Francis Bacon.

Bacon's essays ; and, Colours of good and evil online

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APPENDIX .... , 269

NOTES .... . 289


GLOSSARY .... . 355




Matriculated at Trin. Coll. Cam-
bridge .....

Admitted at Gray's Inn

First sat in the House of Com-
mons as Member for Melcottibe

Knighted by James i.

King's Counsel ....

Solicitor General

Attorney General

Privy Councillor

Lord Keeper ....

Lord High Chancellor

Baron Verulam ....

Viscount St Alban

Sentenced by the House of Lords


22 Jan. 1560-1
10 June, 1573

21 XOV.


23 July, 1603
25 Aug. 1604

25 June, 1607

26 Oct. 1613
9 June, 1616

3 March, 1616-7

4 Jan. 1617-8
July, 1618

27 Jan. 1620-1
3 May, 1621

9 Apr. 1626


UNDER the date 5 Feb. 1596 the following entry oc-
curs in the books of the Stationers" Company. "Hufny
Hooper. En (red for his copie under thandes of Mr
Fr* Bacon Mr D Stanhope Mr Barlowe, and Mr War-
den Dawson, a booke intituled Essaies Religions medi-
tations, places of perswasion and diswasion by Mr Fr.
Bacon." This was the first edition of Bacorfs Essays.
They were published in a small %vo. volume, of which
the full title is as follows: " Essay es. Religious Medi-
tations. Places of perswasion and disswasion. Seene
and allowed. At London, Printed for Humfrey Hooper,
and are to be sold at the blacke Beare in Chauncery
Lane. 1597." The dedication to Antony Bacon occu-
pies three pages. Then follow the table of Contents and
the Essays, ten in number; i. Of studie. 1. Of dis-
course. 3. Of Ceremonies and respects. 4. Of fol-
lowers and friends. 5. Sutors. 6. Of expence. 7. Of
Regiment of health. 8. Of Honour and reputation.
9. Of Faction. 10. Of Negociating. The Essays
occupy thirteen folios, and are followed by the " Medi-
tationes Sacra,*'* or Religious Meditations, in Latin,


viii preface

consisting of 15 folios besides the title, and these by
1 ' The Coulers of Good and euill, " which are the
" places of persuasion and dissuasion" already men-
tioned. The numbering of the folios in the last two is
consecutive, 32 in all. This volume was dedicated by
Bacon to his brother Anthony in the following Epistle.


To M. Anthony Bacon

his deare Brother.

Lou ing and beloued Brother, I doe nowe like some
that haite an Orcharde ill neighbored, that gather their
fniit before it is ripe, to preuent stealing. These frag-
ments of my conceites were going to print; To labour
the staie of them had bin troublesome, and sub i eel to
interpretation ; to let them passe had beene to adueture
the wrong they mought receiue by vntrue Coppies, or by
some garnishment, which it mought please any that
should set them forth to bestow vpon them. Therefore
I helde it best discreation to pttblish them my selfe as
they passed long agoe from my pen, without any fur-
ther disgrace, then the weaknesse of the Author. And
as I did euer hold, there mought be as great a vanitie in
retiring and withdrawing metis conceites (except they
bee of some nature) from the world, as in obtruding
them : So in these particulars I haue played my selfe
the Inquisitor, and Jind nothing to my "understanding
in them contrarie or infectious to the state of Religion,
or manners, but rather (as I suppose) medidnable.
Only I disliked now to put them out because they will


bee like the late new halfe-pence^-, which though the
Siluer were good, yet the peeces were small. But since
they would not stay with their Master, but would needes
trauaile abroade, I haue preferred them to you that are
next my selfe, Dedicating them, such as they are, to our
loue, in the depth whereof (1 assure you} I sometimes
wish your infirmities translated vppon my selfe, that
her Maiestie mought haue the seruice of so acJiue and
able a mind, vSr 3 / mought be with excuse confined to
these contemplations &> Studies for which I am fittest,
so commend I you to the presentation of the diuine
Maiestie. From my Chamber at Graies Inne this 30.
of lanuarie. 1597.

