Amelie Deventer von Kunow



 This article appeared in American Baconiana 1923

The name of Francis Tudor is still a new one for the learned and lay world of today, for it occurs as yet in no encyclopedia, historical or literary work. Nevertheless, it has been discovered and been known already for a number of years, by the explorers of Bacon's secret writings, although outside of the limited circles of the Bacon Societies of England, America, Austria, and Germany, their investigations have received but scant attention.

Who takes the trouble among the great majority of professional students to verify by checking-up those discovered and deciphered writings of Bacon? And how small is the number of those interested in the results which the investigators of Bacon's cryptography offer! Worthy of admiration surely, and deserving of wider attention, are the labors of those decipherers who have uncovered wholly new facts about Francis Bacon's, or rather Tudor's, person and life, for they have discovered already some years ago that the philosopher and statesman, Francis Bacon was a real Tudor by birth, and also the author of the "Shakespeare" plays and sonnets.

Because their decipherings, however, contradict all earlier historical and literary work, they obtain neither due consideration nor credence. No doubt the largely prevailing ignorance of cryptography in general, and of the cipher methods invented by Francis Bacon in particular, affords some excuse for, and contributes toward this lack of interest in the achieved cipher solutions of Bacon's secret writings; so that it is for this reason especially regrettable that the learned world has taken so unsympathetic an attitude. Cryptography is a special field of study made effective by old and new works about this art, and the examination of many secret writings themselves, and these enable us to follow the numerous systems and their uses for the greatest variety of purposes through successive centuries. To discuss this subject in greater detail is not the object of this essay, but it should be emphasized that the invention and use of cipher-methods flourished to the highest degree in the 15th and 16th centuries in all European countries, and especially at all courts of princes.

Although this is well known to most professional students, they persist nevertheless in doubting the discovery and correct solution of many so-called Bacon cipher-works, and even hold them in contempt; but it is cheap and futile criticism, when academic pedants superciliously look down upon decipherers not academically trained; for when once a cipher-solution or key has been found, it is a mere mechanical labor to solve the cipher writing, and this is practised with the greatest success by the experts trained in such work for diplomacy, the secret police, etc.

The doubts about authenticity of the discovery and solution of Bacon's secret writings are best counteracted by the discovery in the archives of the various countries of documents and records hitherto unknown, especially of such, as historians are compelled to recognize either as state papers, or as valuable material from private archives and libraries, and which demonstrably tally in their main points with the disclosures of the cipher writings of Francis Tudor.

 Such discovery of documents and nonciphered letters has been the good fortune of the writer, during several years of her researches about Francis Bacon. The leads which she laboriously followed step by step in Europe, from North to South and again northward in tracing the far-reaching relationships of Bacon's career, reveal a number of confirmations of the greatest importance for the final clearing up of the facts buried for centuries under the rubbish heaps of historical lies.

 Francis Bacon was by birth not a Bacon, but a Tudor. He was the legitimate first-born son of Queen Elizabeth by a secret marriage to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and Robert Essex was his own brother, as the second son of this union. *

 *NOTE:--While the editor assumes no responsibility for any statements made in these papers, it is remarkable that John Davies of Hereford in his "Scourge of Folly" (1610), addresses a sonnet "To the royall," (!) "ingenious, all-learned Knight,--Sr Francis Bacon," which is here reprinted from the late Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence's book "Bacon is Shakespeare." This sonnet is also highly interesting on account of its reference to Bacon's poetic pastimes, apparently habitual and well known to some people.


 "To the royall, ingenious, and all-learned

 Knight, Sir Francis Bacon


Thy bounty and the Beauty of thy Witt
Comprised in Lists of Law and learned Arts,
Each making thee for great Imployment fitt
Which now thou hast, (though short of thy deserts)
Compells my pen to let fall shining Inke

 And to bedew the Baies that deck thy Front;
And to thy health in Helicon to drinke
As to her Bellamour the Muse is wont:

For thou dost her embozom; and dost vse
Her company for sport twixt grave affaires;
So vtterst Law the liuelyer through thy Muse.

And for that all thy Notes are sweetest Aires;
My Muse thus notes thy worth in euíry Line,
With yncke which thus she sugers; so, to shine."

 With this discovery may be brought into chronological relationship also the later events of Francis Tudor's life, as developed from various and numerous nonciphered sources, which have been either unknown to historians or disregarded by them. All that the historians have heretofore brought forward about Francis Bacon was based, for principal authority, on Camden's annals.

 And old work, however, which appeared first in France in the 17th century and which among other things contains a lengthy treatise on Francis Bacon deserves mention; namely "Le Dictionnaire historique et critique by Pierre Bayle," 2 vols., Rotterdam 1697;--later enlarged and improved editions (with biography of the philosopher Bayle) by Maizeau in 4 vols.,--and numerous translations, for instance into German, by Prof. Johann Christian Gottsched 1741-44.

