On this date the English statesmen, essayist and philosopher SIR FRANCIS BACON was born in London. He is best known for his philosophical works concerning the acquisition of knowledge and the general “scientific method.” Bacon’s writings are said to have had great influence on modern science, law and society. There is also a school of thought that credits him with some or all of the works of William Shakespeare, though that idea has largely been discredited.
He was also extremely fond of men. As the British scholar Rictor Norton points out that Bacon did not marry until the late age of forty-eight, and that contemporary figures, such as John Aubrey, related that Bacon was by preference homosexual. He was known for his preference for the “young Welsh serving-men” who were in his employ and who Bacon became a patron to. Rictor points out most a “young Tobie Matthew, who was left only a ring to the value of £30, but who had become Sir Tobie through Bacon’s efforts, and who was well able to care for himself. Tobie was the inspiration for one of Bacon’s most famous essays, “Of Friendship.”
Indeed evidence of Bacon’s fondness for “red-cheeked lads from Wales” survives in the form of a letter written by Bacon’s own mother, in which she complains about the long list of “servants and envoys” who find their way to his bed. She refers to a gay Spanish envoy as “that bloody Perez and bed companion of my son.”