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THE AMERICAN PUBLISHERS.
The publishers of this, the first complete American edition of Lord Bacon's Works, would never have entered upon so considerable an undertaking without feeling that it was justified by the public sentiment, and, in fact, the demand of literary and scientific readers throughout the country.
This illustrious author is now distinctly pronounced by that undisputed standard of taste, the common sense of mankind, a classical writer of the first rank. In many respects Bacon resembles his immortal contemporary, Shakspeare. Like Shakspeare, he enjoyed the most splendid reputation for genius and ability, in his lifetime; like him, he was comparatively undervalued and neglected for ages after his death, and like him, in the present refined and severely scrutinizing era, he has been tried in the hottest furnaces of criticism, and has come forth pure gold, whose weight, solidity, and brilliancy can never hereafter be for a moment doubted. It is said of Shakspeare, that his fertile genius exhausted the whole world of nature. As a poet, he undoubtedly has done this; and Lord Bacon, as a philosopher, has done the same. Redeeming the human mind from the chains imposed upon it by Aristotle, and riveted by the schools, he placed in the hands of scientific inquiry that simple instrument, the inductive process of investigation, and the result is the existing system of natural science. All that this age of improvement claims as its own in astronomy, in chymistry, in mechanical philosophy, and in the improved arts of life, may be traced to the genius of Bacon, the acknowledged founder of modern philosophy.