 In this German translation, which was published at Leipzig, one may read on page 358 about Francis Bacon that the people during his youth did not consider him to be a son of the "Bacon" family, but a foster child of Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, under Queen Elizabeth, sprung from a shepherd family. Later on this assumption was dropped, and many considered Francis as ascion of higher descent!

 But this bit of information is given quite briefly without any corroboration or other conclusive disclosure. For the rest, Bayle's report about Francis Bacon contains only a meager description of his intellectual works and his person. A book which appeared in Amsterdam in 1750 is likewise worthy of note: "Le Nouveau Dictionnaire historique et critique pour servir de supplément Continuation au Dictionnaire historique et critique de M. Pierre Bayle par Jacques Georges de Chaufepie." This "Nouveau Dictionnaire" declares that the deserts and talents of that great man Francis Bacon were worthy of a more detailed description than given by Bayle. Chaufepie lays stress upon the philosophical, historical and moral literary works of Francis, but in general adheres to the traditions as Camden has recorded them.

We are well aware that the word "royall" may be taken here to mean magnanimous, generous in gifts, and the like; and will naturally be so understood by most readers. An example of use in this figurative sense occurs in The Merchant of Venice, (1623 folio, Comedies, p. 175, col. 2):

"How doth that royal Merchant good Anthonio;".

 But for that very reason the word could also quite safely carry a pointed allusion to royal descent, for those who might know; and this possibility should, therefore, at least be mentioned.

While Bayle emphasizes the faults of Francis, Chaufepie endeavors on the contrary to diminish them and so do him more justice.

That the true image of this superlatively great man continued to fade away already in the 17th century was occasioned by the changeful political events in England, which had their beginnings already during his lifetime.

The rising storm-waves of the successive historical events in England, which Francis still witnessed in part during his lifetime, and which afterwards raged on, permitted his memory to be preserved and honored only in the narrow circle of his friends. The English Revolution, the two Civil Wars, the execution of Charles I, and the political disturbances combined with religious struggles,--finally the Republic under Cromwell,--all these had crowded into the background those questions which had arisen earlier, as well as any general interest, about the unique statesman and philosopher, Francis Bacon.

The closing of the theatres by the Puritans also caused a forgetting for a century of the Shakespeare plays; and later on they were without doubt and after some quarrelsome disputes simply revived as the poetical works of the long since forgotten actor.

Francis, however, was held to be in his own country the erstwhile deposed Lord Chancellor, who in 1626 was presumed to have been laid to rest at St. Albans, and then received the well-known monument there in the church of St. Michael through the devotion of his secretary. The majority of his contemporaries therefore remained subject to all kinds of false and unconfirmed suppositions.

Only an intimate circle of friends, and those scattered over various countries, were enlightened about his true life and fate, but all of them had, according to the then prevailing custom of "Bonds" and in this case as members of Bacon's "Secret Society" sworn utter silence about their knowledge of his secrets.

Hence there remained to be accepted as facts by the next-following generation, only what the annals of Camden had recorded of him, besides the works already published by him, and further the publication of divers manuscripts by men especially selected by him. These various editors, carefully selected by Francis, as well as his directions for the custody of manuscripts not to be published, permit our concluding that he left behind, in part, such as he desired to have kept secret for the time immediately after his death and yet securely preserved.

In the examination of and further search for Bacon manuscripts, it is worthy of note that after more or less considerable intervals, some heretofore unknown manuscripts still continue to be found by investigators, and we have even today to reckon with the possibility of discovering new ones in some of the archives of divers countries. Researches about Francis Tudor can therefore by no means be regarded as terminated, but rather advanced already so far, that we may rely on archival proofs to determine his status as a Tudor, and in this connection, on the strength of nonciphered letters, as the author of the dramas.

It requires indefatigable labor to make headway against the historical falsehood set on foot by Camden's Annals , and for centuries past as firmly anchored as military fortifications. Camden's representations arose at the court of Elizabeth and James I, under the influence of Bacon's enemies, making it appear to the unsuspecting student that the historian Camden himself was one of them.

Spedding was the first who succeeded in shedding a more favorable light upon the great Bacon, by publishing his philosophical and other works in seven volumes, and his letters in seven more, and giving in so doing many suggestions for a more correct appreciation of that greatly misjudged man. Yet he, too, fears, as he says in his preface, being accused of too one-sided a view of him.

In this we see proof that until the end of the last century, when the last volumes of Spedding's work appeared, the old ignorant prejudices against Bacon still prevailed.

