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"For as water, whether it be the dew of Heaven or the springs of the earth, easily scatters and loses itself in the ground, except it be collected into some receptacle, where it may by union and consort comfort and sustain itself (and for that cause, the industry of man has devised aqueducts, cisterns, and pools, and likewise beautified them with various ornaments of magnificence and state, as well as for use and necessity); so this excellent liquor of knowledge, whether it descend from divine inspiration or spring from human sense, would soon perish and vanish into oblivion, if it were n.t preserved in books, traditions, conferences, ai especially in places appointed for such matters is universities, colleges, and schools, where it may have both a fixed habitation, and means and opportunity of increasing and collecting itelf.""
"The greatest error of all the rest, is the mistaking or misplacing of the last or farthest end of knowledge: for men have entered into a desire of learning and knowledge, sometimes upon a natural curiosity and inquisitive appetite; sometimes to entertain their minds with variety and delight; sometimes for ornament and reputation; and sometimes to enable them to victory of wit and contradiction; and most times for lucre and profession; and seldom sincerely to give a true account of their gift of reason, to the benefit and use of men: as if there were sought in knowledge a couch whereupon to rest a searching and restless spirit; or a terrace, for a wandering and variable mind to walk up and down with a fair prospect; or a tower of state, for a proud mind to raise itself apon; or a fort or commanding ground, for strife and contention; or a shop, for profit or sale; and not a rich storehouse, for the glory of the Creator, and the relief of man's estate." t
He is a producer of concep tions and of sentences. The matter being explored, he says to us: "Such it is; touch it not on that side; it must be approached from the other." Noth ing more; no proof, no effort to con vince: he affirms, and does nothing more; he has thought in the manner of artists and poets, and he speaks after the manner of prophets and seers Cogitata et visa this title of ore of his books might be the title of all. The most admirable, the Novum Organum is a string of aphorisms,-a collection,
as it were, of scientific decrees, as of an oracle who foresees the future and reveals the truth. And to make the resemblance complete, he expresses them by poetical figures, by enigmatic ab breviations, almost in Sibylline verses: Idola specûs, Idola tribús, Idola fori, Idola theatri, every one will recall these strange names, by which he signifies the four kinds of illusions to which man is subject.* Shakspeare and the seers do not contain more vigorous or expressive condensations of thought, more resembling inspiration, and in Bacon they are to be found everywhere. On the whole, his process is that of the creators; it is intuition, not reasoning When he has laid up his store of facts, 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 translates it, translates it entire, to the smallest details, enclosing all in the majesty of a grand period, or in the brevity of a striking sentence. Thence springs a style of admirable richness, gravity, and vigor, now solemn and symmetrical, now concise and piercing, always elaborate and full of color. There is nothing in English prose superior to his diction.
on the general condition of the sci ences, on the power and limits of humar reason, he casts over all this a com prehensive view, as it were a great net, brings up a universal idea, condenses his idea into a maxim, and hands it to us with the words, "Verify and profit by it."
There is nothing more hazardous thought, when it is not checked b more like fantasy, than this mode of Thence is derived also his manner! natural and strong good sense. This of conceiving things. He is not a dia- common sense, which is a kind of natu lectician, like Hobbes or Descartes, aptal divination, the stable equilibrium of in arranging ideas, in educing one from another, in leading his reader from the simple to the complex by an unbroken
an intellect always gravitating to the true, like the needle to the pole, Bacor possesses in the highest degree. He has a pre-eminently practical, even an
See also Novum Org vnum, Books i. and ii.; the twenty-seven kinor of examples, with their metaphorical names. Instantiæ crucis, divortii januæ, Instantiæ innuentes poir chresta, magica, etc.
establishment cf an art, that is, the production of something of practical utility; when he wished to describe the efficacious nature of his philosophy by a tale, he delineated in the New Atlantis, with a poet's boldness and the precision of a seer, almost employing the very terms in use now, moder applications, and the present organization of the sciences, academies, obser vatories, air balloons,submarine vessels the improvement of land, the trans mutation of species, regenerations, the discovery of remedies, the preservation. of food. The end of our foundation, says his principal personage, is the knowledge of causes and secret motions of things, and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible. And this possible" is infinite.
