Chapter 4 (Cont.)
We are sometimes asked why Bacon wrote under noms de plume , as though the very question revealed the
absurdity of such an idea. Yet once again the practice is by no means unique, either in his times, before, or since.
Examples are numerous, and the following are generally accepted.
Robert Burton wrote as Democritus Junior, Sir Walter Scott anonymously, Rev. C. L. Dodgson as Lewis Carroll,
Jean Francois Marie Arouet as Voltaire, Samuel Langhorne Clemens as Mark Twain. Again, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin
wrote under the pseudonym of Moliere, Richard Harris Barham as Thomas Ingoldsby, Amandine Lucile Dudevant
as George Sand. The three Bronte sisters, James Bridie and George Eliot used noms de plume . Books even have
been written on the subject, such as The Bibliographical History of Anonyms and Pseudonyms , by A. Taylor and F.
J. Mosher (1951). Voltaire is reported to have used 137 and Benjamin Franklin 57 pseudonyms [@].
In Archbishop Tenison's Baconiana or Certain Genuine Remains of Sr. Francis Bacon (1679), on p. 79, we read: "And
those who have true skill in the Works of the Lord Verulam, like great Masters in Painting, can tell by the Design,
the Strength, the way of Colouring, whether he was the Author of this or the other Piece, though his Name be not
to it." This is clear evidence that Bacon wrote anonymously or under a pseudonym...
In Memoriae Honoratissimi Domini Francisci, Baronis de Verulamio, Vice-Comitis Sancti Albani Sacrum (London,
1626) thirty-two of Bacon's friends and admirers honoured him with panegyrics after his death. Frequent reference
is made to him as a muse, as well as a philosopher. Some relevant quotations (translated into English) are given
below. They are taken from Manes Verulamiani , edited by W. G. C. Gundry (1950).
"...a muse more rare than the nine Muses. ...nor did he with workmanship of fussy meddlers patch, but he
renovated her walking lowly in the shoes of Comedy. After that more elaborately he rises on the loftier tragic
buskin ... the golden stream of eloquence, the precious gem of concealed literature... How has it happened to us,
the disciples of the Muses, that Apollo, the leader of our Choir, should die? ... Why should I mention each separate
work, a number of which of high repute remain? A portion lies buried. ...ah! the tenth Muse and the glory of the
Choir has perished. Ah! never before has Apollo himself been truly unhappy! Whence will there be another to love
him so? Ah! he is no longer going to have the full memory; and unavoidable is it now for Apollo to be content with
nine Muses. ...he enriched the ages with countless books. ... You have filled the world with your writings...
Phoebus withheld his healing hand from his rival, because he feared his becoming King of the Muses. ... They begot
the infant Muses, he adult... But my song can bring you no praises, a singer yourself you chant your own praises
In his Apologie in Certaine Imputations concerning the Late Earle of Essex , Bacon wrote:
"About the same time I remember an answer of mine in a matter which had some affinity with my Lord's cause,
which though it grew from me, went after about in other's names. For her Majesty being mightily incensed with
that book which was dedicated to my Lord of Essex, being a story of the first year of King Henry the fourth,
thinking it a seditious prelude to put into the people's heads boldness and faction, said she had good opinion that
there was treason in it, and asked me if I could not find any places in it that might be drawn within case of treason:
whereto I answered: for treason surely I found none, but for felony [plagiarism] very many." (Spedding, The
Letters and the Life of Francis Bacon ).
There is also the enigmatic phrase in Bacon's Prayer or Psalm: "I have (though in a despised weed) procured the
good of all men." The "despised weed" cannot refer to Bacon's scientific writings or to his legal work: it could refer
to his possible role as a playwright [@].
The Shakespeare Monument in Stratford Church: Most Baconians are agreed that this famous monument, which
was erected sometime between 1616 and 1623, was subject to some radical alterations when it was repaired in
1748/9...Certainly the face, if not the entire bust, was changed and the two little figures above are very different
from those engraved in Sir William Dugdale's Warwickshire of 1656. [Recent research has shown that this book had
been typeset and engraved twenty years earlier; the long delay in printing was caused by civil unrest under Charles
I and then by Cromwell's rebellion.] The present figures are carved from an entirely different stone from the rest of
the monument and, as a matter of fact, they and the present bust can be lifted down when it is necessary to give
them a face lift...
It was Francis Bacon who, as a judge, was known for his wisdom and eloquence, as was Nestor, King of Pylos.
