Page images
PDF
EPUB

only partially executed. The fine was in effect remitted by the he was well aware that the practice was in itself indefensible, king; imprisonment in the Tower lasted for about four days; a and that his conduct was therefore corrupt and deserving of general pardon (not of course covering the parliamentary censure) censure. So far, then, as the mere taking of bribes is concerned, was made out, and though delayed at the seal for a time by Lord he would permit no defence, and his own confession and judgment Keeper Williams, was passed probably in November 1621. The on his action contain as severe a condemnation as has ever been cause of the delay seems to have lain with Buckingham, whose passed upon him. Yet in the face of this he does not hesitate friendship had cooled, and who had taken offence at the fallen to call himself “the justest chancellor that hath been in the "chancellor's unwillingness to part with York House. This differ- five changes since Sir Nicholas Bacon's time"; 5 and this on ence was finallysmoothed over, and it was probably through his in- the plea that his intentions had always been pure, and had never fuence that Bacon received the much-desired permission to come been affected by the presents he received. His justification has within the verge of the court. He never again sat in parliament. been set aside by modern critics, not on the ground that the

So ends this painful episode, which has given rise to the most evidence demonstrates its falsity,“ but because it is inconceivable severe condemnation of Bacon, and which still presents great or unnatural that any man should receive a present from another, and perhaps insuperable difficulties. On the whole, the tendency and not suffer his judgment to be swayed thereby. It need hardly of the most recent and thorough researches has been towards be said that such an a priori conviction is not a sufficient basis the opinion that Bacon's own account of the matter (from which, on which to found a sweeping condemnation of Bacon's integrity indeed, our knowledge of it is chiefly drawn) is substantially as an administrator of justice. On the other hand, even if it be correct. He distinguishes three ways in which bribes may be admitted to be possible and conceivable that a present should given,' and ingenuously confesses that his own acts amounted be given by a suitor simply as seeking favourable consideration to corruption and were worthy of condemnation. Now, corrup- of his cause, and not as desirous of obtaining an unjust decree, tion strictly interpreted would imply the deliberate sale of and should be accepted by the judge on the same understanding, justice, and this Bacon explicitly denies, affirming that he never this would not entitle one absolutely to accept Bacon's statehad bribe or reward in his eye or thought when he pronounced ment. Further evidence is necessary in order to give foundation aby sentence or order.” When we analyse the specific charges to a definite judgment either way; and it is extremely improbapinst him, with his answers to them, we find many that are able, nay, almost impossible, that such can ever be produced. really of little weight. The twenty-eighth and last, that of In these circumstances, due weight should be given to Bacon's negligence in looking after his servants, though it did him much own assertions of his perfect innocence and purity of intention; baim, may sairly be said to imply no moral blame. The majority they ought not to be put out of court unless found in actual of the others are instances of gratuities given after the decision, contradiction to the facts, and the reverse of this is the case, and it is to be regretted that the judgment of the peers gives us so far as has yet appeared.? Do means of determining how such gifts were looked upon, The remaining five years of his life, though he was still harassed abether or not the acceptance of them was regarded as a by want of means, for James was not liberal, were spent in work " corrupt” practice. In four cases specifically, and in some far more valuable to the world than anything he had accomplished others by implication, Bacon confesses that he had received in his high office. In March 1622 he presented to Prince Charles bribes from suitors pendente lile. Yet he affirms, as we said his History of Henry VII.; and immediately, with unwearied belore

, that his intention was never swayed by a bribe; and industry, set to work to complete some portions of his great work. so far as any of these cases can be traced, his decisions, often In November 1622 appeared the Historia Ventorum; in January given in conjunction with some other official, are to all appearance 1622/3, the Historia Vitae et Mortis; and in October of thoroaghly just. In several cases his judgment appears to have the same year, the De Augmentis Scientiarum, a Latin transbeen given against the party bestowing the bribe, and in at least lation, with many additions, of the Advancement. Finally, in Cae instance, that of Lady Wharton, it seems impossible to doubt December 1624, he published his Apophthegms, and Translations that he must have known when accepting the present that his of some of the Psalms, dedicated to George Herbert; and, in 1625, op zion would be adverse to her cause. Although, then, he felt a third and enlarged edition of the Essays. that these practices were really corrupt, and even rejoiced that Busily occupied with these labours, his life now drew rapidly bis own fall would tend to purify the courts from them, he did to a close. In March 1626 he came to London, and when driving Det feel that he was guilty of perverting justice for the sake of one day near Highgate, was taken with a desire to discover Itxard. How far, then, is such defence or explanation admissible whether snow would act as an antiseptic. He stopped his and satisfactory? It is clear that two things are to be considered: carriage, got out at a cottage, purchased a fowl, and with his own the one the guilt of taking bribes or presents on any consideration, hands assisted to stuff it with snow. He was seized with a sudden the other the moral guilt depending upon the wilful perversion chill, and became so seriously unwell that he had to be conveyed of justice. The attempt has sometimes been made to defend to Lord Arundel's house, which was near at hand. Here his the whole of Bacon's conduct on the ground that he did nothing illness increased, the cold and chill brought on bronchitis and be that was not done by many of his contemporaries. Bacon died, after a few days' suffering, on the 9th of April 1626. unseli disclaims a defence of this nature, and we really have no are vilia temporis as well as vilia hominis, and that the beginning of cilëtt evidence which shows to what extent the offering and reformations hath the contrary power to the pool of Bethesda, for popeving of such bribes then prevailed. That the practice was

