Imagens das páginas
















1. Sheridan's Plays.

23. Idea! Commonwealths. 2. Plnys from Molière. By 24. Cavendish's Life of Wolsey. English Dramatists.

25 & 26. Don Quixote. 3. Marlowe's Faustus and Goethe's Faust.

27. Burlesque Plays and Poems. 4. Chronicle of the Cid.

28. Dante's Divine Comedy.

Longfellow's Translation. 5. Rabelais' Gargantua and the Heroic Deeds of Pantagruel.

29. Goldsmith's Vicar of Wake6. Machiavelli's Prince.

field, Plays, and Poems.

30. Fables and Proverbs from 7. Bacon's Essays.

the Sanskrit. (Hitopadesa.) 8. Defoe's Journal of the 31. Lamb's Essays of Elia. Plague Year.

32. The History of Thomas 9. Locke on Civil Government Ellwood. and Filmer's Patriarcha.

33. Emerson's Essays, &c. 10. Butler's Analogy of neligion.

34. Southey's Life of Nelson. 11. Dryden's Virgil.

35. De Quincey's Confessions 12. Scott's Demonology and

of an Opium-Eater, &c. Witchcraft. 13. Herrick's Hesperides.

36. Stories of Ireland. By Miss

EDGEWORTH. 14. Coleridge's Table-Talk.

37. Frere's Aristophanes: 15. Boccaccio's Decamer n.

Acharnians, Knights, Birds. 10. Sterne's Tristram Shandy. 38. Speeches and Letters by 17. Chapman's Homer's Iliad.

Edmund Burke. 18. Mediæval Tales.

39. Thomas à Kempis. 19. Voltaire's Candide, and 40. Popular Songs of Ireland. Johnson's Rasselas.

41. The Plays of Æschylus. 20. Jonson's Plays and Poems.

Potter's Translation. 21. Hobbes's Leviathan.

42. Goethe's Faust: Part II.

ANSTER's Translation. 22. Samuel Butler's Hudibras.

43. Famous Pamphlets. “Marvels of clear type and general neatness.”—Daily Telegraph.


FRANCIS BACON was born three years befcre Shakespeare, on the 22nd of January, 1561, and died ten years after Shakespeare, on the 9th of April, 1626. .Shakespeare's age when he died was 52, and Bacon's 65. The two men were the greatest births of their own time. One glanced “from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven” as a poet. The other taught men to look abroad into God's world, and by patient experiment to find their way from outward signs to knowledge of the inner working of those laws of Nature which are fixed energies appointed by the wisdom of the Creator as sources of all that we see and use. As the working of each law is discovered, Bacon would have the searcher next look for its applications to the well-being of man.

Sir William Cecil, afterwards Lord Burleigh, and Sir Nicholas Bacon, Queen Elizabeth's Lord Keeper, married two daughters of Sir Anthony Cooke. Anne Cooke was the second wife of Sir Nicholas, who had six children by a former marriage. His second wife had two sons, Anthony and Francis. Francis was thus the youngest in a family of eight, living sometimes in London, at York House, and sometimes at Gorhambury, near St. Albans. In April, 1573, Francis Bacon, twelve years old, entered, with his elder brother Antuony, as fellow-commoner, at Trinity College, Cambridge. He left Cambridge after about four years' study there.

At Cambridge he felt the fruitlessness of those teachings in philosophy which bade him get clear understanding by beating the bounds of his own brain.

This was a philosophy, he used to say, only strong for dispu. tations and contentions, but barren of the production of works' for the benefit of the life of man. The desire to turn philosophic thought into a more useful course became strong in him even then.

He was to be trained for the service of the State, and after leaving Cambridge, at sixteen, went in the suite of an ambassador to Paris. But wisie he was in France his father died, before he had made the provision he designed for his sons by the second marriage. Bacon then, at the age of eiyhteen, came to London to prepare for earning by the practice of the law. He became a barrister in June, 1582. He entered the House of Commons in November, 1584, as member for Melcombe Regis in Dorsetshire. He sat for Taunton in the Parliament that met in October, 1586, and was among those who petitioned for the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. He sat next for Liverpool, and in October, 1589, obtained by his Court inte. rest the reversion to the office of Clerk of the Council in the Star Chamber, which was of great money value ; but it did not become vacant for him until 1608. He was member for Middlesex in the Parliament that met in 1593, and piqued the Queen by raising constitutional objections to her manner

of asking a subsidy to meet the cost of providing against dangers from the Catholic Powers. Anthony and Francis Bacon were then both looking for patronage to the young Earl of Essex, who was six years younger than Francis, impetuous, generous, and in favour with the Queen. Bacon, thirtythree years old, sought advance in his profession to the office of AttorneyGeneral. The Queen gave it to Sir Edward Coke, who was already Solicitor-General, was nine years older than Bacon, and could not fairly have been set aside for one who was so much his junior at the bar. Suit was then made on Bacon's behalf for the office of Solicitor-General, but after months of delay it was given, in November, 1595, to another man. Bacon felt that the Queen was still offended by his action in the matter of the subsidy. Essex said that the refusal of his client was meant by the Queen as an insult to himself, and that Bacon must accept from him a piece of land as amends for the disappointment. So Bacon took the piece of land, since known as Twickenham Park; he sold it afterwards for eighteen hundred pounds. It was worth, therefore, about twelve thousand in modern value. In taking it, he said afterwards that he explicitly guarded himself against owing on account of it any service to his patron that might traverse his duty to his Queen. Essex entered into correspondence with James VI. of Scotland by cypher, through the agency of Anthony Bacon, in the matter of the succession to the throne ; and Francis Bacon could not have been ignorant of this.

