MANUSCRIPT

Said to be

HANDWRITING

of
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

IDENTIFIED

as

PENMANSHIP OF ANOTHER PERSON

 

MYSTERY OF
"SIR THOMAS MORE" DOCUMENT

UNRAVELLED

An Entirely New Phase

of the

BACON-SHAKESPEARE CONTROVERSY

by

EDWIN J. DES MOINEAUX

Los Angeles, California

1924

 


special thanks to Simon Miles and Vincent Brown
for the discovery of this book and making it digitally available for the readers of
www.sirbacon.org

He who is swayed more by argument than by testimony, trusts more to wit than sense.BACON

Every great truth has had to battle its way up through the prejudices of would be lawmakers of the world. ANON

The inquiry of truth, which is the lovemaking or wooing of it; the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it; is the sovereign good of human nature. BACON

Legacies to my friends: I give unto the Right Honorable my Worthy friend The Marquis Fiatt, Late Lord Ambassador of France, my books of origins or Psalms curiously rhymed. BACON'S LAST WILL.

We have set it down as a law unto ourselves to examine things to the bottom, and not to receive upon credit, or reject upon improbabilities, until, after there have been passed a due examination. BACON

In that which I now publish, and in that which I plan for the future, I often consciously and purposely, cast aside the dignity of my genius and of my name (if such things be). While I serve the welfare of mankind. BACON


FOREWORD

We make no apology for again considering the Bacon-Shakespeare controversy. In discussing the greatest of literary problems, we are not exhuming dry bones nor attempting to revivify the skeleton of a dead issue.

The question as to whether the most sublime literature, excepting the Bible, ever penned by human hand is the work of a frivolous jester or that of a profound philosopher; the creations of an untutored descendant of peasant ancestry or of a cultured scion of aristocratic lineage; the fruitage of a mentality devoid of constructive thoughts or of a mind pregnant with prophetic anticipations, is just as live and pertinent today as it was sixty seven years ago when Delia Bacon in America, and William Henry Smith in England first announced the Baconian theory.

Which could possibly have been the author of plays and poems that "touch the horizon of all human thought" : a butcher's apprentice or a college alumnus; a mischevious poacher or an attache of an embassy; a Stratford toper or a London Barrister; a village vagabond or a member of Parliament; a country rustic or an habitue of royal precincts; a Bankside showman or a producer of classic revels; a petty money changer or a privy coucillor; a litigious malster or an attorney general; a person who evinced no desire for an education or a man who "took all learning to be his province;" an associate of illiterates and vulgaries or a consort of the most brilliant and refined men of his time; a person with intellect stultified by unfavorable environments or one with mind alert and fresh from academic studies; an indolent lout equipped with nothing but the patios of Warwickshire or an ambitious student who acquired a vocabulary of 18,000 or 20,000 words?

What person living in England during the close of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth centuries, " Had dominion over every form of expression, understood the dramatic effect and moral force of each different turn of the phrase, and ran his thoughts into any mould he pleased, and that too without loss of grace and felicity of expression?" Was it a man destitute of literary accomplishments, or one whose versatility as an author attracted world wide admiration; was it a person never known to have written a letter, or one entrusted with diplomatic correspondence of the Crown; was it a man who left no record of his activities, no written expressions of love or endearment to wife, daughters, or sons in law; no business communications to friends, tradespeople or members of his profession; no formal recognition of any person, place or thing; or was it a man whose record of achievements surpassed that of any person of his time, startled the literary and scientific world by his erudition and his genius, and who bequeathed to mankind a heritage valuable beyond computation?

Who during the time of Elizabeth and of James "Strove to enrich his native tongue with words unknown and non existent before, save in their elements." Was it a member of a community "Steeped to the lips in ignorance, rude, and barbarious in their manners, and brutal in their modes of life," or was it "The greatest genius, the profoundest thinker, the broadest scholar that has adorned the annals of the human race;" was it a man "Leaving behind him not a single tradition or memorial that points to learning, culture, refinement, generosity, elevation of soul or love of humanity;" or was it one who said "Believing that I was born for the service of mankind, and regarding the care of the commonwealth as a kind of property, which, like the air and the water, belongs to everybody, I set myself to consider in what way mankind might best be served, and what service I was myself best fitted by nature to perform?"

To the end of time "Shakespeare" will be read. As long as the world goes 'round, seekers for truth will scrutinize the personal history of the supposed author and study the controversy. There are ample reasons for doubt that Will Shakespeare, of Stratford on Avon, was the writer of plays and poems imbued in classical learning, or had authorship interest in a literary enterprise of any kind. The deeper we delve into the incompatible activities of the so called Bard of Avon, the deeper becomes the conviction that he neither did nor could write histories, comedies and tragedies which have set the standard for all time to come.

Not many years ago, had one the temerity to question the validity of claims made by partisans of the Shakespeare cult, the audacity to seek confirmation of the reputed accomplishments of their idol, or the presumption to ascribe the authorship of the book known as "Shakespeare" to a writer of demonstrated ability, he would have been anathematized; every epithet in the catalog of uncomplimentary terms would have been applied to him, and the offender consigned to depths of Inferno deeper than Dante ever
dreamed.

Thanks to an enlightened public consciousness, the Baconian side of this mooted question now can be fearlessly presented and without danger of one suffering social ostracism, public ridicule or unpleasant notoriety.

No original manuscript of any play, or poem, letter, or other prose composition, in the handwriting of Will Shakespeare, has ever been brought to light. Shakespeare manuscript said to have been discovered in 1769, by Samuel Ireland, and at different times by various other imposters, were proved to be forgeries of the most bungling character.

Today the literary world is agog over another alleged discovery. A certain piece of manuscript that has been on file in the British Museum over forty years has again made it's periodic appearance in public.

This time it is heralded as a genuine specimen of Shakespeare's handwriting and pronounced "The most important discovery in the history of literature." The manuscript is a fragment of a play entitled "Sir Thomas More, " and is ascribed to Anthony Munday.

Recognizing certain characteristics of the penmanship displayed in the so called genuine Shakespeare manuscript as familiar, careful comparison of the document with reproductions of autograph letters and of manuscripts in the library of the writer was made.The results were so suprising and so convincing that we determined to compile some of the evidence, reproduce sections of the handwriting for comparison, and submit them in convenient form to interested students.

Readers of the controversy understand that a distinction is made between the name of William Shakespere, the Stratford villager, and William Shakespeare, the nom de plume of an author. To avoid confusion we have employed but one form of spelling names.

The subject matter and illustrations in this pamphlet present an entirely new phase of the Bacon Shakespeare controversy. Believing that the comparative exhibits and the accompanying analysis provide a tangible clue to the solution of the mystery concerning the "Sir Thomas More" manuscript, and suggest a rational hypothesis upon which to base a more extensive investigation, the writer hopes to encourage students abroad to analyze other sections of the manuscript now in the British Museum, and to compare them with handwriting of the person mentioned in this paper. Confident that further inquiry will reveal suprising results, and with assurances of hearty cooperation, he trusts, that this monograph will be regarded as a contribution to the controversy worthy of studious consideration.

E. J. D.


CONTENTS