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Francis Bacon and the Jews: Who was the Jew in the New Atlantis?

Lewis S. Feuer

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Francis Bacon and the Jews: Who was the Jew in the New Atlantisl LEWIS S. FEUER Francis Bacon's New Atlantis, first published in 1627, a year after its author's death, was the first book by an Englishman to view science as a dominant institution in the emerging world. By contrast, the Utopia of his predecessor, Thomas More (1478-1535), written more than a century earlier as a document of social protest on behalf of the displaced lower class, afforded no glimpse of the scientific civilization in the making. Bacon's New Atlantis, furthermore, stands out as an exception to the dreary anti-Jewish sentiments that pervaded the great Elizabethan writers such as Marlowe and Shakespeare. For after his first days on the Pacific island of Bensalem, the hero of the New Atlantis has the good fortune to make the acquaintance of a helpful Jew: 'By the time six or seven days were spent, I was fallen into straight acquaintance with a merchant of that city, whose name was Joabin. He was a Jew and circumcised; for they have some few stirps of Jews yet remaining among them, whom they leave to their own religion.' Unlike the Jews in other parts of the world, however, 'who hate the name of Christ, and have a secret inbred rancour against the people amongst whom they live', the Jews of Bensalem 'gave unto our Saviour many high attributes, and love the nation of Bensalem extremely'.1 It was Joabin who enabled Bacon's hero to meet with 'the father of Salomon's House', the island's scientific institute, no member of which had been seen in the town for the last twelve years. Salomon's House, 'the noblest foundation, as we think, that ever was upon the earth', was, according to the governor of the island's house of strangers, founded 'about 1900 years ago' by a great king by the name of Salomona. Since the king of Bensalem had much in common with 'the king of the Hebrews' in the ancient records, 'this order or society is sometimes called Solomon's House', leading some to think that 'it beareth the founder's name a little corrupted'. Sometimes too, it was called 'the College of Six Days' Work; whereby I am satisfied that our excellent king had learned from the Hebrews that God had created the world, and all that therein is, within six days: and therefore he instituted that house, for the finding out of the true nature of all things, whereby God might have the more glory in the workmanship of them, and men the more fruit in the use of them'.2 According to the Jew Joabin, furthermore, the inhabitants of Bensalem themselves were descended from the father of the Hebrews, Abraham, 'by another son whom they call Nachoran', while Moses himself was alleged to have 'by a secret cabala ordained the laws of Bensalem'. Bacon's protagonist, 1</page><page sequence="2">Lewis S. Feuer reluctant to accept such an extreme philo-Judaic interpretation of history, preferred the traditional account, narrated by the governor, that the island's original inhabitants consisted of 'Hebrews, Persians, and Indians, besides the natives', and that indeed, as far as three thousand years back, it had been visited by the ships of Phoenicians, Chinese, Persians, Chaldeans, Arabians, and Carthaginians. Nevertheless, wrote Bacon's hero, 'setting aside these Jewish dreams, the man [Joabin] was a wise man and learned, and of great policy.'3 Bacon's protagonist was especially taken with the Jews' praise of family life in Bensalem, and its practice of chastity: 'there is not under the heavens so chaste a nation as this of Bensalem, now so free from all pollution or foulness. It is the virgin of the world'. Unlike Europe, where the spirit of fornication, symbolized to a holy European hermit as 'a little foul ugly Ethiope', prevailed, in Bensalem 'there are no stews, no dissolute houses, no courtesans, nor anything ofthat kind'. The Europeans, according to Joabin, were attracted to libertinage rather than marriage; therefore, many never married, or they married late; and childlessness increased.4 Married men haunted dissolute places like bachelors: 'And the depraved custom of change, and the delight in meretricious embracements (where sin is turned into art), maketh marriage a dull thing, and a kind of imposition or tax.' Europeans defended their tolerance of immorality as their way of avoiding the greater evils 'as adulteries, deflowering of virgins, unnatural lust, and the like'. 'Lot's offer', they called it, after the example of Lot, in the Book of Genesis, who, in order to save his guests from a mob bent on homosexual attack, offered the latter his daughters. Such tolerance, said the Jew Joabin, encouraged 'unlawful lust'; in Bensalem, on the other hand, that vice was unknown: 'as for masculine love, they have no touch of it; and yet there are not so faithful and inviolate friendships in the world again as are there'.5 In this tribute to the morality of Bensalem, as expounded by the Jew Joabin, there is no suggestion on Bacon's part that he condoned homosexuality; it is a passage out of keeping with the descriptions of Bacon that have been made from John Aubrey to A. L. Rowse.6 Who then could have provided Francis Bacon with the prototype of the Jew Joabin of Bensalem, the intermediary to Salomon's House? The aim of that magnificent project for research in science and technology, as its Father stated in Baconian language, was that: 'The end of our foundation is the knowledge of causes, and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible.' What Jew in England whom Francis Bacon might have known, met, or heard of, shared this enthusiasm for technological and scientific revolution? Was this Judaic enthusiams on Bacon's part a fleeting one, or something already indicated in other of his writings? The only documented case of Bacon's encounter with a Jew was that which occurred in 1594 when Bacon was serving as Queen's Counsel Extraordinary.7 At that time the unfortunate Dr Roderigo Lopez, physician to Queen Elizabeth, was tried for high treason, found guilty, and executed. Of Jewish origin, Lopez 2</page><page sequence="3">Francis Bacon and the Jews was evidently a Marrano, that is, a secret, crypto-Jew. It was charged that in the secret service of the Spaniards, Dr Lopez had planned to poison the queen. The major English Jewish scholars who have studied the record of this case, have concluded that Dr Lopez was innocent of the charge. Lucien Wolf and Cecil Roth both concurred in this view, while Sir Sidney L. Lee, the editor-in-chief of the Dictionary of National Biography, declared that the evidence against Lopez 'proved little except intimacy with Spaniards and Portuguese in Spain and England, and that evidence was tainted by the torture and threats of torture by which it had been obtained.'8 (In our own time, a so-called 'Doctors' Plot' in 1953 alleged that a small group mainly composed of Jewish physicians had conspired to murder several Soviet leaders; a wave of fear, quasi-hysteria and suspicion spread among the Russian people, with dark forebodings concerning Jewish designs.9 A few weeks, however, after Stalin's death, the Soviet regime acknowledged that the case had been concocted by its secret police.) In 1594 similarly, the London populace was ignited to an anti-Jewish, fervent advocacy for the execution of the Jew Doctor Lopez. Even Christopher Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus was altered to associate its sombre physician with 'Doctor Lupus'.10 Francis Bacon indeed, as Queen's Counsel Extraordinary, attended the trial of Dr Roderigo Lopez,11 and wrote a memorandum, read probably by both Queen Elizabeth and her favourite, the Earl of Essex, entitled 'A True Report of the Detestable Treason, Intended by Dr Roderigo Lopez, A Physician attending upon the Person of the Queen's Majesty'.12 Probably it helped persuade the reluctant Elizabeth to grant her approval that the physician be executed. Bacon drew a vivid portrait of the alleged Jewish traitor, Dr Roderigo Lopez: This Lopez, of nation a Portuguese, and suspected to be in sect secretly a Jew (though here he conformed himself to the rites of Christian religion), for a long time professed physic in this land; by occasion whereof,-being withal a man very observant and officious, and of pleasing and appliable behaviour, - in that regard, rather than for any great learning in his faculty, he grew known and favoured in Court, and was some years since sworn physician of her Majesty's household; and by her Majesty's bounty, of whom he had received diverse gifts of good commodity, was grown to good estate of wealth. 