Operum moralium et civilium tomus. Qui continet historiam regni Henrici Septimi, Regis Angliæ. Sermones fideles, sive interiora rerum.

London, Excusum typis Edwardi Griffini [John Haviland, Bernard Norton, and John Bill]; prostant ad Insignia Regia in Cœmeterio D. Pauli, apud Richardum Whitakerum, 1638.


FIRST EDITION, second issue. Folio pp. [xvi], 176, 179-386, [xvi], 475, [i]; [viii], 172, 181-360, 36, [ii]. [pi², A-2H⁶, 2I-2L⁴, 3A⁸, 3B-4R⁶, 4S⁴, [par.]⁴, A-C⁶, D-2S⁴, 2T⁶, a-d⁴, e⁴(-e4).] Roman and Italic letter some Greek. Fine engraved frontispiece portrait of the author, various woodcut printer’s devices on titles, large floriated and grotesque woodcut initials, head and tail-pieces, typographical ornaments, large historiated initials in the ‘Novum Organum’, near contemporary autograph of Wolfgang-Engelbert von Auersperg, (Lord of Schönberg, Seisenberg and Flödnig) inscribed to his library 1655, on title, contemporary mss. ex libris of ‘Jo. Waiccardy cóes ab Auersperg’ at head of title, armorial bookplate ‘Fuerstlich Auerspergsche Fideicommisbibliothek Zu Laybach’ on pastedown. Verso of last a little dusty, very minor marginal waterstain to upper blank margin of first few leaves. A fine copy, crisp, clean and very fresh, in contemporary vellum over thin boards, title manuscript on spine, a little soiled at upper edges of covers.

Rare first edition, the second issue enlarged, of the collected works of Sir Francis Bacon edited by Dr William Rawley, a close friend his private chaplain and secretary, to whom Bacon bequeathed most of his manuscripts. “In the [first issue] of the work the libri duo Instaurationes Magnae’ was NOT included; but later the unsold quires of the first edn. of the Novum Organum, 1620 were appended to the book, and a new general title page was issued in which the addition was recorded. In many copies the eng. title to the Novum Organum, 1620 is not found (as here); in a very few copies a printed title page is substituted.” Gibson. Sir Francis Bacon (later Lord Verulam and the Viscount St. Albans) was an English lawyer, statesman, essayist, historian, intellectual reformer, philosopher, and champion of modern science. Early in his career he claimed “all knowledge as his province” and afterwards dedicated himself to a wholesale revaluation and re-structuring of traditional learning. To take the place of the established tradition (a miscellany of Scholasticism, humanism, and natural magic), he proposed an entirely new system based on empirical and inductive principles and the active development of new arts and inventions, a system whose ultimate goal would be the production of practical knowledge for “the use and benefit of men” and the relief of the human condition. At the same time that he was founding and promoting this project for the advancement of learning, Bacon was also moving up the ladder of state service. His career aspirations had been largely disappointed under Elizabeth I, but with the ascension of James his political fortunes rose. Knighted in 1603, he was then steadily promoted to a series of offices, including Solicitor General (1607), Attorney General (1613), and eventually Lord Chancellor (1618). While serving as Chancellor, he was indicted on charges of bribery and forced from office. He retired to his estate where he devoted himself full time to his continuing literary, scientific, and philosophical work. He died in 1626, leaving a cultural legacy that, for better or worse, includes most of the foundation for the triumph of technology and for the modern world we know. In a way Bacon’s descent from political power was fortunate, for it represented a liberation from the bondage of public life resulting in a remarkable final burst of literary and scientific activity. Bacon’s earlier works, impressive as they are, were essentially products of his spare time. It was only during his last five years that he was able to concentrate exclusively on writing and produced some of his finest work.

A fine copy, of this monumental and important first edition.

ESTC S106961 “A variant of STC 1109, with title page altered and unsold sheets of “Francisci de Verulamio, summi Angliæ Cancellarij, Instauratio magna” (STC 1163) appended. … “Parasceve, ad historiam naturalem, et experimentalem” has separate pagination, and divisional title on a1.” This issue is; “Variant 2: STC 1163 title page lacking altogether.” STC 1110. Gibson 197. Lowndes I p. 96.


Print This Item Print This Item