Imágenes de páginas

varre's tales, should be treated as caput lupinum | convinced the reason nor touched the heart, because he could not read the Timæus without must be a most imperfect law. He was not a headache, was a notion which the humane content with deterring from theft a man who spirit of the English school of wisdom alto- still continued to be a thief at heart, with regether rejected. Bacon would not have straining a son who hated his mother from thought it beneath the dignity of a philosopher beating his mother. The only obedience on ↳ contrive an improved garden-chair for such which he set much value, was the obedience a valetudinarian; to devise some way of ren- which an enlightened understanding yields to dering his medicines more palatable; to in- reason, and which a virtuous disposition yields vent repasts which he might enjoy, and pillows to precepts of virtue. He really seems to have on which he might sleep soundly; and this, believed that, by prefixing to every law an elothough there might not be the smallest hope quent and pathetic exhortation, he should, to a that the mind of the poor invalid would ever great extent, render penal enactments superrise to the contemplation of the ideal beautiful fluous. Bacon entertained no such romantie and the ideal good. As Plato had cited the re- hopes; and he well knew the practical inconligious legends of Greece to justify his con- veniences of the course which Plato recomtempt for the more recondite parts of the art mended. "Neque nobis," says he, "prologi of healing, Bacon vindicated the dignity of that | legum qui inepti olim habiti sunt et leges introart by appealing to the example of Christ; and ducunt disputantes non jubentes utique placereminded his readers that the great Physician rent si priscos mores ferre possemus. . . . . of the soul did not disdain to be also the phy- Quantum fieri potest prologi evitentur et lex sician of the body.* incipiat a jussione."*

frontier all the Fellows of the College, Merchants of light and Depredators, Lamps and Pioneers.

When we pass from the science of medicine Had Plato lived to finish the "Critias," a to that of legislation, we find the same differ- comparison between that noble fiction and the ence between the systems of these two great" New Atlantis" would probably have furnishmen. Plato, at the commencement of the fine ed us with still more striking instances. It is Dialogue on Laws, lays it down as a funda- amusing to think with what horror he would mental principle, that the end of legislation is have seen such an institution as "Solomon's to make men virtuous. It is unnecessary to House" rising in his republic; with what vepoint out the extravagant conclusions to which hemence he would have ordered the brewsuch a proposition leads. Bacon well knew to houses, the perfume-houses, and the dispensahow great an extent the happiness of every tories to be pulled down; and with what inexsociety must depend on the virtue of its memorable rigour he would have driven beyond the bers; and he also knew what legislators can, and what they cannot do for the purpose of promoting virtue. The view which he has given of the end of legislation, and of the principal means for the attainment of that end, has always seemed to us eminently happy; even among the many happy passages of the same kind with which his works abound. "Finis et scopus quem leges intueri atque ad quem jussiones et sanctiones suas dirigere debent, non alius est quam ut cives feliciter degant. Id fiet si pietate et religione recte instituti, moribus honesti, armis adversus hostes externos tuti, legum auxilio adversus seditiones et privatas injurias muniti, imperio et magistratibus obsequentes, copiis et opibus locupletes et florentes fuerint." The end is the well-being of the people. The means are the imparting of moral and religious education; the providing of every thing necessary for defence against foreign enemies; the maintaining of internal order; the establishing of a judicial, financial, and commercial system, under which wealth may be rapidly accumulated and securely enjoyed.

To sum up the whole: we should say that
the aim of the Platonic philosophy was to exalt
man into a god. The aim of the Baconian
philosophy was to provide man with what he
requires while he continues to be man. The
aim of the Platonic philosophy was to raise
us far above vulgar wants. The aim of the
Baconian philosophy was to supply our vulgar
wants. The former aim was noble; but the
latter was attainable. Plato drew a good bow;
but, like Acestes in Virgil, he aimed at the
stars; and therefore, though there was no want
of strength or skill, the shot was thrown away.
His arrow was indeed followed by a track of
dazzling radiance, but it struck nothing.
"Volans liquidis in nubibus arsit arundo

Signavitque viam flammis, teruisque recessit
Consumata in ventos."

