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guest, not as an enen.y. She found no difficulty | factions. If this be indeed the philosophia prima, in obtaining admittance, without a contest, into we are quite sure that the greatest philoso every understanding fitted, by its structure, and phical work of the nineteenth century is Mr. by its capacity, to receive her. In all this we Moore's "Lalla Rookh." The similitudes think that he acted most judiciously; first, be- which we have cited are very happy similicause, as he has himself remarked, the differ- tudes. But that a man like Bacon should ence between his school and other schools was a have taken them for more, that he should have difference so fundamental, that there was hardly thought the discovery of such resemblances as any common ground on which a controversial these an important part of philosophy, has albattle could be fought; and, secondly, because ways appeared to us one of the most singular his mind, eminently observant, pre-eminently facts in the history of letters. 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 De in him.
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 analogies 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 discovered 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 evaporation 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 attach 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.t
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 purof 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 very abandoned men injures public morality less than the example of men in whom vice has not yet extinguished all good qualities. Again, he tells us that in music a discord ending in a concord is agreeable, and that the same thing may be noted in the affections. 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.
The poetical faculty was powerful in Bacon s mind; but not, like his wit, so powerful as occasionally to usurp the place of his reason, and to tyrannize over the whole man. imagination was ever at once so strong and so thoroughly subjugated. It never stirred but a! a signal from good sense. It stopped at the
See some interesting remarks on this subject in
irst check from good sense. Yet, though dis- as it is first to ripen, it is also first to fade. It ciplined to such obedience, it gave noble proofs has generally lost something of its bloom and of its vigour. In truth, much of Bacon's life freshness before the sterner faculties have was passed in a visionary world-amidst things reached maturity: and is commonly withered as strange as any that are described in the and barren while those faculties still retain all "Arabian Tales," or in those romances on their energy. It rarely happens that the fancy which the curate and barber of Don Quixote's and the judgment grow together. It happens village performed so cruel an auto-da-fe- still more rarely that the judgment grows faster amidst buildings more sumptuous than the than the fancy. This seems, however, to have palace of Aladdin, fountains more wonderful been the case with Bacon. His boyhood and than the golden water of Parizade, conveyances youth appear to have been singularly sedate. more rapid than the hippogryph of Ruggiero, His gigantic scheme of philosophical reform is arms more formidable than the lance of As- said by some writers to have been planned tolfo, remedies more efficacious than the balsam before he was fifteen; and was undoubtedly 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, hig 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, h chael Scot. It was here that he loved to let his wrote the "Thoughts on the Causes of the ex imagination loose. He loved to picture to him-isting Discontents," his reason and his judg self the world as it would be when his philosophy should, in his own noble phrase, "have enlarged the bounds of human empire."* We might refer to many instances. But we will content ourselves with the strongest, the description of the "House of Solomon" in the "New Atlantis." By most of Bacon's contemporaries, and by some people of our time, this remarkable passage would, we doubt not, be considered as an ingenious rodomontade-a counterpart to the adventures of Sinbad or Baron Munchausen. The truth is, that there is not to be found in any human composition a passage more eminently distinguished by profound and serene wisdom. The boldness and originality of the fiction is far less wonderful than the nice discernment which carefully excluded 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,
ment had reached their full maturity; but his eloquence was still in its splendid dawn. At fifty, his rhetoric was quite as rich as good taste would permit; and when he died, at almost seventy, it had become ungracefully gorgeous. In his youth he wrote on the emo tions produced by mountains and cascades; by the masterpieces of painting and sculpture; by the faces and necks of beautiful women, in the style of a parliamentary report. In his old age, he discussed treaties and tariffs in the most fervid and brilliant language of romance. It is strange that the essay on the "Sublime and Beautiful," and the "Letter to a Noble Lord," should be the productions of one man. But it is far more strange that the essay should have been a production of his youth, and the letter 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 wisdom without them, and won by observation. Read 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.
We do not believe that Thucydides himself has | Proposition after proposition enters into the anywhere compressed so much thought into so small a space.
In the additions which Bacon afterwards made to the "Essays," there is nothing superior in truth or weight to what we have quoted. But his style was constantly becoming richer and softer. The following passage, first published in 1625, will show the extent of the change: "Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament, adversity is the blessing of the New, which carrieth the greater benediction and the clearer evidences of God's favour. Yet, even in the Old Testament, if you listen to David's harp you shall hear as many hearselike airs as carols; and the pencil of the Holy Ghost hath laboured more in describing the afflictions of Job than the felicities of Solomon. Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes. We see in needleworks and embroideries it is more pleasing to have a lively work upon a sad and solemn ground, than to have a dark and melancholy work upon a lightsome ground. Judge therefore of the pleasure of the heart by the pleasure of the eye. Certainly virtue is like precious odours, most fragrant when they are incensed or crushed; for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue." It is by the "Essays" that Bacon is best known to the multitude. The Novum Organum and the De Augmentis are much talked of, but little read. They have produced indeed a vast effect on the opinions of mankind; but they have produced it through the operations of intermediate agents. They have moved the intellects which have moved the world. It is in the "Essays" alone that the mind of Bacon is brought into immediate contact with the minds of ordinary readers. There, ne opens an exoteric school, and he talks to plain men in language which everybody understands, about things in which everybody is interested. He has thus enabled those who must otherwise have taken his merits on trust to judge for themselves; and the great body of readers have, during several generations, acknowledged that the man who has treated with such consummate ability questions with which they are familiar, may well be supposed to deserve all the praise bestowed on him by those who have sat in his inner school.
