“We all come from the past,
and children ought to know what it was
that went into their making.”
The following are some of Winston Spencer Churchhill’s quotes:
“Success consists of going from failure to failure
without loss of enthusiasm.”
” If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
“You have enemies? Good.
That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
Winston Spencer Churchhill
The Spencer Family Hardcover – November 4, 1999
by Charles Spencer (Author)
29 customer reviews
An insider’s history of the Spencer family, this book tells the family’s story from the sheep farmers of the 16th century through the Civil War and then the relationship with the Marlboroughs, on through the 19th century when the third Earl was one of the architects of the 1832 Reform Bill, to recent years and the death of Princess Diana. In the last chapter, Charles Spencer writes about his own views of the family’s history and what hopes he has for the future.</div> <em></em>
The Spencers: A Personal History of an English Family
4.4 out of 5 stars
Enjoyed reading about the many characters in this ancient noble family; so many of them, both male and female, involved themselves in the politics of their time; many held high public office, almost all acquitting themselves well; only a few rakes and wastrels, and one or two solidly eccentric characters as well as a fair share of meddling elders.
Charles Spencer’s style is inviting and accessible. The book is a painless way to get an intimate view of moments in history that are family-centric. My only criticism is that he backed away from examining his father and his family (Diana), deferring to discretion when it came to looking at the contentious divorce of his parents.
Sounds like a great fiction romance novel, but no. This book is well written and researched history of the English Spencer Family from their earliest beginnings up to Princess Diana.
In reading this book, there are heartbreaking romances, political power plays with a few executions, inheritance of vast estates and wealth and the loss thereof to amaze you like no fiction could. This history of a pivotal aristocratic family reveals how it was enmeshed with the Churchill (Duke of Marlborough) and Cavendish (Duke of Devonshire) families and gives personal information about many historic figures. I highly recommend it for scholarship, history, immersion in the periods, and as good a read as a historical fiction. Except of course it’s not fiction but life.
Surprisingly well written and very interesting however a big black mark to Amazon for (yet again ) excluding the photographs present in the paper version and not even so much as a single family tree to help remind one which John ,Robert or Sarah fits in where.
Interesting history book and easy to read. Holds your attention though it does get a little “preachy” at the end. I would recommend it as a summer read.
The current Lord Spencer is the late Princess Diana’s brother, the one who mouthed off to the Queen at Diana’s funeral. His eloquent, albeit blistering, eulogy made me want to read this. Alas, it is rather dull: This earl did that and the next earl did this … nothing really noteworthy.
The Spencers were an enormously influential family of blue bloods that included the Churchills. There was a lot of history that he just glossed over.
Remembering back to Di & Charles wedding, I recall several saying that the Spencer family was more English than the Windsors. This book explains the contributions of the family over the centuries. While I may have mixed feeling about the current Earl (Di’s brother who is so famous due to his speech at her funeral), the book is well written and quite interesting.
I was hoping for less chronology and more narrative. Needed a bit more insight to the key figures.
It’s ok. I guess I was expecting something more exciting. It was rather dull and slow reading. I am sure if you are truly interested in the heritage of the Spencer family you will enjoy it. I just needed more to keep me engaged to continue reading it. I couldn’t finish the book.
A famous sports figure, Eddie LeBaron, I’m proud to say, is part of my extended family. You can find him by using your search engine, Wikipedia, etc. He was a war hero, and also a Star in the NFL at 5-foot- seven! Years ago, in the public library, I found and enjoyed reading a well-written and interesting biography about him, though
Years ago, in the public library, I found and enjoyed reading a well-written and interesting biography about him, though I’m not even a sports fan. I came away feeling so very proud of my cousin, Eddie LeBaron! He is a success story — a true hero who overcame many difficulties to become the sports star he had dreamed of being and much more.
|Date of birth:||January 7, 1930|
|Place of birth:||San Rafael, California|
|Date of death:||April 1, 2015 (aged 85)|
|Place of death:||Stockton, California|
|Height:||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|Weight:||168 lb (76 kg)|
|High school:||Oakdale (CA)|
|NFL Draft:||1950 / Round: 10 / Pick: 123|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Edward Wayne LeBaron, Jr. (January 7, 1930 – April 1, 2015) was an American football quarterback in the 1950s and early 1960s in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys. He played college football for the College of the Pacific. He also was an executive vice president of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
LeBaron enrolled at the College of the Pacific (now the University of the Pacific) in Stockton as a 16-year-old. He played college football for the Tigers under Amos Alonzo Stagg and Larry Siemering from 1946 to 1949, lettering all four years and achieving All-American honors as a senior. The Tigers registered an undefeated season (11–0) in 1949, led the nation in total offense (502.9 yards a game), and set an NCAA single-season record of 575 points. LeBaron was a two-way, 60-minute player, as a quarterback on offense, safety on defense, and punter on special teams. He also played one year of baseball for the Tigers as a catcher.
He left the school after re-writing many of the football records: career touchdowns (59), touchdowns in a season (23), longest punt (74 yards), most yardage off interception returns in a game (119), most times leading the team in total offense (3).
He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980, into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 and was a charter inductee into the Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame in October 2010.
LeBaron was commissioned in the U.S. Marine Corps reserves while in college and served as a lieutenant in the Korean War after graduation. He was wounded twice and was decorated with the Purple Heart. For his heroic actions on the front lines, he was awarded the Bronze Star. Due to his diminutive size, 5 feet, 7 inches, and leadership skills from his military service, he was sometimes known as the “Littlest General”.
In 2008, he was inducted into the U.S. Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame.
Washington Redskins (first stint)
LeBaron was selected in the tenth round (123rd overall) of the 1950 NFL draft by the Washington Redskins, but had to leave training camp to perform military service during the Korean War. At 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m), he was one of the shortest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL.
He returned to the NFL in 1952 after a two-year commitment to the United States Marine Corpsas a lieutenant, when he was discharged after being wounded in combat. He replaced future hall of famer Sammy Baugh in the starting lineup after the fourth game and received All-Rookie honors at the end of the season. The next year he was limited with a knee injury and also shared the starting position with Jack Scarbath.
Calgary Stampeders (WIFU)
In 1954, the Western Interprovincial Football Union (a predecessor of the Canadian Football League) raided the NFL talent to improve its level of play. LeBaron signed with the Calgary Stampeders along with his Redskins teammate Gene Brito, because his college coach Larry Siemering was named the team’s head coach. He registered 1,815 passing yards, 8 touchdowns and 24 interceptions during the season. He also played defensive back and punter. He decided to return to the NFL at the end of the year, after the team fired Siemering.
Washington Redskins (second stint)
On December 9, 1954, he re-signed with the Washington Redskins. In his seven seasons with the Redskins he started 55 of a possible 72 games at quarterback (he played in 70 of those 72 games). He was also the primary punter for his first three seasons with Washington (punting 171 times for a total of 6,995 yards in five seasons). He was the league’s top-rated quarterback in 1958. He announced his retirement to focus on his law practice at the end of the 1959 season.
After not being able to participate in the 1960 NFL draft during their inaugural year of existence, the Dallas Cowboys traded their first round (#2-Norm Snead) and sixth round (#72-Joe Krakoski) draft choices in the 1961 NFL Draft to the Washington Redskins in exchange for LeBaron, convincing him to come out of retirement to become the franchise’s first starting quarterback. He started 10 of 12 games in 1960, with rookie Don Meredith and Don Heinrichstarting the other two. He also scored the Cowboys’ first-ever touchdown in their first exhibition game against the San Francisco 49ers, on August 6 in Seattle. He set a record for the shortest touchdown pass in league history, with his throw to receiver Dick Bielski from the 2-inch line against the Redskins on October 9, 1960.
LeBaron started 10 of 14 games in 1961, with Meredith starting the other four. He only started five games in 1962, splitting time with Meredith. He started the first game of the 1963 season, but was replaced permanently by Meredith for the rest of the season.
He retired at the end of 1963, after playing 12 seasons, throwing for 13,399 yards and 104 touchdowns and being selected for the Pro Bowl four times in 1955, 1957, 1958, and 1962.He is the shortest quarterback to ever be selected to the Pro Bowl. He was also known as an elusive scrambler and great ball-handler.
