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gard to particulars; what must be thought of the common Natural History, which in comparison of ours, is so negligent and remiss; or, what of the philosophy, and the sciences, built upon such quicksands? Let no one, therefore, be concerned, if our history has its errors.
And, in the Advancement of Learning, when treating of credulity, he says, “ The matter of manifest truth is not to be mingled or weakened with matter of doubtful credit; and yet again, rarities and reports that seem incredible are not to be suppressed or denied to the memory of men.”
From the slightest examination of this work it will appear that, not having such a collection of natural history as he had measured out in his mind, which would have required the purse of a prince, and the assistance of a people, Lord Bacon did the best in his power, trying all things but not believing all things, to make such a collection as might render some assistance to future inquirers, by pointing out the mode in which a natural history ought to be complied, without haste in the admission or rejection of received reports. “ The rejection,” he says, “which I continally use, of experiments, though it appeareth not, is infinite; but yet if an experiment be probable in the work, and of great use, I receive it, but deliver it as doubtful.”
This, perhaps, will be illustrated by some of the articles in the tenth century of this work, in his inquiry touching the transmission and influx of immateriate virtues and the force of imagination,” where he thus begins : "The philosophy of Pythagoras, which afterwards was, by the school of Plato and others, watered and nourished. It was, that the world was one entire perfect living creature ; insomuch as Apollonius of Tyana, a Pythagorean prophet, affirmed, that the ebbing and flowing of the sea was the respiration of the world, drawing in water as breath, and putting it forth again. They went on, and inferred, that if the world were a living creature, it had a soul and spirit; which also they held, calling it spiritus mundi, the spirit or soul of the world: by which they did not intend God, for they did admit of a Deity besides, but only the soul or essential form of the universe.” With these vast and bottomless follies men have been in part entertained.
“ But we, that hold firm to the works of God, and to the sense, which is God's lamp, lucerna Dei spiraculum hominis, will inquire with all sobriety and severity, whether there be to be found in the footsteps of nature, any such transmission and influx of immateriate virtues; and what the force of imagination is; either upon the body imaginant, or upon another body; wherein it will be like that labour of Hercules, in purging the stable of Augeas, to separate from superstitious and magical arts and observations, any thing that is clean and pure natural; and not to be either contemned or condemned.”
In this spirit, mistaken for credulity, he says, the sympathy of individuals, that have been entire, or have touched, is of all others the most incredible; yet according unto our faithful manner of examination of nature, we will make some little mention of it. The taking away of warts, by rubbing them with somewhat that afterwards is put to waste and consume, is a common experiment; and I do apprehend it the rather because of my own experience. I had from my childhood a wart upon one of my fingers: afterwards, when I was about sixteen years old, being then at Paris, there grew upon both my hands a number of warts, at the least a hundred, in a month's space. The English ambassador's lady, who was a woman far from superstition, told me one day, she would help me away with my warts : whereupon she got a piece of lard with the skin on and rubbed the warts all over with the fat side; and amongst the rest, that wart which I had had from my childhood : then she nailed the piece of lard, with the fat towards the sun, upon a post of her chamber window, which was to the south. The success was, that within five weeks' space all the warts went quite away: and that wart which I had so long endured for company. But at the rest I did little marvel, because they came in a short time, and might go away in a short time again: but the going away of that which had stayed so long doth yet stick with me.”
Again, « The relations touching the force of imagination, and the secret instincts of nature, are so uncertain, as they require a great deal of examination ere we conclude upon them. I would have it first thoroughly inquired, whether there be any secret passages of sympathy between persons of near blood, as parents, children, brothers, sisters, nurse-children, husbands, wives, &c. There be many reports in history, that upon the death of persons of such nearness, men have had an inward feeling of it. I myself remember, that being in Paris, and my father dying in London, two or three days before my father's death, I had a dream, which I told to diverse English gentlemen, that my father's house in the country was plastered all over with black mortar. There is an opinion abroad, whether idle or no I cannot say, that loving and kind husbands have a sense of their wives breeding children, by some accident in their own body."9 1 Article 997.
9 Article 986. • There are in different parts of the Sylva Sylvarum facts evincing Bacon's life of mind, and faculty of generalizing from his earliest infancy. See Art. 946, when his mind is at work upon the nature of imagination, most probably before he was twelve years old, when he quitted his father's house for the university, from whence at sixteen, he went with Sir Amyas Paulet to Paris, and returned after his father's death. See also Art. 151, when in Trinity College meditating upon the nature of sound. See also Art. 140, 148, 248.
