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“For as wat:r, whether it be the dew of chain. He is a producer of concep
the manner of prophets and seers
as it were, of scientific decrees, as of an The greatest error of all the rest, is the oracle who foresees the future and re. mistaking or misplacing of the last or farthest veals the truth. And to make the reend of knowledge: for men have entered into a desire of learning and knowledge, sometimes semblance complete, he expresses them upon a natural curiosity and inquisitive appe- by poetical figures, by enigmatic ab tite; sometimes to entertain their minds with breviations, almost in Sibylline verses: variety and delight; sometimes for ornament Idola specús, Idola tribus, Idola fori, and reputation ; and sometimes to enable them to victory of wit and contradiction ; and most Idola theatri, every one will recall these times for lucre and profession; and seldom sin- strange names, by which he signifies cerely to give a true account of their gift of rea- the four kinds of illusions to which man son, to the benefit and use of men; as if there is subject.* Shakspeare and the seers were sought in knowledge a couch whereupon to rest a searching and restless spirit; or a ter- do not contain more vigorous or exrace, for a wandering, and variable mind to pressive condensations of thought, more walk up and down with a fair prospect; or a resembling inspiration, and in Bacon tower of state, for a proud mind to raise itself upon; or a fort or commanding ground, for they are to be found everywhere. On strife and contention; or a shop, for profit or the whole, his process is that of the sale ; and not a rich storehouse, for the glory creators; it is intuition, not reasoning of the Creator, and the relief of man's es. When he has laid up his store of facts, tate." +
the greatest possible, on some vast sub This is his mode of thought, by sym- mind,
on the whole anterior philosophy
ject, on some entire province of the bols, not by analysis; instead of explaining his idea, he transposes and on the general condition of the sci translates it, — translates it entire, to ences, on the power and limits of humar the smallest details, enclosing all in the reason, he casts over all this a com. majesty of a grand period, or in the prehensive view, as it were a great net, brevity of a striking sentence. Thence brings up a universal idea, condenses springs a style of admirable richness, his idea into a maxim, and hands it to gravity, and vigor, now solemn and us with the words, “Verify and profit symmetrical, now concise and piercing, by it." always elaborate and full of color. I
There is nothing more hazardous, There is nothing in English prose thought, when it is not checked by:
more like fintasy, than this mode a superior to his diction. Thence is derived also his manner
natural and strong good sense. This of conceiving things. He is not a dia- j common sense, which is a kind of narc ectician, like Hobbes or Descartes, apt
cal divination, the stable equilibrium of in arranging ideas, in educing one from an intellect always gravitating to the another, in leading his reader from the true, like the needle to the pole, Bacon simple to the complex by an unbroken possesses in the highest degree. He
has a pre-eminently practical, even an * Bacon's Works. Translation of the De Augmentis Scientirrum, Book ü. ; To the * See also Nooum Org inum, Books i. and King.
ii. ; the twenty-seven kinas of examples, with # Ibid. Book i. The true end of learning their metaphorical names: Instantia crucis. qistaken.
diportii janua, Instantia innuentes poir * Especially in the Essays.
Ickrestæ, magica, etc.
