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cess Bacon has, in the second book of the No- | ham Grenville would have been sufficient to vum Organum, done for the inductive process; do the work. that is to say, he has analyzed it well. His rules are quite proper; but we do not need them, because they are drawn from our own constant practice.
It appears to us, then, that the difference be tween a sound and an unsound induction, or, to use the Baconian phraseology, between the interpretation of nature and the anticipation But though everybody is constantly perform- of nature, does not lie in this-that the intering the process described in the second book preter of nature goes through the process anaof the Novum Organum, some men perform it lyzed in the second book of the Novum Organum well and some perform it ill. Some are led and the anticipator through a different process by it to truth and some to error. It led Frank- They may both perform the same process. But lin to discover the nature of lightning. It led the anticipator performs it foolishly or carethousands who had less brains than Franklin lessly; the interpreter performs it with patience, to believe in animal magnetism. But this was attention, sagacity, and judgment. Now, prenot because Franklin went through the process cepts can do little towards making men patient described by Bacon and the dupes of Mesmer and attentive, and still less towards making through a different process. The comparentia them sagacious and judicious. It is very well and rejectiones, of which we have given exam- to tell men to be on their guard against prej. ples, will be found in the most unsound deduc- dices, not to believe facts on slight evidence, tions. We have heard that an eminent judge not to be content with a scanty collection of of the last generation was in the habit of facts, to put out of their minds the idola which jocosely propounding after dinner a theory, Bacon has so finely described. But these rules that the cause of the prevalence of Jacobinism are too general to be of much practical use. was the practice of bearing three names. He The question is, what is a prejudice? How quoted on the one side Charles James Fox, long does the incredulity with which I hear a Richard Brinsley Sheridan, John Horne Tooke, new theory propounded continue to be a wise John Philpot Curran, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and salutary incredulity? When does it be Theobald Wolfe Tone. These were instantia come an idolum specus, the unreasonable perticonvenientes. He then proceeded to cite instances nacity of a too skeptical mind? What is slight absentiæ in proxime:-William Pitt, John Scott, evidence? What collection of facts is scanty? William Wyndham, Samuel Horsley, Henry Will ten instances do, or fifty, or a hundred? Dundas, Edmund Burke. He might have gone In how many months would the first human on to instances secundum magis et minus. The beings who settled on the shores of the ocean practice of giving children three names has been have been justified in believing that the moon for some time a growing practice, and Jacobin-had an influence on their tides? After how ism has also been growing. The practice of giving children three names is more common in America than in England. In England we still have a king and a House of Lords, but the Americans are republicans. The rejectioncs are obvious. Burke and Theobald Wolfe Tone were both Irishmen; therefore the being an Irishman is not the cause of Jacobinism. We think, then, that it is possible to lay Horsley and Horne Tooke are both clergy-down accurate rules, as Bacon has done, for men; therefore the being a clergyman is not the performing of that part of the inductive the cause of Jacobinism. Fox and Wyndham process which all men perform alike; but that were both educated at Oxford; and therefore these rules, though accurate, are not wanted, the being educated at Oxford is not the cause because in truth they only tell us to do what of Jacobinism. Pitt and Horne Tooke were we are all doing. We think that it is impossi both educated at Cambridge; therefore the be-ble to lay down any precise rule for the pering educated at Cambridge is not the cause of Jacobinism. In this way our inductive philosopher arrives at what Bacon calls the vintage, and pronounces that the having three names is the cause of Jacobinism.
Here is an induction corresponding with Bacon's analysis, and ending in a monstrous absurdity. In what, then, does this induction differ from the induction which leads us to the conclusion that the presence of the sun is the cause of our having more light by day than by night? The difference evidently is not in the kind of instances, but in the number of instances; that is to say, the difference is not in that part of the process for which Bacon has given precise rules but in a circumstance for which no precise rae can possibly be given. If the learned author of the theory about Jacobinism had enlarged either of his tables a little, his system would have been destroyed. The names of Tom Paine and William Wynd
many experiments would Jenner have been
forming of that part of the inductive process which a great experimental philosopher performs in one way and a superstitious old woman in another.
