----------- THE attention of scholars is specially called to the manuscript which is now for the first time photographically facsimiled. In the year 1870 the first few pages of it were printed by Mr. James Spedding under the title of "A Conference of Pleasure," but this publication is now scarce, as only a limited edition was issued.
----------- All that is known of the manuscript is contained in a letter dated August 14, 1869, written by Mr. John Bruce, who had been commissioned by the late Duke of Northumberland to examine his manuscripts and report upon any of historical or literary interest.
----------- "Up to about two years ago, there had remained at Northumberland House, for a long time, two black boxes of considerable size, presumed to contain papers, but nobody knew of the boxes having ever been opened, or could give any information respecting their history, or tell what kind of papers they contained. These boxes were opened at the time I have indicated, and the contents, which turned out to be papers, as had been supposed, were taken out that I might inspect them. I did so in the month of August, 1867. I found them to be of a very miscellaneous character, many of them more or less connected with the history of the Percys, and others of a more general historical interest.
----------- " Upon some of them were found notes in reference to their contents, written by the hand of Bishop Percy, the editor of the Reliques, who was domestic chaplain at Northumberland House from about 1765 to 1782. He occupied apartments in the House, and gave considerable attention to the old papers belonging to the family. It is probable that he looked through all the papers now under consideration, and that it was under his direction that they were placed in the boxes alluded to.
----------- " Among the papers taken out of these boxes I found the transcripts of the papers of Bacon. They formed part of a miscellaneous collection, or unbound volume, of transcripts, containing among other things a copy of Leicester's Commonwealth and other pamphlets and documents relating to the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Looking hastily at the Bacon transcripts, I saw at once some matter which I recollected as already in print. Other parts of them seemed new to me. I mentioned this circumstance at the time to some members of the family of the Duke of Northumberland, who took an interest in what I was about. I pointed it out as a subject for further inquiry, and at the same time directed attention to the oddity of the recurrence and combination of the names of Bacon and Shakespeare in the scribble on the fly-leaf of the MS.
----------- " A good many of the papers taken out of the boxes had been subjected to the action of fire. Their edges were found burnt and singed in the same way as the Bacon transcripts. Among the papers thus damaged was a collection of transcripts of accounts of public ceremonials, such as royal marriages, funerals, and coronations. With this collection was found a paper on which was written, in a hand of the last century, perhaps that of Bishop Percy, although larger than his ordinary hand, a memorandum that those papers relating to ceremonials had been purchased at -Anstis-s sale,- which I understood to allude to the sale of the MSS. of the two Garters Anstis, the father and son, which took place in 1768.
----------- " This memorandum seemed to point to the possibility that the Bacon transcripts might have come to Northumberland House in the same manner as those relating to ceremonials. I thought it right therefore to endeavour to inspect a copy of the Anstis sale catalogue. For a considerable time I was unsuccessful. There is no copy at the British Museum, nor at the Society of Antiquaries, nor in several other likely places. Ultimately one was found at the College of Arms. Unfortunately, like most of the sale catalogues of that period, the lots are described in terms so general and unprecise that it is quite impossible to say what may not have been included under words so vague. Certainly the Bacon MS. is not directly mentioned. In a miscellaneous collection of papers, thrown together into one lot, there is mention of a copy of his argument, De rege inconsulto; and in the course of the catalogue there are several copies of Leicester's Commonwealth, but they do not occur in lots which can be identified with the MS. you are dealing with, but rather the contrary.
