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BARON OF VERULAM, VISCOUNT ST. ALBANS, AND
LORD HIGH CHANCELLOR OF ENGLAND.
Collected and Edited
JAMES SPEDDING, M. A.
OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE;
ROBERT LESLIE ELLIS, M. A.
LATE FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE;
DOUGLAS DENON HEATH,
BARRISTER-AT-LAW; LATE FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE,
HURD AND HOUGHTON, 401 BROADWAY.
BOSTON: TAGGARD AND THOMPSON.
BACON's works were all published separately, and never collected into a body by himself; and though he had determined, not long before his death, to distribute them into consecutive volumes, the order in which they were to succeed each other was confessedly irregular; a volume of moral and political writings being introduced between the first and second parts of the Instauratio Magna, quite out of place, merely because he had it ready at the time.1 In arranging the collected works therefore, every editor must use his own judgment.
Blackbourne, the first editor of an Opera Omnia,2 took the Distributio Operis as his groundwork, and endeavoured first to place the various unfinished por
1 "Debuerat sequi Novum Organum: interposui tamen Scripta mea Moralia et Politica, quia magis erant in promptu. . . . Atque hic tomus (ut diximus) interjectus est et non ex ordine Instaurationis.” — Ep. ad Ful gentium, Opuscula, p. 172.
2 Francisci Baconi, &c., Opera Omnia, quatuor voluminibus comprehensa. Londini, MDCCXXX.
tions of the Instauratio Magna in the order in which they would have stood had they been completed according to the original design; and then to marshal the rest in such a sequence that they might seem to hang together, each leading by a natural transition to the next, and so connecting themselves into a kind of whole. But the several pieces were not written with a view to any such connexion, which is altogether forced and fanciful; and the arrangement has this great inconvenience—it mixes up earlier writings with later, discarded fragments with completed works, and pieces printed from loose manuscripts found after the author's death with those which were published or prepared for publication by himself. Birch, the original editor of the quarto edition in five volumes which (reprinted in ten volumes octavo) has since kept the market and is now known as the "trade edition," followed Blackbourne's arrangement in the main, though with several variations which are for the most part not improvements. The arrangement adopted by Mr. Montagu2 is in these respects no better, in all others much worse. M. Bouillet, in his Œuvres Philosophiques de François Bacon,3 does not profess to include all even of the Philosophical works; and he too, though the best editor by far who has yet handled Bacon, has
1 The Works of Francis Bacon, &c., in five volumes. London, 1763. 2 The Works of Francis Bacon, Lord Chancellor of England. A new edition by Basil Montagu, Esq. London, 1825-34.
3 Paris, 1834.