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His meales were refections of the eare, as well as of the stomack: like the nodes alliccp, or convivia deipnotophistarum: wherein a man might be refreshed in his.niiude and understanding-, no lesse than in his body. And 1 have known some of no mean parts, that have professed to make use of their note-books, when they have risen from his table; in which conversations, and otherwise, he was no dashing man, as some men are, but ever a countcnanccr and fosterer of another man's parts. Neither was he one that would appropriate the speech wholy to himself; or delight to out-vie others, but leave a liberty to the co-assessours to take their turns: wherein tie would draw a man on, and allure him to speak upon such a subject, as wherein he was peculiarly skilfull, and would delight to speak. And for himself, he contemned no man's observations, but would light his torch at every man's candle.
His opinions and assertions were, for the most part, binding, and not contradicted by any; rather like oracles then discourses; which may be imputed, either to the well weighing of his sentence, by the skales of truth and reason; or else, to the reverence and estimation wherein he was commonly had, that no man would contest with him: so that there was no argumentation, or pro and con, (as they term it,) at his table, or if their chanced to be any, it was carried with much submission and moderation.
I have often observed, and so have other men of great account, that if he had occasion to repeat another man's words after him, he had an use and faculty to dresse them in better vestments and apparell then they had before; so that the authour should finde his own speech much amended, and yet the substance of it still retained: as if it bad been naturall to him to use good forms; as Ovid spake of his faculty of versifying,
* Et quod tentabam scribere, versus erat.'
When his office called him, as he was of the king's counsell learned, to charge any offenders, either in criminals or capitals, he was never of an insulting or domineering nature over them; but alwayes tender hearted, and carrying himself decently towards the parties; (though it was his duty to charge them home;) but yet as one, that looked upon the example with the eye of severity, but upon the person with the eye of pitty and compassion. And in civill businesse, as he was counseller of estate, he had the best way of advising; not engaging his master in any precipitate or grievous courses, but in moderate and fair proceedings: the king whom he served giving him this testimony, that he ever dealt in businesse siiavibus modi's, which was the way that was most according to his own heart.
Neither was he in his time lesse gracious with the subject, then with his sovereign : he was ever acceptable to the House of Commons, when he was a member thereof. Being the king's atturney, and chosen to a place in parliament, he was allowed and dispensed with to sit in the House; which was not permitted to other atturneys.
And as he was a good servant to his master, being never, in nineteen years' service, (as himself averred,) rebuked by the king, for any thing relating to his Majesty; so he was a good master to his servants, and rewarded their long attendance with good places, freely, when they fell into his power; which was the cause, that so many young gentlemen of blond and quality sought to list themselves in his retinew: and if he were abused by any of them in their places, it was onely the errour of the goodnesse of his nature, but the badges of their indiscretions and intemperances.
This lord was religious; for though the world be apt to suspect and prejudge great wits and politicks to have somewhat of the atheist, yet he was conversant with God; as appeareth by several passages throughout the whole current of his writings: otherwise he should have crossed his own principles; which were, that " n little philosophy maketh men apt to forget God. as attributing too much to second causes; but depth of philosophy bringeth a man back to God again." Now, I am sure there is no man that will deny him, or account otherwise of him, but to have been a deep philosopher. And not onely so, but he was able to render a reason of the hope which was in him; which that writing of his, of the Confession of the Faith, doth abundantly test i fie. He repaired frequently, when his health would permit him, to the service of the church, to hear sermons, to the administration of the sacrament of the blessed body and blond of Christ; and died in the true faith, established in the church of England.
This is most true, he was free from malice; which (as he said himself) he never bred nor fed. He was no revenger of injuries; which if he had minded, he had both opportunity and place high enough to have done it. He was no heaver of men out of their places, as delighting in their mine and undoing. He was no defamer of any man to his prince.
His fame is greater, and sounds louder, in forraign parts abroad, then at home in his own nation. Divers of his works have been anciently and yet lately translated into other tongues, both learned'and modern, by forraign pens. Severall persons of quality, during his lordship's life, crossed the seas on purpose to gain an opportunity of seeing him, and discoursing with him.
But yet, in this matter of his fame, I speak in the comparative onely. and not in the exclusive. For his reputation is groat in his own nation also: especially amongst those that are of a more acute and sharper judgement: which I will excmplifie but with two testimonies, and no more: the former, when his History of King Henry the Si t enth was to come forth, it was delivered to the old Lord Brooke, to be perused by him, who, when he had dispatched it, returned it to the authour with this eulogy; "Commend me to my lord, and bid him take care to get good paper and inke; for the work is incomparable." The other shall be that ot Doctor Samuel Collins, late Provost of King's Colledge, in Cambridge, a man of no vulgar wit, who affirmed unto me. that when he had read the book of the Advancement of Learning, he found himself in a case to begin his studies anew; and that he had lost all the time of his studying before.