atilitarian mind, such as we meet with establishment of an art, that is, the later in Bentham, and such as their production of something of practicai business habits were to impress more utility; when he wished to describe and more upon the English. At the the efficacious nature of his philosophy age of sixteen, while at the university, by a tale, he delineated in the Neue he was dissatisfied with Aristotle's Atlantis, with a poet's boldness and the philosophy,* not that he thought meanly precision of a seer, almost employing of the author, whom, on the contrary, the very terms in use nrw, moderi: he calls a great genius; but because it applications, and the present organizaseemed to him of no practical utility, tion of the sciences, academies, obser incapable of producing works which vatories, air balloons,submarine vessels night promote the well-being of men. the improvement of land, the trans We see that from the outset he struck mutation of species, regenerations, the upon his dominant idea: all else comes discovery of remedies, the preservation o him from this; a contempt for an- of food. The end of our foundation, tecedent philosophy, the conception of says his principal personage, is the a different system, the entire reforma- knowledge of causes and secret motiun of the sciences by the indication of tions of things, and the enlarging of the a new goal, the definition of a distinct bounds of human empire, to the effectmethod, the opening up of unsuspected ing of all things possible. And this anticipations. It is never speculation possible" is infinite. which he relishes, but the practical How did this grand and just concepapplication of it. His eyes are turned tion originate? Doubtless common not to heaven, but to earth, not to things sense and genius too were necessa: y abstract and vain, but to things palp. to its production; but neither commci. able and solid, not to curious but to sense nor genius was lacking to men profitable truths. He seeks to better there had been more than one who, the condition of men, to labor for the observing, like Bacon, the progress of welfare of mankind, to enrich human particular industries, couid, like him, life with new discoveries and new re- have conceived of universal industry, sources, to equip mankind with new and from certain limited ameliorations powers and new instruments of action. have advanced to unlimited ameliora. His philosophy itself is but an instru- tion. Here we see the power of conment, organum, a sort of machine or nection; men think they do every lever constructed to enable the intellect thing by their individual thought, and to raise a weight, to break through ob- they can do nothing without the assist stacles, to open up vistas, to accom- ance of the thoughts of their neigh plish tasks which had hitherto surpass. bors; they fancy that they are follow. ed its power. In his eyes, every special ing the small voice within them, but science, like science in general, should they only hear it because it is swelled be an implement. He invites mathe- by the thousand buzzing and imperious maticians, to quit their pure geometry, voices, which, issuing from all surto scudy numbers only with a view to rounding or distant circumstances, are natural philosophy, to seel formulas confounded with it in an harmonious only to calculate real quw.tities and vibration. Generally they hear it, as natural motions. He recommends Bacon did, from the first moment of Lloralists to study the soul, the pas- reflection ; but it had become inaudible Bons, habits, temptation, not merely in among the opposing sounds which a speculative way, but with a view to came from without to smother it the cure or diminution of vice, and as- Could this confidence in the infinite signs to the science of morals as its enlargement of human power. this goal the amelioration of morals. For glorious idea of the universal conquest him, the object of science is always the of nature, this firm hope in the con
* The Works of Francis Bacon London, tinual increase of well-being and happi 1824, vol. vii. p. 2 Latin Biography by Raw ness, have germinated, grown, occu
pied an intelligence entirely ano † This point is brought out by the review of Lord Macaulay. Critical and Historical Es- thence have struck its roots, been pro Va, vol, ji.
pagated and spread over neighboring
'ntelligences, in a time of discourage- dividuation, final causes
Half proofs ment and decay, when men believed sufficed science ; at bottom it did not the end of the world at haird, when care to establish a truth, tut to get an things were falling into ruin about opinion; and its instrument, the syllo them, when Christian mysticism, as in . gism, was serviceable only for refutathe first centuries, ecclesiastical tyr- tions, not for discoveries: it took gen anny, as in the fourteenth century, eral laws for a starting-point instead of were convincing them of their impo- a point of arrival; instead of going to tenca, by perverting their inte lectual find them, it farcied them found. The efforts and curtailing, their liberty. ! syllogism was good in the schools, noi On the contrary, such hopes must in nature; it made disputants, not then have seemed to be outbursts of discoverers. From the moment that pride, o: suggestions of the carnal science had art for an end, and med mind. They did seem so; and the studied in order to act, all was trans. last representatives of ancient science, formed; for we cannot act, without cer. and the first of the new, were exiled tain and precise knowledge. Forces or imprisoned, assassinated or burned. before they can be employed, must In order to be developed an idea must be measured and verified; before we be in harmony with surrounding civili- can build a house, we must know exzation; before man can expect to at- actly the resistance of the beams, or tain the dominion over nature, or at the house will collapse; before we tempts to improve his condition, ame- can cure a sick man, we must know lioration must have begun on all sides, with certainty the effect of a remedy, industries have increased, knowledge or the patient will die. Practice makes have been accumulated, the arts ex- certainty and exactitude a necessity to panded, a hundred thousand irrefuta- science, because practice is impossible ble witnesses must have come inces when it has nothing to lean upon but santly to give proof of his power and guesses and approximations.