It remains, therefore, an interesting task for our own age, after tearing asunder the tissue of the principal lies about Francis Tudor to study him as the great Tudor, and the entire literature which flowed from his golden pen, as the intellectual creations of the man in whom was embodied to an incomprehensible degree, that genius which, extending its power afar through the centuries, must be conceded to be the greatest glory of England, and at the same time the international property of all lovers of learning and literature.

In the course of these researches, not only the burning question arises of "Bacon or Shakepere." The investigator's probe must penetrate much deeper, in order to grasp all the manifold single facts of the life of this prince, equipped with Tudor strength, who, chastened by the experiences of a bitter fate, full of self-denials, both as philosopher and greatest poet, explored and illumined all the vital questions affecting mankind, with the profound wisdom and the rich creative power of his genius. Even though his philosophical works must be measured by the standard of the opinions of his age, those writings nevertheless give proof of a vision far beyond it.

By his eminent powers of mind, he far outranked his contemporaries. There is hardly a field of knowledge in which he has not proved himself a master. His eloquence made him a famous parliamentary orator. Spedding points out the brilliant literary style of his works, and even testifies that he far excelled the best of contemporary authors, in forceful forms of speech and expression. He asserts, too that his majestic language may be placed on a par with only one other,--the mighty language of Shakespeare!

Spedding has advanced thus far, but unhappily it was denied him to perceive the truth, namely that under the pseudonym "Shakespeare" was hidden the philosopher Francis Tudor. It will remain a vain effort of literary historians to continue to hold up the uneducated actor Shakspere as the poet of the "Shakespeare" dramas by all manner of artificial and strained proofs.

Whoever, like myself, has had the good fortune to approach the study of Francis Bacon and his works, without any foreknowledge whatever of this particular contention about "Bacon or Shakespeare" and without any previous acquaintance with Bacon's secret cipher works, which I admire all the more now,--may well follow as a guide for his investigations the method recommended by the famous historian Leopold von Ranke, who says:

"Modern history is no longer to be based upon the reports of even contemporary historians, let alone upon further elaborations derived from them, but rather to be built upon the accounts of eye-witnesses and the most genuine actual documents."

In pursuing such a method, the explorer of the past becomes aware that he must spare no means or effort to reach the original sources and to ferret them out in the various countries. 

By the discovery of these original documents, which, however, can by no means be as yet considered exhausted, the comparison of the truth with the discoveries of decipherers about Francis Tudor, is greatly facilitated and their decipherings should therefore be received with satisfaction.

 By the Tudor discovery the motives of the prince who disguised his identity as a composer of drama and sonnets under the pseudonym of "Shakespeare" become for the first time intelligible, for a son of the Bacon family would not as such have needed so complete a disguise. The numerous allusions to his person and the English court, which the poems present in both metaphor and allegory, endangered his life. Therefore he left it to "future ages and foreign nations" as he says in his Will, to discover his true name.

His genius shines radiantly upon us from the dramas. Although he draws, in part, upon history for his material, his power is still manifest in that he does not confine himself too closely to historical facts as reported in the chronicles. He further leads us into the realm of legends, dating back to the earliest English and Scottish times.

Whatever the subject he may select, he shows himself invariably to be a master in his choice of the historically grand moments. He touches upon situations of high significance. It is either the intrusion of ecclesiastical power into internal political quarrels, as in King John Lackland; or he shows, as in Richard II, the well justified fall of a monarch, who oversteps the boundaries of moral right. In Henry IV he demonstrates the opposition with which continually a usurper meets from the very vassals who put him upon the throne, until he dies prematurely of his royal cares.

 Many more grand moments from history may be found in the plays, but religious and parliamentary quarrels Francis avoids bringing upon the stage, as I show more fully in my book on "Francis Bacon, Last of the Tudors." Thus he avoids touching in King John upon the matters which finally led to the Magna Charta. For, seeing the approaching revolution, he chooses for the description of such popular uprisings events from Roman history; and how dramatically forceful in Julius Caesar are the contrasting words which first give reason to justify the murder of Caesar, but immediately after praise his worthy deeds.

In the manner of his literary treatment, Francis adapted himself to the minds of his contemporaries. He intermingles the greatest events with petty trivialities. Always, however, he pursues his educative purpose of holding up a mirror to his times, and leading the spectator or reader with delicately discriminating psychological knowledge through the labyrinth of the emotions and struggles of the human soul. Only after the greatest sacrifices and the keenest internal conflicts successfully fought through, was it possible for his emerging clarified character, by the help of his supreme genius, of inherited Tudor strength and of his acquired wisdom to create the works which won for him imperishable fame.



Translation by a member of the Society.

see: Francis Bacon, The Last of The Tudors