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There are two copies of this edition in the university library at Cambridge; and there is Archbishop Sancroft's copy in Emanuel Library ; there is a copy in the Bodleian, and I have a copy.
Second edition, 1598, genuine.
Fourth edition, entitled “ The Essaies of Sir Francis Bacon, Knight, the Kings Solliciter Generall. Imprinted at London by Iohn Beale, 1612,” genuine. It was the intention of Sir Francis to have dedicated this edition to Henry, Prince of Wales; but he was prevented by the death of the prince on the 6th of November in that year. . This appears by the following letter:
To the Most High and Excellent Prince, Henry, Prince
of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, and Earl of Chester.
It may please your Highness : Having divided my life into the contemplative and active part, I am desirous to give his Majesty and your Highness of the fruits of both, simple though they be. To write just treatises, requireth leisure in the writer and leisure in the reader, and therefore are not so fit, neither in regard of your Highness's princely affairs nor in regard of my continual service; which is the cause that hath made me choose to write certain brief notes, set down rather significantly than curiously, which I have called Essays. The word is late, but the thing is ancient; for Seneca's Epistles to Lucilius, if you mark them well, are but essays; that is, dispersed meditations though conveyed in the form of epistles. These labors of mine, I know, cannot be worthy of your Highness, for what can be worthy of you ? But my hope is, they may be as grains of salt, that will rather give you an appetite than offend you with satiety. And although they handle those things wherein both men's lives and their persons are most conversant; yet what I have attained I know not; but I have endeavored to make them not vulgar, but of a nature whereof a man shall find much in experience and little in books; so as they are neither repetitions nor fancies. But, however, I shall most humbly desire your Highness to accept them in
gracious part, and to conceive, that if I cannot rest but must show my dutiful and devoted affection to your Highness in these things which proceed from myself, I shall be much more ready to do it in performance of any of your princely commandments. And so wishing your Highness all princely felicity, I rest your Highness' most humble servant, 1612.
It was dedicated as follows:
To my loving Brother, Sir John Constable, Knt.
My last Essaies 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 myselfe 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; in respect of bond both 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 ever found rest in your loving Conference and Judgment. So wishing you all good, I remaine your louing Brother and Friend,
Fifth edition, 1612, pirated. Sixth edition, 1613, pirated. Seventh edition, 1624, pirated. Eighth edition, 1624, pirated. Ninth edition, entitled, “ The Essayes or Covnsels, Civill and Morall, of Francis Lo. Vervlam, Viscovnt St. Alban. Newly enlarged. London, Printed by Iohn Haviland for Hanna Barret and Richard Whitaker, and are to be sold at the Signe of the King's Head in Paul's Churchyard.” 1625, genuine.
This edition is a small quarto of 340 pages; it clearly was published by Lord Bacon; and in the next year, 1626, Lord Bacon died. The Dedication is as follows, to the Duke of Buckingham :
To the Right Honorable my very good Lo, the Duke
of Buckingham his Grace, Lo. High Admirall of England.
Excellent Lo.:- Salomon saies, A good Name is as a precious Oyntment; and I assure myselfe, such wil your Grace's Name bee, with Posteritie. For your Fortune and Merit both, haue beene eminent. And you haue planted things that are like to last. I doe now publish my Essayes; which, of all my other Workes, have beene most currant: for that, as it seemes, they come home to Mens Businesse and Bosomes. I haue enlarged them both in number and weight, so that they are indeed a new Work. I thought it therefore agreeable to my Affection, and Obligation to your Grace, to prefix your Name before them, both in English and in Latine. For I doe conceiue, that the Latine Volume of them (being in the vniuersal language) may last as long as Bookes last. My Instauration I dedicated to the King: my Historie of Henry the Seventh, (which I haue now also translated into Latine) and my Portions of Naturall History, to the Prince: and these I dedicate to your Grace: being of the best Fruits, that by the good encrease which God gives to my pen and labours, I could yeeld. God leade your Grace by the Hand. Your Graces most obliged and faithfuil Seruant.
FR. ST. ALBAN.
