Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was a English politician, philosopher, and essayist. He became Lord Chancellor in 1618, and the same year confessed to bribe-taking, was fined £40,000 (which was paid by the king), and spent four days in the Tower of London. Although he admitted taking the money, he claimed that he had not always given the verdict to his paymasters.
His works include Essays in 1597, notable for pith and brevity; The Advancement of Learning in 1605, a seminal work discussing scientific method; the "Novum Organum" in 1620, in which he redefined the task of natural science, seeing it as a means of empirical discovery and a method of increasing human power over nature; and The New Atlantis in 1626, describing a Utopian state in which scientific knowledg
e is systematically sought and exploited.
Bacon was born in London, studied law at Cambridge from 1573, was part of the embassy in France until 1579, and became a member of Parliament 1584.
He was the nephew of Queen Elizabeth's adviser Lord Burghley, but turned against him when he failed to provide Bacon with patronage. He helped secure the execution of the Earl of Essex as a traitor 1601, after formerly being his follower. Bacon was accused of ingratitude, but he defended himself in Apology 1604. The satirist Pope called Bacon "the wisest, brightest, and meanest of mankind".
Knighted on the accession of James I in 1603, he became Baron Verulam in 1618 and Viscount Saint Albans in 1621.
His writing helped to inspire the founding of the Royal Society. The Baconian Theory, originated by James Willmot in 1785, suggesting that the works of Shakespeare were written by Bacon, probably has no validity.
Why is Francis Bacon famous?
Francis Bacon was an English scientist, politician, author and pioneer of the scientific method.
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