Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon

Overview
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, KC
Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel , known as King's Counsel during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law...

 (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626) was an English philosopher, statesman
Statesman
A statesman is usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term...

, scientist, lawyer, jurist
Jurist
A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops, applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in American English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries it has only historical and specialist usage...

, author and pioneer of the scientific method. He served both as Attorney General
Attorney General for England and Wales
Her Majesty's Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known simply as the Attorney General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown. Along with the subordinate Solicitor General for England and Wales, the Attorney General serves as the chief legal adviser of the Crown and its government in...

 and Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

 of England. Although his political career ended in disgrace, he remained extremely influential through his works, especially as philosophical advocate and practitioner of the scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

 during the scientific revolution
Scientific revolution
The Scientific Revolution is an era associated primarily with the 16th and 17th centuries during which new ideas and knowledge in physics, astronomy, biology, medicine and chemistry transformed medieval and ancient views of nature and laid the foundations for modern science...

.

Bacon has been called the father of empiricism
Empiricism
Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence,...

.
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Quotations

The monuments of wit survive the monuments of power.

Essex's Device (1595)

Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.

Knowledge is power.

Aristotle... a mere bond-servant to his logic, thereby rendering it contentious and well nigh useless.

Rerum Novarum (1605)

I do plainly and ingenuously confess that I am guilty of corruption, and do renounce all defense. I beseech your Lordships to be merciful to a broken reed.

On being charged by Parliament with corruption in office (1621)

Lucid intervals and happy pauses.

History of King Henry VII, III (1622)

Nil terribile nisi ipse timor.

Nothing is terrible except fear itself.

Riches are a good handmaid, but the worst mistress.

De Augmentis Scientiarum, Book II, Antitheta (1623)

Audacter calumniare, semper aliquid haeret.

Translated: "Hurl your calumnies boldly; something is sure to stick".

I bequeath my soul to God... My body to be buried obscurely. For my name and memory, I leave it to men's charitable speeches, and to foreign nations, and the next age.

From his will (1626)
Encyclopedia
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, KC
Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel , known as King's Counsel during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law...

 (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626) was an English philosopher, statesman
Statesman
A statesman is usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term...

, scientist, lawyer, jurist
Jurist
A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops, applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in American English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries it has only historical and specialist usage...

, author and pioneer of the scientific method. He served both as Attorney General
Attorney General for England and Wales
Her Majesty's Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known simply as the Attorney General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown. Along with the subordinate Solicitor General for England and Wales, the Attorney General serves as the chief legal adviser of the Crown and its government in...

 and Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

 of England. Although his political career ended in disgrace, he remained extremely influential through his works, especially as philosophical advocate and practitioner of the scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

 during the scientific revolution
Scientific revolution
The Scientific Revolution is an era associated primarily with the 16th and 17th centuries during which new ideas and knowledge in physics, astronomy, biology, medicine and chemistry transformed medieval and ancient views of nature and laid the foundations for modern science...

.

Bacon has been called the father of empiricism
Empiricism
Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence,...

. His works established and popularised inductive methodologies for scientific
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 inquiry, often called the Baconian method
Baconian method
The Baconian method is the investigative method developed by Sir Francis Bacon. The method was put forward in Bacon's book Novum Organum , or 'New Method', and was supposed to replace the methods put forward in Aristotle's Organon...

, or simply the scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

. His demand for a planned procedure of investigating all things natural marked a new turn in the rhetorical and theoretical framework for science, much of which still surrounds conceptions of proper methodology
Methodology
Methodology is generally a guideline for solving a problem, with specificcomponents such as phases, tasks, methods, techniques and tools . It can be defined also as follows:...

 today. His dedication probably led to his death, bringing him into a rare historical group of scientists who were killed by their own experiments.

Bacon was knighted in 1603, and created both the Baron Verulam in 1618, and the Viscount St Alban in 1621; as he died without heirs both peerage
Peerage
The Peerage is a legal system of largely hereditary titles in the United Kingdom, which constitute the ranks of British nobility and is part of the British honours system...

s became extinct upon his death. He famously died of pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 contracted while studying the effects of freezing on the preservation of meat.

Early life



Bacon was born on 22 January 1561 at York House
York House, Strand
York House in the Strand in London was one of a string of mansions which once stood along the route from the City of London to the royal court at Westminster. It was built as the London home of the Bishops of Norwich not later than 1237, and around 300 years later it was acquired by King Henry VIII...

 near the Strand
Strand, London
Strand is a street in the City of Westminster, London, England. The street is just over three-quarters of a mile long. It currently starts at Trafalgar Square and runs east to join Fleet Street at Temple Bar, which marks the boundary of the City of London at this point, though its historical length...

 in London, the son of Sir Nicholas Bacon by his second wife Anne (Cooke) Bacon
Anne Bacon
Anne Bacon was an English gentlewoman and scholar. She made a lasting contribution to English religious literature with her translation from Latin of John Jewel's Apologie of the Anglican Church...

, the daughter of noted humanist
Renaissance humanism
Renaissance humanism was an activity of cultural and educational reform engaged by scholars, writers, and civic leaders who are today known as Renaissance humanists. It developed during the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth centuries, and was a response to the challenge of Mediæval...

 Anthony Cooke
Anthony Cooke
Sir Anthony Cooke was an eminent English humanist, scholar and tutor to Edward VI, England's first ruler to be raised as a Protestant.-Background:...

. His mother's sister was married to William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley , KG was an English statesman, the chief advisor of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign, twice Secretary of State and Lord High Treasurer from 1572...

