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Sir Francis Bacon
1561 - 1626

Lawyer, courtier, statesman, author, poet, sometimes called "the father of modern science". Bacon was a member of Parliament at 23, and by the age of 28 was Counsel-Extraordinary to Queen Elizabeth I. Shortly after her death, he was knighted by James I, and continued rising through various posts to become a member of the House of Lords and Lord High Chancellor of England. At the peak of his power and wealth, in 1621, Bacon was discovered to have accepted bribes. He was stripped of his power and most of his money, and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Though he had written for much of his life, he became prolific in his last years and continued writing about philosophy and science while in prison and after his release.


Nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass for wise.

Virtue is like precious odours - most fragrant when they are incensed or crushed.

1625 - from "Of Adversity" in Essays
There is no great concurrence between learning and wisdom.

Truth itself is always the highest and best goal of human effort.

Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.

from Aphorisms
If a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune; for though she is blind, she is not invisible.

from Of Fortune
Men on their side must force themselves for a while to lay their notions by and begin to familiarize themselves with facts.

Silence is the virtue of fools.

... no pleasure is comparable to standing upon the vantage ground of truth ... and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below.

1597 - from his essay Of Truth
Universities incline wits to sophistry and affectation.

1734 - from Valerius Terminus of the Interpretation of Nature, quoted in The MacMillan Dictionary of Quotations
Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper.

1624
He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils, for time is the greatest innovator.

from Of Innovation