Some years ago, in the early 1990’s an eminent Librarian asked me “Do you wait until you have five bacon’s and then print a catalogue?” and I thought to my self… don’t you read the others?
But Really I knew there was something to it, so in response I did a short catalogue of Bacon’s!
Now as I’m writing my new series of catalogues Fascicule VII, I think should I include some Bacon? Naturally the answer is why wouldn’t I? Well, in fact I’ve don a lot of catalogues without Bacon titles in them, but in most of by General , Varia , New arrivals or Shelf lists there has always been a Bacon or two, and for good reason. More than any english write Francis Bacon’s works embody the spirit of Early modern England:
694G Bacon, Francis. 1561-1626
The essayes or counsels, ciuill and morall, of Francis Lo. Verulam, Viscount St. Alban
London:Printed by Iohn Hauiland, and are sold by R. Allot, 1629
Quarto,7 X 6 inches . This is the first edition containing “Of the colours of good and euill” has divisional title page; register is continuous. Some copies may have been issued without this, but the present copy has it. A- 2V 2X (a) 2Y-3C . Bound in the original limp vellum,(lacking ties) recently recased and a little rumpled but a very large,clean and unsophisticated copy of an early quarto edition
“[Bacon’s] Essays, the fruits of his political and social observations, were first published in 1597, enlarged in 1612, and again in 1625. This 1629 edition contains all 58 essays.
“Of Bacon’s literary, as distinct from his philosophical and professional works, far the most popular and important are the Essays [they] are the most original of all Bacon’s works, those which, in detail, he seems to have thought out most completely for himself, apart from books and collections of commonplaces. This edition teems indeed with quotations and illustrations, but they are suggested by his own matter and do not suggest it. Though the Essays have the same title as the larger collection of Montaigne, the two works have little in common, except that rare power of exciting interest and the unmistakable mark of genius which is impressed on them both.” (DNB) His long attempt to reform the intellectual habits of the European mind began with the publication of The Advancement of Learning in 1605, which attacked the unprofitable scholasticism that inhibited the growth of knowledge and the mental prejudices that helped to keep men in ignorance. Above all he deplored the poor and confused state of knowledge about the operations of the natural world. Novum Organum, begun about 1608, published 1620, called for a systematic study of the natural world and of the causes of things, and proposed the inductive method as the most reliable instruments of enquiry. Bacon worked out the principles of the
experimental method in this book, and developed them in De Augmentis, 1623. Sylva Sylvarum, a proposal of 1,000 experiments to be undertaken, was published posthumously in 1627, together with New Atlantis, a Utopian fragment written about 1617 that urged the foundation of a college for scientific research. A short book that enjoyed much popularity in his lifetime was De Sapientia Veterum, 1609 (translated as The Wisdom of the Ancients, 1619), which tried to demonstrate that the myths of the Greeks were coded accounts of their knowledge of the physical world.” (Quoted from The Seventeenth Century, by Graham Perry, pages 264-265.)
STC 1149; Gibson 15 Pforzheimer 31.
179F Bacon, Francis. 1561-1626
The Two Bookes of Sr Francis Bacon, Of The Proficience and Advancement of Learning, Divine and Hvmane. To the King.
Oxford: Printed by I.L. Printer to the Vniversity, for Thomas Huggins, 1633 $1,750
Quarto, 6.75 x 4.8 inches. Third edition. A-Z4, Aa-Tt4.
This copy is bound in full nineteenth century sheep.
“Bacon […] set himself down to work on his philosophy, that scheme for men’s education which had been in his mind so long. Planning now in earnest and committing his plans to paper, Bacon called this first book the Advancement of Learning. […] Bacon wrote out a preliminary brief statement, […] ‘The Interpretation of Nature, or the Kingdom of Man.’ Nature, to Bacon, was man’s true kingdom, neglected for centuries by churchmen who looked for a kingdom in heaven, or by scholiasts who despised the world about them and the evidence of their senses. Yet in order to attain this new kingdom of nature, men must draw fresh maps of exploration. ‘Those who aspire not to guess and divine,’ wrote Bacon, ‘but to discover and to know … who propose to examine and dissect the nature of this very world itself, go to facts themselves for everything.’” (quoted from Francis Bacon The Temper of a Man, Catherine Drinker Bowen, page 105)
STC 1166, F, HN, HD, ILL, PML, +. Gibson 83
213F Bacon, Francis. 1561-1626
Of The Advancement And Proficience Of Learning or the Partitions Of Sciences ix Bookes Written in Latin by the Most Eminent Illustrious & Famous Lord Francis Bacon Baron of Verulam Vicont St Alban Counsilour of Estate and Lord Chancellor of England. Interpreted by Gilbert Wats.
