FACT CHECK: Did Francis Bacon Say, ‘Old Age Is Always 15 Years Older Than I Am’?
An image shared on Facebook claims that English philosopher Francis Bacon said, “I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.”
There is no evidence that Bacon ever said or wrote this saying.
Bacon, an English philosopher who lived from 1561 to 1626, is widely credited with establishing and popularizing the scientific method. His best known works include the scientific treatise “The New Organon,” the book “The Advancement of Learning,” and the posthumously-published novel “New Atlantis.” He also served as England’s lord chancellor from 1618 to 1621.
While Bacon wrote widely on a variety of subjects, there is no evidence that he authored the statement attributed to him in the Facebook post. The saying does not appear in any of his written works. (RELATED: Did Da Vinci Say, ‘I Awoke, Only To Find That The Rest Of The World Was Still Asleep?)
The Daily Caller also reached out to several experts, none of whom thought the quote originated with Bacon.
“I very much doubt this is Bacon,” said Alan Stewart, an English and comparative literature professor at Columbia University, in an email to the Caller. “It doesn’t sound like a man of the seventeenth century at all.”
Bernard Baruch, an American financier and political adviser who has also been linked to the quote, employed a variation of it in 1948, according to the website Quote Investigator. However, the saying had already been in circulation for several decades at that point, with Quote Investigator locating the earliest instance of a version of the statement in Walter A. Clark’s 1909 book “A Lost Arcadia: Or, the Story of My Old Community.”
In that book, Clark credited his father with saying, “Old age is always ten years ahead of us.”