Bacon, like Socrates, was a genius and a great philosopher and like Virgilius Maro, or Virgil as most of us know
him, was a poet lamented by all who knew his real worth, as seen in the Latin tributes printed after his death and
known as the Manes Verulamiani . It was one of these poems which stated that Bacon would reside in Olympus, as
given on this Monument. In a subsequent work on poetry Bacon was named as "The Chancellor of Parnassus."
[In 1617, James I appointed Francis Bacon as Chancellor and Keeper of the King's Seals. Part of his duty was to act
as a judge of the Court of Chancery, the King's court which was designed to relieve suitors from the rigors and
injustices arising from ancient English common law. Hepworth Dixon, an English barrister, published in 1862 The
Story of Lord Bacon's Life , in which he showed that Bacon's "fall" was part of a political plot and motivated by the
jealousy of a rival lawyer, Sir Edward Coke. Lawyers, and perhaps their clients, will appreciate the following digest
The system which Bacon inherited was rotten to the core. No one realized this better than Bacon himself, and he
was bent on reforming it. First, as to "the Law's delays." In his very first speech in court, he used these words:
"Concerning speedy justice, I am resolved that my decree shall come speedily upon the hearing. It hath been a
matter much used of late, that upon the full hearing of a cause nothing is pronounced in court; but breviates are
required to be made; which I do not dislike in causes perplexed, for I am of opinion that whosoever is not wiser on
advice than on the sudden, is no wiser at fifty than at thirty; and it was my father's ordinary word [Sir Nicholas
Bacon, former Chancellor], 'You must give me time.'
"Yet I find that where such breviates were taken the cause was sometimes forgotten a term or two, and then set
down for a new hearing, or a rehearsing three or four terms after. I will pronounce my decree within a few days
after my hearing, and sign my decree at least in the vacation. Fresh justice is the sweetest. Justice ought not to be
delayed. There ought to be no labouring in causes but that of the counsel at the bar."
And then he added, significantly:
"Because justice is a sacred thing, and the end for which I am called to this place, and therefore is my way to
heaven (and if it be shorter it is none the worse), I shall, by the grace of God, as far as God will give me strength,
add the afternoon to the forenoon, and some fortnight of the vacation to the terms, for clearing the causes of the
court. Only the depth of the three long vacations I would reserve for studies of arts and sciences to which in my
nature, I am most inclined."
The fact that no less than three thousand six hundred Chancery causes awaited his attention--some of them of 10 or
20 years standing--will give some idea of the immensity of his labours...
By good humour, by patience and courtesy, by assiduity which knew neither haste nor rest, he cleared off all
accumulations of arrears. In Easter and Trinity terms he settled no less than 3,658 suits; on the eighth of June he
could proudly say; "I have made even with justice; not one cause unheard. Men think I cannot continue. The duties
of life are more than life; and if I die now I shall die before the world will be weary of me--which, in our time, is
Truly, of all the hornets Bacon had stirred up when he accepted the Seals, none was more to be dreaded than the
humiliated and vindictive Coke, whose one aim in life, now, was to drag his rival down...
With the opening of his second year, Bacon's labours showed no sign of decreasing: on the contrary they increased.
The harder he worked and the more personal attention he gave to the proceedings, the more he lessened the
unpopularity of the Court of Chancery and the more the suits increased in number. Efficiency and industry, in fact,
involve their penalties--a melancholy reflection! "The orders and decrees of his second year amounted to no less
than 9,181," and Bacon's health began to suffer...
... The entries and reports remain in the Chancery archives; the lists show how great were the labours through
which he cheerily tagged... By promptitude, vivacity and courtesy, more than 35,000 suitors in his court were freed
in one year from the uncertainties of law... [@].
[To return to the question of the meaning of "lustrum" as engraved by Sir Nicholas Bacon on the stone walls of his
house at Gorhambury, there are more than rumors about the misbehavior of Queen Elizabeth I after her accession
in 1558. A Bishop de Quadra, a sort of Italian spy to the English Court, wrote to his King on Aug. 4, 1560 (as copied
from the Simancas Archives at the Public Records Office in London by an Editor of Baconiana)]:
Bishop de Quadra to the King [of Spain]:
...[The Queen's] affairs, however, are in such a condicion that if she do not marry and behave herself better than
hitherto, she will everyday find herself in new and greater troubles.