Bacon fixed his eye on a mark which was placed on the earth and within bow-shot, and hit it in the white. The philosophy of Piato began in words and ended in words-noble Even with respect to the form in which laws words indeed-words such as were to be exought to be drawn, there is a remarkable differ- pected from the finest of human intellects exence of opinion between the Greek and the Eng-ercising boundless dominion over the finest of lishman. Plato thought a preamble essential; Bacon thought it mischievous. Each was consistent with himself. Plato, considering the moral improvement of the people as the end of legislation, justly inferred that a law which commanded and threatened, but which neither

De Augmentis, Lib. 4, Cap. 2.
+ De Augmentis, Lib. 8, Cap. 3, Aph. 5.

human languages. The philosophy of Bacon began in observations and ended in arts.

The boast of the ancient philosophers was that their doctrine formed the minds of men to a high degree of wisdom and virtue. This was indeed the only practicai good which the most celebrated of those teachers even pretended to

♦ De Augmentis, Lib. 8, Cap. 3, Aph. 60.

effec' and undoubtedly if they had effected this, they would have deserved the greatest praise. But the truth is, that in those very matters in which alone they professed to do any good to mankind, in these very matters for the sake of which they neglected all the vulgar interests of mankind, they did nothing, or worse than nothing. They promised what was impracticable; they despised what was practicable; they filled the world with long words and long beards; and they left it as wicked and as ignorant as they found it.

were better in the time of our fathers than they were in the time of our grandfathers. We might, therefore, be inclined to think, that when a philosophy which boasted that its object was the elevation and purification of the mind, and which for this object neglected the sordid office of ministering to the comforts of the body, had flourished in the highest honour for many hundreds of years, a vast moral amelioration must have taken place. Was it so? Look at the schools of this wisdom four centuries before the Christian era, and four centuries after that era. Compare the men whom those schools formed at those two periods. Compare Plato and Libanius. Compare Pericles and Julian. This philosophy confessed, nay boasted, that for every end but one it was useless. Had it attained that one end?

An acre in Middlesex is better than a principality in Utopia. The smallest actual good is better than the most magnificent promises of impossibilities. The wise man of the Stoics would, no doubt, be a grander object than a steam-engine. But there are steam-engines. And the wise man of the Stoics is yet to be Suppose that Justinian, when he closed the born. A philosophy which should enable a schools of Athens, had called on the last few man to feel perfectly happy while in agonies sages who still haunted the Portico, and linof pain, may be better than a philosophy which gered round the ancient plane-trees, to show assuages pain. But we know that there are their title to public veneration; suppose that remedies which will assuage pain; and we he had said, "A thousand years have elapsed know that the ancient sages liked the tooth- since, in this famous city, Socrates posed Proache just as little as their neighbours. A phi- tagoras and Hippias; during those thousand losophy which should extinguish cupidity, years a large proportion of the ablest men of would be better than a philosophy which every generation has been employed in conshould devise laws for the security of property. stant efforts to bring to perfection the philoso But it is possible to make laws which shall, to phy which you teach; that philosophy has a very great extent, secure property. And we been munificently patronised by the powerful; do not understand how any motives which the its professors have been held in the highest ancient philosophy furnished could extinguish esteem by the public; it has drawn to itself cupidity. We know indeed that the philoso-almost all the sap and vigour of the human phers were no better than other men. From intellect, and what has it effected? What the testimony of friends as well as of foes, from profitable truth has it taught us, which we the confessions of Epictetus and Seneca, as should not equally have known without it? well as from the sneers of Lucian and the fierce What has it enabled us to do which we should invectives of Juvenal, it is plain that these not have been equally able to do without it?" teachers of virtue had all the vices of their Such questions, we suspect, would have puzneighbours, with the additional vice of hypocri- zled Simplicius and Isidore. Ask a follower sy. Some people may think the object of the of Bacon what the new philosophy, as it was Baconian philosophy a low object, but they called in the time of Charles the Second, has cannot deny that, high or low, it has been at- effected for mankind, and his answer is ready; tained. They cannot deny that every year "It has lengthened life; it has mitigated pain; makes an addition to what Bacor. called "fruit." it has extinguished diseases; it has increased They cannot deny that mankind have made, the fertility of the soil; it has given new secuand are making, great and constant progress rities to the mariner; it has furnished new in the road which he pointed out to them. arms to the warrior; it has spanned great Was there any such progressive movement | rivers and estuaries with bridges of form unamong the ancient philosophers. After they known to our fathers; it has guided the thunhad been declaiming eight hundred years, had derbolt innocuously from heaven to earth; it they made the world better than when they has lighted up the night with the splendour of began? Our belief is, that among the philoso- the day; it has extended the range of the huphers themselves, instead of a progressive im- man vision; it has multiplied the power of the provement, there was a progressive degeneracy. human muscle; it has accelerated motion; it An abject superstition, which Democritus or has annihilated distance; it has facilitated in Anaxagoras would have rejected with scorn, tercourse, correspondence, all friendly offices, added the last disgrace to the long dotage of all despatch of business; it has enabled man the Stoic and Platonic schools. The unsuc- to descend to the depths of the sea, to soar into cessful attempts to articulate which are so de- the air, to penetrate securely into the noxious lightful and interesting in a child, shock and recesses of the earth, to traverse the land on disgust us in an aged paralytic; and in the cars which whirl along without horses, and same way, those wild mythological fictions the ocean in ships which sail against the wind. which charm us when lisped by Greek poetry These are but a part of its fruits, and of its in its infancy, excite a mixed sensation of pity first fruits. For it is a philosophy which ne and loathing when mumbled by Greek philoso- ver rests, which has never attained it, which phy in its old age. We know that guns, cut- is never perfect. Its law is progress. A point iery, spy-glasses, clocks, are better in our time which yesterday was invisible is its goal to than they were in the time of our fathers; and day, and will be its starting-post to-morrow."

