Francis Bacon was born on January 22, 1561, in London, England. The son of Sir Nicholas Bacon and Lady Anne Cooke Bacon, he was educated at Trinity College in Cambridge.
After leaving college, Bacon embarked on a career in law and politics. He served as Attorney General and as Lord Chancellor of England.
Sir Francis Bacon’s father, Sir Nicholas Bacon, was a statesman who served as Keeper of the Great Seal of England. His mother, Lady Anne Cooke Bacon, was a noted scholar and the daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke, tutor to King Edward VI.
As a child, Francis Bacon was educated at home by private tutors. He later attended Trinity College in Cambridge, where he studied mathematics and philosophy.
In 1589, Bacon was elected to the House of Commons as a member of the conservative party. He served as Attorney General under Queen Elizabeth I and helped prosecute the Earl of Essex for treason.
After Essex’s execution in 1601, Bacon was appointed Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, and in 1603 he was made Lord Chancellor of England.
Bacon also had a long-standing rivalry with the English jurist Sir Edward Coke.
Bacon was a committed Protestant and believed in the separation of church and state. He opposed the idea of royal interference in religious affairs and supported the right of individuals to freedom of conscience.
Bacon is best known for his work on the scientific method. He believed that the scientific method should be used to understand nature and to improve the natural world.
His works, such as The Advancement of Learning and Novum Organon, were highly influential during the scientific revolution.
Published in 1605, The Advancement of Learning is Bacon’s most famous work on the scientific method.
In this book, Bacon argues that knowledge should be divided into two categories: the first is “knowledge that can be learned from books”, and the second is “knowledge that can only be learned through experience”
In 1612, Francis Bacon and Galileo Galilei became involved in a heated debate about the nature of motion. Bacon argued that motion was relative to the observer, while Galileo contended that motion was absolute.
In 1610, Bacon was granted a royal charter to establish the Virginia Company. The company was responsible for establishing the first English colonies in North America in the Virginias, Carolinas, and New Foundland.
Later Years and Controversy
Bacon’s career was not without controversy. He was often criticized for his close ties to the monarchy and his conservative views. In 1621, Bacon was accused of accepting bribes as Lord Chancellor. There seems little doubt that Bacon had accepted gifts from litigants, but there is no evidence that he had accepted bribes in exchange for judicial decisions.
He was convicted of corruption and sentenced to imprisonment. After his release, Bacon retired from public life.
Death and Legacy
Bacon died from pneumonia on April 09, 1626, at the age of 65.
He is considered one of the most important philosophers and scientists of the Scientific Revolution. His work on the scientific method has had a lasting impact on the development of science.
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Link will appear as Hanson, Marilee. "Sir Francis Bacon – A Philosopher and Statesman Who Changed the World" https://englishhistory.net/tudor/citizens/sir-francis-bacon/, January 26, 2022