694J Francis Bacon 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. $3,800
Quarto, Signatures A-2V⁴ 2X² (a)² 2Y-3C⁴. 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. And is the First edition to contain The colors of good and evil and has divisional title page; register is continuous. Some copies may have been issued without this, but the present copy has it.
“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. The last edition [referring to that of 1625, the first to contain all fifty-eight essays] 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.
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