that had strength to cure only him that was first cast in, and this Cotton is indeed implied by the terms in which Bacon speaks hath commonly strength to hurt him only that is first cast in." d it, and it is not improbable that the fact of these gifts being corruptions do not only bind ihine own hands or thy servant's

"See, among many other passages, Essays, "Of Great Place":"For taken by officials was a thing fairly well known, although all hands from taking, but bind the hands of suitors also from offering: were aware of their illegal character, and it was plain that any for integrity used doth the one; but integrity professed, and with a public exposure of such dealings would be fatal to the individual manifest detestation of bribery, doth the other; and avoid not only

the lault but the suspicion." against whom the charge was made out. Bacon knew all this;

• Cl. Letters and Life, vii. 560:"I was the justest judge that was " Letters and Life, vii. 235-236: "The first, of bargain and contract in England these fifty years; but it was the justest censure in box retard to pervert justice. pendente lite.' The second, where the Parliament that was these two hundred years." Het conceives the cause to be at an end, by the information of the • Or on the ground that there was a distinct rule forbidding pary or otherwise, and useth not such ligence as he ought to inquire chancellors and the like officials to take presents. This does not

And the third, where the cause is really ended, and it is sine seem to have been the case, if we may judge from what Bacon says vade without relation to any precedent promise. . . . For the first of Lelters and Life, vii. 233. heal take myself to be as innocent as any born upon St Innocent's Not only do the cases, so far as they are known, support Bacon's Dr. in my heart. For the second, I doubt on some particulars I may plea of innocence, but it is remarkable that no attempt at a reversal be faulty. And for the last, I conceived it to be no fault, but therein of any of his numerous decrees appears to have been successful. Had 1 dure to be better informed, that I may twice penitent, once for his decrees been wilful perversions of justice, it is scarcely conceivable the fact and again for the error."

Ibid. vii. 242. that some of them should not have been overturned. See Letters and * ltd. vi. 244: " Neither will your lordships forget that there | Life, vii. 555-562.

of trcatment.

The matter is

Bacon's Works and Philosophy.

The series of the literary works is completed by the minor

treatises on theological or ecclesiastical questions. Some of the A complete survey of Bacon's works and an estimate of his latter, included among the occasional works, are sagacious and place in literature and philosophy are matters for a volume. It prudent and deserve careful study. Of the former, the principal is here proposed merely to classify the works, to indicate their specimens are the Meditationes Sacrae and the Confession of Faitk. general character and to enter somewhat more in detail upon The Paradoxes (Characters of a believing Christian in paradoxes, what he himself regarded as his great achievement,--the re

and seeming contradictions), which was often and justly sus-, organization of the sciences and the exposition of a new method by which the human mind might proceed with security and pected, has been conclusively proved by Grosart to be the work

of another author. certainty towards the true end of all human thought and action.

Philosophical Works.-The great mass of Bacon's writings Putting aside the letters and occasional writings, we may con- consists of treatises or fragments, which either formed integral veniently distribute the other works into three classes, Profes- parts of his grand comprehensive scheme, or were closely consional, Literary, Philosophical. The Professional works include nected with it. More exactly they may be classified under three the Reading on the Stalule of Uscs, the Maxims of Law and the heads: (A) Writings originally intended to form parts of the treatise (possibly spurious) on the Use of the Law. "I am in good | Instauratio, but which were afterwards superseded or thrown hope," said Bacon himself,"that when Sir Edward Coke's reports aside; (B) Works connected with the Instauratio, but not directly and my rules and decisions shall come to posterity, there will included in its plan; (C) Writings which actually formed part of be (whatsoever is now thought) question who was the greater

the Instauratio Magna. lawyer.” If Coke's reports show completer mastery of technical details, greater knowledge of precedent, and more of the dogged contain little, if anything, that is not afterwards taken up and

