Biography Of Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, an English scientist, and lawyer was born in 1561-1626. Bacon played a key role in the Renaissance and the Scientific Enlightenment. Bacon was a pioneer in the development and promotion of a new scientific method that is based on scientific evidence and results. His reputation is well-known as the father of empiricism, and the Scientific Revolution of the Renaissance.
Bacon was born on 22 Jan 1561 in London, England, near the Strand. He was 12 years old when he entered Trinity College in Cambridge. There he learned medieval lessons, with the majority of them being conducted in Latin. He was a fan of Aristotle but he had reservations about Aristotle’s philosophical approach (he called it “unhelpful”) and the scholastic tradition that was unquestioningly accepting the past assumptions of classic teachers like Aristotle or Plato.
Bacon, aged 15, traveled to Europe. He spent time in France and also visited Spain and Italy. As part of England’s foreign diplomats, he studied civil law and gained an understanding of political realities. He delivered letters to high-ranking English officials during his travels, including Queen Elizabeth II.
Bacon was forced to return home in 1579 after the death of his father. He began practicing law at Gray’s Inn. Bacon was left with little to no inheritance and had to borrow money from his family to get by. Despite his ill health that plagued him all his life, Bacon was determined to serve his country and church and to seek the truth in philosophy and science.
He was elected to Parliament in 1581 as a Bossiney (Cornwall) member. For the next forty-eight decades, he would be a member of Parliament (for different constituencies). This gave Bacon a platform to become a prominent public figure and a leading member of the government.
Biography Of Francis Bacon
Bacon’s political opinions
Bacon was a liberal reformer. Bacon supported the monarch in a parliamentary democracy. He was a supporter of reforming feudal laws, and he spoke out in favor of religious tolerance. He was also a strong supporter of the union between England, and Scotland (1707). He believed that a constitutional union would bring nations closer together and promote peace and economic strength.
He was known for his sharp intellect and ability to grasp issues, which saw him rise to various posts, including that of Attorney General in 1594. He was also an adept political operator who would flatter and beseech those with influence and power to help him gain favor.
He disapproved of Queen Elizabeth’s plans to increase subsidies for the war against Spain and fell out of favor. He struggled to find work. He was eventually arrested for debt due to his limited financial resources. He was able to regain the Queen’s trust and was part of the legal team that investigated the charges against the Earl of Essex about a plot against the Queen.
Bacon is Lord Chancellor
Bacon was made one of James I’s most trusted civil servants after his ascension. Despite their differences over the Kings excesses, he managed to stay mostly in favor of both the King as well as the parliament. In 1618, Bacon was made Baron Verulam and Lord Chancellor (the highest office in the country) in the same year. During the turbulent years, Bacon served as the principal mediator between the monarch and the parliament. He was elected to the peerage of Viscount St Alban in 1621. His meteoric rise to the top of British politics was abruptly ended by his arrest for corruption charges. Bacon was in debt and Sir Edward Coke promoted the charges, who is a long-time enemy of Bacon.
Bacon claimed that the charges were a result of political intrigue. He admitted that he had received gifts but claimed that this was the common custom at the time and that it did not influence his decision. He wrote to the king:
“The law and nature teach me to defend myself: I am innocent of this charge of bribery. I have never received a bribe, reward, or any other kind of payment when I pronounce judgment or orders… I am willing to offer my oblation to the King.
— 17 April 1621
After a Parliamentary investigation, he confessed to his guilt. Perhaps he hoped for a lighter sentence, or maybe he felt that Parliament was determined to see him fall.
“My Lords, it’s my act, my hand, and my heart. I beseech your lordships that they will be merciful to a broken Reed.”
Despite having little sympathy for Bacon, Parliament found him guilty. Bacon was sent to the Tower of London, fined PS40,000, and banned from holding any future office.
After spending a few days at the Tower, King James released him and overturned his fine. Bacon would not return to public office or parliament after his public fall.
Despite his fall from grace Bacon continued to produce prolific literary output. He wrote on a wide range of topics, including science and philosophy as well as legal issues and Britain’s political situation. Given the Sixteenth Century England backdrop, Bacon’s originality and literary output were even more impressive. Due to religious and political tensions, the age saw a short period of philosophical inquiry. Bacon was an integral component of the English Renaissance which saw a revival of literature. Scholars aren’t too keen on the idea that Bacon is the true author of William Shakespeare’s works.
