francis Bacon                                    pig bacon                              Roger Bacon



Dee Finney's blog

start date July 20, 2011

Today's date  Jan 7, 2012

page 102




I was living in my house in New Berlin (prior to 1980)  I was cookiing bacon on the stove in the kitchen.  It smelled wonderful and we loved to fry eggs in bacon grease, or in lard I had rendered fresh off a pig.  Yum!

However, I had bacon cut up and iti was getting mixed up in piles of clothes I was going to iron, and the orange cat I had was trying to steal the bacon and eat it raw.  My husband started yelling from the other room that the cat was stealing the bacon, and I couldn't cook,, and iron and chase the cat all at the same time. 

Then the telephone rang.  I had to answer it of course and it was my friend Mikki (I actually didn't know Mikki until 1993

I had just started to talk to Kikki when the hone rang again, so I clicked over to see who was calling.  It was a woman named Bonnie, who i also met in 1993.  I wanted to get back to Mikki but all of a sudden I couldn't find th ephone because I was still tring t okeep th ecat away from the bacon and I didn't want to take a chance with that.

As frustrated as I was about then, a man walked through the room who had been visitng my husband,.  I ddin't know him but I needed help finding the phone so I hollered, "'Wait!"  to stop him from leaving.

So th eman stood in the doorway,,  a rather handsome man at that, but I was tryinng desparately to find the phone which was probablyh under some of the piled clothing I had to iron, which was now mixed with slabs of bacon.

The man standing the doorway started to look frustrated too that I was making him wait for me, so I forced my eyes awake so he owuldn't have to stand there and wait for me to get back to him.



NOTE FROM DEE:  I puublished the following page privately for some e-mail friends. The possiblel author is Roger Bacon which is why you are getting access to this age.  Google cannot find it as its published privately, so consider yourself very privileged to get a look at this page.  Have fun wiith the information.  If you can solve the puzzle, you wil be first in history to do so.




Here is a little about Roger Bacon:

Roger Bacon, O.F.M. (c. 1214–1294), (scholastic accolade Doctor Mirabilis, meaning "wonderful teacher"), was an English philosopher and Franciscan friar who placed considerable emphasis on the study of nature through empirical methods. He is sometimes credited, mainly starting in the 19th century, as one of the earliest European advocates of the modern scientific method inspired by the works of Aristotle and later pseudo-Aristotelian works, possibly of Arabic origins. However, more recent reevaluations emphasize that he was essentially a medieval thinker, with much of his "experimental" knowledge obtained from books, in the scholastic tradition.[1] A survey of the reception of Bacon's work over centuries found that it often reflects the concerns and controversies central to the receivers.[2]

Roger Bacon was born in Ilchester in Somerset, possibly in 1213 or 1214 at the Ilchester Friary.[3] The only source for his date of birth is his statement in the Opus Tertium, written in 1267, that "forty years have passed since I first learned the alphabet". The 1214 birth date assumes he was not being literal, and may have meant 40 years had passed since he matriculated at Oxford at the age of 13. If he had been literal, his birth date was more likely to have been around 1220/1222. In the same passage he reports that for all but two of those forty years he had always been engaged in study.[4] His family appears to have been well-off, but, during the stormy reign of Henry III of England, their property was despoiled and several members of the family were driven into exile.

Bacon studied at Oxford and may have been a disciple of Grosseteste. He became a master at Oxford, lecturing on Aristotle. There is no evidence he was ever awarded a doctorate — the title Doctor Mirabilis was posthumous and figurative. Sometime between 1237 and 1245, he began to lecture at the university of Paris, then the centre of intellectual life in Europe. His whereabouts between 1247 and 1256 are uncertain, but about 1256 he became a friar in the Franciscan Order. As a Franciscan friar, Bacon no longer held a teaching post, and after 1260 his activities were further restricted by a Franciscan statute forbidding friars from publishing books or pamphlets without specific approval.[5]

Bacon circumvented this restriction through his acquaintance with Cardinal Guy le Gros de Foulques, who became Pope Clement IV in 1265. The new Pope issued a mandate ordering Bacon to write to him concerning the place of philosophy within theology. As a result Bacon sent the Pope his Opus Majus, which presented his views on how the philosophy of Aristotle and the new science could be incorporated into a new Theology. Besides the Opus maius Bacon also sent his Opus minus, De multiplicatione specierum, and, perhaps, other works on alchemy and astrology.[6]

Pope Clement died in 1268. Sometime between 1277 and 1279, Bacon was probably imprisoned or placed under house arrest. The circumstances for this are still mysterious. Sometime after 1278 Bacon returned to the Franciscan House at Oxford, where he continued his studies.[7] He is believed to have died in 1294.

