Francis Bacon.

By Lord Macaulay.

Printed: 1886-1900

Publisher: Cassell & Company Ltd

Dimensions 11 × 15 × 1.5 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 11 x 15 x 1.5

Condition: Very good  (See explanation of ratings)


Item information


Cloth binding. Black lettering with gilt title on front cover.

The essay Lord Bacon (1837) by Lord Macaulay, is an excellent source for ideas which Macaulay and early middle class Victorians considered important. The Victorian Age, also called the Age of Faith, the Age of Reform, and the Age of the Industrial Revolution, was similar to the Renaissance decades of England in being a time of great literature, world trade expansion, political change and social mobility. In Macaulay’s essay the Whig Liberal view of government is clearly defined: the mistrust of monarchy, the need for checks and balances in government, the importance of Parliament, the need for adherence to law, the value of middle class participation in business and government, and individual responsibility. The creed of Evangelicism, providing much of the framework of the essay, is apparent in the subjects discussed: the Reformation, Anti-Popery, the Bible, sermons, repentance, family influence, death, and most important, moral righteousness. The idea of progress, at its peak in the early nineteenth century, and the idea of utility which paralleled scientific development, are used by Macaulay to illustrate Bacon’s genius. Also discussed are modern language translations and their value in relation to the classics.

Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban, Kt, PC, QC (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626), also known as Lord Verulam, was an English philosopher and statesman who served as Attorney General and as Lord Chancellor of England. His works are seen as developing the scientific method and remained influential through the scientific revolution.

Bacon has been called the father of empiricism. He argued for the possibility of scientific knowledge based only upon inductive reasoning and careful observation of events in nature. Most importantly, he argued science could be achieved by the use of a sceptical and methodical approach whereby scientists aim to avoid misleading themselves. Although his most specific proposals about such a method, the Baconian method, did not have long-lasting influence, the general idea of the importance and possibility of a sceptical methodology makes Bacon the father of the scientific method. This method was a new rhetorical and theoretical framework for science, whose practical details are still central to debates on science and methodology.

Francis Bacon was a patron of libraries and developed a system for cataloguing books under three categories – history, poetry, and philosophy – which could further be divided into specific subjects and subheadings. Bacon was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he rigorously followed the medieval curriculum, largely in Latin.

Bacon was the first recipient of the Queen’s counsel designation, conferred in 1597 when Elizabeth I of England reserved him as her legal advisor. After the accession of James VI and I in 1603, Bacon was knighted, then created Baron Verulam in 1618 and Viscount St Alban in 1621.

He had no heirs and so both titles became extinct on his death in 1626 at the age of 65. He died of pneumonia, with one account by John Aubrey stating that he had contracted it while studying the effects of freezing on meat preservation. He is buried at St Michael’s Church, St Albans, Hertfordshire.

Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, FRS FRSE PC (25 October 1800 – 28 December 1859) was a British historian and Whig politician. He is considered primarily responsible for introducing the Western education system in India. He wrote extensively as an essayist, on contemporary and historical socio-political subjects, and as a reviewer. His The History of England was a seminal and paradigmatic example of Whig history, and its literary style has remained an object of praise since its publication, including subsequent to the widespread condemnation of its historical contentions which became popular in the 20th century.

Macaulay served as the Secretary at War between 1839 and 1841, and as the Paymaster-General between 1846 and 1848. He played a major role in the introduction of English and western concepts to education in India and published his argument on the subject in the “Macaulay’s Minute” in 1835. He supported the replacement of Persian by English as the official language, the use of English as the medium of instruction in all schools, and the training of English-speaking Indians as teachers. This led to Macaulayism in India, and the systematic wiping out of traditional and ancient Indian education and vocational systems and sciences.

Macaulay divided the world into civilised nations and barbarism, with Britain representing the high point of civilisation. In his Minute on Indian Education of February 1835, he asserted, “It is, I believe, no exaggeration to say that all the historical information which has been collected from all the books written in the Sanskrit language is less valuable than what may be found in the paltriest abridgments used at preparatory schools in England”. He was wedded to the idea of progress, especially in terms of the liberal freedoms. He opposed radicalism while idealising historic British culture and traditions.

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