Chambers (from Sir Francis Bacon’s “New Atlantis,” 1626)

The chambers were handsome and cheerful chambers, and furnished civilly. Then he led us to a long gallery, like a dorture, where he showed us all along the one side (for the other side was but wall and window,) seventeen cells, very neat ones, having partitions of cedar wood. Which gallery, and cells, being in all forty, (many more than we needed,) were instituted as an infirmary for sick persons. And he told us withal, that as any of our sick waxed well, he might be removed from his cell, to a chamber: for which purpose, there were set forth ten spare chambers, besides the number we spake of before.

This done, he brought us back to the parlor, and lifting up his cane a little, (as they do when they give any charge or command) said to us: “Ye are to know, that the custom of the land requires, that after this day, and tomorrow, (which we give you for removing of your people from your ship,) you are to keep within doors for three days. But let it not trouble you, nor do not think yourselves restrained, but rather left to your rest and ease. You shall want nothing, and there are six of our people appointed to attend you, for any business you may have abroad.”

Sir Francis Bacon: The New Atlantis, 1626

New Atlantis Book Cover New Atlantis
Sir Francis Bacon

Sir Francis Bacon's "The New Atlantis" is a utopian novel about a mythical land called Bensalem, the inhabitants live happily with the sciences. "The New Atlantis" was published in 1627, the year after the Sir Francis Bacon's death. In "The New Atlantis," Bacon focuses on the duty of the state toward science, and his projections for state-sponsored research anticipate many advances in medicine and surgery, meteorology, and machinery. Although "The New Atlantis" is only a part of his plan for an ideal commonwealth, this work does represent Bacon's ideological beliefs. The inhabitants of Bensalem represent the ideal qualities of Bacon the statesman: generosity and enlightenment, dignity and splendor, piety and public spirit. These were the ideal qualities which Bacon wanted to see in 17th century England.

September 9, 2014