A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Bacon, Roger

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Bacon, Roger (1214?-1294)—Philosopher, studied at Oxford and Paris. His scientific acquirements, regarded in that age as savouring of witchcraft, and doubtless also his protests against the ignorance and immorality of the clergy, excited the jealousy and hatred of the Franciscans, and he was in consequence imprisoned at Paris for ten years. Clement IV., who had been a sympathiser, desired on his accession to see his works, and in response B. sent him Opus Majus, a treatise on the sciences (grammar, logic, mathematics, physics, and philosophy), followed by Opus Secundum and Opus Tertium. Clement, however, was near death when they arrived. B. was comparatively free from persecution for the next ten years. But in 1278 he was again imprisoned for upwards of ten years. At the intercession of some English noblemen he was at last released, and spent his remaining years at Oxford. He possessed one of the most commanding intellects of his own, or perhaps of any, age, and, notwithstanding all the disadvantages and discouragements to which he was subjected, made many discoveries, and came near to many more. There is still preserved at Oxford a rectified calendar in which he approximates closely to the truth. He received the sobriquet of the "Doctor Mirabilis."