'But being a person wholly of a corrupt and mercenary nature',13 Dr Lopez, in Bacon's judgment, had allowed himself to be suborned by agents of the king of Spain, Philip n, into a plot to poison the queen of England. An atmosphere of confusion and uncertainty had indeed followed during the years after the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588; Englishmen and Marranos alike hoped that Portugal, annexed by Spain in 1580, might once again become independent, and that the pretender to the Portuguese throne, Antonio, would be restored to kingship. As that hope subsided, however, an influential faction at Elizabeth's court felt that England might as well come to terms with Spain; an opposing party, on the other hand, led by the impetuous Earl of Essex, with whom Bacon 3</page><page sequence="4">lewis S. Feuer was allied, staunchly advocated war against Spain. Secret agents of the Spanish monarch, Philip II, worked to enlist support; and in due course, Dr Lopez was, according to the evidence elicited under torture, offered money to murder Queen Elizabeth. The Marrano physician, however, steadfastly maintained that his aim had been to cheat the Spanish king out of his money, and then to emigrate to Turkey where he had family and friends. As Bacon described it, 'he [Dr Lopez] thought it better to have the money in the hands of such merchants as he should name in Antwerp, than to have it brought into England; declaring his purpose to be, after the fact done, speedily to fly to Antwerp, and there to tarry some time, and so to convey himself to Constantinople; where it is affirmed, that Don Salomon, a Jew in good credit, is Lopez his near kinsman, and that he is greatly favored by the said Don Salomon'. Dr Lopez affirmed in his own defence, as Bacon tells, 'that he only meant to cozen the King of Spain of the money',14 and that when he was first questioned upon the matter, he asked Queen Elizabeth herself cryptically: 'Whether a deceiver might not be deceived?' The queen evidently had misgivings concerning the capital sentence meted out to her physician; for nearly five months after his conviction, she avoided signing the warrant for execution. Afterward, on 7 June, 1594, Elizabeth, invoking her prerogative, allowed Dr Lopez's widow, Sarah, to keep almost all his property, a curious benevolence toward the widow of a man who putatively aimed to assassinate her.15 There was nothing improbable in the notion that Dr Roderigo Lopez would have wanted to extract money from the Spanish king; his family had suffered much at Spanish hands. Lopez himself had been part of the intelligence network that kept the English government informed as to what was going on in Spain. In the struggle with Spain, England had relied much on the Marranos to provide intelligence concerning the Spanish naval preparations and intentions. This 'espionage system', established by Hector Nunez , a Marrano physician and merchant, 'proved extremely invaluable in 1587 and 1588 when Philip was preparing the Invincible Armada for the invasion of England'.16 The powerful first minister of Elizabeth, Lord Burghley her Lord Treasurer, and Sir Francis Walsingham her secretary of state, reposed complete confidence in Dr Nunez, who was later the first to bring word that the great Armada was preparing at Lisbon.17 Dr Lopez's family, furthermore, was active in the contest with the Spanish oppressor; his father-in-law was the financial agent in London of the Portuguese pretender, Dom Antonio; while another relative with whom Dr Lopez was in close touch was Alvaro Mendes, Duke of Mitylene (the ancient Lesbos), famed as the organizer of diamond mines in India, who exerted himself mightily at the Turkish court in Constantinople to fashion a grand entente between England and Turkey against Spain. By so doing he forced Spain to maintain large forces in the Mediterranean that otherwise would have been available for the invasion of England. Queen Elizabeth especially appreciated his service. It was through Dr Lopez and Nunez that Alvaro Mendes (later known by his Jewish name as Solomon Abenaes) was able to convey to the Turkish 4</page><page sequence="5">Francis Bacon and the Jews Government the first news that the Spanish Armada had been routed.18 Roderigo Lopez had been living in England for thirty-five years since his arrival in 1559; he had served his profession well. THe first to hold the office of house-physician at St Bartholomew's Hospital, he was known especially for his skill with gunshot wounds. In 1569 he was selected to read the anatomy lecture for that year before the College of Physicians, but annoyed his colleagues by declining to do so. Physician to the queen's secretary of state, Walsingham, as well as to her first favourite, the Earl of Leicester, Lopez fell foul of the leader of the war party, the Earl of Essex, whom he had previously served; Essex brought the charges, and pushed the investigation.19 Francis Bacon echoed the views of his patron when he wrote that Dr Lopez was 'a man... subtle of himself, as one trained in practice, and besides as wily as fear and covetousness could make him.'20 Was there ground for this judgment in Lopez's thirty-five years' work in England? As a patriotic Englishman, Bacon in his 'True Report' on the case of Dr Lopez hailed 'how God hath ordained her [Elizabeth's] government to break and cross the unjust ambition of the two mighty potentates, the King of Spain and the Bishop of Rome; and... how mightily God had protected her birth against foreign invasion..., and singularly against the many secret conspiracies that have been made against her life...'.21 Nevertheless the case against Dr Lopez was inherently implaus? ible; how could he have been expected to poison the queen, and then make a quick escape to Antwerp and Turkey? How could he have expected to avoid punishment at the hands of England's Turkish ally as well as condemnation by his own high relatives and fellow-Jews? Meanwhile, however, the lives of the Marrano Jews in England were imperilled; in 1609, all Portuguese merchants suspected of 'Judaizing' were expelled from the land.22 In later years, disgraced, and re-thinking'his life's deeds, Bacon might well have found wanting his own behaviour in the case of Dr Roderigo Lopez. When in the New Atlantis he made Spanish the language that the men of Bensalem used with foreigners,23 and assigned to its Jews a central role in its cultural and scientific life, he may have been making partial amends for his previous denigration. On the other hand, Dr Lopez had no special involvement in the scientific movement beginning in his time, or in the birth of experimental investigations. To find the exemplar for Joabin, we must look still further among the Jews of England. Meanwhile, during the years that intervened between the Lopez case and Bacon's writing of the New Atlantis, Bacon's works showed a growing philo-Semitic strain. In both his Advancement of Learning and his Essays, he cited the 'Hebrew Rabbins' and 'a certain Rabbin' for his favourite biblical verse: 'Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams'.24 The verse came from the prophet Joel; Bacon shifted its intent from the reconstruction of society to the revolution of scientific research. He looked to the youth of England to become its bearers: 'And will you hearken the Hebrew 5</page><page sequence="6">Lewis S. Feuer Rabbins?', he writes; 'say they youth is the worthier age, for that visions are nearer apparitions of God than dreams'. The 'certain Rabbin' to whom Bacon referred has been identified with the famed philosopher-statesman Isaac Abravanel (1437-1508),25 much cited and translated by Christian scholars between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries.26 Abravanel, like Francis Bacon, after serving a king and queen had seen his career shattered. Treasurer to the king of Portugal, Abravanel had been obliged by political intrigue to remove himself to Castile, and its court of Ferdinand and Isabella. There he became chief treasurer and provisioner of the royal army. Neither his services to the government nor his wealth availed him, however, when the Jews were banished from Spain. Wandering from Naples to Corfu, and then to Venice, he assisted the Republic in its negotiating of a commercial treaty with Spain. His fortitude despite calamities, successive confiscations of his fortune, falls from high office and expulsions from domains doubtless impressed Bacon. As H. Loewe has written: 'The great things about Abravanel were his sanity and dignity... He never lost his head... he never exaggerated; he took long views; he had a calm and judicial outlook'.27 He had put the finances of three kingdoms into order, and had been