Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-5zjcf Total loading time: 0.433 Render date: 2022-08-10T09:53:42.898Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Article contents

Francis Bacon's Henry VII: Commentary on King James I

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 July 2014

Get access

Extract

Francis Bacon wrote his The History of the Reign of King Henry the Seventh during 1621 after his fall from power and during his initial period of disgrace. He had, of course, contemplated some such history for a long time; and his exile from the Jacobean court allowed him time to complete this project. Exactly how much “research” he did remains a matter of debate. But this history of Henry VII exists as an exceptional example of Tudor-Stuart historical writing. Given Bacon's fascination with questions of history, broached in The Advancement of Learning (1605) and expanded in De Augmentis Scientiarum (1623), one might reasonably expect to find an example of Bacon's practice of history. The History of Henry VII exists as Bacon's only finished full-scale history of an era, although other fragments survive.

A favorite scholarly pastime, at least since the late nineteenth century, has been to detect Bacon's “errors” in his history—that is, how and where he got things wrong. Sometimes, for example, he apparently duplicated the error of a source. He does not, however, stand alone among historians on this score. In any event, modern historical research affords a clearer view of the accuracy of Bacon's account. None of this detracts, however, from Bacon's considerable achievement. Part of the recognition of his accomplishment derives from understanding the different influences that impinge on Bacon's writing Henry VII. I intend, for example, to assess the indebtedness to the life of the Jacobean court as a model or influence on Bacon's portrait of King Henry's relationship with his wife Queen Elizabeth.

Type
Research Article
Information
Albion , Volume 24 , Issue 1 , Spring 1992 , pp. 17 - 26
Copyright
Copyright © North American Conference on British Studies 1992

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

1 The Works of Francis Bacon, ed. Spedding, James, Ellis, Robert, and Heath, Douglas, 14 vols. (London, 18681890), 6: 11Google Scholar.

2 The History of the Reign of King Henry the Seventh, ed. Levy, F. J. (Indianapolis, 1972), p. 65Google Scholar.

3 The Political Works of James I, ed. McIlwain, Charles H. (Cambridge, 1918), p. 272Google Scholar.

4 Ibid., p. 271.

5 The Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker, ed. Bowers, Fredson, 4 vols. (Cambridge, 19531961), 2: 262Google Scholar. For a discussion of this pageant, see my English Civic Pageantry 1558–1642 (London and Columbia, SC, 1971), pp. 7189Google Scholar.

6 Pageants and Entertainments of Anthony Munday: A Critical Edition, ed. Bergeron, David M. (New York, 1985), p. 9Google Scholar.

7 Ibid., p. 15.

8 Elsky, Martin, Authorizing Words: Speech, Writing, and Print in the English Renaissance (Ithaca & London, 1989), p. 195Google Scholar. The chapter on Bacon, pp. 184–208, is an excellent study of Bacon as a writer who sought court favor and became also something of a champion of the printed text.

9 Ibid., p. 189.

10 The Letters and the Life of Francis Bacon, ed. Spedding, James (London, 1874), 7: 303Google Scholar.

11 Ibid., 7: 325.

12 Ibid., 7: 356.

13 Ibid., 7: 357.

14 Bacon, , Henry the Seventh, ed. Levy, , p. 79Google Scholar.

15 Ibid., pp. 79–80.

16 Ibid., pp. 96–97.

17 Ibid., p. 242.

18 Ibid., p. 244.

19 Ibid., p. 52.

20 Chrimes, S. B., Henry VII (Berkeley, 1972), p. 302Google Scholar.

21 Anderson, Judith H., Biographical Truth: The Representation of Historical Persons in Tudor-Stuart Writing (New Haven & London, 1984), p. 185Google Scholar.

22 Ibid., p. 186.

23 Ibid., p. 201.

24 For detailed discussion of the relationship of James and Anne, as well other members of the Stuart royal family, see my book, Royal Family, Royal Lovers: King James of England and Scotland (University of Missouri Press, 1991)Google Scholar.

25 Osborne, Francis, Traditional Memoirs (1658), in Secret History of the Court of James the First, ed. SirScott, Walter, 2 vols. (Edinburgh, 1811), 1: 196Google Scholar.

26 Sanderson, William, A Compleat History of the Lives and Reigns of Mary Queen of Scotland and of Her Son and Successor, James (London, 1656), p. 474Google Scholar.

27 Goodman, Godfrey, The Court of King James the First, ed. Brewer, John S., 2 vols. (London, 1839), 1: 168Google Scholar.

28 Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Marquis of Salisbury (London, 1965), pt. xix: 308Google Scholar.

29 Wilson, Arthur, The History of Great Britain (London, 1653), p. 79Google Scholar.

30 Calendar of State Papers Venetian, 1603–1625, vols. 10–18 (London, 19001912), 15: 307Google Scholar.

31 Ibid., p. 420.

32 Ibid., p. 494.

33 Ibid., pp. 494–95.

34 Letters of King James VI & I, ed. Akrigg, G. P. V. (Berkeley, 1984), p. 369Google Scholar.

35 Ibid., p. 370n.

36 Calendar of State Papers Venetian, 15: 495Google Scholar.

37 The Letters of John Chamberlain, ed. McClure, Norman E., 2 vols. (Philadephia, 1939), 2: 242Google Scholar.

38 The Works of Francis Bacon, 4: 302Google Scholar.

1
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Francis Bacon's Henry VII: Commentary on King James I
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Francis Bacon's Henry VII: Commentary on King James I
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Francis Bacon's Henry VII: Commentary on King James I
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *