Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban,[a] PC KC (/ˈbeɪkən/; 22
January 1561 – 9 April 1626) was an English philosopher,
statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, and author. He served both as
Attorney General and as
Lord Chancellor of England. After his death,
he remained extremely influential through his works, especially as
philosophical advocate and practitioner of the scientific method
during the scientific revolution.
Bacon has been called the father of empiricism. His works argued
for the possibility of scientific knowledge based only upon inductive
reasoning and careful observation of events in nature. Most
importantly, he argued this could be achieved by use of a sceptical
and methodical approach whereby scientists aim to avoid misleading
themselves. While his own practical ideas about such a method, the
Baconian method, did not have a long-lasting influence, the general
idea of the importance and possibility of a sceptical methodology
makes Bacon the father of scientific method. This marked a new turn in
the rhetorical and theoretical framework for science, the practical
details of which are still central in debates about science and
methodology today. In addition to his work in the sciences, Bacon was
also a venerable patron of libraries and developed a functional system
for the cataloging of books by dividing them into three categories-
history, poesy, and philosophy- which could further be divided into
more specific subjects and subheadings.
Bacon is the first recipient of the Queen's counsel designation and
was conferred in 1597 when Queen Elizabeth reserved Bacon as her legal
advisor. After the accession of King James I in 1603, Bacon was
knighted. He was later created
Baron Verulam in 1618 and Viscount
St. Alban in 1621.[b] Because he had no heirs, both titles became
extinct upon his death in 1626, at 65 years of age. Bacon died of
pneumonia, with one account by
John Aubrey stating that he had
contracted the condition while studying the effects of freezing on the
preservation of meat. He is buried at St Michael's Church, St Albans,
1.1 Early life
1.3 Final years of the Queen's reign
1.4 James I comes to the throne
Lord Chancellor and public disgrace
1.6 Personal life
1.6.1 Marriage to Alice Barnham
2 Philosophy and works
3.2 North America
4 Historical debates
4.1 Bacon and Shakespeare
4.2 Occult hypotheses
6 See also
9.1 Primary sources
9.2 Secondary sources
10 Further reading
11 External links
The young Francis Bacon. Inscription around his head reads: Si tabula
daretur digna animum mallem, Latin for "If one could but paint his
mind". National Portrait Gallery, London
Francis Bacon was born on 22 January 1561 at York House near the
Strand in London, the son of Sir Nicholas Bacon by his second wife,
Anne (Cooke) Bacon, the daughter of the noted humanist Anthony Cooke.
His mother's sister was married to William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley,
making Burghley Bacon's uncle.
Biographers believe that Bacon was educated at home in his early years
owing to poor health, which would plague him throughout his life. He
received tuition from John Walsall, a graduate of Oxford with a strong
leaning toward Puritanism. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge, on 5
April 1573 at the age of 12, living for three years there, together
with his older brother Anthony Bacon under the personal tutelage of Dr
John Whitgift, future Archbishop of Canterbury. Bacon's education was
conducted largely in Latin and followed the medieval curriculum. He
was also educated at the University of Poitiers. 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
His studies brought him to the belief that the methods and results of
science as then practised were erroneous. His reverence for Aristotle
conflicted with his rejection of Aristotelian philosophy, which seemed
to him barren, disputatious and wrong in its objectives.
Italianate York Water Gate – the entry to York House, built
about 1626, the year of Bacon's death
On 27 June 1576, he and Anthony entered de societate magistrorum at
Gray's Inn. A few months later, Francis went abroad with Sir Amias
Paulet, the English ambassador at Paris, while Anthony continued his
studies at home. The state of government and society in France under
Henry III afforded him valuable political instruction. For the
next three years he visited Blois, Poitiers, Tours, 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,
Burghley, and Leicester, 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, his income
being supplemented by a grant from his mother Lady Anne of the manor
of Marks near
Romford in Essex, which generated a rent of £46.
Francis Bacon's statue at Gray's Inn, South Square, London
Bacon stated that he had three goals: 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,
he applied for a post at court that might enable him to pursue a life
of learning, but his application failed. For two years he worked
quietly at Gray's Inn, until he was admitted as an outer barrister in
His parliamentary career began when he was elected MP for Bossiney,
Cornwall, in a by-election in 1581. In 1584 he took his seat in
parliament for Melcombe in Dorset, and in 1586 for Taunton. 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 that 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 Church to hear Walter
Travers. 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 the
Catholic 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 a
bencher in 1586 and 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 to the Clerkship of the Star
Chamber, although he did not formally take office until 1608; the post
was worth £1,600 a year.
In 1588 he became MP for Liverpool and then for
Middlesex in 1593. He
later sat three times for Ipswich (1597, 1601, 1604) and once for
Cambridge University (1614).
