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The Project Gutenberg eBook of the New Atlantis

The Project Gutenberg eBook of the New Atlantis

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The Project Gutenberg eBook of The New Atlantis, by SirFrancis Bacon
Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check thecopyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributingthis or any other Project Gutenberg eBook. This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this ProjectGutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do not change or edit theheader without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about theeBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included isimportant information about your specific rights and restrictions inhow the file may be used. You can also find out about how to make adonation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!***** Title: The New AtlantisAuthor: Sir Francis BaconRelease Date: December, 2000 [EBook #2434][This HTML file was first posted on June 11, 2003]Edition: 11Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: utf-8*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK, THE NEW ATLANTIS ***Revision to edition 11 and preparation of HTML version by William Fishburne
The New Atlantis
Bacon's literary executor, Dr. Rowley, published
The New Atlantis"
in1627, the year after the author's death. It seems to have been writtenabout 1623, during that period of literary activity which followedBacon's political fall. None of Bacon's writings gives in short apace sovivid a picture of his tastes and aspirations as this fragment of the planof an ideal commonwealth. The generosity and enlightenment, thedignity and splendor, the piety and public spirit, of the inhabitants of Bensalem represent the ideal qualities which Bacon the statesmandesired rather than hoped to see characteristic of his own country; andin Solomon's House we have Bacon the scientist indulging withoutrestriction his prophetic vision of the future of human knowledge. Noreader acquainted in any degree with the processes and results of modern scientific inquiry can fail to be struck by the numerousapproximations made by Bacon's imagination to the actualachievements of modern times. The plan and organization of his greatcollege lay down the main lines of the modern research university; andboth in pure and applied science he anticipates a strikingly largenumber of recent inventions and discoveries. In still another way is
TheNew Atlantis
typical of Bacon's attitude. In spite of the enthusiastic andbroad-minded schemes he laid down for the pursuit of truth, Baconalways had an eye to utility. The advancement of science which hesought was conceived by him as a means to a practical end theincrease of man's control over nature, and the comfort andconvenience of humanity. For pure metaphysics, or any form of abstract thinking that yielded no "fruit," he had little interest; and thisleaning to the useful is shown in the practical applications of thediscoveries made by the scholars of Solomon's House. Nor does theinterest of the work stop here. It contains much, both in its political andin its scientific ideals, that we have as yet by no means achieved, butwhich contain valuable elements of suggestion and stimulus for thefuture.
The New Atlantis
We sailed from Peru, (where we had continued for the space of onewhole year) for China and Japan, by the South Sea; taking with usvictuals for twelve months; and had good winds from the east, though
soft and weak, for five months space, and more. But the wind cameabout, and settled in the west for many days, so as we could makelittle or no way, and were sometime in purpose to turn back. But thenagain there arose strong and great winds from the south, with a pointeast, which carried us up (for all that we could do) towards the north;by which time our victuals failed us, though we had made good spareof them. So that finding ourselves, in the midst of the greatestwilderness of waters in the world, without victuals, we gave ourselvesfor lost men and prepared for death. Yet we did lift up our hearts andvoices to God above, who showeth his wonders in the deep,beseeching him of his mercy, that as in the beginning he discoveredthe face of the deep, and brought forth dry land, so he would notdiscover land to us, that we might not perish.And it came to pass that the next day about evening we saw within akenning before us, towards the north, as it were thick clouds, which didput us in some hope of land; knowing how that part of the South Seawas utterly unknown; and might have islands, or continents, thathitherto were not come to light. Wherefore we bent our course thither,where we saw the appearance of land, all that night; and in thedawning of the next day, we might plainly discern that it was a land;flat to our sight, and full of boscage; which made it show the moredark. And after an hour and a half's sailing, we entered into a goodhaven, being the port of a fair city; not great indeed, but well built, andthat gave a pleasant view from the sea: and we thinking every minutelong, till we were on land, came close to the shore, and offered to land.But straightways we saw divers of the people, with
in theirhands (as it were) forbidding us to land; yet without any cries of fierceness, but only as warning us off, by signs that they made.Whereupon being not a little discomforted, we were advising withourselves, what we should do.During which time, there made forth to us a small boat, with abouteight persons in it; whereof one of them had in his hand a tipstaff of ayellow cane, tipped at both ends with blue, who came aboard our ship,without any show of distrust at all. And when he saw one of ournumber, present himself somewhat before the rest, he drew forth alittle scroll of parchment (somewhat yellower than our parchment, andshining like the leaves of writing tables, but otherwise soft andflexible,) and delivered it to our foremost man. In which scroll werewritten in ancient Hebrew, and in ancient Greek, and in good Latin of the school, and in Spanish, these words:
Land ye not, none of you; and provide to be gone from this coast, withinsixteen days, except you have further time given you. Meanwhile, if youwant fresh water or victuals, or help for your sick, or that your shipneedeth repairs, write down your wants, and you shall have that, which belongeth to mercy.

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