Your entire Louing brother.


The date of this letter, if not a printer's error, is
evidently intended to be 1596-7, according to the then
reckoning of the civil year, which began on the i$th of
March. We have the entry at Stationers' Hall on
Feb. 5; a memorandum on the title page of the copy in
the British Museum that it was sold on the ^th of Feb.,
^Eliz. (i.e. 1596-7); and a letter of Anthony Bacon's
to the Earl of Essex, written on the 8/7; of Feb. 1596,
which appears to have accompanied a presentation copy
of the Essays. There are MSS. of this edition in the
British Museum (Lansd. MSS. 775), and the Cam-
bridge Univ. Lib. (Nn. 4. 5). The latter I have

1 Coined for the first time in 1582-3, and used without in-
terruption till 1601. See Folkes, Table of English Silver Coins,
p. 57, ed. 1745.

x preface

printed in the Appendix. A fragment containing the
essays ' Of Faction* and * Of Negotiatinge"* is in the
Jfarleian collection (no. 6797). In 1598 a second edi-
tion was published by Humfrey Hooper, also in small
%vo, differing from the first in having the Meditations
in English, and the table of Contents of the Essays at
the back of the title page. A pirated edition was printed
for John Jaggard in 1606, and in 1612 he was pre-
paring another reprint, when the second author's edition
appeared. In consequence of this, Jeiggard cancelled
the last two leaves of quire G, and in their place sub-
stituted " the second part of Essaies," which contains
all the additional Essays not printed in the edition of
1597. On the authority of a MS. list by Ma lone Mr
Singer mentions an edition in 1604, but I have found
no other trace of it.

During the summer of the year 1612 Bacon himself
had prepared and printed, in a small Sz'O. volume of
241 pages, a second edition of the Essays by themselves,
in which the original ten, with the exception of that
" Of Honour and reputation" were altered and en-
larged, and twenty-nine new Essays added. The title
of this second edition is; " The Essaies of S r Francis
Bacon Knight, the Kings Solliciter Generall. Imprinted
at London by lohn Beale, 1612." // was entered at
Stationers' Hall on the \ith of October, as follo^vs.
" W m Hall, John Beale. Entredfor their copy under
the handes of my Lo : Bysshopp of London & the
Wardens A booke called The Essayes of S r Fr* Bacon
knight the Ks Sollicitor gerfall" It was Bacon's in-
tention to have dedicated it to Prince Henry, and the
dedication was actually written, but in consequence of


the Princes death on the 6th of November, it was ad-
dressed instead to his brother in law Sir John Con-
stable*. A copy of the dedication to Prince Henry
exists in the British Museum (Birch MSS. 4259, fol.
155), and is written on a single leaf which appears on
examination to have belonged to an imperfcdl MS. of
the Essays, preserved among the Harleian MSS. (no.
5106), which Mr Spedding describes as "a volume
undoubtedly authentic; for it contains interlineations
in Bacon's own hand; and transcribed some time
between 1607, when Bacon became Solicitor-genera!,
and 1612, when he brought out a new edition of the
Essays with further additions and alterations. It is
unluckily not quite perfect; one leaf at least, if not
more, having been lost at the beginning; though other-
wise in excellent preservation.

" The title page, which remains, bears the following
inscription, very handsomely written in the old English
character, with flourished capitals: The writings of
Sr Francis Bacon Knt. the Kinge's Sollicitor Gene-
rail : in Moralitie, Policie, and Historic." (Bacon's
Works, vi. /. 535).

The Essays in this MS. are thirty-four in number,
and include two, " Of Honour and Reputation" and
" Of Seditions and Trotwles," which are not contained
tn the edition of 1612, while in the printed edition six
new Essays were added, " Of Religion" " Of Cun-
ning" " Of Loue," '* Of ludicature" " Of vaine
glory" and " Of great ties of Kingdomes" It is to
this MS. I have referred in the notes, when quoting the

2 Sir John Constable married Dorothy Barnham the sister
of Lady Bacon.

xii preface

MS. of the edition of 1612. The dedication to Prince
Usury was as follows :

" To the most high and excellent Prince Henry, Prince
of Wales, D: of Cornwall and Earle of Chester

Yt may please your //.

