BACON, Sir Francis

Historia Vitae & Mortis. Sive, Titvlvs Secvndvs in Historiâ Naturali & Experimentali [etc.].

London, John Haviland for Matthew Lownes, 1623.


FIRST EDITION. 8vo., pp. [vi], 410, 407-454. A-2F. Roman & italic letter. Title framed in double rule, text in box rule, woodcut initials and typographical ornaments, early shelf mark on pastedown, repeated on fly, book-label of Nicholas Wall on rear pastedown. Light age yellowing, small stain on t-p, minor waterstain in upper blank margin, rare marginal mark or spot. A very good, well margined copy, crisp and clean in excellent contemporary French polished calf, covers bordered with a double gilt rule, arms of Léonor d’Estampes de Valençay (Olivier 1663) gilt at centres, spine with gilt ruled raised bands double gilt ruled in compartments, author and title gilt lettered direct, all edges sprinkled red, corners worn, joint a little cracked, loss at head, a little chip at tail.

First edition of this fascinating and influential work which was entitled in its first English translation (1637) ‘The Historie…..of the Prolongation of Life’. It formed part of the 3rd book of Bacon’s projected ‘Instauratio Magna’ (cf. ‘Printing and the Mind of Man’ 119), a multi-part work which was never completed but had the overall aim of creating a new system of philosophy and extending man’s dominion over nature. Book 3 was to contain a collection of materials on which the scientific method of induction was to work. The ‘Historia Vitae et Mortis’ comprises a series of essays on all aspects of the maintenance and prolongation of life, including medicines and herbs, food and drink, sleep and exercise, temperature and climate, occupations, baths and hygiene. Bacon recommends life in caves and on mountains and suggests that frequent blood-letting may help to renew the body fluids. “As he grew older, Bacon became increasingly concerned with ways of escaping, or at least delaying, the clutches or mortality, and his interest in medical questions correspondingly grew. .. Bacon also wrote at length elsewhere on matters of health, sickness and nutrition, mostly in his late natural histories: the ‘Sylva Sylvarum’, and the ‘History of life and Death’ (Historia vitae et Mortis, 1623). These medical issues are a vital – but rather neglected – aspect of Bacon’s interest in Nature. Moreover, his growing preoccupation with medicine emerges strongly in the late New Atlantis. The work as a whole manifests a deep interest in the central questions of Renaissance medicine: how to cure disease, how to preserve health, and – in particular – how to prolong life.” Glynn White. ‘Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis: New Interdisciplinary Essays.’

However unsound some of his suggestions are now known to be, Bacon was of first-rate importance as a reformer of scientific method, insisting on the importance of observation and experiment without — as in the pre-modern way of thinking — relying on preconceived theories.

Léonor d’Estampes de Valençay was a celebrated French bibliophile (died 1651). He was firstly abbot of Bourgueil in Anjou, then Bishop at Chartres (the arms on this copy were probably made for him during this period), and finally Archbishop of Reims.

ESTC S100503. STC 1156. Alden 623/7. ‘In the section ‘Desiccatio’ guaiacum is mentioned; under ‘Operatio super spiritus’, tobacco. Scattered refs to Brazil, Peru, and Virginia also appear’. Gibson 147. Lowndes 95. See also Thorndike VII ch. 4 passim. This edn. not in Wellcome or Osler.


Print This Item Print This Item

BACON, Sir Francis


Opera tomus primus: qui continet De dignitate & augmentis scientiarum libros IX. Ad regem suum.

London, In officina Ioannis Haviland, MDCXXIII. [1623]


FIRST EDITION thus. Folio. pp. [20], 493, [2]. [[par.], A, B-3R.] Last blank. Roman and Italic letter. Printer’s woodcut device on both title-pages, both within double rules, variant with additional “I” added in mss to the date, second title-page (¶3), also with additional “I”, ¶2r setting with “emittit” as the catchword rather than “Translatio,” text within box rule, floriated woodcut initials, typographical head- and tailpieces, “Liber Matthei Hale Anno domini 1663” on fly (Sir Matthew Hale), Robert Blagden Hale’s (1807–1883) armorial bookplate on front free endpaper, bookplate ‘Hale of Alderley, Gloucestershire’ (depicting the Upper House rebuilt in the eighteenth century at Sir Matthew’s country seat). Robert S. Pirie’s bookplate on pastedown. Very light waterstain in lower blank margin of a few quires. A fine copy, absolutely fresh and clean, in contemporary English blind-tooled dark calf, covers with a border of multiple blind rules, spine with similar blind rules, head of spine, upper inner corner of upper cover, and tail expertly restored, joints a little scratched, all edges sprinkled red.

The extremely rare first edition, a much enlarged translation into Latin of ‘The Advancement of Learning’, of perhaps Bacon’s most important and influential work. The “De Augmentis Scientiarum” was intended as Part 1 of Bacon’s proposed “Instauratio magna” that he never completed. “Bacon conceived a massive plan for the reorganization of scientific method and gave purposeful thought to the relation of science to public and social life. His pronouncement “I have taken all knowledge to be my province” is the motto of his work… [His] proposal was “a total reconstruction of sciences, arts and all human knowledge… to extend the power and dominion of the human race… over the universe”. The plan for this was to be set out in six parts: (1) a complete survey of human knowledge and learning; this was expounded in the “De Augmentis Scientiarum”, 1623 (a greatly extended version of “The Advancement of Learning”, 1605)… Of parts (3) to (5) only fragments were ever published; part (6) remained unwritten.” PMM 119

Sir Francis Bacon (later Lord Verulam and the Viscount St. Albans) lawyer, statesman, essayist, historian, intellectual reformer, philosopher, and champion of modern science, who 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 accession 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.