, making Burghley Francis Bacon's uncle.
Biographers believe that Bacon was educated at home in his early years owing to poor health (which plagued him throughout his life), receiving tuition from John Walsall, a graduate of Oxford with a strong leaning towards Puritan
Puritan
The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England...

ism. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

, on 5 April 1573 at the age of twelve, living for three years there together with his older brother Anthony
Anthony Bacon (1558–1601)
Anthony Bacon was a member of the powerful English Bacon family who was also a spy during the Elizabethan era.-Early years, 1558-1580:...

 under the personal tutelage of Dr John Whitgift
John Whitgift
John Whitgift was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1583 to his death. Noted for his hospitality, he was somewhat ostentatious in his habits, sometimes visiting Canterbury and other towns attended by a retinue of 800 horsemen...

, future Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

. Bacon's education was conducted largely in Latin and followed the medieval curriculum. He was also educated at the University of Poitiers
University of Poitiers
The University of Poitiers is a university in Poitiers, France. It is a member of the Coimbra Group.-History:Founded in 1431 by Pope Eugene IV and chartered by King Charles VII, the University of Poitiers was originally composed of five faculties: theology, canon law, civil law, medicine, and...

. It was at Cambridge that he first met Queen Elizabeth, who was impressed by his precocious intellect, and was accustomed to calling him "the young Lord Keeper".

His studies brought him to the belief that the methods and results of science as then practised were erroneous. His reverence for Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 conflicted with his loathing of Aristotelian philosophy, which seemed to him barren, disputatious, and wrong in its objectives.

On 27 June 1576, he and Anthony entered de societate magistrorum at Gray's Inn
Gray's Inn
The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, commonly known as Gray's Inn, is one of the four Inns of Court in London. To be called to the Bar and practise as a barrister in England and Wales, an individual must belong to one of these Inns...

. A few months later, Francis went abroad with Sir Amias Paulet
Amias Paulet
Sir Amias Paulet was an English diplomat, Governor of Jersey, and the gaoler for a period of Mary, Queen of Scots.-Life:...

, the English ambassador at Paris, while Anthony continued his studies at home. The state of government and society in France under Henry III
Henry III of France
Henry III was King of France from 1574 to 1589. As Henry of Valois, he was the first elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with the dual titles of King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1573 to 1575.-Childhood:Henry was born at the Royal Château de Fontainebleau,...

 afforded him valuable political instruction. For the next three years he visited Blois
Blois
Blois is the capital of Loir-et-Cher department in central France, situated on the banks of the lower river Loire between Orléans and Tours.-History:...

, Poitiers
Poitiers
Poitiers is a city on the Clain river in west central France. It is a commune and the capital of the Vienne department and of the Poitou-Charentes region. The centre is picturesque and its streets are interesting for predominant remains of historical architecture, especially from the Romanesque...

, Tours
Tours
Tours is a city in central France, the capital of the Indre-et-Loire department.It is located on the lower reaches of the river Loire, between Orléans and the Atlantic coast. Touraine, the region around Tours, is known for its wines, the alleged perfection of its local spoken French, and for the...

, Italy, and Spain. During his travels, Bacon studied language, statecraft, and civil law while performing routine diplomatic tasks. On at least one occasion he delivered diplomatic letters to England for Walsingham
Francis Walsingham
Sir Francis Walsingham was Principal Secretary to Elizabeth I of England from 1573 until 1590, and is popularly remembered as her "spymaster". Walsingham is frequently cited as one of the earliest practitioners of modern intelligence methods both for espionage and for domestic security...

, Burghley
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley , KG was an English statesman, the chief advisor of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign, twice Secretary of State and Lord High Treasurer from 1572...

, and Leicester
Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester
Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, KG was an English nobleman and the favourite and close friend of Elizabeth I from her first year on the throne until his death...

, as well as for the queen.

The sudden death of his father in February 1579 prompted Bacon to return to England. Sir Nicholas had laid up a considerable sum of money to purchase an estate for his youngest son, but he died before doing so, and Francis was left with only a fifth of that money. Having borrowed money, Bacon got into debt. To support himself, he took up his residence in law at Gray's Inn in 1579.

Parliamentarian


Bacon's threefold goals were to uncover truth, to serve his country, and to serve his church. He sought to further these ends by seeking a prestigious post. In 1580, through his uncle, Lord Burghley
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley , KG was an English statesman, the chief advisor of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign, twice Secretary of State and Lord High Treasurer from 1572...

, he applied for a post at court, which might enable him to pursue a life of learning. His application failed. For two years he worked quietly at Gray's Inn
Gray's Inn
The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, commonly known as Gray's Inn, is one of the four Inns of Court in London. To be called to the Bar and practise as a barrister in England and Wales, an individual must belong to one of these Inns...

, until he was admitted as an outer barrister in 1582.

His parliamentary career began when he was elected MP for Bossiney, Devon
Bossiney (UK Parliament constituency)
Bossiney was a parliamentary constituency in Cornwall, one of a number of Cornish rotten boroughs, and returned two Members of Parliament to the British House of Commons from 1552 until 1832, when it was abolished by the Great Reform Act.-History:...

 in a 1581 by-election. In 1584, he took his seat in parliament
Parliament of England
The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England. In 1066, William of Normandy introduced a feudal system, by which he sought the advice of a council of tenants-in-chief and ecclesiastics before making laws...

 for Melcombe in Dorset, and subsequently for Taunton
Taunton (UK Parliament constituency)
Taunton was a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and its predecessors from 1295 to 2010, taking its name from the town of Taunton in Somerset...

 (1586). At this time, he began to write on the condition of parties in the church, as well as on the topic of philosophical reform in the lost tract, Temporis Partus Maximus. Yet, he failed to gain a position he thought would lead him to success. He showed signs of sympathy to Puritanism, attending the sermons of the Puritan chaplain of Gray's Inn and accompanying his mother to the Temple chapel to hear Walter Travers
Walter Travers
Walter Travers was an English Puritan theologian. He was at one time chaplain to William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, and tutor to his son Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury.He is remembered mostly as an opponent of the teaching of Richard Hooker...

