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BACON, SIR N.—BACON, ROGER

Leonard Bacon's sister Delia Bacon (1811–1859), born in Tallmadge, Ohio, on the 2nd of February 1811, was a teacher in schools in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, and then, until about 1852, conducted in various eastern cities, by methods devised by herself, classes for women in history and literature. She wrote Tales of the Puritans (1831), The Bride of Fort Edward (1839), based on the story of Jane M‘Crea, partly in blank verse, and The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakespeare Unfolded (1857), for which alone she is remembered. This book, in the preparation of which she spent several years in study in England, where she was befriended by Thomas Carlyle and especially by Nathaniel Hawthorne, was intended to prove that the plays attributed to Shakespeare were written by a coterie of men, including Francis Bacon, Sir Walter Raleigh and Edmund Spenser, for the purpose of inculcating a philosophic system, for which they felt that they themselves could not afford to assume the responsibility. This system she professed to discover beneath the superficial text of the plays. Her devotion to this one idea, as Hawthorne says, “had thrown her off her balance,” and while she was in England she lost her mind entirely. She died in Hartford, Connecticut, on the 2nd of September 1859.

There is a biography by her nephew, Theodore Bacon, Delia Bacon: A Sketch (Boston, 1888), and an appreciative chapter, “Recollections of a Gifted Woman,” in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Our Old Home (Boston, 1863).

Leonard Bacon's son Leonard Woolsey Bacon (1830–1907), graduated at Yale in 1850, was pastor of various Congregational and Presbyterian churches, and published Church Papers (1876); A Life Worth Living: Life of Emily Bliss Gould (1878); Irenics and Polemics and Sundry Essays in Church History (1895); History of American Christianity (1898); and The Congregationalists (1904).  (W. Wr.) 

BACON, SIR NICHOLAS (1509–1579), lord keeper of the great seal of England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, was the second son of Robert Bacon of Drinkstone, Suffolk, and was born at Chislehurst. He was educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1527, and afterwards spent some time in Paris. Having returned to England and entered Gray's Inn, he was called to the bar in 1533, and four years later began his public life as solicitor of the court of augmentations. Quickly becoming a person of importance he obtained a number of estates, principally in the eastern counties, after the dissolution of the monasteries, and in 1545 became member of parliament for Dartmouth. In 1546 he was made attorney of the court of wards and liveries, an office of both honour and profit; in 1550 became a bencher and in 1552 treasurer of Gray's Inn. Although his sympathies were with the Protestants, he retained his office in the court of wards during Mary's reign, but an order was issued to prevent him from leaving England. The important period in Bacon's life began with the accession of Elizabeth in 1558. Owing largely to his long and close friendship with Sir William Cecil, afterwards Lord Burghley, his brother-in-law, he was appointed lord keeper of the great seal in December of this year, and was soon afterwards made a privy councillor and a knight. He was instrumental in securing the archbishopric of Canterbury for his friend Matthew Parker, and in his official capacity presided over the House of Lords when Elizabeth opened her first parliament. In opposition to Cecil, he objected to the policy of making war on France in the interests of the enemies of Mary queen of Scots, on the ground of the poverty of England; but afterwards favoured a closer union with foreign Protestants, and seemed quite alive to the danger to his country from the allied and aggressive religious policy of France and Scotland. In 1559 he was authorized to exercise the full jurisdiction of lord chancellor. In 1564 he fell temporarily into the royal disfavour and was dismissed from court, because Elizabeth suspected he was concerned in the publication of a pamphlet, “A Declaration of the Succession of the Crowne Imperiall of Ingland,” written by John Hales (q.v.), and favouring the claim of Lady Catherine Grey to the English throne. Bacon's innocence having been admitted he was restored to favour, and replied to a writing by Sir Anthony Browne, who had again asserted the rights of the house of Suffolk to which Lady Catherine belonged. He thoroughly distrusted Mary queen of Scots; objected to the proposal to marry her to the duke of Norfolk; and warned Elizabeth that serious consequences for England would follow her restoration. He seems to have disliked the proposed marriage between the English queen and Francis, duke of Anjou, and his distrust of the Roman Catholics and the French was increased by the massacre of St Bartholomew. As a loyal English churchman he was ceaselessly interested in ecclesiastical matters, and made suggestions for the better observation of doctrine and discipline in the church. He died in London on the 20th of February 1579 and was buried in St Paul's cathedral, his death calling forth many tributes to his memory. He was an eloquent speaker, a learned lawyer, a generous friend; and his interest in education led him to make several gifts and bequests for educational purposes, including the foundation of a free grammar school at Redgrave. His figure was very corpulent and ungainly. Elizabeth visited him several times at Gorhambury, and had previously visited him at Redgrave. He was twice married and by his first wife, Jane, had three sons and three daughters. His second wife was Anne (d. 1610), daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke, by whom he had two sons. Bacon's eldest son, Nicholas (c. 1540–1624), was member of parliament for the county of Suffolk and in 1611 was created premier baronet of England. This baronetcy is still held by his descendants. His second and third sons, Nathaniel (c. 1550–1622) and Edward (c. 1550–1618), also took some part in public life, and through his daughter, Anne, Nathaniel was an ancestor of the marquesses Townshend. His sons by his second wife were Anthony (1558–1601), a diplomatist of some repute, and the illustrious Francis Bacon (q.v.).

See G. Whetstone, “Remembraunce of the life of Sir N. Bacon,” in the Frondes Caducae (London, 1816); J. A. Froude, History of England, passim (London, 1881 f.).

BACON, ROGER (c. 1214–c. 1294), English philosopher and man of science, was born near Ilchester in Somerset. His family appears to have been in good circumstances, but in the stormy reign of Henry III. their property was despoiled and several members of the family were driven into exile. Roger completed his studies at Oxford, though not, as current traditions assert, at Merton or at Brasenose, neither of which had then been founded. His abilities were speedily recognized by his contemporaries, and he enjoyed the friendship of such eminent men as Adam de Marisco and Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln.

Very little is known of Bacon's life at Oxford; it is said he took orders in 1233, and this is not improbable. In the following year, or perhaps later, he crossed over to France and studied at the university of Paris, then the centre of intellectual life in Europe. The two great orders, Franciscans and Dominicans, were in the vigour of youth, and had already begun to take the lead in theological discussion. Alexander of Hales was the oracle of the Franciscans, while the rival order rejoiced in Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas.

The scientific training which Bacon had received, mainly from the study of the Arab writers, showed him the manifold defects in the systems reared by these doctors. Aristotle was known but in part, and that part was rendered well-nigh unintelligible through the vileness of the translations; yet not one of those professors would learn Greek. The Scriptures read, if at all, in the erroneous versions were being deserted for the Sentences of Peter Lombard. Physical science, if there was anything deserving that name, was cultivated, not by experiment in the Aristotelian way, but by arguments deduced from premises resting on authority or custom. Everywhere there was a show of knowledge concealing fundamental ignorance. Bacon, accordingly, withdrew from the scholastic routine and devoted himself to languages and experimental research. The only teacher whom he respected was a certain Petrus de Maharncuria Picardus, or of Picardy, probably identical with a certain mathematician, Petrus Peregrinus of Picardy, who is perhaps the author of a MS. treatise, De Magnete, contained in the Bibliothèque Impériale at Paris. The contrast between the obscurity of such a man and