Bishop de Quadra to Duchess of Parma, 11 Sept. 1560 :
...[The Queen] promised me an answer about the marriage [with the Archduke] by the third instant, and said she
was certain to marry, but now she coolly tells me she cannot make up her mind and will not marry. After this I had
an opportunity of talking to Cecil, who I understand was in disgrace, and Robert [Dudley, Earl of Leicester] was
trying to turn him out of his place. After exacting many pledges of strict secrecy, he said the Queen was conducting
herself in such a way that he thought of retiring. He said it was a bad sailor who did not enter port when he saw a
storm coming on and he clearly foresaw the ruin of the realm through Robert's intimacy with the Queen, who
surrendered all affairs to him and meant to marry him. He said he did not know how the country put up with it,
and he should ask leave to go home, although he thought they would cast him into the Tower first. He ended by
begging me in God's name to point out to the Queen the effect of her misconduct and persuade her not to abandon
business entirely but to look to her realm--and then he repeated twice over to me that Lord Robert would be better
in Paradise than here... He ended by saying that Robert was thinking of killing his wife who was publicly
announced to be ill, although she was quite well, and would take very good care they did not poison her. He said
surely God would never allow such a wicked thing to be done... I am sure he speaks the truth and is not acting
The next day the Queen told me as she returned from hunting that Robert's wife was dead or nearly so, and asked
me not to say anything about it. Certainly this business is most shameful and scandalous, and withal I am not sure
she will marry the man at once or even if she will marry at all, as I do not think she has a mind sufficiently fixed.
Cecil says she wishes to do as her father did... Since writing the above I hear that the Queen has published the
death of Lord Robert's wife [Amy Robsart] and said in Italian, "She broke her neck, she must have fallen down a
Bishop Quadra to the King, Jan. 1561 :
... Things have reached such a pitch that her chamberlain has left her, and Axele (Yaxley) of the Privy Chamber is in
prison for having babbled, indeed there is not a man who has not some tale to tell...
Bishop Quadra to the King, Sept. 1561 :
...the Earl of Arundel [is] drawing up copies of the testimony given in the inquiry respecting the death of Lord
Robert's wife. Robert is now doing his best to repair matters as it appears that more is being discovered in that
affair than he wished...
What is of most importance now, as I am informed, is that the Queen is becoming dropsical and has begun to swell
extraordinarily. I have been advised of this from three different sources and by a person who has the opportunity
of being an eye witness. To all appearances she is falling away and is extremely thin and the colour of a corpse...
[A mutant and erratic genius of Elizabethan times was John Dee (1527-1608). He has a bad name in the annals of
science because he was an astrologer. However, astrology was the ancestor of astronomy and was considered a
science until the observations and discoveries of Copernicus were proven and became generally accepted in
Europe; public comprehension of his theory did not begin until early in the 17th century. Dee was also considered a
magician and an alchemist and he probably misused his "powers" for private gain. He was acquitted in Star
Chamber in 1555 of practicing sorcery against Queen Mary.
But Dee was a scientist worthy of the name to his contemporaries and he published treatises on mathematics, logic
and navigation. His works include Monas Hieroglyphica (1564) and General and Rare Memorials Pertaining to the
Perfecte Arte of Navigation (1577). Queen Elizabeth hired him to make hydrographic and geographic charts and
descriptions of newly discovered regions.
He is believed once to have had possession of the celebrated Voynich manuscript, an ancient document written in a
cipher which has never been solved].
David Kahn, writing in The Codebreakers says:
"But how did a manuscript attributed to Roger Bacon (1214-1294) get to Rudolf's court at Prague? [The latter was
the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II who had founded observatories for Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler.]
Between 1584 and 1588, one of the Emperor's most welcome visitors was Dr. John Dee, an English divine,
mathematician and astrologer who is sometimes said to have been the model for Prospero in The Tempest . Dee
shared Rudolf's interest in the occult and was an enthusiast for Roger Bacon, manuscripts of many of whose works
he had collected. He knew the young Francis Bacon and may have even introduced him to the works of Roger
Bacon, which may help explain the similarities in their thought. Dee may have been aware of Roger Bacon's own
brief discussion of cryptography in the Epistle on the Secret Works of Art and the Nullity of Magic . He certainly
had some knowledge of, and considerable interest in, cryptology, for in 1562 he bought for Sir William Cecil, Queen
Elizabeth's great minister, a manuscript of Trithemius' 'Steganographia,' which had not yet been published and 'for
which a Thowsand Crownes have ben by others offred, and yet could not be obteyned' " [@].
