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the whole system of human knowledge, and opened those paths in which Newton, Boyle, and Locke afterwards so eminently distinguished themselves. He is justly considered, from the extent and variety of his talents, as one of the most extraordinary men that any nation ever produced. He broke through the scholastic obscurity of the age, and shewed mankind the necessity of thinking for themselves, in order to become truly learned. He began with taking a view of the various objects of human knowledge; he divided these objects into classes; he examined what was already known in regard to each of them, and he drew up an immense catalogue of what yet remained to be discovered. He even went further; he shewed the necessity of experimental physics, and of reasoning experimentally on moral imbjerts. If he did not greatly enlarge the bounds of any particular science himself, he was no less usefully employed in breaking the fetters of false philosophy, and conducting the lovers of truth to the proper method of cultivating the whole circle of the sciences. Happy for himself and for the nation whom he thus adorned by his genius and his writings, if he had been satisfied with these noble pursuits; and if a character, in other respects so perfect, had not been sullied by ambition and avarice!
This great man was born in York Place, in the Strand, on the 22d of January, 1560. He was the son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, under Elizabeth, by Anne, one of the daughters of Sir Anthony Cooke, a lady eminent for her skill in the Greek and Latin languages. Under such illustrious guides, his natural talent could not fail of being improved by all the advantages which parental fondness and a learned eduENGlANd.] BACON.
cation could bestow. So early was he remarkable for ardour of study, quickness of apprehension, and acuteness of wit, that the Queen was accustomed to call him her young Lord Keeper, and when she once asked him how old he was, he answered in a style of delicate flattery, far beyond his years, "that he was two years younger than her majesty's happy administration." He was entered of Trinity College, Cambridge, under the learned Whitgift, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. When only sixteen, he conceived a dislike for the Aristotelian doctrines, not from any disrespect to their venerable author, but from the abuse of his philosophy, which had pervaded all the schools of Europe. This abuse had rendered it fruitful only in disputations and contentions, but barren in th<? production of works calculated to reform and benefit mankind. This induced him afterwards to form a more perfect and satisfactory system. When he had successfully passed through the whole circle of the sciences and the liberal arts, he was sent to France, with Sir Amias Pawlet, in order to qualify him for the management of public affairs, and he was himself entrusted with a commission, which he discharged to the satisfaction of the Queen and her ministers. But the unexpected death of his father, which happened before the proper measure could be taken to secure to him the provision intended for him, compelled him to adopt the law, as a profession,—contrary to his natural inclination, which rather led him to apply himself to slate affairs. He entered himself of Gray's Inn, in which society he continued to reside, even after his elevation to the highest dignities. He there erected a building, which was long distinguished by the name of Lord Bacon's lodgings; and the Society, in veneration of the memory of its ilJustrious member, has recently bestowed, on a new range of chambers, the appellation of Verulam Buildings.
As a lawyer, his reputation has not kept pace with his fame as a philosopher; his genius, indeed, as in every thing else, enabled him to explore and comprehend the principles of law, considered as a science; but in the technical and practical part of it, he was surpassed by the more laborious efforts and humbler talents of Sir Edward Coke. 'He published several tracts upon the subject, among which his Reading on the Statute of Uses is esteemed. His general merit soon procured him notice and distinction, and at the early age of twenty-eight, he was appointed one of the Queen's council extraordinary; but he obtained no higher prrfcrmewt dttring the reign of Elizabeth. That princess, who was proverbially sparing of honours and favours to her ministers and courtiers, probably thought him sufficiently provided for by this situation, and the reversion of the place of Register of the Star Chamber, estimated at 16001. a-year. The Earl of Essex, who could distinguish merit, and who passionately loved it, had entered into an intimate friendship with Bacon, and had zealously attempted, though without success, to procure him the office of Solicitor-General, and in order to comfort him under the disappointment, had conferred on him a present of land to the value of 18001. But when his munificent patron was summoned before the Privy Council, Bacon appeared against him, and argued with Coke, ^Attorney-General, and Fleming, Solicitor-General, on the impropriety of his conduct. This behaviour, which it must be confessed does him very little honour, made him at the time extremely unpopular. In this instance, perhaps, he acted in obc~ INGiAnD.] BACQ.N.
dience to the Queen's commands, and she was so iwell pleased with his behaviour, that she imposed on him a new task of drawing up a narrative of the day's proceedings, in order to satisfy the public of the justice and lenity of her conduct. Bacon, Who wanted firmness of character rather than humanity, gave to the whole transaction the most favourable turn for Essex: and, in particular, pointed out, in elaborate expressions, the dutiful submission which that nobleman discovered in the jjefenoe he had made for his conduct. When he read that passage to her, the Quceu smiled, and observed to him, 'that old love, she saw, could not easily be forgotten.' We replied, 'that he hoped she meant that of herself.'
When tb*» ^irgmvntpfl imprudence of this heroic and unfortunate Earl precipitated him into those acta of treason and disloyalty which brought him to the scaffold, the conduct of Bacon was infinitely less e-xousable. He was not strictly a crown lawyer, and consequently not obliged to assist at the trial; yet he did not scruple, in oxdex to obtain the Queen's favour, to be active in bereaving of life ihis friend and patron, whose generosity he had so often experienced. He enlarged upon the trear spn of the unhappy Es3ex, and compared his conduct, in pretending to fear the attacks of his adversaries, to that of l'igistratus, the Athenian, who cut and wounded his own body, and .making the people believe that his enemies had committed the violence, obtained a guard for his person, by whose assistance he afterwards subdued the liberties of his country. It is painful to recite these unworthy acts of a man so highly celebrated, but whose powetfuland comprehensive genius could not shield him: from the common weaknesses of human nature.
The death of Elizabeth, and the accession of James, opened a more favourable scene for the ambition of Bacon. The new King, as prodigal of the royal favour as the late Queen had been sparing of it, bestowed on him the order of Knighthood, and the rank of King's Counsel. A few years after, though not without considerable opposition from his cousin, the Earl of Salisbury, and Sir Edward Coke, he was appointed Solicitor-General. His other promotions may be told in a few words, as they were neither unusually rapid nor attended with any uncommon circumstances. In 1613, he succeeded Sir Henry Hobart, as Attorney-General; in I6l6, he was sworn of the Privy Council. In the following year, by the interest of Villiers, then Earl of Buckingham, he was constituted Lord Keeper of the Clreat So»l5 and, in 1618, Lord High Chancellor. At the same time he was created Baron of Verulam, and finally raised to the dignity of Viscount St. Alban.
But it was the fate of Bacon, after so many years of anxious expectation, to enjoy, for a very short time, the high station he had now attained. He was soon surprised with a melancholy reverse of fortune. His want of economy, and his indulgence to servants, had involved him in necessities; and in order to supply his present wants, he had been tempted to take bribes under the title of presents, and that in a very open manner, from the suitors in the Court of Chancery. The Commons at this time were busied in the examinations of grievances, and the reforming of abuses. They were apprized of the loud complaints uttered against the Chancellor, and sent up an impeachment to the Peers. Bacon, either from timidity, or consciousness of guilt,