Francis Bacon by Mrs. Nieves Mathews
The History of a Character Assassination

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Beyond his own country Francis Bacon is remembered as a great man, founder of modern science and philosophy, a just judge and a teacher of kings. In England and America, however, he is more commonly seen as a cruel, corrupt and power-hungry politician. Which appraisal is correct? In this re-evaluation of one of Britain's most significant figures, Nieves Mathews examines the charges against Bacon and reveals how distorted facts can be recast as historical truths. In 1621 Bacon fell from power as Lord Chancellor, the highest position in the land. Charged with accepting bribes, he was convicted, fined, imprisoned and exiled from the Court. He died five years later, disgraced and deeply in debt. In this study of the Jacobean administration - a system which depended on corruption at every level - Nieves Mathews shows Bacon to have been among the least tainted of the king's officials, the scapegoat in a political conspiracy aimed at dislodging the royal favourite. The destruction of Bacon's reputation followed Thomas Babington Macaulay's eloquent "Essay on Bacon", published in 1837. Macaulay's depiction launched a search among Bacon's biographers for evidence of malice and corruption. Now Nieves Mathews in her reaappraisal portrays a man both single-minded and fallible, with qualities and flaws.

About Mrs. Nieves Mathews

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Published May 29, 1996 by Yale University Press. 606 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, War, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Though this plenitude creates some tortuous passages and risks a lulling effect (many of the quotes could be better placed in footnotes or assimilated more smoothly through paraphrasing), it does fulfill the stated aim of ""let[ting Bacon] speak with his own voice."" The middle and final portions...

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The New York Review of Books

Nieves Mathews in particular has complained in her fiercely polemical book, Francis Bacon: The History of a Character Assassination, that most of the surviving reports about Bacon’s sexual behavior come from witnesses who were writing long afterward and are in any case “entitled to very little cr...

Nov 04 1999 | Read Full Review of Francis Bacon: The History of...

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