The Mystery of Francis Bacon WILLIAM T. SMEDLEY Author
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CHAPTER I.--Sources of Information 9 II.--The Stock from which Bacon Came 14 III.--Francis Bacon, 1560 to 1572 19 IV.--At Cambridge 25 V.--Early Compositions 29 VI.--Bacon's Temporis Partus Maximus 36 VII.--Bacon's First Allegorical Romance 47 VIII.--Bacon in France, 1576-1579 52 IX.--Bacon's Suit on His Return to England, 1580 62 X.--The Rare and Unaccustomed Suit 76 XI.--Bacon's Second Visit to the Continent and After 82 XII.--Is it Probable that Bacon left Manuscripts Hidden Away? 94 XIII.--How the Elizabethan Literature was Produced 98 XIV.--The Clue to the Mystery of Bacon's Life 103 XV.--Burghley and Bacon 114 XVI.--The 1623 Folio Edition of Shakespeare's Plays 123 XVII.--The Authorised Version of the Bible, 1611 126 XVIII.--How Bacon Marked Books with the Publication of Which He Was Connected 132 XIX.--Bacon and Emblemata 140 XX.--Shakespeare's Sonnets 148 XXI.--Bacon's Library 156 XXII.--Two German Opinions on Shakespeare and Bacon 161 XXIII.--The Testimony of Bacon's Contemporaries 170 XXIV.--The Missing Fourth Part of The Great Instauration 177 XXV.--The Philosophy of Bacon 187 Appendix 193PREFACE.Is there a mystery connected with the life of Francis Bacon? The averagestudent of history or literature will unhesitatingly reply in thenegative, perhaps qualifying his answer by adding:--Unless it be amystery that a man with such magnificent intellectual attainments couldhave fallen so low as to prove a faithless friend to a generousbenefactor in the hour of his trial, and, upon being raised to one ofthe highest positions of honour and influence in the State, to become acorrupt public servant and a receiver of bribes to pervert justice.--Itis one of the most remarkable circumstances to be found in the historyof any country that a man admittedly pre-eminent in his intellectualpowers, spoken of by his contemporaries in the highest terms for hisvirtues and his goodness, should, in subsequent ages, be held up toobloquy and scorn and seldom be referred to except as an example of acorrupt judge, a standing warning to those who must take heed how theystand lest they fall. Truly the treatment which Francis Bacon hasreceived confirms the truth of the aphorism, The evil that men do livesafter them; the good is oft interred with their bones.It is not the intention in the following brief survey of Bacon's life toenter upon any attempt to vindicate his character. Since his works andlife have come prominently before the reading public, he has never beenwithout a defender. Montagu, Hepworth Dixon, and Spedding have, oneafter the other, raised their voices against the injustice which hasbeen done to the memory of this great Englishman; and althoughMacaulay, in his misleading and inaccurate essay,[1] abounding inparadoxes and inconsistencies, produced the most powerful, thoughprejudiced, attack which has been made on Bacon's fame, he may almost beforgiven, because it provided the occasion for James Spedding inEvenings with a Reviewer, to respond with a thorough and completevindication of the man to whose memory he devoted his life. There restson every member of the Anglo-Saxon race an obligation--imposed upon himby the benefits which he enjoys as the result of Francis Bacon'slife-work--to read this vindication of his character. Nor should mentionbe omitted of the essay by Mr. J. M. Robertson on Francis Bacon in hisexcellent work Pioneer Humanists. All these defenders of Bacon treattheir subject from what may be termed the orthodox point of view. Theyfollow in the beaten track. They do not look for Bacon outside hisacknowledged works and letters.


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