OFB I: Early Writings 1584-1596

OFB IThe Oxford Francis Bacon I:
Early Writings 1584-1596

Ed. by Alan Stewart with Harriet Knight

This volume belongs to the new critical edition of the complete works of Francis Bacon (1561-1626). The edition presents the works in broadly chronological order and in accordance with the principles of modern textual scholarship. This volume contains Bacon’s earliest known writings, dating from 1584 to 1596, comprising position papers, commentaries on printed works, legal readings and opinions, and discourses of advice, usually written in response to specific events or demands, and circulated in manuscript. Bacon’s writings to 1596 generally reflect his professional occupations: legal, political, and parliamentary. They include substantial writings on the Martin Marprelate controversy of 1588-1589, Roman Catholic attacks on Elizabeth’s government (1593); dramatic entertainments put on at Gray’s Inn and the court; tracts on important legal cases of the period; notes from his extensive reading; and letters of advice written for and to Bacon’s patron, Robert Devereux, second earl of Essex. Despite the ‘occasional’ nature of these writings, there is clearly visible across them the early signs – ‘seeds’ as their author would call them – of the philosophy Francis Bacon would later come to write. The writings are presented with substantial introductions, and full commentaries and glossaries


1 Letter of advice to the Queen (1584-5) AdQ
2 Argument on the commission of Bridewell (c.1587) ArB
3 The misfortunes of Arthur: dumb shows (1588) MA
4 Reading on advowsons (1588) RA
5 An advertisement touching private censure (c.1598) APC
6 An advertisement touching the controuersyes of the Church of England (1589) ACE
7 Letter of advice to Fulke Greville (c.1589) AdFG
8 On the religious policies of the Queen (Letter to Critoy) (c.1589) RPQ
9 Tribuit or giving that which is due (c.1591–2) Tr
10 Of magnanimitie or heroicall vertue (c.1595) MHV
11 An advertisement touching seditious writing (c.1589–93) ASW
12 Certaine obseruations vppon a libell (1593) OL
13 Epistle to the reader (of OL) (1593) OL(ep)
14 A true report of the detestable treason intended by Doctor Roderigo Lopez (1594) TRL
15 Argument in Chudleigh’s case (1594) ArC
16 Memorandum on the queen’s safety (1594) MQS
17 Promus offormularies and elegancies (1594–5) PFE
18 Orations at Graies Inne revells (1594–5) GG
19 First letter of advice to the earl of Rutland (1595) AdR1
20 Second letter of advice to the earl of Rutland (1595) AdR2
21 Third letter of advice to the earl of Rutland (1595) AdR3
22 Essex’s device [Accession Day Device] (1596) ED
23 First letter of advice to the earl of Essex (1596) AdE1
24 For the earl of Sussex at the tilt (1596) ST

For further details, please see Oxford University Press.

The Oxford Francis Bacon I: Early Writings 1584-1596, ed. by Alan Stewart with Harriet Knight (Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 1,136. ISBN: 978-0-19-818313-6.