It hath been desired, that something should be signified touching his diet, and the regiment of his health; of which, in regard of his universall insight into nature, he may I perhaps) be to some an example. For his diet, it was rather a plentiful! and liberal! diet, as his stomack would bear it, then a restrained; which he also commended in his book of the History of Life and Death. In his younger years he was much given to the finer and lighter sort of meats, as of fowies and such like; but afterward, when he grew more judicious, he preferred the stronger meats, such as the shambles afforded, as those meats which bred the more firm and substantial! juvces of the body, and lesse dissipable; upon which he would often make his meal, though he Iisd other meats upon the table. You may be sure he would not neglect that himself, which he so much extolled in his writings; and that was the use of nitre, whereof he took in the quantity of about three grains. i:i tbin warm breath, every morning, for thirty years together, next before his death. And for physick, he did indeed live physically, but not miserably : for he took onely a maceration of rhubarb, infused into a draught of white wine and beer, mingled together for the space of half an hour, once in six or seven dayes, immediately before his meal, (whether dinner or supper,) that it might dry the body lesse: which (as he said) did carry away frequently the grosser humours of the body; and not diminish or carry away any of the spirits, as sweating doth; and this was no grievous thing to take. As for other physick. in an ordinary way, (whatsoever hath been vulgarly spoken,) he took not. His receit for the gout, which did constantly ease him of his pain within two hours, is already set down in the end of the Naluratl History.
It may seem the moon had some principall place in the figure of his nativity: for the moon was never in her passion, or eclipsed, but he was surprized with a sudden fit of fainting: and that though he observed not, nor took any previous knowledge of, the eclipse thereof: and as soon as the eclipse ceased, he was restored to his former strength again.
He died on the 9th day of A prill, in the year 1C26, in the early morning of the day then celebrated for our Saviour's resurrection, in the sixty-sixth year of his age, at the Earle of Arundell's house, in High-gate, near London; to which place he casually repaired about a week before; God so ordaining, that he should dye there of a gentle feaver, accidentally accompanied with a great cold; whereby the defluxion of rheume fell so plentifully upon his breast, that he died of suffocation: and was buried in Saint Michael's church, at Saint Albans; being the place designed for his buriall by his last will and testament; both because the body of his mother was interred there, and bec ause it was the onely church then remaining within the precincts of old Verulam: where he hath a monument erected for him of white marble; (by the care and gratitude of Sir Thomas Meautys, Knight, formerly his lordship's secretary; afterwards dark of the king's Honourable privy counsell, under two kings;) representing his full pourtraiture, in the posture of studying; with an inscription, composed by that accomplisht gentlemau, and rare wit, Sir Henry Wotton.
But howsoever his body was mortall, yet no doubt his memory and works will live; and will, in all probability last as long as the world lasteth. In order to which 1 have endeavoured (after my poor ability) to do this honour to his lordship, by way of conducing to the same."
His first publication was a small duodecimo volume, of what he is pleased in his letter dedicatory to his brother, who was said to have been his equal in height of wit, to call " fragments of his conceits;" but though comprised within thirteen double pages, it contains the germ of his most popular work, and warrants the expectation of the most profound. It is almost needless to add that this unpretending volume was the Essays; which have obtained a universal reputation. The first edition appeared in 1507, under the title of Essayes, Religious Meditations, Places of Persuasion and Dissuasion seene and allowed; for full information respecting which, and successive editions, the admirers of Bacon are indebted to the singular but usual industry of Mr. Basil Montagu. The author was then in his thirty-eighth year, and the few early letters will of course acquaint us with his position at the time of this publication. But neither were the ten Essays that first appeared, which, we are informed, " passed long agoe from his pen," nor the invaluable additions, dashed off in a heat,—they bear no marks of haste—they do not seem to have been suggested by accidents, or excogitated under any pressure from without. Bacon had by this time "seene" much of the world of men; and that of books, from first to last, was his own. His training was admirable, his access as a courtier complete, his acquaintance with the illustrious officers of the Virgin Queen, and his friendship with " her Majesty's servants," from the Madrigalist up to " Rare Ben," and " Sweet Will Shakspeare," familiar; and, without adverting to professional collisions and disappointments, all these advantages taught an apt scholar experience, and enabled him to draw those lessons, founded upon human nature and life, which " will last while books last." The struggle between ambition and philosophy had long been going on, and it is not easy to say which had the final advantage. In the beautiful letter to his brother he says, " I sometimes wish your infirmities translated upon myself, that her Majesty might have the service of so active and able a mind, and I might be with excuse confined to these contemplations and studies for which I am fittest." The Essays, like his other writings, derive their uniform charm from the interfusion of the philosophical and practical, occasioned by this conflict of passions for the mastery; his personal travels being the condition upon which he was to be justified in saying, twenty-eight years afterwards, in reference to the complete edition, that they " came home to men's business and bosoms."
