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In the centuries since his death, Francis Bacon has been perceived as a promoter and prophet of 'natural science'. Certainly Bacon expected to fill the vacuum which he saw existing in the study of nature; but he also saw himself as a clarifier and promoter of what he called 'policy', that is, the study and improvement of the structure and function of civil states including the then new British state. In this major study, Brian Wormald's first since his work on Clarendon, Bacon is shown resolving this conflict by attending assiduously to both fields, arguing that work on one would help progress in the other. In his teaching, in his practice and in terms of what was actually achieved, the junction between the two enterprises was affected by Bacon's work in history - civil and natural. In this fundamental reappraisal of one of the most complex and innovative figures of the age, Brian Wormald reveals how Bacon's conception and practice of history provided an answer to his strivings in both policy and natural philosophy.