He became known as a liberal-minded reformer, eager to amend and
simplify the law. Though a friend of the crown, he opposed feudal
privileges and dictatorial powers. He spoke against religious
persecution. He struck at the House of Lords in its usurpation of the
Money Bills. He advocated for the union of England and Scotland, which
made him a significant influence toward the consolidation of the
United Kingdom; and he later would advocate for the integration of
Ireland into the Union. Closer constitutional ties, he believed, would
bring greater peace and strength to these countries.
Final years of the Queen's reign
Bacon soon became acquainted with Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex,
Queen Elizabeth's favourite. By 1591 he acted as the earl's
In 1592 he was commissioned to write a tract in response to the Jesuit
Robert Parson's anti-government polemic, which he titled Certain
observations made upon a libel, identifying England with the ideals of
democratic Athens against the belligerence of Spain.
Bacon took his third parliamentary seat for
Middlesex 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 the Queen: opponents accused
him of seeking popularity, and for a time the Court excluded him from
Memorial to Francis Bacon, in the chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge
When the office of Attorney General fell vacant in 1594, Lord Essex's
influence was not enough to secure the position for Bacon and it was
given to Sir Edward Coke. Likewise, Bacon failed to secure the lesser
office of Solicitor General in 1595, the Queen pointedly snubbing him
by appointing Sir Thomas Fleming instead. To console him for these
disappointments, Essex presented him with a property at Twickenham,
which Bacon subsequently sold for £1,800.
In 1597 Bacon became the first
Queen's Counsel designate, when Queen
Elizabeth reserved him as her legal counsel. In 1597, he was also
given a patent, giving him precedence at the Bar. Despite his
designations, he was unable to gain the status and notoriety of
others. In a plan to revive his position he unsuccessfully courted the
wealthy and young widow Lady Elizabeth Hatton. His courtship
failed after she broke off their relationship upon accepting marriage
to Sir Edward Coke, a further spark of enmity between the men. In
1598 Bacon was arrested for debt. Afterward, however, his standing in
the Queen's eyes improved. Gradually, Bacon earned the standing of one
of the learned counsels. His relationship with the Queen further
improved when he severed ties with Essex—a shrewd move, as Essex
would be executed for treason in 1601.
With others, Bacon was appointed to investigate the charges against
Essex. 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 the Attorney General Sir
Edward Coke 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.
According to his personal secretary and chaplain, William Rawley, as a
judge Bacon was always tender-hearted, "looking upon the examples with
the eye of severity, but upon the person with the eye of pity and
compassion". And also that "he was free from malice", "no revenger of
injuries", and "no defamer of any man".
James I comes to the throne
The succession of James I brought Bacon into greater favour. He was
knighted in 1603. In another shrewd move, Bacon wrote his Apologies 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. 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.
Despite a generous income, old debts still could not be paid. He
sought further promotion and wealth by supporting King James and his
Sir Francis Bacon, c. 1618
In 1610 the fourth session of James's first parliament 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, after advising
the king to shuffle judicial appointments. As attorney general, Bacon,
by his zealous efforts—which included torture—to obtain the
conviction of Edmund Peacham for treason, raised legal controversies
of high constitutional importance; and successfully prosecuted
Robert Carr, 1st Earl of Somerset, and his wife, Frances Howard,
Countess of Somerset, for murder 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 that 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 temporary Regent of England
(for a period of a month), and in 1618 as Lord Chancellor. On 12 July
1618 the king created Bacon Baron Verulam, of Verulam, in the Peerage
of England; he then became known as 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 in the same peerage, as Viscount St Alban, on 27 January
Lord Chancellor and public disgrace
Francis Bacon and the members of the Parliament on the day of his
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 23 separate counts of corruption. His lifelong enemy,
Sir Edward Coke, who had instigated these accusations, was one of
those appointed to prepare the charges against the chancellor. 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 at 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. He even had an interview with
King James in which he assured:
The law of nature teaches me to speak in my own defence: With respect
to this charge of bribery I am as innocent as any man born on St.
Innocents Day. I never had a bribe or reward in my eye or thought when
pronouncing judgment or order... I am ready to make an oblation of
myself to the King
— 17 April 1621
He also wrote the following to Buckingham:
My mind is calm, for my fortune is not my felicity. I know I have
clean hands and a clean heart, and I hope a clean house for friends or
servants; but Job himself, or whoever was the justest judge, by such
hunting for matters against him as hath been used against me, may for
a time seem foul, especially in a time when greatness is the mark and
accusation is the game.