(A) This class contains some important tracts, which certainly grasp of the letter than do Bacon's legal writings, there can be no

expanded in the more elaborate works, but are not undeserving dispute that the latter exhibit an infinitely more comprehensive of attention, from the difference in the point of view and method intelligence of the abstract principles of jurisprudence, with a

The most valuable of them are: (1) The Adrance. richness and ethical sulness that more than compensate for their

ment of Learning, of which no detailed account need be given, as lack of dry legal detail. Bacon seems indeed to have been a

it is completely worked up into the De Augmentis, and takes its lawyer of the first order, with a keen scientific insight into the bearings of isolated facts and a power of generalization which place as the first part of the Instauratio. (2) Valerius Terminus,

a very remarkable piece, composed probably about 1603, though admirably fitted him for the self-imposed task, unfortunately never completed, of digesting or codifying the chaotic mass or perhaps retouched at a later period. It contains a brief and

somewhat obscure outline of the first two parts in the 1923tauratio, the English law.

Among the literary works are included all that he himself and is of importance as affording us some insight into the gradual designated moral and historical pieces, and to these may be added development of the system in Bacon's own mind. (3) Temporis

Partus Masculus, another curious fragment, remarkable not only some theological and minor writings, such as the Apophthegms. from its contents, but from its style, which is arrogant and offenOf the moral works the most valuable arc the Essays, which have sive, in this respect unlike any other writing of Bacon's. The been so widely read and universally admired:

adjective masculus points to the power of bringing forth fruit of the familiar, practical kind, that comes home to men's

possessed by the new philosophy, and perhaps indicates that all bosoms." The thoughts are weighty, and even when not

previous births of time were to be looked upon as feminine or original have acquired a peculiar and unique tone or cast by imperfect; it is used in a somewhat similar sense in Letters end passing through the crucible of Bacon's mind. A sentence from The Essays can rarely be mistaken for the production of any other but such words as are fit to go before deeds.” () Redargutio

Life, vi. 183," In verbis masculis, no flourishing or painted words, writer. The short, pithy sayings have become popular moltoes Philosophiarum, a highly finished piece in the form of an oration, and household words. The style is quaini, original, abounding in allusions and witticisms, and rich, even to gorgeousness, with composed probably about 1608 or 1609, and containing in pretty piled-up analogies and metaphors.' The first edition contained the Idola Theatri in book i. of the Novum Organum. (5) Cogitata

full detail much of what afterwards appears in connexion with only ten essays, but the number was increased in 1612 to thirty, ct Visa, perhaps the most important of the minor philosophical cight, and in 1625 to fifty-cight. The short tract, Colours of writings, dating from 1607 (though possibly the tract in its present Good and Evil, which with the Meditationes Sacrae originally form may have been to some extent alterçd), and containing in accompanied the Essays, was afterwards incorporated with the weighty and sonorous Latin the substance of the first book of De Augmentis. Along with these works may be classed the

the Organum. (6) The Descriplio Globi Intellectualis, which is to curiously learned piece, De Sapicnlia Veterum, in which he works

some extent intermediate between the Advancement and the De out a favourite idea, that the mythological fables of the Greeks Augmentis, goes over in detail the general classification of the were allegorical and concealed the deepest truths of their philo-sciences, and enters particularly on some points of minor interest. sophy. As a scientific explanation of the myths the theory is of (7) The brief tract De Interpretatione Naturae Sententiae Duodecim no value, but it affords fine scope for the exercise of Bacon's is evidently a first sketch of part of the Norum Organum, and in unrivalled power of detecting analogics in things apparently most phraseology is almost identical with it. (8) A few smaller pieces, dissimilar.' The Apophthegms, though hardly deserving Mac- such as the Inquisitio de Motu, the Calor et Frigus, the Historia aulay's praise of being the best collection of jests in the world, Soni el Auditus and the Phaenomena Universi, are early contain a number of those significant anecdotes which Bacon used with such effect in his other writings. Of the historical specimens of his Natural History, and exhibit the first tentative

applications of the new method. works, besides a few fragments of the projected history of Britain

(B) The second group consists of treatises on subjects connected there remains the History of Henry VII., a valuable work, giving with the Instauratio, but not forming part of it. The most a clear and animated narrative of the reign, and characterizing interesting, and in many respects the most remarkable, is the Henry with great skill. The style is in harmony with the matter, philosophic romance, the New Allantis, a description of an ideal vigorous and flowing, but naturally with less of the quaintness state in which the principles of the new philosophy are carried and richness suitable to more thoughtful and original writings out by political machinery and under state guidance, and where