The Essays were great favourites with the public from the first, and their instant appreciation, while it does honour to the taste of the age, was soon repaid by revisions, enlarge
ments, and additions to their number. Only ten appeared in the first edition, and the way in which the golden sentences were printed, might still be continued with advantage. The beginning, for instance, of the first Essay, of Studie, is thus divided into sections or verses, and the rest are similarly segregated.
"% Read not to contradict nor to believe, but to weigh and consider.
"fi Some books are to be tasted, others swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read but cursorily, and some few to be read wholly and with diligence and attention.
"If Histories make men wise, poets witty, the mathematics subtle, natural philosophy deep, moral grave, logic and rhetoric able to contend."
Each sentence is an aphorism—every paragraph maximized—and the thirty new Essays, which, notwithstanding his " continual service," are found in the fourth edition published in 1612, under the title of TJte Essaies of Sir Francvs Bacon, Knight, the King's SolicitorGeneral, are each so compactly elaborated of axiomatic members, as to bear this test of separation.
Sir Francis intended to have dedicated this edition to Henry Prince of Wales, but the untimely death of that noble youth in the November of that year, and his " deare brother Master Antony Bacon being also dead," he selects his brother-in-law, Sir John Constable, Knight, for this honour. The letter to the prince is worthy of both parties. The style of access which our author invariably adopts, " It may please your Highness," (itself an innovation on the classical style of the 15th century, " Please it your Highness,") was soon afterwards altered to its present form of, " May it please your Highness."
"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 labours 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 endeavoured 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." •
This is an essay of itself—one of the " certain brief notes, though conveyed in the form of epistles,"—while it professes to be an account of the work presented. It is an account such as none but himself could have given, nor has it been equalled since. The truest and finest characters of these productions are to be found in the dedicatory letters.
The short letter to his " worthy brother-in-law" is an effusion of perfect kindliness. "My last Essays I dedicated to my dear brother Mr. Antony Bacon, who is with God. Looking amongst my papers this vacation, I found others of the same nature, which if I myself 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 botli of near alliance and of strait friendship and society, and particularly of communication in studies, wherein I must acknowledge myself beholden to you. For as my business found rest in my contemplations, so my contemplations will find rest in your loving conference and judgment."
The Essay of Friendship appeared for the first time in this edition, and it was probably written at the request of his most faithful friend Matthew, whose name is so frequently and honourably mentioned in the letters. Who were Bacon's friends? There were high companions for him ; and he was a member of a club with Raleigh, Ben Jonson, and Shakspeare. The successive editions of the Essays were by no means mere reprints; for instance, the Essay of Study has been adduced in illustration of what he says in reference to his " great work," that " after my manner I always alter where I add; so that nothing is finished till all is finished." This Essay in the first edition ends with the words " able to contend;" it is admirably continued in the fourth, the previous portions of it also receiving some exquisite touches. There is not, however, any omission of previous matter, and therefore it is incorrectly asserted by an able writer in the Edinburgh Review, (No. 126,) on the Study of Mathematics, that " in the first edition of his Essays Bacon says, mathematics make men subtile;" but havinglearnedbetter in the interval, in the second, (meaning the fourth,) which appeared fifteen years thereafter, he withdrew this commendation, and substituted the following, which stands unaltered in all the after-editions; "If a man's wit be wandering let him study the mathematics, &c." The fact is, the passage "rashly admitted" is, whether rashly or not, retained, and it stands in all the after-editions exactly as we have quoted it from the first. The reviewer's point, however, that Bacon commends a study of the schoolmen as the discipline of subtilty and discrimination, cannot be disputed.
