Sir Francis Bacon was an English philosopher known well for his contribution to the scientific revolution. According to John Aubrey though his scientific experiments may have played a role in his death. His most well known and popular works were for scientific inquiry and called the “Baconian method.” His demand for a planned procedure of investigating marked a new turn in the rhetorical and theoretical thinking of science.
Francis Bacon was born at York House in Strand London. He was the youngest of five sons to Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal. Francis Bacon’s mother was the second wife of Sir Nicholas and a member of the Reformed Puritan Church.
It is believed that Francis Bacon received an education during his early years at home because his health was in delicate condition. In 1573 he attended Trinity College, Cambridge at the age of 12 and lived there for three years with his brother Anthony. It was here that he first met Queen Elizabeth I. She was very impressed with his intellect and often referred to him as the “young Lord Keeper.” It was also at Trinity College that he came to the conclusion that all science of his day was inaccurate and misleading. Although he admired Aristotle, he disliked his philosophies. In June of 1576 Francis and his brother Anthony went abroad with Sir Amias Paulet, and English ambassador at Paris. But with the sudden death of his father Francis in 1579 Francis felt a great need to return to England. Before Sir Nicholas had died he had planned on purchasing an estate for his youngest son but died before doing so. Francis was left with only a fifth of that money and it was after this that he became “habitually in debt.”
Francis Bacon had three specific goals which were:
1. Discovery of Truth
2. Service to his country
3. Service to the Church
Bacon knew that having a prestigious post would help him reach his goals so he applied for a post at court which would help him devote himself to a life of learning. Much to his disappointment his application was denied and therefore continued working at the Gray’s Inn while studying law until he was finally admitted in 1582. Here are some of his accomplishments in his “Life long career of learning.”
• 1586- he took a prominent role in urging the execution of Mary Queen of Scots.
• 1589 Bacon became acquainted with Robert Devereux (2nd Earl of Essex) and by 1591 he was the acting confidential advisor for him.
• In 1596 Francis Bacon was mad a Queen’s Counsel but missed the appointment of Master of Rolls.
• Friends of his could find no public office for him so Bacon’s financial state continued to be poor and in 1598 he was arrested for debt.
• His relationship with the Queen improved however and he found favor from her.
• Bacon was knighted in 1603 after his “Declaration of the Practices and Treasons, etc. of the Earl of Essex.”
• In 1608 he entered the Clerkship of the Star Chamber.
• As Francis Bacon won the favor of the king, in 1618 he was appointed to the position of Lord Chancellor
Although there were many accomplishments during his lifetime, his career ended in disgrace after falling into considerable debt. The Parliament Committee charged him with corruption under twenty three counts and sentenced him to serve at the Tower of London (to the King’s pleasure). Turns out that he actually was only there for a few days and devoted the rest of his life to study and writing. Some believed that the charges presented against Bacon were false and that he only pleaded guilty to save King James from a political scandal. He died on April 9 1626 at the age of 65.