The peculiarities of Bacon's style were noticed very early by his contemporaries. (See Lellers and life, i. 268.) Raleigh and Jonson many of the results contemplated by Bacon are in imagination have both recorded their opinions of it, but no one has characterized attained. The work was to have been completed by the addition it more happily than his friend, Sir Tobie Matthews, " A man so rare of a second part, treating of the laws of a model commonwealth, in knowledge, of so many several kinds, endued with the facility, which was never written. Another important tract is the De and yet so choice and ravishing a way of words, of metaphors, of Principiis atque Originibus secundum Fabulas Cupidinis el Caeli, allusions, as perhaps the world hath not seen since it was a world."

where, under the disguise of two old mythological stories, he (in “Address to the Reader"prefixed to Collection of English Letters (1660). the manner of the Sapientia Veterum) finds the deepest truths concealed. The tract is unusually interesting, for in- it he | possessed was of little service to him. “The knowledge whereof discusses at some length the limits of science, the origin of things the world is now possessed, especially that of nature, extendeth 2nd the nature of primitive matter, giving at the same time full not to magnitude and certainty of works.”3 Man's sovereignty Botices of Democritus among the ancient philosophers and of over nature, which is founded on knowledge alone, had been lost, Telesio among the modern. Deserving of attention are also the and instead of the free relation between things and the human Cogitationes de Nature Rerum, probably written early, perhaps in mind, there was nothing but vain notions and blind experiments. 1605, and the treatise on the theory of the tides, De Fluxu et To restore the original commerce between man and nature, Refuru Maris, written probably about 1616.

and to recover the imperium hominis, is the grand object of all (C) The philosophical works which form part of the Instauratio science. The want of success which had hitherto attended must of course be classed according to the positions which they efforts in the same direction had been due to many causes, but respectively hold in that scheme of the sciences.

chiefly to the want of appreciation of the nature of philosophy The great work, the reorganization of the sciences, and the and its real aim. Philosophy is not the science of things divine restoration of man to that command over nature which he had and human; it is not the search after truth. “I find that even lost by the fall, consisted in its final form of six divisions. those that have sought knowledge for itself, and not for benefit

I Parliliones Scientiarum, a survey of the sciences, either such or ostentation, or any practical enablement in the course of as then existed or such as required to be constructed a fresh-in their lise, have nevertheless propounded to themselves a wrong fact, an inventory of all the possessions of the human mind. The mark, namely, satisfaction (which men call Truth) and not famous classification on which this survey proceeds is based operation.” “ Is there any such happiness as for a man's upon an analysis of the faculties and objects of human knowledge. mind to be raised above the confusion of things, where he may This division is represented by the De Augmentis Scientiarum. have the prospect of the order of nature and error of man? But

II. Interpretatio Nalurae.-After the survey of all that has yet is this a view of delight only and not of discovery? of contentbeen done in the way of discovery or invention, comes the new ment and not of benefit ? Shall he not as well discern the riches method, by which the mind of man is to be trained and directed of nature's warehouse as the beauty of her shop? Is truth ever in its progress towards the renovation of science. This division barren? Shall he not be able thereby to produce worthy is represented, though only imperfectly, by the Novum Organum, effects, and to endow the life of man with infinite commodities?”S particularly book ii.

Philosophy is altogether practical; it is of little matter to the III. Historia Naturalis et Experimentalis.-The new method fortunes of humanity what abstract notions one may entertain is valueless, because inapplicable, unless it be supplied with concerning the nature and the principles of things. This truth, materials duly collected and presented--in fact, unless there be however, has never yet been recognized;? it has not yet been formed a competent natural history of the Phaenomena Universi. seen that the true aim of all science is “to endow the condition A short introductory sketch of the requisites of such a natural and life of man with new powers or works,' or

or “to extend history, which, according to Bacon, is essential, necessary, the more widely the limits of the power and greatness of man.". basis lolius negotii, is given in the tract Parasceve, appended to Nevertheless, it is not to be imagined that by this being proposed the Norum Organum. The principal works intended to form as the great object of search there is thereby excluded all that portions of the history, and either published by himself or lost has hitherto been looked upon as the higher aims of human life, in manuscript, are Historia Venlorum, Historia Vilae et Mortis, such as the contemplation of truth. Not so, but by following Histeria Densi et Rari, and the extensive collection of facts and the new aim we shall also arrive at a true knowledge of the observations entitled Sylva Sylvarum.

