The New Atlantis - perspective houses

Background

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was an English lawyer, statesman, philosopher, and writer.

Bacon's utopia, The New Atlantis was not published until after his death in 1627. He tells of the discovery of a utopian island, the New Atlantis, beyond both the Old World and New. Solomon's House is a research establishment on the island. In Solomon's House science is a collaborative undertaking, conducted in a rational and impersonal way, for the material benefit of mankind.

Bacon imagined research and experimentation into light and, in this passage, appears to describe telescopy, microscopy and film. His description of the engine house is equally far-sighted.

We have also engine-houses, where are prepared engines and instruments for all sorts of motions. There we imitate and practise to make swifter motions than any you have, either out of your muskets or any engine that you have; and to make them and multiply them more easily and with small force, by wheels and other means, and to make them stronger and more violent than yours are, exceeding your greatest cannons and basilisks.

His descriptions of weapons of war raise questions about the complex relationships between technology, morality and politics.

Taken from: The Works of Francis Bacon
Author / Creator: Francis Bacon
Publisher: W Baynes & Son
Date: 1824
Copyright: By permission of the British Library Board
Shelfmark: 12271.ee.4