Preface to a Fable

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This fable my lord devised, to the end that he might exhibit therein, a model or description of a college, instituted for the interpreting of nature, and the producing of great and marvelous works, for the benefit of men; under the name of Solomon’s house, or the college of the six days works. And even so far his lordship has proceeded, as to finish that part. Certainly the model is more vast and high, than can possibly be imitated in all things; notwithstanding most things therein are within men’s power to effect. His lordship thought also in this present fable, to have composed a frame of laws, or of the best state or mold of a commonwealth; but foreseeing it would be a long work, his desire of collecting the natural history diverted him, which he preferred many degrees before it.

Rawley, Preface: New Atlantis, 1626

Consider (“Think Well On’t; or Reflections on the Great Truths,” 1736)

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Consider, fifthly, how the cross lying flat on the ground, they lay our dear Redeemer stretched out upon it, who like a meek lamb makes no resistance. And first drawing his right hand to the place designed to fix it on, they drive with their hammers a sharp gross nail through the palm of his hand, forcing its way with incredible torment through the sinews, veins, muscles and bones, of which the hand is composed, into the hard wood of the cross. In the meantime the whole body, to favor that wound and the pierced sinews, was naturally drawn towards the right side, but was no long permitted to remain so; for immediately these cruel butchers laying hold of his other arm, and hand, violently drag him towards the left side, in order to nail that hand also to the place designed for it. Then pulling down his legs, they fasten his sacred feet in like manner with nails to the wood. And all this with such violent cruelty, that ‘tis thought with stretching and pulling they very much strained his whole body, and disjointed it in many parts, according to that of the royal prophet: “They have dug my hands and feet; they have numbered all my bones,” Psalm 21.

Think Well On’t; or Reflections on the Great Truths, 1736

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

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51HZ0NSjHdL._AA160_The chariot was all of cedar, gilt, and adorned with crystal; save that the fore-end had panels of sapphires, set in borders of gold; and the hinder-end the like of emeralds of the Peru color. There was also a sun of gold, radiant, upon the top, in the midst; and on the top before, a small cherub of gold, with wings displayed. The chariot was covered with cloth of gold tissued upon blue. He had before him fifty attendants, young men all, in white satin loose coats to the mid leg; and stockings of white silk; and shoes of blue velvet; and hats of blue velvet; with fine plumes of diverse colors, set round like hatbands. Next before the chariot, when two men, bareheaded, in linen garments down to the foot, girt, and shoes of blue velvet; who carried, the one a crosier, the other a pastoral staff like a sheep hook: neither of them of metal, but the crosier of balmwood, the pastoral staff of cedar.

Sir Francis Bacon: The New Atlantis, 1626

A Coinage for Ireland

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In 1331, amerciaments were ordered to be received no longer in heifers, but in deniers. Edward the third passed this decree in the hope of improving the trade of Ireland, and the revenue; and he ordered a coinage for Ireland, but no specimens of it have been found. Seventy years after, the prince of Leinster’s horse was rated at 400 cows, and the relator of this fact expressly adds, that, in Ireland, they barter by exchange, one commodity for another, and not for ready money. Even so late as 1570, Campion says, they exchange by commutation of wares for the most part, and have utterly no coin stirring in any of the great lord’s houses. The couped arm occurs on many of the Danish, Irish, as well as on the Saxon coins. It is well explained by the law of Athelstan, “If any coiner adulterates money, let his hand be cut off and fixed over the mint.” A coin of Sihtric, found in Queen’s county, shows the hand, with a nail through the palm.