----------- -What I have stated seems to lead to the conclusion that the papers were deposited in boxes after 1768. That inference is strengthened by the circumstance that the Anstis MS. is so much injured by fire that - its contents not being highly valuable - it is unlikely that it would have been bought for the Ducal library in its burnt condition. The same conclusion is rendered more probable by the circumstance that there occurred a fire in Northumberland House on the 18th of March 1780, which destroyed a very considerable part of the front towards Charing Cross, [Annual Register for 1780, p.202. Gent. Mag. For March, 1780, p.151.] including the apartments occupied by Dr. Percy, then Dean of Carlisle. The Gent. Mag. of the day takes pains to inform its readers that -the greatest part of the Dean's invaluable library was fortunately preserved.- It says nothing of any MSS. of the Duke-s, but I think we may safely infer that in all probability this was the fire in which the Anstis MSS., the Bacon transcript, and several other manuscripts were injured ; and if so, that they were not put into the black boxes until after March 1780.
----------- -We may also I think find another limit. Dr. Percy was in 1782 appointed Bishop of Dromore, -where he continually resided- (Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iii. 754) from his appointment to his death in 1811. The putting these papers into the boxes, looks very like the act of Dr. Percy when taking leave of Northumberland House and about to remove to Dromore.
----------- " From 1782 to 1867 the history of these papers is pretty clear; I will only add that nothing has been done with them since they were found, except that the burnt and singed edges have been carefully repaired by a trustworthy person accustomed to that kind of work, and very skilful in it."
----------- The manuscript found by Mr. Bruce is described by Mr. Spedding as follows, viz.: "It is a folio volume of twenty-two sheets which have been laid one upon the other, folded double (as in an ordinary quire of paper), and fastened by a stitch through the centre. One leaf . . . the tenth, is missing, and one . . . appears to have been glued or pasted in."
----------- Since Mr. Spedding wrote, the manuscript has been taken to pieces and each leaf carefully inlaid in stout paper, and these have been bound up with a large paper copy of his pamphlet entitled "A Conference of Pleasure." The manuscript in its present condition contains 45 leaves, so Mr. Spedding does not appear to have included the outside page in his enumeration. The pages are not numbered, and there are no traces of stitching or sewing; it is therefore quite impossible even to conjecture what was the number of sheets in the original volume.
The manuscript in its present
state consists of : -
1. A much be-scribbled outer page, or cover, which appears to be the original list of the transcripts
----------- within (Folio 1-2).
2. Of Tribute, or giving what is due. By Bacon (Folio 3 -25).
i. The praise of the worthiest
ii. The praise of the worthiest affection.
iii. The praise of the worthiest power.
iv. The praise of the worthiest person.
3. Of Magnanimitie or heroicall vertue. By Bacon . -(Folio 25- 26).
4. An advertisement touching private censure. By Bacon. (Folio 26 29).
5. An advertisement touching the controversies of the Church of England. By Bacon . (Folio 29-44).
A letter to a French gent: touching ye proceedings
in Engl: in Ecclesiasticall causes, translated out of
----------- French into English by W. W. By Bacon . (Folio 44-45).
A blank page . (Folio 46).
7. Speeches spoken in a "Device" before Queen Elizabeth in
1595. The Device was presented
----------- by the Earl of Essex and the speeches were written by Bacon . (Folio 47-53).
i. The Hermitt's fyrst speach.
ii. The Hermitt's second speach.
iii. The Soldier's speach.
iv. The Secretaries speach.
v. The Squyre's speach.
8. For the Earle of Sussex at ye tilt, an: 96 . (Folio 53-54).
9. A letter dissuading Queen Elizabeth from marrying the
Duke of Anjou.
----------- By Sir Philip Sidney . (Folio 55-61).
A blank page . (Folio 62).
10. A copy of -Leicester's
Commonwealth,- imperfect both at the commencement
----------- and the end . (Folio 63-90).
----------- The index, or page of contents, which forms the outer sheet and which is termed Folio 1, appears from its dust-begrimed condition, to have always formed the outside cover of the collection. It is probable that the page was folded in the centre longitudinally, and short titles of the contents written upon the right-hand side of the leaf. Although the page has been scribbled over, and damaged severely by fire and dust, the following titles can still be read upon it.
----------- Mr. ffrauncis
----------------------- Of tribute or giving what is dew.
----------------------------------- The praise of the worthiest vertue.
