William Rawley (essay date 1627)
SOURCE: In The Works of Francis Bacon, Vol. V, James Spedding, Robert Leslie Ellis, and Douglas Denon Heath, eds., Brown and Taggard, 1862, p. 348.
[Rawley, Bacon's secretary, published the unfinished New Atlantis in 1627 at the end of the volume containing Bacon's Sylva Sylarum. In the following note to the reader, Rawley states Bacon's purpose in writing the New Atlantis.]
This fable my Lord devised, to the end that he might exhibit therein a model or description of a college instituted for the interpreting of nature and the producing of great and marvellous works for the benefit of men, under the name of Salomon's House, or the College of the Six Days' Works. And even so far his Lordship hath proceeded, as to finish that part. Certainly the model is more vast and high than can possibly be imitated in all things; notwithstanding most things therein are within men's power to effect. His Lordship thought also in this present fable to have composed a frame of Laws, or of the best state or mould of a commonwealth; but foreseeing it would be a long work, his desire of collecting the Natural History diverted him, which he preferred many degrees before it.
This work of the New Atlantis (as much as concerneth the English edition) his Lordship designed for this place; in regard it hath so near affinity (in one part of it) with the preceding Natural History.