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The younger of Sir Nicholas and Lady Anne's two sons, Francis Bacon began attending Trinity College, Cambridge, in April 1573, when he was 12 years old. He completed his course of study at Trinity in December 1575. The following year, Bacon enrolled in a law program at Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, the school his brother Anthony attended. Finding the curriculum at Gray's Inn stale and old fashioned, Bacon later called his tutors "men of sharp wits, shut up in their cells if a few authors, chiefly Aristotle, their dictator." Bacon favored the new Renaissance humanism over Aristotelianism and scholasticism, the more traditional schools of thought in England at the time.

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The Essays of Francis Bacon FRANCIS BACON.

In 1593 Bacon fell out favor with the queen on account of hisrefusal to comply with her request for funds from Parliament. Althoughhe did not vote against granting three subsidies to the government, hedemanded that these should be paid over a period six, rather thanthree, years. This led Sir Robert Cecil and Sir Walter Raleigh to argueagainst him in Parliament. Bacon's patron, the Earl of Essex, forwhom he had already served as a close political advisor and informer,was not able to mollify the queen's anger over the subsidies; andall Essex's attempts to secure a high post for Bacon(attorney-general or solicitor-general) came to nothing. Nevertheless,the queen valued Bacon's competence as a man of law. He wasinvolved in the treason trial of Roderigo Lopez and later on in theproceedings against the Earl of Essex. In his contribution to theGesta Grayorum (the traditional Christmas revels held inGray's Inn) of 1594–5, Bacon had emphasized the necessity ofscientific improvement and progress. Since he failed to secure forhimself a position in the government, he considered thepossibility of giving up politics and concentrating on naturalphilosophy. It is no wonder, then, that Bacon engaged in many scholarlyand literary pursuits in the 1590s. His letters of advice to the Earlof Rutland and to the Earl of Essex should be mentioned in thiscontext. The advice given to Essex is of particular importance becauseBacon recommended that he should behave in a careful and intelligentmanner in public, above all abstaining from aspiring to militarycommands. Bacon also worked in this phase of his career for thereform of English law. In 1597 his first book was published, theseminal version of his Essays, which contained only ten pieces(Klein 2004b). His financial situation was still insecure; but hisplan to marry the rich widow Lady Hatton failed because she wassuccessfully courted by Sir Edward Coke. In 1598 Bacon was unable tosell his reversion of the Star Chamber clerkship, so that he wasimprisoned for a short time on account of his debts. His parliamentaryactivities in 1597–98, mainly involving committee work, wereimpressive; but when the Earl of Essex in 1599 took command of theattempt to pacify the Irish rebels, Bacon's hopes sank. Essex didnot solve the Irish question, returned to court and fell from grace, asBacon had anticipated he would. He therefore lost a valuable patron andspokesman for his projects. Bacon tried to reconcile the queen andEssex; but when the earl rebelled against the crown in 1601, he coulddo nothing to help him. The queen ordered Bacon to participate in thetreason trial against Essex. In 1601 Bacon sat in Elizabeth'slast parliament, playing an extremely active role.

LI Of IN this edition of Bacon's Essays, I have used the text of James Spedding, The Works of Francis.

In March 1626, Bacon was performing a series of experiments with ice. While testing the effects of cold on the preservation and decay of meat, he stuffed a hen with snow near Highgate, England, and caught a chill. Ailing, Bacon stayed at Lord Arundel's home in London. The guest room where Bacon resided was cold and musty. He soon developed bronchitis. On April 9, 1626, a week after he had arrived at Lord Arundel's estate, Francis Bacon died.

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Bacon, Francis | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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