The true reason for his acknowledgement of guilt is the subject of
debate, but some authors speculate that it may have been prompted by
his sickness, 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
The British jurist
Basil Montagu wrote in Bacon's defence, concerning
the episode of his public disgrace:
Bacon has been accused of servility, of dissimulation, of various base
motives, and their filthy brood of base actions, all unworthy of his
high birth, and incompatible with his great wisdom, and the estimation
in which he was held by the noblest spirits of the age. It is true
that there were men in his own time, and will be men in all times, who
are better pleased to count spots in the sun than to rejoice in its
glorious brightness. Such men have openly libelled him, like Dewes and
Weldon, whose falsehoods were detected as soon as uttered, or have
fastened upon certain ceremonious compliments and dedications, the
fashion of his day, as a sample of his servility, passing over his
noble letters to the Queen, his lofty contempt for the Lord Keeper
Puckering, his open dealing with Sir Robert Cecil, and with others,
who, powerful when he was nothing, might have blighted his opening
fortunes for ever, forgetting his advocacy of the rights of the people
in the face of the court, and the true and honest counsels, always
given by him, in times of great difficulty, both to Elizabeth and her
successor. When was a "base sycophant" loved and honoured by piety
such as that of Herbert, Tennison, and Rawley, by noble spirits like
Hobbes, Ben Jonson, and Selden, or followed to the grave, and beyond
it, with devoted affection such as that of Sir Thomas Meautys.
Marriage to Alice Barnham
When he was 36, Bacon courted Elizabeth Hatton, a young widow of 20.
Reportedly, she broke off their relationship upon accepting marriage
to a wealthier man, Bacon's rival, Sir Edward Coke. Years later, Bacon
still wrote of his regret that the marriage to Hatton had not taken
At the age of 45, Bacon married Alice Barnham, the 14-year-old
daughter of a well-connected
London alderman 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. Bacon's
personal secretary and chaplain, William Rawley, wrote in his
biography of Bacon that his marriage was one of "much conjugal love
and respect", mentioning a robe of honour that he gave to Alice and
which "she wore unto her dying day, being twenty years and more after
Engraving of Alice Barnham
However, an increasing number of reports circulated about friction in
the marriage, with speculation that this may have been due to Alice's
making do with less money than she had once been accustomed to. It was
said that she was strongly interested in fame and fortune, and when
household finances dwindled, she complained bitterly. Bunten wrote in
her Life of Alice Barnham that, upon their descent into debt, she
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 Sir John Underhill. He subsequently rewrote
his will, which had previously been very generous—leaving her lands,
goods, and income—and instead revoked it all.
Several authors believe that despite his marriage Bacon was
primarily attracted to the same sex. Forker, for example, has
explored the "historically documentable sexual preferences" of King
James and Bacon and concluded they were both orientated 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 well-connected antiquary
John Aubrey noted in his
Brief Lives concerning Bacon, "He was a Pederast. His Ganimeds and
Favourites tooke Bribes". The Jacobean antiquarian, Sir Simonds
D'Ewes implied there had been a question of bringing him to trial for
buggery, which his brother Anthony Bacon had also been charged
This conclusion has been disputed by others, who
point to lack of consistent evidence, and consider the sources to be
more open to interpretation. Publicly, Bacon distanced himself from
homosexuality. In his New Atlantis, Bacon describes his utopian island
as being "the chastest nation under heaven", in which there was no
prostitution or adultery, and further saying that "as for masculine
love, they have no touch of it".
Monument to Bacon at his burial place, St Michael's Church in St
On 9 April 1626,
Francis Bacon died of pneumonia while at Arundel
Highgate outside London. An influential account of the
circumstances of his death was given by John Aubrey's Brief Lives.
Aubrey's vivid account, which portrays Bacon as a martyr to
experimental scientific method, had him journeying to
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. 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." Aubrey has been criticised for his evident
credulousness in this and other works; on the other hand, he knew
Thomas Hobbes, Bacon's fellow-philosopher and friend.
Being unwittingly on his deathbed, the philosopher wrote his last
letter to his absent host and friend Lord Arundel:
My very good Lord,—I was likely to have had the fortune of Caius
Plinius the elder, who lost his life by trying an experiment about the
burning of Mount Vesuvius; for I was also desirous to try an
experiment or two touching the conservation and induration of bodies.
As for the experiment itself, it succeeded excellently well; but in
the journey between
London and Highgate, I was taken with such a fit
of casting as I know not whether it were the Stone, or some surfeit or
cold, or indeed a touch of them all three. But when I came to your
Lordship's House, I was not able to go back, and therefore was forced
to take up my lodging here, where your housekeeper is very careful and
diligent about me, which I assure myself your Lordship will not only
pardon towards him, but think the better of him for it. For indeed
your Lordship's House was happy to me, and I kiss your noble hands for
the welcome which I am sure you give me to it. I know how unfit it is
for me to write with any other hand than mine own, but by my troth my
fingers are so disjointed with sickness that I cannot steadily hold a
Another account appears in a biography by William Rawley, Bacon's
personal secretary and chaplain:
He died on the ninth day of April in the year 1626, in the early
morning of the day then celebrated for our Saviour's resurrection, in
the sixty-sixth year of his age, at the Earl of Arundel's house in
Highgate, near London, to which place he casually repaired about a
week before; God so ordaining that he should die there of a gentle
fever, accidentally accompanied with a great cold, whereby the
defluxion of rheum fell so plentifully upon his breast, that he died
He was buried in St Michaels church in St Albans. At the news of his
death, over 30 great minds collected together their eulogies of him,
which were 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
Philosophy and works
Main article: Works by Francis Bacon
Bacon, Sylva sylvarum
Francis Bacon's philosophy is displayed in the vast and varied
writings he left, which might be divided into three great branches:
Scientific works – in which his ideas for a universal reform of
knowledge into scientific methodology and the improvement of mankind's
state using the
Scientific method are presented.