Great and various as the powers of Bacon | vessel with an inestimable cargo has just gone were, he owes his wide and durable fame down, and he is reduced in a moment from chiefly to this, that all these powers reived opulence to beggary. The Stoic exhorts him their direction from common sense. His love not to seek happiness in things which lie withof the vulgar useful, his strong sympathy with out himself, and repeats the whole chapter of the popular notion of good and evil, and the Epictetus Пgs Tus tuv arrogian dedommors. The openness with which he avowed that sympa- Baconian constructs a diving-bell, goes down thy, are the secret of his influence. There in it, and returns with the most precious effects was in his system no cant, no illusion. He from the wreck. It would be easy to multiply had no anointing for broken bones, no fine illustrations of the difference between the phitheories de finibus, no arguments to persuade losophy of thorns and the philosophy of fruit men out of their senses. He knew that men, -the philosophy of words and the philosophy and philosophers as well as other men, do ac- of works. tually love life, health, comfort, honour, security, the society of friends; and do actually dislike death, sickness, pain, poverty, disgrace, danger, separation from those to whom they are attached. He knew that religion, though it often regulates and moderates these feelings, seldom eradicates them; nor did he think it desirable for mankind that they should be eradicated. The plan of eradicating them by conceits like those of Seneca, or syllogisms like those of Chrysippus, was too preposterous to be for a moment entertained by a mind like his. He did not understand what wisdom there could be in changing names where it was impossible to change things; in denying that blindness, hunger, the gout, the rack, were evils, and calling them aga-in refusing to acknowledge that health, safety, plenty, were good things, and dubbing them by the name of aftag. In his opinions on all these subjects, he was not a Stoic, nor an Epicurean, nor an Academic, but what would have been called by Stoics, Epicureans, and Academics, a mere Tas-a mere common man. And it was precisely because he was so, that his name makes so great an era in the history of the world. It was because he dug deep that he was able to pile high. It was because, in order to lay his foundations, he went down into those parts of human nature which lie low, but which are not liable to change, that the fabric which he reared has risen to so stately an elevation, and stands with such immovable strength.