utilitarian mind, such as we meet with later in Bentham, and such as their business habits were to impress more and more upon the English. At the age of sixteen, while at the university, he was dissatisfied with Aristotle's philosophy, not that he thought meanly of the author, whom, on the contrary, he calls a great genius; but because it seemed to him of no practical utility, incapable of producing works which might promote the well-being of men. We see that from the outset he struck upon his dominant idea: all else comes to him from this; a contempt for antecedent philosophy, the conception of a different system, the entire reformation of the sciences by the indication of a new goal, the definition of a distinct method, the opening up of unsuspected anticipations. It is never speculation which he relishes, but the practical application of it. His eyes are turned not to heaven, but to earth, not to things abstract and vain, but to things palpable and solid, not to curious but to profitable truths. He seeks to better the condition of men, to labor for the welfare of mankind, to enrich human life with new discoveries and new resources, to equip mankind with new powers and new instruments of action. His philosophy itself is but an instrument, organum, a sort of machine or lever constructed to enable the intellect to raise a weight, to break through obstacles, to open up vistas, to accomplish tasks which had hitherto surpassed its power. In his eyes, every special science, like science in general, should be an implement. He invites mathematicians, to quit their pure geometry, to study numbers only with a view to natural philosophy, to seek formulas only to calculate real quantities and natural motions. He recommends Loralists to study the soul, the pas-reflection; but it had become inaudible Donз, habits, temptation, not merely in a speculative way, but with a view to the cure or diminution of vice, and assigns to the science of morals as its goal the amelioration of morals. For him, the object of science is always the *The Works of Francis Bacor London, 1824, vol. vii. p. 2 Latin Biography by Raw
How did this grand and just conception originate? Doubtless common sense and genius too were necessary to its production; but neither commc. sense nor genius was lacking to men there had been more than one who, observing, like Bacon, the progress of particular industries, couid, like him, have conceived of universal industry, and from certain limited ameliorations have advanced to unlimited ameliora. tion. Here we see the power of connection; men think they do every thing by their individual thought, and they can do nothing without the assist ance of the thoughts of their neigh bors; they fancy that they are follow ing the small voice within them, but they only hear it because it is swelled by the thousand buzzing and imperious voices, which, issuing from all sur rounding or distant circumstances, are confounded with it in an harmonious vibration. Generally they hear it, as Bacon did, from the first moment of
among the opposing sounds which came from without to smother it. Could this confidence in the infinite enlargement of human power. this glorious idea of the universal conquest of nature, this firm hope in the con tinual increase of well-being and happi ness, have germinated, grown, occu thence have struck its roots, been pro pied an intelligence entirely ano pagated and spread over neighboring
'ntelligences, in a time of discourage- | dividuation, final causes
We may add also, its method. For, the end of a journey once determined, the route is laid down, since the end always determines the route; when the point to be reached is changed, the path of approach is changed, and science, varying its object, varies also its method. So long as it limited its effort to the satisfying an idle curiosity, opening out speculative vistas, establishing a sort of opera in speculative minds, it could launch out any moment into metaphysical abstractions and distinctions: it was enough for it to skim over exper ence; it soon quitted it, and came all at once upon great words, quiddities. the principle of in
sufficed science; at bottom it did not care to establish a truth, but to get an opinion; and its instrument, the syllogism, was serviceable only for refutations, not for discoveries: it took gen eral laws for a starting-point instead of a point of arrival; instead of going to find them, it fancied them found. The syllogism was good in the schools, not in nature; it made disputants, not discoverers. From the moment that science had art for an end, and mer studied in order to act, all was trans formed; for we cannot act, without cer tain and precise knowledge. Forces before they can be employed, must be measured and verified; before we can build a house, we must know exactly the resistance of the beams, or the house will collapse; before we can cure a sick man, we must know with certainty the effect of a remedy. or the patient will die. Practice makes certainty and exactitude a necessity to science, because practice is impossible when it has nothing to lean upon but guesses and approximations. How can we eliminate guesses and approx. imations? How introduce into science solidity and precision? We must imitate the cases in which science, issuing in practice, has proved to be precise and certain, and these cases are the industries. We must, as in the indus. tries, observe, essay, grope about, verify, keep our mind fixed on sensible and particular things, advance to gen eral rules only step by step; not an ticipate experience, but follow it; no: imagine nature, but interpret it. For every general effect, such as heat. whiteness, hardness, liquidity, we must seek a general condition, so that in producing the condition we may pro duce the effect, And for this it is re cessary, by fit rejections and exclusions to extract the condition sought from the
