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of the Kingdom, a portion of time wherein, to my understanding, there hath been the rarest varieties that in like number of successions of any hereditary monarchy hath been known. For it beginneth with the mixed adeption of a crown by arms and title; an entry by battle, an establishment by marriage; and therefore times answerable like water after a tempest, full of working and swelling, though without extremity of storm; but well passed through by the wisdom of the pilot, being one of the most sufficient kings of all the number. Then followed the reign of a king whose actions, however conducted, had much intermixture with the affairs of Europe, balancing and inclining them variably; in whose time also began that great alteration in the State ecclesiastical, an action which seldom cometh upon the stage then the reign of a minor; then an offer of an usurpation, though it was but febris ephemera: then the reign of a queen matched with a foreigner: then of a queen that lived solitary and unmarried, and yet her government so masculine as it had greater impression and operation upon the states abroad than it any ways received from thence and now last, this most happy and glorious event that this Island of Britain, divided from all the world, should be united in itself; and that oracle of rest given to Æneas, Antiquam exquirite matrem, should now be performed and fulfilled upon the nations of England and Scotland, being now reunited in the ancient mother name of Britain as a full period of all instability and peregrination; so that as it cometh to pass in massive bodies, that they have certain trepidations and waverings before they fix and settle; so it seemeth that by the providence of God this monarchy, before it was to settle in your Majesty and your generations (in which I hope it is now established for ever) it had then prelusive changes and varieties.

In the Novum Organum, which, being written in Latin, does not strictly fall within our province, Bacon returns in a measure to the aphoristic character of the Essays. "Maxims such as these," says Dr. Fowler, citing a few of the more remarkable, "live long in the memory, and insensibly influence the whole habit of thought. What Bacon says of Plato is preeminently true of himself; "he was a man of sublime genius, who took a view of everything as from a high rock." While, however, he had the genius to perceive the necessity of basing natural philosophy upon experiment, he attempted few experiments himself except such as were short and easy, and lacked the power of appreciating the researches of others. He disbelieved the Copernican theory; and failed to recognise the importance, not only of Gilbert's abstruse investigations in magnetism, but of Galileo's telescope, which must surely have captivated his imagination could he have known it otherwise than by report.

The De Sapientia Veterum (1609), though originally written in Latin, ranks among English books through the contemporary translation of Sir Arthur Gorges. It brought Bacon more immediate reputation than any of his works, except the Essays, but has little significance for the present age, being at most an ingenious attempt to educe imaginary meanings from classical myths.

The New Atlantis may be regarded as an appendix to The Advancement of Learning, and at the same time as an attempt to present Bacon's ideas in a more popular form. It also aims at externalising them, and is thus the only example of Bacon's assuming the character of a creator, and depicting imaginary persons and things. The machinery, being the conception of the discovery of an unknown country by mariners driven out of their

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course, invites comparison with The Tempest, and the parallel suffices to display the ludicrousness of the identification of Bacon with Shakespeare. Shakespeare waves his wand, and a new world starts up around him. Bacon transplants the world he knows to an imaginary locality. So little of the wild and wonderful is there in his work that one of the chief merits claimed for it is to have prefigured the institution of the Royal Society, and to have not improbably influenced its founders. Yet, if Bacon could not pass the flaming bounds of Space and Time," he could work to excellent purpose within



them, and his work is doubly interesting as a revelation of his own inner mind, and as a testimony of the strength of the enthusiasm which could impel so sedate a personage into fiction. It might not have been written but for the example of More's Utopia, to which, nevertheless, it presents an entire contrast. More's Utopia is ethical and political, Bacon's in its present fragmentary condition, for the moral sciences were never handled in it according to the author's original design, scientific. He had already established that the advancement of knowledge must come from the interrogation of Nature, and he now essays, by the

Francis Bacon

After the portrait by Paul van Somer

example of an imaginary nation, to show how this may be conducted, more effectually, because systematically, than hitherto, under Government control. "Solomon's House, or the College of the Six Days' Works," is founded by the people of the New Atlantis "for the interpreting of nature, and the producing of great and marvellous works for the benefit of men." Whatever exception may be taken to details, the idea in itself is fine and fruitful, and eminently worthy of Bacon. The conduct of the fiction, also, merits the praise of ingenuity, in so far as the difficulties incident to the existence of the New Atlantis, and the scientific proficiency of the inhabitants are. avoided. The fragment was written between 1614 and 1617, as appears from allusions in Bacon's own manuscripts. It was first printed after his death.

The "History
of Henry

The following is a good specimen of the easy level narrative of The New Atlantis, as little like Shakespeare as can be conceived, but with a certain Defoe-like power of compelling credence :

It came to pass that the next day, about evening, we saw within a kenning before us, to the north, as it were thick clouds, which did put us in some hope of land; knowing how that part of the South Sea was utterly unknown, and might have islands or continents that hitherto were not come to light. Wherefore we bent our course thither where we saw the appearance of land all that night; and in the dawning of the next day we might plainly discern that it was a land, flat to our sight, and full of boscage, which made it show the more dark. And after an hour and a half's sailing we entered into a good haven, being the port of a fair city; not great indeed but well built, and that gave a pleasant view from the sea and we thinking every minute long till we were on land, came close to the shore, and offered to land. But straightway we saw divers of the people with bastons in their hands, as it were forbidding us to land; yet without any cries or fierceness, but only as warning us off by signs that they made. Wherefore, being not a little discomforted, we were advising with ourselves what we should do. During which time there made forth to us a small boat, with about eight persons in it; wherein one of them had in his hand a tipstaff of a yellow cane, tipped at both ends with blue, who came aboard on ship without any show of distrust at all. And when he saw one of our number present himself somewhat afore the rest, he drew forth a little scroll of parchment, somewhat yellower than our parchment, and shining like the leaves of writing-tables, but otherwise soft and flexible, and delivered it to our foremost man.