Oxford. By the late 18th century this study had become a place of pilgrimage for scientists. The building was pulled down in 1779 to allow for road widening.[8]

In the 19th century it was a widely held interpretation that Bacon was a modern experimental scientist who emerged before his time. This reflected two prevalent views of the period: an emphasis upon experiment as the principal form of scientific activity and a general acceptance of the characterization of the Middle Ages as the "Dark Ages".[9][10] Some writers of the period carried this account further. For instance, according to Andrew Dickson White, Bacon was repeatedly persecuted and imprisoned because of the opposition of the medieval Church.[11][12] In this view, which is still reflected in some 21st century popular science books,[13][14] Bacon would be an advocate of modern experimental science who somehow emerged as an isolated figure in an age supposed to be hostile toward scientific ideas.[15] He was also presented as a visionary; for instance Frederick Mayer wrote that Bacon predicted the invention of the submarine, automobile, and airplane.[16]

However, in the course of the 20th century, the philosophical understanding of the role of experiment in the sciences has been substantially modified. Starting with works of Pierre Duhem, Raoul Carton, and Lynn Thorndike,[17] Bacon's advocacy of scientia experimentalis has been argued to differ from modern experimental science.[18] New historical research has also shown that medieval Christians were not generally opposed to scientific investigation[19][20] and revealed the extent and variety of medieval science. In fact, many medieval sources of and influences on Bacon's scientific activity have been identified.[21] For instance, Bacon's idea that inductively derived conclusions should be submitted for further experimental testing is very much like Robert Grosseteste's 'Method of Verification',[22] and Bacon's work on optics and the calendar also followed the lines of inquiry of Grosseteste.[23]

As a result, the picture of Bacon has changed. One recent study summarized that: "Bacon was not a modern, out of step with his age, or a harbinger of things to come, but a brilliant, combative, and somewhat eccentric schoolman of the thirteenth century, endeavoring to take advantage of the new learning just becoming available while remaining true to traditional notions... of the importance to be attached to philosophical knowledge".[24] Bacon is thus seen as a leading, but not isolated figure in the beginnings of medieval universities at Paris and Oxford, among other contemporary exponents of this shift in the philosophy of science (as we call it today), including Grosseteste (who preceded Bacon), William of Auvergne, Henry of Ghent, Albert Magnus, Thomas Acquinas, John Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham.[25]

As to the alleged persecution, the first known reference to an imprisonment originates around 80 years after Bacon's death. It says the order was given by the head of the Franciscans because of unspecified "suspected novelties".[26][27] However, the fact that no earlier report has been found drives skepticism over the assertion. Moreover, current historians of science who see an incarceration as plausible typically don't connect it with Bacon's scientific writings.[27] Instead, if it happened, scholars speculate that his troubles resulted from such things as his sympathies for radical Franciscans,[28] attraction to contemporary prophecies,[27] or interest in certain astrological doctrines.[29] Bacon's personality has also been mentioned as a factor.[30]

A recent review of the many visions that each age has held about Roger Bacon says contemporary scholarship still neglects one of the most important aspects of his life and thought: the commitment to the Franciscan order. "His Opus maius was a plea for reform addressed to the supreme spiritual head of the Christian faith, written against a background of apocalyptic expectation and informed by the driving concerns of the friars. It was designed to improve training for missionaries and to provide new skills to be employed in the defence of the Christian world against the enmity of non-Christians and of the Antichrist. It cannot usefully be read solely in the context of the history of science and philosophy."[2]

Bacon made many discoveries while coming near to many others, despite many disadvantages and discouragements.[citation needed] His Opus Majus contains treatments of mathematics and optics, alchemy, and the positions and sizes of the celestial bodies.

[edit] View of the past

The scientific training Bacon had received showed him the rare defects in existing academic debate.[citation needed] Aristotle was known only through translations, as none of the professors would learn Greek; the same was true of Scripture and many of the other auctores ("authorities") referenced in traditional education. In contrast to Aristotle's argument that facts be collected before deducing scientific truths, physical science was not carried out by observations from the natural world, but by arguments based solely on tradition and prescribed authorities (see Scholasticism).