evicted from all. Disillusioned with kings, Abravanel tended towards a more drastic criticism of monarchy as a political institution than Bacon would have accepted. Though Jewish tradition was monarchist, Abravanel, breaking with it, praised the Italian republics-Venice, Genoa, Florence. Though he has been described as 'the last Jewish Aristotelian', it is also true that he wrote: 'We have already learned from the philosopher that "experience is more authoritative than logic"'; experience taught him that the Venetian republican constitution provided a better model for 'human government';28 and showed that a king was not essential. To restrain monarchy Abravanel was prepared to recognize a right to rebellion. Bacon, on the contrary, had experienced the intolerance of the Puritan parliamentary party, and knew something as well of the Puritan hostility to science. As the years went by he evidently came to feel a greater kinship with all those who were arbitrarily persecuted. Bacon probably began to realize that the more popular, democratic Puritan party was not necessarily endowed with an attachment to the cause of scientific revolution, the 'great instauration' that was his own highest hope. It was in his Apothegms, especially those published posthumously, that Bacon derided the Spanish persecution of the Jews. One of these mocked the Spanish Ambassador: 'Count Godomar sent a compliment to my lord St Alban, wishing him a good Easter. My lord thanked the messenger, and said, "He could not at present requite the count better than in returning him the like; that he wished his lordship a good Passover."'29 He joked about the Spaniard who rebuked a Frenchman for the fact that Frenchmen didn't bother to stop when they passed a house where a priest was administering a sacrament; the Frenchman answered: 'There is a reason for it; for here with us Christ is secure among his friends; but in Spain there be so 6</page><page sequence="7">Francis Bacon and the Jews many Jews and Marranos, that it is not amiss for him to have a convoy.30 The Spanish Inquisition had evidently in his view not enhanced the religious spirit. Lastly, Bacon affiliated his advocacy of science to the tradition of 'the wisest of men, King Solomon'. By and large, he found little of interest in Hebrew prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah; they might be cited by the Anabaptist revolutionaries, whom Bacon found repellent, but they lacked that curiosity in the nature of things that was part of wisdom; for 'wonder', Bacon wrote, '(which is the seed of knowledge) is an impression of pleasure in itself.31 The largest consecutive discussion of any single author in the Advancement of Learning is that of the aphorisms 'composed by Solomon the king'; it lasts for several pages, and only Machiavelli is cited in Bacon's works as often by name.32 If the prophets of social denunciation were dear to the Puritans, it was Ecclesiastes and Proverbs, the books of wisdom, devoted to the felicity of men in a workaday world, that were closer in Bacon's view to the scientific spirit and method he sought. When Bacon, his spirit broken, sent in 1621 a copy of his Novum Organum to his life-long, implacable Puritan adversary, Sir Edward Coke, the latter, evidently relishing the downfall he had finally manoeuvred of the hated Bacon, wrote on the title-page: It deserveth not to be read in Schooles, But to be freighted in the ships of Fooles.33 Who then among the Jews in that early ship of scientific fools might have served as Bacon's model for Joabin, the wise spokesman for Solomon's House in the New Atlantis! A clue to the probably identity of the exemplar for the Jew Joabin is provided by the fact that the one industry in which Bacon took a personal interest was mining, in particular the mining of copper. My candidate as the prototype for Joabin will therefore be the unusual Jewish mining engineer, Joachim Gaunse, who found his way to England in 1581 and made some notable contributions to its mining technology and to Virginian exploration. Bacon had kept abreast of mining techniques; in the Third Book of the Advancement of Learning, he cited the classic of mining published in 1556 in Basel, the De Re Metallica by 'that very diligent writer in metallics, George Agricola'.34 He spoke of 'copper the chief of minerals' in his speech of 1617 in 'the famous case of the Copper Mines'.35 The Works of Francis Bacon include as well 'A Speech Touching the Recovering of Drowned Mineral Works' that, according to Thomas Bushell, one of Bacon's famous secretaries, was prepared by Bacon for delivery in Parliament. It was indeed remarkable for its reference to Solomon's House: 'I proposed to erect the academical fabric of this island's Solomon's House modelled in my New Atlantis.' Bacon's purported design was to recover by means of the new technology 'all such drowned mineral works' and to alleviate thus the unemployment in England; he proposed to use as 7</page><page sequence="8">Lewis S. Feuer mining labourers not only such convicted felons as were 'converted penitents', but also the unemployed; such was 'the most probable means to relieve all the poor' of the king's dominions, 'without any other stock or benevolence'. 'Our Christian Solomon', it said, had found Bacon's proposals so 'rational' that he called upon 'this honorable parliament to confirm and impower me in my own way of mining'.36 The purported address, however, was never given to the House of Lords, and was possibly indeed the work of Thomas Bushell, Bacon's secretary, who many years later earned a reputation as England's foremost mining engineer. Bushell was given increasingly to exaggerating his role as Bacon's scientific heir because he found that Bacon's name added much allure to the advertisements he published for his mining projects.37 Writing forty years afterwards, Bushell claimed (in his words) that Bacon had 'discovered to me the dearest secrets of this his design', saying: 'Now Bushell...I have made thee Secretary of all my Mineral Studies, no ways restraining thee in the practice; only I prohibit thy arrogating to thyself the honour thereof, if it shall prove fortunate; and the imploying such Treasures as shall be gained thereby any way which shall not conduce to the raising, qualifying and endowing of my Solomon's House, modell'd in my New Atlantis'.38 In a series of publications, typical of which was An extract by Mr Bushell of his Late Abridgement of the Lord Chancellor Bacons Philosophical Theory in Mineral Prosecutions (London 1660), Bushell attributed to Bacon some major innovations in mining technology, in particular the construction of horizontal tunnels (adits) into the lowest level of the ore-mountain that would serve to drain the mines, rather than working downwards from the mountain-top, and also the use of bellows to ventilate the 'damp' air: 'his Lordship advised me, not to follow the practice of our Predecessors in their tedious and expensive ways of sinking Airy shafts at every forty fathoms... but by cutting Addits into the Mountains at their lowest Level, and by supplying their defect of Air with Pipe and Bellowes being an invention unknown to former Ages'.39 From the profits of his enterprises Bushell proposed to endow a College on the model of Bacon's Solomon's House: 'I intend to begin the foundation of that Philosophical fabrick (modell'd out in my Lord's Atlantis)'.40 Consequently he reprinted Bacon's New Atlantis in his brochures.41 Thomas Bushell was probably the first industrialist in modern times to conceive the idea of endowing from his capitalist profits a great research college on Francis Bacon's pattern, a 'Solomon's House described in his new Atlantis, according to that Lords Cabalistick directions'. This curious usage of the Hebraic word, with its linkage of Bacon's method as the way to unravel arcane truths, appeared at the outset in the preface addressed to the 'Dread Soverayn'. It went on to characterize 'Lord Chancellor Bacons Philosophical Theory' as 'this providential work of Mineral discoveries', and to ask His Majesty 'to cast your favourable eye upon a small part of the Cabalistick way of that intended practice... propounded by one of the fathers of the Solomons House'.42 Thomas Bushell was a mixture of the prophet and rogue, the entrepreneur 8</page><page sequence="9">Francis Bacon and the Jews and the confidence man, the inventor and the crackpot. As an adolescent of fifteen years he had entered Bacon's service; Bacon befriended him singularly, for as Bushell narrated, he 'cleared all my debts three several times', and 'promised upon his honour to make me the Heir of his knowledge in Mineral philosophy'. Fearful that the evidence made public during Bacon's trial