LeBaron became a football announcer for CBS Sports after his NFL career, and worked as an announcer from 1966 to 1971. He had obtained a law degree during his off-seasons from football, and practiced law after his football career. He was also the general manager of the Atlanta Falcons from 1977 to 1982 and executive vice president from 1983 through 1985.LeBaron was an avid golfer and continued to play golf in his retirement. He died of natural causes on April 1, 2015.
(*Some books about Uncle Ervil LeBaron — in public libraries and bookstores)
A number of books have been published and more than one movie has been done on Mother’s brother, my infamous Uncle Ervil LeBaron. He is now known as “Evil Ervil,” and “The Mormon Manson.” I knew, respected, and loved him till I came to realize, many years later, what a manipulator he was — and before he went off the deep end with his sociopathy and psychosis.
The “Prophet of Evil” is an especially well-done film produced years ago. It portrays a poignant part of this serial killer’s life. I love how brilliantly Brian Dennehy played the part of my Uncle Ervil.
But no film can possibly portray the depth of suffering, damage, and lunacy this personality-disordered megalomaniac caused in the lives of all he touched — especially his family and his brainwashed, true-believing followers, not to mention his around sixty children.
You may get the film from wherever you get movies and see the portrayal for yourself. I, myself, will be telling my experiences with my Uncle Ervil down the line in my memoir blogs. You may also read books written about him.
See “Media” and also “Media on Extended Family, Friends and Fundamentalist Cults” in my Menu bar for other books, Book Reviews, and films I may not have listed in this blog. Wikipedia and other Who’s Who sites relate a short history of him also — as well as a short history of many of my other infamous, as well as famous LeBaron and other extended family members and relatives.
For example, you can find in Wikipedia a short biography of my great-great Uncle, Joel Johnson (brother of my great-great grandfather Benjamin F. Johnson) who helped found some of Utah’s first Townsites. And wrote 800 hymns for the Mormon hymnal, during the time of Joseph Smith. Two of these hymns are still in the modern Mormon hymnals. The beautiful “High on the Mountain Top” is one of them — and to this day is still one of mine and Mormonism’s favorite hymns.
Another outstanding relative is my a-number-of-places-removed-maternal great-grandfather, Dr. Francis LeBaron. He was the first of the LeBarons in the United States — brought to America around 1668 by his nurse to save his life, it is said, “because he was part of the French royalty,” or/and his parents were members of the Huguenots, so went into hiding and may eventually have been killed.
I took the following material off the Internet. It needs some editing. I presently do not have time to do the work it would take:
|Dr Francis LeBaron|
His a-number-of-places-removed-granddaughter, Author Jane Goodwin Austin, wrote a history about him, “The Nameless Nobleman.” I bought the book on Amazon.com a few years ago, as well as other books written by her.
Another book I found years ago in the Public Library was written, I believe, by my Uncle Ben LeBaron’s son, George LeBaron — if I remember his name, and other facts correctly. (If you’re reading this and I am wrong in my data, would you please advise me in my “Comments” section?)
He told of his experiences earning his Physician’s license and Medical degree at the prestigious Harvard Med School, no less. I say “no less” because if you knew what he grew up under, your sentiments would be the same! He had to be strong and brilliant to do this!
One of Uncle Ervil’s amazing daughters, Author-Speaker-Blogger-and Life Coach, Anna LeBaron, has also written a book. It is about her life growing up in her father’s dangerous and crazy cult — which she ran away from when she was 13!
Her memoir, “The Polygamist’s Daughter,” was released March 21, 2017. It’s in the public library, in audiobook, eBook, and print versions. You can order it, now, on Amazon.com and other sites. Check out her Website at AnnaLeBaron.com.
These two above photos are of my cousin Anna LeBaron.
By Stephany Spencer: My Book Review of my cousin Anna LeBaron’s Memoir: “The Polygamist’s Daughter”
Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., I was honored with a complimentary ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of cousin Anna LeBaron’s bravely written book, “The Polygamist’s Daughter,” published March 21, 2017.
Regarding Anna’s Memoir, I was disappointed she didn’t tell us more about her miscreant father, “Evil Ervil,” (the murderous “Mormon Manson”). Also wish she had gone more into the details of her “running away from home.” (I would not have cared if the book were longer!)
As it was, her book said very little about her colorful father. And her “running away” was simply to call her married sister to take her in — a sister within walking distance, no less. Still, I have to give her credit for having had the sense and courage to run away at the tender age of thirteen, no less! For having run away, she might even very well have been killed by the cult she is fled!
Even so, in essence, her book was milquetoast for me, in comparison to what was really going on in her family and father’s violent cult that drove her to flee the abusive and corrupt lifestyle. However, I realize she was between a rock and a hard spot when it came to relating this treacherous past.
I, an old veteran of much of that history, also realize that if she were totally up front, it would possibly compromise her present and future — and her amazing success in surviving her malevolent past.
Her father is my mother’s brother. And was my husband’s buddy for ten years — so I knew him well … as well as you could know a devious man like my Uncle Ervil LeBaron for whom I had felt love and respect, till he went off the deep end in his psychopathy.
Now I feel mostly pity and shame for my insane, sociopathic, revengeful, zealot uncle who, nonetheless, had a lot of people convinced he was a prophet.
To better understand that whole scenario, read “Cult Insanity” by Irene Spencer;” “Prophet of Blood,” by Ben Bradlee, Jr. and Dale Van Atta. And “The 4 O’clock Murders,” by Scott Anderson.
To further understand this whole bizarre crime family scene, also check Wikipedia and other online Info about Ervil LeBaron, including my Website Menu bar under “Media About my Family, Friends, and Mormon Fundamentalist Cults.” And “Famous ‘n’ Infamous Relatives of Mine.” You could, as well, watch the excellent film, “Prophet of Evil,” starring Brian Dennehy.
Getting back to Anna LeBaron’s Memoir, “The Polygamist’s Daughter,” everyone in the LeBaron Colony in the 1960’s saw how Uncle Ervil went about preaching and “doing missionary work, ” indifferent toward his nine neglected children he bore by his first wife, bipolar Aunt Delfina.
These indigent kids were left to roam the streets, starving, and unkempt — not to mention his fifty or more other deprived and abandoned children he bore by his thirteen other wives!
So it hurt to the quick to hear, firsthand, in Anna’s Memoir how it felt for her to be so badly neglected and used by her non-empathetic, uncaring, sense-of-entitlement, narcissistic father!
But when I then read how his unloved and abused daughter Lillian died, I grieved for days. She was one of Aunt Delfina’s children whom I had helped look out for while I lived near them in the LeBaron Colony in Mexico before I escaped the cult in 1967 at age twenty-one.
Lillian was only around five or so, then. And I don’t believe Anna had been born yet. But I had lived across the street from her jolly mother with the beautiful singing voice, Aunt Anna Mae. And had taught her older siblings in my Colonia LeBaron preschool I started in my home at age fifteen.
Therefore, though I wish Anna had gone more into depth, I’m proud of her efforts and the work she put into writing and publishing what she did of her Life Story. I’m sure her tragic memories were anything but easy to put into print.
For me, her story really picked up in the latter part where she began to shoot from the hip. I especially found it enlightening and helpful when she went into detail about how she overcame a bout of deep depression.
I benefited, also, when she told of her epiphany that gave her a new lease on life — a greater purpose for living. She is presently a Life Coach. And works to help improve the world — just the opposite of what her father did!
Though her father preached that he was “Here to set the house of God in order, to prepare it for the second coming of Christ,” in reality, he did just the opposite of everything he preached and claimed!!
Like her father, she is bright, a writer, and a leader. Unlike her father, she exhibits integrity, sanity, empathy, and a loving, giving spirit. So my hat goes off to Anna! She has come a long way, made a lot of good choices, and overcome a lot. I look forward to her next book — when she feels safe to actually “tell all.”
My Uncle Joel LeBaron’s daughter, Ruth Wariner, wrote a bestselling Memoir, “The Sound of Gravel,” published February 2016. It’s available on Amazon.com or wherever you get books. It’s also in audiobook and print in public libraries.
The following essay is my Book Review of “The Sound of Gravel,” a Memoir by Ruth Wariner, a first cousin of mine.
