by HAROLD BAYLEY
In a letter to King James I. written by Bacon after his dismissal, in which he offers to make a digest of the laws of England, the following passage occurs."Surely the better works of perpetuity in Princes are those that wash the inside of the cup. Such as are Foundations of Colleges and Lectures for Learning and Education of youth : likewise Foundations and Instituitions of Orders and Fraternities for nobleness, enterprise and obedience and the like."
.....Among Bacon's paper we find the following memoranda. They are short and scrappy, but sufficient to prove that some practical scheme for the advancement of learning was already on foot : Under date July 26th, 1608 six years before the appearance of the first Rosicrucian manifestowe read :
"Query of learned men beyond the seas to be made and harkening who they be that may be so inclined."
And again :
"Layeing for a place to command wytts and pennes, Westminster, Eton, Wynchester, spec(ially) Trinity Coll., Cam., St. John's, Cam.; Maudlin Coll, Oxford.
"Qu. Of young schollars in ye universities. It must be the post nati. Giving pensions to four, to compile the two histories, ut supra. Foundac : Of a college for inventors. Library, Inginary.
"Qu. Of the order and discipline, the rules and praescripts of their studyes and inquiries, allowances for travelling, intelligence, and correspondence with ye universities abroad.
"Qu. Of the maner and praescripts touching secresy, traditions and publication."
A comparison of these memoranda which the rules and regulations of Solomon's House which Bacon gives us in "The New Atlantis," strengthen the conviction that the scheme which was to produce great and marvellous works for the benefit of man, was actually carried into practice. Spedding, Bacon's greatest biographer, tells us that :
"In him the gift of seeing in prophetic vision what might be and ought to be, was united with the practical talent of devising means and handling minute details. He could at once imagine, like a poet, and execute like a clerk of the works. Upon the conviction, 'This may be done,' followed at once the question, 'How may it be done?' Upon that question answered, followed the resolution to try and do it."
Bearing this in mind, I invite the reader to note carefully the following passage from the " New Atlantis :
"God bless thee, my son. I will give thee the greatest jewel I have, for I will impart unto thee for the love of God and men, a relation of the number of servants and attendants, men and women. [Women were admitted into Rosicrucian fellowship.]
"We have certain hymns and services, which we say daily, of laud and thanks to God for His marvellous works. And forms of prayers, imploring His aid and blessing for the illumination of our labors; and turning them into good and holy uses.
"Lastly, we have circuits or visits, of divers principal cities of the kingdom; where as it cometh to pass we do publish such new profitable inventions as we think good. And we do also declare natural divinations of diseases, plagues, swarms of hurtful creatures, scarcity, tempest, earthquakes, great inundations, comets, temperature of the year, and divers other things; and we give counsel thereupon, what the people shall do for the prevention and remedy of them."
And when he had said this he stood up, and I, as I had been taught, knelt down; and he laid his right hand upon my head, and said: "God bless thee, my son, and God bless this relation which I have made. I give thee leave to publish it, for the good of other nations; for we here are in God's bosom, a land unknown."
From the preceding quotations it
is obvious that one of the principal objects of the scheme was the
collection and publication of knowledge, and we are no doubt indebted
to Rosicrucianism for many of the noble productions which were
published in England, and on the Continent, between the years 1600
and 1700, or thereabouts.
Some of these publications were colossal, consisting not infrequently of upwards of a thousand folio pages of small italic type. Take one of them to a modern publisherask him to estimate the cost of producing such a volume to-day, and inquire how many copies it would be necessary to sell, in order to make its production remunerative! Multiply the modern cost, say, ten times, and then conceive what inducement there could have been to an old-time bookseller to publish such a work, unless supported by some powerful and wealthy organization, working for something other than pecuniary profit.
That the books in question were published with a high motive is to be inferred by the frequency with which we meet with, after the word "FINIS," such sentences as,
"To God only wise be praise through Jesus Christ for ever."
"Soli Deo Gratia."
"Non nobis Domine no nobis sed nomini tuo da gloriam.
Even in purely secular treatises we find the letters L.S.D., which, for lack of a better suggestion, I intrepret to mean (L)aus (S)oli (D)eo. [Laus=Glory or praise, Soli=only, Deo=God, Glory or Praise only to God]
Bacon drew no hard and fast line
between things sacred and secular. Although the publications which we
have reason to suppose were produced under the auspices of the
Rosicrucians are for the most part works of a religious and
educational character, the catholic and broad minded philosophy of
their producers embraced everything and anything that tended to
sweeten or alleviate the misery of man.
It has been found practicable to trace the publications of the silent and beneficent fraternity by singularly simple means. Like most Secret Societies they made large use of parables, signs, passwords and emblems. Indeed, much of their philosophy seems to have been expressed by means of symbols and metaphors, comprehensible to the "illuminati," but not to the "profane vulgar." Hence, when we discover peculiar and distinctive Rosicrucian symbols, cunningly but unquestionably concealed in the ornamental head and tail pieces, and water-marked into the paper of certain books, we are justified in concluding that these particular works were produced under the auspices of Rosicrucian writers, who thus, so to speak, hallmarked their productions.
A paper-mark is, at the present day, nothing more than a trade sign and advertisement of the maker, but the devices which occur in a certain circle of sixteenth and seventeenth century literature, do not come under this category. It is to be noted that frequently upwards of forty or fifty different designs of papermark are to be found in a single volume. This will strike the reader as "curious," but to anyone who is familiar with the intricacies of papermaking and publishing the technical difficulties will appear so great that, without the evidence of one's own eyes in support of the fact, it would be dismissed as incredible....