might incriminate him, Bushell fled, and 'lived three years as a Recluse in a desolate Island in the Irish Seas'.43 Pursuing on the Isle of Wight a fisherman's existence, and intrigued by a neighbouring old beggar who lived without envy or malice, Bushell then returned to his disgraced master, Lord Bacon, who 'much repented he had not made Mineral Philosophy the darling study of his youth'.44 Whether Francis Bacon really wished he had been a mining engineer rather than a statesman, philosopher, or even lawyer is an open question. Probably Bushell, a pioneer in the arts of advertising, was again exaggerating, as well as projecting his own traits of character on that of his great master in downfall. At the minimum however, we can infer that Bacon's interests in mining technology were strong,45 and were linked with the wellbeing of his family, his country's security and welfare, and the project for the 'great instauration'. The inauguration of copper mining heralded the era of capitalist development in England. When in 1568 the Company of the Mines Royal was incorporated, it was 'the first company to be formed in England for the manufacture of an article (copper) as distinct from companies formed for trading purposes only'.46 The governing elite of England mainly owned and controlled the enterprise; of its twenty-four shares, the queen herself was allotted two; the Earl of Leicester, the queen's favourite, had an equal number, as did Bacon's uncle, Elizabeth's prime minister, Lord Burghley; all the members of the Privy Council were similarly shareholders.47 Bacon's uncle was the resolute statesman who through a great debate established this Elizabethan monopoly as the appropri? ate economic form for a 'totally new industry'.48 Copper mining was clearly important both for the national defence and the English woollen industries, since copper was needed for the making of English cannon, and, more peacefully, for the wiring in wool cards.49 Elizabethan statesmen, worried that the price of copper had risen so high in Henry VIII's time, looked for means to safeguard England's mineral independence. Thus, between 1566 and 1588 a large number of 'German' miners, several hundred according to one account, are said to have been brought to England by the Society of Mines Royal, to impart their methods and experience to English workingmen.50 Among them was the unusual figure of a Jew, Joachim Gaunse, brilliant, imaginative, daring, outspoken, and with a creative chemist's intuition. Gaunse had come from Prague in Bohemia to advise on the smelting of copper. Possibly he was related to the astronomer David Gans (1541-1613) who had worked for a time with the great Kepler.51 He was well known to the senior statesmen of England, to Lord Burghley, Bacon's uncle, and to Sir Francis Walsingham, 9</page><page sequence="10">Lewis S. Feuer Elizabeth's Secretary of State.52 Gaunse (also called 'Gans') arrived in Keswick in 1581 in the company of a German-speaking shareholder, George Nedham. Gaunse first studied the processes that were being used by the English metallurgists; he found that the ores 'took sixteen to eighteen fires and sixteen to eighteen weeks to be worked up into copper';53 obviously a more efficient and less time-consuming technology was desirable. What precisely was the problem? To smelt copper it was necessary to separate out the sulphur from the ore-chalcopyrite-which was a combination of iron and copper sulphides (CuS.FeS). Since these sulphides have a lower melting point than the metal copper itself, a series of 'roastings' was used that resulted in successively more pure metal. Joachim Gaunse got to work; in Baconian fashion he classified the various 'hurtful humours' in the ore, that is, the undesirable impurities. He noted nine of them: '9 infections and evil humours'-sulphur, arsenic, antimony, vitriol, calcator, alum, iron, black stone and spar. He proposed to wash the ores after one roasting to draw not only 'the vitriol and copperas [copper sulphate] from the ore, but also divers other hurtful humours...as arsenic, antimony, alum and iron'. Thereby Gaunse could do in four days what had previously required at least sixteen weeks. Gaunse's proposal was an adaptation of the method of roasting ores already set forth twenty-five years earlier by Agricola in De Re Metallica, though Gaunse added a scheme of his own to use the waste and by-product for commercial purposes in the dyeing of textiles. Gleefully the shareholder Nedham reported to the Secretary of State, Sir Francis Walsingham: 'But now (the nature of these nine hurtful humours being discovered and opened by Mr Joachim's doings) we can, by his order of working, so correct them that part of them, being by nature hurtful to the copper in wasting of it, he by art made friends.'54 Gaunse's 'washings' thus introduced a flotational technique to get rid of gangue, that is, the extraneous particles. Gaunse's innovations enabled the Keswick mines to satisfy the entire demand of the northern counties for the copperas that they needed for the dyeing of textiles. As Dr Abrahams noted, there was in Gaunse's memorandum 'a clearness and scientific tone about his proposals which favourably distin? guishes them from the plans of some charlatans of the day'.55 'Thus at a critical moment in the history of English mining this Jewish alien immigrant came to the rescue of a great industry'.56 When the English gunners sailed in their galleons and improvised warships in 1588, their freshly cast cannon were of brass, not of iron; one ventures to think that as they embattled to disperse that sinister line of canvas-Spain's Armada-their aim was all the truer for the metallurgical processes proposed by the Bohemian Jew, Joachim Gaunse.57 To Bacon it seemed that the advancement of sciences as a whole partook of the character of mining. 'Arts and sciences should be like mines', he wrote in the Novum Organum, 'where the noise of new works and further advances is heard on every side'.58 And in his De Augmentis he boldly compared natural philosophy to mining operations: 'It was well said by Democritus 'That the truth of nature lies hid in certain deep mines and caves...Why therefore 10</page><page sequence="11">Francis Bacon and the Jews should we not divide Natural Philosophy into two parts, the mine and the furnace; and make two professions or occupations of natural philosophers, some to be miners and some to be smiths?' Towards the close of the New Atlantis, Bacon characterized those fellows of Salomon's House that 'try new experiments' as 'pioneers or miners'. If ever a branch of science was at a stage suitable for the Baconian empirical method, it was the metallurgy of copper at the end of the sixteenth century. As an older well-known textbook on the subject still wrote in 1912 several centuries later: 'The best way to determine the best conditions of roasting, principally as to the temperature, is by direct experimenting'.59 What Bacon called his 'Tables of Absences and Presences' corresponded exactly to the alterations in the temperature, duration, and repetition of 'roastings' and flotations likewise, to ascertain what 'humours' might be expelled under the varied conditions. How most effectively thus to 'roast' away such volatile matter as the arsenic and antimony, how to oxidize quickly and thoroughly the iron and sulphur, how to concentrate the ores through selective flotation, all was learned at first simply by empirical trial and error, by Absences and Presences. The reputation of Joachim Gaunse as a mining expert must have spread widely, for it reached the ear of Sir Walter Raleigh, the most romantic, enterprising and wide-ranging personality at Elizabeth's court, then engaged in recruiting the first advance company of English colonists to settle for a while in North America. Under a patent granted him in 1584, Raleigh aimed to include a group of competent scientists in his expedition to make an inventory of the raw materials and minerals that might be available in the new lands. To this end he enlisted the services of England's foremost mathematical scientist, his friend Thomas Harriot, and also the Jewish metallurgist Joachim Gaunse. The Roanoke colony in what was then named Virginia is part of the legend and history of America. Among its Gentlemen was one inscribed as 'Douglas Gannes', whom Harriot called their 'Minerall man'; he has been identified as Joachim Gaunse.60 Two others, possibly miners, were among the colonists, and there was also a John Feuer, whose name suggests that still another Jew from Central Europe was a member of the expedition. For a while it looked as if Joachim Gaunse might open up a new mining industry in Virginia, of iron and copper. Thomas Harriot, in