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The following tables will shew the variations in the titles of the Essays in the different editions :
1612. Essays of 1597 in
1625. Figures to the right are Order order in 1612. Essays of
of 1597 in Italics. 1612.
1. Of Study.
1. Of Religion. 1. Of Truth. 2. Of Discourse. 2. Of Death.
2. Of Death. 3. Of Ceremonies and 3. Of Goodnesse and 3. Of Vnitie in ReliRespects.
Goodnesse of Na- gion.
ture. 4. Of Followers and 4. Of Cunning. 4. Of Revenge.
Friends. 5. Of Sutors.
5. Of Marriage and 5. Of Adversitie.
Single Life. 6. Of Expence.
6. Of Parents and 6. Of Simulation and
Dissimulation. 7. Of Regiment of 7. Of Nobilitie. 7. Of Parents and Health.
Children. 8. Of Honor and Re- 8. Of Great Place. 8. Of Marriage and putation.
Single Life. 9. Of Faction. 9. Of Empire.
9. Of Envie. 10. Of Negotiating.
10. Of Counsell. 10. Of Love.
12. Of Boldnesse.
Goodnesse of Na
21. Of Delays.
nesse of Kingdomes
33. Of Plantations.
11 20 13
who had access to the papers of Lord Bacon. Dr. Rawley does not mention it, and he expressly says, in his address to the reader in the Resuscitatio, in 1657: “Having been employed as an amanuensis, or daily instrument, to this honourable author, and acquainted with his lordship’s conceits, in the composing of his works, for many years together, especially in his writing time, I conceived that no man could pretend a better interest or claim to the ordering of them after his death than myself. For which cause, I have compiled in one whatsoever bears the true stamp of his lordship's excellent genius, and hath hitherto slept and been suppressed in this present volume, not leaving any thing to a future hand, which I found to be of moment, and communicable to the public; save only some few Latin works, which, by God's favour and sufferance, shall soon after follow.”
Dr. Rawley's son was chaplain to Archbishop Tennison, who, in his Baconiana, published in 1679, says, “ It is my purpose to give a true and plain account of the designs and labours of a very great philosopher amongst us; and to offer to the world, in some tolerable method, those remains of his which to that end were put into my hands. Something of this hath been done already by his lordship himself, and something further hath been added by the Reverend Dr. Rawley; but their remarks lay scattered in divers places, and here they are put under one view, and have received very ample enlargements." But the Essay of a King is not mentioned by the Archbishop, although, when commenting upon the essays, he notices the “ Fragment of an Essay on Fame.”
3. In the century after the death of Lord Bacon, which was in April 1626, various spurious works were ascribed to Lord Bacon. Dr. Rawley, in bis address to the reader in the Resuscitatio, in 1657, says, “ It is true that, for some of the pieces herein contained, his lordship did not aim at the publication of them, but at the preservation only, and prohibiting them from perishing : so as to have been reposed in some private shrine or library; but now for that, through the loose keeping of his lordship's papers, divers surreptitious copies have been taken, which have since employed the press with sundiy corrupt and mangled editions ; whereby nothing hath been more difficult than to find the Lord Saint Alban in the Lord Saint Alban, and which have presented (some of them) rather a fardle of nonsense than any true expressions of his lordship's happy vein; I thought myself, in a sort, tied to vindicate these injuries and wrongs done to the monuments of his lordship's pen, and at once, by setting forth the true and genuine writings themselves, to prevent the like invasions for the time to come. And the rather, in regard of the distance of the time since his lordship’s days, whereby I shall not tiead too near upon the heels of truth, or of the passages and persons then concerned, I was induced bereunto, which, considering the lubricity of life, and for that I account myself to be not now in vergentibus, but in præcipitantibus annis, I was desirous to hasten. Again, he says in the same address : Lastly, if it be objected that some few of the pieces whereof this whole consisteth had visited the public light before, it is true that they had been obtruded to the world by unknown hands, but with such scars and blemishes upon their faces, that they could pass but for a spurious and adulterine brood, and not for his lordship's legitimate issue ; and the publishers and printers of them, deserve to have an action of defamation brought against them by the state of learning, for disgracing and personating his lordship's works."
