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Today's Featured Biography

Francis Bacon

      Francis Bacon was born in York House, London, on January 22, 1561. Of this building only the ancient water-gate, fronting the Thames, survives the waste of time. His father, Sir Nicholas Bacon, was for twenty years Lord Keeper of the Great Seal under Elizabeth--a famous statesman, orator, and wit. His mother, Lady Ann Bacon, was the second daughter of the celebrated Sir Anthony Cooke, formerly tutor of King Edward VI., Henry VIII.'s short-lived son. She was a woman of great learning and many accomplishments, and of a strong, earnest, passionate, affectionate, and religious nature.

      Francis was the youngest of eight children, six of whom were by the first wife of Sir Nicholas. He belonged to the aristocracy of England, but not to that ancient, warlike race of battle-crowned warriors, whose pedigree dated back beyond the Crusades. His father was a lawyer. Both his father's family and his mother's seem to have risen from the ranks on the great wave of the Reformation; they belonged to the intellectual new age, then dawning; rather than to the rude, fighting age which was about to pass away. Francis was no accident. We can see in him the two natures of his father and his mother--the commingling of the powerful, practical, sagacious politician and man of affairs, with the studious, contemplative, imaginative, affectionate, religious enthusiast.

      His birthplace was a palace; the country seat of Gorhamsbury, near Saint Albans' village, is in the midst of the most charming rural ...

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