his report on his and Gaunse's surveys, mentioned the mineral deposits that his 'Minerall man' had discovered: 'In two places of the countrey specially, one about fourescore, and the other sixe score miles from the Forte or place where wee dwelt, we found neere the water side the ground to bee rockie, which by the trial of a Minerall man, was found to holde iron richly'.61 The prospect cheered Harriot because, in view of England's diminishing wood resources, Virginia's mineral and timber wealth were a welcome reinforcement: 'It [even] is found in many places of the countrey else, I know nothing to the contrarie, but that it may bee 11</page><page sequence="12">Lewis S. Feuer allowed for a good merchauntable commoditie, considering there the small charge for the labour and feeding of men: the infinite store of wood, the want of wood and deerenesse thereof in England, and the necessitie of ballasting of ships'.62 Meanwhile, Gaunse found that the Indians were smelting copper; Ralph Lane, the commander of the colonial expedition, told in his 'Narrative of the Settlement of Roanoke Island 1585-1586': 'And touching the Minerall, thus doth Master Yougham affirme, that though it be but copper, seeing the Savages are able to melt it, it is but one of the richest minerals in the worlde.'63 Yougham, a reasonable rendition of Joachim, now was referred to by his first name, and not merely as 'a Minerall man'. Rumours, furthermore, reached the expedition that the Mangoak (Tuscarora) tribe of Indians had much copper or gold. But the mining prospectors were obliged to turn back before they could reach them.64 'An hundred and fifty miles into the main, in two townes', wrote Harriot, 'the inhabitants' had 'divers small plates of Copper'; they assured the Englishmen that there were 'mountaynes and rivers that yield also white grains of metal, which is to be deemed silver65 With enthusiasm the colonial expedition searched for minerals. Their leader, Ralph Lane, wrote that every man, 'from the most to the least among us', wanted to discover a workable mine. 'For that the discovery of a good mine, by the goodness of God, or of a passage to the South-sea, will make our nation settle in Virginia.... And with the discovery of either of the two, it will be the most sweete and healthfullest climate'.66 At the site of the fort which the colonists built, lumps of smelted copper have been found, and also a goldsmith's crucible; according to the editors of the Virginia Voyages from Hakluyt, the archaeological crucible 'may link up with Joachim Gaunze's experiments'.67 Worn out by their year-long privations, with no companionship of women, with conflicts always threatening with the Indians, the colonists were depressed when fresh recruits and supplies failed to arrive. When Francis Drake's fleet landed nearby, homeward bound, the expedition's governor, Ralph Lane, decided to accept an invitation that the colonists return home to England aboard one of Drake's ships. On 18 or 19 June 1586 Joachim Gaunse, together with all the surviving colonists, sailed home to England.68 We lose sight of Joachim Gaunse after June 1586 until the last tragic episode of his career, more than three years later in September 1589, when he spoke out with bold frankness as a rationalistic Jewish monotheist. Elizabethan England had never before had such a case. Only the year before, the Spanish Armada had been vanquished by the weather, the courage of English seamen, the seaworthiness of their ships, and presumably the higher truth of the English churches. A wave of heightened Puritan religiosity spread through England; it came near overwhelming the Jewish mining engineer Joachim Gaunse. It chanced that in 1589 Gaunse found himself in the city of Bristol. He was living in the Blackfriars section of London, where both nobles and play-actors congregated, but for some unknown reason Gaunse had gone to Bristol, 12</page><page sequence="13">Francis Bacon and the Jews possibly hoping to find employment at Bristol Castle where there was still some metal-working.69 This small town of 12,000 also had an active merchants' community and, until the Armada, a brisk overseas trade.70 Seventy-six Bristolians in 1577 were members of the Spanish Company that had the sole right of trading with Spain and Portugal.71 Its harbour, they could boast in 1584, was large enough for ships of all burdens.72 But the Bristolians had a curious reputation as people 'remarkable for early enquiries into the character of all strangers... and for sharp dealings': the proverb became current in the next century, 'one Jew is equal to two Genoese; one Bristolian equal to two Jews'.73 Though the city had mustered only three ships and a pinnace against the Armada, its citizens were filled with zeal in the era of post-Armada exhilaration but depressed trade.74 Gaunse may have been Staying at the house of Mr Richard Meyes, an 'Inholder', that is, the private owner of a portion of land located within the boundary of a national park. On Friday 12 September 1589 Gaunse had a visitor, the Reverend Richard Curteys, a minister who had come to have a 'conference in the Hebrew tongue' with Gaunse. Someone from among the company present told the Reverend Mr Curteys that Joachim Gaunse was an infidel who held that Jesus Christ was not the son of God. When Joachim joined the gathering, the Reverend Mr Curteys, speaking in Hebrew, told Gaunse that Jesus, whom the Jews crucified, was and is the son of God. To which Gaunse, replying in Hebrew, said that Jesus was not the son of God. The Reverend Mr Curteys found Gaunse's answer 'so odious' that he let the others present know: 'I spake in the englishe tonge to the ende that others present might heare it and witness his speeche'. '[W]hat do you denie Jesus Christ to be the sonne of God, at which tyme he awnswered what needeth the almightie God to have a sonne, is he not almyghtie.'75 Such were the facts and accusation that Richard Curteys, Minister, brought before the Mayor and the Justices of the City of Bristol on 15 September 1589 against Joachim Gaunse. Another informant, Jeremy Pierce, appeared before the mayor and aldermen to confirm the blasphemous character of the Jew's theological opinions. On 16 September 1589, he certified to them (I have here translated the text into modern English spelling): 'Jeremy Pierce of the City of London, Joiner... informeth the said mayor and Aldermen... that he being in company with Joachim Gaunz at the City of Bristol on Friday last being the Xllth of this instant month, falling into communication of the Old Testament and the New. This examination demanded of the said Jeochim whether he did not believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God. Whereunto the said Jeochim answered there was no such name, and that there was but one God, who had no wife nor child.'76 The mayor and aldermen of Bristol were in a quandary. They were honestly shocked by the opinions of Joachim Gaunse. But Gaunse was not exactly a heretic since he had never been a Christian in the first place; he stated plainly and unequivocally that he was a Bohemian, born in Prague and educated in 13</page><page sequence="14">Lewis S. Feuer the Talmud, and that he had never subscribed to any article of Christian faith. Moreover, they were probably aware that he was one of the foreign miners that the Company of the Mines Royal had brought to England, and that as such he had enjoyed the protection of the Privy Council, especially the Queen's minister, Lord Burghley.77 They declared in their own affidavit of evidence on 15 September 1589: 'Jeochim Gaunz, of the City of London, being apprehended within the City of Bristol and brought before the said Mayor and Aldermen for that he hath denied that our Saviour Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and being thereupon examined affirmeth and sayeth that he the said Jeochim is and hath been always instructed and brought up in the Talmud of the Jews and was never baptized, neither doth he believe any Article of our Christian faith, for that he was not brought up therein.' The mayor and aldermen deliberated upon this strange case, and decided two days later to refer it for decision to 'the Lords of her majesty's most honourable Privy Council'. They affirmed in their endorsement: Right honorable, our most humble duties promised, Wherease one Jeochim Gaunz being (as he saith) a Jew born in the city of Prage in Bohoemia, and now Inhabiting in the black Fryers in London was lately apprehended and brought before us, for that being in this City he used very blasphemous Speeches against our Saviour Jesus Christ, denying him to be the Sonne of God, a matter ministring no small offense to her Majesty's people here, and being thereupon examined before us declareth him self to be a most wicked Infidell, as by his examination may appear, we have therefore thought it our duties to send him unto your honors, as also to signify unto you his ungodly and most heathenish opinions and demeanor not meet to be suffered among Christians, as may appear unto you by the particular Informations with his own examination herein enclosed, All which we leave to your honors further Consideration.78 At this juncture, with Joachim Gaunse being transported from Bristol to London, we lose sight of our Jewish metallurgist. Some believe the Privy Council probably evaded the difficult legal issues and banished him, and that Gaunse may have returned to Prague;79 others hope that he was protected by his previous employers whose revenues his researches had enhanced-the shareholders of the Mines Royal Company, especially the two Privy Councillors who knew of him personally, Lord Burghley and Sir Francis Walsingham-and that they 'connived at his quietly remaining in England'.80 The tired monotheistic mineral man may have spent his remaining years quietly in Blackfriars, conducting experiments in metallurgy and avoiding all manner of theological controversy. We do not know. With Spain's defeat, the need for copper and iron had subsided, and correspondingly the demand for mining technicians. Also the Mines Royal Company began to acquire an onerous reputation. Robert Cecil, Bacon's deformed, ambitious and vindictive first cousin, charged in 1589 that the copper works of the Mines Royal Company had incurred 'great charges and 14</page><page sequence="15">Francis Bacon and the Jews costs', that 'certain strangers'-the 'Almains' (Germans)-were more concerned with 'their own private lucre' than 'the common benefit of the company'; and that workmen felt too that 'the Dutchmen' were pursuing their own gain. An official investigation ended tragically with the death of the principal com? missioners when the ladder into the 'great copper mine' (called 'God's Gift') slipped.81 In any case, the crisis, in Robert Cecil's words, in the making of 'ordnance and necessaries' was over, and mining entrepreneurs refused 'any further contribution or to adventure any money'. As M. B. Donald, Professor of Chemical Engineering in the University of London, wrote: 'It was beyond the capacity of Elizabethan England to appreciate the degree of skill and knowledge attained by these German craftsmen',82 of whom Joachim Gaunse was the most outstanding. Bacon, like his cousin Robert Cecil whom he blamed in part for his own failure in political advancement, did not regard the war crisis as over; moreover, Bacon held that England's and mankind's greatness depended on the continuous encouragement of industrial advancement. A wise king, guided by wise ministers, would have secured England's industrial, military and naval supremacy by founding a 'Salomon's House'. During the next shadowy, unreported years Joachim Gaunse must have been a most lonely man. Not even the company of the small number of Marrano Jews would have been available to him, for the Marrano Jews professed to be New Christians, and as such, were extremely cautious about meeting anyone who was known to be a Jew without qualification; a cultural and social gulf moreover separated the Sephardic Spanish and Portuguese Jews from the Ashkenazic Central and East European variety. Would Francis Bacon have known, met or heard of Joachim Gaunse during those years? On 29 October 1589, at about the time-given the slowness of judicial procedure-that Joachim Gaunse's case might have been under consideration, Francis Bacon was granted the succession to office of the Clerk of the Counsel in the Star Chamber. Had the appointment then taken effect, Bacon would have handled all the details for the Privy Council's deliberations on the case. The appointment, however, was a reversionary one, that is, it would become effective only when the existing incumbent vacated the post. Nevertheless, firstly as a Reader (Lecturer) in Law at Gray's Inn, secondly as the nephew of Lord Burghley, and thirdly as the friend of Sir Francis Walsingham, Secretary of State-the last two both patrons of Joachim Gaunse in his labour for technological advancement-Bacon would probably have heard of this Jewish engineering genius whose accomplishments doubtless elicited something of the awe that the electro-technological community in Schenectady felt more than three centuries later for the gifted Charles P. Steinmetz. It is not unlikely that Bacon met and talked with him. A later Baconian scientist, our cited professor of chemical engineering, M. B. Donald, wrote: 'Having been brought up on the tradition that Sir Francis Bacon was the originator of the modern scientific 15</page><page sequence="16">Lewis S. Feuer method, I began to realize the debt that he owed, and did not apparently perceive, to those early Germans'.83 But Bacon, a young member, family relative and friend of the London governing elite, might well have heard, encountered and been consulted concerning the Jew Gaunse. Nevertheless, in that period of rising Puritan fanaticism and suspicion of any religious heterodoxy, a too close friendliness or association with the Unitarian Jew Gaunse would have been most imprudent and impolitic. Bacon had probably likewise avoided any association with either the outstanding mathematical scientist Thomas Harriot, or even the many-sided Sir Walter Raleigh, with both of whom Joachim Gaunse was associated. In his private jottings, the Commentarius Solutus (Casual Commentary), Bacon in 1608 indeed wrote of Harriot and Raleigh as fellow-experimenters. The Commentarius Solutus ranged spontaneously in its meditations from Bacon's experiments with physiological processes to his ideas for promoting the instauration of the sciences. Bacon, for instance, had conceived of the idea that possibly the chancellor of one of the universities-at Oxford or Cambridge might be persuaded to provide a college for promoting the new knowledge. He aimed to provide liberal grants ('pensions') and 'travail' allowances for his scholars and his 'college for Inventors': 'Allowance for travailing: allowance for experiments', very much as in the contemporary mode. Although he looked chiefly to young scholars for supporters ('It must be the postnati'), Bacon jotted significantly in his Commentarius Solutus: 'The setting on my L or North and Ralegh, and therefore Haryott, themselves being already inclined to experi? ment'. More fully expressed: 'the setting on work my Lord of Northumberland and Ralegh, and therefore Hariot, themselves being already inclined to experiment'.84 But Bacon had to walk softly in mentioning the names of such fellow experimentalists. For the latter were suspected, apart from involvements in high treason, of constituting the most atheist circle in England. Meanwhile, too, Raleigh was incarcerated in the Tower, while Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland and Harriot's patron, was likewise imprisoned for a possible role in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.85 Thomas Harriot, Walter Raleigh and the playwright Christopher Marlowe were long described, perhaps apocryphally, as joined in an enclave of an informal kind that was reputed to be outrightly atheist.86 The charge of Atheism was a dire one; it might have such consequences as death and torture, or such mutilation as the cutting off of ears, or milder punishments such as whipping. Marlowe's own tutor, Francis Ket, had been burned at the stake in 1589, having been found guilty of atheism.87 Marlowe himself in 1593 was arrested after two informers gave evidence against him; Richard Baines, after being tortured, testified that Marlowe had said 'Christ was a bastard and his mother dishonest'; that if the Jews did Crucify him, 'these best knew him', 'that the woman of Samaria and her sister were whores and that Christ knew them dishonestly'; that Moses was 'but a Jugler'; that 'one Heriots being Sir Walter Raleigh's man, can do more than he', and 'That St John the Evangelist was 16</page><page sequence="17">Francis Bacon and the Jews bedfellow to Christ and leaned alwaies in his bosome, that he used him as the sinners of Sodoma'.88 The mathematician Harriot, with whom Joachim Gaunse had worked in their mineral prospecting and explorations in Virginia, was in grave danger when Baines' testimony depicted him as scoffing at Moses. His intimate association with Raleigh had begun as early as 1580 when Raleigh took him into his house as his mathematical tutor.89 Harriot was considered 'the most diabolical of the three', though evidently he was 'too much of a recluse' to arouse public resentment.90 A Jesuit pamphleteer