Middle years


Francis stated three goals for himself, and those were: to uncover the truth, to serve his country, and to serve his church. Therefore he started seeking a prestigious post. In 1580, with the help of his uncle, Lord Burghley, he applied for a post at court that would have provided an opportunity for him to pursue a life of learning, but his application failed. For two years, Francis worked at Gray's Inn, until he was admitted as an outer barrister in 1582.


His parliamentary career started when he was elected in a by-election in 1581. In three years, he managed to take his seat in Parliament for Melcombe in Dorset, and in 1586 for Taunton. At this time, he started writing on the condition of parties in the church, as well as on the subject of philosophical reform in the lost tract Temporis Partus Maximus. Yet, he failed to gain a position that he believed would lead him to success. Later, Francis expressed signs of interest in Puritanism. He even attended the sermons of the Puritan chaplain and accompanied his mother to the Temple Church to listen to Walter Travers (English puritanical theologian). This interest led to the publication of his earliest surviving tract, in which he criticized the English church's suppression of the Puritan clergy. In the Parliament of 1586, he openly urged execution for the Catholic Mary, Queen of Scots.


Final years of the Queen's reign

Very soon, Bacon became acquainted with Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, who was Queen Elizabeth's favorite. By 1591 he already acted as the earl's confidential adviser.

In 1592 Francis was hired to write a tract in response to an anti-government polemic, which he named Certain observations made upon a libel, identifying England with the ideals of democratic Athens against the aggressiveness of Spain.

Bacon took his third parliamentary seat for Middlesex in 1593 when Elizabeth summoned Parliament to investigate a Roman Catholic plot against her.

After the office of Attorney General fell vacant in 1594, Lord Essex's influence was not enough to defend Bacon's position, so it was given to Sir Edward Coke. To compensate him for these disappointments, Essex provided him with a property at Twickenham, which Francis subsequently sold for £1,800.

Queen’s counseling

In 1597 Bacon was also a patent that gave him precedence at the Bar.Despite designations, he was unable to gain the status and notoriety of others. The following year Bacon was arrested for debt. Afterward, his standing in the Queen's eyes grew. Slowly, he managed to earn the status of one of the learned counsels. His relationship with Queen Elizabeth further improved when he severed ties with Essex—a shrewd move, as Essex would be executed for treason in 1601.

With others, Bacon was appointed to investigate the charges against Essex. Several of Essex's followers confessed that Essex had planned a rebellion against the Queen.Bacon was subsequently a part of the legal team at Essex's treason trial. Francis's secretary and chaplain, William Rawley, stated that as a judge, Bacon was always tender-hearted.

James I - reign

The succession of James I brought Bacon into even greater favor. He was knighted in 1603. In another clever move, Bacon wrote his Apologies for his actions in the case of Essex, as Essex had favored James to succeed to the throne. The following year, Bacon married Alice Barnham. In June 1607, he was finally rewarded with the office of solicitor general.Despite a generous income, he still was not able to pay old debts. Francis sought further promotion and wealth.

In 1610 the fourth session of James's first Parliament was held. Notwithstanding Bacon's advice to him, James and the Commons found themselves at odds over royal prerogatives and the King's embarrassing extravagance. The House was finally dissolved in 1611. Throughout this period, Francis managed to stay in favor of the King and retain the confidence of the Commons. In 1613 Bacon was eventually appointed attorney generalafter encouraging the King to shuffle judicial appointments. His influence over the King had inspired resentment or apprehension in many of his peers. Bacon, however, still was receiving the King's favor, which led to his appointment in March 1617 as temporary Regent of England, and in 1618 as Lord Chancellor. Bacon continued to use his reputation with the King for meditating between the throne and Parliament.

Public Disgrace

Bacon's public career ended in disgrace in 1621. After he fell into debt, a parliamentary committee on the administration of the law charged him with 23 separate counts of corruption. His lifelong enemy, Sir Edward Coke, who had supported these accusations, was one of those appointed to prepare the charges against the chancellor.As a result, Bacon was sentenced to a fine of £40,000 and committed to the Tower of London at the King's pleasure. However, the imprisonment lasted only a couple of days, and the King remitted the fine. Parliament announced Bacon incapable of holding future office or sitting in Parliament. Afterward, the disgraced viscount devoted himself to study and to write.