universe in which we are, for without knowledge there is no IV. Scala Intellectus.-It might have been supposed that the power; truth and utility are in ultimate aspect the same; new philosophy could now be inaugurated. Materials had been “ works themselves are of greater value as pledges of truth than supplied, along with a new method by which they were to he as contributing to the comforts of life."'10 Such was the conceptreated, and naturally the next step would be the finished result. tion of philosophy with which Bacon started, and in which he felt But for practical purposes Bacon interposed two divisions himself to be thoroughly original. As his object was new and bet teen the preliminaries and the philosophy itself. The first hitherto unproposed, so the method he intended to employ was was intended to consist of types or examples of investigations different from all modes of investigation hitherto attempted. conducted by the new method, serviceable for keeping the whole It would be," as he says, an unsound fancy and self-conprocess vividly before the mind, or, as the title indicates, such tradictory, to expect that things which have never yet been done that the mind could run rapidly up and down the several steps can be done except by means which have never yet been tried."!! or grades in the process. Of this division there seems to be only There were many obstacles in his way, and he seems always to one small fragment, the Filum Labyrinthi, consisting of but two have selt that the first part of the new scheme must be a pars or three pages.

destruens, a destructive criticism of all other methods. OpposiV. Prodromi, forerunners of the new philosophy. This part, lion was to be expected, not only from previous philosophies, strictly speaking, is quite extraneous to the general design. but especially from the human mind itself. In the first place, According to the Distributio Operis, it was to contain certain natural antagonism might be looked for from the two opposed speculations of Bacon's own, not formed by the new method, but sects, the one of whom, in despair of knowledge, maintained by the unassisted use of his understanding. These, therefore, that all science was impossible; while the other, resting on form temporary or uncertain anticipations of the new philosophy authority and on the learning that had been handed down from There is extant a short preface to this division of the work, and the Greeks, declared that science was already completely known, according to Spedding, some of the miscellaneous treatises, such as and consequently devoted their energies to methodizing and De Principiis, De Fluxu et Refluxu, Cogitationes de Nature Rerum, elaborating it. Secondly, within the domain of science itself, may probably have been intended to be included under this head. properly so called, there were two “ kind of rovers who must This supposition receives some support from the manner in which be dismissed. The first were the speculative or logical philothe fith part is spoken of in the Novum Organum, i. 116. sophers, who construc the universe ex analogia hominis, and not

VI. The new philosophy, which is the work of future ages, ex analogia mundi, who fashion nature according to preconceived and the result of the new method.

ideas, and who employ in their investigations syllogism and Bacon's grand motive in his attempt to found the sciences abstract reasoning. The second class, who were equally offensive, anew was the intense conviction that the knowledge man consisted of thosc who practised blind experience, which is mere

· The division of the sciences adopted in the great French Encyclo. : Fil. Lab.; Cog. et Visa, i.; cf. Pref. to Ins. Mag. pédie was founded upon this classification of Bacon's. See Diderot's • Val. Ter. 232: cf. N. 0. i. 124. Lellers, i. 123.

* N. 0. 1. 116. Presfecius (Cutres, iji.) and d'Alembert's Discours (@uures, i.) The Fil. Lab. 5; cf. N. 0. i. 81; Val. Ter. (Works, iii. 235); Ad. scheme should be compared with later attempts of the same nature vancement, bk. i. (Works, iii. 294). by Ampère, Cournot, Comte and Herbert Spencer.

& Fil. Lab. 5; cf. N. 0. 1. 81; Val. Ter. (Works, iii. 222.233); New See also Letter to Fulgentio," Letters and Life, vii. 533. Atlantis (Works, iii. 156). N. 0. i. 116.

10 lbid. i. 124.

11 Ibid.i. 6.

groping in the dark (vage experienlio mera polpatio est), who | Bacon, is the most troublesome kind of crror, and has been occasionally hit upon good works or inventions, which, like especially fatal in philosophy. For words introduce a fallacious Atalanta's apples, distracted them from further steady and mode of looking at things in two ways: first, there are some gradual progress towards universal truth. In place of these words that are really merely names for non-existent things, straggling efforts of the unassisted human mind, a graduated which are yet supposed to exist simply because they have resystem of helps was to be supplied, by the use of which the mind, ceived a name; secondly, there are names hastily and unskilfully when placed on the right road, would proceed with unerring abstracted from a few objects and applied recklessly to all that and mechanical certainty to the invention of new arts and has the faintest analogy with these objects, thus causing the sciences.