The New Atlantis was published in 1627, at the end of the Sylva Sylvarum, by Bacon's literary executor, Rawley. The recoverer of Nova Solyma points out its influence on that remarkable work, and it had several professed continuations. It seems to be ridiculed in Swift's Voyage to Laputa. For some reason not easily fathomed, satirists, from Aristophanes to Dickens, have usually been inimical to physical science. Rabelais is an exception.

Bacon's political writings are numerous, and his historical compositions may be included among them. By much the most important of these is his History of Henry VII., written, as we have seen, immediately after his disgrace in 1621. He had, no doubt, reason to know that the undertaking would be acceptable to James I., but there is no ground to suppose that he intended to idealise either James or himself in Henry and, since we have seen that he had already indicated the history of England from the battle of Bosworth Field to the death of Elizabeth as an historical desideratum, it is most probable that he took advantage of his unwonted leisure to execute a favourite plan. The work does him the highest honour for its ease and breadth of execution, and perfect penetration of the motives of the leading actors. "He gives," says Bishop Nicholson, "as sprightly a view of the secrets of Henry's Council as if he had been president of it." It is entirely a political history, the life of a statesman by a statesman, and may in this respect be compared to the histories of Ranke, but is not, like these, based upon the evidence of State Papers. The author's complete knowledge of the period must have enabled him to dispense with documentary research, for, although minor errors have been discovered, such as attributing to Pope Alexander an action of his pre


Title page of Bacon's " History of the Reign of Henry VII.," 1622

decessor, no more recent writer has been able to vary Bacon's portrait of Henry to any appreciable extent. The tone is in general cool and unimpassioned, moral judgment remains in abeyance, and little use is made of the picturesque passages from the chroniclers, in which Shakespeare would have luxuriated; but the dryness which might have been the result of this sobriety is avoided by a frequent employment of quaint, brilliant, and striking metaphors and comparisons, some of which would in our day be thought below the dignity of history :

She began to cast within herself for what coast this blazing star should first appear, and at what time.

Upon the first grain of incense that was sacrificed upon the altar of peace at Bulloigne, Perkin was smoked away.

These fames grew so general as the authors were lost in the generality of speakers ; they being like running weeds that have no certain root, or like footings up and down impossible to be traced.

For profit, it was to be made in two ways, upon his subjects for the war, and upon his enemies for the peace; like a good merchant that makes his gain both upon the commodities exported and imported back again.

The following is a good average specimen of Bacon's narrative:

The King went forwards on his journey, and made a joyful entry into Exeter, where he gave the citizens great commendations and thanks; and taking his sword he wore from his side, he gave it to the Mayor, and commanded it should for ever after be carried before him. There also he caused to be executed some of the ringleaders of the Cornishmen, in sacrifice to the citizens, whom they had put in fear and trouble. At Exeter the King consulted with his counsel whether he should offer life to Perkin if he would quit the sanctuary and voluntarily submit himself. The counsel were divided in opinion. Some advised the King to take him out of sanctuary perforce, and put him to death, as in a case of necessity, which in itself dispenses with consecrated persons and things; wherein they doubted not also but the King should find the Pope tractable to ratify his deed, either by declaration or at least by indulgence. Others were of opinion, since all was now safe and no further hurt could be done, that it was not worth the exposing of the King to new scandal and envy. A third part fell upon the opinion that it was not possible for the King ever either to satisfy the world well touching the imposture or to learn out the bottom of the conspiracy, except by promise of life and pardon and other fair means he should get Perkin into his hands. But they did all in their preambles much bemoan the King's case, with a kind of indignation at his fortune; that a prince of his high wisdom and virtue should have been so long and so oft exercised and vexed with idols. But the King said that it was the vexation of God Almighty himself to be vexed with idols, and therefore that was not to trouble any of his friends and that for himself he always despised them, but was grieved that they had put his people to such trouble and misery. But in conclusion he leaned to the third opinion; and so sent some to deal with Perkin; who seeing himself a prisoner and destitute of all hopes, having tried princes and peoples, great and small, and found all either false, faint, or unfortunate, did gladly accept of the condition. The King did also while he was at Exeter appoint the Lord Darcy and others commissions for the fining of all such as were of any value, and had any hand or partaking in the aid or comfort of Perkin or the Cornishmen, either in the field or in the flight. These commissions proceeded with such strictness and severity as did much obscure the King's mercy in the sparing of blood, with the bleeding of so much treasure. Perkin was brought unto the King's court, but not to the King's presence; though the King to satisfy his curiosity saw him sometimes out of a window or in passage. He was in show at liberty, but guarded with all the care and watch that was possible, and willed to follow the King to London. But from

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