Bacon withdrew from the scholastic routine and devoted himself to languages and experimental research. The mathematicians whom he considered perfect were Peter of Maricourt and John of London, and two were good: Campanus of Novara and a Master Nicholas. Peter was the author of a famous letter to a friend, Epistola de Magnete, in which he described some of the earliest European experiments with magnetism.[31] Campanus wrote several important works on astronomy, astrology, and the calendar.[32] Bacon often mentioned his debt to the work of Robert Grosseteste and Adam Marsh, as well as to other lesser figures. He was clearly not an isolated scholar in the thirteenth century.[33]

[edit] New approach

In his writings, Bacon calls for a reform of theological study. Less emphasis should be placed on minor philosophical distinctions than had been the case in scholasticism. Instead, the Bible itself should return to the centre of attention and theologians should thoroughly study the languages in which their original sources were composed. He was fluent in several languages and lamented the corruption of the holy texts and the works of the Greek philosophers by numerous mistranslations and misinterpretations. Furthermore, he urged all theologians to study all sciences closely, and to add them to the normal university curriculum. With regard to the obtaining of knowledge, he strongly championed experimental study over reliance on authority, arguing that "thence cometh quiet to the mind". Bacon did not restrict this approach to theological studies. He rejected the blind following of prior authorities, both in theological and scientific study, which was the accepted method of undertaking study in his day.

In the Opus Minus he criticizes his contemporaries Alexander of Hales and Albertus Magnus who, he says, had not studied the philosophy of Aristotle but only acquired their learning during their life as preachers.[34] Albert was received at Paris as an authority equal to Aristotle, Avicenna, and Averroes,[35] leading Bacon to proclaim that "never in the world [had] such monstrosity occurred before."[36]

[edit] Optics

The study of optics in part five of Opus Majus draws heavily on the works of both Claudius Ptolemy (his Optics in Arabic translation) and the Islamic scientists Alkindus (al-Kindi) and Alhazen (Ibn al-Haytham).[37] He includes a discussion of the physiology of eyesight, the anatomy of the eye and the brain, and considers light, distance, position, and size, direct vision, reflected vision, and refraction, mirrors and lenses. His research in optics was primarily oriented by the legacy of Alhazen through a Latin translation of the latter's monumental Kitab al-manazir (De aspectibus; Perspectivae; The Optics), while the impact of the tradition of al-Kindi (Alkindus) was principally mediated through the influence that this Muslim scholar had on the optics of Robert Grosseteste. Moreover, Bacon's investigations of the properties of the magnifying glass partly rested on the handed-down legacy of Islamic opticians, mainly Alhazen, who was in his turn influenced by Ibn Sahl's 10th century legacy in dioptrics.[38]

[edit] Calendar

Drawing on the recently discovered Greco-Muslim astronomy and on the calendaric writings of Robert Grosseteste, Bacon criticized the Julian calendar, describing it as intolerable, horrible and laughable. He proposed to correct its errors by deleting a day from the calendar every 125 or 130 days.[39]

[edit] Other attributed works

In his own writings of 1260–1280 Bacon cited Secretum secretorum, which he attributed to Aristotle, far more than his contemporaries did. Often used as an argument for the special influence that this work had on Bacon's own is the manuscript of Secretum that Bacon edited, complete with his own introduction and notes, something Bacon seldom did with others' works. Although some early 20th century scholars like Robert Steele have pushed further along this path, arguing that Bacon's contact with the Secretum was a turning point in Bacon's philosophy, transforming him into an experimentalist, there is no clear reference to such a decisive impact of the Secretum in Bacon's own words. The dating of Bacon's edition of the Secretum is a key argument in this debate, but is still unresolved, with those arguing for a greater impact dating it earlier than those who urge caution in this interpretation.[40]

The cryptic Voynich manuscript has been attributed to Bacon by various sources, including by its first recorded owner, in a book drafted by William Romaine Newbold and posthumously edited and published by Roland Grubb Kent in 1928,[41] and in a 2005 book of Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone published by Doubleday and Broadway Books.[14][42] In strongly worded terms, historians of science Lynn Thorndike[43] and George Sarton have dismissed these claims as unsupported.[44][45]