----------------------------------- The praise of the worthiest affection.
----------------------------------- The praise of the worthiest power.
----------------------------------- The praise of the worthiest person.
----------- Philipp against Monsieur.
----------- Earle of Arundell's letter to the Queen.
----------- Speaches for my Lord of Essex at the tylt.
----------- A speach for my Lord of Sussex, tilt.
----------- Leycester's Commonwealth. Incerto autore.
----------- Orations at Graie-s Inne revells.
----------- . . . Queene's Mate . . .
----------- By Mr. ffrauncis Bacon.
----------- Essaies by the same author.
----------- Rychard the second.
----------- Rychard the third.
----------- Asmund and Cornelia.
----------- Ile of dogs frmnt.*
[*This entry is followed by some almost illegible words. It is probable that the original entry was -The Ile of Dogs, a fragment by Thomas Nashe, and inferior plaiers.-]
----------- On comparing this list with the actual contents of the book as given on pages xi.-xii., it will be seen that four of the articles now contained in the volume are not mentioned, viz.: -
No. 3. Of Magnanimitie.
No. 4. Advertisement touching private censure.
No. 5. Advertisement touching the controversies of the Church.
No. 6. Letter to a French gent. touching Ecclesiastical causes in England.
----------- On the other hand, nine articles mentioned on the contents page or cover have disappeared. They may have been separated from what is left by accident or by design. The missing portion contained the following : -
i.The Earle of
Arundell's letter to the Queen.
ii. Orations at Gray's Inn revells.
----------- These are probably the speeches of the six councillors to the -Prince of Purpoole,-
----------- presented at Gray's Inn in 1594.
iii. An address or letter to the Queen, written by Bacon.
iv. Essays by Bacon.
v.-vi. The Shakespeare plays of Richard II. and Richard III.
vii. Asmund and Cornelia.
----------- Probably a play, but nothing is known respecting it.
viii. The Ile of Dogs; a play by Thomas Nashe. ix. The missing portion of
----------- -Leicester's Commonwealth.-
----------- The date when the manuscript was written cannot be fixed with certainty. Mr. Spedding says that while it is impossible to give an exact date, he could find nothing either in the scribbling upon the outside page, nor in what remains of the book itself to indicate a date later than the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
----------- The list of contents on the outside page shows that the manuscript originally contained a copy of Bacon's Essays. The first edition of these appeared in 1597, but they were circulated in manuscript several years prior to that date. Bacon in his -Epistle Dedicatorie- to the first edition, dated January 30, 1597, complaining of some piratical publisher who contemplated printing them without his consent, writes as follows:
" I doe nowe like some that haue an Orcharde ill neighbored, that gather their fruit before it is ripe, to preuent stealing. These fragments of my conceites were going to print . . . . Therefore I helde it best discreation to publish them my selfe as they passed long agoe from my pen."
----------- This letter points to the extensive circulation of the essays in manuscript form, which would cease on their issue as a book. They were printed in January, 1597, and again in 1598, and so were easily to be procured in book form after February, 1597. This appears to fix the date of the manuscript as about that period, for it is not reasonable to suppose that the expensive and imperfect method of copying in manuscript would be continued after the printed editions had appeared. The same argument applies to the plays of -Rychard II.- and -Rychard III.,- which are included in the list of contents. These also were first printed in 1597, and issued at a published price of sixpence each. It seems, therefore, reasonable to conclude that the manuscript was written not later than January, 1597, and it seems more probable that no part of the manuscript was written after 1596. Corroboration for this approximate date is obtained from the composition of the various parts of the manuscript. The first item, -Of Tribute,- was written by Bacon for a masque or device played in 1592. The -Controversies of the Church of England,- was written in 1589. The -Letter to a French gent.- was written between 1589 and 1590. The -Speeches of the Hermit, the Soldier, the Secretary, and the Squire,- were spoken in a masque performed in 1595. The Earl of Sussex's speech was spoken -an. 96.- The -Letter of Sir Philip Sydney to Queen Elizabeth- was written about 1580. The stinging political pamphlet, -Leicester's Commonwealth,- part of which concludes the manuscript in its present state, was printed secretly on the Continent in 1584. We know that its circulation was forbidden, the copies seized and the printers prosecuted. This being so, there would be difficulty in obtaining the printed book in England, and it was therefore necessary to continue to produce manuscript copies of the pamphlet.
