« ForrigeFortsæt »
Society,'—and it was about the year 1668, that he received the appellation of the second Bacon.* Neither can there be any doubt,' observes Professor Napier,' as to the influence of Bacon's writings in determining the nature and objects of his philosophical pursuits. This is admitted, or implied, in many parts of his works. It is clear, indeed,' he adds, that he was considered by his contemporaries as a marked disciple of Bacon.'I Those who are eager to deny that Boyle derived any advantage from the Novum Organum, are equally ready to affirm that Newton owed nothing to the same Philosophy. S It is evident, however, that Newton had carefully studied Bacon's writings, and even adopted (too implicitly, says
* See Glanvil's Plus Ultra, p. 57.
# Boyle's Works, vol. 1, p. 305, 306; vol. 2, p. 472; vol. 3, p. 422; vol. 4, pp. 59, 246; vol. 5, p. 567.
| Ed. Phil. Trans., vol. 8, p. 403; and see Boyle's Works, vol. 6, p. 405. § See Brewster's Life of Newton, p. 334.
Dugald Stewart, *) his logical phraseology.; and in the View of his Philosophy by his friend Dr. Pemberton, that author having remarked that lord Bacon has judiciously observed, that the neglect of the proper means to enlarge our knowledge, joined with the presumption of attempting what was quite out of the power of our limited faculties is the great obstruction to the progress of science; tells us, that 'indeed that excellent person was the first who expressly writ against this way of philosophizing; and he has laid open at large the absurdity of it in his admirable treatise, intitled Novum Organon Scientiarum: and has there likewise described the true method, which ought to
* Stewart's Philosophy, vol. 2, p. 334, note.
In commenting on one of Bacon's illustrations of his Instantia Migrantes, sir John Herschel observes, that 'in reading this, and many other instances, in the Novum Organum, one would almost suppose, (had it been written,) that its author had taken them from Newton's Optics.'--Herschel's Nat. Phil. § 198.
be followed.*' The author then gives a summary of Bacon's doctrines; and in the preface he informs us, not only that his work was generally approved of by Newton himself, but that he and his illustrious friend had read a great part of it together. Mr. Maclaurin, too, another of Newton's friends, and one of his most illustrious successors, expressly says, that Bacon is “justly held amongst the restorers of true learning, but more especially the founder of experimental philosophy;' and adds, that his exhortations and example had a good effect; and experimental philosophy has been much more cultivated since his time, than in any preceding period.'+
The merit, however, of Bacon's philosophy, was not only acknowledged in England, but commanded the general admira
* Pemberton's View of sir Isaac Newton's Philosophy, p. 5, et seq.
f Maclaurin's Account of sir Isaac Newton's Discoveries, pp. 59, 62, (third edit.)
tion of Europe; and, indeed, it appears that at one time his fame sounded louder abroad than at home.* Some testimonies to this effect have already been given;t but many others
may be adduced. In 1633, M. Deodate, a French advocate, addressed a letter to Dr. Rawley, expressing, in the strongest terms, the great anxiety which was felt for the publication of those posthumous works which Rawley had in preparation for the press. So in 1652, only twenty-six years after Bacon's death, Isaac Gruter, writing from the Hague, on the subject of Bacon's works, informs Dr. Rawley, that he had lately received a letter from Lewis Elzevir, of Amsterdam, in which he expresses an intention of publishing a complete edition of Bacon's works, and desires his advice and assistance, to the end that,
* Rawley's Life of Bacon, prefixed to Resuscitatio published in 1657. + Ante, pp. 98, 203, 217.
Bacon's Works, vol. 12, p. 215.
as far as possible, those works might come abroad with advantage, which have been long received with the kindest eulogies, and with the most attested applause of the learned world.'* The testimony of Des Cartes and his biographer, will show that Bacon's writings were early and well known among the French philosophers. While Des Cartes,' says Baillet, 'was in Paris in 1626, he heard of the death of Bacon. This news sensibly affected those who aspired to the re-establishment of true philosophy, and who knew that Bacon had been engaged in that great design for several years.' + In 1631, Des Cartes visited London, and in 1633, he writes from his retreat in Holland to Father Mersenne of Paris, that ‘if any one could be prevailed upon to un
* Bacon's Works, vol. 12,
† La Vie de M. Des Cartes, par Baillet, tom. 1, pp. 147, 148; Ed. Phil. Trans., vol. 8, p. 414; Edinburgh Review, vol. 27, p. 226, art. ix., by sir James Mackintosh.