(“Wariner” is Ruth’s mother’s maiden name. My mother’s brother, my Uncle Joel LeBaron, was Ruth’s father.)
By Stephany Spencer:
In the past year, I’ve read once and listened three times to my cousin Ruth Wariner’s best-selling book/audiobook, “The Sound of Gravel.” It has gotten higher ratings from me with each new read or listening to it. So I’ve found it pays to read or listen to a book more than once!
With my first read, I deemed the book “Not what I expected.” I grew up much the same way she had, so I had preconceived notions of what it was and should be about. It took listening to it a second time, as an audiobook, to be able to say:
“You go, cousin Ruth! It’s a well-written Memoir that should be read, as well as listened to, at least two times by everyone who thinks Mormon cults are “Just people exercising their freedom of religion.”
This well-scripted book gives you some idea of what “people just exercising their freedom of religion” do to the kids born into these Mormon fundamentalist cults! I should know: I grew up in and then escaped, 50 years ago, this same LeBaron cult Ruth grew up in!
People who grow up in abusive and traumatizing childhoods often split and revert into themselves when anything goes wrong in their life. I’ve learned from the late Dr. David Viscot that feeling sorry for one’s self is a form of splitting. Traumatized people do this so as to try to protect themselves, and to better handle a bad situation. However, it only leads to depression.
Thanks to Ruth’s Memoir, she’s taught me to replace bad situations with the song and mantra: “Count Your Blessings.” I grew up singing this song. But I didn’t realize, till I read Ruth’s book the third time, that this is what I needed to do, more than anything, to keep a good spirit with me and thus avoid depression, negativity — and splitting from myself by feeling sorry for myself in the face of bad situations (like aging, for example!) that I was experiencing or going through.
Now, whenever dark clouds threaten to rain on my sunshine, I quickly remember to say and sing “Count your blessings!” For there are no end of blessings that have been bestowed upon me in my life, despite all the bad things I’ve also survived.
I grew up singing this song, just as my cousin Ruth had. But I had not been taught the lesson Ruth’s mother, Kathy, taught her when she constantly and quickly always reminded her daughter Ruth to “count her blessings” — no matter how bad things were!!
At first, this seemed like a silly thing to consistently say, in the face of all the mire and dire adversity Ruth and her family constantly lived with. But now I realize Ruth’s mother, Kathy, had learned from her upbringing a good lesson that she then passed down to her own children:
Counting one’s blessings chases out negativity and depression, or feeling sorry for oneself. And supplants it with positivity, action, and being in control: the best prescriptions for surviving any bad situation.
Thank you, Ruth, for passing this lesson on to me — along with many other lessons you have taught through your outstanding memoir — your valuable gift to the world.
*I’ve posted below the words to this Thanksgiving song, in case you want to sing it too. (The music can be found online, by looking up the title of this song, if you don’t already know it).
Count Your Many Blessings
1- When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
*Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
[*And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.]
2- Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by
3- When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
4- So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
By Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1897
“Shattered Dreams” and “Cult Insanity” by Best-Selling Author Irene Spencer/ AKA: Irene Kunz LeBaron, at IreneSpencerBooks.com. Her books are also in audiobook form. (Irene is my Aunt, through marriage, as is Rebecca Kimbel, Irene’s half-sister.)
*Note: I took the picture featured on Irene’s book cover,”Cult Insanity.
“Uncle Ervil LeBaron is holding my eight-year-old daughter, Asenath Marie Tucker, the little girl in the yellow dress. I took this photograph before I had any idea of the psychopathic, maniacal activities my mother’s brother, my Uncle Ervil, was up to.)
“His Favorite Wife,” by Susan Ray Schmidt/ AKA: Susan Ray LeBaron (Another Aunt of mine, her Memoir reads like a novel. My family is mentioned in it.)
One of my favorite books on the subject of my relatives and my past is the following book, written by a very talented writer,
Aunt Susan Ray Schmidt.
(I took care of her for five days when she was around nine years old (Long before she married my Uncle Verlan LeBaron, of course, and thus became my aunt) while her parents were out of town, and we were still living in Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico).
Doris Hansen and Rebecca Kimbel also each interviewed Authors Irene LeBaron Spencer (See: IreneSpencerbooks.com) and Susan Ray Schmidt (see her website). Both are my Aunts.
Aunt Rebecca Kimbel and Doris Hanson also interviewed, on their TV and YouTube sites, other relatives and friends of mine from my days in the cult — people such as my cousin, Carolyn Jessop, a memoirist who wrote the bestselling,”Escape,” and other books.
Also, check out Aunt Rebecca Kimbel’s excellent and adamant speech on YouTube’s TED-X Talks. (In around only 18 minutes, she did a genius presentation on all the main issues to do with Mormon cults, including White slavery.
See also (on Good Reads) her novel, “A Savage Wild,” published in 2013. I have yet to get and read it
See the film: “The Childbride of Short Creek.” It was on YouTube, among other places, the last time I checked. (My sisters were interviewed by the writers of this film, to get Info for their Script.)
“Banking on Heaven“ is a Documentary my cousin Laurie Allen (Mother’s brother, Uncle Wesley’s granddaughter) and her cohort, Dot Reidelbach, created. (It gives a good overview of life as a Mormon fundamentalist female in Short Creek, Arizona, and Hilldale, Utah.
I went online a few years ago and ordered a copy of their DVD. I don’t know if you can find it on YouTube or the Internet now. But give it a try.)
|Died||13 January 1599 (aged 46–47)
|Resting place||Westminster Abbey|
|Alma mater||Pembroke College, Cambridge|
|Notable works||The Faerie Queene|
Edmund Spenser (/ˈspɛnsər/; 1552/1553 – 13 January 1599) was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognized as one of the premier craftsmen of nascent Modern English verse, and is often considered one of the greatest poets in the English language. He was deeply affected by Irish faerie mythology, which he knew from his home at Kilcolman and possibly from his Irish wife Elizabeth Boyle. His genocidal tracts against Gaelic culture were war propaganda. His house (ruins remain) was burned to the ground during the war, causing him to flee Ireland.
Edmund Spenser was born in East Smithfield, London, around the year 1552, though there is some ambiguity as to the exact date of his birth. As a young boy, he was educated in London at the Merchant Taylors’ School and matriculated as a sizar at Pembroke College, Cambridge. While at Cambridge he became a friend of Gabriel Harvey and later consulted him, despite their differing views on poetry. In 1578, he became for a short time secretary to John Young, Bishop of Rochester. In 1579, he published The Shepheardes Calender and around the same time married his first wife, Machabyas Childe. They had two children, Sylvanus (d.1638) and Katherine.
In July 1580, Spenser went to Ireland in service of the newly appointed Lord Deputy, Arthur Grey, 14th Baron Grey de Wilton. Spenser served under Lord Gray with Walter Raleigh at the Siege of Smerwick massacre. When Lord Grey was recalled to England, Spenser stayed on in Ireland, having acquired other official posts and lands in the Munster Plantation. Raleigh acquired other nearby Munster estates confiscated in the Second Desmond Rebellion. Some time between 1587 and 1589, Spenser acquired his main estate at Kilcolman, near Doneraile in North Cork. He later bought a second holding to the south, at Rennie, on a rock overlooking the river Blackwater in North Cork. Its ruins are still visible today. A short distance away grew a tree, locally known as “Spenser’s Oak” until it was destroyed in a lightning strike in the 1960s. Local legend has it that he penned some of The Faerie Queene under this tree.
In 1590, Spenser brought out the first three books of his most famous work, The Faerie Queene, having travelled to London to publish and promote the work, with the likely assistance of Raleigh. He was successful enough to obtain a life pension of £50 a year from the Queen. He probably hoped to secure a place at court through his poetry, but his next significant publication boldly antagonised the queen’s principal secretary, Lord Burghley (William Cecil), through its inclusion of the satirical Mother Hubberd’s Tale. He returned to Ireland.
By 1594, Spenser’s first wife had died, and in that year he married Elizabeth Boyle, to whom he addressed the sonnet sequence Amoretti. The marriage itself was celebrated in Epithalamion. They had a son named Peregrine.
