Why I will not be signing the "Declaration of Reasonable Doubt"
The Shakespeare Authorship Coalition recently announced that two US Supreme Court judges have added their names to the list of signatories to the "Declaration of Reasonable Doubt". This brings to 1,664 the number of people who have signed the on-line petition since its inception in 2007. The aims of the Coalition and its Declaration seem modest and reasonable enough; they simply seek to have the question of the authorship of the plays opened up to legitimate discussion.
"Our goal is to legitimize the issue in academia so students, teachers and professors can feel free to pursue it."- from the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition website
The SAC claims to be agnostic in regards to who the real author might be. They just want, they seem t be saying, to open the door to the possibility of doubting that William Shaxper of Stratford was the author.
On the surface, this all seems inoffensive enough, but I have not and will not be signing the Declaration. I regard it as a step in the direction away from the truth. The Declaration seeks as a first step in the process of legitimate discussion to dethrone William Shaxper from his position as the pre-eminent writer in the english language. But is this justified?
"Oliver Lector" was the pseudonymous author of "Letters from the Dead to the Dead"(1909). Although his words were first published exactly 100 years ago, he has something remarkably apt to say on the topic:
"William Shakespeare is the possessor of the proudest lit-erary title in history. Whosoever shall oust him from thatpossession must do so by the strength of his own para-mount rights, and not by the weakness of the title of the" Bard of Avon," so called. It may be argued that the pro-duction of a book with William Shakespeare's name printedthereon as the author is not legal evidence of his author-ship, because there exists no writing, letter, or manuscriptto support that title, and because his name was printed onother books to the authorship of which no claim on his be-half is now made ; nevertheless, I should suppose his titleto all his works is prima facie good."
Precisely, I say.
William Shakespeare has his name on the title page and it did not get there by accident. The true author of the works clearly consented to this situation. He therefore has pre-eminent claim to the authorship until such time as it is definitely proven that another man was the author. In no way therefore should William Shaxper be obliged to surrender his claim to an agnostic mob.
This is the simple reason why I cannot support the aims of the Declaration, or the SAC. If William is to cede his right it can only be to one man, the true author. Now who could that be? And can we know for certain?
The crux of the position taken by the SAC is summarised in bold type at the end of the Declaration. Here it is:
"Reasonable people may differ about whether a preponderance of the evidence supports Mr. Shakspere, but it is simply not credible for anyone to claim, in 2007, that there is no room for doubt about the author."
This statement is simply and hilariously false. While it may be true enough that reasonable people might differ about Mr Shakspere's role, there was no room for doubt in 2007 and there is no room for doubt in 2009 as to the real identity of the true author of the "Shakespeare" works. That man is Francis Bacon and the case is proven. The evidence is overwhelming.
And so the true motives of the SAC stand revealed. This is not an organisation with any interest in the true author. It is interested in the claims of the false candidates, primarily Oxford. It is part of the game. Having failed to find their "smoking gun", to prove that Oxford wrote Shakespeare, attention has now turned to the only part of their argument with any merit, the observation that, indeed, William Shaxper did not write the plays. But you can't stop there. How did it come about that his name appears on the title page? The answer is because he had entered into an agreement with Francis Bacon for his name to be so used.
So the notion that William Shakespeare should cede his title to the authorship for it to be argued back and forth in the marketplace, as if it is an open question, as if any claim other than Bacon's has even remotely comparable merit, is just another delaying tactic in the inevitable rendering of just due to the true author.
As a Baconian, I do not subscribe to the suggestion that there ought to be a kind of rapprochement between the different candidates' supporters, that the "anti-Stratfordian" forces ought to band together to overthrow the false notion that William Shaxper was part of the greatest literary production of all time. He was part of it. He was an integral part of it, and he played his part to perfection. So well, in fact, that the coverstory so carefully put in place by Bacon has survived and thrived to this day.
There is no reason to dethrone William. He has kept his side of the bargain admirably. He cedes his right to no man, except the true author, with whom he made the original arrangement. That man is Francis Bacon, and to him alone is due the honour that goes with the authorship of the works which the world knows under the name of Shakespeare.
So I won't be signing, and I urge you not to either.