grossest confusion. The fourth and last class are the Idola Such were to be the peculiar functions of the new method, Theatri, idols of the theatre, i.e. fallacious modes of thinking though it has not definitely appeared what that method was, resulting from received systems of philosophy and from erroneous or to what objects it could be applied. But, before proceeding methods of demonstration. The criticism of the demonstrations lo unfold his method, Bacon found it necessary to enter in con- is introduced later in close connexion with Bacon's new method; siderable detail upon the general subject of the obstacles to they are the rival modes of procedure, to which his own is progress, and devoted nearly the whole of the first book of the definitely opposed. The philosophies which are “redargued ” Organum to the examination of them. This discussion, though are divided into three classes, the sophistical, of which the best strictly speaking extraneous to the scheme, has always been example is Aristotle, who, according to Bacon, forces nature looked upon as a most important part of his philosophy, and into his abstract schemata and thinks to explain by definitions; his name is perhaps as much associated with the doctrine of the empirical, which from few and limited experiments leaps Idols (Idola) as with the theory of induction or the classification at once to general conclusions; and the superstitious, which of the sciences.

corrupts philosophy by the introduction of poetical and The doctrine of the kinds of fallacies or general classes of theological notions. errors into which the human mind is prone to fall, appears in Such are the general causes of the crrors that infest the human many of the works written before the Novum Organum, and the mind; by their exposure the way is cleared for the introduction treatment of them varies in some respects. The classification of the new method. The nature of this method cannot be in the Organum, however, not only has the author's sanction, understood until it is exactly seen to what it is to be applied. but has received the stamp of historical acceptation; and com- What idea had Bacon of science, and how is his method connected parison of the earlier notices, though a point of literary interest, with it? Now, the sciences which was specially and invariably has no important philosophic bearing. The Idola (Nov. Org. i. 39)' contemplated by him was natural philosophy, the great mother false notions of things or erroneous ways of looking at nature,arcof of all the sciences; it was to him the type of scientific knowledge, four kinds: the first two innate, pertaining to the very nature of and its method was the method of all true science. To discover the mind and not to be eradicated; the third creeping insensibly exactly the characteristics and the object of natural philosophy into men's minds, and hence in a sense innate and inseparable; it is necessary to examine the place it holds in the general the fourth imposed from without. The first kind are the Idola scheme furnished in the Advancement or De Augmentis. All Tribus, idols of the tribe, fallacies incident to humanity or the human knowledge, it is there laid down, may be referred to man's race in general. Of these, the most prominent are—the prone- memory or imagination or reason. In the first, the bare facts ness to suppose in nature greater order and regularity than there presented to sense are collected and stored up; the exposition actually is; the tendency to support a preconceived opinion by of them is history, which is either natural or civil. In the second, affirmative instances, neglecting all negative or opposed cases; the materials of sense are separated or divided in ways not and the tendency to generalize from few observations, or to give corresponding to nature but after the mind's own pleasure, and reality to mere abstractions, figments of the mind. Manifold the result is poesy or feigned history. In the third, the materials errors also result from the weakness of the senses, which affords are worked up after the model or pattern of nature, though we scope for mere conjecture; from the influence exercised over the. are prone to err in the progress from sense to reason; the result understanding by the will and passions; from the restless desire is philosophy, which is concerned either with God, with nature of the mind to penetrate to the ultimate principles of things; or with man, the second being the most important. Natural and from the belief that “man is the measure of the universe," philosophy is again divided into speculative or theoretical and whereas, in truth, the world is received by us in a distorted and operative or practical, according as the end is contemplation

The second kind are the Idola Specus, idols or works. Speculative or theoretical natural philosophy has to of the cave, or errors incident to the peculiar mental or bodily deal with natural substances and qualities and is subdivided constitution of each individual, for according to the state of the into physics and metaphysics. Physics inquires into the efficient individual's mind is his view of things. Errors of this class and material causes of things; metaphysics, into the formal and are innumerable, because there are numberless varieties of dis- final causes. The principal objects of physics are concrete position; but some very prominent specimens can be indicated. substances, or abstract though physical qualities. The research Such are the tendency to make all things subservient to, or take into abstract qualities, the fundamental problem of physics, the colour of some favourite subject, the extreme fondness and comes near to the metaphysical study of forms, which indeed reverence either for what is ancient or for what is modern, and differs from the first only in being more general, and in having excess in noting either differences or resemblances amongst as its results a form strictly so called, i.e. a nature or quality things. A practical rule for avoiding these is also given: “In which is a limitation or specific manifestation of some higher general let every student of nature take this as a rule, that what- and better-known genus. Natural philosophy is, therefore, ever his mind scizes and dwells upon with particular satisfaction in ultimate resort the study of forms, and, consequently, the is to be held in suspicion."? The third class are the Idola Fori, fundamental problem of philosophy in general is the discovery idols of the market-place, errors arising from the influence of these forms. exercised over the mind by more words. This, according to "On a given body to generate or superinduce a new nature or The word Idola is manifestly borrowed from Plato. It is used natures, is the work and aim of human power.