Biography Of Francis Bacon
This area of Bacon’s work has been the most influential. Bacon’s main concern was to reconsider man’s approach toward science. Bacon rejected the notion of “innate knowledge” and believed that scientists should be skeptical of preconceptions and rely only on the evidence from experiments. Bacon stressed the importance of induction through elimination. Bacon encouraged collaboration in scientific progress.
Novum Organum (1620), was his most important work. It embodied a new style of logic. Bacon advocated empirical understanding and reduction. Bacon opposed a philosophical approach to the old sciences”metaphysical.’ Bacon created the metaphor “idol” to show how men could be misinformed by forces like over-simplification, hasty generalizations, or over-focussing on meaningless differences in language.
This scientific method was important because it allowed scientists to challenge all scientific orthodoxy. Voltaire championed Bacon’s method and it was a key component of the French Enlightenment. Modern science doesn’t follow Bacon in every detail. However, the spirit of empirical research can still be traced back to Bacon’s innovative new approach.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Bacon Locke, Newton. They are the greatest men to have lived and have laid the foundation for the structures that have been built in the Moral and Physical sciences.
Robert Hooke and Robert Boyle, the founders of The Royal Society, regarded Bacon as heroes.
Bacon was prolific in proposing reforms to English law. Few of his ideas were accepted by the English legal systems during Bacon’s lifetime. After his death, however, many see Bacon’s principles as incorporated into modern legal systems such as the Napoleonic Code or modern common law. Bacon’s greatest contribution was to emphasize the facts of each case and not a strict declaration of legal precedent. Bacon’s scientific empiricism was similar to his desire for the law to focus more on the facts and evidence of the case and not be influenced by obscure legal precedents.
One criticism of Bacon is the fact that he issued five warrants for the torture of suspects of treason. Bacon claimed torture could be justified if necessary to uncover plots for treason. However, he didn’t admit that it was useful in providing legal evidence.
Francis Bacon was a Protestant Christian and his Christian faith was an important part of his outlook on life. His approach was open-minded and he believed in the importance of scientific analysis. He was a strong advocate for religious tolerance. Rosicrucians, a mystical movement that believed in the transformation of divine and human understanding, has been his association. His work New Atlantis embodies the ideals for a utopian community based on modern scientific rationalism and spiritual laws. There is:
“Generosity, enlightenment and dignity, dignity and splendor; piety, and the public spirit”
Bacon’s novel puts Solomon House, a scientific institution at the center of the land and comments on how scientists strive to work in harmony.
“We have some hymns and services that we say every day, of Lord, thanks to God for His marvelous works; and some forms prayer asking for His blessing and illumination for our labors and their turning into good and holy purposes.
He wrote De Sapientia veterum (1609), which was an account of the hidden wisdom found in ancient myths. It was his most popular book.
“The oldest times are buried in oblivion, silence: to this silence succumbed the fables and poems: to those fables came the written records that have been passed to us.”
It suggests Bacon’s sympathies for a more inclusive religion beyond modern Christianity.
Biography Of Francis Bacon
At 36 years old, Bacon married Elizabeth Hatton. But she ended their relationship to marry Sir Edward Coke, a long-time rival of Bacon’s.
Bacon, then 45, married Alice Farnham at age 14. After disagreements over money, the couple split. After discovering that Alice was having an affair with another man, Bacon eventually divorced Alice.
Bacon succumbed to pneumonia on April 9, 1926. John Aubrey (‘Brief Lives) describes Bacon’s death from pneumonia after suffering a cold while conducting a scientific experiment. Bacon was trying to stuff a fowl in the snow to see if it would survive. Bacon mentions this incident in his final letter to Lord Arundel.
“…The experiment was successful. However, on the journey from London to Highgate, I felt so captivated by the casting that I don’t know if it was the Stone, some surfeit, cold, or a combination of all three.
Bacon was a pioneer in science, philosophy, and constitutional law. Bacon advocated new ways to deal with the world. His radical approach to the fundamental questions of life, and the world in which we live, was influential in promoting a new spirit: the new age for reason and enlightenment. Bacon was interested in a synthesis of rational scientific thinking and a spiritual understanding of a just society.
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