heap of facts in which it lies buried, construct the table of cases from which the effect is absent, the table where it is present, the table where the effect is shown in various degrees, so as to isolate and bring to light the condition which produced it.* Then we shall have, not useless un. versal axioms, but efficacious media
* 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 undistinguishable 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 descience and industry, their correspond- pending on the simplest, but each on ence, method, resources, principle; and the contrary in itself, 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 tre attempting and doing. advancing. They see clearly with Ba con the wide field of discovery, but they cannot enter upon it. They want an idea, and for want of this idea they do not advare. The disposition of mind which but now was a ever, is be come an obstacle: it must e changed, that the obstacle may be got rid of. For ideas, I mean great and efficacious
Beyond this great view, he has discovered nothing. Cowley, one of his admirers, rightly said that, like Moses on Mount Pisgah, he was the first to announce the promised land; but he might have added quite as justly, that, like Moses, he did not enter there. He pointed out the route, but did not 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 none. His definition of heat is ex- happy accident. Methods and philosotremely imperfect. His Natural His- phies, as well as literatures and relig tory is full of fanciful explanations.tions, arise from the spirit of the age Like the poets, he peoples nature with instincts and desires; attributes to bodies an actual voracity, to the atmosphere a thirst for light, sounds, odors, vapors, which it drinks in; to metals a sort of haste to be incorporated with acids. He explains the duration of the bubbles of air which float on the surface of liquids, by supposing that air has a very small or no appetite for height. He sees in every quality, weight, ductility, hardness, a distinct essence which has its special cause; so that when a man knows the cause of every quality of gold, he will be able to put all these causes together, and make gold. In the main, with the alchemists, Paracelsus and Gilbert, Kepler himself, with all the men of his time, men of imagination, nourished on Aristotle, he represents nature as a compound of secret and living energies, inexplicable and primordial forces, disnct and indecomposable essences, adapted each by the will of the Creator to produce a distinct effect. He almost saw souls endowed with latent repug-ers, the systematic thinkers the grad nances and occult inclinations, which aspire to or resist certain directions, certain mixtures, and certain localities. On this account also he confounds
and this spirit of the age makes them
uated and clear logicians. who, dis posing ideas in continuous series, lead the hearer gradually from the simple to the most complex by easy and unbroker paths. Descartes superseded Bacon; the classical age obliterated the Renaissance; 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 exac es, and attractions, we have pulleys, imprint of the age and of the nation.* evers, impelling forces. The world, which seemed a mass of instinctive Dowers, is now like a mere machinery of cog-wheels. Beneath this adventurLet us try, then, to set before our ous supposition lies a large and certain eyes this public, this audience, and this truth: 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 higher; and that we must seek the primary laws of things in the laws of motion. The search was made, and Galileo found them. Thenceforth the work of the Renaissance, outstripping the extreme point to which Bacon had pushed it, and at which he had left it, was able to proceed onward by itself, and did so proceed, without limit.
already seven theatres in London, in Shakspeare's time, so brisk and universal was the taste for dramatic representations.
Great and rude contrivances, awkward in their construction, barbarous in their appointments; but a fervid imagination readily supplied all that they lacked, and hardy bodies endured all inconveniences without difficulty. On a dirty site, on the banks 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 common people could enter as well as the rich there were sixpenny, twopenny, 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 themsance, and it is the theatre especially selves about it; it was not so long which will exhibit the men of the since they began to pave the streets of English Renaissance. Forty poets, London; and when men, like these, Linongst them ten of superior rank, as have had experience of sewers and pud well as one, the greatest of all artists dies, they are not afraid of catching cold. who have represented the soul in While waiting for the piece, they amuse words, 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 tory, imagination, and fancy,-expand-have been known to fall upon the ed so as to embrace comedy, tragedy, paste ral and fanciful literature represent all degrees of human condition, and all the caprices of human Invention-to express all the perceptiole details of actual truth, and all the
actors, and turn the theatre upside down. At other times they were dissatisfied and went to the tavern to give the poet a hiding, or toss him in a
"The very age and body of the time, his form and pressure." -Shakspeare.