Review of N. B. Cockburn, The Bacon Shakespeare Question: The Baconian Theory Made Sane (1998): A Classic Worth Reprinting

by Christina G. Waldman

1998 does not seem so long ago to me. That was when N. B.Cockburn, late British barrister, devoted 740 pages to setting forth his evidence in favor of Francis Bacon’s authorship of the works traditionally attributed to “William Shakespeare,” based largely on that name/pseudonym’s being printed on the title page of the 1623 First Folio. Barry R. Clarke (Francis Bacon’s Contribution to Shakespeare (New York: Routledge, 2019)), Brian McClinton (The Shakespeare Conspiracies, (Aubane: Aubane Historical Society, 2006 and Belfast: Shanway Press, 2008)), and other authors, including myself, have acknowledged their debt to Cockburn. Mather Walker has previously reviewed the book for which prints in full its table of contents.

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Brian McClinton critiques writers with a bias against Bacon

Thanks to Christina Waldman for pointing out Brian McClinton critiques writers with a bias against Bacon
Saving Bacon 4

Brian McClinton’s letter, Sept. 27, 2005, in Prospect Magazine, Nov. 20, 2005.

27th September 2005

In his travesty of the character and ideas of Francis Bacon, Terence Kealey describes him as an “unusually unpleasant” man “who collected… many bribes.” On the contrary, JG Crowther demonstrates (Francis Bacon: The First Statesman of Science, 1960) that Bacon was “fundamentally incorruptible.” Indeed he was almost alone among leading politicians in not paying James I for his offices and promotions. Nieves Mathews in Francis Bacon: The History of a Character Assassination (1996), argues that he was completely innocent of the charges of bribery and that writers such as Macaulay were themselves guilty of slandering Bacon’s reputation and unfairly influencing later generations.

The best judges of Bacon’s character are those nearest to him. To his apothecary Peter Boener he was “a noteworthy example… of all virtue, gentleness, peacefulness, and patience.” To his editor Rawley, “if [ever] there were a beam of knowledge derived from God upon any man in these modern times, it was upon him.” Aubrey tells us that “all that were great and good loved and honoured him.”

As for his ideas, Kealey completely misrepresents his whole philosophy. Bacon’s lodestar was not power, as he suggests, but truth. He spells it out himself in his beautiful Proem: “For myself, I found that I was fitted for nothing so well as for the study of Truth; as having a mind nimble and versatile enough to catch the resemblances of things (which is the chief point), and at the same time steady enough to fix and distinguish their subtler differences; as being gifted by nature with desire to seek, patience to doubt, fondness to meditate, slowness to assert, readiness to reconsider, carefulness to dispose and set in order; and as being a man that neither affects what is new nor admires what is old, and that hates every kind of imposture. So I thought my nature had a kind of familiarity and relationship with Truth.”

In other words, Bacon’s “method” is as provisional as that of Popper, who completely misrepresents him. If modern science is based upon the presumption of error and fallibility, then Bacon remains its true trumpeter. Nor did he rely only on induction, as Kealey implies, for he insisted on a continual interchange between theory and experiment. When he wrote that “knowledge itself is power” he meant not worldly success or useful technology but the proof of scientific theories: “Human knowledge and human power meet in one; for where the cause is not known, the effect cannot be produced. Nature to be commanded must be obeyed; and that which in contemplation is as the cause is in operation as the rule” (Novum Organum). In short, only by making nature act in a certain way—exercising power—can we be sure that we understand how it does act, and only by knowing that can we control it. Bacon realised that science could be useful for the good of mankind but he also believed in knowledge and work for their own sake as “pledges of truth.”

Finally, Kealey goes off the rails altogether in his paean to private funding of science. It was the co-operative and collaborative nature of scientific discovery that concerned Bacon, not the issue of the state’s role.

Frankly, it is a puzzle why so many writers in England persistently misrepresent one of the world’s greatest geniuses. Most of them would improve their scholarship if they read Bacon himself instead of parroting his unreliable commentators.

Brian McClinton, Author of

Lisburn, Northern Ireland
Academic journals

26th September 2005 Letters.

The Play That Solves the Shakespeare Authorship Mystery

A book by Don Elfenbein


One reader of, Don Elfenbein of Morgantown, West Virginia, has recently self-published, through Lulu Press, a short print-on-demand book entitled The Play That Solves the Shakespeare Authorship Mystery: The Allegory of Francis Bacon’s Natural History in The Tempest.

Click here to read the PDF version.

This essay gathers together and documents a number of incontrovertible but little-noticed facts that speak Shakespeare’s true name loudly and clearly.

Written for general readers and scholars alike, the essay systematizes and extends the investigations of the pioneering researchers who first published, more than a century ago, the provocative contention that The Tempest allegorizes a body of Baconian thought. It demonstrates that fourteen elements of this play having to do with the magus Prospero, the spirit Ariel, and the witch Sycorax resemble and represent fourteen of Bacon’s natural-philosophical ideas, several of which are peculiar to him. Those ideas include not only the general methodological prescriptions for which Bacon is famous but also his unique and largely forgotten conjectures about the inner workings of nature.