We have sometimes thought that an amusing fiction might be written, in which a disciple of Epictetus and a disciple of Bacon should be introduced as fellow-travellers. They come to a village where the small-pox has just begun to rage; and find houses shut up, intercourse suspended, the sick abandoned, mothers weeping in terror over their children. The Stoic assures the dismayed population that there is nothing bad in the small-pox, and that to a wise man diseases, deformity, death, the loss of friends, are not evils. The Baconian takes out a lancet and begins to vaccinate. They find a body of miners in great dismay. An explosion of noisome vapours has just killed many of those who were at work; and the survivors are afraid to venture into the cavern. The Stoic assures them that such an accident is nothing but a mere αποπρωγμένον. The Baconian, who has no such fine word at his command, contents himself with devising a safety-lamp. They find a shipwrecked merchant wringing his hands on the shore.

Bacon has been accused of overrating the importance of those sciences which minister to the physical well-being of man, and of underrating the importance of moral philosophy; and it cannot be denied that persons who read the Novum Organum and the De Augmentis, without adverting to the circumstances under which those works were written, will find much that may seem to countenance the accusation. It is certain, however, that, though in practice he often went very wrong, and though, as his historical work and his essays prove, he did not hold, even in theory, very strict opinions on points of political morality, he was far too wise a man not to know how much our well-being depends on the regula tion of our minds. The world for which he wished was not, as some people seem to imagine, a world of water-wheels, power-looms, steam-carriages, sensualists, and knaves. He would have been as ready as Zeno himself to maintain, that no bodily comforts which could be devised by the skill and labour of a hundred generations would give happiness to a man whose mind was under the tyranny of licen tious appetite, of envy, of hatred, or of tear If he sometimes appeared to ascribe importance too exclusively to the arts which increase the outward comforts of our species, the rea son is plain. Those arts had been most unduly depreciated. They had been represented as unworthy of the attention of a man of liberal education. "Cogitavit," says Bacon of himself, "eam esse opinionem sive æstima tionem humidam et damnosam, minui nempe majestatem mentis humanæ, si in experimentis et rebus particularibus, sensui subjectis, et in materia terminatis, diu ac multum versetur: præsertim cum hujusmodi res ad inquirendum laboriosa, ad meditandum ignobiles, ad discendum asperæ, ad practicam illiberales, numero infinitæ, et subtilitate pusillæ videri soleant, et ob hujusmodi conditiones, gloriæ artium minus sint accommodatæ."* This opinion seemed to him "omnia in familia humana turhasse." It had undoubtedly caused many arts which were of the greatest utility, and which were susceptible of the greatest improvements, to be neglected by speculators, and abandoned to joiners, masons, smiths, weavers, apotheca ries. It was necessary to assert the dignity of those arts, to bring them prominently for

Cogitata et visa. The expression opinio humida may surprise a reader not accustomed to Bacon's style. The allusion is to the maxim of Heraclitus the obscure, Dry light is the best. By dry sight, Bacon understood the light of the intellect, not obscured by the mists of pagHission, interest, or prejudice.

pace forever to and fro on the same wearisome path after the same recoiling stone. He exhorted his disciples to prosecute researches of a very different description; to consider moral science as a practical science-a science of which the object was to cure the diseases and perturbations of the mind, and which could be improved only by a method analogous to that which has improved medicine and surgery. Moral philosophers ought, he said, to set themselves vigorously to work for the purpose of discovering what are the actual effects modes of education, by the indulgence of pat ticular habits, by the study of particular books, by society, by emulation, by imitation. Then we might hope to find out what mode of training was most likely to preserve and restore moral health.*

ward; to proclaim that, as they have a most serious effect on human happiness, they are not unworthy of the attention of the highest human intellects. Again, it was by illustrations drawn from these arts that Bacon could most easily illustrate his principles. It was by improvements effected in these arts that the soundness of his principles could be most speedily and decisively brought to the test, and made manifest to common understandings. He acted like a wise commander who thins every other part of his line to strengthen a point where the enemy is attacking with pecu-produced on the human character by particular liar fury, and on the fate of which the event of the battle seems likely to depend. In the Novum Organum, however, he distinctly and most truly declares that his philosophy is no less a Moral than a Natural Philosophy; that, though his illustrations are drawn from physical science, the principles which those illustrations are intended to explain, are just as applicable to Ethical and Political inquiries, as to inquiries into the nature of Heat and Vegetation.

