Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The death of Sir Francis Bacon

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1626 Sir Francis Bacon (b. 1561), the English philosopher, scientist, author, prominent Freemason and statesman, died in London.

Francis Bacon, early English philosopher, shares a birthday with Lord Byron – Bacon on January 22, 1561, and Byron on that day in 1788.

Bacon was Lord Chancellor of the realm, and man of letters, author of the Rosicrucian-inspired utopian New Atlantis (1627). The English poet Alexander Pope called him "The wisest, greatest, meanest of mankind". Pope also wrote, in 1741, "Lord Bacon was the greatest genius that England, or perhaps any country, ever produced." ...

Bacon died on April 9, 1626, ironically, a victim of scientific inquiry. He was out riding in his coach on a cold day with Dr Witherborne, the physician to James I of England, on the Holloway Road to Highgate, near London.

Always exercising his inquiring mind, Bacon had noticed that cold meats seemed not to go rotten as quickly as others, so it suddenly occurred to the great experimental scientist that flesh might be preserved in snow as well as in salt. The two men got out of the carriage and bought a hen from the cottage of a poor woman and helped each other to stuff the bird with snow by way of experiment. Sadly, poor Francis Bacon got a bad chill and could not return home, spending several days seriously ill at the nearby home of the Earl of Arundel, in a bed which was damp, having been unused for some time. His health deteriorated till the great man finally passed away. Highgate is reputedly haunted by the chicken's ghost.
Against cold meats was he insured?
For frozen chickens he procured
brought on the illness he endured,
and never was this Bacon cured.


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