Francis Bacon. The New Atlantis

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Content Life 3 Youth and early maturity 3 Early legal career and political ambitions 3 Relationship with Essex 3 Career in the service of James I 4 Fall from power 5 The New Atlantis 6 Reputation and Cultural Legacy 8 Major Books of Francis Bacon 8 Bibliography 9 Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626) led a complicated life. He was born at the time of religious reformation, political upheaval, and the intellectual and artistic flourishing of late Renaissance Europe. He became a lawyer, statesman, essayist, historian and philosopher, who not only exemplified the values and virtues that he had inherited from the Renaissance tradition but also ushered in early conceptions of modernity. It is not possible to do justice to all of the facets of Bacon’s life here. What follows is a brief

sketch of his legal and political career, a general account of his philosophical works and more detailed look on his work “New Atlantis”. Life Youth and early maturity Bacon was born Jan. 22, 1561, at York House off the Strand, London, the younger of the two sons of the lord keeper, Sir Nicholas Bacon, by his second marriage. Nicholas Bacon, born in comparatively humble circumstances, had risen to become lord keeper of the great seal. Francis' cousin through his mother was Robert Cecil, later earl of Salisbury and chief minister of the crown at the end of Elizabeth I's reign and the beginning of James I's. From 1573 to 1575 Bacon was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, but his weak constitution caused him to suffer ill health there. His distaste for what he termed

“unfruitful” Aristotelian philosophy began at Cambridge. From 1576 to 1579 Bacon was in France as a member of the English ambassador's suite. He was recalled abruptly after the sudden death of his father, who left him relatively little money. Bacon remained financially embarrassed virtually until his death. Early legal career and political ambitions In 1576 Bacon had been admitted as an “ancient” (senior governor) of Gray's Inn, one of the four Inns of Court that served as institutions for legal education, in London. In 1579 he took up residence there and after becoming a barrister in 1582 progressed in time through the posts of reader (lecturer at the Inn), bencher (senior member of the Inn), and queen's (from 1603 king's) counsel extraordinary to those of solicitor

general and attorney general. Even as successful a legal career as this, however, did not satisfy his political and philosophical ambitions. Bacon occupied himself with the tract “Temporis Partus Maximus” (“The Greatest Part of Time”) in 1582; it has not survived. In 1584 he sat as member of Parliament for Melcombe Regis in Dorset and subsequently represented Taunton, Liverpool, the County of Middlesex, Southampton, Ipswich, and the University of Cambridge. In 1589 a “Letter of Advice” to the Queen and An Advertisement Touching the Controversies of the Church of England indicated his political interests and showed a fair promise of political potential by reason of their levelheadedness and disposition to reconcile. In 1593 came a setback to his political hopes: he

took a stand objecting to the government's intensified demand for subsidies to help meet the expenses of the war against Spain. Elizabeth took offense, and Bacon was in disgrace during several critical years when there were chances for legal advancement. Relationship with Essex Meanwhile, sometime before July 1591, Bacon had become acquainted with Robert Devereux, the young earl of Essex, who was a favourite of the Queen, although still in some disgrace with her for his unauthorized marriage to the widow of Sir Philip Sidney. Bacon saw in the Earl the “fittest instrument to do good to the State” and offered Essex the friendly advice of an older, wiser, and more subtle man. Essex did his best to mollify the Queen, and when the office of attorney general fell vacant, he