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It is a fact very creditable to the reading public of those days, that a volume which offers no entertainment except solid observation, packed as close as possible and stripped of all ornament, was thrice reprinted within nine years after its first appearance, viz. in 1598, in 1604, and in 1606. It is doubtful however whether Bacon himself had anything to do with any of these editions ; which are said to have been merely reprints, without addition or alteration, except some changes in the spelling, and the substitution of an English translation of the Meditationes sacræ for the original Latin.

The earliest evidence of additions and alterations which I have met with, is contained in a volume preserved among the Harleian MSS. in the British Museum, No. 5106.; a volume undoubtedly authentic ; for it contains interlineations in Bacon's own hand; and transcribed some time between 1607, when Bacon became Solicitor-general, and 1612, when he brought out a new edition of the Essays with further additions and alterations. It is unluckily not quite perfect; one leaf at least, if not more, having been lost at the beginning; though otherwise in excellent preservation.

The titlepage, which remains, bears the following inscription, very handsomely written in the old English character, with flourished capitals : The writings of Sr Francis Bacon Knt. the Kinge's Sollicitor Generall: in Moralitie, Policie, and Historie.

It contains nothing but Essays; which stand in the following order:

1. Of Friendship (the begin 6. Of Seeming Wise. ning wanting).

7. Of Regiment of Health. 2. Of Wisdom for a Man's Self. 8. Of Expences. 3. Of Nobility.

9. Of Ambition. 4. Of Goodness and Goodness 10. Of Ceremonies and Respects. of Nature.

11. Of Studies. 5. Of Beauty

12. Of Discourse.

13. Of Riches.

24. Of Great Place. 14. Of Followers and Friends. 25. Of Empire. 15. Of Suitors.

26. Of Counsel. 16. Of Negociating.

27. Of Atheism. 17. Of Despatch.

28. Of Superstition. 18. Of Deformity.

29. Of Praise. 19. Of Young Men and Age. 30. Of Nature in Men. 20. Of Faction.

31. Of Custom and Education. 21. Of Honour and Reputation. 32. Of Fortune. 22. Of Marriage and Single Life. 33. Of Death. 23. Of Parents and Children. 34. Of Seditions and Troubles.

Of these, two only are not to be found in the edition of 1612; viz. the twenty-first (which is included in the edition both of 1597 and 1625) and the thirty-fourth, which was not published till 1625, though an Italian translation of it had been given in Sir Tobie Matthew's Saggi Morali, in 1618. As this stands last in the volume, and the rest of the leaves are left blank, it is impossible to say whether it was transcribed at the same time with the rest, or added at a later period. But I cannot detect any differencc in the handwriting, the colour of the ink, or the general appearance of it.

This last I have added at the end. The others I have compared with the copies in the edition of 1612; and although I have not thought it worth while to make an exact and perfect collation, I have marked all the more considerable variations between the two; so that by means of the table of contents which I have just given, and the foot-notes which follow, a full and particular account of the contents of the manuscript volume may be obtained. .

The reprint of the edition of 1612, which I now subjoin, preserving (except in the case of mere misprints) the original orthography and punctuation, has been compared with two copies in my own possession, both of which have been corrected here and there with a pen, apparently by the same hand. The corrections being the same in both and made in the same way, I presume that they were inserted by Bacon's own direction: see note p. 574.






Imprinted at London by Ionx BEALE,



To my Loving Brother, Sir IOHN CONSTABLE Knight.

My last Essaies I dedicated to my deare brother Master Anthony Bacon, who is with God. Looking amongst my papers this vacation, I found others of the same Nature : which if I my selfe shall not suffer to be lost, it seemeth the World will not; by the often printing of the former. Missing my Brother, I found you next ; in respect of bond both of neare alliance, and of straight friendship and societie, and particularly of communication in studies. Wherein I must acknowledge my selfe beholding to you. For as my businesse found rest in my contemplations ; 80 my contemplations euer found rest in your louing conference and iudgement. So wishing you all good, I remaine

Your louing brother and friend,


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