On this subject, we think, Bacon was in an error. He certainly attributed to his rules a value which did not belong to them. He went so far as to say, that if his method of making discoveries were adopted, little would depend on the degree of force or acuteness of any intellect; that all minds would be reduced to one level; that his philosophy resembled a compass or a rule which equalizes all hands, and enables the most unpractised person to draw a more correct circle or line than the best draughtsman can produce without such aid. This really seems to us as extravagant as it would have been in Lindley Murray to an nounce that everybody who should learn his
*Novum Organum, Præf. and Lib. 1, Aph. 122.
grammar would write as good English as Dryden; or in that very able writer, Dr. Whately, to promise that all the readers of his ogic would reason like Chill.ngworth, and that all the readers of his rhetoric would speak like Burke. That Bacon was altogether mistaken as to this point will now hardly be disputed. His philosophy has flourished during two hundred years, and has produced none of this levelling. The interval between a man of talents and a dunce is as wide as ever; and is never more clearly discernible than when they engage in researches which require the constant use of induction.
and carefully. His predecessors had been anticipators of nature. They had been content with first principles, at which they had arrived by the most scanty and slovenly induction. And why was this! It was, we conceive, because their philosophy proposed to itself no practical end, because it was merely an exer cise of the mind. A man who wants to contrive a new machine or a new medicine has a strong motive to observe accurately and patiently, and to try experiment after experiment. But a man who merely wants a theme for disputation or declamation has no such motive. He is therefore content with premises ground.
hasty induction. Thus, we conceive, the schoolmen acted. On their foolish premises they often argued with great ability; and as their object was "assensum subjugare, non res"
It will be seen that we do not consider Ba-ed on assumption, or on the most scanty and con's ingenious analysis of the inductive method as a very useful performance. Bacon was not, as we have already said, the inventor of the inductive method. He was not even the person who first analyzed the inductive method to be victorious in controversy, not to be correctly, though he undoubtedly analyzed it victorious over nature-they were consistent. more minutely than any who preceded him. For just as much logical skill could be shown He was not the person who first showed that in reasoning on false as on true premises. by the inductive method alone new truth could But the followers of the new philosophy, probe discovered. But he was the person who posing to themselves the discovery of useful first turned the minds of speculative men, truth as their object, must have altogether fail long occupied in verbal disputes, to the dis-ed of attaining that object, if they had been covery of new truth; and, by doing so, he at content to build theories on superficial indu once gave to the inductive method an import- tion. ance and dignity which had never before belonged to it. He was not the maker of that road; he was not the discoverer of that road; he was not the person who first surveyed and mapped that road. But he was the person who first called the public attention to an inexhaustible mine of wealth, which had been utterly neglected, and which was accessible by that road alone. By doing so, he caused that road which had previously been trodden only by peasants and higglers, to be frequented by a higher class of travellers.
That which was eminently his own in his system was the end which he proposed to himself. The end being given, the means, as it appears to us, could not well be mistaken. If others had aimed at the same object with Bacon, we hold it to be certain that they would have employed the same method with Bacon. It would have been hard to convince Seneca that the inventing of a safety-lamp was an employment worthy of a philosopher. It would have been hard to persuade Thomas Aquinas to descend from the making of syllogisms to the making of gunpowder. But Seneca would never have doubted for a moment that it was only by a series of experiments that a safetylamp could be invented. Thomas Aquinas would never have thought that his barbara and baralipton would enable him to ascertain the proportion which charcoal ought to bear to saltpetre in a pound of gunpowder. Neither common sense nor Aristotle would have suffered him to fall into such an absurdity.