These numerous and striking parallels between elements of the play and elements of Bacon’s philosophy, the author argues, together constitute persuasive proof that Bacon wrote this celebrated drama.

Don is a researcher and former law professor who has been interested in the Baconian theory since the 1970s. He is eager to discuss his study with anyone who is interested in examining it and perhaps offering him comments, corrections, or suggestions.

A printed copy of the essay can be ordered from the Lulu Press bookstore:The Play That Solves the Shakespeare Authorship Mystery

The Play That Solves the Shakespeare Authorship Mystery

Don’s email address is

UPDATE: June 1, 2023:


FBS: Shakespeare, aka Sir Francis Bacon – Sir Mark Rylance and Gary Cordice

Video by the Francis Bacon Society

Shakespeare, aka Sir Francis Bacon – Sir Mark Rylance and Gary Cordice celebrate 463 years of his legacy within world culture at his birthday bash in 2023 at the Royal Airforce Club, London
The Francis Bacon Society provides a platform for discussion of subjects connected with the Objects of the Society, but the Council does not necessarily endorse the opinions expressed by contributors or correspondents.
We welcome members of the public to pitch suitable videos they have made or will make which can be uploaded to the Francis Bacon website and/or YouTube Channel. Please contact us at

Did Francis Bacon really die on April 9, 1626?

by A. Phoenix is excited to share the following work by A. Phoenix on Easter Sunday April 9, 2023 on the anniversary of Bacon’s “passing” on Easter Sunday April 9, 1626.

Did Francis Bacon die in 1626 or Feign his Death with the help of his Rosicrucian Brotherhood?

Join the discussion on the B’ Hive Community Forum!

Baconamania at Greenwich – April 14, 2023

The Francis Bacon Society established in 1886 will be celebrating it’s 137th anniversary on April 14th. If you would like to attend this special event see the information below. If you want to know more about the Francis Bacon Society visit

Friday 14th April Diana and Gary Invite you and your guests to:


In the dawning of this new age,
Baconamania is all the rage,
Come and meet not just this sage,
Other Knights who went from light to shade.

It is the birthday of prophet Bacon,
Time to rattle chains and to take on
This tour of paintings to you inspire
In the company of certain Knights of the sacred empire.

Come and hear brave stories to incite ire,
Hear what led their fortune to expire,
Then to the tavern we will retire,
Over a cold brew and a cosy fire.










No later than Tuesday 11th April


The Martyrdom of Francis Bacon, Chapter II

The Martyrdom of Francis Bacon by Alfred Dodd

From :  Alfred Dodd’s Book

The Martyrdom of Francis Bacon

pp. 30-35
Chapter II

His Birth, Life and Labours, 1561-1621

(special thanks to Gerald Francis Bacon)

Pallas Athena was the Goddess of Wisdom and was supposed to preside over the whole of the intellectual and moral side of human life. She was the patroness of the useful and elegant arts such as weaving (felling), imparting to her devotees the peuculiar Masonic Virtues of Prudence, Courage, Preserverance. She protected the State from outward enemies. The Britannia on our English coins is taken from Pallas. She was credited with being the inventor of musical instruments. The Olive wreath denoting Peace was her emblem. She was a Creator and Preserver.

She was depicted in Greek Art with a Helmet on her head. She held the Spear of Knowledge in her right hand, poised to strike at the Serpent of Ignorance writhing under her foot. The large Helmet denoted that she waged invisibly a silent war against Sloth and Ignorance. She was usually placed on the Greek Temples with a Golden Spear in her hand. When the morning rays of the sun glinted on the weapon, causing it apparently to tremble, the common people were in the habit of saying smilingly : “Athena is Shaking her Spear again.” She was thus known as “the Spear Shaker” or ” the “Shaker of the Spear.”….

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Bacon and Shakespeare on Love by Edwin Reed


Bacon and Shakespeare on Love by Edwin Reed

Pages 5-30

In a lecture on Francis Bacon’s essays, recently delivered in our American Cambridge by an instructor of Harvard university, the audience, when the essay of Love had been read, was convulsed with laughter by the quizzical injunction addressed to it. “Fancy Bacon writing ‘Romeo and Juliet!'” Lord Tennyson, had he been present, would undoubtedly have been in full sympathy with the spirit of the occasion, for he also, referring to the same essay, once asked, ” Could Bacon, holding such sentiments, have written ‘Romeo and Juliet?’ ” Tennyson’s own answer to the question was this : “any man who believes that he could have done so is a fool.” Indeed, the opinion among cultivated people on both sides of the Atlantic, that the greatest with one possible exception the world has produced, and according to Macaulay, the “possessor of the most exquisitely constructed intellect ever bestowed on any children of men” was incapacitated by a constitutional defect in his character to write the garden scene in the famous play is so general that we are brought face to face with a new problem, not in authorship alone, but in psychology itself. The question is not one of intellectual power, of style of writing, of differences in poetry and prose as expressions of thought, but of the heart, of pure feeling. Read more…>

Also, for a Happy Valentine’s day…

LOVE AND BUSINESS by Robert Theobald

from the book Shakespeare Studies in Baconian Light

Bacon and Shakespeare Parallelisms Paperback – August 24, 2016
by Edwin 1835-1908 Reed (Author)

“I have just had a letter from a man who wants my opinion as to whether Shakespeare’s Plays were written by Bacon. I feel inclined to write back, “Don’t be a fool, sir!’ The way in which Bacon speaks of love would be enough to prove that he was not Shakespeare. ” I know not how, but martial men are given to love. I think it is but as they are given to wine, for perils commonly asked to be paid in pleasures.’ How could a man with such an idea of love write Romeo and Juliet?