In 1596, Spenser wrote a prose pamphlet titled A View of the Present State of Ireland. This piece, in the form of a dialogue, circulated in manuscript, remaining unpublished until the mid-seventeenth century. It is probable that it was kept out of print during the author’s lifetime because of its inflammatory content. The pamphlet argued that Ireland would never be totally “pacified” by the English until its indigenous language and customs had been destroyed, if necessary by violence.
In 1598, during the Nine Years War, Spenser was driven from his home by the native Irish forces of Aodh Ó Néill. His castle at Kilcolman was burned, and Ben Jonson, who may have had private information, asserted that one of his infant children died in the blaze.
In the year after being driven from his home, 1599, Spenser travelled to London, where he died at the age of forty-six – “for want of bread”, according to Ben Jonson – one of Jonson’s more doubtful statements, since Spenser had a payment to him authorised by the government and was due his pension. His coffin was carried to his grave in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey by other poets, who threw many pens and pieces of poetry into his grave with many tears. His second wife survived him and remarried twice. His sister Sarah, who had accompanied him to Ireland, married into the Travers family, and her descendants were prominent landowners in Cork for centuries.
Rhyme and reason
Thomas Fuller, in Worthies of England, included a story where the Queen told her treasurer, William Cecil, to pay Spenser one hundred pounds for his poetry. The treasurer, however, objected that the sum was too much. She said, “Then give him what is reason”. Without receiving his payment in due time, Spenser gave the Queen this quatrain on one of her progresses:
I was promis’d on a time,
To have a reason for my rhyme:
From that time unto this season,
I receiv’d nor rhyme nor reason.
She immediately ordered the treasurer pay Spenser the original £100.
This story seems to have attached itself to Spenser from Thomas Churchyard, who apparently had difficulty in getting payment of his pension, the only other pension Elizabeth awarded to a poet. Spenser seems to have had no difficulty in receiving payment when it was due as the pension was being collected for him by his publisher, Ponsonby.
The Shepherd’s Calendar
The Shepherd’s Calendar is Edmund Spenser’s first major work, which appeared in 1579. It emulates Virgil‘s Eclogues of the first century BCE and the Eclogues of Mantuan by Baptista Mantuanus, a late medieval, early renaissance poet. An eclogue is a short pastoral poem that is in the form of a dialogue or soliloquy. Although all the months together form an entire year, each month stands alone as a separate poem. Editions of the late 16th and early 17th centuries include woodcuts for each month/poem, and thereby have a slight similarity to an emblem book which combines a number of self-contained pictures and texts, usually a short vignette, saying, or allegory with an accompanying illustration.
The Faerie Queene
Spenser’s masterpiece is the epic poem The Faerie Queene. The first three books of The Faerie Queenewere published in 1590, and a second set of three books were published in 1596. Spenser originally indicated that he intended the poem to consist of twelve books, so the version of the poem we have today is incomplete. Despite this, it remains one of the longest poems in the English language. It is an allegorical work, and can be read (as Spenser presumably intended) on several levels of allegory, including as praise of Queen Elizabeth I. In a completely allegorical context, the poem follows several knights in an examination of several virtues. In Spenser’s “A Letter of the Authors,” he states that the entire epic poem is “cloudily enwrapped in allegorical devises,” and that the aim behind The Faerie Queene was to “fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline.”
Spenser published numerous relatively short poems in the last decade of the sixteenth century, almost all of which consider love or sorrow. In 1591, he published Complaints, a collection of poems that express complaints in mournful or mocking tones. Four years later, in 1595, Spenser published Amoretti and Epithalamion. This volume contains eighty-nine sonnets commemorating his courtship of Elizabeth Boyle. In “Amoretti,” Spenser uses subtle humour and parody while praising his beloved, reworking Petrarchism in his treatment of longing for a woman. “Epithalamion,” similar to “Amoretti,” deals in part with the unease in the development of a romantic and sexual relationship. It was written for his wedding to his young bride, Elizabeth Boyle. The poem consists of 365 long lines, corresponding to the days of the year; 68 short lines, claimed to represent the sum of the 52 weeks, 12 months, and 4 seasons of the annual cycle; and 24 stanzas, corresponding to the diurnal and sidereal hours. Some have speculated that the attention to disquiet in general reflects Spenser’s personal anxieties at the time, as he was unable to complete his most significant work, The Faerie Queene. In the following year Spenser released Prothalamion, a wedding song written for the daughters of a duke, allegedly in hopes to gain favour in the court.
The Spenserian stanza and sonnet
Spenser used a distinctive verse form, called the Spenserian stanza, in several works, including The Faerie Queene. The stanza’s main meter is iambic pentameter with a final line in iambic hexameter (having six feet or stresses, known as an Alexandrine), and the rhyme scheme is ababbcbcc. He also used his own rhyme scheme for the sonnet. In a Spenserian sonnet, the last line of every quatrain is linked with the first line of the next one, yielding the rhyme scheme ababbcbccdcdee.
Though Spenser was well read in classical literature, scholars have noted that his poetry does not rehash tradition, but rather is distinctly his. This individuality may have resulted, to some extent, from a lack of comprehension of the classics. Spenser strove to emulate such ancient Roman poets as Virgil and Ovid, whom he studied during his schooling, but many of his best-known works are notably divergent from those of his predecessors. The language of his poetry is purposely archaic, reminiscent of earlier works such as The Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer and Il Canzoniere of Francesco Petrarca, whom Spenser greatly admired.
Spenser was called a Poets’ Poet[by whom?] and was admired by John Milton, William Blake, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Lord Byron, and Alfred Lord Tennyson, and others. Among his contemporaries Walter Raleigh wrote a commendatory poem to The Faerie Queene in 1590, in which he claims to admire and value Spenser’s work more so than any other in the English language. John Milton in his Areopagitica mentions “our sage and serious poet Spenser, whom I dare be known to think a better teacher than Scotus or Aquinas“. In the eighteenth century, Alexander Pope compared Spenser to “a mistress, whose faults we see, but love her with them all.”
A View of the Present State of Ireland
In his work A Veue of the Present State of Irelande (1596), Spenser discussed future plans to subjugate Ireland, the most recent rising, led by Hugh O’Neill, having demonstrated the futility of previous efforts. The work is partly a defence of Lord Arthur Grey de Wilton, who was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1580, and who greatly influenced Spenser’s thinking on Ireland.
The goal of this piece was to show that Ireland was in great need of reform. Spenser believed that “Ireland is a diseased portion of the State, it must first be cured and reformed, before it could be in a position to appreciate the good sound laws and blessings of the nation”. In A View of the Present State of Ireland, Spenser categorises the “evils” of the Irish people into three prominent categories: laws, customs, and religion. These three elements work together in creating the disruptive and degraded people. One example given in the work is the native law system called “Brehon Law” which trumps the established law given by the English monarchy. This system has its own court and way of dealing with infractions. It has been passed down through the generations and Spenser views this system as a native backward custom which must be destroyed. (Brehon Law methods of dealing with murder by imposing an éraic, or fine, on the murderer’s whole family particularly horrified the English, in whose Protestant view a murderer should die for his act.)
Spenser wished devoutly that the Irish language should be eradicated, writing that if children learn Irish before English, “Soe that the speach being Irish, the hart must needes be Irishe; for out of the aboundance of the hart, the tonge speaketh”.