If the front page or outside cover, which is here called folio 1, be carefully examined it will be seen that, in addition to a list of the contents of the manuscript, there are various other words, marks and sentences scribbled upon it. Some portions are difficult to decipher on account of the page having been damaged by dust and fire. A modern script rendering of the words and sentences which can still be read is here inserted so that their exact position can easily be seen.
MODERN SCRIPT RENDERING OF MS. FOLIO 1.
----------- On the left-hand corner of the page of contents the name Nevill can be traced in two places, and near it the punning motto of the family, Ne vile velis. Perhaps this gives a clue to the original ownership of the volume, as it seems to indicate that the collection was written for, or was the property of, some member of the Nevill family. Who this was is uncertain, but it seems probable that it was Bacon's nephew, Sir Henry Nevill.
The relationship is shown below: -
----------- The younger Nevill, for whom it is suggested the manuscript was prepared, was therefore but three years the junior of Francis Bacon. They both entered Parliament in 1584, and were doubtless on intimate terms. It is probable that Nevill was on the Continent some time between 1590 and 1598, for he was sent as ambassador to Paris in 1599, and it is hardly likely that a man unacquainted with foreign countries would have been selected.
Anthony comfort and consorte.
----------- Probably a reference to Francis Bacon's elder brother, who on various occasions obtained advances of money for him and was associated with him in many of his literary labours.
----------- A variant of this interesting word occurs in a charter dated A.D. 1187. It is used also in the -Complaynt of Scotland,- 1548-9,- and another form of it, -Honorificabilitidinitatibus,- is found in Love's Labour Lost, which we know to have been acted at Christmas, 1597. In the pamphlet -Lenten Stuffe,- printed about 1599, it is used by Nashe, who writes: -Physitions deafen our eares with the Honorificabilitudinitatibus of their heavenly Panachaea.-
Multis annis jam transactis,
Nulla fides est in pactis,
Mell in ore. Verba lactis,
ffell in corde. ffraus in factis.
----------- This verse was known to Anthony Bacon, for a letter from Rodolphe Bradley has been preserved, in which he writes: -
----------- "Your gracious speeches concerninge the gettinge of a prebendshippe for me . . . . be the words of a faithfull friende and not of a courtiour, who hath Mel in ore et verba lactis, sed fel in corde et fraus in factis.-
[1 Tenison MSS., Lambeth Palace Library, vol. 15, folio 110.]
----------- This letter is dated April 2, 1597 ; which is about the date suggested for the writing of the manuscript. The lines in a slightly different form also appear on the title page of Ulpian Fulwell-s book, -The first parte of the Eyghth liberall Science . . . Ars Adulandi,- published about 1580 ; and in Tabouret's -Les Bigarrures et Touches,- Paris 1608.
----------- This is practically line 1,086 of the -Rape of Lucrece.- The only difference being that the word -spies- is there employed instead of -peepes.- It seems, therefore, probable that -see Shak-was intended by the scribbler to refer to the poem of -Lucrece,- which was first published in 1594. It has already been stated that the date of the writing of the manuscript is probably before 1597. If this be so, this quotation is interesting as an almost contemporary notice of the poem.
----------- The name Shakespeare or William Shakespeare and the name Baco, Bacon, or Francis Bacon have been written upon the page eight or nine times. The initial letters S, Wlm, B, Sh and Mr, also frequently occur. This association of the names and their conjunction on the title-page of a collection of manuscripts ascribed to each, must be of deep interest to all students of English literature.
