Alfred Dodd was a twentieth century Englishman
and Mason who wrote perhaps the
finest biography of Francis Bacon. His
peers have said that "Alfred Dodd, a merchant of light, reasoned
within himself the little-known and less understood facts concerning
the life, character, and work of Francis Bacon; and judged it to be
for the benefit of humanity and the after ages that men should become
acquainted with his thoughts that had revolved for many years around
our noblest Englishman, the Prince of Poets, the most illustrious
philosophers, the wisest of ethical teachers, the greatest genius
ever born to the human race -- the true-born son of our most puissant
sovereign, Elizabeth Tudor."
He was born for England, to set the land he loved on new lines, "to be a Servant to Posterity," to quote his own words. And the revelation of his stupendous labours, overlooked by his compatriots, is long overdue.
Deny him as we will, we cannot cast him out. His mind has passed into our minds, his soul into our soul. We are part of him. We absorb his thoughts in the secret Lodge, on the Stage, in our laboratories, in the Halls of Learning, in quotations daily in the public Press and in our private studies -- as inseparable as the salt from the sea. If he be a rogue and a cheat, then it is most true that we have taken a rogue and a cheat to be our Exemplar. But Ben Jonson said that Francis Bacon was the embodiment of Virtue; and I think it wiser to abide by his testimony -- the verdict of a man who knew him personally -- than to accept the opinions of critics who never knew him, who only see through the haze of the Age and who may thus be confused by the Time-Mists of the Centuries and mistake Shadows for Reality.
At all events let us as Englishmen before the Law, assume that he is innocent, for never yet, I can assure you, has he been proved to be unequivocally guilty of any wrongdoing. Consider the facts and then decide . . . and such jurors we wish him. (From the Preface.)