Religious and literary works – in which he presents his moral
philosophy and theological meditations.
Juridical works – in which his reforms in English Law are proposed.
Frontispiece to 'The History of Royal-Society of London', picturing
Bacon (in the right) among the founding influences of the Society.
National Portrait Gallery, London
Bacon's seminal work
Novum Organum was influential in the 1630s and
1650s among scholars, in particular Sir Thomas Browne, who in his
Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1646–72) frequently adheres to
a Baconian approach to his scientific enquiries. This book entails the
basis of the Scientific Method as a means of observation and
induction. During the Restoration, Bacon was commonly invoked as a
guiding spirit of the
Royal Society founded under Charles II in
1660. During the 18th-century French Enlightenment, Bacon's
non-metaphysical approach to science became more influential than the
dualism of his French contemporary Descartes, and was associated with
criticism of the ancien regime. In 1733
Voltaire introduced him to a
French audience as the "father" of the scientific method, an
understanding which had become widespread by the 1750s. In the
19th century his emphasis on induction was revived and developed by
William Whewell, among others. He has been reputed as the "Father of
He also wrote a long treatise on Medicine, History of Life and
Death, with natural and experimental observations for the
prolongation of life.
One of his biographers, the historian William Hepworth Dixon, states:
"Bacon's influence in the modern world is so great that every man who
rides in a train, sends a telegram, follows a steam plough, sits in an
easy chair, crosses the channel or the Atlantic, eats a good dinner,
enjoys a beautiful garden, or undergoes a painless surgical operation,
owes him something."
Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Hugo von Hofmannsthal published a fictional letter addressed
to Bacon and dated 1603, about a writer who is experiencing a crisis
of language. Known as The Lord Chandos Letter, it has been proposed
that Bacon was identified as its recipient as having laid the
foundation for the work of scientists such as Ernst Mach, notable both
for his academic distinction in the history and philosophy of the
inductive sciences, and for his own contributions to physics.
A Newfoundland stamp, which reads "Lord Bacon – the guiding spirit
in colonization scheme"
Bacon played a leading role in establishing the British colonies in
North America, especially in Virginia, the Carolinas and Newfoundland
in northeastern Canada. His government report on "The
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. Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United
States, wrote: "Bacon, Locke and Newton. 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".
In 1910 Newfoundland issued a postage stamp to commemorate Bacon's
role in establishing the colony. The stamp describes Bacon as "the
guiding spirit in Colonization Schemes in 1610". Moreover, some
scholars believe he was largely responsible for the drafting, in 1609
and 1612, of two charters of government for the
William Hepworth Dixon
William Hepworth Dixon considered that Bacon's name could be included
in the list of Founders of the United States.
Although few of his proposals for law reform were adopted during his
lifetime, Bacon's legal legacy was considered by the magazine New
Scientist in 1961 as having influenced the drafting of the Napoleonic
Code as well as the law reforms introduced by 19th-century British
Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel. The historian William Hepworth
Dixon referred to the
Napoleonic Code as "the sole embodiment of
Bacon's thought", saying that Bacon's legal work "has had more success
abroad than it has found at home", and that in France "it has
blossomed and come into fruit".
Harvey Wheeler attributed to Bacon, in Francis Bacon's
Verulamium—the Common Law
Template of The Modern in English Science
and Culture, the creation of these distinguishing features of the
modern common law system:
using cases as repositories of evidence about the "unwritten law";
determining the relevance of precedents by exclusionary principles of
evidence and logic;
treating opposing legal briefs as adversarial hypotheses about the
application of the "unwritten law" to a new set of facts.
Francis Bacon in the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
As late as the 18th century some juries still declared the law rather
than the facts, but already before the end of the 17th century Sir
Matthew Hale explained modern common law adjudication procedure and
acknowledged Bacon as the inventor of the process of discovering
unwritten laws from the evidences of their applications. The method
combined empiricism and inductivism in a new way that was to imprint
its signature on many of the distinctive features of modern English
Paul H. Kocher writes that Bacon is considered by some
jurists to be the father of modern Jurisprudence.
Bacon is commemorated with a statue in Gray's Inn, South Square in
London where he received his legal training, and where he was elected
Treasurer of the Inn in 1608. James McClellan, a political
scientist from the University of Virginia, considered Bacon to have
had "a great following" in the American colonies.
