Bacon’s Unpublished Works Brought to Light

Bacon, Francis, Lord Verulam (1561-1626)

Resuscitatio or, bringing into publick light several pieces of the works civil, historical, philosophical, and theological, hitherto sleeping of the right honourable Francis Bacon Baron of Verulam, Viscount Saint Alban. In two parts. The third edition, according to the best corrected copies, together with his Lordships life. By William Rawley, doctor in divinity, his lordships first and last Chaplain. And lately his Majesties Chaplain in Ordinary

London: printed by S[arah]. G[riffin]. and B[ennet]. G[riffin]. for William Lee, and are to be sold at his shop, at the sign of the Turks head in Fleetstreet over against Fetter Lane, 1671


Folio: 29.5 x 19 cm. [12], 17, [1], 192, 187-255, [3], 99, [19], 8, [2], 16, [2], 18, [2], 19-26, [2], 27-62, [4], 58, [10], 92, [12], 26 p., [2] leaves of plates (portraits of Bacon).


An extremely fine copy in contemporary mottled calf with only very minor wear, the spine richly and beautifully tooled in gold and with a red morocco label, gilt. The edges of the text-block are marbled. The contents are extremely crisp and bright. The portrait of Bacon and the full-page engraving of Bacon’s funeral monument are present in crisp, dark impressions. CLean tear to 1 leaf (no loss.) Provenance: Thomas Dunant Scottow; William Charles Hall.

Edited by Bacon’s amanuensis, or daily instrument William Rawley (c. 1588-1667) from Bacon’s unpublished papers, including the “Register Book” of Bacon’s speeches. Rawley was closely involved with the editing of Bacon’s work and was responsible for the posthumous publication of the “Sylva Sylvarum.”

Speaking of the Resuscitatio, Rawley confessed, 'It is true, that for some of the Pieces, herein contained, his Lordship did not aim, at the Publication of them, but at the Preservation onely; And Prohibiting them from Perishing; So as, to have been reposed, in some Private shrine, or Library.” Bacon was not always so successful in maintaining his manuscripts or preserving his papers and Rawley complained of 'the loose keeping' of some of 'his Lordships Papers, whilest he lived'. As a result, he argued, 'divers Surreptitious Copies have been taken; which have since, employed the Presse, with sundry Corrupt, and Mangled, Editions'. But Rawley reasons, “Having been employed, as an Amanuensis or dayly instrument, to this Honourable Authour; And acquainted with his Lordships Conceits, in the composing, of his Works, for many years together; Especially, in his writing Time; I conceived, that no Man, could pretend a better Interest, or Claim, to the ordering of them, after his Death, then myself.” Rawley has also included his own life of Bacon.

Among the works here published are 20 speeches, an English translation of Bacon’s life of Queen Elizabeth, more than 80 letters to (and in some instances, from) Queen Elizabeth, the Earl of Essex, King James I, Thomas Bodley, and others; as well as the “Apophthegms”, his “Touching Duels”, addressed to the Star Chamber, written in response to the ongoing general problem of private dueling; and much else. Among the previously published works (but here published from Bacon’s own manuscript copies) are the “Natural and Experimental History of Winds”, the “Apology touching the Earl of Essex”, and a translation of part of the New Organon entitled “Preparatory to the History Natural and Experimental”.

The letters in particular afford invaluable insights into the remarkable public career and private life of one of the most formidable statesmen of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras, and one of the greatest intellectual minds of early modern England. They include James I’s letter thanking Bacon for sending him the “Instauration Magna” and expressing his resolution “First, to read it through with care and attention; though I should steel some hours from my sleep… And then, to use the liberty of a true Friend, in not sparing to ask you the question, in any point where I shall stand in doubt.” The speeches include Bacon’s report of the treason of Elizabeth’s court physician and would-be assassin Roderigo Lopez.

Gibson 229; ESTC R37049