He pressed for a scorched earth policy in Ireland, noting that the destruction of crops and animals had been successful in crushing the Second Desmond Rebellion (1579–83), when, despite the rich and bountiful land:
“‘Out of everye corner of the woode and glenns they came creepinge forth upon theire handes, for theire legges could not beare them; they looked Anatomies [of] death, they spake like ghostes, crying out of theire graves; they did eate of the carrions, happye wheare they could find them, yea, and one another soone after, in soe much as the verye carcasses they spared not to scrape out of theire graves; and if they found a plott of water-cresses or shamrockes, theyr they flocked as to a feast… in a shorte space there were none almost left, and a most populous and plentyfull countrye suddenly lefte voyde of man or beast: yett sure in all that warr, there perished not manye by the sworde, but all by the extreamytie of famine … they themselves had wrought'”
List of works
- Iambicum Trimetrum
- 1569: Jan van der Noodt’s A Theatre for Worldlings, including poems translated into English by Spenser from French sources, published by Henry Bynneman in London
- 1579: The Shepheardes Calender, published under the pseudonym “Immerito”(entered into the Stationers’ Register in December)
- The Faerie Queene, Books 1–3
- Complaints, Containing Sundrie Small Poemes of the Worlds Vanitie (entered into the Stationer’s Register in 1590), includes:
- Axiochus, a translation of a pseudo-Platonic dialogue from the original Ancient Greek; published by Cuthbert Burbie; attributed to “Edw: Spenser” but the attribution is uncertain
- Daphnaïda. An Elegy upon the Death of the Noble and Vertuous Douglas Howard, Daughter and Heire of Henry Lord Howard, Viscount Byndon, and Wife of Arthure Gorges Esquier (published in London in January, according to one source; another source gives 1591 as the year)
- Amoretti and Epithalamion, containing:
- Astrophel (Edmund Spenser). A Pastorall Elegie vpon the Death of the Most Noble and Valorous Knight, Sir Philip Sidney.
- Colin Clouts Come Home Againe
- Fowre Hymnes dedicated from the court at Greenwich; published with the second edition of Daphnaida
- The Faerie Queene, Books 4–6
- Babel, Empress of the East – a dedicatory poem prefaced to Lewes Lewkenor‘s The Commonwealth of Venice, 1599.
- 1609: Two Cantos of Mutabilitie published together with a reprint of The Fairie Queene
- 1611: First folio edition of Spenser’s collected works
- 1633: A Vewe of the Present State of Irelande, a prose treatise on the reformation of Ireland, first published in James Ware’s Ancient Irish Chronicles (Spenser’s work was entered into the Stationer’s Register in 1598 and circulated in manuscript but not published until it was included in this work of Ware’s)
- Edmund Spenser, Selected Letters and Other Papers. Edited by Christopher Burlinson and Andrew Zurcher (Oxford, OUP, 2009).
- Edmund Spenser, The Faerie-Queene (Longman-Annotated-English Poets, 2001, 2007) Edited by A. C. Hamilton, Text Edited by Hiroshi Yamashita and Toshiyuki Suzuki.ge Faculty of English website, retrieved 24 September 2009
- Croft, Ryan J. “Sanctified Tyrannicide: Tyranny And Theology In John Ponet’s Shorte Treatise Of Politike Power And Edmund “Spenser’s The Faerie Queene.” Studies in Philosophy, 108.4 (2011): 538–571. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 8 October 2012.
- Johnson, William. “The struggle between good and evil in the first book of ‘The Faerie Queene’.” English Studies, Vol. 74,
- Maley, Willy. “Spenser’s Life.” The Oxford Dictionary of Edmund Spenser. Ed. Richard A. McCabe. 1st Ed. 2010. Print.
- Rust, Jennifer. “Spenser’s The Faerie Queene.” Saint Louis University, St. Louis. 10 October 2007. No. 6. (December 1993) p. 507–519.
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Edmund Spenser|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Edmund Spenser.|
- The Edmund Spenser Home Page at the Cambridge University
- Works by Edmund Spenser at Project Gutenberg
- Project Gutenberg edition of Biography of Edmund Spenser by John W. Hales
- Works by or about Edmund Spenser at Internet Archive
- Works by Edmund Spenser at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
- Profile and works at the Poetry Foundation
- The Spenser Encyclopedia by A. C. Hamilton in Google Books Preview
- “Archival material relating to Edmund Spenser”. UK National Archives.
- Portraits of Edmund Spenser at the National Portrait Gallery, London
- Hiroshi Yamashita: Bibliographical and Textual Studies of Edmund Spenser and Natsume Soseki
|Born||22 January 1561
Strand, London, England
|Died||9 April 1626 (aged 65)
Highgate, Middlesex, England
|Alma mater||Trinity College, Cambridge
University of Poitiers
|Era||English Renaissance, The Scientific Revolution|
|School||Renaissance Philosophy, Empiricism|
|The Right Honourable
The Viscount St Alban
|Lord High Chancellor of England|
|Preceded by||The Viscount Brackley|
|Succeeded by||In commission|
|Attorney General of England and Wales|
|Preceded by||Sir Henry Hobart|
|Succeeded by||Henry Yelverton|
|Born||22 January 1561
Strand, London, England
|Died||9 April 1626 (aged 65)
Highgate, Middlesex, England
|Alma mater||University of Cambridge|
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban,[a] PCKC (/ˈbeɪkən/; 22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626) was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, and author. He served both as Attorney General and as Lord Chancellor of England. After his death, he remained extremely influential through his works, especially as philosophical advocate and practitioner of the scientific method during the scientific revolution.
Bacon has been called the father of empiricism. His works argued for the possibility of scientific knowledge based only upon inductive reasoning and careful observation of events in nature. Most importantly, he argued this could be achieved by use of a sceptical and methodical approach whereby scientists aim to avoid misleading themselves. While his own practical ideas about such a method, the Baconian method, did not have a long lasting influence, the general idea of the importance and possibility of a sceptical methodology makes Bacon the father of scientific method. This marked a new turn in the rhetorical and theoretical framework for science, the practical details of which are still central in debates about science and methodology today.
Bacon was generally neglected at court by Queen Elizabeth, but after the accession of King James I in 1603, Bacon was knighted. He was later created Baron Verulam in 1618 and Viscount St. Alban in 1621.[b] Because he had no heirs, both titles became extinct upon his death in 1626, at 65 years of age. Bacon died of pneumonia, with one account by John Aubrey stating that he had contracted the condition while studying the effects of freezing on the preservation of meat. He is buried at St Michael’s Church, St Albans, Hertfordshire.
- 2Philosophy and works
- 4Historical debates
- 6See also
- 9Further reading
- 10External links
Francis Bacon was born on 22 January 1561 at York House near the Strand in London, the son of Sir Nicholas Bacon by his second wife, Anne (Cooke) Bacon, the daughter of the noted humanist Anthony Cooke. His mother’s sister was married to William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, making Burghley Bacon’s uncle.
Biographers believe that Bacon was educated at home in his early years owing to poor health, which would plague him throughout his life. He received tuition from John Walsall, a graduate of Oxford with a strong leaning toward Puritanism. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge, on 5 April 1573 at the age of 12, living for three years there, together with his older brother Anthony Bacon under the personal tutelage of Dr John Whitgift, future Archbishop of Canterbury. Bacon’s education was conducted largely in Latin and followed the medieval curriculum. He was also educated at the University of Poitiers. It was at Cambridge that he first met Queen Elizabeth, who was impressed by his precocious intellect, and was accustomed to calling him “The young lord keeper”.
His studies brought him to the belief that the methods and results of science as then practised were erroneous. His reverence for Aristotle conflicted with his rejection of Aristotelian philosophy, which seemed to him barren, disputatious and wrong in its objectives.
On 27 June 1576, he and Anthony entered de societate magistrorum at Gray’s Inn. A few months later, Francis went abroad with Sir Amias Paulet, the English ambassador at Paris, while Anthony continued his studies at home. The state of government and society in France under Henry IIIafforded him valuable political instruction. For the next three years he visited Blois, Poitiers, Tours, Italy, and Spain. During his travels, Bacon studied language, statecraft, and civil law while performing routine diplomatic tasks. On at least one occasion he delivered diplomatic letters to England for Walsingham, Burghley, and Leicester, as well as for the queen.
The sudden death of his father in February 1579 prompted Bacon to return to England. Sir Nicholas had laid up a considerable sum of money to purchase an estate for his youngest son, but he died before doing so, and Francis was left with only a fifth of that money.Having borrowed money, Bacon got into debt. To support himself, he took up his residence in law at Gray’s Inn in 1579, his income being supplemented by a grant from his mother Lady Anne of the manor of Marks near Romford in Essex, which generated a rent of £46.
Bacon stated that he had three goals: to uncover truth, to serve his country, and to serve his church. He sought to further these ends by seeking a prestigious post. In 1580, through his uncle, Lord Burghley, he applied for a post at court that might enable him to pursue a life of learning, but his application failed. For two years he worked quietly at Gray’s Inn, until he was admitted as an outer barrister in 1582.