. This led to the publication of his earliest surviving tract, which criticised the English church's suppression of the Puritan clergy. In the Parliament of 1586, he openly urged execution for Mary, Queen of Scots.

About this time, he again approached his powerful uncle for help; this move was followed by his rapid progress at the bar. He became Bencher
Bencher
A bencher or Master of the Bench is a senior member of an Inn of Court in England and Wales. Benchers hold office for life once elected. A bencher can be elected while still a barrister , in recognition of the contribution that the barrister has made to the life of the Inn or to the law...

 in 1586, and he was elected a reader in 1587, delivering his first set of lectures in Lent the following year. In 1589, he received the valuable appointment of reversion
Reversion
Reversion may refer to:*Reversion *Reversion *Reversion *Reversion *Series reversion, in mathematics*Reversion, in evolutionary biology...

 to the Clerkship of the Star Chamber
Star Chamber
The Star Chamber was an English court of law that sat at the royal Palace of Westminster until 1641. It was made up of Privy Counsellors, as well as common-law judges and supplemented the activities of the common-law and equity courts in both civil and criminal matters...

, although he did not formally take office until 1608 – a post which was worth £16,000 a year.

In 1588 he was returned as MP for Liverpool
Liverpool (UK Parliament constituency)
Liverpool was a Borough constituency in the county of Lancashire of the House of Commons for the Parliament of England to 1706 then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1885. It was represented by two Members of Parliament...

 and then for Middlesex
Middlesex (UK Parliament constituency)
Middlesex is a former United Kingdom Parliamentary constituency. It was a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1885....

 in 1593. He later sat three times for Ipswich
Ipswich (UK Parliament constituency)
Ipswich is a borough constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election.- Boundaries :...

 (1597, 1601, 1604) and once for Cambridge University
Cambridge University (UK Parliament constituency)
Cambridge University was a university constituency electing two members to the British House of Commons, from 1603 to 1950.-Boundaries, Electorate and Election Systems:...

 (1614).

Attorney General



Bacon soon became acquainted with Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, KG was an English nobleman and a favourite of Elizabeth I. Politically ambitious, and a committed general, he was placed under house arrest following a poor campaign in Ireland during the Nine Years' War in 1599...

, Queen Elizabeth
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

's favourite. By 1591, he acted as the earl's confidential adviser.

In 1592, he was commissioned to write a tract in response to the Jesuit Robert Parson's anti-government polemic, which he entitled Certain observations made upon a libel, identifying England with the ideals of democratic Athens
History of Athens
Athens is one of the oldest named cities in the world, having been continuously inhabited for at least 7000 years. Situated in southern Europe, Athens became the leading city of Ancient Greece in the first millennium BCE and its cultural achievements during the 5th century BCE laid the foundations...

 against the belligerence of Spain.

Bacon took his third parliamentary seat for Middlesex
Middlesex
Middlesex is one of the historic counties of England and the second smallest by area. The low-lying county contained the wealthy and politically independent City of London on its southern boundary and was dominated by it from a very early time...

 when in February 1593 Elizabeth summoned Parliament to investigate a Roman Catholic plot against her. Bacon's opposition to a bill that would levy triple subsidies in half the usual time offended many people. Opponents accused him of seeking popularity. For a time, the royal court excluded him.

When the Attorney-Generalship fell vacant in 1594, Lord Essex's influence was not enough to secure Bacon that office. Likewise, Bacon failed to secure the lesser office of Solicitor-General
Solicitor General for England and Wales
Her Majesty's Solicitor General for England and Wales, often known as the Solicitor General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown, and the deputy of the Attorney General, whose duty is to advise the Crown and Cabinet on the law...

 in 1595. To console him for these disappointments, Essex presented him with a property at Twickenham
Twickenham
Twickenham is a large suburban town southwest of central London. It is the administrative headquarters of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and one of the locally important district centres identified in the London Plan...

, which he sold subsequently for £1,800.

In 1596, Bacon became Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel , known as King's Counsel during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law...

, but missed the appointment of Master of the Rolls
Master of the Rolls
The Keeper or Master of the Rolls and Records of the Chancery of England, known as the Master of the Rolls, is the second most senior judge in England and Wales, after the Lord Chief Justice. The Master of the Rolls is the presiding officer of the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal...

. During the next few years, his financial situation remained bad. His friends could find no public office for him, and a scheme for retrieving his position by a marriage with the wealthy and young widow Lady Elizabeth Hatton
Elizabeth Hatton
Elizabeth Hatton was the second wife of Sir William Hatton, the nephew and heir of Sir Christopher Hatton ....

 failed after she broke off their relationship upon accepting marriage to a wealthier man. In 1598 Bacon was arrested for debt. Afterwards however, his standing in the Queen's eyes improved. Gradually, Bacon earned the standing of one of the learned counsels, though he had no commission or warrant and received no salary. His relationship with the Queen further improved when he severed ties with Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, KG was an English nobleman and a favourite of Elizabeth I. Politically ambitious, and a committed general, he was placed under house arrest following a poor campaign in Ireland during the Nine Years' War in 1599...

, a shrewd move because Essex was executed for treason in 1601.

With others, Bacon was appointed to investigate the charges against Essex, his former friend and benefactor. A number of Essex's followers confessed that Essex had planned a rebellion against the Queen. Bacon was subsequently a part of the legal team headed by Attorney General
Attorney General for England and Wales
Her Majesty's Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known simply as the Attorney General, is one of the Law Officers of the Crown. Along with the subordinate Solicitor General for England and Wales, the Attorney General serves as the chief legal adviser of the Crown and its government in...

 Sir Edward Coke
Edward Coke
Sir Edward Coke SL PC was an English barrister, judge and politician considered to be the greatest jurist of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. Born into a middle class family, Coke was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge before leaving to study at the Inner Temple, where he was called to the...

 at Essex's treason trial. After the execution, the Queen ordered Bacon to write the official government account of the trial, which was later published as A DECLARATION of the Practices and Treasons attempted and committed by Robert late Earle of Essex and his Complices, against her Majestie and her Kingdoms ... after Bacon's first draft was heavily edited by the Queen and her ministers.