What he was as a natural philosopher and a moral philosopher, that he was also as a theologian. He was, we are convinced, a sincere believer in the divine authority of the Christian revelation. Nothing can be found in his He frequently treated of moral subjects, and writings, or in any other writings, more elo he almost always brought to those subjects quent and pathetic than some passages which that spirit which was the essence of his whole were apparently written under the influence system. He has left us many admirable prac- of strong devotional feeling. He loved to tical observations on what he sometimes dwell on the power of the Christian religion quaintly called the Georgics of the mind-on to effect much that the ancient philosophers the mental culture which tends to produce could only promise. He loved to consider that good dispositions. Some persons, he said, religion as the bond of charity; the curb of might accuse him of spending labour on a evil passions; the consolation of the wretched; matter so simple that his predecessors had the support of the timid; the hope of the dying. passed it by with contempt. He desired such But controversies on speculative points of thepersons to remember that he had from the first ology seemed to have engaged scarcely any announced the objects of his search to be, not portion of his attention. In what he wrote on the splendid and the surprising, but the useful Church Government he showed, as far as he and the true; not the deluding dreams which dared, a tolerant and charitable spirit. He go forth through the shining portal of ivory, troubled himself not at all about Homoousiana but the humbler realities of the gate of horn.t and Homoiousians, Monothelites and Nesto True to this principle, he indulged in no rians. He lived in an age in which disputes rants about the fitness of things, the all-suffi- on the most subtle points of divinity excited ciency of virtue, and the dignity of human an intense interest throughout Europe; and nature. He dealt not at all in resounding no-nowhere more than in England. He wan things, such as those with which Bolingbroke | placed in the very thick of the conflict. Hɔ pretended to comfort himself in exile; and in was in power at the time of the Synod of Dort, which Cicero sought consolation after the loss and must for months have been daily deafened of Tullia. The casuistical subtleties which with talk about election, reprobation, and final occupied the attention of the keenest spirits of perseverance. Yet we do not remember a line his age had, it should seem, no attractions for in his works from which it can be inferred him. The treatises of the doctors whom Es- that he was either a Calvinist or an Arminian. cobar afterwards compared to the four beasts, While the world was resounding with the and the four-and-twenty elders in the Apoca- noise of a disputatious philosophy and a dislypse, Bacon dismissed with most contemptu-putatious theology, the Baconian school, like ous brevity. "Inanes plerumque evadunt et futiles." Nor did he ever meddle with those enigmas which have puzzled hundreds of generations, and will puzzle hundreds more. He said nothing about the grounds of moral obligation, or the freedom of the human will. He had no inclination to employ himself in laours resembling those of the damned in the Grecian Tartarus-to spin forever on the same whec! round the same pivot, to gape forever after the same deluding clusters, to pour water forever into the same bottomless buckets, to

Novum Organum, Lib. 1, Aph. 127.
De Augmentis, Lib. 7, Cap. 3.
De Augmentis, Lib. 7, Cap. 2.

Alworthy seated between Square and Thwackum, preserved a calm neutrality, half-scornful, half-benevolent, and, content with adding to the sum of practical good, left the war of words to those who liked it.

We have dwelt long on the end of the Baco nian philosophy, because from this peculiarity all the other peculiarities of that philosophy necessarily arose. Indeed, scarcely any person who proposed to himself the same end with Bacon could fail to hit upon the same means.

The vulgar notion about Bacon we take to be this-that he invented a new method of

De Augmentis, Lib. 7, Cap. 3.

arriving at truth, which method is called Induction; and that he exposed the fallacy of the syllogistic reasoning which had been in vogue before his time. This notion is about as well founded as that of the people who, in the middie ages, imagined that Virgil was a great onjurer. Many who are far too well informed to talk such extravagant nonsense, entertain what we think incorrect notions as to what Bacon really effected in this matter.

We might go on to what are called by Bacon prærogative instantiarum. For example: "It must be something peculiar to mincea pies, for I can eat any other pastry without the least bad effect." This is the instantia solitaria. We might easily proceed, but we have already sufficiently explained our meaning.