----------- It should be remembered that no trace of any original manuscript of any play or poem ascribed to Shakespeare has ever been discovered. On the title-page, however, of the collection of manuscripts here facsimiled, mention is made of Shakespeare's plays of Richard II. and Richard III., as having formed part of the original contents. And the fact that this title-page is scribbled over in a contemporary handwriting, with the names of --Bacon- and of --Shakespeare- in close proximity and seemingly of set purpose, has caused believers in the Baconian authorship of the Shakespeare plays to cite this page as confirmatory evidence of their theory. In order that the exact position of the words quoted may be the more easily seen, several facsimiles with interpretations in modern writing have been prepared. Facsimile 1b (p.170) is photographed from the facsimile published by Mr. Spedding in 1870, when the manuscript was a little brighter and more could be made out than at the present time. In facsimile 1a (p.169) the negative was much over intensified in order to dissolve out the background, but many of the finer lines have disappeared in the process. Facsimile lc (p.171) is photographed from the manuscript in its present condition. An enlarged facsimile of a portion of folio 1 is shewn on p. xviii., and a script rendering of the same is printed on the opposite page, in order that the Shakespeare entries may be more easily studied.
----------- Attention is more particularly called to the line written above the entry -Rychard the Second.-
----------- The word -ffrauncis- has been twice written (the second entry being upside down and over the first) as if by this device it had been intended to emphasise the name. It is worthy of notice that the name of -Shakespeare- does not appear upon any of the plays printed prior to 1598. The writing upon folio 1 would seem therefore to be one of the earliest ascriptions of authorship, and it is specially remarkable that the author-s name appears as -Mr. ffrauncis William Shakespeare.- Where the name -William Shakespeare- is repeated lower down, another device is employed. to emphasise the entry. The word -Your- being twice written across the name, so that it
----------------------------------------------------------- -Your------------------------- -your-
reads -William Shakespeare.- Mr. Spedding seemed to think that much of this writing was mere scribble, but the scribble is contemporary and it is difficult to imagine that it was written without intelligent purpose.
----------- The back of the contents page, or folio 2 of the manuscript (see folio 2 of the Facsimiles), contains very little. The words written upon it are as follows: -
-g-------- ofising turner
----------------------------------- ----------- Imprising
----------------------- ----------- ----------- resolved in the
----------------------------------------------- But yorself in prince
----------------------- Anthonie ffitzherbert
----------- As to the penmen who actually wrote the manuscript nothing certain is known. The writing on the contents page is chiefly in one hand, with occasional words in another, and a few words mostly scrawled across the page at an angle, appear to be written by a third. The main body of the work is in two or more handwritings, and the difference is especially to be noted in -Leycester's Commonwealth,- which appears to have been written in a hurry, for the writing has been overspaced on some pages and over-crowded in others, as if different penmen had been employed. There are also noticeable breaks on folios 64 and 88, and the difference in penmanship on these pages is specially remarkable.
----------- This points to the collection. having been written at a literary workshop or professional writer's establishment. It is a fact worthy of notice, that Bacon and his brother Anthony were interested in a business of the kind about the time suggested for the date of the writing of this book. Mr. Spedding states:
----------- -Anthony Bacon appears to have served [Essex] in a capacity very like that of a modern under-secretary of state ; receiving all letters, which were mostly in cipher ; in the first instance ; forwarding them (generally through his brother Francis-s hands) to the Earl, deciphered and accompanied with their joint suggestions; and finally, according to the instructions thereupon returned, framing and dispatching the answers.-
-[Life of Bacon, Vol i., p.250-1.]
----------- Several writers must have been employed to carry out with promptitude such work as here outlined, and we find in a letter from Francis Bacon to his brother, dated January 25th, 1594, that the clerks were also employed upon other work. The concluding paragraph of Bacon-s letter reads:
----------- -I have here an idle pen or two, specially one that was cozened, thinking to have got some money this term. I pray send me somewhat else for them to write out besides your Irish collection which is almost done. There is a collection of Dr. James of foreign states, largeliest of Flanders, which, though it be no great matter, I would be glad to have it.-
[ibid., vol. 1, p.349.]
