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Rashers of Bacon

"For also knowledge itself is power."

Francis Bacon

Bacon's philosophy
Inductive reasoning
Bacon's Travel Tips

Read about Francis Bacon in Pool of Life: The Story of Liverpool in Caricatures.

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Francis Bacon

Of all Liverpool's MPs, Francis Bacon was the most deserving of the epithet 'great man'. However, since there is no evidence he even bothered to visit his constituency, he probably wasn't that great an MP — even though he scaled the heights of his Age as a politician. He presumably thought Liverpool could look after itself while he got on with being just about the most powerful statesmen in the Courts of Elizabeth and James I. No doubt he intended to visit, but his groundbreaking work as philosopher, essayist and 'father of modern science' meant he kept putting it off.

Thomas Carlyle wrote that Bacon had a rare ability to 'converse with this universe, first hand'. Lord Macaulay admired Bacon as the antithesis of a woffler who 'had a wonderful talent for packing thought close, and rendering it portable'.

But Macauley also considered Bacon a 'thoroughly dishonest man...', one whose dazzling brilliance of mind enticed others to forget 'the standards of ordinary decency and morality'. That's the problem with being both philosopher and politician. No doubt philosophical integrity was particularly incongruous with political ambition in Tudor and Stuart England, when all advancement required flattery and fawning on the monarch, and outdoing his rivals in intrigue.

Bacon had his comeuppance, being found guilty of serious sleaze. He was banished from Court for life — which gave him plenty of time for his writing, though it ensured he died in debt. But his ideas lived on and have enriched our civilisation.

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