in 1592, Robert Parsons, however, referred to Harriot as 'the Conjurer that is Master' of 'Sir Walter Rawley's school of Atheism'.91 And the more sympathetic chronicler, John Aubrey, told that Harriot 'did not like (or valued not) the old story of the Creation of the World. He could not believe the old position; he would say ex nihilo nihil fit_he cast-off the Old Testament, and then the New-one would consequently have no Foundation. He was a Deist'.92 Harriot himself wrote to Kepler in 1608 that he could not philosophize freely.93 Thomas Harriot, well called 'the scientific expert of the expedition' that Raleigh sent to the New World,94 therefore did wisely when he tried to remain as inconspicuous and unobtrusive as he could. Reticence became so much part of him that it may explain in part the fact that more than 5000 pages of his scientific manuscripts remain unpublished. Did he ever again see Gaunse, his bold-speaking Jewish 'Minerall man' of his Roanoke year? It is highly unlikely, though perhaps Joachim Gaunse's name may yet be found among some unread pages in Harriot's manuscripts. After 1589 especially, Harriot would have done well to keep his distance from the Jewish blasphemer. Especially so because Harriot had been what today would have been called the 'social anthropologist' of the Roanoke expedition; it was his responsibility to collect information on the customs, beliefs and workings of the native Indian tribes. It was a 'common accusation' at that time that atheists availed themselves of reports 'that the late discovered Indians are able to show antiquities thousands of years before Adam';95 savage Indians were thus invoked as witnesses against the truth of Scripture. Harriot, thus invested as a precursor of higher criticism, would have had all the more prudential reasons for discontinuing any association with his fellow-explorer, the Jew Gaunse. What was Francis Bacon himself doing in the autumn of 1589, when Joachim Gaunse was being accused of blasphemous aspersions on Jesus? He was involved in the 'Marprelate' controversy that began when a spokesman for the Puritans, writing under the pen-name of Martin Marprelate, assailed the bishops as persecutors of the Puritans; a reply by the Bishop of Winchester elicited 'fresh volumes of scurrility and abuse'; that were followed in turn by 'a new kind of allies' for the bishops, 'the vilest slang and ribaldry of the stage'. When this contest was at its height in the summer of 1589, Bacon composed a manuscript for circulation: 'Advertisment touching the Controversies in the Church of England'. He sought to inculcate a spirit of tolerance; he would not 17</page><page sequence="18">Lewis S. Feuer enter into 'the controversies themselves... as judging that the disease requireth rather rest than any other cure'. He warned that the victors in such polemics would be the atheists: 'Two principal causes have I ever know of Atheism; curious controversies, and profane scoffing. Now that these two are joined in one, no doubt that sect will make no small progression'. He pleaded against 'the passionate and unbrotherly practices and proceedings towards the persons each of others, for their discredit and suppression'. Even as he warned against the 'leaders of the Church' becoming 'lovers of themselves, and pleasers of men', he also warned against those who wanted an 'authority... over men's needs... This latter sort, for the most part are men of young years and superficial understanding'. He said the seeking out of heresies resulted in an oscillation between contraries; those who took as their touchstone a repudiation of the insitutions of the Church of Rome veered toward the Arian, anti-Trinitarian heresy. One could carry too far 'the observation of the Sabbath-day... They forget that there are sins on the right hand, as well as on the left; and that the word is double-edged... I am assured that not a few that call hotly for a preaching ministry deserve to be of the first themselves that should be expelled'. For Bacon, the house of God was still 'a house of prayer, and not a house of preaching'. Despite his own mother's Calvinist sympathies, Bacon repudiated Puritan fanatics; though such men do 'the work of exhortation... and have zeal and hate of sin... let them take heed that it be not true... that they have but two small wants, knowledge and love\ The advocacy of tolerance and moderation as against the Puritan doctrinaires was still the theme of a letter Bacon drafted between 1589 and early 1590 for the queen's Secretary of State, Sir Francis Walsingham, the very person in the Company of the Mines Royal best informed of Joachim Gaunse's work. The letter, transmitted to a French official, stated Elizabeth's firm stand against those 'Papists in faction' who were prepared to work as 'a party' for the triumph of the King of Spain in his invasion of England, but then it went on to condemn equally those 'which named themselves Reformers, and we common? ly call Puritans'. The latter, pretending 'to bring a democracy into the Church', led the people 'from one extreme to another'. They promised people that if their discipline were followed, 'there should be no beggars nor vagabonds... And in like manner they promised the people many other possible wonders'. They descended to 'vile and base means', to 'ridiculous pasquils', using 'commina tions that their cause would prevail through with uproar and violence'.96 In short, Francis Bacon in 1589 was warning against all the manifestations of intolerance issuing from the Puritan zealots; he had already sensed the threat of violent social revolution that was potential in them. Provoking a solitary Jew into religious debate, and then informing against him, especially when that Jew had served well the copper mining of England and its Roanoke plantation, must have seemed to him an immoderate exercise in zealotry. Sir Francis Walsing? ham, the Queen's Secretary of State, probably consulted him informally on this case, as he did more formally that very year with respect to the more significant 18</page><page sequence="19">Francis Bacon and the Jews Puritan polemics.97 And perhaps too, the Chief Minister, Lord Burghley, Sir William Cecil, who had guided the state for forty years,98 would have asked his younger nephew for his opinion as to the legal merits of the case against Joachim Gaunse. Thus Francis Bacon would have heard the story of how Joachim Gaunse came from Prague, and assisted the Company of the Mines Royal during critical years. And we may surmise that Bacon would have felt himself moved by the scientific and rational spirit of inquiry in this Jew Gaunse, who walked in the footsteps of the wise King Solomon, whom Bacon in his Essays cited more often than any other author. This Jew too had practised exploration in the wild Americas, and helped in the first work toward founding a plantation there. Bacon, writing some years later in his essay 'Of Plantations' of the Virginian venture, advised: 'If there be iron ore, and streams whereupon to set the mills, iron is a brave commodity where wood aboundeth'. Doubtless Bacon had read Thomas Harriot's report on the minerals in Virginia, and consequently was curious to learn what manner of person was this 'Minerall man', the Jew Gaunse. But Bacon knew too that one had to be circumspect and not over-curious. The rumours of the atheism of Harriot, Marlowe and Sir Walter Raleigh abounded. Before the Court of High Commission of the Church of England, a few years later in 1593, it was charged that Harriot 'brought the Godhead in question and the whole course of the scriptures'.99 Did Harriot share the Jews' view that God begat no Son, and agree with the 'Hebrew Rabbins' on that point of theology? This was a time when playgoers still thrilled approvingly to the words of the third of the Weird Sisters in Macbeth, intoned upon the infernal ingredients in their cauldron: 'Liver of blaspheming Jew'.100 Bacon refrained from alluding by name to the Jew Gaunse, the mining engineer whom the mayor and aldermen of Bristol called a blasphemer. In writing the New Atlantis, Bacon was therefore mindful that there were limits to the role which he could confer upon the Jews in its scientific community. It would have been much too risky to make Joabin himself a Fellow of Salomon's House. Bacon knew also the misfortune that had been visited upon his legal collaborator, Sir Henry Finch, who had dared publish a book much too enthusiastic about the political future of the Jews. In 1621 Finch published anonymously in London a book entitled The Calling of the Jewes. A Present to Judah and the Children of Israel that joyned with him, and to Joseph (the valiant tribe of Ephraim) and all the House of Israel that joyned with him. The Lord give them grace, that they may returne and seek Jehovah their God, and David their King in these latter dayes.101 Despite the Jews' current situation, Finch forecast their future preeminence: 'No people so despised, without government, without Religion, without form, either of Church or Commonwealth. No people so contemptible and abhorred in the sight of God and Men'. Yet, following the Jews' conversion to Christ: 'They shall repair towards their own country', go to war with the Turks, and overwhelm them in battle at the Lake of Tiberias. Then the Jews would found their own 'most flourishing Commonwealth'. They would become the political guides to all the world's peoples. 