Passing from these objections to the uses of natural history, they are explained by Lord Bacon in the treatise De Augmentis' and in the Novum Organum.-In the treatise De Augmentis, the subject of Natural History is thus exhibited. I. As to the Subject of History. 1. Of Nature in Course.
1. Of Celestial Bodies.
5. Of the Species.
3. Of Arts. II. As to its use.
1. In the Knowledge or History Narrative.
2. In being the primitive matter of Philosophy, which he says is defective, and to supply this defect, to discover the properties of creatures and to impose names, the occupation of Adam in Paradise, his tables of invention are constructed in the Novum Organum with the admonition “That all partitions of knowledges be accepted rather for lines and veins, than for sections and separations; and that the continuance and entireness of knowledge be preserved.” “The sciences being the pyramids supported by history upon experience as their only and true basis; and so the basis of natural philosophy is natural history; the stage next the basis is physic; the stage next the vertical point is metaphysic: as for the cone and vertical point itself (* opus quod operatur Deus a principio usque ad finem ;' the summary law of nature) we do justly doubt, whether man's inquiry can attain unto it. But these three be the true stages of sciences; and are, to men swelled up with their own knowledge, and a daring insolence to invade heaven, like the three hills of the giants
“ Ter sunt conati imponere Pelion Ossæ,
Scilicet atque Ossæ frondosum involvere Olympum." of this work there have been many editions: and there is an edition in Latin, published in Holland in 1648,4 and 1661;5 and at Frankfort in 1665.6
There are some observations upon the Sylva Sylvarum in Archbishop Tennison's work," which
"There is considerable difference between the arrangement of this part in the Advancement and the De Augmentis.
. There is scarcely a page of his works which does not contain an illustration of this union in all the parts of nature, and the injury to the advancement of knowledge from a supposition of their separation. In the Advancement of Learning he says: “We see Cicero the orator complained of Socrates and his school, that he was the first that separated philosophy and rhetoric ; whereupon rhetoric became an empty and verbal art. So we may see that the opinion of Copernicus touching the rotation of the earth, which astronomy itself cannot correct, because it is not repugnant to any of the phenomena, yet natural philosophy may correct. So we see also that the science of medicine, if it be destituted and forsaken by natural philosophy, it is not much better than an empirical practice."
In the treatise De Augmentis, speaking of the mode in which the laws of the heavenly bodies would be discovered, and (if the anecdote respecting Newton and the falling apple is true) were discovered, be thus predicts, “Whoever shall reject the feigned divorces of superlunary and sublunary bodies; and shall intentively observe the appetencies of matter, and the most universal passions, (which in either globe are exceeding potent, and transverberate the universal nature of things,) he shall receive clear information concerning celestial matters from the things seen here with us! and contrariwise from those motions which are practised in heaven; he shall learn many observations which now are latent, touching the motions of bodies here below; not only so far as these inferior motions are moderated by superior, but in regard they have a mutual intercourse by passions common to them both."
And to the same effect, he says in another place : “We must openly profess that our hope of discovering the truth with regard to the celestial bodies, depends upon the observation of the common properties, or the passions and appetites of the matter of both states; for, as to the separation that is supposed betwixt the ethereal and sublunary bodies, it seems to me no more than a fiction, and a degree of superstition mixed with rashness, &c.-Our chiefest hope, and dependence in the consideration of the celestial bodies, is, therefore, placed in physical reason, though not such as are commonly so called ; but those laws, which no diversity of place or region can abolish, break through, disturb, or alter.”
And in the Novum Organum, “Suppose, for example, the inquiry about the nature of spontaneous rotation, attraction, and many other natures, which are more common and familiar to us than the celestial bodies themselves. And let no one expect to determine the question, whether the diurnal motion belongs to the heavens or the earth, unless he first understand the nature of spontaneous rotation.”
As an instance of this union of nature, and of Bacon's tendency to generalize, see Articles 91, 92, 93, and above all, see his suggestions in the Novum Organum, respecting Magical Instances, or great effects produced from apparently small causes. Bee page 316 of the first volume. The correctness of the reasoning I am not now investigating; I am merely stating the fact as an illustration of the union between all nature, and of Bacon's facility in discovering this union.
: I do not find this in any of the editions of Bacon's Works published in England.