His parliamentary career began when he was elected MP for Bossiney, Cornwall, in a by-electionin 1581. In 1584 he took his seat in parliament for Melcombe in Dorset, and in 1586 for Taunton. At this time, he began to write on the condition of parties in the church, as well as on the topic of philosophical reform in the lost tract Temporis Partus Maximus. Yet he failed to gain a position that he thought would lead him to success. He showed signs of sympathy to Puritanism, attending the sermons of the Puritan chaplain of Gray’s Inn and accompanying his mother to the Temple Church to hear Walter Travers. This led to the publication of his earliest surviving tract, which criticised the English church’s suppression of the Puritan clergy. In the Parliament of 1586, he openly urged execution for the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots.
About this time, he again approached his powerful uncle for help; this move was followed by his rapid progress at the bar. He became a bencher in 1586 and was elected a Reader in 1587, delivering his first set of lectures in Lent the following year. In 1589, he received the valuable appointment of reversion to the Clerkship of the Star Chamber, although he did not formally take office until 1608; the post was worth £1,600 a year.
He became known as a liberal-minded reformer, eager to amend and simplify the law. Though a friend of the crown, he opposed feudal privileges and dictatorial powers. He spoke against religious persecution. He struck at the House of Lords in its usurpation of the Money Bills. He advocated for the union of England and Scotland, which made him a significant influence toward the consolidation of the United Kingdom; and he later would advocate for the integration of Ireland into the Union. Closer constitutional ties, he believed, would bring greater peace and strength to these countries.
Final years of the Queen’s reign
In 1592 he was commissioned to write a tract in response to the Jesuit Robert Parson‘s anti-government polemic, which he titled Certain observations made upon a libel, identifying England with the ideals of democratic Athens against the belligerence of Spain.
Bacon took his third parliamentary seat for Middlesex when in February 1593 Elizabeth summoned Parliament to investigate a Roman Catholic plot against her. Bacon’s opposition to a bill that would levy triple subsidies in half the usual time offended the Queen: opponents accused him of seeking popularity, and for a time the Court excluded him from favour.
When the office of Attorney General fell vacant in 1594, Lord Essex’s influence was not enough to secure the position for Bacon and it was given to Sir Edward Coke. Likewise, Bacon failed to secure the lesser office of Solicitor General in 1595, the Queen pointedly snubbing him by appointing Sir Thomas Fleming instead. To console him for these disappointments, Essex presented him with a property at Twickenham, which Bacon subsequently sold for £1,800.
In 1596 Bacon became Queen’s Counsel, but missed the appointment of Master of the Rolls. During the next few years, his financial situation remained embarrassing. His friends could find no public office for him, and a scheme for retrieving his position by a marriage with the wealthy and young widow Lady Elizabeth Hatton failed after she broke off their relationship upon accepting marriage to Sir Edward Coke, a further spark of enmity between the men. In 1598 Bacon was arrested for debt. Afterward, however, his standing in the Queen’s eyes improved. Gradually, Bacon earned the standing of one of the learned counsels, though he had no commission or warrant, and received no salary. His relationship with the Queen further improved when he severed ties with Essex—a shrewd move, as Essex would be executed for treason in 1601.
With others, Bacon was appointed to investigate the charges against Essex. A number of Essex’s followers confessed that Essex had planned a rebellion against the Queen.Bacon was subsequently a part of the legal team headed by the Attorney General Sir Edward Coke at Essex’s treason trial. After the execution, the Queen ordered Bacon to write the official government account of the trial, which was later published as A DECLARATION of the Practices and Treasons attempted and committed by Robert late Earle of Essex and his Complices, against her Majestie and her Kingdoms … after Bacon’s first draft was heavily edited by the Queen and her ministers.
According to his personal secretary and chaplain, William Rawley, as a judge Bacon was always tender-hearted, “looking upon the examples with the eye of severity, but upon the person with the eye of pity and compassion”. And also that “he was free from malice”, “no revenger of injuries”, and “no defamer of any man”.
James I comes to the throne
The succession of James I brought Bacon into greater favour. He was knighted in 1603. In another shrewd move, Bacon wrote his Apologies in defence of his proceedings in the case of Essex, as Essex had favoured James to succeed to the throne.
The following year, during the course of the uneventful first parliament session, Bacon married Alice Barnham. In June 1607 he was at last rewarded with the office of solicitor general. The following year, he began working as the Clerkship of the Star Chamber. Despite a generous income, old debts still could not be paid. He sought further promotion and wealth by supporting King James and his arbitrary policies.
In 1610 the fourth session of James’s first parliamentmet. Despite Bacon’s advice to him, James and the Commons found themselves at odds over royal prerogatives and the king’s embarrassing extravagance. The House was finally dissolved in February 1611. Throughout this period Bacon managed to stay in the favour of the king while retaining the confidence of the Commons.
In 1613 Bacon was finally appointed attorney general, after advising the king to shuffle judicial appointments. As attorney general, Bacon, by his zealous efforts—which included torture—to obtain the conviction of Edmund Peacham for treason, raised legal controversies of high constitutional importance; and successfully prosecuted Robert Carr, 1st Earl of Somerset, and his wife, Frances Howard, Countess of Somerset, for murder in 1616. The so-called Prince’s Parliament of April 1614 objected to Bacon’s presence in the seat for Cambridge and to the various royal plans that Bacon had supported. Although he was allowed to stay, parliament passed a law that forbade the attorney general to sit in parliament. His influence over the king had evidently inspired resentment or apprehension in many of his peers. Bacon, however, continued to receive the King’s favour, which led to his appointment in March 1617 as temporary Regent of England (for a period of a month), and in 1618 as Lord Chancellor. On 12 July 1618 the king created Bacon Baron Verulam, of Verulam, in the Peerage of England; he then became known as Francis, Lord Verulam.
Bacon continued to use his influence with the king to mediate between the throne and Parliament, and in this capacity he was further elevated in the same peerage, as Viscount St Alban, on 27 January 1621.
Lord Chancellor and public disgrace
Bacon’s public career ended in disgrace in 1621. After he fell into debt, a parliamentary committee on the administration of the law charged him with 23 separate counts of corruption. His lifelong enemy, Sir Edward Coke, who had instigated these accusations, was one of those appointed to prepare the charges against the chancellor. To the lords, who sent a committee to enquire whether a confession was really his, he replied, “My lords, it is my act, my hand, and my heart; I beseech your lordships to be merciful to a broken reed.” He was sentenced to a fine of £40,000 and committed to the Tower of London at the king’s pleasure; the imprisonment lasted only a few days and the fine was remitted by the king. More seriously, parliament declared Bacon incapable of holding future office or sitting in parliament. He narrowly escaped undergoing degradation, which would have stripped him of his titles of nobility. Subsequently, the disgraced viscount devoted himself to study and writing.
There seems little doubt that Bacon had accepted gifts from litigants, but this was an accepted custom of the time and not necessarily evidence of deeply corrupt behaviour.While acknowledging that his conduct had been lax, he countered that he had never allowed gifts to influence his judgement and, indeed, he had on occasion given a verdict against those who had paid him. He even had an interview with King James in which he assured:
The law of nature teaches me to speak in my own defence: With respect to this charge of bribery I am as innocent as any man born on St. Innocents Day. I never had a bribe or reward in my eye or thought when pronouncing judgment or order… I am ready to make an oblation of myself to the King— 17 April 1621
He also wrote the following to Buckingham:
My mind is calm, for my fortune is not my felicity. I know I have clean hands and a clean heart, and I hope a clean house for friends or servants; but Job himself, or whoever was the justest judge, by such hunting for matters against him as hath been used against me, may for a time seem foul, especially in a time when greatness is the mark and accusation is the game.
The true reason for his acknowledgement of guilt is the subject of debate, but some authors speculate that it may have been prompted by his sickness, or by a view that through his fame and the greatness of his office he would be spared harsh punishment. He may even have been blackmailed, with a threat to charge him with sodomy, into confession.
