yet notwithstanding, as those that first bring honour into their family are commonly more worthy than most that succeed, so the first precedent (if it be good) is seldom attained by imitation ; for ill to man's nature, as it stands perverted, hath a natural motion strongest in continuance; but good, as a forced motion, strongest at first. Surely every medicine is an innovation, and he that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils.”To me it seems that there is not any resemblance; but, if I am in error, it is not from a casual resemblance of an isolated passage, but from the whole spirit and style of a work, that we can be warranted in ascribing it to an author. - Nothing is more easy," said a friend, " than occasionally to imitate the style of any eminent author.”—“ Attempt then,” said a great admirer of Bishop Taylor, "to imitate his style." At their next interview, the following imitation was produced : "I have sat upon the sea shore, and waited for its gradual approaches, and have seen its dancing waves and its white surf, and admired that he who measured it in his hand had given to it such life and motion; and I have lingered till its gentle waters grew into mighty billows, and had well nigh swept me from my firmest footing. So have I seen an heedless youth gazing with a too curious spirit upon the sweet motions and gentle approaches of an inviting pleasure, till it has detained his eye, and imprisoned his feet, and swelled upon his soul, and swept him to a swift destruction.”
10. In the British Museum (Lands. 236.) there is a volume of MSS. containing this essay, thus entitled in the catalogue : "Speeches and other compositions of Sir Francis Bacon, many whereof are stated by Mr. Umfreville, whose property they were, not to be collected into any edition of his works.” The inscription to which the catalogue refers is, “ Collectanea Bacon, many whereof are not yet collected into any edition of his works.”—Who Mr. Umfreville was, or when this MS. was written, I know not.
11. The admission of this essay amongst the essays in the different editions of Lord Bacon's works and essays, seems to have been occasioned by the insertion of this essay by Blackburn, in his edition of 1740.
Essay on Death. This appeared, I believe, for the first time in the volume published in 1648, entitled Remains. It is inserted in Blackburn's edition, published in 1740, but, instead of being incorporated, like the “ Essay of a King,” amongst the other essays, it is annexed, at the end of the fourth volume, after the following notice :~The following fragments were never acknowledged by Dr. Rawley among the genuine writings of the Lord Bacon; nor dare I say that they come up to the spirit or penetration of our noble author: however, as they are vouched to be authentic in an edition of the Remains of the Lord Verulam, printed 1648 ; and as Archbishop Sancroft has reflected some credit on them by a careful review, having in very many instances corrected and prepared them for the press, among the other unquestioned writings of his lordship; for these reasons I have assigned them this place, and left every reader to form his own judgment about their importance.
As Lord Bacon published an Essay on Death in the edition of 1612, and enlarged it in the edition of 1625, and as there is not any evidence, direct or indirect, external or internal, that this is the production of Lord -Bacon, I shall content myself with saying that, before it is adopted, there ought to be some evidence of its authenticity.*
Observations upon the Essays. His political writings of a more general nature, are his Apothegms and Essays, besides the Excerpta, out of the Advancement above remembered. Both these contain much of that matter which we usually call moral, distinguishing it from that which is civil : in the handling of which sort of argument his lordship has been esteemed so far to excel, that he hath had a comment written on him, as on an author in ethics, and an advancer of that most useful part of learning. (a) Notwithstanding which, I am bold to put these books under this head of matter political ; both because they contain a greater por, tion of that matter, and because in true philosophy the doctrine of politics and ethics maketh up but one body, and springeth from one root, the end of God Almighty in the government of the world.
Tennison. In a late Latin edition of these essays, there are subjoined two discourses, the one called De Negotiis, the other Faber Fortunæ. But neither of these are works newly published, but treatises taken out of the book De Augmentis. To this book of Essays may be annexed that fragment of an Essay of Fame, which is extant already in the Resuscitatio.
By mistake it is stated in vol. i. of my edition of Bacon, that there is a MS. of this essay in the Museum.
(a) See Placcii Comment. in 7, Aug. Scient. de Philosophia Morali augenda, in octavo. Franc. an. 1677.
Lord Bacon's Essays, Chamberlain's Letters, 17th Dec. 1612. “Sir Francis Bacon hath set out new essays, where in a chapter of Deformity, the world takes notice that he points out his little cousin to the life. *
See Hay's Essays on Deformity, where there is a running comment upon this essay of Lord Bacon's.
Professor Stewa:t, in his introductory lecture, says, “ The ethical disqui. sitions of Bacou are almost entirely of a practical nature. Of the two theoretical questions so much agitated in both parts of this island, during the eighteenth century, concerning the principle, and the object of moral approba. tion, he has said nothing; but he has opened some new and interesting views with respect to the influence of custom and the formation of habits, a most important article of moral philosophy, on which he has enlarged more ably and more usefully than any writer since Aristotle. Under the same head of ethics, may be mentioned the small volume to which he has given the title of Essays; the best known and the most popular of all his works. It is also one of those where the superiority of his genius appears to the greatest advantage; the novelty and depth of his reflections often receiving a strong relief from the *triteness of the subject. It may be read from beginning to end in a few hours; and yet after the twentieth perusal one seldom fails to remark in it something overlooked before. This, indeed, is a characteristic of all Bacon's writings, and is only to be accounted by the inexhaustible aliment they furnish our own thoughts, and the sympathetic activity they impart to our corpid faculties.”Dugald Stewart's First Dissertation, p. 54.