----------- In a letter to Tobie Matthew, Bacon writes: - -My labours are now most set to have those works, which I had formerly published . . . well translated into Latin by the help of some good pens, which forsake me not.- We have but little information as to the writers employed by Anthony and Francis, but Ben Jonson formed one of the group, for Archbishop Tenison writes:
----------- -The Latine translation of [the Essays] was a work performed by divers hands ; by those of . . . Mr. Benjamin Johnson (the learned and judicious poet) and some others whose names I cannot now recall.-
[Baconiana, 1679, p.60.]
----------- In this connection it is worthy of notice that in -The Great Assises holden in Parnassus by Apollo and his Assessours,- printed in 1645, the -Chancellor- is declared to be -Lord Verulam,- and -Ben Johnson- is described as the -Keeper of the Trophonian Denne.- It seems not unlikely that this literary workshop was the source of the -Verulamian Workmanship,- which is referred to by Isaac Gruter, in a letter to Dr. William Rawley (Bacon's secretary and executor) written from Maestricht, and dated March 20, 1655. The letter was written in Latin, and both the original and the translation are printed in -Baconiana, or certain genuine Remains of Sr Francis Bacon,- London, 1679. An extract reads as follows: -
----------- - If my Fate would permit me to live according to my Wishes, I wolud flie over into England, that I might behold whatsoever remaineth, in your Cabinet, of the Verulamian Workmanship, and at least make my Eyes witnesses of it, if the possession of the Merchandize be yet denied to the Publick.
----------- - At present I will support the Wishes of my impatient desire, with hope of seeing, one Day, those [Issues] which being committed to faithful Privacie, wait the time till they may safely see the Light, and not be stifled in their Birth.-
----------- While this work was passing through the press, a pamphlet has been published, in which the suggestion is made that the penman of the contents page may have been John Davies, of Hereford, poet, and teacher of penmanship. Amongst his pupils he numbered several members of the Northumberland family. He was well acquainted with Sir Henry Nevill, for in his work entitled -Microcosmos,- published in 1603, he dedicates a sonnet -To the Noble, discreete and wellbeloved Knight, Sir Henry Nevill.-It is interesting to note that Bacon was also a friend of the poet, and Davies in -The Scourge of Folly,- published about 1610, apostrophises him in the following sonnet: -
" To the royall, ingenious, and all-learned Knight, Sr Francis Bacon.
Thy bounty and the Beauty of thy Witt
Comprisd 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 ev'ry Line,
With yncke which thus she sugers ; so, to shine.
----------- In the list of contents (folio 1) a copy of a play entitled -The Ile of Dogs,- written by Thomas Nashe, is included. Of this work but little is known, and no copy has been found. We learn that it existed from the following reference to it in Nashe-s pamphlet -Lenten Stuffe,- which he published in 1599. The pamphlet commences: -
----------- -The straunge turning of the Ile of Dogs frō a commedie to a tragedie two summers past, with the troublesome stir which hapned aboute it, in a generall rumour that hath filled all England, and such a heavie crosse laid upon me, as had well neere confounded mee : I meane, not so much in that it sequestred me from my woonted meanes of my maintenance, which is as great a maime to any mans happinesse as can bee feared from the hands of miserie ; or the deepe pit of dispaire wherinto I was falne, beyond my greatest friendes reach to recouer mee ; but that in my exile and irkesome disconted abandonment, the silliest millers thombe, or contemptible sticklebanck of my enemies, is as busie nibbling about my fame, as if I were a deade man throwne amongst them to feede upon. . .
That infortunate imperfit embrion of my idle houres, the Ile of Dogs before mentioned, breeding unto me such bitter throwes in the teaming as it did. . .