Noel Fermor, commenting on the foregoing quotation in Baconiana, wrote:
The accuracy of the passage quoted above is confirmed at least in part because we know that Francis Bacon visited
Dee's famous and vast library at Mortlake in 1582 at the age of 21 and began work on the Instauratio the following
year. [Citing Dee's Diary, 11.8., 1582]. It seems plain from Francis Bacon's own statement that he started to plan the
Instauratio soon after his meeting with Dee, and that Roger Bacon's oeuvre and occult philosophy were discussed
at length by the two men...
Although Dee was primarily a man of learning, it is also true that he moved in European Court circles freely, and
this may in some measure have reflected his relationship with Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth's principal
Secretary and head of espionage. Dee's letter from Leipsig of the 14th May 1586 to Walsingham indicates this since
he complains therein of "Imperial and Royal--Honourable Espies" amongst others. Blackmail and insidious threats
were as common then as now. Dee adds, "but the God of Heaven and Earth is our Light, Leader and Defender" and
finally addresses Walsingham as his Patron--surely a significant appellation.
Certainly Dee had considerable influence at the Court of Elizabeth I, although his genius for mathematics, allied to
his omniverous scholarship, would in themselves have won him favour with the numerous aristocratic men of
learning who played such a prominent part in furthering the Renaissance... Ewen MacDuff, who has made a
considerable study of this aspect of Dee's character, suggests that William Camden's reference to the fact that Dee
was the first man to lecture on Euclid enhanced his reputation... Three of the best known [of Walsingham's
European spies] were Gifford, Phillips (or Phillipes) and Anthony Bacon... We may note then that Dee met Cardano
[Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576), an Italian mathematician, physician, astrologer and cryptographer] in 1550. Some
years later Walsingham heard of Cardano's [grille cipher] system and, later, recruited Anthony Bacon as a
cryptographer and spy. Ewen MacDuff has evidence that Francis Bacon knew Phillips well and accompanied him
when meeting Dee in 1582...As hinted earlier, we prefer not to stress his character flaws but to ask readers to
remember that genius is a many faceted jewel. After all, in John Dee we have a man who had a profound influence
on Renaissance thought and on the deep laid schemes of Francis Bacon for the betterment of mankind. Dee himself
wrote, "Farewell, diligent reader; in reading these things, invocate the spirit of Eternal Light, speak little, meditate
much and judge aright.
A measure of the respect in which John Dee was held in earlier life is that the Duke of Northumberland, father of
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, employed Dee as tutor to his children so that they should have a sound scientific
upbringing. Northumberland became a notable scientist with a strong leaning to mathematics and magnetism, and
Anthony Wood, in his Athenae Oxoniensis , was able to write that no one knew Robert Dudley better than Dee [@].
With the exception of "King John," the historical plays of Shakespeare extend consecutively from the reign of
Richard II to that of Henry VIII with one gap and one gap only, namely: the play of Henry VII is omitted.
Shakespeare's play of Richard III ends with the crowning of Henry VII by Lord Stanley, who plucks the crown from
Richard's dead temples.
Francis Bacon wrote one historical work in prose: The Historie of the raigne of King Henry the Seventh , published
in 1622. This history begins with the crowning of Henry VII on the battlefield by Lord Stanley, who finds the crown
among the spoils, and this History ends at the point where Shakespeare takes it up again in the play of Henry VIII.
Is it a coincidence that Bacon wrote a History of Henry VII in prose, beginning at the exact point where Shakespeare
left off in Richard III and leaving off at the exact point where Shakespeare begins again in Henry VIII?
Henry VIII was printed for the first time in the First Folio of 1623. This play shows that the author was indebted for
some of his materials to Cavendish's Life of Wolsey , which, although written in 1557, was not published until
1641--eighteen years after the appearance of the play and twenty-five years after the death of Will Shaksper. It is
impossible that the actor could have had access to this manuscript, but it would have been available to Bacon as
one of Wolsey's successors in office.It is quite certain that in 1622-23 Bacon was engaged upon a work pertaining to
the reign of Henry VIII, for in January, 1623 he had applied to the proper authorities for the loan of such documents
as might be in the public archives relating to that monarch's reign. On 21st February, 1623 Bacon wrote to
Buckingham, who had gone to Spain with Prince Charles, asking to be remembered to the Prince "Who, I hope ere
long, will make me leave King Henry VIII and set me on work in relation to His Majesty's heroical adventures."