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MS. of the edition of 1612. The dedication to Prince Henry was as follows:
“ To the most high and excellent Prince Henry, Prince
of Wales, D: of Cornwall and Earle of Chester
Yt may piease your H.
Having devided my life into the contemplative and active parte, I am desirous to giue his M, and yo' H. of the fruite of both, simple thoughe they be. To write iust Treatises requireth leasure in the Writer, and leasure in the Reader, and therefore are not so fitt, neither in regard of yoʻ H: princely affaires, nor in regard of my continuall service, wc is the cause, thal hath made me choose to write certaine breif notes, sett downe rather significantlye, then curiously, wch I have called ESSAIES. The word is late, but the thing is auncient. For Senacaes Epistles to Lucilius, yf one marke them well, are but Essaies - That is dispersed Meditacons, thoughe conveyed in the forme of Epistles. Theis labors of myne I know cannot be worthie of yo" H: for what can be worthie of you. But my hope is, they may be as graynes of salte, that will rather give you an appetite, then offend you with satiety. And althoughe they handle those things wherein both mens Lives and theire pens are most conversant yet (What I have attained, I knowe not) but I have endeavoured to make them not vulgar; but of a nature, whereof a man shall find much in experience, litle in bookes ; so as they are neither repeticons nor fansies. But howsoever, I shall most humbly desier yo" H; to accept them in gratious part, and so contrive that if I cannot rest,
but must shewe my dutifull, and devoted affection 10 yo H: in theis things will proceed from my self, I shalbe much more ready to doe it, in performance of yo" princely commaundmente; And so wishing you H: all princely felicitye I rest.
Yor H: most humble
The dedication to Sir John Constable is more simple and natural,
“ To my loving brother, S" Iohn Constable Knight.
My last Éssaies I dedicated to my deare brother Master Anthony Bacon, who is with God. Looking amongst my papers this vacation, I found others of the same Nature: which if I my selfe shall not suffer to be lost, it seemeth the World will not; by the often printing of the former. Missing my Brother, I found you next; ini respect of bond of neare' alliance, and of straight friendship and societie, and particularly of communication in studies, Wherein I must acknowledge my selfe beholding to you. For as my businesse found rest in my contemplations; so my contemplations euer found rest in your louing conference and iudgement, So wishing you all good, I remaine
Your louing brother and friend,
The Table of Contents gives a list of forty Essays but the last two were not printed. 1. Of Religion. 2. Of Death. 3. Of Goodnes and goodnes of nature. 4. Of
Cunning. 5. Of Marriage and single life. 6. Of Parents and Children. 7. Of Nobilitie. 8. Of Great place. 9. Of Empire. 10. Of Counsell. un. Of Dispatch. 12. Of Loue. 13. Of Friendshippe. 14. Of Atheisme. 15. Of Superstition. 16. Of Wisdome for a Mans selfe. 17. Of Regiment of Health. 18. Of Expences. 19. Of Discourse. 20. Of Seeming wise. 21. Of Riches. 22. Of Ambition. 23. Of Young men and age. 24. Of Beautie. 25. Of Deformitie. 26. Of nature in Men. 27. Of Custome and Education. 28. Of For. tune. 29. Of Studies. 30. Of Ceremonies and respects. 31. Of Sutors. 32. Of Followers. 33. Of Negociating. 34. Of Faction. 35. Of Praise. 36. Of Iudicature. 37. Of vaine glory. 38. Of greatnes of Kingdomes. 39. Of the publike. 40. Of Warre and peace. The second edition must have been published between the 6th of November, the date of Prince Henry's death, and the 17th of Dec, when Chamberlain wrote the letter which is quoted in the note to Essay 44.
In 1613 Faggard published a reprint of this edition, also in small 8vo, containing the omitted Essay “Of Honour and Reputation," the Religious Meditations, and the Colours of Good and Evil; and in the same year another reprint was issued by the same publisher with a new title page and the printer's errors of the former corrected. Copies of both these impressions are in the Cambridge University Library, to which they were presented, with a large collection of Bacon's works, by Basil Montagu. The latter is noted in Montagu's Catalogue as having Bacon's autograph, but the fly leaf containing it has been torn out, apparently since it has been in the Library.
In 1614 another edition appeared, printed at Edin. burgh for A. Hart.
Malone mentions an edition in 1618, in the dedication to which, he says, Bacon “ speaks of several editions having been then printed" (Prior's Life of Malone, p. 424). If the date be correct, which there is reason to doubt, this could only have been a reprint of the edition of 1612. In Reed's Catalogue (no. 1683) a copy is mentioned with the date 1619, and another (no. 1772) a quarto with the date 1622. Mr Singer says, but without giving his authority, “ there were, it seems, editions in 1622, 1623, and 1624 in 4to.” I have been unable to find any of these.
In 1624 was published a reprint of Faggard's pirated edition of 1613, by Elizabeth Jaggard, probably his widow. All the above mentioned are in sinall 8vo.
The third and last author's edition, of which the present volume is a reprint, was published in small 4to in 16:25, the year before Bacon's death. The number of Essays was increased to fifty-eight, of which twenty were new and the rest altered or enlarged. The entry at Stationers' Hall is dated the 13th of March, 1624. “Mr Whiteacre. Hanna Barrett. Entered for their copie under the handes of the lo. B. of London and Mr Lownes Warden. The Essayes & counsell morrall and civill of Francis lo. Verulam Vicount St Albon.” A copy in the Cambridge University Library (xvii. 36. 14) was presented by Bacon to Sir John Finch on the 30th of March 1625. It was therefore evidently published some time in the latter part of March 1624-5.
The three editions of 1597, 1612, and 1625 are the only ones which possess any authority, the rest appa
rently having been issued without the author's supervision or sanction. But in 1618 an Italian translation of the second edition was published by John Beale, which was made with Bacon's knowledge, if not at his request, The author of the translation is not known. Mr Singer conjectured that it was Father Fulgentio, but Mr Spedding shews clearly, by an extract from the preface of Andrea Cioli, who brought out a revised reprint at Florence in 1619, that the translation was not the work of an Italian, but of some foreigner, in all probability of an Englishman. The volume in which it is contained is a small 8vo, entitled, “Saggi Morali del Signore Francesco Bacono, Cavagliero Inglese, Gran Cancelliero d'Inghilterra. Con vn'altro suo Trattato della Sapienza degli Antichi. Tradotti in Italiano. In Londra, Appresso di Giovanni Billio. 1618.” The Saggi Morali occupy so2 pages, and are thirty-eight in number; the two Essays 'Of Religion' and 'Of Superstition' being omitted, and their place supplied by those Of Honour and Reputation,' and 'Of Seditions and Troubles,' the latter of which had not as yet appeared in English. The dedication to Cosmo, Grand Duke of Tuscany, was written by Mr Tobie Matthew, Bacon's intimate friend, but throws no light upon the authorship of the translation, He merely says that he found the two works in the possession of Sir William Cavendish, who presented them to him with the Author's permission. That the translation was published with Bacon's sanction is evident from the fact that the Essay “Of Seditions and Trous bles," which then existed only in MS., was included in the volume, and that a portion of the dedicatory letter to