The Mammoth Encyclopedia

of

 

UNSOLVED  MYSTERIES

 

By

Colin Wilson & Damon Wilson

Robinson Press 2001

 


The well known British writer Colin Wilson and his son Damon, cover 63 chapters on various mysteries in their latest book. In one chapter Who was Shakespeare they discuss the authorship issue by utilizing information about the significant 1867 Northumberland Manuscript discovery while rejecting William Shakespeare as author.Here is an excerpt from the book :


In 1867 there came to light one of the most interesting and convincing pieces of evidence connecting Bacon and Shakespeare. A librarian commissioned by the Duke of Northumberland to examine manuscripts in Northumberland House came upon a folio volume consisting of twenty-two sheets folded double. It seemed clear that it had belonged to Francis Bacon-at least, it contained mostly copies of works by him. Nine pieces in the folder , and there were probably more.

The cover contains a list which seems to be a table of contents-since it mentions a number of pieces which are actually in the folder, such as four essays by Bacon, "Philipp against monsieur"- a letter from Sir Philip Sidney dissuading the Queen from marrying the Duke of Anjou, "Speeches for Lord Essex at the tylt", speeches by Bacon written for the Earl of Essex, and "Loycester's CommonWealth"- an incomplete copy of Leicester's Commonwealth. But the cover also lists items that were no longer in the folio, including Nashe's banned play The Isle of Dogs, and "Richard the Second" and "Richard the Third." And immediately above these Shakespeare titles : "By Mr. ffrauncis William Shakespeare."

the surname Bacon written directly below "Mr. ffrauncis" (with the phrase "your sovereign" written upside down.

But what of the Stratford actor? It seems, to put it mildly, unlikely that a man whose father was illiterate and whose children were illiterate, and who could not even be bothered to keep copies of his own books in the house, should have written Hamlet and Othello. We may reject all the other candidates as absurd; but at the end of the day we still find ourselves facing the same problems that made the Rev. James Wilmot conclude that, whoever wrote the plays and sonnets, it was not William Shakespeare.

Over the course of many years he made diligent inquiries in the area, investigating small private libraries for fifty miles around. He found nothing whatever-not a single volume that might have belonged to Shakespeare. And finally he was struck by an astonishing conviction : that the man called Shakespeare wasn the author of the plays attributed to him. The man who possessed all the qualifications for writing them was his other favourite author, Francis Bacon.

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For more on the
Northumberland Manuscript