Bacon eBook

Richard William Church
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 253 pages of information about Bacon.
about publishing so secret and so ambiguous a record of a man’s most private confidences with himself.  But there it was, and, as it was known, he no doubt decided wisely in publishing it as it stands; he has done his best to make it intelligible, and he has also done his best to remove any unfavourable impressions that might arise from it.  It is singularly interesting as an evidence of Bacon’s way of working, of his watchfulness, his industry, his care in preparing himself long beforehand for possible occasions, his readiness to take any amount of trouble about his present duties, his self-reliant desire for more important and difficult ones.  It exhibits his habit of self-observation and self-correction, his care to mend his natural defects of voice, manner, and delivery; it is even more curious in showing him watching his own physical constitution and health, in the most minute details of symptoms and remedies, equally with a scientific and a practical object.  It contains his estimate of his income, his expenditure, his debts, schedules of lands and jewels, his rules for the economy of his estate, his plans for his new gardens and terraces and ponds and buildings at Gorhambury.  He was now a rich man, valuing his property at L24,155 and his income at L4975, burdened with a considerable debt, but not more than he might easily look to wipe out.  But, besides all these points, there appear the two large interests of his life—­the reform of philosophy, and his ideal of a great national policy.  The “greatness of Britain” was one of his favourite subjects of meditation.  He puts down in his notes the outline of what should be aimed at to secure and increase it; it is to make the various forces of the great and growing empire work together in harmonious order, without waste, without jealousy, without encroachment and collision; to unite not only the interests but the sympathies and aims of the Crown with those of the people and Parliament; and so to make Britain, now in peril from nothing but from the strength of its own discordant elements, that “Monarchy of the West” in reality, which Spain was in show, and, as Bacon always maintained, only in show.  The survey of the condition of his philosophical enterprise takes more space.  He notes the stages and points to which his plans have reached; he indicates, with a favourite quotation or apophthegm—­“Plus ultra”—­“ausus vana contemnere”—­“aditus non nisi sub persona infantis” soon to be familiar to the world in his published writings—­the lines of argument, sometimes alternative ones, which were before him; he draws out schemes of inquiry, specimen tables, distinctions and classifications about the subject of Motion, in English interlarded with Latin, or in Latin interlarded with English, of his characteristic and practical sort; he notes the various sources from which he might look for help and co-operation—­“of learned men beyond the seas”—­“to begin first in France to print it”—­“laying
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Bacon from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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