More recent scholarship on Bacon's jurisprudence has focused on his
advocating torture as a legal recourse for the crown. Bacon
himself was not a stranger to the torture chamber: in his various
legal capacities in both Elizabeth I's and James I's reigns, Bacon was
listed as a commissioner on five torture warrants. In 1613(?), in a
letter addressed to King James I on the question of torture's place
within English law, Bacon identifies the scope of torture as a means
to further the investigation of threats to the state: "In the cases of
treasons, torture is used for discovery, and not for evidence."
For Bacon, torture was not a punitive measure, an intended form of
state repression, but instead offered a modus operandi for the
government agent tasked with uncovering acts of treason.
Bacon and Shakespeare
Baconian theory and Bacon's cipher
The Baconian hypothesis of Shakespearean authorship, first proposed in
the mid-19th century, contends that
Francis Bacon wrote some or even
all of the plays conventionally attributed to William Shakespeare.
Main article: Occult theories about Francis Bacon
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 has been widely discussed by authors
and scholars in many books. However, others, including Daphne du
Maurier in her biography of Bacon, have argued that there is no
substantive evidence to support claims of involvement with the
Rosicrucians. Frances Yates 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.
An old volume of
Francis Bacon and a rose
The link between Bacon's work and the Rosicrucians ideals which Yates
allegedly found was the conformity of the purposes expressed by the
Rosicrucian Manifestos and Bacon's plan of a "Great Instauration",
for the two were calling for a reformation of both "divine and human
understanding",[c] as well as both had in view the purpose of
mankind's return to the "state before the Fall".[d][e]
Another major link is said to be the resemblance between Bacon's New
Atlantis and the German Rosicrucian Johann Valentin Andreae's
Description of the Republic of Christianopolis (1619). Andreae
describes a utopic island in which Christian theosophy and applied
science ruled, and in which the spiritual fulfilment and intellectual
activity constituted the primary goals of each individual, the
scientific pursuits being the highest intellectual calling—linked to
the achievement of spiritual perfection. Andreae's island also depicts
a great advancement in technology, with many industries separated in
different zones which supplied the population's needs—which shows
great resemblance to Bacon's scientific methods and purposes.
The Rosicrucian organisation AMORC claims that Bacon was the
"Imperator" (leader) of the Rosicrucian Order in both England and the
European continent, and would have directed it during his
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.
Francis Bacon bibliography
Some of the more notable works by Bacon are:
Essays (1st edition 1597)
The Advancement and Proficience of Learning Divine and Human (1605)
Essays (2nd edition – 38 essays, 1612)
Novum Organum Scientiarum ('New Method', 1620)
Essays, or Counsels Civil and Moral (3rd/final edition – 58 essays,
New Atlantis (1627)
Cestui que (defence and comment on Chudleigh's Case)
Romanticism and Bacon
^ There is some confusion over the spelling of "Viscount St. Alban".
Some sources, such as the
Dictionary of National Biography
Dictionary of National Biography (1885) and
the 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, spell the title with
"St. Albans"; others, such as the 2007 Oxford Dictionary of
National Biography and the 9th edition of the Encyclopaedia
Britannica, spell it "St. Alban".
^ Contemporary spelling, used by Bacon himself in his letter of thanks
to the king for his elevation.Birch, Thomas (1763). Letters, Speeches,
Charges, Advices, &c of
Lord Chancellor Bacon. 6. London: Andrew
Millar. pp. 271–2. OCLC 228676038.
^ "Howbeit we know after a time there wil now be a general
reformation, both of divine and humane things, according to our
desire, and the expectation of others: for it's fitting, that before
the rising of the Sun, there should appear and break forth Aurora, or
some clearness, or divine light in the sky" – Fama Fraternitatis
^ "Like good and faithful guardians, we may yield up their fortune to
mankind upon the emancipation and majority of their understanding,
from which must necessarily follow an improvement of their estate
[...]. For man, by the fall, fell at the same time from his state of
innocency and from his dominion over creation. Both of these losses
however can even in this life be in some part repaired; the former by
religion and faith, the latter by arts and sciences. – Francis
Bacon, Novum Organum
^ "We ought therefore here to observe well, and make it known unto
everyone, that God hath certainly and most assuredly concluded to send
and grant to the whole world before her end ... such a truth, light,
life, and glory, as the first man Adam had, which he lost in Paradise,
after which his successors were put and driven, with him, to misery.
Wherefore there shall cease all servitude, falsehood, lies, and
darkness, which by little and little, with the great world's
revolution, was crept into all arts, works, and governments of men,
and have darkened most part of them". – Confessio Fraternitatis
^ Fowler (1885), p. 346.
^ Adamson & Mitchell 1911, p. 135.
^ a b c d e f Peltonen (2007).