The British jurist Basil Montagu wrote in Bacon’s defence, concerning the episode of his public disgrace:
Bacon has been accused of servility, of dissimulation, of various base motives, and their filthy brood of base actions, all unworthy of his high birth, and incompatible with his great wisdom, and the estimation in which he was held by the noblest spirits of the age. It is true that there were men in his own time, and will be men in all times, who are better pleased to count spots in the sun than to rejoice in its glorious brightness. Such men have openly libelled him, like Dewes and Weldon, whose falsehoods were detected as soon as uttered, or have fastened upon certain ceremonious compliments and dedications, the fashion of his day, as a sample of his servility, passing over his noble letters to the Queen, his lofty contempt for the Lord Keeper Puckering, his open dealing with Sir Robert Cecil, and with others, who, powerful when he was nothing, might have blighted his opening fortunes for ever, forgetting his advocacy of the rights of the people in the face of the court, and the true and honest counsels, always given by him, in times of great difficulty, both to Elizabeth and her successor. When was a “base sycophant” loved and honoured by piety such as that of Herbert, Tennison, and Rawley, by noble spirits like Hobbes, Ben Jonson, and Selden, or followed to the grave, and beyond it, with devoted affection such as that of Sir Thomas Meautys.
When he was 36, Bacon courted Elizabeth Hatton, a young widow of 20. Reportedly, she broke off their relationship upon accepting marriage to a wealthier man, Bacon’s rival, Edward Coke. Years later, Bacon still wrote of his regret that the marriage to Hatton had not taken place.
At the age of 45, Bacon married Alice Barnham, the 14-year-old daughter of a well-connected London alderman and MP. Bacon wrote two sonnets proclaiming his love for Alice. The first was written during his courtship and the second on his wedding day, 10 May 1606. When Bacon was appointed lord chancellor, “by special Warrant of the King”, Lady Bacon was given precedence over all other Court ladies. Bacon’s personal secretary and chaplain, William Rawley wrote in his biography of Bacon that his marriage was one of “much conjugal love and respect”, mentioning a robe of honour that he gave to Alice and which “she wore unto her dying day, being twenty years and more after his death”.
However, an increasing numbers of reports circulated about friction in the marriage, with speculation that this may have been due to Alice making do with less money than she had once been accustomed to. It was said that she was strongly interested in fame and fortune, and when household finances dwindled, she complained bitterly. Bunten wrote in her Life of Alice Barnham that, upon their descent into debt, she actually went on trips to ask for financial favours and assistance from their circle of friends. Bacon disinherited her upon discovering her secret romantic relationship with Sir John Underhill. He subsequently rewrote his will, which had previously been very generous — leaving her lands, goods, and income — and instead revoked it all.
Several authors believe that despite his marriage Bacon was primarily attracted to the same sex. Forker for example has explored the “historically documentable sexual preferences” of both King James and Bacon – and concluded they were all oriented to “masculine love”, a contemporary term that “seems to have been used exclusively to refer to the sexual preference of men for members of their own gender.” The well-connected antiquary John Aubrey noted in his Brief Lives concerning Bacon, “He was a Pederast. His Ganimeds and Favourites tooke Bribes”,. The Jacobean antiquarian, Sir Simonds D’Ewes implied there had been a question of bringing him to trial for buggery, which his brother Anthony Bacon had also been charged with.
This conclusion has been disputed by others, who point to lack of consistent evidence, and consider the sources to be more open to interpretation. Publicly – at least – Bacon distanced himself from homosexuality. In his New Atlantis, Bacon describes his utopian island as being “the chastest nation under heaven”, in which there was no prostitution or adultery, and further saying that “as for masculine love, they have no touch of it”.
On 9 April 1626, Francis Bacon died of pneumoniawhile at Arundel mansion at Highgate outside London. An influential account of the circumstances of his death was given by John Aubrey‘s Brief Lives. Aubrey’s vivid account, which portrays Bacon as a martyr to experimental scientific method, had him journeying to Highgate through the snow with the King’s physician when he is suddenly inspired by the possibility of using the snow to preserve meat: “They were resolved they would try the experiment presently. They alighted out of the coach and went into a poor woman’s house at the bottom of Highgate hill, and bought a fowl, and made the woman exenterate it.”
After stuffing the fowl with snow, Bacon contracted a fatal case of pneumonia. Some people, including Aubrey, consider these two contiguous, possibly coincidental events as related and causative of his death: “The Snow so chilled him that he immediately fell so extremely ill, that he could not return to his Lodging … but went to the Earle of Arundel’s house at Highgate, where they put him into … a damp bed that had not been layn-in … which gave him such a cold that in 2 or 3 days as I remember Mr Hobbes told me, he died of Suffocation.“ Aubrey has been criticised for his evident credulousness in this and other works; on the other hand, he knew Thomas Hobbes, Bacon’s fellow-philosopher and friend.
Being unwittingly on his deathbed, the philosopher wrote his last letter to his absent host and friend Lord Arundel:
My very good Lord,—I was likely to have had the fortune of Caius Plinius the elder, who lost his life by trying an experiment about the burning of Mount Vesuvius; for I was also desirous to try an experiment or two touching the conservation and induration of bodies. As for the experiment itself, it succeeded excellently well; but in the journey between London and Highgate, I was taken with such a fit of casting as I know not whether it were the Stone, or some surfeit or cold, or indeed a touch of them all three. But when I came to your Lordship’s House, I was not able to go back, and therefore was forced to take up my lodging here, where your housekeeper is very careful and diligent about me, which I assure myself your Lordship will not only pardon towards him, but think the better of him for it. For indeed your Lordship’s House was happy to me, and I kiss your noble hands for the welcome which I am sure you give me to it. I know how unfit it is for me to write with any other hand than mine own, but by my troth my fingers are so disjointed with sickness that I cannot steadily hold a pen.
Another account appears in a biography by William Rawley, Bacon’s personal secretary and chaplain:
He died on the ninth day of April in the year 1626, in the early morning of the day then celebrated for our Saviour’s resurrection, in the sixty-sixth year of his age, at the Earl of Arundel’s house in Highgate, near London, to which place he casually repaired about a week before; God so ordaining that he should die there of a gentle fever, accidentally accompanied with a great cold, whereby the defluxion of rheum fell so plentifully upon his breast, that he died by suffocation.
He was buried in St Michaels church in St Albans. At the news of his death, over 30 great minds collected together their eulogies of him, which were then later published in Latin.He left personal assets of about £7,000 and lands that realised £6,000 when sold. His debts amounted to more than £23,000, equivalent to more than £3m at current value.
Philosophy and works
Francis Bacon’s philosophy is displayed in the vast and varied writings he left, which might be divided into three great branches:
- Scientific works – in which his ideas for an universal reform of knowledge into scientific methodology and the improvement of mankind’s state using the Scientific method are presented.
- Religious and literary works – in which he presents his moral philosophy and theological meditations.
- Juridical works – in which his reforms in English Law are proposed.
Bacon’s seminal work Novum Organum was influential in the 1630s and 1650s among scholars, in particular Sir Thomas Browne, who in his encyclopaedia Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1646–72) frequently adheres to a Baconian approach to his scientific enquiries. This book entails the basis of the Scientific Method as a means of observation and induction. During the Restoration, Bacon was commonly invoked as a guiding spirit of the Royal Society founded under Charles II in 1660.During the 18th-century French Enlightenment, Bacon’s non-metaphysical approach to science became more influential than the dualism of his French contemporary Descartes, and was associated with criticism of the ancien regime. In 1733 Voltaire introduced him to a French audience as the “father” of the scientific method, an understanding which had become widespread by the 1750s. In the 19th century his emphasis on induction was revived and developed by William Whewell, among others. He has been reputed as the “Father of Experimental Philosophy”.
He also wrote a long treatise on Medicine, History of Life and Death, with natural and experimental observations for the prolongation of life.
One of his biographers, the historian William Hepworth Dixon, states: “Bacon’s influence in the modern world is so great that every man who rides in a train, sends a telegram, follows a steam plough, sits in an easy chair, crosses the channel or the Atlantic, eats a good dinner, enjoys a beautiful garden, or undergoes a painless surgical operation, owes him something.”
In 1902 Hugo von Hofmannsthal published a fictional letter addressed to Bacon and dated 1603, about a writer who is experiencing a crisis of language. Known as The Lord Chandos Letter, it has been proposed that Bacon was identified as its recipient as having laid the foundation for the work of scientists such as Ernst Mach, notable both for his academic distinction in the history and philosophy of the inductive sciences, and for his own contributions to physics.
