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LORD BACON'S WORKS
ESSAYS OR COUNSELS,
CIVIL AND MORAL.
TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE MY VERY GOOD LO. THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM HIS GRACE, LO. HIGH ADMIRALL OF ENGLAND.
EXCELLENT Lo. Salomon saies; A good name is as a precious oyntment; and I assure myselfe, such wil your Grace's name bee, with posteritie. For your fortune, and merit both, haue beene eminent. And you haue planted things, that are like to last. I doe now publish my Essayes; which, of all other workes, have beene most currant: For that, as it seemes, they come home, to mens businesse, and bosomes. I haue enlarged them, both in number, and weight; so that they are indeed a new work. I thought it therefore agreeable, to my affection, and obligation to your Grace, to prefix your name before them, both in English, and in Latine. For I doe conceiue, that the Latine Volume of them (being in the Vniuersal Language) may last, as long as Bookes last. My Instauration, I dedicated to the King: My Historie of Henry the Seventh, (which I haue now translated into Latine) and my Portions of Naturall History, to the Prince: And these I dedicate to your Grace: Being of the best Fruits, that by the good encrease, which God gives to my Pen and Labours, I could yeeld. God leade your Grace by the Hand. Your Graces most Obliged and Faithful Seruant,
FR. ST. ALBan.
The first edition of the Essays was published in the year 1597. It is entitled1
THE EPISTLE DEDICATORIE.
"To M. Anthony Bacon his deare Brother.
"Louing and beloued brother I do now like some that haue an Orcharde il neighbored, that gather their fruit before it is ripe, to preuent stealing. These fragments of my conceits were going to print: To labour the stay of them had bene troublesome, and subiect to interpretation: to let them passe had bin to aduentur the wrong they mought receiue by vntrue Coppies, or by some garnishment which it mought please any one that shold set them forth to bestow upon them. Therefore I helde it best discretion to publish them my selfe as they passed long agoe from my pen without any further disgrace, then the weakenes of the author. And as I did euer hold there mought be as great a vanitie in retyring and withdrawing mens conceits (except they be of some nature) from the world, as in obtruding them: So in these particulars I haue played my selfe the inquisitor, and find nothing to my vnderstanding in them contrary, or infectious to the state of Religion, or manners, but rather (as I suppose) medicinable. Onely I disliked now to put them out, because they will be like the late newe halfepence, which though the siluer were good, yet the pieces were small. But since they would not stay with their master, but wold needs trauel abroad, I haue preferred them to you, that are next myself, dedicating them, such as they are, to our loue, in the depth whereof (I assure you) I somtimes wish your infirmities transslated upon my selfe, that her maiesty mought haue the seruice of so actiue and able a mind, and I mought bee with excuse confined to these contemplations and studies for which I am fittest, so commende I you to the preseruation of the diuine Maiestie. From my Chamber at Grayes Inne, this 30. of Ianuary. 1597.
9. Of Faction.
10. Of Negotiating.
These Essays, which are very short, are in octavo, in thirteen double pages, and somewhat incorrectly printed. They are annexed as Notes at the end of the Essays.*
Of this edition there is a manuscript in very ancient writing in the Lansdowne MSS. in the British Museum.3
The next edition was in the year 1606. It is entitled
Seene and allowed.
Printed at London for Iohn Iaggard,
dwelling in Fleete streete at the
This edition, which is in 12mo,4 and not paged, is, except a few literal variations, a transcript of the edition of 1597.5
1 The Essay (for instance) in the table of contents is "Of Suters," in the body of the book it is "Of Sutes:" 2 See note L.
The reference to it is in vol. ii. of Catalogue, page 173, as follows: "Essays by Lord Bacon, viz. on Studies, Discourses, Ceremonies, and Respects, Followers and Friends, Suitors, Expense, Regimen of Health, Honor and Reputation, Faction and Negotiating.' The Catalogue then adds, "These Essays will be found to vary in some degree from the printed copies and especially from an expensive edition of Lord Bacon's works, in which the Essays appear to be greatly mutilated."
It is probable that this (although groundless) relates to the edition of 1730, published by Blackburn. It may, perhaps, be doubtful whether this is a MS. of the edition of 1597 or of 1606; but the first Essay in the edition of 1587 says, "if he conferre little, he had need of a present witt;" but the words "he had need of” are omitted in the edition of 1606. They are however in the MS. in the Museum. There is also in the Harleiam MSS. 6797, a MS. of two Essays, of Faction and of Negotiating, with cross lines drawn through them.
• I have a copy in my possession, with a very bad engraving of Lord Bacon prefixed above the following lines:
Bacon, his Age's Pride and Britann's Glory
As this volume, published 1606, (three years after the death of his brother Anthony,) contains the dedication to Anthony and these lines, and as I do not find the edition mentioned in any of his letters: query, was it published by the author or by some bookseller?
For instance; the dedication in 1587 is to M. Anthony Bacon, and in 1606 it is to Maister Anthony Bacon: and the signature in 1597 is Fran. Bacon; in 1506 is Francis Bacon.