Another work of contentious date and even origin is the Epistola de Secretis Operibus Artis et Naturae, et de Nullitate Magiae (meaning Letter on the Secret Workings of Art and Nature, and on the Vanity of Magic), sometimes alternatively entitled De Mirabili Potestate Artis et Naturae (On the Wonderful Powers of Art and Nature).[46][47][48][49] This treatise dismisses magical practices like necromancy,[48] and contains most of the alchemical work attributed to Bacon, chiefly a formula for philosopher's stone,[49] and perhaps one for gunpowder.[46] It also contains a number of passages about hypothetical flying machines and (what we today call) submarines, attributing their first use to Alexander the Great.[50]

Bacon is also the ascribed author of the alchemical manual Speculum Alchemiae, which was translated into English as The Mirror of Alchimy in 1597.[51] It is a short treatise about the composition and origin of metals, espousing "conventional" (with respect to the period) Arabian theories of mercury and sulfur as the constituents of metals, and containing vague allusions to transmutation. About this work, John Maxson Stillman wrote that "there is nothing in it that is characteristic of Roger Bacon's style or ideas, nor that distinguishes it from many unimportant alchemical lucubrations of anonymous writers of the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries". M. M. Pattison Muir had a similar opinion, and Edmund Oscar von Lippmann considered this text a pseudepigraph.[52]edit Gunpowder

Bacon is often considered the first European to describe a mixture containing the essential ingredients of gunpowder. Based on two passages from Bacon's Opus Maius and Opus Tertium, extensively analyzed by J. R. Partington, several scholars cited by Joseph Needham concluded that Bacon had most likely witnessed at least one demonstration of Chinese firecrackers, possibly obtained with the intermediation of other Franciscans, like his friend William of Rubruck, who had visited the Mongols.[46][53] The most telling passage reads: "We have an example of these things (that act on the senses) in [the sound and fire of] that children's toy which is made in many [diverse] parts of the world; i.e. a device no bigger than one's thumb. From the violence of that salt called saltpetre [together with sulphur and willow charcoal, combined into a powder] so horrible a sound is made by the bursting of a thing so small, no more than a bit of parchment [containing it], that we find [the ear assaulted by a noise] exceeding the roar of strong thunder, and a flash brighter than the most brilliant lightning."[46]

More controversial are the claims originating with Royal Artillery colonel Henry William Lovett Hime (at the beginning of the 20th century) that a cryptogram existed in Bacon's Epistola, giving the ratio of ingredients of the mixture. These were published, among other places, in the 1911 edition of Encyclopædia Britannica.[54] An early critic of this claim was Lynn Thorndike, starting with a letter in the 1915 edition of the journal Science ,[55] and repeated in several books of his. M. M. Pattison Muir also expressed his doubts on Hime's theory, and they were echoed by John Maxson Stillman.[56] Robert Steele[57] and George Sarton also joined the critics.[58] Needham concurred with these earlier critics in their opinion that the additional passage does not originate with Bacon.[46] In any case, the proportions claimed to have been deciphered (7:5:5 saltpeter:charcoal:sulfur) are not even useful for stuffing firecrakers, burning slowly while producing mostly smoke,


To commemorate Bacon's seven hundredth anniversary, Professor John Erskine wrote A Pageant of the Thirteenth Century, a biographical play which was produced at Columbia University and published as a book by Columbia University Press in 1914.

An accessible description of Roger Bacon's life and times is contained in the fiction book Doctor Mirabilis, written in 1964 by the science fiction author James Blish.[61] This is the second book in Blish's quasi-religious trilogy After Such Knowledge, and is a recounting of Bacon's life and struggle to develop a 'Universal Science'. Though thoroughly researched, with a host of references, including extensive use of Bacon's own writings, frequently in the original Latin, the book is written in the style of a novel, and Blish himself referred to it as 'fiction' or 'a vision'. Blish's view of Bacon is uncompromisingly that he was the first scientist, and he provides a postscript to the novel in which he sets forth these views. Central to his depiction of Roger Bacon is that 'He was not an inventor, an Edison or Luther Burbank, holding up a test tube with a shout of Eureka!' He was instead a theoretical scientist probing fundamental realities, and his visions of modern technology were just by-products of "...the way he normally thought — the theory of theories as tools..." Blish indicates where Bacon's writings, for example, consider Newtonian metrical frameworks for space, then reject these for something which reads remarkably like Einsteinian Relativity, and all '...breathtakingly without pause or hiccup, breezily moving without any recourse through over 800 years of physics'.