How assurance of his progress. The “mas- can we eliminate guesses and approxculine birth of the time” (temporis imations ? How introduce into science partus masculus) is the title which solidity and precision? We must im. Bacon applies to his work, and it is a itate the cases in which science, issuing true one. In fact, the whole age co- in practice, has proved to be precise operated in it; by this creation it was and certain, and these cases are the infinished. The consciousness of human dustries. We must, as in the indus. power and prosperity gave to the Re- tries, observe, essay, grope about, ver. naissance its first energy, its ideal, its ify, keep our mind fixed on sensible poetic materials, its distinguishing fea- and particular things, advance to gen. tures; and now it furnishes it with its eral rules only step by step ; not anfinal expression, its scientific doctrine, ticipate experience, but follow it; nos and its ultimate object.
imagine nature, but interpret it. For We may add also, its method. For, every general effect, such as heat. the end of a journey once determined, whiteness, hardness, liquidity, we must the route is laid down, since the end seek a general condition, so that in always determines the route; when producing the condition we may pro the point to be reached is changed, duce the effect. And for this it is re the path of approach is changed, and cessary, by fit rejections and exclusions science, varying its object, varies also to extract the condition sought fronx. its method. So long as it limited the heap of facts in which it lies its effort to the satisfying an idle curi- buried, construct the table of cases osity, opening out speculative vistas, from which the effect is absent, the establishing a sort of opera in specula- table where it is present, the table tive minds, it could launch out any where the effect is shown in various moment into metaphysical abstractions degrees, so as to isolate and bring to and distinctions : it was enough for it to light the condition which produced it.* skim over exper ence; it soon quitted Then we shall have, not useless un.. it, and came all at once upon great versal axioms, but effi cacious medias words, quiddities. the principle of in- * Novum Organum, ii. 15 and 16.
axioms, true laws from which we every thing in his researches in an can derive works, and which are the undistinguis.iable mass, vegetative and sources of power in the same degree medicinal properties, mechanical and as the sources of light.* Bacon de curative, physical and moral, without scribed and predicted in this modern considering the most complex as de science and industry, their correspond pending on the simplest, but each on ence, method, resources, principle; and the contrary in itsell
, and taken apart, after more than two centuries, it is still as an irreducible and independent ex. to him that we go even at the present istence. Obstinate in this error, the day to look for the theory of what we thinkers of the age mark time without Ire attempting and doing.
advancing. They see clearly with Ba Beyond this great view, he has dis- con the wide field of discovery, but covered nothing. Cowley, one of his they cannot enter upon it. They want admirers, rightly said that, like Moses an idea, and for want of this idea they on Mount Pisgah, he was the first to do not advarke. The disnyasition of announce the promised land; but he mind which but now was a ever, is be. might have added quite as justly, that, come an obstacle: it must be changed, like Moses, he did not enter there. that the obstacle may be got rid of. He pointed out the route, but did not For ideas, I mean great and efficacious travel it; he taught men how to dis- ones, do not come at will nor by chance, cover natural laws, but discovered by the effort of an individual, or by a
His definition of heat is ex- happy accident. Methods and philoso tremely imperfect. His Natural His phies, as well as literatures' and relig. tory is full of fanciful xplanations.f ions, arise from the spirit of the age Like the poets, he peoples nature with and this spirit of the age makes them instincts and desires ; attributes to potent or powerless. One state of bodies an actual voracity, to the atmos- public intelligence excludes a certain phere a thirst for light, sounds, odors, kind of literature ; another, a certain vapors, which it drinks in; to metals scientific conception. When it hap. a sort of haste to be incorporated with pens thus, writers and thinkers labor acids. He explains the duratior. of in vain, the literature is abortive, the the bubbles of air which float on the conception does not make its appear surface of liquids, by supposing that ance. In vain they turn one way and air has a very small or no appetite for another, trying to remove the weight height. He sees in every quality, which hinders them; something more weight, ductility, hardness, a distinct powerful than themselves paralyzes essence which has its special cause ; so their hands and frustrates their enthat when a man knows the cause of deavors. The central pivot of the every quality of gold, he will be able vast wheel on which human affairs to put all these causes together, and move must be displaced one notch, make gold. In the main, with the al- that all may move with its motion. At chemists, Paracelsus and Gilbert, Kep- this moment the pivot was moved, and ler himself, with all the men of his thus a revolution of the great wheel time, men of imagination, nourished on begins, bringing round a new concepAristotle, he represents nature as a tion of nature, and in consequence that compound of secret and living energies, part of the method which was lacking inexplicable and primordial forces, dis- To the diviners, the creators, the com tinct and indecomposable essences, prehensive and impassioned minds Adapted each by the will of the Creator who seized objects in a lump and in to produce a distinct effect. He nost masses, succeeded the discursive thinksaw souls endowed with latent repug- ers, the systematic thinkers the grad nances and occult inclinations, which uated and clear logicians. who, dis aspire in or resist certain directions, posing ideas in continuous series, lead certain mixtures, and certain localities. the hearer gradually from the simple to On this account also he confounds the most complex by easy and unbroker • Novam Organum, i. i. 3.