Having devided my life into the contemplative
and aftive parte, I am desirous to giue his M, and
yo r H. of thefruite of both, simple thought they be. To
write iust Treatises requireth leasure in the Writer,
and leasure in the Reader, and therefore are not so Jitt,
neither in regard of yo T II : princely affaires, nor in
regard of my continuall service, iif k is (he cause, that
Jiath made me choose to write certaine breif notes, sett
downe rather significantlye, then curiously, W* k I have
called ESSAIES. The -word is late, but the thing is
auncient. For Senacaes Epistles to Lucilius, yf one
marke them well, are but Essaies, That is dispersed
Meditacons, thoughe conveyed in the forme of Epistles.
Theis labors of myne I knew cannot be worthie of
yo r H: for what can be ivorthie of you. But my hope
is, they may be as graynes of salte, that will rather
give you an appetite, then offend you w* satiety. And
althoughe they handle those things wherein both mens
Lives and the ire pens are most conversant yet (What I
have attained, I knoive not) but I have endeavoured to
make them not vulgar; but of a nature, whereof a man
shall Jind much in experience, litle in bookes ; so as
they are neither repet icons norfansies. But howsoever,
I shall most humbly desier yo r H: to accept them in
gratious part, and so contrive that if I cannot rest,

preface xiii

but must shewe my dulifull, and dmoted affection to
yo r H: in theis things itf k proceed from my self, I
shalbe much more ready to doe it, in performance of
yo" princely commaundmente ; And so wishing yo r
H: all princely felicitye I rest.

Yo T H: most humble


The dedication to Sir John Constable is more simple
and natural.

" To my loving brother, S r John Constable Knight.

My last Essaies I dedicated to my dcare brother
Master Anthony Bacon, who is with God. Looking
amongst my papers this vacation, I found others of the
same Nature: which if I my selfe shall not suffer to
be lost, it seemeth the World will not; by the often
printing of the former. Missing my Brother, I found
you next; in respeft of bond of neare alliance, and of
straight friendship and societie, and particularly of
communication in studies. Wherein I must acknow-
ledge my selfe beholding to you. For as my businesse
found rest in my contemplations; so my contemplations
euer found rest in your louing conference and iudge-
ment. So wishing you, all good, I remaine

Your louing brother and friend,


The Table of Contents gives a list of forty Essays
but the last two were not printed, i. Of Religion, i.
Of Death. 3. Of Goodnes and goodncs of nature. 4. Of

xiv preface

Cunning. 5. Of Marriage and single life. 6. Of Pa-
rents and Children. 7. Of Nobilitie. 8. Of Great
place. 9. Of Empire. 10. Of Counsel!. \\.OfDispatch.
12. Of Loue. 13. Of Friendshippe. 14. Of Atheisme.
15. Of Superstition. 16. Of Wisdome for a Mans selfe.
17. Of Regiment of Health. 18. OfExpences. 19. Q/"
Discourse. 20. #/" Seeming wise. 21. <y Riches.
11. Of Ambition. 23. <y Young men and age* 24.
Of Beaut ie. 25. #/" Deformitie. 26. Qf nature in
Men. 27. Of Custome and Education. 28. Of For-
tune. 29. Of Studies. 30. Of Ceremonies and respefts.
31. Of Sutors. 32. Of Followers. 33. Of Negociating.
34. Of Faftion. 35. Of Praise. 36. Of Judicature.
37. Of vaine glory. 38. Of greatnes of Kingdomes.
39. <#* />& publike. 40. O/" J^m- 0</ /ou*. 77/^
second edition must have been published between the
6th of November, the date of Prince Henry's death,
and the \*jth of Dec. when Chamberlain wrote the let-
ter which is quoted in the note to Essay 44.

