Bacon eBook

Richard William Church
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 253 pages of information about Bacon.
“Facility to believe, impatience to doubt, temerity to assever, glory to know, doubt to contradict, end to gain, sloth to search, seeking things in words, resting in a part of nature—­these and the like have been the things which have forbidden the happy match between the mind of man and the nature of things, and in place thereof have married it to vain notions and blind experiments....  Therefore, no doubt, the sovereignty of man lieth hid in knowledge; wherein many things are reserved which kings with their treasures cannot buy nor with their force command; their spials and intelligencers can give no news of them; their seamen and discoverers cannot sail where they grow.  Now we govern nature in opinions, but we are thrall unto her in necessity; but if we could be led by her in invention, we should command her in action.”

To the same occasion as the discourse on the Praise of Knowledge belongs, also, one in Praise of the Queen.  As one is an early specimen of his manner of writing on philosophy, so this is a specimen of what was equally characteristic of him—­his political and historical writing.  It is, in form, necessarily a panegyric, as high-flown and adulatory as such performances in those days were bound to be.  But it is not only flattery.  It fixes with true discrimination on the points in Elizabeth’s character and reign which were really subjects of admiration and homage.  Thus of her unquailing spirit at the time of the Spanish invasion—­

“Lastly, see a Queen, that when her realm was to have been invaded by an army, the preparation whereof was like the travail of an elephant, the provisions infinite, the setting forth whereof was the terror and wonder of Europe; it was not seen that her cheer, her fashion, her ordinary manner was anything altered; not a cloud of that storm did appear in that countenance wherein peace doth ever shine; but with excellent assurance and advised security she inspired her council, animated her nobility, redoubled the courage of her people; still having this noble apprehension, not only that she would communicate her fortune with them, but that it was she that would protect them, and not they her; which she testified by no less demonstration than her presence in camp.  Therefore that magnanimity that neither feareth greatness of alteration, nor the vows of conspirators, nor the power of the enemy, is more than heroical.”

These papers, though he put his best workmanship into them, as he invariably did with whatever he touched, were of an ornamental kind.  But he did more serious work.  In the year 1592 a pamphlet had been published on the Continent in Latin and English, Responsio ad Edictum Reginae Angliae, with reference to the severe legislation which followed on the Armada, making such charges against the Queen and the Government as it was natural for the Roman Catholic party to make, and making them with the utmost virulence and

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Bacon from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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