James I comes to the throne


The succession of James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

 brought Bacon into greater favour. He was knighted in 1603. In another shrewd move, Bacon wrote his Apologie in defence of his proceedings in the case of Essex, as Essex had favoured James to succeed to the throne.

The following year, during the course of the uneventful first parliament session, Bacon married Alice Barnham
Alice Barnham
Alice Barnham, Viscountess St Albans was the wife of English scientific philosopher and statesman Francis Bacon.-Family:She was born 14 May 1592, to Benedict Barnham and his wife Dorothea, née Smith. Benedict Barnham was a London merchant, who held the positions of Alderman, Sheriff of London ,...

. In June 1607 he was at last rewarded with the office of Solicitor-General. The following year, he began working as the Clerkship of the Star Chamber
Star Chamber
The Star Chamber was an English court of law that sat at the royal Palace of Westminster until 1641. It was made up of Privy Counsellors, as well as common-law judges and supplemented the activities of the common-law and equity courts in both civil and criminal matters...

. In spite of a generous income, old debts still couldn't be paid. He sought further promotion and wealth by supporting King James and his arbitrary policies.

In 1610 the fourth session of James' first parliament
James I of England and the English Parliament
James VI and I , King of Scots, King of England, and King of Ireland, faced many difficulties with Parliament during his reign in England...

 met. Despite Bacon's advice to him, James and the Commons found themselves at odds over royal prerogatives and the king's embarrassing extravagance. The House was finally dissolved in February 1611. Throughout this period Bacon managed to stay in the favour of the king while retaining the confidence of the Commons.

In 1613, Bacon was finally appointed attorney general
Attorney General
In most common law jurisdictions, the attorney general, or attorney-general, is the main legal advisor to the government, and in some jurisdictions he or she may also have executive responsibility for law enforcement or responsibility for public prosecutions.The term is used to refer to any person...

, after advising the king to shuffle judicial appointments. As attorney general, Bacon prosecuted Somerset
William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset
Sir William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset, KG was an English nobleman and Royalist commander in the English Civil War....

 in 1616. The so-called "Prince's Parliament" of April 1614 objected to Bacon's presence in the seat for Cambridge and to the various royal plans which Bacon had supported. Although he was allowed to stay, parliament passed a law that forbade the attorney-general to sit in parliament. His influence over the king had evidently inspired resentment or apprehension in many of his peers. Bacon, however, continued to receive the King's favour, which led to his appointment in March 1617 as the temporary Regent of England (for a period of a month), and in 1618 as Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

. On 12 July 1618 the king created Bacon Baron Verulam of Verulam
Verulamium
Verulamium was an ancient town in Roman Britain. It was sited in the southwest of the modern city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, Great Britain. A large portion of the Roman city remains unexcavated, being now park and agricultural land, though much has been built upon...

 or, as the new peer styled himself, Francis, Lord Verulam.

Bacon continued to use his influence with the king to mediate between the throne and Parliament and in this capacity he was further elevated, as Viscount
Viscount
A viscount or viscountess is a member of the European nobility whose comital title ranks usually, as in the British peerage, above a baron, below an earl or a count .-Etymology:...

 St Alban, on 27 January 1621.

Lord Chancellor and public disgrace


Bacon's public career ended in disgrace in 1621. After he fell into debt, a Parliamentary Committee on the administration of the law charged him with twenty-three separate counts of corruption. To the lords, who sent a committee to enquire whether a confession was really his, he replied, "My lords, it is my act, my hand, and my heart; I beseech your lordships to be merciful to a broken reed." He was sentenced to a fine of £40,000 and committed to the Tower of London
Tower of London
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

 during the king's pleasure; the imprisonment lasted only a few days and the fine was remitted by the king. More seriously, parliament declared Bacon incapable of holding future office or sitting in parliament. He narrowly escaped undergoing degradation, which would have stripped him of his titles of nobility. Subsequently the disgraced viscount devoted himself to study and writing.

There seems little doubt that Bacon had accepted gifts from litigants, but this was an accepted custom of the time and not necessarily evidence of deeply corrupt behaviour. While acknowledging that his conduct had been lax, he countered that he had never allowed gifts to influence his judgement and, indeed, he had on occasion given a verdict against those who had paid him. The true reason for his acknowledgement of guilt is the subject of debate, but it may have been prompted by his poor state of health, or by a view that through his fame and the greatness of his office he would be spared harsh punishment. He may even have been blackmailed, with a threat to charge him with sodomy, into confession.

Relationships



When he was 36, Bacon engaged in the courtship of Elizabeth Hatton
Elizabeth Hatton
Elizabeth Hatton was the second wife of Sir William Hatton, the nephew and heir of Sir Christopher Hatton ....

, a young widow of 20. Reportedly, she broke off their relationship upon accepting marriage to a wealthier man—Edward Coke
Edward Coke
Sir Edward Coke SL PC was an English barrister, judge and politician considered to be the greatest jurist of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. Born into a middle class family, Coke was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge before leaving to study at the Inner Temple, where he was called to the...

. Years later, Bacon still wrote of his regret that the marriage to Hatton had not taken place.

At the age of forty-five, Bacon married Alice Barnham
Alice Barnham
Alice Barnham, Viscountess St Albans was the wife of English scientific philosopher and statesman Francis Bacon.-Family:She was born 14 May 1592, to Benedict Barnham and his wife Dorothea, née Smith. Benedict Barnham was a London merchant, who held the positions of Alderman, Sheriff of London ,...