Of a given twice in connexion with the Platonic Ideas (N. 0. 1. 23, 124) and is nature to discover the form or true specific difference, or nature contrasted with them as the false appearance. The cow.ov with engendering nature (natura naturans) or source of emanation (for Plato is the fleeting. transient image of the real thing, and the passage these are the terms which are nearest to a description of the thing). evidently referred to by Bacon is that in the Rep. vii. 516 A, kai is the work and aim of human knowledge." πρώτον μεν τας σκιάς αν ράστα καθορφη, και μετά τούτο εν τοίς ύδασι τα The questions, then, whose answers give the key to the whole τα των ανθρώπων και τα των άλλων είδωλα, ύστερον δε αυτά. It is explained well in the Advancement, hk. i. (Works, iii. 287). (For Baconian philosophy, may be put briefly thús-What are valuable notes on the Idola, see T. Fowler's Nov. Org. i. 38 notes; : N. 0. 1. 79, 80, 98, 108. especially for a comparison of the Idola with Roger Bacon's Offen. On the meaning of the word form in Bacon's theory see also dicula.)

: N. 0. i. 58.
Fowler's N. 0. introd. $ 8.

'N. 0. ii. i.

erroneous manner.

forms? and how is it that knowledge of them solves both and the same thing which Cicero's discourse and the note and the theoretical and the practical problem of science ? Bacon conceit of the Grecians in their word circle learning do intend. bicself, as may be seen from the passage quoted above, finds For I mean not that use which one science hath of another for great diffculty in giving an adequate and exact definition of ornament or help in practice; but I mean it directly of that use sbat be means by a form. As a general description, the following by way of supply of light and information, which the particulars passage from the Norum Organum, ii. 4, may be cited :

and instances of one science do yield and present for the framing ** The form of a nature is such that given the form the nature or correcting of the axioms of another science in their very truth infallibly follows. . Again, the form is such that if it be taken

and notion." In accordance with this, Bacon placed at the away the nature infallibly vanishes. Lastly, the true form is such that it deduces the given nature from some source of being basis of the particular sciences which treat of God, nature and which is inherent in more natures, and which is better known in man, one fundamental doctrine, the Prima Philosophia, or first the natural order of things than the form itsell,"'

philosophy, the function of which was to display the unity of From this it would appear that, since by a nature is meant nature by connecting into one body of truth such of the highest some sensible quality, superinduced upon, or possessed by, a axionts of the subordinate sciences as were not special to one body, so by a form we are to understand the cause of that nature, science, but common to several.' This first philosophy had which cause is itself a determinate case or manifestation of some also to investigate what are called the adventitious or trangeneral or abstract quality inherent in a greater number of objects. scendental conditions of essences, such as Much, Little, Like, But all these are mostly marks by which a form may be recognized, Unlike, Possible, Impossible, Being, Nothing, the logical disand do not explain what the form really is. A further definition cussion of which certainly belonged rather to the laws of is accordingly attempted in Aph. 13:4

reasoning than to the existence of things, but the physical or " The form of a thing is the very thing itsell, and the thing differs real treatment of which might be expected to yield answers from the form no otherwise than as the apparent differs from the real, or the external from the internal, or the thing in reference to

to such questions as, why certain substances are numerous, the man from the thing in reference to the universe."

others scarce; or why, if like attracts like, iron does not This throws a new light on the question, and from it the attract iron. Following this summary philosophy come the inference at once follows, that the forms are the permanent sciences proper, rising like a pyramid in successive stages, the causes or substances underlying all visible phenomena, which are lowest floor being occupied by natural history or experience, the merely manifestations of their activity. Are the forms, then. second by physics, the third, which is next the peak of unity, by forces ? At times it seems as if Bacon had approximated to metaphysics. The knowledge of the peak, or of the one law this view of the nature of things, for in several passages he which binds nature together, is perhaps denied to man. Of the identifies forms with laws of activity. Thus, he says

sciences, physics, as has been already seen, deals with the efficient "When I speak of forms I mean nothing more than those laws and material, i.e. with the variable and transient, causes of things. and determinations of absolute actuality which govern and con But its inquiries may be directed either towards concrete bodies stitute any simple nature, as heat, light, weight, in every kind of

