Bacon eBook

Richard William Church
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 253 pages of information about Bacon.
unscrupulousness.  It was supposed to be written by the ablest of the Roman pamphleteers, Father Parsons.  The Government felt it to be a dangerous indictment, and Bacon was chosen to write the answer to it.  He had additional interest in the matter, for the pamphlet made a special and bitter attack on Burghley, as the person mainly responsible for the Queen’s policy.  Bacon’s reply is long and elaborate, taking up every charge, and reviewing from his own point of view the whole course of the struggle between the Queen and the supporters of the Roman Catholic interest abroad and at home.  It cannot be considered an impartial review; besides that it was written to order, no man in England could then write impartially in that quarrel; but it is not more one-sided and uncandid than the pamphlet which it answers, and Bacon is able to recriminate with effect, and to show gross credulity and looseness of assertion on the part of the Roman Catholic advocate.  But religion had too much to do with the politics of both sides for either to be able to come into the dispute with clean hands:  the Roman Catholics meant much more than toleration, and the sanguinary punishments of the English law against priests and Jesuits were edged by something even keener than the fear of treason.  But the paper contains some large surveys of public affairs, which probably no one at that time could write but Bacon.  Bacon never liked to waste anything good which he had written; and much of what he had written in the panegyric in Praise of the Queen is made use of again, and transferred with little change to the pages of the Observations on a Libel.


[2] Dr. Mozley.



The last decade of the century, and almost of Elizabeth’s reign (1590-1600), was an eventful one to Bacon’s fortunes.  In it the vision of his great design disclosed itself more and more to his imagination and hopes, and with more and more irresistible fascination.  In it he made his first literary venture, the first edition of his Essays (1597), ten in number, the first-fruits of his early and ever watchful observation of men and affairs.  These years, too, saw his first steps in public life, the first efforts to bring him into importance, the first great trials and tests of his character.  They saw the beginning and they saw the end of his relations with the only friend who, at that time, recognised his genius and his purposes, certainly the only friend who ever pushed his claims; they saw the growth of a friendship which was to have so tragical a close, and they saw the beginnings and causes of a bitter personal rivalry which was to last through life, and which was to be a potent element hereafter in Bacon’s ruin.  The friend was the Earl of Essex.  The competitor was the ablest, and also the most truculent and unscrupulous of English lawyers, Edward Coke.

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Bacon from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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