paths. Descartes superseded Bacon; t Natural History, 800, 34, etc.
the classical age obliterated tne Re. montis, iii. 1.
naissance; poetry and lofty nagination
gave way before rhetoric, eloquence, | philosophic grandeur of general reflec and analysis. In this transformation tion; the stage disencumbered of all of mind, ideas were transformed precept and freed from all imitation, Every thing was drained dry and sim- given up and appropriated in the mi plified. The universe, like all else, nutest particulars to the reigning taste was reduced to two or three notions; and public intelligence : all this was a and the conception of nature, which vast and manifold work, capable by its was poetical, became mechanical. In- flexibility, its greatness, and its form stead of souls, living forces, repugnan- of receiving and preserving the exact res, and attractions, we have pulleys, imprint of the age and of the nation.* evers, impelling forces. The world, vhich seemed a mass of instinctive
I. Jowers, is now like a mere machinery of cog-wheels. Beneath this adventur- Let us try, then, to set before our ous supposition lies a large and certain eyes this public, this audience, and this ruth : that there is, namely, a scale of stage-all connected with one another, facts, some at the summit very complex, as in every natural and living work; others at the base very simple; those and if ever there was a living and above having their origin in those be- natural work, it is here. There were low, so that the lower ones explain the already seven theatres in London, in higher; and that we must seek the Shakspeare's time, so brisk and univerprimary laws of things in the laws of sal was the taste for dramatic repremotion. The search was made, and sentations. Great and rude contri. Galileo found them. Thenceforth the yances, awkward in their construction, work of the Renaissance, outstripping barbarous in their appointments; but the extreme point to which Bacon had a fervid imagination readily supplied pushed it, and at which he had left it, all that they lacked, and hardy bodies was able to proceed onward by itself, difficulty. On a dirty site, on the banks
endured all inconveniences without and did so proceed, without limit.
of the Thames, rose the principal theatre, the Globe, a sort of hexagonal tower, surrounded by a muddy ditch,
on which was hoisted a red flag. The CHAPTER II.
common people could enter as well as
the rich : there were sixpenny, twoThe Theatre
penny, even penny seats; but they could not see it without money.
If it We must look at this world more rained, and it often rains in London, closely, and beneath the ideas which the people in the pit, butchers, mercers, are developed seek for the living men;
bakers, sailors, apprentices, receive the it is the theatre especially which is the streaming rain upon their heads. I original product of the English Renais- suppose they did not trouble them. sance, and it is the theatre especially since they began to pave the streets of
selves about it; it was not so long which will exhibit the men of the English Renaissance.
London and when men, like these, umongst them ten of superior rank, as have had experience of sewers and pud xell as one, the greatest of all artists dies, they are not afraid of catching cnid who have represented the soul in While waiting for the piece, they amuse worls, many hundreds of pieces, and themselves after their fashion, drink nearly fifty masterpieces; the drama beer, crack nuts, eat fruit, howl, and extended over all the provinces of his now and then resort to their fists; they tery, imagination, and fancy,--expand have been known to fall upon the ed so as to embrace comedy, tragedy, actors, and turn the theatre upside paste ral and fanciful literature
down. At other times they were disrepresent all degrees of human con- satisfied and went to the tavern to give dition, and all the caprices of human the poet a hiding, oi toss him in a nvention to express all the perceptible details of actual truth, and all the form and pressure." -Shakspeare.
* “The very age and body of the time, his