I was so terrifyed with my owne encrease . . . that it was no sooner borne, but I was glad to runne from it. An imperfit Embriō I ma well call it, for I hauing begun but the induction and first act of it, the other foure acts, without my consent, or the least guesse of my drift or scope by the players were supplied, which bred both their trouble and mine to.-
----------- Mr. Grosart states that -the play when produced roused the anger of the Queen's Privy Council, who withdrew their licence from the theatre and flung Nashe into jail.- In the -Acts of the Privy Council- for 1597, edited by Mr. J.R. Dasent, an account appears of a meeting held at Greenwich on August 15th, 1597. Amongst other business, a letter was sent to Richard Topclyffe and four other magistrates, in the following terms : -
-Uppon informacion given us of a lewd plaie, that was plaied in one of the plaiehowses on the Bancke Side, contanynge very seditious and sclanderous matter, wee caused some of the players to be apprehended and comytted to pryson ; whereof one of them was not only an actor but a maker of parte of the said plaie . . . these shalbe therefore to require you to examine . . . the plaiers . . . Wee praie you also to peruse soch papers as were fownde in Nash his lodgings . . . which Ferrys . . . shall delyver unto you . . . .-
----------- No doubt the play above referred to was the -Ile of Dogs,- for Gabriel Harvey in his pamphlet -The Triming of Thomas Nashe,- printed in 1597, writes: -Since that thy Ile of Dogs hath made thee thus miserable, I cannot but account thee a dog and chide and rate thee.- This pamphlet contains a rough wood-cut of Nashe in fetters. It will be noted that the entry on folio 1 has the words -inferior plaiers- written after it, which may be a reference to the quality of the work ascribed to Nashe. None of the references to -The Ile of Dogs- which appear in -The Diary of Philip Henslowe,- edited by John Payne Collier in 1845, are of value, as the researches of Mr. Warner have proved them to be forgeries.
----------- Passing from this description of the Manuscript and its outside page or cover, a word must be said as to the method adopted in the type rendering of the work. Fire has destroyed several lines of the bottom of every page, but the remainder of each left-hand page is practically perfect owing to the copyist having left a liberal margin. The right-hand pages have suffered much more, as the writing was taken to the edge of the paper, and thus the last two or three words of each line are missing. After some consideration, the plan suggested by Mr. Spedding was adopted for the first portion of the manuscript comprising folios 3 to 62. Each page is printed line for line with the original, and the words missing at the sides of each recto have been supplied from other copies, or by conjecture where other copies do not exist. All additions thus made are marked by the insertion of [ ], a square bracket. The same course has been adopted with regard to the half-dozen lines destroyed at the bottom of each page. It has not been deemed possible to do this upon folios 3 to 12, and 25 to 28, as no other copies either in print or in manuscript of the parts missing are known to exist.
----------- It will be noticed that the number of lines written upon different pages varies from thirty-seven on folio 17 to forty-nine on folio 56. As the type transcription of the first 62 folios are printed page for page with the manuscript, the lack of uniformity in their appearance is thus accounted for. The writing on folios 63 to 90, comprising what remains of -Leycester-s Commonwealth,- is in smaller writing, and the lines are placed nearer together, so it has not been thought advisable to keep this portion page for page, and line for line, in the same way, as the earlier folios. The lacunae have been supplied from the printed edition of 1641, and inserted in square brackets. The commencement of each folio is marked by a headline, so that the transcript may easily be compared with the facsimile. In order to avoid confusion it has been deemed advisable not to follow strictly the punctuation or the capital letters of the original. Mr. Spedding, on this point, writes that -the transcriber was probably accustomed to copy legal documents, in which points had no value, and sentences were not divided. For though it cannot be said that there is no punctuation at all, it is introduced so irregularly that it serves rather to confuse than to explain the construction.- With this exception the transcript is an accurate copy of the original manuscript.
SirBacon.org - Sir Francis Bacon's New Advancement of Learning