By stimulating men to the discovery of new truth, Bacon stimulated them to employ the inductive method, the only method, even the ancient philosophers and the schoolmen themselves being judges, by which new truth can be discovered. By stimulating men to the discovery c useful truth, he furnished them with a motive to perform the inductive process well
Bacon has remarked† that in all ages when philosophy was stationary, the mechanical arts went on improving. Why was this? Evidently because the mechanic was not content with so careless a mode of induction as served the purpose of the philosopher. And why was the philosopher more easily satisfied than the mechanic? Evidently because the object of the mechanic was to mould things, whilst the object of the philosopher was only to mould words. Careful induction is not at all neces sary to the making of a good syllogism. But it is indispensable to the making of a good shoe. Mechanics, therefore, have always been, as far as the range of their humble but useful callings extended, not anticipators but inter preters of nature. And when a philosophy arose, the object of which was to do on a large scale what the mechanic does on a small scale
to extend the power and to supply the wants of man-the truth of the premises, which logically is a matter altogether unimportant, be came a matter of the highest importance; and the careless induction with which men of learning had previously been satisfied, gave place, of necessity, to an induction far more accurate and satisfactory.
What Bacon did for the inductive philoso phy may, we think, be fairly stated thus. The objects of preceding speculators were objects which could be obtained without careful induction. Those speculators, therefore, did not perform the inductive process carefully. Bacon stirred up men to pursue an object which could be attained only by induction, and by induction carefully performed; and cen sequently induction was more carefully per formed. We do not think that the importance of what Bacon did for inductive philosophy
* Novum Organum, Lib. 1, Aph. 29.
has ever been overrated. But we think that | lectual universe resembled that which the archthe nature of his services is often mistaken, angel, from the golden threshold of heaven, and was not fully understood even by himself. darted down into the new creation. It was not by furnishing philosophers with rules for performing the inductive process well, but by furnishing them with a motive for performing it well, that he conferred so vast a benefit on society.
To give to the human mind a direction which it shall retain for ages is the rare prerogative of a few imperial spirits. It cannot, therefore, be uninteresting to inquire, what was the moral and intellectual constitution which enabled Bacon to exercise so vast an influence on the world.
In the temper of Bacon-we speak of Bacon the philosopher, not of Bacon the lawyer and politician-there was a singular union of audacity and sobriety. The promises which he made to mankind might, to a superficial reader, seem to resemble the rants which a great dramatist has put into the mouth of an Oriental conqueror, half-crazed by good fortune and by violent passions:
"He shall have chariots easier than air,
That shall be made to go with golden wheels,
But Bacon performed what he promised. In truth, Fletcher would not have dared to make Arbaces promise, in his wildest fits of excitement, the tithe of what the Baconian philosophy has performed.
The true philosophical temperament may, we think, be described in four words-much hope, little faith; a disposition to believe that any thing, however extraordinary, may be done; an indisposition to believe that any thing extraordinary has been done. In these points the constitution of Bacon's mind seems to us to have been absolutely perfect. He was at once the Mammon and the Surly of his friend Ben. Sir Epicure did not indulge in visions more magnificent and gigantic. Surly did not sift evidence with keener and more sagacious incredulity.
Closely connected with this peculiarity of Bacon's temper was a striking peculiarity of his understanding. With great minuteness of observation he had an amplitude of comprehension such as has never yet been vouchsafed to any other human being. The small fine mind of Labruyère had not a more delicate tact than the large intellect of Bacon. The "Essays" contain abundant proofs that no nice feature of character, no peculiarity in the ordering of a house, a garden, or a courtunasque, could escape the notice of one whose mind was capable of taking in the whole world of knowledge. His understanding resembled the tent which the fairy Paribanou gave to Prince Ahmed. Fold it, and it seemed a toy for the hand of a lady. Spread it, and the armies of powerful sultans might repose beneath its shade.
In keenness of observation he has been equalled, though perhaps never surpassed. bus the largeness of his mind was all his own. The glauce with which he surveyed the intel- |
"Round he surveyed-and well might, where he stood So high above the circling canopy
Of night's extended shade-from eastern point
His knowledge differed from that of other men as a Terrestrial Globe differs from an Atlas which contains a different country on every leaf. The towns and roads of England, France, and Germany are better laid down in the atlas than in the globe. But while we are looking at England we see nothing of France; and while we are looking at France we see nothing of Germany. We may go to the atlas to learn the bearings and distances of York and Bristol, or of Dresden and Prague. But it is useless if we want to know the bearings and distances of France and Martinique, or of England and Canada. On the globe we shall not find all the market-towns in our own neighbourhood; but we shall learn from it the comparative extent and the relative position of all the king doms of the earth. "I have taken," said Bacon, in a letter written when he was only thirtyone, to his uncle, Lord Burleigh, "I have taken all knowledge to be my province." any other young man, indeed in any other man, this would have been a ridiculous flight of presumption. There have been thousands of better mathematicians, astronomers, chemists, physicians, botanists, mineralogists, than Bacon. No man would go to Bacon's works to learn any particular science or art; any more than he would go to a twelve-inch globe in order to find his way from Kennington Turnpike to Clapham Common. The art which Bacon taught was the art of inventing arts. The knowledge in which Bacon excelled all men, was a knowledge of the mutual relations of all departments of knowledge.
The mode in which he communicated his thoughts was exceedingly peculiar. He had no touch of that disputatious temper which he often censured in his predecessors. He effected a vast intellectual revolution in opposition to a vast mass of prejudices; yet he never engaged in any controversy; nay, we cannot at present recollect, in all his philosophical works, a single passage of a controversial character. All those works might with propriety have been put into the form which he adopted in the work entitled Cogitata et visa; "Franciscus Baconus sic cogitavit." These are thoughts which have occurred to me: weigh them well, and take them or leave them.
Borgia said of the famous expedition of Charles the Eighth, that the French had conquered Italy, not with steel, but with chalk; for that the only exploit which they had found necessary for the purpose of taking military occupation of any place, had been to mark the doors of the houses where they meant to quar ter. Bacon often quoted this saying, and loved to apply it to the victories of his own inter lect.
His philosophy, he said, came as a Novum Organum, Lib. 1, Aph. 35, and elsewhere
factions. If this be indeed the philosophia prima. we are quite sure that the greatest philoso phical work of the nineteenth century is Mr. Moore's "Lalla Rookh." The similitudes which we have cited are very happy simili
guest, not as an enery. She found no difficulty in obtaining admittance, without a contest, into every understanding fitted, by its structure, and by its capacity, to receive her. In all this we think that he acted most judiciously; first, because, as he has himself remarked, the differ-tudes. But that a man like Bacon should ence between his school and other schools was a difference so fundamental, that there was hardly any common ground on which a controversial battle could be fought; and, secondly, because his mind, eminently observant, pre-eminently discursive and capacious, was, we conceive, neither formed by nature, nor disciplined by habit, for dialectical combat.
Though Bacon did not arm his philosophy with the weapons of logic, he adorned her profusely with all the richest decorations of rhetoric. His eloquence, though not untainted with the vicious taste of his age, would alone have entitled him to a high rank in literature. He had a wonderful talent for packing thought close and rendering it portable. In wit, if by wit be meant the power of perceiving analogies between things which appear to have nothing in common, he never had an equal-not even Cowley-not even the author of Hudibras. Indeed. he possessed this faculty, or rather this faculty possessed him, to a morbid degree. When he abandoned himself to it without reserve, as he did in the Sapientia Veterum, and at the end of the second book of the De Augmentis, the feats which he performed were not merely admirable, but portentous, and almost shocking. On those occasions we marvel at him as clowns on a fair-day marvel at a juggler, and can hardly help thinking that the devil must
be in him.
have taken them for more, that he should have thought the discovery of such resemblances as these an important part of philosophy, has always appeared to us one of the most singular facts in the history of letters.
The truth is, that his mind was wonderfully quick in perceiving analogies of all sorts. But like several eminent men whom we could name, both living and dead, he sometimes appeared strangely deficient in the power of distinguishing rational from fanciful analogiesanalogies which are arguments from analo gies which are mere illustrations-analogies like that which Bishop Butler so ably pointed out between natural and revealed religion, from analogies like that which Addison dis covered between the series of Grecian gods carved by Phidias, and the series of English kings painted by Kneller. This want of discrimination has led to many strange political speculations. Sir William Temple deduced a theory of government from the properties of the pyramid. Mr. Southey's whole system of finance is grounded on the phenomena of eva poration and rain. In theology this perverted ingenuity has made still wilder work. From the time of Irenæus and Origen, down to the present day, there has not been a single gene. ration in which great divines have not been led into the most absurd expositions of Scrip ture, by mere incapacities to distinguish analogies proper, to use the scholastic phrase, from analogies metaphorical. It is curious that Bacon has himself mentioned this very kind of delusion among the idola specus; and has mentioned it in language which, we are inclined to think, indicates that he knew himself to be subject to it. It is the vice, he tells us, of subtle minds to attach too much importance to slight distinctions; it is the vice, on the other hand, of high and discursive intellects to at tach too much importance to slight resemblances; and he adds, that when this last propensity is indulged to excess, it leads men to catch at shadows instead of substances.f
These, however, were freaks in which his ingenuity now and then wantoned, with scarcely any other object than to astonish and amuse, But it occasionally happened that, when he was engaged in grave and profound investigations, his wit obtained the mastery over all his other faculties, and led him into absurdities into which no dull man could possibly have fallen. We will give the most striking instance which at present occurs to us. In the third book of the De Augmentis he tells us that there are some principles which are not peculiar to one science, but are common to several. That part of philosophy which concerns itself with these principles is, in his nomenclature, de- Yet we cannot wish that Bacon's wit had signated as philosophia prima. He then pro- been less luxuriant. For, to say nothing of ceeds to mention some of the principles with the pleasure which it affords, it was in the which this philosophia prima is conversant. One vast majority of cases employed for the pur of them is this: An infectious disease is more pose of making obscure truth plain, of making likely to be communicated while it is in pro-repulsive truth attractive, of fixing in the gress than when it has reached its height. This, says he, is true in medicine. It is also true in morals; for we see that the example of The poetical faculty was powerful in Bacon s very abandoned men injures public morality mind; but not, like his wit, so powerful as ocless than the example of men in whom vice casionally to usurp the place of his reason, has not yet extinguished all good qualities. and to tyrannize over the whole man. No Again, he tells us that in music a discord end-imagination was ever at once so strong and so ing in a concord is agreeable, and that the thoroughly subjugated. It never stirred but at same thing may be noted in the affections. a signal from good sense. It stopped at the Once more he tells us, that in physics the energy with which a principle acts is often increased by the antiperistasis of its opposite; and that it is the same in the contests of
mind forever truth which might otherwise have made but a transient impression.
See some interesting remarks on this subject in
Rishop Berkeley's "Minute Philosopher." Dialogue + Novum Organum, Lib. 1, Aob. 55.