^ a b Adamson (1878), p. 200.
^ "Bacon" entry in Collins English Dictionary.
^ "Empiricism: The influence of Francis Bacon, John Locke, and David
Hume". Sweet Briar College. Archived from the original on 2013-07-08.
Retrieved 21 October 2013.
^ Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000
Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Locations 2105-2106). McFarland
& Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition.
^ "Sir Francis Bacon's Journals". p. 191. universe, 2007
^ "Bacon, Francis (BCN573F)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University
^ Collins, Arthur (1741). The English Baronetage: Containing a
Genealogical and Historical Account of All the English Baronets, Now
Existing: Their Descents, Marriages, and Issues; Memorable Actions,
Both in War, and Peace; Religious and Charitable Donations; Deaths,
Places of Burial and Monumental Inscriptions [sic]. Printed for Tho.
Wotton at the Three Daggers and Queen's Head. p. 5.
^ a b c d e f Adamson & Mitchell 1911, p. 136.
^ a b
Stephen Gaukroger (2001). "
Francis Bacon and the Transformation
of Early-Modern Philosophy". p. 46. Cambridge University Press
^ Spall, JEH (1971). "Francis Bacon's connections with Marks Manor
Romford Record. Romford:
Romford and District Historical
Society. No. 4: 32–37.
^ Ellis, Robert. P. (27 April 2015). Francis Bacon: The Double-Edged
Life of the
Philosopher and Statesman. McFarland. p. 28.
^ "History of Parliament". Retrieved 2 October 2011.
^ Spedding, James (1861). "The letters and life of Francis
^ "Sir Francis Bacon's Letters, Tracts and Speech relating to
Ireland". Archived from the original on 2011-08-07.
^ a b Paul E. J. Hammer (1999). "The Polarisation of Elizabethan
Politics: The Political Career of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex,
1585–1597". p. 141. Cambridge University Press
^ Gustav Ungerer (1974). "A Spaniard in Elizabethan England: The
Correspondence of Antonio Pérez's Exile, Volume 1". p. 207. Tamesis
^ Weir, Alison Elizabeth the Queen Pimlico 1999 p.414
^ Bunten, Alice Chambers.
Twickenham Park and Old Richmond Palace and
Francis Bacon: Lord Verulam's Connection with The, 1580–1608. R.
Banks. p. 19.
^ Holdsworth, W.S. (1938). History of English Law. 1938 vi 473–4.
pp. vi 473–4.
^ Patent Rolls, 2 Jac I p 12 m 10.
^ Longueville, Thomas (1909). The Curious Case of Lady Purbeck; A
Scandal of the XVIIth Century. London: Longmans, Green and Co.
^ Aughterson, Kate. "Hatton, Elizabeth, Lady Hatton [nee Lady
Elizabeth Cecil] (1578-1646)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
– via Oxford University Press.
^ Adamson & Mitchell 1911, p. 137.
^ Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. 1
May 2008. p. 636.
^ a b c Nieves Matthews, Francis Bacon: The History of a Character
Assassination (Yale University Press, 1996)
^ Adamson & Mitchell 1911, p. 138.
^ Matthews (1996: 56–57)
^ a b Rawley, William (1670). The Life of the Right Honorable Francis
Bacon Baron of Verulam, Viscount ST. Alban. London: Thomas Johns,
^ Adamson & Mitchell 1911, p. 139.
^ Lee, Sidney (1895). "Peachem, Edmond". The Dictionary of National
Biography. 44. Smith, Elder & Co.
^ Ousby, Ian (1996), The Cambridge Paperback Guide to Literature in
English, Cambridge University Press, p. 22.
^ Zagorin, Perez (1999), Francis Bacon, Princeton University Press,
^ Parris, Matthew; Maguire, Kevin (2004). "Francis Bacon—1621".
Great Parliamentary Scandals. London: Chrysalis. pp. 8–9.
^ a b Zagorin, Perez (1999). Francis Bacon. Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press. pp. 22–23. ISBN 978-0-691-00966-7.
^ Campbell, John; Baron Campbell (1818), J. Murray. "The Lives of the
Lord Chancellors and Keepers of the Great Seal of England"
^ Fowler 1885, p. 347.
^ A. L. Rowse, quoted in Parris; Maguire (2004: 8): "a charge of
sodomy was... to be brought against the sixty-year-old Lord
^ Montagu, Basil (1837). Essays and Selections. pp. 325, 326.
^ a b Alfred Dodd, Francis Bacon's Personal Life Story', Volume 2 –
The Age of James, England: Rider & Co., 1949, 1986. pages
157–158, 425, 502–503, 518–532
^ Alice Chambers Bunten, Life of Alice Barnham, Wife of Sir Francis
Bacon, London: Oliphants Ltd. 1928.
