Bacon eBook

Richard William Church
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 253 pages of information about Bacon.
his words, his letters.  “Men are made up,” says a keen observer, “of professions, gifts, and talents; and also of themselves."[2] With all his greatness, his splendid genius, his magnificent ideas, his enthusiasm for truth, his passion to be the benefactor of his kind; with all the charm that made him loved by good and worthy friends, amiable, courteous, patient, delightful as a companion, ready to take any trouble—­there was in Bacon’s “self” a deep and fatal flaw.  He was a pleaser of men.  There was in him that subtle fault, noted and named both by philosophy and religion in the [Greek:  areskos] of Aristotle, the [Greek:  anthropareskos] of St. Paul, which is more common than it is pleasant to think, even in good people, but which if it becomes dominant in a character is ruinous to truth and power.  He was one of the men—­there are many of them—­who are unable to release their imagination from the impression of present and immediate power, face to face with themselves.  It seems as if he carried into conduct the leading rule of his philosophy of nature, parendo vincitur.  In both worlds, moral and physical, he felt himself encompassed by vast forces, irresistible by direct opposition.  Men whom he wanted to bring round to his purposes were as strange, as refractory, as obstinate, as impenetrable as the phenomena of the natural world.  It was no use attacking in front, and by a direct trial of strength, people like Elizabeth or Cecil or James; he might as well think of forcing some natural power in defiance of natural law.  The first word of his teaching about nature is that she must be won by observation of her tendencies and demands; the same radical disposition of temper reveals itself in his dealings with men:  they, too, must be won by yielding to them, by adapting himself to their moods and ends; by spying into the drift of their humour, by subtly and pliantly falling in with it, by circuitous and indirect processes, the fruit of vigilance and patient thought.  He thought to direct, while submitting apparently to be directed.  But he mistook his strength.  Nature and man are different powers, and under different laws.  He chose to please man, and not to follow what his soul must have told him was the better way.  He wanted, in his dealings with men, that sincerity on which he insisted so strongly in his dealings with nature and knowledge.  And the ruin of a great life was the consequence.

Francis Bacon was born in London on the 22d of January, 1560/61, three years before Galileo.  He was born at York House, in the Strand; the house which, though it belonged to the Archbishops of York, had been lately tenanted by Lord Keepers and Lord Chancellors, in which Bacon himself afterwards lived as Lord Chancellor, and which passed after his fall into the hands of the Duke of Buckingham, who has left his mark in the Water Gate which is now seen, far from the river, in the garden of the Thames Embankment.  His father was Sir Nicholas Bacon, Elizabeth’s first Lord

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Bacon from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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