Without any disparagement to the admirable treatise De Augmentis, we must say that, in our judgment, Bacon's greatest performance is the first book of the Novum Organum. All the peculiarities of his extraordinary mind are found there in the highest perfection. Many of the aphorisms, but particularly those in which he gives examples of the influence of the idola, show a nicety of observation that has never been surpassed. Every part of the book blazes with wit, but with wit which is employed only to illustrate and decorate truth. No book ever made so great a revolution in the mode of thinking, overthrew so many prejudices, introduced so many new opinions. Yet, no book was ever written in a less contentious spirit. It truly conquers with chalk and not with steel.
mind, is received not as an invader, but as a welcome friend, and though previously unknown, becomes at once domesticated. what we most admire is the vast capacity cf that intellect which, without effort, takes in at once all the domains of science-all the past, the present, and the future, all the errors of two thousand years, all the encouraging signs of the passing times, all the bright hopes of the coming age. Cowley, who was among the most ardent, and not among the least discerning followers of the new philosophy, has, in one of his finest poems, compared Bacon to Moses standing on Mount Pisgah. It is to Bacon, we think, as he appears in the first book of the Novum Organum, that the comparison applies with peculiar felicity. There we see the great Lawgiver looking round from his lonely elevation on an infinite expanse; behind him a wilderness of dreary sands and bitter waters in which successive generations have sojourned, always moving, yet never advancing, reaping no harvest and building no abiding city; before him a goodly land, a land of promise, a land flowing with milk and honey. While the multitude below saw only the flat sterile desert in which they had so long wandered, bounded on every side by a near horizon, or diversified only by some deceitful mirage, he was gazing from a far higher stand, on a far lovelier country-following with his eye the long course of fertilizing rivers, through ample pastures, and under the bridges of great capitals-measuring the distances of marts and havens, and portioning out all those wealthy regions from Dan to Beersheba.
It is painful to turn back from contemplating Bacer's philosophy to contemplate his life. Yet without so turning back it is impossible fairly to estimate his powers. He left the University at an earlier age than that at which most people repair thither. While yet a boy he was plunged into the midst of diplomatic business. Thence he passed to the study of a vast technical system of law, and worked his way up through a succession of laborious offices to the highest post in his profession. In the mean time he took an active part in every Parliament; he was an adviser of the crown; he paid court with the greatest assiduity and address to all whose favour was likely to be of use to him; he lived much in society; he noted the slightest peculiarities of character and the slightest changes of fashion. Scarcely any man has led a more stirring life than that which Bacon led from sixteen to sixty. Scarcely any man has been better en titled to be called a thorough man of the world. The founding of a new philosophy, the imparting of a new direction to the minds of specu lators-this was the amusement of his leisure, the work of hours occasionally stolen from the Woolsack and the Council Board. This consideration, while it increases the admiration with which we regard his intellect, increases also our regret that such an intellect should so often have been unworthily employed. He well knew the better course, and had, at one
time, resolved to pursue it. "I confess," said | not then have to blush for the disingenuoushe in a letter written when he was still young, ness of the most devoted worshipper of specu that I have as vast contemplative ends as I lative truth, for the servility of the boldest have moderate civil ends." Had his civil ends champion of intellectual freedom. We should continued to be moderate, he would have been, not then have seen the same man at one tims not only the Moses, but the Joshua of philo- far in the van, and at another time far in the sophy. He would have fulfilled a large part rear of his generation. We should not then be of his own magnificent predictions. He would forced to own, that he who first treated legisnave led his followers, not only to the verge, lation as a science was among the last Engbut into the heart of the promised land. He lishmen who used the rack; that he who first would not merely have pointed out, but would summoned philosophers to the great work of have divided the spoil. Above all, he would interpreting nature was among the last Eng have left not only a great, but a spotless name. lishmen who sold justice. And we should Mankind would then have been able to esteem conclude our survey of a life placidly, honourtheir illustrious benefactor. We should not ably, benefmently passed, "in industrious ob then be compelled to regard his character with servations, grounded conclusions, and profita mingled contempt and admiration, with min-ble inventions and discoveries,”* with feelings gled aversion and gratitude. We should not then regret that there should be so many proofs of the narrowness and selfishness of a heart, the benevolence of which was yet large enough to take in all races and all ages. We should!
very different from those with which we now turn away from the checkered spectacle of su much glory and so much shame.