/;/ 1613 Jaggard published a reprint of this edition,
also in small 8w, containing the omitted Essay " <y
Honour and Reputation" the Religious Meditations^
and the Colours of Good and Evil; and in the same
year another reprint was issued by the same publisher
with a new title page and the printer's errors of the
former corrected. Copies of both these impressions are
in the Cambridge University Library, to which they
were presented t with a large collection of Bacorf s works,
by Basil Montagu. The latter is noted in Montagu's
Catalogue as having Bacons autograph, but the fly leaf
containing it has been torn out^ apparently since it has
been in the Library*

preface xv

In 1614 another edition appeared, printed at Edin-
burgh for A. Hart.

Malone mentions an edition in 1618, in the dedica-
tion to which, he says, Bacon "speaks of several
editions having been then printed^ (Priors Life of
Malone, /. 424). If the date be correcJ, ivhich there
is reason to doubt, this could only have been a reprint
of the edition of 1612. In Reed's Catalogue (no. 1683)
a copy is mentioned with the date 1619, and another
(no. 1772) a quarto with the date 1622. Mr Singer
says, but without giving his authority, " there were, it
seems, editions in 1622, 1623, and 1624*;* 4/0." I have
been unable to find any of these.

In 1624 was published a reprint of JdgganTs
pirated edition of 1613, by Elizabeth Jaggard, probably
his widow. All the above mentioned are in small vo.

The third and last author's edition, of which the pre-
sent volume is a reprint, was published in small 4/0 in
1625, the year before Bacorfs death. The number of
Essays was increased to fifty -eight, of which twenty
were new and the rest altered or enlarged. The entry
at Stationers' Hall is dated the \$th of March, 1624.
"Mr Whiteacre. Hanna Barrett. Entered for their
copie under the handes of the lo. B. of London and Mr
Lownes Warden. The Essayes & counsell morrall and
civill of Francis lo. Verulam Vicotmt St Albon" A
copy in the Cambridge University Library (xvii. 36.
14) was presented by Bacon to Sir John Finch on the
3oM of March 1625. // was therefore evidently pub-
lished some time in the latter part of March 1624 5.

The three editions 0/1597, 1612, and 1625 are the
only ones which possess any authority, the rest appa~

rently having been issued "without the author's super-
vision or sanction. But in 1618 an Italian translation
of the second edition was published by John Scale,
which was made with Bacon's knowledge, if not at his
request. TJie author of the translation is not known.
Mr Singer conjectured that it was Father Fulgent io,
but Mr Spedding s/uxvs clearly, by an extra ft from the
preface of Andrea Cioli, who brought out a revised
reprint at Florence in 1619, that the translation was
not the work of an Italian, but of some foreigner, in
all probability of an Englishman. The volume in
which it is contained is a small %vo, entitled, " Saggi
Morali del Signore Francesco Bacono, Cavagliero In-
glese, Gran Cancelliero cTInghilterra. Con vn'altro
suo Trattato della Sapienza degli Antichi. Tradotti
in Italiano. In Londra. Appresso di Giovanni Billio.
1618." The Saggi Morali occupy 102 pages, and are
thirty-eight in number; the two Essays * Of Religion*
and 'Of Superstition"* being omitted, and their place
supplied by those ' Of Honour and Reputation, "> and
'Of Seditions and Troubles,'' the latter of which had
uot as yet appeared in English. The dedication to
Cosmo, Grand Duke of Tuscany, was written by Mr
Tobie Matthew, Bacon's intimate friend, but throws
no light upon the authorship of tfu translation. He
merely says that he found the two works in the posses-
sion of Sir William Cavendish, who presented tfiem to
him with the Author's permission. That the transla-
tion was published with Bacorfs sanction is evident
from tfu fcufl that the Essay "Of Seditions and Trou-
bles" which then existed only in MS., was included in
the voh*me, and that a portion of the dedicatory Utter to