^ A. L. Rowse, Homosexuals in History, New York: Carroll & Garf,
1977. page 44
^ Jardine, Lisa; Stewart, Alan Hostage To Fortune: The Troubled Life
Francis Bacon Hill & Wang, 1999. page 148
^ Charles R. Forker, "'Masculine Love', Renaissance Writing, and the
'New Invention' of Homosexuality: An Addendum" in the Journal of
Homosexuality (1996), Indiana University
^ Journal of Homosexuality, Volume: 31 Issue: 3, 1996, pages 85–93,
^ Oliver Lawson Dick, ed. Aubrey's Brief Lives. Edited from the
Original Manuscripts, 1949, s.v. "Francis Bacon, Viscount of St.
Albans" p. 11.
^ Fulton Anderson, Francis Bacon: His career and his thought, Los
^ du Maurier, Daphne (1975). Golden Lads: A Study of Anthony Bacon,
Francis and Their Friends. London: Gollancz.
^ Ross Jackson, The Companion to Shaker of the Speare: The Francis
Bacon Story, England: Book Guild Publishing, 2005. pp. 45–46
^ a b Bryan Bevan, The Real Francis Bacon, England: Centaur Press,
^ Helen Veale, Son of England, India: Indo Polish Library, 1950
^ Peter Dawkins, Dedication to the Light, England: Francis Bacon
Research Trust, 1984
^ Bacon, Francis. The New Atlantis. 1627
^ a b The Broadview Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Prose. Broadview
Press. 21 Mar 2001. p. 18.
^ Bowen, Catherine (1 January 1993). Francis Bacon: The Temper of a
Man. Fordham University Press. p. 225.
^ Bacon, Francis (1825–34). Montagu, Basil, ed. The Works of Francis
Lord Chancellor of England (new ed.). London.
^ Rawley, William (Bacon's personal secretary and chaplain) (1657),
Resuscitatio, or, Bringing into Publick Light Several Pieces of the
Works, Civil, Historical, Philosophical, & Theological, Hitherto
Sleeping; of the Right Honourable Francis Bacon. ...Together with his
Lordship's Life, Francis Bacon, the glory of his age and nation, the
adorner and ornament of learning, was born in York House, or York
Place, in the Strand, on the two and twentieth day of January, in the
year of our Lord 1560.
^ Gundry, W. G. C. (ed.), Manes Verulamani This important volume
consists of 32 eulogies originally published in Latin shortly after
Bacon's funeral in 1626. Bacon's peers refer to him as "a supreme
poet" and "a concealed poet", and also link him with the theatre.
^ a b Lovejoy, Benjamin (1888). Francis Bacon: A Critical Review.
London: Unwin. p. 171. OCLC 79886184.
^ Officer, Lawrence; Williamson, Samuel. "Purchasing Power of British
Pounds from 1264 to Present". Measuring Worth. Retrieved 18 October
^ Martin, Julian (1992). Francis Bacon: The State and the Reform of
Natural Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
ISBN 9780521382496. [page needed]
^ Steel, Byron (1930). "Sir Francis Bacon: The First Modern Mind".
Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran & Co.
^ Hundert, EJ. (1987), "Enlightenment and the decay of common sense."
In: Frits van Holthoon & David R. Olson (Eds.), Common Sense: The
Foundations for Social
Science (pp. 133–154). Lanham, MD: University
Press of America. p. 136.
^ Urbach, Peter (1987). Francis Bacon's Philosophy of Science: An
Account and a Reappraisal. La Salle, Ill.: Open Court Publishing Co.
ISBN 9780912050447. p. 192. "Bacon's celebrity as a
philosopher of science has sunk since the seventeenth and early
eighteenth centuries, when he earned the title of 'Father of
^ Bacon, Francis (1 June 2003). History of Life and Death.
^ Hepworth Dixon, William (1862). "The story of Lord Bacon's Life"
^ Kovach, Thomas A. (ed.) A Companion to the Works of Hofmannsthal,
Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2002, 89. Cites Jacques Le Rider,
Modernity and crises of identity: culture and society in
fin-de-siècle Vienna (trans. Rosemary Morris. Continuum, 1993
ISBN 0 8264 0631 9)
^ "Lab" (law). 4. NF, CA: Heritage. 1701. Archived from the original
on 21 October 2013.
^ Bacon, Locke, and Newton. "The Letters of Thomas Jefferson:
1743–1826". Netherlands: RUG. Retrieved 13 June 2009. Bacon, Locke
and Newton, whose pictures I will trouble you to have copied for me:
and as 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 & Moral
sciences CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
^ "FB life" (essay). UK: FBRT. Archived from the original on 31
^ Hepworth Dixon, William (1 February 2003). Personal History of Lord
Bacon from Unpublished Papers. p. 200.
^ Crowther, J. G. (19 January 1961). "Article about Francis Bacon".
^ Hepworth Dixon, William (1861). Personal history of Lord Bacon: From
unpublished papers. p. 35.