From a Letter of Bacon to Lord Burleigh.
MACKINTOSH'S HISTORY OF THE REVOLUTION IN ENGLAND, IN 1688.*
[EDINBURGH REVIEW, 1835.]
Ir is with unfeigned diffidence that we ven- at mess in Hampshire, or on the Treasury. ture to give our opinion of the last work of Sir bench and at Brookes's during the storms which James Mackintosh. We have in vain tried to overthrew Lord North and Lord Shelburne had perform what ought to be to a critic an easy been passed in the Bodleian Library, he might and habitual act. We have in vain tried to have avoided some inaccuracies; he might separate the book from the writer, to judge have enriched his notes with a greater number of it as if it bore some me unknown name. But of references; but he never would have proit is to no purpose. All the lines of that vene- duced so lively a picture of the court, the rable countenance are before us. All the little camp, and the senate-house. In this respect peculiar cadences of that voice, from which Mr. Fox and Sir James Mackintosh had great scholars and statesmen loved to receive the advantages over almost every English hislessons of a serene and benevolent wisdom, torian who has written since the time of Burarc in our ears. We will attempt to preserve net. Lord Lyttleton had indeed the same adstrict impartiality. But we are not ashamed vantages; but he was incapable of using them. to own, that we approach this relic of a virtuous and most accomplished man with feelings of respect and gratitude which may possibly pervert our judgment.
Pedantry was so deeply fixed in his nature, that the hustings, the treasury, the exchequer, the House of Commons, the House of Lords, left him the same dreaming schoolboy that they found him.
hardly more clear than the superiority of Sir James to Mr. Fox as an historian. Mr. Fox with a pen in his hand, and Sir James on his legs in the House of Commons, were, we think, each out of his proper element. They were men, it is true, of far too much judgment and ability to fail scandalously in any undertaking to which they brought the whole power of their minds. The History of James II. will always keep its place in our libraries as a valuable book; and Sir James Mackintosh succeeded in winning and maintaining a high place among the parliamentary speakers of his time. Yet we could never read a page of Mr. Fox's writing, we could never listen for a quarter of an hour to the speaking of Sir James, without feeling that there was a constant effort, a tug up hill. Nature, or habit which had become nature, asserted its rights. Mr. Fox wrote debates. Sir James Mackintosh spoke essays.
It is hardly possible to avoid instituting a comparison between this work and another When we compare the two interesting works celebrated Fragment. Our readers will easily of which we have been speaking, we have litguess that we allude to Mr. Fox's History of tle difficulty in awarding the superiority to that James II. The two books are written on the of Sir James Mackintosh. Indeed, the supesame subject. Both were posthumously pub-riority of Mr. Fox to Sir James as an orator is lished. Neither had received the last corrections. The authors belonged to the same poliLcal party, and held the same opinions concerning the merits and defects of the English constitution, and concerning most of the prominent characters and events in English history. They had thought much on the principles of government; but they were not mere speculators. They had ransacked the archives of rival kingdoms, and pored on folios which had mouldered for ages in deserted libraries; but they were not mere antiquaries. They had one eminent qualification for writing history-they had spoken history, acted history, lived history. The turns of political fortune, the ebb and flow of popular feeling, the hidden mechanism by which parties are moved, all these things were the subjects of their constant thought and of their most familiar conversation. Gibbon has remarked, that his history is much the better for his having been an officer in the militia and a member of the House of Commons. The remark is most just. We have not the smallest doubt that his campaign, though he never saw an enemy, and his parliamentary attendance, though he never made a speech, were of far more use to him than years of retirement and study would have been. If the time that he spent on parade and
As far as mere diction was concerned, indeed, Mr. Fox did his best to avoid those faults which the habit of public speaking is likely to generate. He was so nervously apprehensive of sliding into some colloquial incorrectness, of debasing his style by a mixture of parlia mentary slang, that he ran into the opposite error, and purified his vocabulary with a scru pulosity unknown to any purist. "Ciceronem Allobroga dixit." He would not allow Addison, History of the Revolution in England, in 1688. Com-Bolingbroke, or Middleton, to be a sufficien prising a view of the Reign of James the Second, from authority for an expression. He declared that his Accession, to the Enterprise of the Prince of Orange, he would use no word which was not to be found by the late Right Honourable Sir JAMES MACKINTOSH;
and completed to the Settlement of the Crown, by the in Dryden. In any other person we should Editor. To which is prefixed a Notice of the Life, Writ-have called this solicitude mere 10ppery; and, ings and Speeches of Sir James Mackintosh. 4to. Lon-in spite of all our admiration for Mr. Fox, we