Many writers of earlier times have been attracted to Roger Bacon as the epitome of a wise and subtle possessor of forbidden knowledge, similar to Faustus. A succession of legends and unverifiable stories has grown up about him, for example, that he created a brazen talking head which could answer any question. This has a central role in the play Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay written by Robert Greene in about 1589.

Bacon also appears as first scientist in The Black Rose, the most commercially successful book by Thomas Costain, written in 1945. The Black Rose is set in the Middle Ages. Bacon's personal presence in the narrative is brief, but includes a demonstration of gunpowder and a few sentences outlining a philosophy of science which might as easily be attributed to Francis Bacon centuries later. The novel's Roger Bacon serves to motivate Costain's protagonist, a fictional Englishman who journeys to China during the reigns of Edward I and Kublai Khan. Costain's narration includes technology such as the compass, the telescope, rockets and the manufacture of paper, all described by his young adventurer with an eye toward bringing these marvels back to Bacon for analysis. Returning to England to find Bacon gone and under house arrest, the traveller begs King Edward to intercede with the pope for the Franciscan's release, arguing that with Bacon's imprisonment a great light of the world is in danger of being put out. Costain's character also comes to argue for emancipation of the Saxon villeins (serfs), linking political with intellectual enlightenment under the fictional Bacon's influence.




Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans,[1] KC (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626) was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, author and pioneer of the scientific method. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England. Although his political career ended in disgrace, 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.[2] His works established and popularised inductive methodologies for scientific inquiry, often called the Baconian method, or simply the scientific method. His demand for a planned procedure of investigating all things natural marked a new turn in the rhetorical and theoretical framework for science, much of which still surrounds conceptions of proper methodology today. His dedication probably led to his death, bringing him into a rare historical group of scientists who were killed by their own experiments.

Bacon was knighted in 1603, and created both the Baron Verulam in 1618, and the Viscount St Alban in 1621;[3] as he died without heirs both peerages became extinct upon his death. He famously died of pneumonia contracted while studying the effects of freezing on the preservation of meat


The Italianate York Water Gate – the entry to York House, built about 1626 after Bacon's death

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 noted humanist Anthony Cooke. His mother's sister was married to William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, making Burghley Francis Bacon's uncle. Biographers believe that Bacon was educated at home in his early years owing to poor health (which plagued him throughout his life), receiving tuition from John Walsall, a graduate of Oxford with a strong leaning towards Puritanism. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge, on 5 April 1573 at the age of twelve,[4] living for three years there together with his older brother Anthony 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 Keeper".[5]

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 loathing of Aristotelian philosophy, which seemed to him barren, disputatious, and wrong in its objectives. Trinity College, Great Court with fountain

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.

[edit] Parliamentarian

Bacon's threefold goals were 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, which might enable him to pursue a life of learning. His application failed. For two years he worked quietly at Gray's Inn, until he was admitted as an outer barrister in 1582.

His parliamentary career began when he was elected MP for Bossiney, Devon in a 1581 by-election. In 1584, he took his seat in parliament for Melcombe in Dorset, and subsequently for Taunton (1586). 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 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 chapel 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 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 Bencher in 1586, and he 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 – a post which was worth £16,000 a year.[6]

In 1588 he was returned as 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).[7]

[edit] Attorney Generalereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, Queen Elizabeth's favourite. By 1591, he acted as the earl's confidential adviser.

In 1592, he was commissioned to write a tract in response to the Jesuit Robert Parson's anti-government polemic, which he entitled 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 many people.[clarification needed] Opponents accused him of seeking popularity. For a time, the royal court excluded him.

When the Attorney-Generalship fell vacant in 1594, Lord Essex's influence was not enough to secure Bacon that office. Likewise, Bacon failed to secure the lesser office of Solicitor-General in 1595.[6] To console him for these disappointments, Essex presented him with a property at Twickenham, which he sold subsequently for £1,800.

In 1596, Bacon became Queen's Counsel, but missed the appointment of Master of the Rolls. During the next few years, his financial situation remained bad. His friends could find no public office for him, and a scheme for retrieving his position by a marriage with the wealthy and young widow Lady Elizabeth Hatton failed after she broke off their relationship upon accepting marriage to a wealthier man. In 1598 Bacon was arrested for debt. Afterwards however, his standing in the Queen's eyes improved. Gradually, Bacon earned the standing of one of the learned counsels, though he had no commission or warrant and received no salary. His relationship with the Queen further improved when he severed ties with Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, a shrewd move because Essex was executed for treason in 1601.