, the fourteen-year-old daughter of a well-connected London alderman
Alderman
An alderman is a member of a municipal assembly or council in many jurisdictions founded upon English law. The term may be titular, denoting a high-ranking member of a borough or county council, a council member chosen by the elected members themselves rather than by popular vote, or a council...

 and MP. Bacon wrote two sonnets proclaiming his love for Alice. The first was written during his courtship and the second on his wedding day, 10 May 1606. When Bacon was appointed Lord Chancellor, "by special Warrant of the King", Lady Bacon was given precedence over all other Court ladies.
Reports of increasing friction in his marriage to Alice appeared, with speculation that some of this may have been due to financial resources not being as readily available to her as she was accustomed to having in the past. Alice was reportedly interested in fame and fortune, and when reserves of money were no longer available, there were complaints about where all the money was going. Alice Chambers Bunten wrote in her Life of Alice Barnham that, upon their descent into debt, she actually went on trips to ask for financial favours and assistance from their circle of friends. Bacon disinherited her upon discovering her secret romantic relationship with John Underhill. He rewrote his will, which had previously been very generous to her (leaving her lands, goods, and income), revoking it all.

Though the well-connected antiquary John Aubrey
John Aubrey
John Aubrey FRS, was an English antiquary, natural philosopher and writer. He is perhaps best known as the author of the collection of short biographical pieces usually referred to as Brief Lives...

 noted among his private memoranda concerning Bacon, "He was a Pederast. His Ganimeds
Ganymede (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Ganymede is a divine hero whose homeland was Troy. Homer describes Ganymede as the most beautiful of mortals. In the best-known myth, he is abducted by Zeus, in the form of an eagle, to serve as cup-bearer in Olympus. Some interpretations of the myth treat it as an allegory of...

 and Favourites tooke Bribes", biographers continue to debate about Bacon's sexual inclinations and the precise nature of his personal relationships. Several authors believe that despite his marriage Bacon was primarily attracted to the same sex. Professor Forker for example has explored the "historically documentable sexual preferences" of both King James and Bacon – and concluded they were all oriented to "masculine love", a contemporary term that "seems to have been used exclusively to refer to the sexual preference of men for members of their own gender." The Jacobean antiquarian, Sir Simonds D'Ewes
Simonds d'Ewes
Sir Simonds d'Ewes, 1st Baronet was an antiquary and politician. He was bred for the bar, was a member of the Long Parliament and left notes on its transactions. d'Ewes took the Puritan side in the Civil War...

 implied there had been a question of bringing him to trial for buggery. This conclusion has been disputed by others, who consider the sources to be more open to interpretation.

Death




On 9 April 1626 Bacon died of pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 while at Arundel mansion at Highgate
Highgate
Highgate is an area of North London on the north-eastern corner of Hampstead Heath.Highgate is one of the most expensive London suburbs in which to live. It has an active conservation body, the Highgate Society, to protect its character....

 outside London. An influential account of the circumstances of his death was given by John Aubrey
John Aubrey
John Aubrey FRS, was an English antiquary, natural philosopher and writer. He is perhaps best known as the author of the collection of short biographical pieces usually referred to as Brief Lives...

's Brief Lives
Brief Lives
Brief Lives is a collection of short biographies written by John Aubrey in the last decades of the seventeenth century. Aubrey initially began collecting biographical material to assist the Oxford scholar Anthony Wood, who was working on his own collection of biographies...

. Aubrey has been criticised for his evident credulousness in this and other works; on the other hand, he knew Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury , in some older texts Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury, was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy...

, Bacon's fellow-philosopher and friend. Aubrey's vivid account, which portrays Bacon as a martyr to experimental scientific method, had him journeying to Highgate through the snow with the King's physician when he is suddenly inspired by the possibility of using the snow to preserve meat: "They were resolved they would try the experiment presently. They alighted out of the coach and went into a poor woman's house at the bottom of Highgate hill, and bought a fowl, and made the woman exenterate it".

After stuffing the fowl with snow, Bacon contracted a fatal case of pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

. Some people, including Aubrey, consider these two contiguous, possibly coincidental events as related and causative of his death: "The Snow so chilled him that he immediately fell so extremely ill, that he could not return to his Lodging ... but went to the Earle of Arundel's house at Highgate, where they put him into ... a damp bed that had not been layn-in ... which gave him such a cold that in 2 or 3 days as I remember Mr Hobbes told me, he died of Suffocation."

Being unwittingly on his deathbed, the philosopher wrote his last letter to his absent host and friend Lord Arundel
Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel
Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel KG, was a prominent English courtier during the reigns of King James I and King Charles I, but he made his name as a Grand Tourist and art collector rather than as a politician. When he died he possessed 700 paintings, along with large collections of sculpture,...

:
Another account appears in a biography by William Rawley, Bacon's personal secretary and chaplain:
At his funeral, over thirty great minds collected together their eulogies of him, which was then later published in Latin.

He left personal assets of about £7,000 and lands that realised £6,000 when sold. His debts amounted to more than £23,000, equivalent to more than £3m at current value.

Philosophy and works


Francis Bacon is the father of the scientific method, which is fundamental to natural philosophy. In his magnum opus
Magnum opus
Magnum opus , from the Latin meaning "great work", refers to the largest, and perhaps the best, greatest, most popular, or most renowned achievement of a writer, artist, or composer.-Related terms:Sometimes the term magnum opus is used to refer to simply "a great work" rather than "the...

, Novum Organum
Novum Organum
The Novum Organum, full original title Novum Organum Scientiarum, is a philosophical work by Francis Bacon, written in Latin and published in 1620. The title translates as new instrument, i.e. new instrument of science. This is a reference to Aristotle's work Organon, which was his treatise on...

, or "new instrument", Francis Bacon argued that although philosophy at the time mainly used deductive syllogism
Syllogism
A syllogism is a kind of logical argument in which one proposition is inferred from two or more others of a certain form...

s to interpret nature, mainly owing to Aristotle's logic (or Organon
Organon
The Organon is the name given by Aristotle's followers, the Peripatetics, to the standard collection of his six works on logic:* Categories* On Interpretation* Prior Analytics* Posterior Analytics...