Oxford: Printed by Leon: Lichfield, Printer to the University, for Rob: Young, & Ed: Forrest, 1640 [colophon dated 1640] $2,800
Small folio, 260 x 175 mm. First complete edition of this work in English. ¶4, ¶¶2, ¶¶¶1, A2, B-C4, aa-gg4, hh2, †4, ††2, †1, A-Z4, Aa-Zz4, Aaa-Qqq4, Rrr2. complete.
“And even the title page [the engraved title page found in this copy], it now becomes clear, announces this figure, for the Pillars of Hercules there also represent the temple of the world through which the ship of apocalyptic exploration passes, just as one passes through the twin pillars before Solomon’s Temple. Thus when discussing the Great Instauration’s motto, plus ultra, and Daniel’s prophecy in The Advancement of Learning, Bacon says, ‘For it may be truly affirmed to the honor of these times, and in a virtuous emulation with antiquity, that this great building of the world had never through–lights made in it, till the age of us and our fathers.’ The engraver Thomas Cecill [who engraved the image for the 1620 edition. The engraver here is W. Marshall, after Cecill] saw this great building as Solomon’s Temple.” (quoted from Francis Bacon and Modernity, by Charles Whitney, page 33) An engraved portrait of Bacon is bound before the title. It is dated 1626. This copy has the usual minor rust, the paper is quite crisp and clean, with the original type impression still visible. This is a nice copy, of a very important book. The binding is full seventeenth century calf. With the initials F. L gold stamped around a gilt central ornament
“Partitiones Scientiarum, a survey of the sciences, either such as then existed or such as required to be constructed afresh—in fact, an
inventory of all the possessions of the human mind. The famous classification on which this survey proceeds is based upon an analysis of the faculties and objects of human knowledge. This division is represented by the De Augmentis Scientiarum [The Advancement of Learning].”
“Bacon’s grand motive in his attempt to found the sciences anew was the intense conviction that the knowledge man possessed was of little service to him. ‘The knowledge whereof the world is now possessed, especially that of nature, extendeth not to magnitude and certainty of works.’ Man’s sovereignty over nature, which is founded on knowledge alone, had been lost, and instead of the free relation between things and the human mind, there was nothing but vain notions and blind experiments. … Philosophy is not the science of things divine and human; it is not the search after truth. ‘I find that even those that have sought knowledge for itself, and not for benefit or ostentation, or any practical enablement in the course of their life, have nevertheless propounded to themselves a wrong mark, namely, satisfaction (which men call Truth) and not operation.’ ‘Is there any such happiness as for a man’s mind to be raised above the confusion of things, where he may have the prospect of the order of nature and error of man? But is this a view of delight only and not of discovery? of contentment and not of benefit? Shall he not as well discern the riches of nature’s warehouse as the beauty of her shop? Is truth ever barren? Shall he not be able thereby to produce worthy effects, and to endow the life of man with infinite commodities?’ Philosophy is altogether practical; it is of little matter to the fortunes of humanity what abstract notions one may entertain concerning the nature and the principles of things. This truth, however, has never yet been recognized; it has not yet been seen that the true aim of all science is ‘to endow the condition and life of man with new powers or works,’ or ‘to extend more widely the limits of the power and greatness of man.’” (quoted from the Encyclopedia Britannica, eleventh edition, vol. 3, page 145.)
STC 1167; Gibson 141b.
464F Bacon, Francis. 1561-1626
Sylva Sylvarum, Or, A Naturall History, In Ten Centuries. Written by the Right Honorable Francis Lo. Verulam, Viscount of St. Alban. Published after the Authors Death, By William Rawley, Doctor in Divinitie, One of His Majesties Chaplaines. Hereunto is now added an Alphabeticall Table of the Principall Things contained in the Ten Centuries.
London: Printed by John Haviland for William Lee, and are to be Sold by Iohn Williams, 1635 $3,200
Folio, 7 x 10.4 in. Fourth edition. π2, A-Z6, Aa-Bb6, Cc4, a-g4 (g4 is blank). The engraved title page and portrait of Bacon dated to 1631 and 1631 respectively are both present in this volume. This copy is bound in its original full calf. Binding tight and firm. A good clean copy of an early edition.