Of this edition, Lord Bacon sent a copy to the Marquis Fiat, with the following letter: *
“Monsieur l'Ambassadeur mon Filz: Voyant que vostre Excellence faict et traite Mariages, non seulement entre les Princes d'Angleterre et de France, mais aussi entre les langues (puis que faictes traduire mon Liure de l'Advancement des Sciences en Francois) i'ai bien voulu vous envoyer mon Liure dernierement imprimé que i'avois pourveu pour vous, mais i’estois en doubte, de le vous envoyer, pour ce qu'il estoit escrit en
* Baconiana, 201.
Anglois. Mais a' cest'heure pour la raison susdicte ie le vous envoye. C'est un Recompilement de mes Essays Morales et Civiles; mais tellement enlargiés et enrichies, tant de nombre que de poix, que c'est de fait un ouvre nouveau. Ie vous baise les mains, et reste vostre tres affectionée Ami, et tres humble Serviteur.
The same in English.
My Lord Ambassador, my Son: Seeing that your Excellency makes and treats of Marriages, not only betwixt the Princes of France and England, but also betwixt their languages, (for you have caused my book of the Advancement of Learning to be translated into French, I was much inclined to make you a present of the last book which I published, and which I had in readiness for you. I was sometimes in doubt whether I ought to have sent it to you, because it was written in the English tongue. But now, for that very reason, I send it to you. It is a recompilement of my Essays Moral and Civil; but in such manner enlarged and enriched both in number and weight, that it is in effect a new work. I kiss your hands, and remain your most affectionate friend and most humble servant, &c.
Of the translation of the Essays into Latin, Bacon speaks in the following letter:
“To Mr. Tobie Mathew: It is true my labors are now most set to have those works which I had formerly published, as that of Advancement of Learning, that of Henry VII., that of the Essays, being retractate and made more perfect, well translated into Latin by the help of some good pens which forsake me not. For these modern languages will, at one time or other, play the bankrupt with books; and since I have lost much time with this age, I would be glad, as God shall give me leave, to recover it with posterity. For the Essay of Friendship, while I took your speech of it for a cursory request, I took my promise for a compliment. But since you call for it, I shall perform it."
In his letter to father Fulgentio, giving some account of his writings, he says: “ The Novum Organum should immediately follow; but my moral and political writings step in between as being more finished. These are, the History of King Henry VII., and the small book, which, in your language, you have called Saggi Morali, but I give it a graver title, that of Sermones Fideles, or Interiora Rerum, and these Essays will not only be enlarged in number, but still more in substance.”
The nature of the Latin edition, and of the Essays in general, is thus stated by Archbishop Tenison :
“ The Essays, or Counsels Civil and Moral, though a by-work also, do yet make up a book of greater weight by far than the Apothegms; and coming home to men's business and bosoms, his lordship entertained this persuasion concerning them, that the Latin volume might last as long as books should last. His lordship wrote them in the English tongue, and enlarged them as occasion served, and at last added to them the Colors of Good and Evil, which are likewise found in his book De Augmentis. The Latin translation of them was a work performed by divers hands ; by those of Dr. Hacket, (late Bishop of Lichfield,) Mr. Benjamin Jonson, (the learned and judicious poet,) and some others, whose names I once heard from Dr. Rawley, but I cannot now recall them. To this Latin edition he gave the title of Sermones Fideles, after the manner of the Jews, who called the words Adagies, or Observations of the Wise, Faithful Sayings; that is, credible propositions worthy of firm assent and ready acceptance. And, (as I think,) he alluded more particularly, in this title, to a passage in Ecclesiastes, where the preacher saith, that he sought to find out Verba Delectabilia, (as Tremellius rendereth the Hebrew,) pleasant words; (that is, perhaps, his Book of Canticles ;) and Verba Fidelia, (as the same Tremellius,) Faithful Sayings; meaning, it may be, his collection of Proverbs. In the next verse, he calls them Words of the Wise, and so many goads and nails given ab eodem pastore, from the same shepherd, [of the flock of Israel."]
In the year 1638, Rawley published, in folio, a volume