Portrait of Francis Bacon in sixteenth-century armor.

Francis Bacon

(1561 - 1626)

One of three hundred men knighted by King James I in 1603, Francis Bacon three years later at the age of forty-five married a fourteen-year-old girl named Alice Barnham, whom he considered a “handsome maiden to my liking.” Although there were no known marital scandals, he later excised her from his will, citing “great and just causes.” Bacon published The Wisdom of the Ancients in 1609, was named attorney general in 1613, became Lord Chancellor in 1618, and was impeached from that post in 1621. Reports from the new colonies in Virginia inspired Bacon’s idea of a land in which science liberated man from the constraints of nature as depicted in The New Atlantis, published in 1624.

All Writing

If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us.

—Francis Bacon, 1615

They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.

—Francis Bacon, 1605

Voices In Time

1625 | London

Utopia

Francis Bacon’s colonial dreams.More

When a traveler returneth home, let him not leave the countries where he hath traveled altogether behind him.

—Francis Bacon, 1625

The poets did well to conjoin music and medicine, because the office of medicine is but to tune the curious harp of man’s body.

—Francis Bacon, 1605

It would be madness, and inconsistency, to suppose that things which have never yet been performed can be performed without employing some hitherto untried means.

—Francis Bacon, 1620

Voices In Time

1625 | London

Hostage Situation

Francis Bacon compares marriage with the single life.More

He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief.

—Francis Bacon, 1625

If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them.

—Francis Bacon, 1625

It is a certain sign of a wise government and proceeding, when it can hold men’s hearts by hopes, when it cannot by satisfaction.

—Francis Bacon, 1625

He who commands the sea has command of everything.

—Francis Bacon, c. 1600

He that commands the sea is at great liberty and may take as much and as little of the war as he will.

—Francis Bacon, c. 1600

Issues Contributed