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This online edition includes the bulk of his extant manuscript material relating to Ireland.Much of this has appeared before skittered throughout Bacon's in the early twentieth century.To attain this Bacon was in favour of sending over a reform commission of peaceable men chiefly of respect and countenance.
Bacon first appeared as an advisor to the Earl of Essex discussing, amongst other things in the 1590s, the war in Ireland.
It is interesting how Bacon's letters serious Tacitean missives laced with Latin tags are similar to Essex's own.
Essex, he reckoned, would gain honour simply by being seen to have the right people employed there and he should start by consulting those in England with experience of office or martial affairs in Ireland.
A second letter soon after shows that Essex was indeed taking a closer interest in Irish affairs and it indicates that he had asked the advice of this ignorant statesman on the ongoing talks with the Earl of Tyrone.
The most famous Bacon text relating to Ireland is his tract presented to James I at the start of 1609 when plans were being evolved for the colonisation of Ulster.
However he had already given other pieces of advice or counsel to the Earl of Essex and Robert Cecil (later the earl of Salisbury), and was to do so afterwards to George Villiers (later the duke of Buckingham) and to George Jones, the newly-appointed Chief Justice of Ireland.It reflected the doubts Essex had himself about the task ahead and his worries about the backbiting and intrigue against him at court in his absence.Once again honour is at stake you go upon the greater peril of your fortune, and the less of your reputation; and so the honour countervaileth the adventure; of which honour your lordship is in no small possession. The Essays are written in a wide range of styles, from the plain and unadorned to the epigrammatic. Seene and Allowed (1597) was the first published book by the philosopher, statesman and jurist Francis Bacon.Bacon suggests that in the winning of honour, merit is better than fame, discipline better than adventure and a mix of war and diplomacy better than sheer force.Most interestingly prophetically as to what would subsequently take place Bacon urged Essex to proceed as a good Protestant by following instructions, because exceeding their limits might prove a dangerous disavow.This advice on contemporary policy and high politics was not meant for public view and was not published in his lifetime.When these documents were eventually published, some of them were wrongly dated, and hence were often out of their proper context, usually because their covering letters had been omitted.The first on Ireland was written when Mr Secretary Robert Cecil went off on embassy to France in the spring of 1598.Bacon told Essex that involvement in the Irish Question was a way to purchase honour on three grounds that it would rekindle the Devereux role there begun by his father, that it was the single biggest and most time-consuming issue then in train and that putting it in frame would be a demonstrable contrast with the actions of those who put it out of frame.