'AH nations shall joyne 19</page><page sequence="20">Lewis S. Feuer with them, and be made partakers of one common inheritance'. 'The chief sway and soverainty shall remain with the Jewes'. Finch too expected confidently that in the new world all men would be free, with every man 'a Citizen and free Burges both here and in heaven for evermore'; the Jews in their own land would 'sit as a Lady in the mount of Comeliness, the hill of beauty, the true Zsion'.102 The author of this proto-Zionist work, Sir Henry Finch, was arrested in April 1621 for having published a libel. King James I was evidently much displeased by its grandiose forecast of a world-wide Jewish empire. The author was obliged to disavow and apologize for portions of his work, which was then suppressed. The chastened visionary died in October 1625 in straitened circumstances. Bacon had worked with Finch on a project for codifying the statute law, and also on a committee dealing with the patents for inns and alehouses.103 For all his sympathetic portrayal of Joabin, it was clear that Bacon would afford no suggestion that the Jews in the New Atlantis had more than an advisory, pioneer, or stimulating role. In his retirement, having gone through disgrace and abandonment by friends, and wishing there had been no such person as himself, Bacon pondered over such of his unfinished works as the New Atlantis. Probably he could never finish it because he could not decide what kind of political and social structure he should give to Bensalem.104 It was one thing to project the structure of the college for scientific research, Salomon's House. But his melancholy experiences with both king and Parliament deprived him of any political enthusiasm. The man who wrote in his essay 'Of Innovations' that 'It is good also not to try experiments in states' was not one to write a Utopia. Nevertheless, he felt that what he had completed of New Atlantis deserved publication. Bacon gave to the Jewish intermediary on Bensalem the name of 'Joabin'; with only one consonantal alteration, it is the given name of Joachim Gaunse. The chief alteration with a 'b' to Joabin leads to the further suggestion that he is the son of Job. (The Hebrew spelling of 'Job' almost coincides with that of Joab; it interchanges the order of the vowels.) Like Job, in his own time of anguish, Francis Bacon had cursed the day when he was born. When Bacon's protagonist finally met, through Joabin, a Father of Salomon's House, the trait in the latter that most impressed him was that he 'had an aspect as if he pitied man'; as the Preacher Koheleth said, 'knowledge increaseth sorrow'. Indeed, knowledge was presented as strangely dual; on the one hand, as Bacon said, it was power, but on the other it brought the awareness of the sadness of things. The name Joabin thus blended the optimistic technologist with the resigned man of wisdom.105 Of all the Jews of England, and in 1589 there were probably not more than a hundred,106 Joachim Gaunse was the only one, from what we know, whose scientific interests and social aims coincided in the greatest measure with those of Bacon. Gaunse's experiments with the 'roasting' and 'washings' of copper ores were in their method similar to the experiments Bacon conducted to 20</page><page sequence="21">Francis Bacon and the Jews determine the specific gravities, or relative densities, of seventy-eight sub? stances.107 They shared the same concern for 'plantations', for colonial exploration. Both were concerned with the development of a new scientific technology in England. Joachim Gaunse was the only Jew in England who could have sat for the portrait of Joabin, the Jew of the New Atlantis. To Gaunse's traits, Bacon added some idealized touches of the Marrano, the Spanish-speaking Dr Lopez. If the latter had been a spy-as were several leading Marranos-it was to be noted, according to Bacon, that scientists were not only explorers of new continents; they were also akin to 'espials', that is, to spies, or 'intelligencers', as they were called in the sixteenth century, whom Elizabeth's ministers, Burghley, Walsingham and her favourite, Essex, had used to ferret out the Spanish intentions.108 Thus Bacon, defending the expenses for experiments, declared: 'as secretaries and spials of princes and states bring in bills for intelligence, so you must allow the spials and intelligencers of nature to bring in their bills, or else you shall be ill advertised'.109 The strange career of Joachim Gaunse takes us finally into an aspect of Jewish thought that has been little studied-namely the rise of what we might call 'Jewish empiricism'. Men nurtured on the Talmud would quit its dialectics to become masters of the new technology, or students of physical nature. Curiously, the theological disputations with Christians in the later Middle Ages had helped nurture an empirical temper; arguing against such 'mysteries' as the Virgin Birth and transubstantiation tended to reinforce the primacy of sense-perception as the source for knowledge.110 And if sense-perception was primary, observations and technological experiments that enriched the varieties of observation under diverse, altered conditions, were indeed the road to new knowledge. Gaunse in the sixteenth century became a mining and chemical engineer; Spinoza in the seventeenth century became a lens-grinder and optician; and in the eighteenth, the self-taught Israel Lyons became the first teacher of botany (although still untitled) in Cambridge. Historians of technology have written that Bacon 'was doubtless influenced by the work of contemporary inventors in London, such as Hugh Platt and Cornelius DrebbeP.111 Probably more impressive was the role of Joachim Gaunse of the Mines Royal Company and Roanoke Plantation, and as life's model for the Jew of the New Atlantis. Gaunse does not seem to have returned to Prague; there is no record of any such person buried in its Jewish cemetery. Did he die broken-hearted, forgotten, as he waited for his trial in London? Did he live out his years in Blackfriars, enjoined to theological silence and surviving on a pension from the Walsingham or Cecil family? Did he perhaps sail with Drake in his last forays to Portugal and the West Indies? The new Jewish empiricists remain obscure forerunners of the profound transition to the scientific mode of thought. 21</page><page sequence="22">Lewis S. Feuer NOTES 1 The Works of Francis Bacon III, New Atlantis, James Spedding, Robert Leslie Ellis, Douglas Denon Heath (eds.), (London 1887) 151. The New Atlantis was evidently written in 1624. Ibid 212. Some ambiguity, however, surrounds the date of its composition. Cf. James Spedding (ed.), The Letters and the Life of Francis Bacon VII (Vol. 14 of The Works) (London 1874) 537 2 The New Atlantis (see n. 1) 146. 3 The Works of Francis Bacon III (see n. 1) 151,138. 4 'Therefore there are with you seen infinite men that marry not, but choose rather a libertine and impure single life...and many that do marry, marry late, when the prime and strength of their years is past. And when they do marry, what is marriage to them but a very bargain... with some desire (almost indifferent) of issue'. New Atlantis, in The Works III (see n. 1) 152. 5 Ibid. 153. 6 Aubrey's Brief Lives Oliver Lawson Dick (ed.) (London 1958) 11. A. L. Rowse, The Elizabethan Renaissance: The Life of the Society (New York 1971)184. 7 A small sect of Judaizers posed a case in 1618 for the Judges in Star Chamber. Bacon, as Lord Chancellor, regarded them as 'very dan? gerous'. They had had no contact, however, with the Jews in Britain. David S. Katz, Philo Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England (1603- 1655) (Oxford 1982) 25. 8 Sidney L. Lee, 'Elizabethan England and the Jews', New Shakespere Society, Transactions, Series I, No. VI (1887-90), 161. Lucien Wolf, 'Jews in Elizabethan England', Trans. JHSE XI (1928) 31. Cecil Roth, A History of the Marranos (Philadelphia 1932) 257. Also Cecil Roth, 'Sir Sidney Lee', Encyclopaedia Judaica X (Jerusalem 1972) 1559