The Virgin of the World

“You shall understand, that there is not under the Heavens, so chast a Nation, as this of Bensalem; Nor so free from all Pollution, or foulnesse. It is the Virgin of the World…” (Bacon, The New Atlantis)

I found this quote particularly emblematic of the utopia Bacon describes. This portion of the world untouched by pollution and all things foul. Bacon repeatedly describes Bensalem in terms of this innocence as seen in his quote here where he uses the word “chaste” to describe the nation. He also exemplifies this chastity, purity, and innocence through his claim that Bensalem is “the virgin of the world.”

This quote also reminded me of a theme I noticed throughout the book. Bensalem is a place free from total authority and even religion to an extent, and serves as a new beginning for the men on the ship in an untouched, and perfect world.

Perhaps the Bensalem is meant to represent Bacon’s idea of a utopia to be created in the Americas?