In the critique upon this introduction in the Edinburgh Review for September, 1816, the author says, “We more properly contrast than compare the experiments in The Natural History, with the moral and political observations which enrich the Advancement of Learning, the Speeches, the Letters, the History of Henry the Seventh, and above all, the Essays, a book which, though it has been praised with equal fervour by Voltaire, Johnson, and Burke, has never been characterized with such exact justice and such exquisite felicity of expression as in the discourse before us. It will serve still more distinctly to mark the natural tendency of his mind, to observe that his moral and political reflections relate to these practical subjects, considered in their most practical point of view; and ihat he has seldom or never attempted to reduce to theory the infinite particulars of that civil knowledge' which, as he himself tells us, is, of all others, most immersed in matter, and hardliest reduced to axiom.”— Edinburgh Review, Sept. 1816.
Translations of the Essays.
Latin. Bacon's notice of the Latin edition.-Of this translation, Bacon speaks in the following letter:
“ To Mr. Tobie Matthew. It is true my labours are now most set to have those works which I had for. merly published, as that of Advancement of Learning, that of Henry VII. that of the Essays, being retractate, and made more perfect, well translated into Latin by the help of some good pens, which forsake me not. For these modern languages will, at one time or other, play the bankrupt with books ; and since I have lost much time with this age, I would be glad, as God shall give me leave, to recover it with posterity. For the Essay of Friendship, while I took your speech of it for a cursory request, I took my promise for a compliment. But since you call for it, I shall perform it.” In his letter to Father Fulgentio, t giving some account of his writings, he
“ The Novum Organum should immediately follow, but my Moral and political writings step in between as being more finished. These are the History
The Earl of Salisbury, the Lord Treasurer, who is elsewhere called by Chamberlain the “little great man;" alluding, I suppose, to his size.
+ Baconiana, page 196.
of King Henry the Seventh, and the small book, which in your language you have called Saggi Morali, but I give it a graver title, that of Sermones Fideles, or Interiora Rerum, and these essays will not only be enlarged in number but still more in substance.”
In the year 1622, in his letter to the Bishop of Winchester, concerning his published and intended writings, he says, "As for my Essays, and some other particulars of that nature, I count them but as the recreations of my other studies, and in that manner purpose to continue them ; though I am not ignorant that those kind of writings would, with less pains and assiduity, perhaps yield more lustre and reputation to my name than the others I have in hand; but I judge the use a man should seek in publishing his writings before his death to be but an untimely anticipation of that which is proper to follow, and not to go along with him.”—Then see his Dedications to the different editions.
Tennison's Notice of Latin Edition. The nature of the Latin edition and of the Essays in general is thus stated by Archbishop Tennison : “ The Essays, or Counsels Civil and Moral, though a by-work also, do
yet make up a book of greater weight by far than the apothegms: and coming home to men's business and bosoms, his lordship entertained this persuasion concerning them, that the Latin volume might last as long as books should last. His lordship wrote them in the English tongue, and enlarged them as occasion served, and at last added to them the Colours of Good and Evil, which are likewise found in his book De Augmentis. The Latin translation of them was a work performed by divers hands; by those of Doctor Hacket (late Bishop of Lichfield), Mr. Benjamin Johnson (the learned and judicious poet), and some others, whose names I once heard from Dr. Rawley; but I cannot now recal them. To this Latin edition, he gave the title of Sermones Fideles, after the manner of the Jews, who called the words Adagies, or Observations of the Wise, Faithful Sayings; that is, credible propositions worthy of firm assent and ready acceptance. And (as I think) be alluded more particularly, in this title, to a passage in Ecclesiastes, where the Preacher saith that he sought to find out Verba Delectabilia (as Tremellius rendereth the Hebrew), pleasant words (that is, perhaps, his Book of Canticles ;) and Verba Fidelia (as the same Tremellius), Faithful Sayings; meaning, it may be, his Collection of Proverbs. In the next verse, he calls them words of the wise, and so many goads and nails given · Ab eodem pastore,' from the same shepherd (of the dock of Israel].”
Publication of Latin Edition by Rawley. In the year 1638, Rawley published in folio a volume containing amongst other works, “ Sermones Fideles, ab ipso Honoratissimo Auctore, prætorquam in paucis, Latinitate donatus.” In his address to the reader he says : “ Accedunt quas prius Delibationes Civiles et Morales inscripserat : quasetiam in linguas plurimas modernas translatas esse novit sed eas postea et numero, et pondere, auxit; in tantum, ut veluti opus novum videri possint ; quas mutato titulo, Sermones Fideles sive Interiora Rerum, inscribi placuit. Addi etiam voluit. The title page, dedication, and the table of contents are annexed :
Sermones Fideles sive, Interiora Rerum. Per Franciscum Baconum Baronem de Verulamio, Vice-Comitem Sancti Albani. Londini, Excusum, typis Edwardi Griffin. Prostant ad Insignia Regia in Cæmeterio D. Pauls, apud Richurdum Whitakerum, 1638. Illustri and Excellenti Domino Georgio Duci Buckinghamiæ, summo Angliæ
Admirallio. Honoratissime Domine, --Salomon inquit, Nomen bonum est instar vnguenti fragrantis et pretiosi ; neque dubito, quintale futurum sit nomen tuum apud posteros. Etenim et fortuna, et meritatua, præcelluerunt. Et videris ea planiasse, quæsint duratura. In lucem jam edere mihi visum est Delibationes meas, quæ ex omnibus meis operibus fuerunt acceptissimæ : quia forsitan