Basil Montagu: Papers concerning Francis Bacon

Scope and Content

Papers concerning Francis Bacon, compiled for the most part by Basil Montagu in preparation for his edition of Bacon's works, with some additional material.

MS.Add.4326: Lists of works by or concerning Francis Bacon, c. 1825, 205 folios.

The works are arranged in chronological order. A general list (fos 2-39) is followed by individual lists of separate works (fos 43-96). Fos 97-205 are blank.

MS.Add.4327: Lists of works by or concerning Francis Bacon, in the hand of Basil Montagu and one other, 1825, 73 folios.

(Fo. 7) General chronological list of works by or concerning Bacon; (fo. 47) chronological list of editions of Bacon's essays; (fo. 57) chronological list of editions of the whole of Bacon's works; (fo. 60) chronological list of different miscellanies of Bacon; (fo. 73v) notes in Montagu's hand. On a flyleaf is a list of contents in Montagu's hand.

MS.Add.4328: List of works by or concerning Francis Bacon, compiled by Basil Montagu. c. 1825, 65 folios.

The list is in chronological order. It is incomplete and closes at the year 1730.

MS.Add.4329: Two works by Francis Bacon, c. 1630, 36 folios.

(Fos 1-28) 'An Advertisement touching an holy warr...The rest was not perfected'; (fos 29-36) 'To the king, of a digest to be made of the lawes of England'. Bacon first put forward these proposals for law reform in the 1590s, but this version is addressed to James I, and was first printed in 1629. On fo. 1 is 'W. Hone. XVII.30.15', possibly referring to the author and bookseller who lived 1780-1842.

MS.Add.4330: Transcripts concerning Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, made for Basil Montagu, c. 1831, 187 folios.

(Fo. 1) Earl of Essex: 'A precious Letter to the Earl of Southampton', a transcript of an edition printed in London, 1643; (fos 11, 15 and 20) Francis Bacon: speeches at the trial of the Earls of Essex and Southampton, 19 February 1601, made from British Library, Harley MSS 5202 and 6854; (fos 25, 96, 111, 114 and 124) extracts of letters from Rowland Whyte to Sir Robert Sydney, 1599-1600; (fo. 71) extract on Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex; (fo. 76) extract from William Camden's History of Elizabeth (London, 1688); (fo. 82) extracts from T. Birch, Memoirs of the reign of Queen Elizabeth (London, 1754); (fo. 118) notes by Montagu; (fo. 121) printed extracts; (fo. 183) copy of a letter from Thomas Egerton to [Essex], undated. The versos are blank.

MS.Add.4331: Collectanea regarding Francis Bacon, in English and Latin, in various hands, 19th century, 181 folios.

(Fo. i) Contents; (fo. 1) notes; (fo. 1v) copy of the conclusion of a letter from F. Wrangham to 'Mrs Montagu', 29 November [ ]; (fo. 2) original of the same; (fo. 3) note on the annihilation of matter, with extracts from Bacon's works; (fos 12 and 35) sketch of St Michael's Church, St Albans: engraving of a monument to Bacon within; (fos 39-151) letters, copy letters, extracts, notices and notes involving: James Walter, F. Wrangham, B. Montagu, A. Tozer Russell, W.J. Bryant, William Penn, a portrait of Francis Bacon, Sir Philip Francis, James Boswell, Sir Henry Wotton, E.H. Barker, Sir W. Knighton, King George IV, John Trower, Sir J. Mackintosh, Robert Gooch, Frederick Montagu, H. Lancelot, T.F. Middleton, Henry Peacham, Thomas Bushell, S.T. Coleridge, Mrs Montagu and Duggald Stewart.

MS.Add.4332: Transcripts of tracts dealing with Bacon's Novum organum, made for Basil Montagu, in English, Latin and French, c. 1827, 93 folios:

(Fo. 5) English: note of contents in Montagu's hand; (fo. 6) Latin: 'Consideratio Novi Organi Verulamiani instituta olim a Davide Mylio Philosopho Keckermaniano', from British Library, MS Sloane 432; (fo. 38) 'Consideratio Considerationis Mylianae', from the same; (fo. 53) English, B. Montagu: memoranda; (fo. 54) French: transcript of Maria Meisennes, La vente des sciences (1625), chapter 16.

