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The object of the present edition of Bacon's Essays is to illustrate them as far as possible, not merely by disconnected notes, but by a continuous Introduction, bringing to bear upon the Essays such knowledge of Bacon's thoughts, as can be derived from his life and works. The basis of this Introduction is, of course, the edition of Bacon's Works issued by Mr. Ellis and Mr. Spedding; and the 'Letters and Life' recently completed by Mr. Spedding. Allusions and textual difficulties are explained by notes; but the writer's experience, while reading the Essays with a class of advanced pupils, led him to the conviction that, for the proper understanding of the Essays, more is wanted than mere annotation, however accurate and judicious. Bacon's Essays can hardly be understood without reference to Bacon's life.
The text adopted is generally that of the accurate and scholar-like edition of Mr. Aldis Wright; but I have ventured to depart from his example in the matter of spelling and punctuation. As regards