Bacon Francis 1561 - 1626 (65)

Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.



MEN fear death, as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children, is increased with tales, so is the other. Certainly, the contemplation of death, as the wages of sin, and passage to another world, is holy and religious; but the fear of it, as a tribute due unto nature, is weak

Sir Francis Bacon was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, writer, avid speaker of parliament, Chancellor of the King James A. He was born on 22 of January 1561 at York House near London. He was the younger from the two sons of the Minister of Justice Sir Nicholas Bacon. His mother was a relative of Lord Burghley, principal minister of Queen Elizabeth I. Francis made legal studies, in 1582 became a lawyer and then a lecturer and a temporary royal advisor. In 1588 he was elected MP for Liverpool, in 1593 for Middlesex and three times (1597, 1601, 1604) for Ipswich. He was known as a liberal reformer, willing to modify and simplify the law. Although he was a friend of the crown, he opposed to feudal privileges and dictatorial powers. He spoke against religious persecution, hit the House of Lords for the misappropriation of money, supported the union of England and Scotland, and later Ireland's accession to the Union. In 1593 he took a position contrary to the imposition of taxes to cover the costs of the war against Spain, that enraged Queen Elizabeth against him and Bacon felt into disgrace. Later, when the position of Advocate General became available, and while attempts had been made to mollify the queen, Earl of Sussex supported his candidacy. Elizabeth refused to appoint him, but she engaged him as one of her lawyers. When Elizabeth died in 1603, Bacon wanted to secure a position close to King James I and he managed to be appointed as royal counselor. In 1605 he published the book "Progress in Learning" which was dedicated to the King.

In the summer of 1605 he married Alice Burnham, she was 14 years old while he was 45. Some researchers believe that Francis was gay and that the marriage was a sham, frictions and problems were surfaced from the beginning. Alice aimed to glory and money but didn’t succeed with this marriage. When Francis discovered her extramarital relationship, he changed his will and disinherited, thereafter they lived separately. In June 1607 he became the general counselor, in 1612 after writing a series discourses on state affairs, he was appointed Lord Chancellor and was named Baron of St. Olmpans, while in 1620 he was awarded the title of Viscount. In 1621 the position of Bacon seemed unshakable. It was a favorite of the king and had also aroused the attention of scholars abroad by his writing, but he had also many enemies, who accused him of corruption. Bacon admitted that he had accepted gifts but denied that they influenced his judgment as a judge. He went on trial and was sentenced to a fine of 40,000 pounds and imprisonment in the tower of London for as long as the king would had decided. Also he was deprived of the right to occupy public office in Parliament and the judiciary. He avoided the prison with the help of the king and retired to his estate, dedicate himself to writing literary, scientific and philosophical works. He wrote a Digest of Laws, a story of England, biographies of the Tudor kings, memorandums on the prospects of a war with Spain, gave his views on educational reforms and completed two natural histories. In March 1626, he was on a carriage in the snowy countryside and had the wondering if the snow was inhibiting the process of decomposition. He stopped in a village, bought a chicken, filled it with snow and took it with him to observe it. He suffered a cold that day, which evolved into bronchitis, he died on April 9, 1626.

If in medieval ages philosophy was connected with theology, and in Renaissance with art, Bacon was among the first who rejoined philosophy with science, a science which with the active development of new crafts and inventions will allow man to impose a reasonable control over the nature, with a view of improving his position into the world.