With others, Bacon was appointed to investigate the charges against Essex, his former friend and benefactor. A number of Essex's followers confessed that Essex had planned a rebellion against the Queen.[8] Bacon was subsequently a part of the legal team headed by Attorney General Sir Edward Coke at Essex's treason trial.[9] 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.[10]

[edit] 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 Apologie 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.[6] The following year, he began working as the Clerkship of the Star Chamber. In spite of a generous income, old debts still couldn't be paid. He sought further promotion and wealth by supporting King James and his arbitrary policies.

In 1610 the fourth session of James' 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 prosecuted Somerset 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 which 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 the 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 or, as the new peer styled himself, Francis, Lord Verulam.[6]

Bacon continued to use his influence with the king to mediate between the throne and Parliament and in this capacity he was further elevated, as Viscount St Alban, on 27 January 1621.[



[edit] Lord Chancellor and public disgrace

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 twenty-three separate counts of corruption. 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 during the king's pleasure; the imprisonment lasted only a few days and the fine was remitted by the king.[12] 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.[13] 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. The true reason for his acknowledgement of guilt is the subject of debate, but it may have been prompted by his poor state of health, 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 confession.[13][14]


Francis Bacon


When he was 36, Bacon engaged in the courtship of Elizabeth Hatton, a young widow of 20. Reportedly, she broke off their relationship upon accepting marriage to a wealthier man—Edward Coke. Years later, Bacon still wrote of his regret that the marriage to Hatton had not taken place.[15]

At the age of forty-five, Bacon married Alice Barnham, the fourteen-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.

Reports of increasing friction in his marriage to Alice appeared, with speculation that some of this may have been due to financial resources not being as readily available to her as she was accustomed to having in the past. Alice was reportedly interested in fame and fortune, and when reserves of money were no longer available, there were complaints about where all the money was going. Alice Chambers Bunten wrote in her Life of Alice Barnham[16] that, upon their descent into debt, she actually 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 John Underhill. He rewrote his will, which had previously been very generous to her (leaving her lands, goods, and income), revoking it all.

Though the well-connected antiquary John Aubrey noted among his private memoranda concerning Bacon, "He was a Pederast. His Ganimeds and Favourites tooke Bribes",[17] biographers continue to debate about Bacon's sexual inclinations and the precise nature of his personal relationships.[18] Several authors[19][20] believe that despite his marriage Bacon was primarily attracted to the same sex. Professor Forker[21] for example has explored the "historically documentable sexual preferences" of both King James and Bacon – and concluded they were all oriented 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."[22] The Jacobean antiquarian, Sir Simonds D'Ewes implied there had been a question of bringing him to trial for buggery.[23] This conclusion has been disputed by others,[24][25] who consider the sources to be more open to interpretation.

Monument to Bacon at his burial place, St Michael's Church in St Albans

On 9 April 1626 Bacon died of pneumonia while at Arundel mansion at Highgate outside London. An influential account of the circumstances of his death was given by John Aubrey's Brief Lives. 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. Aubrey's vivid account, which portrays Bacon as a martyr to experimental scientific method, had him journeying to Highgate through 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."

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 pen."[26]

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 by suffocation.[27]

At his funeral, over thirty great minds collected together their eulogies of him, which was then later published in Latin.[28]

He left personal assets of about £7,000 and lands that realised £6,000 when sold.[29] His debts amounted to more than £23,000, equivalent to more than £3m at current value.[29][30]

[edit] Philosophy and works

Francis Bacon is the father of the scientific method, which is fundamental to natural philosophy. In his magnum opus, Novum Organum, or "new instrument", Francis Bacon argued that although philosophy at the time mainly used deductive syllogisms to interpret nature, mainly owing to Aristotle's logic (or Organon), the philosopher should instead proceed through inductive reasoning from fact to axiom to physical law. Before beginning this induction, the enquirer is to free his or her mind from certain false notions or tendencies which distort the truth. These are called "Idols" (idola),[31] and are of four kinds:

The end of induction is the discovery of forms, the ways in which natural phenomena occur, the causes from which they proceed.

Bacon explicated his somewhat fragmentary ethical system – derived through use of his methods – in the seventh and eighth books of his De augmentis scientiarum (1623) – where he distinguished between duty to the community (an ethical matter) and duty to God (a religious matter). Bacon claimed that: