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this was done on the part of the philosopher to please the king to whom he was so loyal and faithful.* It is in a similar spirit the Montagu edition estimates the value of Bacon's works, making them superior to all others, ancient and modern. No doubt he was sincere in all ; and was actuated by generous motives. But
; there is no use in trying to disprove what generation after generation, for nearly three hundred years, has felt to be but too true. Such is calculated to do more harm than good. And the same is true of making claims which cannot be maintained. Bacon has no need to plume himself in borrowed feathers, or to pretend that he discovered what had been discovered before he was born. What he has really done for literature and science, and for the development of the human mind is enough to render him immortal. To attempt to add to this is to injure rather than to serve his fame.
In the present edition no such afforts are made. The truth of history is fully accepted in reference to the author's character ; nor are the errors of his philosophy denied. On the contrary, they are candidly pointed out; while, what is intrinsically good and valuable, is analyzed, so that any intelligent reader can appreciate it as it deserves. Scarcely any two editors, whether English, French, or German, give the productions of Bacon in the same order. One gives them according to the relation which the subjects bear to each other ; another presents the different drafts of the same works side by side, while a third prefers the order in which they were composed. In the edition under consideration,
. the Novum Organum occupies the first place in the philosophical part of the series; and it is followed by the "De Augmentis ;"
* Most of the French critics deal with the great Chancellor in a spirit equally generous. The following passage will serve as an example, and it presents views very different from those of the best English critics of the present day, since ten to one of the latter, while second to none in their admiration of Bacon's genius, make no effort to conceal his guilt ; but on the contrary regard it as fully established :
“La sévérité dans les jugements est une chose si facile! N'y avait-il pas pourtant plus d'un motif capable d' expliquer la démarche de Bacon? Qui ne sait l'empire que de tout temps, dans les gouvernments d'autrefois, le monarque exercait sur les principaux dignitaries de la couronne ? Et comment faire un crime à Bacon, fils d'un grand seigneur, élevé lui-même et ayant passé la plus grande partie de sa vie dans l'atmosphère des cours, de n'avoir 'été ni Epictète, ni Zénon, et de s'être 'laissé séduire par le désir de plaire à
although it is pretty certain that the original order was the reverse of this. Both the author's letters and prefaces show that the “De Augmentis Scientiarum” was the first part of the great “Instauration.” This, however, is not of much importance, and Mr. Spedding assigns a reason for it which is plausible, if not altogether satisfactory. He tells us that, inasmuch as all the parts of the Instauration were incomplete and more or less abortive, the best way is to give "the Distributio Operis, setting forth the perfect work, as he conceived it in his mind, and then the series of imperfect and irregular efforts which he made to execute it, in the order in which they were made.” It is highly interesting to compare these different drafts with each other ; exhibiting, as they do, the successive additions and improvements made both in ideas and style before the author was satisfied. There is, however, one objection to them ; at first sight they are likely to confuse the reader. Thus, for example, the well known axium with which the Novum Organum opens, is also the beginning of two other separate productions—"Homo Naturae minister et enterpres, tantum facit aut intelligit, quantum de naturae ordine re vel mente observabit, ipse interim naturae legibus obsessus."
Had Bacon been a poor man it would seem evident that he must have made overtures to several publishers before he got any one to publish for him. In several instances he alters not only his style, but also his opinions and sentiments. On one occasion he employs the disguise of antiquity, as in “De Sapientia Veterum ;" on another he puts his ideas in the form of a speech addressed to a party of philosophers, as in the “Redargutio Philosophiarum," a considerable portion of which afterwards appears in the first book of the Novum Organum. It seems, from a memorandum
son souverain ? Il seroit injuste de juger avec nos idées modernes ceux qui prirent part à ces vieux démêlés du parlement et du roi ; et même à la distance où nous sommes de cette époque, nous pouvons aperevoir les secrets motifs qui amenèrent la chute du grand chancelier, et qui étaient, avec l'envie qu'excite toujours une haute fortune, le désir de faire subir indirectement un échec au favori de Jacques, le duc de Buckingham. Rawley, le chapelain, l' ami, le commensal, le biographe de Bacon et l'éditeur de la pulpart de ses oeuvres; Rawley, qui l'avait vu de près plus que personne, qui était trèscapable de l'apprécier, et qui parait avoir toujours conservé de lui un souvenir rempli d' affection et de vénération ; Rawley a dit hautementique la condamnation de Bacon fut l'ouvrage de l'envie." Oeuvres de Bacon, Par. M. F. Riaux. Premère serie, p. xvii.
book found by Mr. Spedding, that in July, 1608, he made some preparations to have his works printed in France. For these reasons many think that his Cogitata et Visa must-have been one of his latest efforts, since far from seeking a disguise in this he commences it thus, “Franciscus Bacon sic cognavit,” &c. "Franciscus Bacon so thought and deemed that for posterity to to know his thoughts was of concern to them;" and every paragraph in the whole production begins with the same three words. This, taken in connection with the first axiom of the Novum Organum already referred to, reminds the reader of Lucretius, of the similar tone of noble self-confidence in which the philosopherpoet discourses on the nature of things.