“The Advancement of Learning was divided into two books. The first was an eloquent defence of the importance of learning in every field of life. The second book, much longer and more important, was a general survey of the contemporary state of knowledge and supplying Bacon’s broad suggestions for the ways of improvement. The importance of the Advancement of Learning and its expanded edition in Latin, the De dignitate ed augmentis scientarum [1623] is that it presents Bacon’s views on many philosophical issues and also serves as a central source for his views on history, rhetoric, moral philosophy, and civil philosophy. More generally it is an exposition of Bacon’s classification of knowledge.” Markku Peltonen ‘The Cambridge Companion to Bacon.’

This copy first belonged to Lord Chief Justice Sir Matthew Hale, with his signature on the front free endpaper, dated 1663.

STC 1108 (listing two copies with the altered date); ESTC S120405; Gibson 129b (variant with the additional “I” in the date)


Print This Item Print This Item

BACON, Francis

Essayes and Counsels, Civill and Moral. Whereunto is newly added. Table of the Colours of Good and Evil

London, [ ], 1664.

Price available on request

Gibson 120


Print This Item Print This Item

BACON, Francis

The Naturall and Experimental History of Winds…

London, Humphrey Moseley, 1653.


FIRST EDITION in English. 12mo pp. [xxvi] 384 [xxx]. Roman and italic letter, author portrait on frontispiece. Age yellowing, final few ll. stained at margins, lacking final black. A good copy in contemporary deerskin, covers loose and scuffed, spine and edges worn. In a box.

Gibson 115.


Print This Item Print This Item

BACON, Francis

De Augmentis Scientiarum

Amsterdam, Johannis Ravestemius, 1662.


12mo pp (xx) 607 (LXVIII). Roman lettter, fine eng. t-p, early ms ‘Liber R. Harby’ at head and Mich: Batt a. aR on inner rear board. Light age yellowing, good copy in contemp calf, rebacked, spine remounted, corner repairs.

Gibson 135.


Print This Item Print This Item

BACON, Francis

The Advancement of Learning…interpreted by Gilbert Wats

London, For Thomas Williams, 1674.


Folio. pp. 1 engraved portrait + pp. [xxxii] 322 [ xx]. Roman and italic letter, head- and tail-pieces, woodcut initials. Slight age yellowing, light dampstain to final ll, a clean and well margined copy in modern red morocco, covers double gilt-ruled, spine gilt in seven compartments.

Gibson 142


Print This Item Print This Item

RAWLEY, William (ed.)

Resuscitatio, or bringing into Publick Light severall Pieces of the Works hitherto Sleeping; of the Right Honourable Francis Bacon. (with) Several Letters written by this Honourable Author.

London, S.G. and B.G. for William Lee, 1671.


FIRST COMPLETE EDITION. Folio. Portrait of the author + pp. (xiv) 1-16, (+1 full page engraved portrait of the author) 17, 256 (ii), 100 (xviii), 8 (ii), 16 (ii), 1-19 (ii), 19-26 (ii), 27-62 (iv), 58 (viii), 92 (xiv), 26, lacking final blank H2. Roman and italic letter, head-and tail- pieces, woodcut initials, two portraits of the author by Wenceslas Hollar (unsigned Gibson listed l and m). C19 bookplate of John Gordon, Vescount Kenmure and Lord Lochinvar. Early manuscript monogram to verso of frontispiece engraving and title page “DPAH”(?). Frontispiece and title page slightly shaved at head with no loss, first and last gatherings a bit dusty and frayed at edges. Light age yellowing, well margined. In contemporary calf, covers ruled in blind, corners worn, small tears, joints cracked and frayed.

Gibson 229.


Print This Item Print This Item

RAWLEY, William (ed.)

Resuscitatio, or bringing into Publick Light severall Pieces of the Works hitherto Sleeping; of the Right Honourable Francis Bacon. (with) Several Letters written by this Honourable Author.

London, Sarah Griffin for William Lee, 1661.


Folio. Portrait of the author + (xxiv) 324, (ii) 122 (ii). Roman and italic letter, head- and tail-pieces, folio author portrait by Wenceslas Hollar (Gibson portrait l), frontispiece and title page ruled in red, lower margins repaired with no loss of text or image, first gathering with slight damp stains to margin, otherwise a good, well-margined copy with light age yellowing. C19 bookplate of James Francis Anderton to pastedown, bound in C18 half calf, paper boards, re-backed.

Gibson 227.


Print This Item Print This Item

RAWLEY, William (ed.)

Resuscitatio, or bringing into Publick Light severall Pieces of the Works hitherto Sleeping; of the Right Honourable Francis Bacon. (with) Several Letters written by this Honourable Author.

London, Sarah Griffin for William Lee, 1657.


FIRST EDITION Folio. Authorial engraved portrait + pp. (xxiv) 282 (ii), (ii) 122 (ii). Roman and italic letter, head- and tail-pieces, woodcut initials. Age yellowing, title page a bit dusty, a clean, well-margined copy in contemporary calf with blind-ruled panels, rebacked, lower cover edges worn. Heber stamp on fly.

Gibson 226.


Print This Item Print This Item

LOCKE, John and BACON, Francis

Locke’s Conduct of the Understanding and Bacon’s Essays.

London, J. Walker, 1818.


24mo. (xii) 262. Engraved double-page frontispiece. Slightly foxed throughout, a good copy in contemporary diced calf by Newby joints worn, marbled end papers and edges.


Print This Item Print This Item