MS.Add.4333: List of manuscripts regarding Francis Bacon, compiled by Basil Montagu, c. 1825, 91 folios.

A chronological list of letters and documents of or concerning Francis Bacon in the collections in the British Museum and Cambridge University Library. There is a list of contents on fo. 1.

MS.Add.4334: Francis Bacon: 'Instauratio Magna', Parts IV and V, translated by F. Wrangham, 1830, 35 folios.

(Fo. i) B. Montagu: title-page; (fo. 1) F. Wrangham: text. Attached to fo. 34 is a draft of the same, presumably in F. Wrangham's hand.

MS.Add.4335: Francis Bacon: foreign correspondence, compiled for Basil Montagu, c. 1830, 21 folios.

An index to the correspondence in foreign languages of Francis Bacon. Fos 6-16, which appear to have contained further lists, have been cut out.

MS.Add.4336: Miscellanea concerning Francis Bacon, compiled by Basil Montagu, c. 1830, 185 folios.

(Fo. 22) Copy of a letter from B. Montagu to the editor of the Gentleman's magazine, 9 July 1827; (fo. 33) copy of a letter from 'F.G.N.' to the same, 20 June 1828; (fo. 61) copy of a letter from W. Bryant to B. Montagu, 13 December 1827; (fo. 63) copy of a letter from the Bryant to Montagu, 4 January 1828; (fo. 117v) letter from Thomas Amyot to [B. Montagu], 26 February 1829; (fo. 123) letter from F. Wrangham to Montagu, 8 June 1829; (fo. 126) letter from Wrangham to Montagu, 21 February 1829; (fo. 176) letter from Wrangham to Montagu, 5 March 1829. There is a list of contents on fos i-iii.

MS.Add.4337: Miscellanea of Francis Bacon, in English and Latin, made by or for Basil Montagu, c. 1830, 434 folios.

Copies of epitaphs, notices, extracts and memoranda of Francis Bacon, dating from 1626 - c. 1700. Montagu's hand appears in various annotations throughout the book. The extracts and other notes, some of which are printed, are mostly pasted onto the recto. The verso is generally blank. An imperfect list of contents is inside the covers and on a flyleaf.

MS.Add.4338: Copies of papers regarding the trial of Francis Bacon, c. 1715, 90 folios.

Extracts from the Journal of the House of Peers, 19 March - 3 May 1621. On the binding are the royal arms of King George I, in gilt in the centre on either side. Fos 1v-4 and 74-90 are blank.

Administrative / Biographical History

Basil Montagu (1770-1851), legal and miscellaneous writer, was born on 24 April 1770. He attended Charterhouse and Christ's College, Cambridge (B.A., 1790; M.A., 1793), before becoming a barrister at Gray's Inn in 1798. He was appointed commissioner in bankruptcy in 1806, and king's counsel and accountant-general in bankruptcy in 1835. He edited the works of Francis Bacon between 1825 and 1837, and also wrote on bankruptcy. He died at Boulogne on 27 November 1851.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was born on 22 January 1561. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge, 1573-1575, before he was admitted to Gray's Inn in 1576. He served as a member of parliament, and was appointed queen's counsel in 1596. Bacon was one of those appointed to investigate the rebellion of the Earl of Essex, and helped to bring about his conviction in 1601. He was knighted by James I in 1603, and was confirmed in the office of king's learned counsel in 1604. Subsequently he was appointed attorney-general, 1613, privy councillor, 1616, lord-keeper, 1617, and lord chancellor, 1618. He was made Baron Verulam in 1618, and Viscount St Albans in 1621. He fell from power in 1621, after charges of bribery were brought against him in the House of Lords. Bacon wrote many philosophical, literary and professional works. He died on 9 April 1626.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Basil Montagu.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on Basil Montagu in Sidney Lee, ed., Dictionary of national biography, Vol. VIII (London, 1909), pp. 662-665, and the entry on Francis Bacon in Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., Dictionary of national biography, Vol. I (London, 1908), pp. 800-832.

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Catalogue.


For further information about MSS.Add.4326-4328 and 4332-4338 see the Bodleian Library record, Vol. XIV, No. 4 (1993), pp. 342-346. For further information about MS.Add.4329 see J.H. Baker, A catalogue of English legal manuscripts in Cambridge University Library (The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 1996), p. 594.