BACON, Sir Francis

BACON, Sir Francis Certaine miscellany vvorks… Published by William Rawley …

London, by I. Hauiland for Humphrey Robinson, in Pauls Church-yard, 1629


FIRST EDITION. 4 parts in one volume. 4to. pp. [x], 166. A-Y . [A1 Blank pasted down]. text with box rule. ”Considerations touching a vvarre with Spaine”, “An advertisement touching an holy vvarre”, “An offer to our late soveraigne King Iames, of a digest to be made of the lawes of England”, and “The history of the reigne of King Henry the Eighth” each have separate dated title page; pagination and register are continuous, general title with typographical ornament within double-ruled border, title to each part within double-ruled border with woodcut flaming heart device, typographical headpieces, woodcut initials, bookplate of Robert Pirie on pastedown. Light age yellowing. A fine copy crisp and clean with large margins in contemporary polished limp vellum, covers with a single gilt-ruled border, large central arabesque gilt, edges gilt; some staining on upper cover,

First edition, of these works by Bacon published posthumously by Dr William Rawley, a close friend, his private chaplain and secretary, to whom Bacon bequeathed most of his manuscripts; a fine copy in a contemporary vellum binding with gilt edges, suggestive of a presentation copy. The preface indicates that “a corrupt and surreptitious edition” of Considerations touching a warre with Spain compelled Rawley, Bacon’s literary executor, to publish a corrected version of that work, together with: An Advertisement Tovching an Holy Warre. Written in the yeare 1622; An Offer to Ovr Late Soueraigne Iames, of a Digest to be made of the Lawes of England; and The History of the Reigne of King Henry the Eighth.

“The ‘Considerations Touching a War with Spain’ .. was written in 1624, and expanded on his ‘Notes for a speech on war with Spain’, which he had prepared soon after 24th Feb. 1624 for Parliamentary debate. In it, Bacon puts forward an argument, in the Augustinian tradition (as he had previously on the subject of war with the Ottomans in ‘An Advertisement Touching an Holy Warre’ following the reanimation of the Spanish Match in 1622), for the justice of recovering the Palatinate, and thereby the legitimacy if not necessity of contracting war with Spain, before expounding on the forces necessary to succeed, and finally prposing a variety of strategies.” Nadine Akkerman. ’The Correspondence of Elizabeth Stuart.’

“An Advertisement Touching a Holy War stands as a document of major historical importance and intense current relevance because it offers an additional reason for the modern revolution. In it Bacon dares to suggest that a revolution in thinking and acting is necessary because European intellectual and spiritual life as well as European politics had been captured by religious fanaticism that threatened to plunge Renaissance Europe into another dark age. Bacon chose the old literary device of dialogue to present his argument for wholesale change indirectly. In the conversation of his characters he allows readers to see the reasons for kindling spiritual warfare against the spiritual rulers of European civilization. An Advertisement Touching a Holy War gives a great philosopher’s reasons for initiating the war between science and religion that was actually fought in the coming centuries in Western civilization and of which we are the heirs.”

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 work, in a fine contemporary binding

STC 1124; ESTC S100333; Gibson 191

In stock