Monthly Repertory, 1708

The First Temple

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My Lord, that which the Royal Society needs to accomplish an entire freedom, and (by rendering their circumstances more easy) capable to subsist with honor, and to reach indeed the glorious ends of its institution, is an establishment in a more settled, appropriate, and commodious place; having hitherto (like the Tabernacle in the Wilderness) been only ambulatory for almost forty years: but Solomon built the first Temple; and what forbids us to hope, that as great a Prince may build Solomon’s House, as that great Chancellor (one of your Lordship’s learned predecessors) had designed the Plan; there being nothing in that august and noble Model impossible, or beyond the Power of Nature and learned Industry. Thus, whilst King Solomon’s Temple was consecrated to the God of Nature, and his true Worship, This may be dedicated, and set apart for the Works of Nature; delivered from those illusions and impostors, that are still endeavoring to cloud and depress the true and substantial Philosophy: A shallow and superficial Insight wherein (as that incomparable person rightly observes) having made so many Atheists; whilst a profound and thorough Penetration into her Recesses (which is the business of the Royal Society) would lead Men to the Knowledge and Admiration of the glorious Author.

John Evelyn, Sylva: A Discourse of Forest Trees, 1729

Books (from Sir Francis Bacon’s “New Atlantis”)

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New Atlantis, by Sir Francis Bacon

We have three that collect the experiments which are in all books. These we call depredatours.
We have three that collect the experiments of all mechanical arts; and also of liberal sciences; and also of practices which are not brought into arts. These we call mystery men.
We have three that try new experiments, such as themselves think good. These we call pioneers or miners.
We have three that draw the experiments of the former four into titles, and tables, to give the better light, for the drawing of observations and axioms out of them. These we call compilers.
We have three that bend themselves, looking into the experiments of their fellows, and cast about how to draw out of them things of use, and practice for man’s life, and knowledge, as well for works, as for plain demonstration of causes, means of natural divinations, and the easy and clear discovery, of the virtues and parts of bodies. These we call dowry men or benefactors.

Sir Francis Bacon: The New Atlantis, 1626

Candlesticks (from Simon Patrick’s “Commentary,” 1706)

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A critical commentary and paraphrase on the Old and New Testament and the Apocrypha, Volume 2

1 Chronicles 28:15: “Even the weight for the candlesticks of gold, and for the lamps of gold, by weight for every candlestick, and for the lamps thereof: and for the candlesticks of silver by weight, both for the candlestick, and also for the lamps thereof, according to the use of every candlestick.” By this we learn that there were candlesticks of silver, as well as of gold. The former of which were lesser, to be carried in their hands, from place to place, as there was occasion. But the latter were fixed in the sanctuary, and in Solomon’s House were ten in number.

A critical commentary and paraphrase on the Old and New Testament and the Apocrypha Volume 2, 1706

Very Ancient Edifices

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To the second difficulty, M. du Hamel says, that the Scripture calls Ophir all the East Coast of Africa, and particularly the country of Sophala; where we find at this day very ancient edifices, built of great stones, like those of Solomon’s House. The inhabitants of Sopbala adore only one God, and hate idols. All the East Coast of Africa abounds in gold, but there is much more brought from Sophala, than from other places. The Indians, Persians, Arabians and Portuguese, that trade there, return always laden with this precious metal. We may add, that the Seventy, and Josephus, instead of Ophir, say Sophir and Sophira, names that do not much differ from that of Sophala. In short, it was an easy matter to sail from the straits of the Red Sea to Sophala; and ‘tis certain, that in ancient times they did not undertake any voyages that obliged them to lose sight of land. This last argument overthrows the opinion of those authors that place Ophir to the Indies.

History of the Works of the Learned, 1706

Experiments Most Proper

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That the third ground be employed in convenient receptacles for all sorts of creatures which the professors shall judge necessary for their more exact search into the nature of animals, and the improvement of their uses to us. That there be likewise built in some place of the College where it may serve most for ornament of the whole, a very high tower for observation of celestial bodies, adorned with all sorts of dials, and such like curiosities; and that there be very deep vaults made underground, for experiments most proper to such places which will be undoubtedly very many. Much might be added, but truly I am afraid this is too much already for the charity or generosity of this Age to extend to; and we do not design this after the model of Solomon’s House in my Lord Bacon (which is a project for experiments that can never be experimented) but propose it within such bounds of experience as have often been exceed by the buildings of private citizens.

Abraham Cowley, Works: Proposition, 1679