), the philosopher should instead proceed through inductive reasoning
Inductive reasoning
Inductive reasoning, also known as induction or inductive logic, is a kind of reasoning that constructs or evaluates propositions that are abstractions of observations. It is commonly construed as a form of reasoning that makes generalizations based on individual instances...

 from fact
Fact
A fact is something that has really occurred or is actually the case. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability, that is whether it can be shown to correspond to experience. Standard reference works are often used to check facts...

 to axiom
Axiom
In traditional logic, an axiom or postulate is a proposition that is not proven or demonstrated but considered either to be self-evident or to define and delimit the realm of analysis. In other words, an axiom is a logical statement that is assumed to be true...

 to physical law
Physical law
A physical law or scientific law is "a theoretical principle deduced from particular facts, applicable to a defined group or class of phenomena, and expressible by the statement that a particular phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions be present." Physical laws are typically conclusions...

. Before beginning this induction, the enquirer is to free his or her mind from certain false notions or tendencies which distort the truth. These are called "Idols" (idola), and are of four kinds:
  • "Idols of the Tribe" (idola tribus), which are common to the race;
  • "Idols of the Den" (idola specus), which are peculiar to the individual;
  • "Idols of the Marketplace" (idola fori), coming from the misuse of language; and
  • "Idols of the Theatre" (idola theatri), which result from an abuse of authority.


The end of induction is the discovery of forms, the ways in which natural phenomena occur, the causes from which they proceed.

Bacon explicated his somewhat fragmentary ethical system – derived through use of his methods – in the seventh and eighth books of his De augmentis scientiarum (1623) – where he distinguished between duty to the community (an ethical matter) and duty to God (a religious matter). Bacon claimed that:
  • Any moral action is the action of the human will, which is governed by belief and spurred on by the passions;
  • Good habit is what aids men in directing their will toward the good; and
  • No universal rules can be made, as both situations and men's characters differ.

Regarding faith, in De augmentis, he wrote that "the more discordant, therefore, and incredible, the divine mystery is, the more honour is shown to God in believing it, and the nobler is the victory of faith." He wrote in "The Essays: Of Atheism" that "a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion." Meanwhile in the very next essay called: "Of Superstition" Bacon remarks- "Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation: all which may be guides to an outward moral virtue... but superstition dismounts all these and erecteth an absolute monarchy in the minds of men: therefore atheism never did perturb states; for it makes men wary of themeselves... and we see the times inclined to atheism (as the time of Augustus Caesar) were civil times; but superstition hath been the confusion of many states, and bringeth in a new 'primum mobile.' that ravisheth all the spheres of government." However, Bacon did maintain his own Christian beliefs, of which he differentiated from "superstition". Bacon notes that “It is better to have no opinion of God at all, than such an opinion as is unworthy of him: for the one is unbelief the other is contumely; and certainly superstition is the reproach of the Deity.” Yet even more than this, Bacon's views of God are in accordance with popular protestant theology, as he writes that “They that deny a God destroy man's nobility; for certainly man is of kin to the beasts in his body; and, if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature.”

Nevertheless, Bacon contrasted the new approach of the development of science with that of the Middle Ages:


"Men have sought to make a world from their own conception and to draw from their own minds all the material which they employed, but if, instead of doing so, they had consulted experience and observation, they would have the facts and not opinions to reason about, and might have ultimately arrived at the knowledge of the laws which govern the material world."


Since Bacon's ideal was widespread revolution of the common method of scientific inquiry, there had to be some way by which his method could become widespread. His solution was to lobby the state to make natural philosophy a matter of greater importance – not only to fund it, but also to regulate it. While in office under Queen Elizabeth, he even advocated for the employment of a Minister for Science and Technology; a position which was never realised. Later under King James, Bacon wrote in The Advancement of Learning
The Advancement of Learning
right|thumbnail|Title pageThe Advancement of Learning is a 1605 book by Francis Bacon.-Darwin:...

: "The King should take order for the collecting and perfecting of a Natural and Experimental History, true and severe (unencumbered with literature and book-learning), such as philosophy may be built upon, so that philosophy and the sciences may no longer float in air, but rest on the solid foundation of experience of every kind."

While Bacon was a strong advocate for state involvement in scientific inquiry, he also felt that his general method should be applied directly to the functioning of the state as well. For Bacon, matters of policy were inseparable from philosophy and science. Bacon recognised the repetitive nature of history, and sought to correct it by making the future direction of government more rational. In order to make future civil history more linear and achieve real progress, he felt that methods of the past and experiences of the present should be examined together in order to determine the best ways by which to go about civil discourse. Bacon began one particular address to the house of Commons with a reference to the book of Jeremiah: "Stand in the ancient ways, but look also into present experience in order to see whether in the light of this experience ancient ways are right. If they are found to be so, walk in them." In short, he wanted his method of progress building on progress in natural philosophy to be integrated into England's political theory.

Bacon's works include his Essays
Essays (Francis Bacon)
Essayes: Religious Meditations. Places of Perswasion and Disswasion. Seene and Allowed was the first published book by the philosopher, statesman and jurist Francis Bacon. The Essays are written in a wide range of styles, from the plain and unadorned to the epigrammatic...

, as well as the Colours of Good and Evil and the Meditationes Sacrae, all published in 1597. (His famous aphorism
Aphorism
An aphorism is an original thought, spoken or written in a laconic and memorable form.The term was first used in the Aphorisms of Hippocrates...

, "knowledge is power
Knowledge is Power
The phrase scientia potentia est is a Latin maxim often claimed to mean "knowledge is power". It is commonly attributed to Sir Francis Bacon; however, there is no known occurrence of this precise phrase in Bacon's English or Latin writings. However, this phrase does appear in Thomas Hobbes' 1658...