as it is first to ripen, it is also first to fade. It has generally lost something of its bloom and freshness before the sterner faculties have reached maturity: and is commonly withered and barren while those faculties still retain all their energy. It rarely happens that the fancy and the judgment grow together. It happens still more rarely that the judgment grows faster than the fancy. This seems, however, to have been the case with Bacon. His boyhood and youth appear to have been singularly sedate. His gigantic scheme of philosophical reform is said by some writers to have been planned before he was fifteen; and was undoubtedly
first check from good sense. Yet, though disciplined to such obedience, it gave noble proofs of its vigour. In truth, much of Bacon's life was passed in a visionary world-amidst things as strange as any that are described in the "Arabian Tales," or in those romances on which the curate and barber of Don Quixote's village performed so cruel an auto-da-feamidst buildings more sumptuous than the palace of Aladdin, fountains more wonderful than the golden water of Parizade, conveyances more rapid than the hippogryph of Ruggiero, arms more formidable than the lance of Astolfo, remedies more efficacious than the balsam of Fierabras. Yet in his magnificent day-planned while he was still young. He observed dreams there was nothing wild-nothing but as vigilantly, meditated as deeply, and judged what sober reason sanctioned. He knew that as temperately, when he gave his first work to all the secrets feigned by poets to have been the world as at the close of his long career. written in the books of enchanters, are worth- But in eloquence, in sweetness, and variety of less when compared with the mighty secrets expression, and in richness of illustration, his which are really written in the book of nature, later writings are far superior to those of his and which, with time and patience, will be youth. In this respect the history of his mind read there. He knew that all the wonders bears some resemblance to the history of the wrought by all the talismans in fable, were mind of Burke. The treatise on the "Sublime trifles, when compared to the wonders which and Beautiful," though written on a subject might reasonably be expected from the phi- which the coldest metaphysician could hardly losophy of fruit; and, that if his words sank treat without being occasionally betrayed into deep into the minds of men, they would pro- florid writing, is the most unadorned of all duce effects such as superstition had never Burke's works. It appeared when he was ascribed to the incantations of Merlin and Mi- twenty-five or twenty-six. When at forty, r chael Scot. It was here that he loved to let his wrote the "Thoughts on the Causes of the eximagination loose. He loved to picture to him-isting Discontents," his reason and his judg self the world as it would be when his philoso- ment had reached their full maturity; but his phy should, in his own noble phrase, "have eloquence was still in its splendid dawn. At enlarged the bounds of human empire." We fifty, his rhetoric was quite as rich as good might refer to many instances. But we will taste would permit; and when he died, at content ourselves with the strongest, the de- almost seventy, it had become ungracefully scription of the "House of Solomon" in the gorgeous. In his youth he wrote on the emo"New Atlantis." By most of Bacon's contem- tions produced by mountains and cascades; by poraries, and by some people of our time, this the masterpieces of painting and sculpture; by remarkable passage would, we doubt not, be the faces and necks of beautiful women, in the considered as an ingenious rodomontade-a style of a parliamentary report. In his old age, counterpart to the adventures of Sinbad or Ba- he discussed treaties and tariffs in the most ron Munchausen. The truth is, that there is fervid and brilliant language of romance. It not to be found in any human composition a is strange that the essay on the "Sublime and passage more eminently distinguished by pro- Beautiful," and the "Letter to a Noble Lord," found and serene wisdom. The boldness and should be the productions of one man. But it originality of the fiction is far less wonderful is far more strange that the essay should have than the nice discernment which carefully ex-been a production of his youth, and the letter cluded from that long list of prodigies every thing that can be pronounced impossible; every thing that can be proved to lie beyond the mighty magic of induction and of time. Already some parts, and not the least startling parts, of this glorious prophecy have been accomplished, even according to the letter; and the whole, construed according to the spirit, is daily accomplishing all around us.
One of the most remarkable circumstances in the history of Bacon's mind, is the order in which its powers expanded themselves. With him the fruit came first and remained till the last: the blossoms did not appear till late. In general the development of the fancy is to the development of the judgment, what the growth of a girl is to the growth of a boy. The fancy attains at an earlier period to the perfection of its beauty, its power, and its fruitfulness and,
of his old age.
We will give very short specimens of Ba con's two styles. In 1597, he wrote thus “Crafty men contemn studies; simple mer admire them; and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use: that is a wisdor without them, and won by observation. Reac not to contradict, nor to believe, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man. And therefore if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, have a present wit; and if he read little, have much cunning to seem to know that he doth not. Histories make men wise, poets witty, the mathematics subtle, natural philoso phy deep, morals grave, logic and rhetoric able to contend." It will hardly be disputed that this is a passage to be "chewed and digested.*