We repeat, that we dispute neither the ingenuity nor the accuracy of the theory contained in the second book of the Novum Organum; but we think that Bacon greatly overrated its utility. We conceive that the inductive process, like many other processes, is not likely to be better

The inductive method has been practised ever since the beginning of the world by every human being. It is constantly practised by the most ignorant clown, by the most thought-performed merely because men know how they less schoolboy, by the very child at the breast. That method leads the clown to the conclusion, that if he sows barley he shall not reap wheat. By that method the schoolboy learns, that a cloudy day is the best for catching trout. The very infant, we imagine, is led by induction to expect milk from his mother or nurse, and none from his father.

Not only is it not true that Bacon invented the inductive method; but it is not true that he was the first person who correctly analyzed that method and explained its uses. Aristotle had long before pointed out the absurdity of supposing that syllogistic reasoning could ever conduct men to the discovery of any new principle; had shown that such discoveries can be made by induction, and by induction alone; and had given the history of the inductive process, concisely indeed, but with great perspicuity and precision.*

perform it. William Tell would not have been one whit more likely to cleave the apple if he had known that his arrow would describe a parabola under the influence of the attraction of the earth. Captain Barclay would not have been more likely to walk a thousand miles in a thou sand hours if he had known the place and name of every muscle in his legs. Monsieur Jourdain probably did not pronounce D and F more correctly after he had been apprized that D is pronounced by touching the teeth with the end of the tongue, and F by putting the upper teeth on the lower lip. We cannot perceive that the study of grammar makes the smallest difference in the speech of people who have always lived in good society. Not one Londoner in ten thousand can lay down the rules for the proper use of will and shall. Yet not one Londoner in a million ever misplaces his will and shall. No man uses figures of speech with more proAgain, we are not inclined to ascribe much priety because he knows that one figure is practical value to the analysis of the inductive called a metonomy and another a synecdoche. method which Bacon has given in the second A drayman in a passion calls out, "You are a book of the "Novum Organum." It is indeed pretty fellow," without suspecting that he is an elaborate and correct analysis. But it is uttering irony, and that irony is one of the four an analysis of that which we are all doing primary tropes. The old systems of rhetoric from morning to night, and which we continue were never regarded by the most experienced to do even in our dreams. A plain man finds and discerning judges as of any use in formhis stomach out of order. He never hearding an orator. Ego hanc vim intelligo," said Lord Bacon's name. But he proceeds in the Cicero, "esse in præceptis omnibus, non ut ea strictest conformity with the rules laid down secuti oratores eloquentiæ laudem sint adepti, in the second book of the "Novum Organum," sed quæ sua sponte homines eloquentes faceand satisfies himself that minced pies have rent, ea quosdam observasse, atque id egisse; done the mischief. "I ate minced pies on sic esse non eloquentiam ex artificio, sed artiMonday and Wednesday, and I was kept cium ex eloquentia natum."* We must own awake by indigestion al! night." This is the that we entertain the same opinion concerning comparentia ad intellectum instantiarum convenien- the study of logic which Cicero entertained tium. "I did not eat any on Tuesday and Fri- concerning the study of rhetoric. A man of day, and I was quite well." This is the com- sense syllogizes in celarent and cesare all day parentia instantiarum in proximo quæ natura data | long without suspecting it; and though he may privantur. "I ate very sparingly of them on not know what an ignoratio elenchi is, has no Sunday, and was very slightly indisposed in difficulty in exposing it whenever he falls in the evening. But on Christmas day I almost with it, which is likely to be as often as he dined on them, and was so ill that I was in falls in with a reverend Master of Arts, nousome danger." This is the comparentia instan- rished on mode and figure in the cloisters of tiarum secundum magis et minus. "It cannot Oxford. Considered merely as an intellectual have been the brandy which I took with them. feat, the Organum of Aristotie can scarcely be For I have drunk brandy daily for years with- admired too highly. But the more we compare out being the worse for it." This is the re- individual with individual, school with school, Jectio naturarum. Our invalid then proceeds nation with nation, generation with generation, to what is termed by Bacon the Vindemiatio, the more do we lean to the opinion that the and pronounces that mince pies do not agree knowledge of the theory of logic has no tendwith him. ency whatever to make men good reasoners.

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What Aristotle did for the syllogistic pro

De Oratore, Lib. 1.
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