", is found in the Meditations.) He published Of the Proficience and Advancement of Learning, Divine and Human in 1605. Bacon also wrote In felicem memoriam Elizabethae, a eulogy for the queen written in 1609; and various philosophical works which constitute the fragmentary and incomplete Instauratio magna (Great Renewal), the most important part of which is the Novum Organum
Novum Organum
The Novum Organum, full original title Novum Organum Scientiarum, is a philosophical work by Francis Bacon, written in Latin and published in 1620. The title translates as new instrument, i.e. new instrument of science. This is a reference to Aristotle's work Organon, which was his treatise on...

(New Instrument, published 1620); in this work he cites three world-changing inventions:


"Printing
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

, gunpowder
History of gunpowder
Gunpowder was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the invention of nitrocellulose, nitroglycerin, smokeless powder and TNT in the second half of the 19th century...

 and the compass
Compass
A compass is a navigational instrument that shows directions in a frame of reference that is stationary relative to the surface of the earth. The frame of reference defines the four cardinal directions – north, south, east, and west. Intermediate directions are also defined...

: These three have changed the whole face and state of things throughout the world; the first in literature, the second in warfare, the third in navigation; whence have followed innumerable changes, in so much that no empire, no sect, no star seems to have exerted greater power and influence in human affairs than these mechanical discoveries."


Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker have argued that Bacon was not as idealistic as his utopian works suggest, rather that he was what might today be considered an advocate of genocidal eugenics. A year prior to the release of New Atlantis
New Atlantis
New Atlantis and similar can mean:*New Atlantis, a novel by Sir Francis Bacon*The New Atlantis, founded in 2003, a journal about the social and political dimensions of science and technology...

, Bacon published an essay that reveals a version of himself not often seen in history. This essay, a lesser-known work entitled, An Advertisement Touching a Holy War, advocated the elimination of detrimental societal elements by the English and compared this to the endeavours of Hercules while establishing civilised society in ancient Greece. He saw the "extirpation and debellating of giants, monsters, and foreign tyrants, not only as lawful, but as meritorious, even divine honour..."

Laurence Lampert has interpreted Bacon's treatise An Advertisement Touching a Holy War as advocating "spiritual warfare against the spiritual rulers of European civilisation."

Bacon's Utopia


In 1623, Bacon expressed his aspirations and ideals in New Atlantis. Released in 1627, this was his creation of an ideal land where "generosity and enlightenment, dignity and splendor, piety and public spirit" were the commonly held qualities of the inhabitants of Bensalem. In this work, he portrayed a vision of the future of human discovery and knowledge. The plan and organisation of his ideal college, "Salomon's House
Salomon's House
Salomon's House is a fictional institution in Sir Francis Bacon's utopian work New Atlantis, published in 1627, the year after Bacon's death. In this work, he portrayed a vision of the future of human discovery and knowledge...

", envisioned the modern research university in both applied and pure science.
There has been much speculation as to whether a real island society inspired Bacon's utopia. Scholars have suggested numerous countries, from Iceland to Japan; Dr. Nick Lambert highlighted the latter in The View Beyond.

Baconian method


The Novum Organum
Novum Organum
The Novum Organum, full original title Novum Organum Scientiarum, is a philosophical work by Francis Bacon, written in Latin and published in 1620. The title translates as new instrument, i.e. new instrument of science. This is a reference to Aristotle's work Organon, which was his treatise on...

is a philosophical work by Francis Bacon published in 1620. The title is a reference to Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

's work Organon
Organon
The Organon is the name given by Aristotle's followers, the Peripatetics, to the standard collection of his six works on logic:* Categories* On Interpretation* Prior Analytics* Posterior Analytics...

, which was his treatise on logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

 and syllogism. In Novum Organum, Bacon detailed a new system of logic he believed to be superior to the old ways of syllogism
Syllogism
A syllogism is a kind of logical argument in which one proposition is inferred from two or more others of a certain form...

. In this work, we see the development of the Baconian method, consisting of procedures for isolating the formal cause of a phenomenon (heat, for example) through eliminative induction.

Influence


Bacon's ideas were influential in the 1630s and 1650s among scholars, in particular Sir Thomas Browne
Thomas Browne
Sir Thomas Browne was an English author of varied works which reveal his wide learning in diverse fields including medicine, religion, science and the esoteric....

, who in his encyclopaedia Pseudodoxia Epidemica
Pseudodoxia Epidemica
Pseudodoxia Epidemica or Enquries into very many received tenets and commonly presumed truths, also known simply as Pseudodoxia Epidemica or Vulgar Errors, is a work by Thomas Browne refuting the common errors and superstitions of his age. It first appeared in 1646 and went through five subsequent...

 (1646–1672) frequently adheres to a Baconian approach to his scientific enquiries. During the Restoration
English Restoration
The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

, Bacon was commonly invoked as a guiding spirit of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 founded under Charles II in 1660. In the nineteenth century his emphasis on induction was revived and developed by William Whewell
William Whewell
William Whewell was an English polymath, scientist, Anglican priest, philosopher, theologian, and historian of science. He was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge.-Life and career:Whewell was born in Lancaster...

, among others.

North America


Some scholars believe that Bacon's vision for a Utopian New World in North America was laid out in his novel New Atlantis, which depicts a mythical island, Bensalem, located somewhere between Peru and Japan. He envisioned a land where there would be greater rights for women, the abolition of slavery
Abolitionism
Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

, elimination of debtors' prisons, separation of church and state
Separation of church and state
The concept of the separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state....

, and freedom of religious and political expression. Francis Bacon played a leading role in creating the British colonies, especially in Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, the Carolinas
The Carolinas
The Carolinas is a term used in the United States to refer collectively to the states of North and South Carolina. Together, the two states + have a population of 13,942,126. "Carolina" would be the fifth most populous state behind California, Texas, New York, and Florida...