Bacon played a leading role in establishing the British colonies in North America, especially in Virginia, the Carolinas and Newfoundland in northeastern Canada. His government report on “The Virginia Colony” was submitted in 1609. In 1610 Bacon and his associates received a charter from the king to form the Tresurer and the Companye of Adventurers and planter of the Cittye of London and Bristoll for the Collonye or plantacon in Newfoundland, and sent John Guy to found a colony there. Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, wrote: “Bacon, Locke and Newton. I consider them as the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception, and as having laid the foundation of those superstructures which have been raised in the Physical and Moral sciences“.
In 1910 Newfoundland issued a postage stamp to commemorate Bacon’s role in establishing the colony. The stamp describes Bacon as “the guiding spirit in Colonization Schemes in 1610”. Moreover, some scholars believe he was largely responsible for the drafting, in 1609 and 1612, of two charters of government for the Virginia Colony. William Hepworth Dixon considered that Bacon’s name could be included in the list of Founders of the United States.
Although few of his proposals for law reform were adopted during his lifetime, Bacon’s legal legacy was considered by the magazine New Scientist in 1961 as having influenced the drafting of the Napoleonic Code as well as the law reforms introduced by 19th-century British Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel. The historian William Hepworth Dixon referred to the Napoleonic Code as “the sole embodiment of Bacon’s thought”, saying that Bacon’s legal work “has had more success abroad than it has found at home”, and that in France “it has blossomed and come into fruit”.
Harvey Wheeler attributed to Bacon, in Francis Bacon’s Verulamium—the Common Law Template of The Modern in English Science and Culture, the creation of these distinguishing features of the modern common law system:
- using cases as repositories of evidence about the “unwritten law”;
- determining the relevance of precedents by exclusionary principles of evidence and logic;
- treating opposing legal briefs as adversarial hypotheses about the application of the “unwritten law” to a new set of facts.
As late as the 18th century some juries still declared the law rather than the facts, but already before the end of the 17th century Sir Matthew Hale explained modern common law adjudication procedure and acknowledged Bacon as the inventor of the process of discovering unwritten laws from the evidences of their applications. The method combined empiricism and inductivism in a new way that was to imprint its signature on many of the distinctive features of modern English society. Paul H. Kocher writes that Bacon is considered by some jurists to be the father of modern Jurisprudence.
Bacon is commemorated with a statue in Gray’s Inn, South Square in London where he received his legal training, and where he was elected Treasurer of the Inn in 1608. James McClellan, a political scientist from the University of Virginia, considered Bacon to have had “a great following” in the American colonies.
More recent scholarship on Bacon’s jurisprudence has focused on his advocating torture as a legal recourse for the crown. Bacon himself was not a stranger to the torture chamber: in his various legal capacities in both Elizabeth I’s and James I’s reigns, Bacon was listed as a commissioner on five torture warrants. In 1613(?), in a letter addressed to King James I on the question of torture’s place within English law, Bacon identifies the scope of torture as a means to further the investigation of threats to the state: “In the cases of treasons, torture is used for discovery, and not for evidence.” For Bacon, torture was not a punitive measure, an intended form of state repression, but instead offered a modus operandi for the government agent tasked with uncovering acts of treason.
Bacon and Shakespeare
The Baconian hypothesis of Shakespearean authorship, first proposed in the mid-19th century, contends that Francis Bacon wrote some or even all of the plays conventionally attributed to William Shakespeare.
Francis Bacon often gathered with the men at Gray’s Inn to discuss politics and philosophy, and to try out various theatrical scenes that he admitted writing. Bacon’s alleged connection to the Rosicrucians and the Freemasons has been widely discussed by authors and scholars in many books. However, others, including Daphne du Maurier in her biography of Bacon, have argued that there is no substantive evidence to support claims of involvement with the Rosicrucians. Frances Yates does not make the claim that Bacon was a Rosicrucian, but presents evidence that he was nevertheless involved in some of the more closed intellectual movements of his day. She argues that Bacon’s movement for the advancement of learning was closely connected with the German Rosicrucian movement, while Bacon’s New Atlantis portrays a land ruled by Rosicrucians. He apparently saw his own movement for the advancement of learning to be in conformity with Rosicrucian ideals.
The link between Bacon’s work and the Rosicrucians ideals which Yates allegedly found was the conformity of the purposes expressed by the Rosicrucian Manifestos and Bacon’s plan of a “Great Instauration”, for the two were calling for a reformation of both “divine and human understanding”,[c] as well as both had in view the purpose of mankind’s return to the “state before the Fall”.[d][e]
Another major link is said to be the resemblance between Bacon’s New Atlantis and the German Rosicrucian Johann Valentin Andreae‘s Description of the Republic of Christianopolis (1619). Andreae describes a utopic island in which Christian theosophy and applied science ruled, and in which the spiritual fulfilment and intellectual activity constituted the primary goals of each individual, the scientific pursuits being the highest intellectual calling—linked to the achievement of spiritual perfection. Andreae’s island also depicts a great advancement in technology, with many industries separated in different zones which supplied the population’s needs—which shows great resemblance to Bacon’s scientific methods and purposes.
The Rosicrucian organisation AMORC claims that Bacon was the “Imperator” (leader) of the Rosicrucian Order in both England and the European continent, and would have directed it during his lifetime.
Some of the more notable works by Bacon are:
- Essays (1st edition 1597)
- The Advancement and Proficience of Learning Divine and Human (1605)
- Essays (2nd edition – 38 essays, 1612)
- Novum Organum Scientiarum (‘New Method’, 1620)
- Essays, or Counsels Civil and Moral (3rd/final edition – 58 essays, 1625)
- New Atlantis (1627)
Joel Johnson is my great-great-uncle, brother of my great-great-grandfather Benjamin F Johnson.
My Uncle Joel LeBaron is my mother’s brother, and my Great–great Uncle Joel Johnson’s namesake. I was utterly amazed to see how much my Uncle Joel LeBaron even looks like his Great Uncle Joel Johnson – especially in the cheeks, nose, mouth, and jaw areas! (He resembles his namesake more than any of my mother’s other six brothers!!)
Great-great uncle Joel Johnson is, among other things, famous for such well-known and beloved Mormon hymns as “High on the Mountaintop.” It can still be found in modern Mormon hymn books. And is still one of my favorite hymns.
Great-great Uncle Joel Johnson wrote around 800 hymns for the Mormon church. He also helped found some of Utah’s Townsites.
The following I borrowed from Wikipedia for your convenience. But there is also more on him and his history that you can find if you do various online searches:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|“High on the Mountain Top”|
The text writer of the Latter Day Saint hymn
|Text||by Joel H. Johnson|
|Meter||6 6 6 6 8 8|
|Melody||“Deseret” by Ebenezer Beesley|
“High on the Mountain Top” is an 1850s hymn written by Latter Day Saint hymn writers Joel H. Johnson and Ebenezer Beesley.Originally named “Deseret”, it is hymn number 5 in the current LDS Church hymnal.
The lyrics to the hymn were written by Johnson in 1853, five years after Brigham Youngpreached on Ensign Peak as the Mormon pioneers first arrived in the Salt Lake Valley.Even though Johnson’s journal contains more than 700 hymns, “High on the Mountain Top” is his most notable contribution to LDS music.
In 1854, Beesley composed music to accompany Johnson’s poem. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir adopted Beesley’s rendition and it has since become one of the choir’s standard numbers.
The hymn has five verses and centers on the theme that God has restored the gospel to the earth.
- Petersen, Randy (2014). Be Still, My Soul: The Inspiring Stories Behind 175 of the Most-loved Hymns. Tyndale House Publishers. pp. 60–61. ISBN 0825434335.
- Koltko, Claire et. al (2006). The Eyewitness History of the Church 3 (Google eBook). Cedar Fort. p. 187. ISBN 1555179630.
- “Joel Johnson: An Early Member of the Church who Wrote More Than 700 Hymns, Including High on the Mountain Top”, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, April 2014. Accessed 14 Nov 2014.
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