In 1597, Bacon, wanting money, sought to marry the rich young widow of Sir William Hatton. She was married in November, 1598, to Sir Edward Coke. It was at this time, in 1597—in the 37th year of his lifethat Bacon published the first edition of his “ Essays.” It was a little book, containing only the ten Essays which will be found in the first section of the present volume. They deal only with man's relation to this world, but the volume did not exclude the religious side of life, for that was added in twelve more essays, “ Religious Meditations," written in Latin, on such subjects as “The Works of God and Man;" “ The Miracles of our Saviour ;''

Earthly Hope ;" “The Exaltation of Charity ;" "Atheism ;" “ Here. sies ;" “The Church of the Scriptures.” The ten English Essays, it will be observed, have a significant order. They begin with man alone, using his mind—“Of Study;" then comes relation to the minds and lives of others,—“Of Discourse;" “Of Ceremonies and Respects ;” “Of Followers and Friends ;" “ Of Suitors ;" then personal relation to the means of living—“Of Expense;" “ Of Regimen of Health ;” and then relation to the world at large and to affairs of State—“Of Honour and Reputation;" “ Of Faction;" Of Negotiating.” That is all. Upon each theme Bacon's conception of an essay was in accordance with the original meaning of the word, which makes it equivalent with “assay.” The same analytical method that, in dealing with outward Nature, would seek to resolve knowledge of all things into knowledge of their elements, for study of the principles upon which they can be recombined for the advance. ment of the general well-being, was in the Essays applied to observed conditions of the inner life of man. Bacon's philosophical writings and his Essays are two parts of the same whole; one dealing with the world outside us, and the other with the world within. i Bacon was at this time warning the Earl of Essex of a danger before him,





and applying counsels, civil and moral, to the particular case of his patron as remedy for “a cold and malignant humour growing upon Her Majesty towards your lordship.” There was a very shrewd analytical letter written to Essex in October, 1596. One recommendation was "that your lordship should never be without some particulars asoot, which you should seem to pursue with earnestness and affection, and then let them fall, upun taking knowledge of Her Majesty's opposition and dislike.” Among minor devices of this kind he suggested “the pretence of some journeys, which, at Her Majesty's request, your lordship might relinquish;

if you would pretend a journey to your living and estate towards Wales, or the like; for as for great foreign journeys of employment and service, it standeth not with your gravity to play or stratagem with them. And the lightest sort of particulars, which yet are not to be neglected, are in your habits, apparel, wearings, gestures, and the like.” In March, 1599, Essex left London as Lord Deputy of Ireland, meaning great things; and again he had received lessons of life in a letter from Bacon. In September he accepted an armistice and entertained conditions of peace from Tyrone, that might have been dictated by a conqueror. The Queen was displeased. Essex hurried back to her, Tyrone rebelled again, and Essex was replaced by a more vigorous Lord Deputy. In February, 1601, the rash counsels of Essex led him to an overt act of rebellion. He was then lodged in the Tower, and on trial for his life. Bacon, then Queen's Counsel, though engaged in the prosecution, was not officially called upon to speak, when twice, during the trial, he rose to show his zeal for the Crown by violence against the traitor. Once in that way he coupled Essex with Cain, another time he rose and said, “I have never yet seen in any case such favour shown to any prisoner; so many digressions, such delivering of evidence by fractions, and so silly a defence of such great and notorious treasons." On the 25th of February, 1601, Essex was beheaded within the Tower; and it was the keen intellect of Bacon that was employed afterwards by the Government in drawing up A Declaration of the Practices and Treasons attempted and committed by Robert, late Earl of Essex and his Complices.”. Bacon had thus experimented, prudently and honestly as lie believed, towards the full recovery of the Queen's favour. The Queen died on the 24th of March, 1603, but if she had lived Bacon's experiment would hardly have succeeded.

Bacon's Essays disclose to us counsels of life by a man of the rarest intellect, with weight of thought in every sentence. But in his own life Bacon proved himself wanting, just where he is found wanting in his Essays. Life is directed best by those who allow due influence to each of its elements in man-the will, the intellect and the emotions; and Bacon's failures both as actor in life and as interpreter of action may depend chiefly, as Dr. Kuno Fischer has suggested, upon undue predominance of the intellectual over the emotional part of a man's nature. Its imperfection in himself made it also less easy for him to understand its operation in the minds of others. Bacon was not, what no being upon earth can be, as Pope called liim, “the wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind ;” he never consciously said to himself, “evil, be thou my good.” Emotion being out of place in philosophical researches into Nature, Bacon's

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