^ Wheeler, Harvey. Francis Bacon's 'Verulamium': the Common Law
Template of The Modern in English
Science and Culture
^ Kocher, Paul (1957). "
Francis Bacon and the
Jurisprudence". Journal of the History of Ideas. Philadelphia, PA:
University of Pennsylvania Press. 8: 3–26.
^ "Sir Francis Bacon". GraysInn.org. Retrieved 21 August 2015
^ McClellan, James (1989). "The Common Law Tradition—Liberty, Order,
and Justice: an Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of
American Government". Liberty fund.
^ Hanson, Elizabeth (Spring 1991). "Torture and Truth in Renaissance
England". Representations. 34: 53–84.
^ Langbein, John H. (1976). Torture and the Law of Proof. The
University of Chicago Press. p. 90.
^ Dobson, Michael (29 November 2001). The Oxford Companion to
Shakespeare. Oxford University Press. p. 33.
^ Frances Yates, Theatre of the World, London: Routledge & Kegan
^ Daphne du Maurier, The Winding Stair, Biography of Bacon 1976.
^ Frances Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age, pages
61–68, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979
^ a b Frances Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment,
London and Boston:
Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972
^ Bacon, Francis. Of the Proficience and Advancement of Learning,
Divine and Human
^ Andreae (1619).
^ Farrington, Benjamin (1951). Francis Bacon, philosopher of
industrial science. ISBN 978-0-374-92706-6.
^ "Literary criticism of Johann Valentin Andreae". Enotes.com.
Retrieved 21 October 2013.
^ "The Mastery of Life" (PDF). Rosicrucian.org. p. 31. Retrieved
21 October 2013.
^ Saint Germain Foundation. The History of the "I AM" Activity and
Saint Germain Foundation. Schaumburg, Illinois: Saint Germain Press
^ Luk, A.D.K.. Law of Life – Book II. Pueblo, Colorado: A.D.K. Luk
Publications 1989, pp. 254–267
^ White Paper – Wesak World Congress 2002. Acropolis Sophia Books
& Works 2003.
^ Partridge, Christopher ed. New Religions: A Guide: New Religious
Movements, Sects and Alternative Spiritualities Oxford University
Press, United States 2004.
^ Schroeder, Werner Ascended Masters and Their Retreats Ascended
Master Teaching Foundation 2004, pp. 250–255
Bacon, Francis. The Essays and Counsels, Civil and Moral of Francis
Bacon: all 3 volumes in a single file. B&R Samizdat Express, 2014.
Andreae, Johann Valentin (1619). "Christianopolis". Description of the
Republic of Christianopolis.
Spedding, James; Ellis, Robert Leslie; Heath, Douglas Denon
(1857–1874). The Works of Francis Bacon, Baron of Verulam, Viscount
St Albans and Lord High Chancellor of England (15 volumes).
Adamson, Robert (1878), "Francis Bacon", in Baynes, T.S.,
Encyclopædia Britannica, 3 (9th ed.), New York: Charles Scribner's
Sons, pp. 200–218
Fowler, Thomas (1885). "Bacon, Francis (1561-1626)". In Stephen,
Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography. 2. London: Smith, Elder
& Co. pp. 328–60.
Peltonen, Markku (2007) . "Bacon, Francis, Viscount St Alban
Dictionary of National Biography
Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.).
Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/990. (Subscription
or UK public library membership required.)
This article incorporates text from a publication now in
the public domain: Adamson, Robert; Mitchell, John Malcolm
(1911), "Bacon, Francis", in Chisholm, Hugh, Encyclopædia Britannica,
3 (11th ed.), Cambridge University Press, pp. 135–152
This article incorporates text from a publication now in
the public domain: Jackson, Samuel Macauley, ed. (1908). "Bacon,
Francis". New Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. 2
London and New York: Funk and Wagnalls.
Farrell, John (2006). "6: The
Science of Suspicion". Paranoia and
Modernity: Cervantes to Rousseau. Cornell University Press.
Farrington, Benjamin (1964). The Philosophy of Francis Bacon.
University of Chicago Press. Contains English translations of
Temporis Partus Masculus
Cogitata et Visa
Heese, Mary (1968). "Francis Bacon's Philosophy of Science". In
Vickers, Brian. Essential Articles for the Study of Francis Bacon.
Hamden, CT: Archon Books. pp. 114–39.
Lewis, Rhodri. "
Francis Bacon and Ingenuity." Renaissance Quarterly
67.1 (2014): 113–163. in JSTOR
Roselle, Daniel; Young, Anne P. "5: The 'Scientific Revolution' and
the 'Intellectual Revolution'". Our Western Heritage. [full
Rossi, Paolo (1978). Francis Bacon: from Magic to Science. Taylor
Serjeantson, Richard. "
Francis Bacon and the 'Interpretation of
Nature' in the Late Renaissance," Isis (Dec 2014) 105#4 pp: 681–705.
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