Manley Hopkins’ copy of the 6th Edition, signed and dated 1846 on the front free end-paper, with a fair scattering of marginal and other notes by him in pencil (the long note on the final leaf signed with initials). The notes mainly concern comparisons between knowledge in Bacon’s day compared to that of Hopkins’s pre-Darwinian times, i.e. a sort of review of 400 years of English Natural History. For example, on page 218, against Bacon’s text about the curing of warts, Hopkins has written: “I find that most persons, whatever else they disbelieve, believe in the charming away of warts.” His final comments on the book are interesting: “To us Pigmies, perched on giants’ shoulders, + in consequence seeing farther than the giants of ancient science themselves, it is painful to see their floundering around in the muddy compound of truth and error. Instance this book of Lord Bacon … mental accumen demonstrating principles that are now obsolete and superannuated. It becomes us badly, to scorn where we should learn to be humble … how many of our fallacies will be exposed and derided by the heirs of our accumulated knowledge. M.H. Feb. 1846.”
A particularly pleasing provenance. Manley Hopkins, father of the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, was, among other things, a keen amateur natural historian. 1846 was the publishing date for his book on Hawaii, where he had been Consul-General. Although father and son had a famously troubled relationship, both were poets, and both apparently read Sir Francis Bacon. University College Dublin has GMH’s letters to A.W.M. Baillie, one of which discusses and encloses a copy of Bacon’s ‘Essaye Morall and Political.’
Provenance: Manley Hopkins; earlier owner name of Thomas Knowlson, earlier name at foot of portrait excised; ‘Griffin and Parrot,’ written in an early hand on the front paste-down.
folio, portrait frontispiece, engraved pictorial additional title-page, 8 ff. (incl. printed title), pp. 218, 10 ff., 1 f. ‘Receipt for Gout,’ 1 f. title: ‘New Atlantis,’ 1 f., pp. 36, 1 f. title: ‘History Natural and Experimental,’ 3 ff., pp. 64, contemporary limp vellum, covers ruled in blind with central blind-stamped areabesques, (covers unevenly time stained, short split to upper hinge).