4. In the year 1642, the political disturbances in England raged in great fury. “ The Commons” (says Hume, speaking of the early part of 1642) were sensible that monarchical government, which during so many ages had been established in England, would soon regain some degree of its former dignity, after the present tempest was over blown; nor would all their new invented limitations be able totally to suppress an authority to which the nation had ever been accustomed. The sword alone, to which all human ordinances must submit, could guard their acquired power, and fully ensure to them personal safety against the rising indignation of their sovereign : this point, therefore became the chief object of their aims. Hume, vol. vi. p. 420.
5. In 1642, a tract was published, of which there is a copy in the
British Museum, and of which the following is the title : An Essay of a King, with un explanation what manner of persons those should be that are to execute the power or ordinance of the King's Prerogative. Written by the Right Honorable Francis, Lord Verulam Viscount Suint Albun. Decemb. 2. London, Printed for Richard Best, 1642.
Immediately following this essay is the tract entitled, An Explanation what manner of persons those should be that are to execute the power or ordinance of the King's Prerogative, written by the said Francis Bacon, late Lord Chancellor, and Lord of St. Albans. This explanation thus concludes : “And to conclude, custom cannot confirm that which is any ways unreasonable of itself. Wisdom will not allow that which is many ways dangerous, and no ways profitable. Justice will not approve that government where it cannot be but wrong must be commited. Neither can there be any rule by which to try it, nor means of reformation of it. Therefore, whosoever desireth government must seek such as he is capable of, not such as seemeth to him most easy to execute ; for it is apparent that it is easie to him that knoweth not law nor justice to rule as he listeth, his will never wanting a power to itself; but it is safe and blamelesse both for the judge and people, and honour to the king, that judges be appointed who know the law, and that they be limited to governe according to the law.” Who can suppose that this was the work of Lord Bacon, or doubt the
purpose for which, in those tumultuous times, it was composed and ascribed to him ?
6. In 1648, this tract was incorporated in a small 4to. volume, of which the title page is as follows: The Remaines of the Right Honorable Francis Lord Verulan, Viscount of St. Albanes, sometimes Lord Chancellour of England. Being Essayes and severall Letters to severall great Personages, and other pieces of various ond high concernment not heretofore published. A Table whereof for the Readers more euse is adjoyned. London : Printed by B. Alsop, for Lawrence Chapman, and are to be sold at his Shop neer the Savoy in the Strand. 1648. The Table of Contents consists of forty-nine subjects, of which the four first
1. An Essay of a King.
to execute the power or ordinance of the King's Prerogative.
4. An Essay on Death, The first article, “ An Essay of a King," with its Appendix, “An Explanation, &c.” is a copy of this tract published in 1642 : who the author was does not appear, nor is there any preface or address, or explanation of the sources from whence the different subjects were selected, or the authority upon which they were ascribed to Lord Bacon. That some of them (for instance, the opinion respecting the Charter House) were his lordship’s is clear: and, but for these authentic documents, it is probable that the other publications would have fallen stillborn from the press; but they may have been supported, as Machiavel intimates that error is often supported by its alliance to truth, when he says, in a passage cited by Lord Bacon, “ the kingdom of the clergy had been long before at an end, if the reputation and reverence towards the poverty of friars had not borne out the scandal of the superfluities and excesses of bishops and prelales.” Let it not, therefore, be hastily inferred that the essay is genuine, because it appears in some good company: in some, not all, for the Essay of Death, which has not found any advocate, is in the same volume.