“The new method [Bacon’s big plan, the Instauratio Magna] is valueless, because inapplicable, unless it be supplied with materials duly collected and presented—in fact, unless there be formed a competent natural history of the Phenomena Universi. A short introductory sketch of the requisites of such a natural history, which, according to Bacon, is essential, necessary, the basis totius negotii, is given in the tract Parasceve, appended to the Novum Organum. The principal works intended to form portions of the history, and either published by himself or left in manuscript, are historia Ventorum, Historia Vitae et Mortis, Historia Densi et Rari, and the extensive collection of facts and observations entitled Sylva Sylvarum […]
“Nature thus presented itself to Bacon’s mind as a huge congeries of phenomena, the manifestations of some simple and primitive qualities, which were hid from us by the complexity of the things themselves. The world was a vast labyrinth, amid the windings of which we require some clue or thread whereby we may track our way to knowledge and thence to power. This thread, the filum labyrinthi, is the new method of induction. But, as has been frequently pointed out, the new method could not be applied until facts had been observed and collected. This is an indispensable preliminary. ‘Man, the servant and interpreter of nature, can do and understand so much, and so much only as he has observed in fact or in thought of the course of nature; beyond this he neither knows anything nor can do anything.’ The proposition that our knowledge of nature necessarily begins with observation and experience, is common to Bacon and many contemporary reformers of science, but he laid peculiar stress upon it, and gave it a new meaning. What he really meant by observation was a competent natural history or collection of facts. ‘The firm foundation of a purer natural philosophy are laid in natural history.’ ‘First of all we must prepare a natural and experimental history, sufficient and good; and this is the foundation of all.” (EB)
This book is ‘the foundation of all,’ consisting of all of Bacon’s empirical experiments along with his utopian fable, The New Atlantis. STC 1172; Gibson #174.
693G Bacon, Francis. 1561-1626
The History Of the Reigne of King HenryThe Seventh. Written by the Right Hon: Francis Lo: Verulam, Viscount S. Alban. Whereunto is now added a very vsefull and necessary Table.
London: Printed by I.H. and R.Y. and are to be sold by Philemon Stephens and Christopher Meredith, At the Signe of the Golden Lyon in Pauls-Church-yard, 1629. $1,100
Folio, 11 1/3 x 7 1/2 inches. Third edition. A reissue, with cancel title page, of the 1628 edition. [A2], B-Z4, Aa-Ll4, Kk5. The title page is printed inside a large and handsome woodcut border.
This copy does not have the portrait of Henry.
“Of the historical works, besides a few fragments of the projected history of Britain there remains the History of Henry VII, a valuable work, giving a clear and animated narrative of the reign, and characterizing Henry with great skill. The style is in harmony with the matter, vigorous and flowing, but naturally with less of the quaintness and richness suitable to more thoughtful and original writings.” (Encyclopedia Britannica, eleventh edition, entry on Bacon.) Bacon’s ‘Historie’, which may practically be regarded as the earliest of English historical monographs, was actually composed in 1621, probably after Bacon, on his release from the Tower, had returned to Gorhambury. […] It is, in the main, founded on Bernard André and Polydore Vergil, with Fabyan and the later chroniclers, and a few additions by Stow, and, more especially, by Speed, some of whose mistakes were copied by Bacon.
“Yet this Life was by no means a piece of mere compilation, either in design or execution. The conception of the character of Henry VII dates from an early period of Bacon’s career, as is proved by a fragment of a history of the Tudor reigns from Henry VIII to Elizabeth, discovered by Spedding; which also seems to refute Mackintosh’s idea that the ‘Historie’ was written, not only (as, in a sense, it certainly was) to justify James I, but, also, to flatter him by representing Henry VII as a model king and the prototype of the reigning monarch. […] “The style of this work possesses a kind of charm absent from few of Bacon’s writings, which always have the fascination belonging to deep waters, and the concluding sentence of the work is exceedingly graceful. The author’s fondeness for Latin forms (“militar,” “indubiate,” and so forth is very obvious; the Latin translation of his book seems to have been made either by himself or under his own eye.” (Cambridge History of English Literature. Vol. VII; Ch. 9.)
STC 1161 [with cancel t.p.].Gibson #118
722F Bacon, Francis. 1561-1626
The essays or counsels, civil and moral, of Sir Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam, Viscount St Alban. With a table of the colours of good & evil. Whereunto is added the wisdom of the antients. Enlarged by the honourable author himself; and now more exactly published.
London: Printed by M. Clark, for Samuel Mearne, in Little Britain, John Martyn, in St. Pauls Church-yard, and Henry Herringman, in the New Exchange, 1680.
Octavo, 8.5 x 14 cm. Twelfth edition. A6, B-Z8, Aa-Bb8, Cc3, [Cc4]; lacks the final blank leaf. This copy is bound in original boards, recently rebacked.
Wing B-288; Term Catalogue I, 388;Gibson- Bacon #24a, Gibson-St. Thomas More, cf 815.