Bacon's Essays was the first published book by the philosopher, statesman and jurist Francis Bacon. The essays are written in a wide range of styles, from the plain and unadorned to the epigrammatic. They cover topics drawn from both public and private life, and in each case the essays cover their topics systematically from a number of different angles, weighing one argument against another. Translations into French and Italian appeared during ...
Bacon's Essays was the first published book by the philosopher, statesman and jurist Francis Bacon. The essays are written in a wide range of styles, from the plain and unadorned to the epigrammatic. They cover topics drawn from both public and private life, and in each case the essays cover their topics systematically from a number of different angles, weighing one argument against another. Translations into French and Italian appeared during Bacon's lifetime.
Though Bacon considered the Essays "but as recreation of my other studies", he was given high praise by his contemporaries, even to the point of crediting him with having invented the essay form. Later researches made clear the extent of Bacon's borrowings from the works of Montaigne, Aristotle and other writers, but the Essays have nevertheless remained in the highest repute. The 19th century literary historian Henry Hallam wrote that "They are deeper and more discriminating than any earlier, or almost any later, work in the English language"
Bacon's genius as a phrase-maker appears to great advantage in the later essays. In "Of Boldness" he wrote, "If the Hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will go to the hill", which is the earliest known appearance of that proverb in print. The phrase "hostages to fortune" appears in the essay "Of Marriage and Single Life", again the earliest known usage. Aldous Huxley's book Jesting Pilate took its epigraph, "What is Truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer", from Bacon's essay "Of Truth". The 1999 edition of The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations includes no fewer than 91 quotations from the essays
A list of the essays:
Of Truth (1625)
Of Death (1612, enlarged 1625)
Of Unity in Religion/Of Religion (1612, rewritten 1625)
Of Revenge (1625)
Of Adversity (1625)
Of Simulation and Dissimulation (1625)
Of Parents and Children (1612, enlarged 1625)
Of Marriage and Single Life (1612, slightly enlarged 1625)
Of Envy (1625)
Of Love (1612, rewritten 1625)
Of Great Place (1612, slightly enlarged 1625)
Of Boldness (1625)
Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature (1612, enlarged 1625)
Of Nobility (1612, rewritten 1625)
Of Seditions and Troubles (1625)
Of Atheism (1612, slightly enlarged 1625)
Of Superstition (1612, slightly enlarged 1625)
Of Travel (1625)
Of Empire (1612, much enlarged 1625)
Of Counsels (1612, enlarged 1625)
Of Delays (1625)
Of Cunning (1612, rewritten 1625)
Of Wisdom for a Man's Self (1612, enlarged 1625)
Of Innovations (1625)
Of Dispatch (1612)
Of Seeming Wise (1612)
Of Friendship (1612, rewritten 1625)
Of Expense (1597, enlarged 1612, again 1625)
Of the True Greatness of Kingdoms and Estates (1612, enlarged 1625)
Of Regimen of Health (1597, enlarged 1612, again 1625)
Of Suspicion (1625)
Of Discourse (1597, slightly enlarged 1612, again 1625)
Of Plantations (1625)
Of Riches (1612, much enlarged 1625)
Of Prophecies (1625)
Of Ambition (1612, enlarged 1625)
Of Masques and Triumphs (1625)
Of Nature in Men (1612, enlarged 1625)
Of Custom and Education (1612, enlarged 1625)
Of Fortune (1612, slightly enlarged 1625)
Of Usury (1625)
Of Youth and Age (1612, slightly enlarged 1625)
Of Beauty (1612, slightly enlarged 1625)
Of Deformity (1612, somewhat altered 1625)
Of Building (1625)
Of Gardens (1625)
Of Negotiating (1597, enlarged 1612, very slightly altered 1625)
Of Followers and Friends (1597, slightly enlarged 1625)
Of Suitors (1597, enlarged 1625)
Of Studies (1597, enlarged 1625)
Of Faction (1597, much enlarged 1625)
Of Ceremonies and Respects (1597, enlarged 1625)
Of Praise (1612, enlarged 1625)
Of Vain Glory (1612)
Of Honour and Reputation (1597, omitted 1612, republished 1625)
Of Judicature (1612)
Of Anger (1625)
Of Vicissitude of Things (1625)
A Fragment of an Essay of Fame
Of the Colours of Good and Evil
This book also contains "The Wisdom of the Ancients", which is a series of mythological fables by Francis Bacon, including: Cassandra, or Plainness of Speech; Typhon, or the Rebel; The Cyclopes, or Ministers of Terror; Narcissus, or Self-love; Styx, or Treaties; Pan, or Nature; Perseus, or War, Endymion, or the Favourite; The Sister of the Giants, or Fame; Actæon and Pentheus, or Curiosity; Orpheus, or Philosophy, Cœlum, or the Origin of Things; Proteus, or Matter; Memnon, or the Early-ripe; Tithonus, or Satiety; Juno’s Suitor, or Dishonour; Cupid, or the Atom; Diomedes, or Religious Zeal; Dædalus, or the Mechanic; Ericthonius, or Imposture; Deucalion, or Restoration; Nemesis, or the Vicissitude of Things; Achelous, or the Battle; Dionysus, or Desire; Atalanta, or Profit; Prometheus, or the State of Man, The Flight of Icarus, also Scylla and Charybdis, or the Middle Way; AND MORE.
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St. Alban (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626) was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, and author. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England. Although his political career ended in disgrace, he remained extremely influential through his works, especially as philosophical advocate and practitioner of the scientific method during the scientific revolution.
Bacon has been called the creator of empiricism. His works established and popularised inductive methodologies for scientific inquiry, often called the Baconian method, or simply the scientific method. His demand for a planned procedure of investigating all things natural marked a new turn in the rhetorical and theoretical framework for science, much of which still surrounds conceptions of proper methodology today.
Bacon was knighted in 1603, and created both the Baron Verulam in 1618 and the Viscount St. Alban in 1621; as he died without heirs, both peerages became extinct upon his death. He famously died by contracting pneumonia while studying the effects of freezing on the preservation of meat.
Bacon's public career ended in disgrace in 1621. After he fell into debt, a Parliamentary Committee on the administration of the law charged him with twenty-three separate counts of corruption. To the lords, who sent a committee to enquire whether a confession was really his, he replied, "My lords, it is my act, my hand, and my heart; I beseech your lordships to be merciful to a broken reed." He was sentenced to a fine of £40,000 and committed to the Tower of London during the king's pleasure; the imprisonment lasted only a few days and the fine was remitted by the king. More seriously, parliament declared Bacon incapable of holding future office or sitting in parliament. He narrowly escaped undergoing degradation, which would have stripped him of his titles of nobility. Subsequently the disgraced viscount devoted himself to study and writing.
There seems little doubt that Bacon had accepted gifts from litigants, but this was an accepted custom of the time and not necessarily evidence of deeply corrupt behaviour. While acknowledging that his conduct had been lax, he countered that he had never allowed gifts to influence his judgement and, indeed, he had on occasion given a verdict against those who had paid him. The true reason for his acknowledgement of guilt is the subject of debate.