And yet even Tennyson might have paused before shutting off the claims for Bacon with such resolute incredulity, not to say unexpressed incivility. For he himself had found in Bacon qualities which are at first sight as incompatible with an unromantic view of love, as he supposed Shakespeare to be. Tennyson had been on one occasion speaking of Lord Bacon, and said,

“That certain passages of his writings, their frequent eloquence and vivid completeness lifted him more than those of almost any other writer.”

And of the Essays he said,

“There is more wisdom compressed into that small volume than in any other book of the same size that I know.” (Life, II. 76, 415).

Clearly, then, any unfavourable impression derived from one or tow passages in a small Essay may be corrected and perhaps even vindicated when a larger view is taken. What more could he say of Shakespeare’s wisdom than this?

The objection which Tennyson expressed so energetically is one that is often raised when the Baconian theory is under discussion.

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Francis Bacon’s Private Notebook with Hundreds of Parallels in his Shakespeare Works – The Promus

by A. Phoenix is excited to share the following work by A. Phoenix on the 462nd Birthday of Sir Francis Bacon, January 22, 2023.

Francis Bacon’s Private Manuscript Notebook (Known as the Promus of Formularies and Elegancies) The Source of Several Hundred Resemblances, Correspondences and Parallels Found Throughout his Shakespeare Poems and Plays

By A. Phoenix
January 2023

In ordinary circumstances this contemporary manuscript document named the Promus of Formularies and Elegancies would be well known to every Bacon and Shakespeare scholar and student of English literature around the world.

Bacon’s unique private notebook held at the British Library contains a total of 51 leaves numbered pages 83 to 132 all written (apart from some French proverbs) in his own hand. The Folio numbered 85 is headed ‘Promus’ and beneath it appears the date ‘Dec. 5, 1594’ with the Folio numbered 114 headed ‘Formularies Promus’ carrying the date ‘27 Jan. 1595’ (i.e., January 1596).

It contains 1655 entries jotted down as an aid to his memory.

The entries include single words, phrases, lines, turns of speech, metaphors, similes, aphorisms, and various moral and philosophical observations. These include entries drawn from the Bible; Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, and English proverbs; and lines and verses from classical poets and dramatists, among them, Virgil, Ovid, Seneca, Horace, and Terence.

This private notebook was used by Bacon as a literary storehouse from where he developed, expanded, and introduced ideas and themes into his acknowledged writings and works. 

In Shakespeare Studies in Baconian Light R. M. Theobald produced a list of around 500 Promus entries used by Bacon in his acknowledged writings, a number the orthodox scholar Charles Crawford stated could be significantly added to, and following his detailed study of the Promus in The Bacon Shakespeare Question N. B. Cockburn put the number at about 600. More recently, its modern editors Professor Stewart and Dr Knight in The Oxford Francis BaconEarly Writings 1584-1596 (Oxford Clarendon Press, 2012) specified that during a period of thirty years Bacon utilised these entries in the Promus for usage in a diverse range of categories and genres that included his private letters, speeches, dramatic devices, essays, religio-political tracts, legal writings, and several of his philosophical and scientific works.

In 1883 the indefatigable Baconian scholar Constance M. Pott published her monumental work entitled The Promus of Formularies and Elegancies (Being Private Notescirc1594hitherto unpublishedby Francis Bacon Illustrated and Elucidated by Passages from Shakespeare.

In a work running to more than six hundred pages, Pott reproduced a full transcript of the entries in the Promus alongside hundreds of parallel passages from the Shakespeare poems and plays. This work has remained virtually unknown for the last one hundred and fifty years because it has been systematically ignored and misrepresented by orthodox Bacon and Shakespeare editors and commentators as it manifestly demonstrates that Bacon is Shakespeare.   

Now here for the first time (unknown to or expanded upon by Pott and other previous scholars and commentators) beyond paralleling hundreds of entries from Bacon’s notebook against his Shakespeare poems and plays, the present work will show how these sources used by Bacon, the Bible, Erasmus, Florio (Italian proverbs), Heywood (English proverbs), and especially the classical poets and dramatists Virgil, Ovid, Seneca, Horace, and Terence, completely saturate his Shakespeare works, confirming beyond any doubt that he used his private notebook as an aid-to-memory and wellspring for his divine Shakespeare poems and plays.

For the full story about ‘Francis Bacon’s Notebook’ see:





Note from – For further enjoyment visit