The author's last and perfect edition appeared in 1625, under the new title of the Essays, or Counsels civil and moral, of Francis Verulam Viscount St. Albans, newly enlarged. There are eighteen new Essays in this edition, making fifty-eight in all; and of the two which the reader will find added to the list, that of a king is counterfeit; it does not bear the royal mark: the Fragment on Fame is unquestionably genuine; and as that on Death is more than doubtful, it is not incorporated with the others, but inserted further forward in this edition. His Religious Meditations, and Places of Persuasion and Dissuasion, were not reprinted in this edition. The title of the former was dropped, but the matter of the respective reflections has been preserved, either in the Essays, or in the Latin translation. The latter, as will be seen, reappears in the De Augmentis. The Meditations were twelve in number, and all, except the first, are headed with appropriate texts of Scripture. The second is quite a gem, and does not seem to have been transferred to the Essays.
OF THE MIRACLES OF OUR SAVIOUR.
••He hath done all thing* well."
"A true confession and applause.—God, when hee created all things, saw that every thing in particular, and all thinges in generall, were exceeding good. God the W ord, in the miracles which he wrought, (now every miracle is a new creation, and not according to the first creation,) would doe nothing which breathed not towards men favour and bounty. Moses wrought miracles, and scourged the Egyptians with many plagues. Elias wrought miracles, and shut up heaven, that no raine should fall upon the earth; and againe, brought down from heaven the fire of God upon the captains and their bands. Elizeas wrought also, and called beares out of the desert to devoure young children. Peter struck Ananias the sacrilegious hypocrite with present death; and Paul, Elimas the sorcerer with blindness: but no such thing did Jesus; the Spirit of God descended down upon him in the form of a dove, of whom he said. You knowe of what spirit you are. The Spirit of Jesus is the spirit of a dove. Those servants of God were as the oxen of God treading out the corne, and trampling the straw down under their feete ; but Jesus is the Lamb of God, without wrath or judgments. All his miracles were consummate about man's body, as his doctrine respected the soule of man. The body of man needeth these things, sustenance, defence from outward wrongs, and medicine: it was Hee that drew a multitude of fishes into the netts that he might give unto men more liberall provission. Hee turned water, a lesse worthy nourishment of man's body, into wine, a more worthy, that glads the heart of man. Hee sentenced the fig-tree to wither for not doing that duty whereunto it was ordained, which is to beare fruit for men's food. Hee multiplied the scarcity of a few loaves and fishes to a sufficiency to victuall an hoast of people Hee rebuked the winds that threatened destruction to the seafaring men: hee restored motion to the lame, light to the blind, speech to the dumbe, health to the sicke, cleannesse to the leprous, a right mind to those that are possessed, and life to the dead. No miracle of His is to be found to have beene of judgment or revenge, but all of goodness and mercy, and respecting man's body ; for as touching riches he did not vouchsafe to doe any miracles, save one only that tribute might be given to Caesar."
The comment on the three verses with which he mottoes the 9th Meditation is very close and happy.
OF THE SEVERAL KINDS OF IMPOSTURE.
"Avoiding propbane »trangenesse of words, and oppositions of knowledge, falsely so called.
"There are three formes of speaking, which are as it were the stile and phrase of imposture. The first kinde is of them, who as soon as they have gotten any subject or matter do straight cast it into an art, inventing new termes of art, reducing all into divisions and distinctions, thence draweth assertions or oppositions, and so framing oppositions by questions and answers. Hence issueth the cobwebbes and clatterings of the schoole-men.
"The second kinde is of them who out of the vanity of their witte, (as church-poets,) doe make and devise all variety of tales, stories, and examples, whereby they may leade men's mindes to a beliefe: from whence did grow the legendes and infinite fabulous inventions and dreames of the auncient hereticks.
"The third kinde is of them who fill men's ears with mysteries, high parables, allegories, and illusions; with mystical and profounde forme many of the hereticks also made choise of. By the first kinde of these the capacity and wit of man is fettered and entangled; by the second, it is trained on, and inveigled; by the third it is astonished and enchanted; but by every of them the while it is seduced and abused."
The " third kinde " is an exact description of the transcendental philosophy.
But to return to the Essays themselves. The last and proudest of the dedicatory letters is devoted to the Duke of Buckingham. "I do now publish (says the ex-chancellor) my Essays, which of all my works have been most current: for that, as it seems, they come home to men's business and bosoms. I have 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 Latin: for I do conceive that the Latin volume of them being in the universal language may last as long as taoks last. My Installation I dedicated to the king: my History of Henry the Seventh, which I have now also translated into Latin, and my portions of Natural History, to the prince: and these I dedicate to your Grace; being of the best fruits that, by the good increase which God gives to my pen and labours, I could yield. God lead your Grace by the hand."