preface xvii

Prince Henry was incorporated in Matlfmu's preface.
The passage " To write iust Treatises... fansies" is trans*
lated nearly word for word, the change of person being
of course observed. Of this Italian translation, ac-
cording to Mr Singer, there were two editions bearing
the same date, but differing in the titles of some of the
Essays. As I have seen but one, I subjoin his descrip-
tion. He says, "Itt one of the copies now before me
the Essays contain 102 pages, the Wisdom of the Aft'
dents 150 pages, and a list of Errata is appended to
each. In the other copy the Essays comprise 112 pages,
the last of which is blank; the Wisdom of the Ancients
126 pages only, and there is no list of Errata. Beside
the changes in the titles of the Essays, there are also
some in the titles of the chapters in the Wisdom of the
Ancients ; and it is probable that the text of the version
is also revised, but I have not collated it."

The French translation published in 1619 was by
Sir Arthur Gorges.

But the only translation to which any importance
can be attached, as having in a great measure the impress
of Bacon* s authority, is the Latin. From the dedica-
tion of the third edition it is evident that, at the time it
was written, Bacon had in course of preparation a
Latin translation of the Essays, which it appears to
have been his intention to have published immediately,
probably as part of the volume of which we find the
entry in the books of Stationers'* Hall, on the \th of
April, 1625, but which he did not live to bring out.
The entry is as follows: "Mrs Griffin. Jo. Havilond.
Entred for their coppie under the hands of DocT
Wilson and Mathewes Lownes warden A booke called


xviii preface

Operum Francisci Baronis Verulami Vice Comitis
Sanfli Albani by S r Fran: Bacon." This was proba-
bly intended to be the second volume of his works, the
De Augmentis being the first, and to have contained
what were afterwards published by his chaplain, D>
Rawley, in 1638, under the title Operum Moralium et
Civilium Tomus. Among these were the Essays in
their Latin dress: "Sermones fideles, sive interiora
rerum. Per Franciscum Baconum Baronem de Veru-
lamio, Vice-Comitem Sanfti Albani" The question
then arises, by whom was the translation made ? In-
ternal evidence is sufficient to shew that it was the work
of several hands, but it is impossible from this alone to
assign to each his work. Archbishop Ten i son, in his
Baconiana (pp. 60, 6r, ed. 1679) sa y s of the Essays:
" The Latine Translation of them was a Work per-
formed by divers Hands ; by those of Doftor Ilacket
(late Bishop of Lichfield) Mr. Benjamin Johnson (the
learned and judicious Poet} and some others, whose
Names I once heard from Dr. Rawley; but I cannot
now recal them. To this Latine Edition, he gave the
Title of Sermones Fideles, after the manner of the
Jews, who call'd the words Adagies, or Observations
of the Wise, Faithful Sayings ; that is, credible Propo-
sitions worthy of firm Assent, and ready Acceptance.
And (as I think) he alluded more particularly, in this
Title, to a passage in Ecclesiastes 3 , where the Preacher
saith that he sought to find out Verba Delecflabilia, (as
Tremellius rendreth the Hebrew) pleasant Words,
(tJiat is, perhaps, his Book of Canticles) ; and Verba