Nam tibi de summa coeli ratione Deumque
but there is this difference in favor of Bacon, that while the author of De Rerum Natura scoffs at religion, the author of the Novum Organum, whatever may be his faults besides, always upholds it. In the whole course of his writings there is not a single word that could be regarded as a sneer at Christianity; and it may be questioned whether even the author of "Hudibras" had a richer fund of wit than Bacon. Far from seeking to turn religion into ridicule, like Voltaire, Bayle, and certain other writers of the same school, no clergyman could be fonder of quoting Scripture. It is true, indeed, that sometimes his quotations from the sacred volume are not very appropriate ; as for example, when he makes use of them to prove that James the First is equal, if not superior to Solomon ; that the hearts of kings are inscrutable ; that kinge themselves are mortal gods ; representatives on earth of the Almighty, &c. This can hardly be called piety; indeed, to the thoughtful reader it is more like blasphemy. Still it is done with so much apparent reverence for the Scriptures, that it does little if any harm. As to his philosophy we have not deemed it necessary to occupy much space with it. We have already spoken of it in general terms as possessing inestimable value. It is, essentially, the philosophy of utility and progress—the philosophy, whose chief characteristic is fruit. Hence, it is called new in contradistinction to the ancient philosophy which disdained to
* De Rerum Natura, Lib. 1, 49.
be useful. Plato thought it well to study the properties of numbers, but not because they were calculated to serve some of the purposes of ordinary life, but as a means of habituating the mind to the contemplation of pure truth.* We are told that the same philosopher paid much attention to geometry and held the science in great esteem until his disciple, Archytas, framed powerful machines on mathematical principles. This, according to Plutarch, he denounced as vulgar, declaring that the use of geometry was to discipline the mind, not to minister to the base wants of the body. “Shall we set down astronomy," says Socrates, « among the subjects of study." "I think so ;" answers Glaucon, "to know something about the seasons, about the months and the years, is of use for military purposes as well as for agriculture and manufacture." “It amuses me," says the sage," to see how afraid some are lest the common herd of people should accuse you of recommending useless studies." Still more decided, if possible, was the opposition of Seneca to the application of philosophy to utilitarian purposes. "In my own time," he says, " there have been inventions of this sort-transparent windows, tubes for diffusing warmth equally through all parts of a building, short hand, which has been carried to such perfection that a writer can keep pace with the most rapid speaker. But the invention of such things is drudgery for the lowest of slaves : philosophy lies deeper. It is not her office to teach men how to use their hands. The object of her lessons is to show how to form the soul-Non est, inquam instrumentorum ad uses necessarios opifex." In another place the same philosopher exclaims, “We shall next be told that the first shoemaker was a philosopher." According to him, philosophy should be used only so far as it tends "to raise the mind above low things, to separate it from the body," &c.Even Archimides was half ashamed of those inventions which proved so formidable to the enemies of his country. But these very facts show that the ancients were not ignorant of the inductive system, which, according to the common opinion, was not known until Bacon discovered it. He made no such claim himself ; nor would any one who understands bis works, or has any knowledge of logic, not to mention philosophy. The inductive system is in fact more ancient than the opy avor of Aristotle, in relation to which Bacon's is called the Novum Organum--nay, it is quite as ancient as Noah's
* Plato's Republic, book 7.
+ Seneca Nat. Quaest. Praef. Lib. 3.
Ark. Bacon was not even the first that analyzed it. Aristotle was fully aware of the difference between syllogistic and induc tive reasoning ; or what is the same thing, between induction and
; deduction. Let those who doubt this refer to the last chapter of his Posterior Analytics, in which he actually gives the history of the inductive process, showing, at the same time, how absurd it is to suppose that
any other system could lead to the discovery of a new principle. What Bacon has done is to analyze the system better than any one else, and point out what it is capable of. By this means he gave it an importance and dignity which it had never possessed before. In a word, he taught those capable of thinking how they could make the best use of their reasoning faculties. Is there not sufficient glory in this without the addition of anything that does not belong to it? If it be asked, more particularly, What has Bacon's philosophy accomplished, the answer may be given as follows :—“It has lengthened life ; it has mitigated pain ; it has extinguished diseases ; it has increased the fertility of the soil ; it has given new securities to the mariner ; it has furnished new arms to the warrior ; it has spanned great rivers and estuaries with bridges of form unknown to our fathers ; it has guided the thunderbolt innocuously from heaven to earth; it has lighted up the night with the splendor of the day; it has extended the range of the human vision; it has multiplied the power of the human muscles ; it has accelerated motion ; it has annihilated distance; it has facilitated intercourse, correspondence and friendly offices, all despatch of business ; it has enabled man to descend to the depths of the sea, to soar into the air, to penetrate securely into the noxious recesses of the earth, to traverse the land on cars which whirl along without horses, and the ocean in ships which sail against the wind. These are but a part of its fruits. For it is a philosophy which never rests, and which is never perfect. Its law is progress. A point which yesterday was invisible, is its goal to-day, and will be its starting point to-morrow."*
* The most eminent savans of Continental Europe fully recognize this. Le nom de Bacon, says M. Riaux, inscrit par d'Alembert en tête de sou cēlèbre Discours Préliminaire, en fait comme le patron pbilosophique de cette grande enterprise. On y suivit sa division des connaissances humaines, on essaya de l'inspirer de son esprit; on laissa dans l'ombre le rôle potetique qu'il avait jouē; aux yeur de la France du XVIIIo siècle, et de l'Europe, qui etait son