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preter of Nature,—the chosen instrument for communicating to mankind that knowledge which an awful Providence, whose ways are not our ways, had hitherto concealed from the sight of man. It is the memory of one who will never be forgotten whilst eloquence can be felt, philosophy understood, or wisdom revered.
To learn what was the life of so illustrious a character,--to contemplate such unexampled excellence, cannot but tend, by exalting our conceptions of our own nature, to impart an unwonted elevation to our thoughts, to enlarge and ennoble our views; and it will, we trust, induce such of our readers
are not conversant with lord Bacon's works, no longer to neglect those rich treasures of wisdom which he gathered, not for his own glory, but the good of men.
FRANCIS BACON was born on the 22nd January, 1569, at York House, in the Strand. He was the youngest son of sir
Nicholas Bacon,* of whom it was said by Queen Elizabeth, ‘My lord Keeper's soul is well lodged. His mother, one of the daughters of sir Anthony Cook, tutor to king Edward VI., was as learned as she was virtuous, having been accustomed, from her youth, to those robust studies which, without impairing the graces of womanhood, impart a lasting strength and lustre to the mind. It was usual for her father, when he returned in the evening from instructing his royal pupil, to gather his daughters around him, and instil into them those lessons which, in the morning, he had taught the Prince. They were all skilled in the learned languages; and Ann, the mother of Bacon, besides other literary productions, made an elegant version, in English, of Bishop
* Camden thus characterises sir Nicholas :- A man exceeding gross-bodied, sharp-witted, of singular wisdom, rare eloquence, excellent memory, and a pillar, as it were, of the Privy Council.'--History of Elizabeth,
Jewel's famous Apology, which was so much esteemed by Archbishop Parker, that, by his special order, it was published for common use. *
Springing from such a stock, and trained up by parents so excellent, it need excite no wonder, that Bacon, in the very spring-time of his life, put forth the buds of promise, and attracted, when a child, the attention of the Queen. She delighted to prove him with questions, which he answered with such ability and gravity, that Elizabeth would often playfully call him her young lord Keeper. Upon the Queen's asking him how old he was, he readily answered, "two years younger than your majesty's happy reign.'
* Strype's Annals of Elizabeth, c. 25, p. 251. There appear to have been two editions by lady Bacon; one published in 1562, two years after the birth of her youngest son, Francis, and the other in, 1564.
+ Rawley's Life of Bacon, prefixed to the Resuscitatio. His recent biographer states, (but without re
From his birth, Bacon was a delicate child, and so acutely sensible to atmospheric influence, that any peculiar change in this respect would cast him into a fit of fainting. *
ferring to any authority for the fact,) that Bacon, when a boy, while his companions were playing in St. James's Park, stole
away to the brick conduit, to discover the cause of a singular echo. (Montagu's Life of Bacon, p. 3.) In his Natural History, Bacon certainly alludes to a brick conduit in St. James's fields, and accounts for the loud sound produced by blowing through a small aperture, on the principle that, as the channel of sound was a concave, proceeding from more narrow to more broad, the air and sound being first contracted at the lesser end, do dilate themselves, and, in coming out strike more air, whereby the sound is the greater and baser.'-Bacon's Works, vol. 4, p. 87.
* 'It may seem,' says Dr. Rawley, “the moon had some principal place in the figure of his nativity; for the moon was never in her passion or eclipsed, but he was surprised with a sudden fit of fainting; and that, though he observed not, nor took any previous knowledge of the eclipse thereof; and as soon as the eclipse ceased, he was restored to his former strength.' 'I remember,' says Aubrey, ésir John Danvers told me that his lordship much delighted in his curious garden at Chelsea ; and as he was walking there one time, fell down in a swoon. My lady Danvers rubbed his face,
Notwithstanding this constitutional delicacy of temperament, (too often the fatal attendant upon genius,) he was, at the tender age of thirteen, sent, with his brother Anthony, to Cambridge, and, on the 10th June, 1573, entered of Trinity College, under Dr. Whitgift, who afterwards became Archbishop of Canterbury. * After three years residence in the University, he went to reside at Paris, with sir Amyas Paulett, † the English Ambassador, and afterwards travelled into the French provinces, spending some time at Poictiers, the Limonum of the Pictavi, and famous for its curious collection of antiquities.
temples, &c., and gave him cordial water: as soon as he came to himself, said he, Madam, I am no good footman. He was so delicate, that he could not bear the smell of neat's leather, and none of his servants durst appear before him without Spanish leather boots.-Bacon's Works, vol. 16, note (G.)
* Strype's Life and Acts of Dr. Whitgift, p. 77.
+ Rawley's Life, and see Bacon's Works, vol. 12, pp. 159, 282.