7. In 1656, a tract was published, of which the following is the title page : The Mirrour of State and Eloquence. Represented in the Incomparable Letters of the Famous Sir Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam, St. Albans, to Queene Elizabeth, King James, and other Personages of the highest trust, and honour in the three Nations of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Concerning the better and more sure Establishment of those Nations in the affaires of Peace and Warre. With an ample and admirable accompt of his Faith, written by the express Command of King lames : Together with the Character of a true Christian, and
some other adjuncts of rare Devotion. London. Printed for Lawrence Chapman, and are to be sold at his Shop next doore to the Fountain Taverne in the Strand, 1646. This is, I conceive, merely a new title page prefixed to the unsold copies of the edition of 1648 : as the publisher is the same; the contents are the same; every page is the same; and the table of errata, at the conclusion of the volume, is the same.
8. In the year 1657, the first edition of the Resuscitatio was published by Rawley; and in 1679, the Baconiana, by Archbishop Tennison ; but the Essay of a King is not noticed in either of these publications.
9. For near a century, that is, from 1656 to 1740, this essay seems to have been forgotten ; but in 1740 it was revived by Blackburn, in his edition of the works of Lord Bacon, who, in that edition, not only published it as an essay of Lord Bacon's, but incorporated it amongst the other essays ;-why he so incorporated it, instead of annexing it as a posthumous and uncertain publication, he does not explain : although, as an admirer of Lord Bacon, he ought not to have forgotten the admonition that doubtful things ought neither to be rejected nor received as certainties, but to be entered in the calendar of doubts. “The registering of doubts hath,” says Lord Bacon, “two excellent uses : the one, that it saveth philosophy from errors and falsehoods; when that which is not fully appearing is not collected into assertion, whereby error might draw error, but is reserved in doubt.” The reason which he assigns for having ascribed this essay to Lord Bacon is as follows :—“ I have inserted from the Remains an Essay of a King; and my reason is, it is so collated and corrected by Archbishop Sancroft's well known hand, that it appears to be a new work; and though it consists of short propositions mostly, yet I will be so presumptuous as to say, that I think it now breathes the true spirit of our author : there seems to be an obvious reason why it was omitted before.”
With respect to the opinion of Sancroft, there appears not to be any evidence that he thought the essay authentic ; and, even if he had so thought, it cannot be necessary to add that it does not prove the fact. Why the examination of this essay by Sancroft, without knowing the nature of his observations, by which he was induced totally to alter the essay, should be evidence that the Archbishop thought it authentic, it seems difficult to discover. Is the present examination of the essay any evidence of my opinion of its authenticity ? With respect to the style of Lord Bacon being perceptible in this essay, Blackburn has not explained in what the resemblance consists. I have not been able to discover it: the only passage which may be supposed to have some resemblance, some shade of a shadow of resemblance, is the following :—"A wise king must do less in altering his laws than he may; for new government is ever dangerous. It being true in the body politic, as in the corporal, that "omnis subita immutatio est periculosa ;” and though it be for the better, yet it is not without a fearful apprehension ; for he that changeth the fundamental laws of a kingdom, thinketh there is no good title to a crown, but by conquest.” Let this be contrasted with his Essay on Innovation; and, if any resemblance can be discovered, does it mark the hand of the master or of an imitator : “ As the births of living creatures at first are ill-shapen, so are all innovations, which are the births of time; yet notwithstanding, as those that first bring honour into their family are commonly more worthy than most that succeed, so the first precedent (if it be good) is seldom attained by imitation ; for ill to man's nature, as it stands perverted, hath a natural motion strongest in continuance ; but good, as a forced motion, strongest at first. Surely every medicine is an innovation, and he that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils."To me it seems that there is not any resemblance; but, if I am in error, it is not from a casual resemblance of an isolated passage, but from the whole spirit and style of a work, that we can be warranted in ascribing it to an author.
-"Nothing is more easy,” said a friend, “ than occasionally to imitate the style of any eminent author."-"Attempt then," said a great admirer of Bishop Taylor, imitate his style.” At their next interview, the following imitation was produced : " I have sat upon the sea shore, and waited for its gradual approaches, and have seen its dancing waves and its white surf, and admired