, and Newfoundland
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

 in northeastern Canada. He has been connected to the mysterious Oak Island
Oak Island
Oak Island is a island in Lunenburg County on the south shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. The tree-covered island is one of about 360 small islands in Mahone Bay and rises to a maximum of 35 feet above sea level...

 buried treasure. His government report on “The Virginia Colony” was submitted in 1609. In 1610 Bacon and his associates received a charter from the king to form the Tresurer and the Companye of Adventurers and planter of the Cittye of london and Bristoll for the Collonye or plantacon in Newfoundland and sent John Guy to found a colony there. In 1910 Newfoundland issued a postage stamp to commemorate Bacon's role in establishing the province. The stamp describes Bacon as, "the guiding spirit in Colonization Schemes in 1610." Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, the third President of the United States wrote: "Bacon, Locke
John Locke
John Locke FRS , widely known as the Father of Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social...

 and Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

. I consider them as the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception, and as having laid the foundation of those superstructures which have been raised in the Physical and Moral sciences".

Bacon and Shakespeare


The Baconian theory of Shakespearean authorship, first proposed in the mid-19th century, contends that Sir Francis Bacon wrote the plays conventionally attributed to William Shakespeare, in opposition to the scholarly consensus that William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 of Stratford
Stratford-upon-Avon
Stratford-upon-Avon is a market town and civil parish in south Warwickshire, England. It lies on the River Avon, south east of Birmingham and south west of Warwick. It is the largest and most populous town of the District of Stratford-on-Avon, which uses the term "on" to indicate that it covers...

 was the author.

Occult theories



Francis Bacon often gathered with the men at Gray's Inn to discuss politics and philosophy, and to try out various theatrical scenes that he admitted writing. Bacon's alleged connection to the Rosicrucians and the Freemasons
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

 has been widely discussed by authors and scholars in many books. However others, including Daphne du Maurier
Daphne du Maurier
Dame Daphne du Maurier, Lady Browning DBE was a British author and playwright.Many of her works have been adapted into films, including the novels Rebecca and Jamaica Inn and the short stories "The Birds" and "Don't Look Now". The first three were directed by Alfred Hitchcock.Her elder sister was...

 (in her biography of Bacon), have argued there is no substantive evidence to support claims of involvement with the Rosicrucians. Frances Yates
Frances Yates
Dame Frances Amelia Yates DBE was a British historian. She taught at the Warburg Institute of the University of London for many years.She wrote extensively on the occult or Neoplatonic philosophies of the Renaissance...

 does not make the claim that Bacon was a Rosicrucian, but presents evidence that he was nevertheless involved in some of the more closed intellectual movements of his day. She argues that Bacon's movement for the advancement of learning was closely connected with the German Rosicrucian movement, while Bacon's New Atlantis portrays a land ruled by Rosicrucians. He apparently saw his own movement for the advancement of learning to be in conformity with Rosicrucian ideals.

Francis Bacon's influence can also be seen on a variety of religious and spiritual authors, and on groups that have utilised his writings in their own belief systems.

See also

  • Baconian method
    Baconian method
    The Baconian method is the investigative method developed by Sir Francis Bacon. The method was put forward in Bacon's book Novum Organum , or 'New Method', and was supposed to replace the methods put forward in Aristotle's Organon...

  • Scientific method
    Scientific method
    Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

  • Novum Organum Scientiarum
    Novum Organum
    The Novum Organum, full original title Novum Organum Scientiarum, is a philosophical work by Francis Bacon, written in Latin and published in 1620. The title translates as new instrument, i.e. new instrument of science. This is a reference to Aristotle's work Organon, which was his treatise on...

  • Pseudodoxia Epidemica
    Pseudodoxia Epidemica
    Pseudodoxia Epidemica or Enquries into very many received tenets and commonly presumed truths, also known simply as Pseudodoxia Epidemica or Vulgar Errors, is a work by Thomas Browne refuting the common errors and superstitions of his age. It first appeared in 1646 and went through five subsequent...

  • Francis Bacon School
    Francis Bacon School
    Francis Bacon School is a mixed-sex state school located in St Albans in South Hertfordshire. It is named after Sir Francis Bacon, a famous resident of St Albans. It is a specialist school in Maths and Computing. There are currently seven years of education, years 7 to 11 and the two years of the...

  • Cestui que (Defense and Comment on Chudleigh's Case)
  • New Atlantis
    New Atlantis
    New Atlantis and similar can mean:*New Atlantis, a novel by Sir Francis Bacon*The New Atlantis, founded in 2003, a journal about the social and political dimensions of science and technology...

  • Essays (Francis Bacon)
    Essays (Francis Bacon)
    Essayes: Religious Meditations. Places of Perswasion and Disswasion. Seene and Allowed was the first published book by the philosopher, statesman and jurist Francis Bacon. The Essays are written in a wide range of styles, from the plain and unadorned to the epigrammatic...

  • Bacon's cipher
    Bacon's cipher
    Bacon's cipher or the Baconian cipher is a method of steganography devised by Francis Bacon. A message is concealed in the presentation of text, rather than its content.-Cipher details:...


External links


  • Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Baconianism
  • http://www.fbrt.org.uk/frameset.htmlFrancis Bacon Research Trust – Studies of Bacon's connections to the Rosicrucian
    Rosicrucian
    Rosicrucianism is a philosophical secret society, said to have been founded in late medieval Germany by Christian Rosenkreuz. It holds a doctrine or theology "built on esoteric truths of the ancient past", which, "concealed from the average man, provide insight into nature, the physical universe...

    s, Freemasonry
    Freemasonry
    Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

    , Shakespeare]
  • The Twickenham Museum – Sir Francis Bacon
  • Contains a readable version of Bacon's New Organon
  • Works by/about Francis Bacon, from Internet Archive
    Internet Archive
    The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge". It offers permanent storage and access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images, and nearly 3 million public domain books. The Internet Archive...

    . Scanned, illustrated original editions.