or towards abstract qualities. The first kind of investigation matter and subject that is susceptible of them. Thus the form of heat or the form of light is the same thing as the law of heat or the

rises little above mere natural history; but the other is more la* of light."'? "Matter rather than forms should be the object important and paves the way for metaphysics. It handles the of our attention, its configurations and changes of configuration, configurations and the appetites or motions of matter. The and ments of the human mind, unless you will call those laws of action heavy, light, hot, cold, &c.,-in fact, what are elsewhere called

simple action, and law of action of motion for forms are first configurations, or inner structure of bodies, include dense, rare; forms.": "Forms or true differences of things, which are in fact laws of pure act." : For though in nature nothing really exists simple natures. Motions are either simple or compound, the besides individual bodies, performing pure individual acts accord latter being the sum of a number of the former. in physics, ing to a fixed law, yet in philosophy this very law, and the investi: however, these matters are treated only as regards their material pation, discovery and explanation of it, is the foundation as well knowledge as of operation. And it is this law, with its clauses, gives no general rule, but only facilitates invention in some

or efficient causes, and the result of inquiry into any one case that I mean when I speak of forms. Several important conclusions may be drawn from these similar instance. Metaphysics, on the other hand, treats of the

formal or final cause to of these same substances and qualities, passages. In the first place, it is evident that Bacon, like the Atomical school, of whom he highly approved, had a clear

and results in a general rule. With regard to forms, the investigaperception and a firm grasp of the physical character of natural

tion may be directed either towards concrete bodies or towards principles; his forms are no ideas or abstractions, but highly qualities. But the forms of substances are so perplexed and general physical properties. Further, it is hinted that these complicated, that it is either vain to inquire into them at all, or general qualities may be looked upon as the modes of action of such inquiry as is possible should be put off for a time, and not simple bodies. This fruitful conception, however, Bacon does entered upon till forms of a more simple nature have been rightly Dot work out; and though he uses the word cause, and identifies investigated and discussed.” u 'To inquire into the form of a jarm with formal cause, yet it is perfectly apparent that the lion, of an oak, or gold, nay, even of water or air, is a vain pursuit; modern notions of cause as dynamical, and of nature as in a

but to inquire the form of dense, rare, hot, cold, &c., as well process of flow or development, are foreign to him, and that in his configurations as motions, which in treating of physic I save in view of the ultimate problem of science, cause meant causa 6 Valerius Terminus, iii. 228-229. iamcnens, or underlying substance, effects were not consequents 'Cl. N. 0. ii. 27. Bacon nowhere enters upon the questions of but manifestations, and nature was regarded in a purely statical

how such a science is to be constructed, and how it can be expected aspect. That this is so appears even more clearly when we tacle for the generalizations of the several sciences, and consequently examine his general conception of the unity, gradation and has a content which varies with their progress. His whole conception function of the sciences. That the sciences are organically of Prima Philosophia should be compared with such a modern work connected is a thought common to him and to his distinguished

as the First Principles of Herbert Spencer. predecessor Roger Bacon. “I that hold it for a great impedi- scale of ascending axioms.

. It is to be noticed that this scale of nature corresponds with the ment towards the advancement and further invention of Cf. also for motions, N. 0. ii. 48. koowledge, that particular arts and sciences have been dis- 10 The knowledge of final causes does not lead to works, and the conincorporated from general knowledge, do not ur.derstand one

sideration of them must be rigidly excluded from physics. Yet there

is no opposition between the physical and final causes; in ultimate This better known in the order of nature is nowhere satisfactorily resort the mind is compelled to think the universe as the work of explained by Bacon. Like his classification of causes, aod in some reason, to refer facts to God and Providence. The idea of final cause degree his notion of form itsell, it comes from Aristotle. See An. is also fruitful in sciences which have to do with human action. Pest. 71 b 33: Topic, 141 b 5; Eth. Nic. 1095 a 30. It should (Cf. De Aug. iii. cc. 4, 5; Nov. Org. i. 48. ii. 2.) be observed that many writers maintain that the phrase should be 11 De Aug. iii. 4: In the Advancement (Works, iii. 355) it is disResora natura; others, noliora naturae. See Fowler's N. 0. p. 199 tinctiy said that ihey are not to be inquired into... One can hardly

see how the Baconian method could have applied to concrete * N. 0. ii. 17.

. Ibid. ii. 2 substances.

Bote..

* Ibid. i. 51.

Ibid. i. 75

« PreviousContinue »