3 Eccles. xii. 10, u.

preface xix

Fidelia (as the same Tremellius) Faithful Sayings;
meaning, it may be, his Collection of Proverbs. In
the next Verse, he calls them Words of the Wise, and
so many Goads and Nails given Ab eodem Pastore,
from the same Shepherd [of the Flock of Israel}. " The
next direft testimony is that of Aubrey. Speaking of
Hobbes of Malmesbury, and his intimacy with Bacon,
he says; ''Mr. Tho. Hobbes (Malmesburiensis) was
beloved by his Lor. w ho was wont to have him walke
with him in his delicate groves, when he did meditate :
and when a notion darted into his mind, Mr. Hobbes
was presently to write it downe, and his Lo f . was wont
to say that he did it better than any one els about him ;
for that many times, when he read their notes he scarce
understood what they writt, because they imderstood it
not clearly themselves* (Letters, II. 122, 3). Again;
66 He assisted his Lordship in translating severaU of his
essayes into Latin, one I well remember is that, Of the
Greatness of Cities: the rest I haveforgott" (u. /. 602).
In another passage Aubrey is still more precise: "He
told me that he was employed in translating part of the
Essayes, viz. three of them, one whereof was that of the
Greatnesse of Cities, the other two I have now forgott"
(II. /. 234). The Essay here called "Of the Greatnesse
of Cities" is no doubt that which stands as Essay
xxix. "Of the true Greatnesse of Kingdomes and
Estates," and which first appeared in Latin in the De
Augmentis. // is certainly one of the best translated of
all, and arguing from internal evidence, based on a
comparison of it with the rest, I should be inclined to
set down as the other two, which Hobbes translated but
which Aubrey had forgotten, the Essays " Of Simula-

C 2

xx preface

tion and Dissimulation" and "Of Innovations"
This of course is a mere conjecture, but it seems a rea-
sonable one. Who translated the others it is impossible
to say. Among the Maloniana in Prior's Life of Ma-
lone (p. 424, ed. 1860), we find the following. "It
is not commonly known that the translation of Bacon's
Essays into Latin, which was published in 1619, was
done by the famous John Selden; but this is proved
decisively by a letter from N. N. (John Selden N.) to
Camden (See Camden. Epistol., 4/0. 1691, /. 278). In
the General Dicft. and several other books, this transla-
tion :s ascribed to Bishop Hacket and Ben Jonson"
The letter to which Malone alludes is anonymous, and
the writer says that he had translated Bacon's Essays
into Latin, after the correftest copy published in
Italian. The original is among the Cotton MSS.
Julius C. 5, and is evidently a transcript in somt
hand not Schierfs. In the heading as it stands in the
printed volume, " N. N. Clarissimo Viro Gulielmo
Camdeno suo" N. N. (i. e. non nominate) is added by
the editor, who was certainly not aware that Selden
was the writer. What authority Malone had for
speaking so positively upon the point I have been unable
(o discover. There is nothing contrary to probability in
the supposition that Selden may have translated the
Essays in 1619, but there is nothing to shew that his
translation was ever published, as Malone asserts. It
certainly is not indicated in the letter itself, of which
the following is the passage in question. " Joannes
Sarisburiensis e nostris pene solus est, qui rimatus
arcana Ethices et Philologies puriora, monimcntum
reliquit mentis Philosophic^ in libris de nugis Curia-


Hum; nuperrime vero magmis tile Franciscus Ba-
conus in tentamentis suis Ethico-politicis, qtuz ex
Anglico sermone ad correftissimum, Italice editum,
exemplar, in Latinum transtuli" The date of the
letter is "Londini xiv Julii Anglorum CIDCDC.XIX."
There is one allusion in it which favours the supposi-
tion that it may have been Selderfs. " Propterea si
sapienticE et scientiarum in Britannia nondum calitus
edocla lineamenta enucleatius exposuero in Historiis
meis t qualia apiid priscos cum Druydes, turn Saxones
(parentes nostros) ea extitisse comperero, haud perpe-
ram ego aut inutiliter bonas horas trivisse judicer,
utpote qua ad bonam mentem stto more fecerint" This
may refer to his Analecfla Anglo-Britannica, and the
Notes to Draytorfs Polyolbion ; but upon such evidence
it is impossible to decide.

There are strong indications of Bacon's supervision
in the translation of the Essays *' Of Plantations -,*'
" Of Building? and " Of Gardens " in which there
are alterations and additions which none but the authot
himself would have ventured to make. In the other
Essays the deviations from the English are not so re-
markable, though even in these there are variations
which are worthy of notice. The most important are
given in the notes to the present Volume.

That the preparation of a Latin translation had
been in Bacon's mind for two or three years before his

Online LibraryFrancis BaconBacon's essays ; and, Colours of good and evil → online text (page 1 of 28)