Opera omnia, &c., Folio. Fran. 1665. “The seventh and greatest branch of the Third Part of the Instauration, is his Sylva Sylvarum, or Natural History: which containeth many materials for the building of philosophy, as the Organum doth directions for the work. It is a history not only of nature freely moving in her course, (as in the production of meteors, plants, minerals ;) but also of nature in constraint, and vexed and tortured by human art and experiment. And it is not a bistory of such things orderly
thus conclude, “Whilst I am speaking of this work of his lordship of Natural History, there comes to my mind a very memorable relation, reported by him who bare a part in it, the Rev. Dr. Rawley. One day, his lordship was dictating to that doctor some of the experiments in his Sylva. The same day, he had sent a friend to court, to receive for him a final answer, touching the effect of a grant which had been made him by King James. He had hitherto, only hope of it, and hope deferred; and he was desirous to know the event of the matter, and to be freed, one way or other, from the suspense of his thoughts. His friend returning, told him plainly, that he must thenceforth despair of that grant, how much soever his fortunes needed it. Be it so, said his lordship; and then he dismissed his friend very cheerfully, with thankful acknowledgments of his service. His friend being gone, he came straightway to Dr. Rawley, and said thus to him. Well sir! yon business wont go on; let us go on with this, for this is in our power. And then he dictated to him afresh, for some hours, without the least hesitancy of speech, or discernible interruption of thought."
ranged; but thrown into a heap. For his lordship, that he might not discourage other collectors, did not cast this book into exact method; for which reason it hath the less ornament, but not much the less use.
“In this book are contained experiments of light, and experiments of use, (as his lordship was wont to distinguish :) and amongst them some extraordinary, and others common. He understood that what was common in one country, might be a rarity in another: for which reason, Dr. Caius, when in Italy, thought it worth his pains to make a large and elegant description of our way of brewing. His lordship also knew well, that an experiment manifest to the vulgar, was a good ground for the wise to build further upon. And himself rendered common ones extraordinary, by admonitions for further trials and improvements. Hence his lordship took occasion to say, that his writing of Sylva Sylvarum, was (to speak properly) noi a Natural History, but a high kind of natural magic: because it was not only a description of nature, but a breaking of nature into great and strange works.
“This book was written by his lordship in the English tongue, and translated by an obscure interpreter, into French, and out of that translation into Latin, by James Gruter, in such ill manner, that they darkened his lordship's sense, and debased his expression. James Gruter was sensible of his miscarriage, being kindly advertised of it by Dr. Rawley: and he left behind him divers amendments, published by his brother, Isaac Gruter, in a second edition. Yet still so many errors have escaped, that that work requireth a third hand.
" Monsieur Ælius Deodatus had once engaged an able person in the translation of this book; one who could have done his lordship right, and obliged such readers as understood not the English original. He began, and went through the three first centuries, and then desisted; being desired by him who set him on work, to take his hand quite off from that pen, with which he moved so slowly. His translation of the third century is now in my hands; but that of the two first I believe in lost.” Archbishop Tennison then annexes some specimens of the translation.
SYLVASYL VAR U M.
TO THE READER.
Having had the honour to be continually with my lord in compiling of this work, and to be employed therein, I have thought it not amiss, with his lordship's good leave and liking, for the better satisfaction of those that shall read it, to make known somewhat of his lordship's intentions touching the ordering and publishing of the same. I have heard his lordship often say, that if he should have served the glory of his own name, he had been better not to have published this Natural History: for it may seem an indigested heap of particulars, and cannot have that lustre, which books cast into methods have; but that he resolved to prefer the good of men, and that which might best secure it, before any thing that might have relation to himself. And he knew well, that there was no other way open to unloose men's minds, being bound, and, as it were, maleficiate, by the charms of deceiving notions and theories, and thereby made impotent for generation of works, but only no where to depart from the sense, and clear experience, but to keep close to it, especially in the beginning: besides, this Natural History was a debt of his, being designed and set down for a third part of the Instauration. I have also heard his lordship discourse that men, no doubt, will think many of the experiments contained in this collection, to be vulgar and trivial, mean and sordid, curious and fruitless: and therefore, he wisheth that they would have perpetually before their eyes what is now in doing, and the difference between this Natural History and others. For those Natural Histories which are extant, being gathered for delight and use, are full of pleasant descriptions and pictures, and affect and seek after admiration, rarities, and secrets. But, contrariwise, the scope which his lordship intendeth is, to write such a Natural History as may be fundamental to the erecting and building of a true philosophy, for the illumination of the understanding, the extracting of axioms, and the producing of many noble works and effects. For he hopeth by this means to acquit himself of that for which he taketh himself in a sort bound, and that is, the advancement of all learning and sciences. For, having in this present work collected the materials for the building, and in his Novum Organum, of which his lordship is yet to publish a second part, set down the instruments and directions for the work; men shall now be wanting to themselves, if they raise not knowledge to that perfection whereof the nature of mortal men is capable. And in this behalf, I have heard his lordship speak complainingly, that his lordship, who thinketh he deserveth to be an architect in this building, should be forced to be a workman, and a labourer, and to dig the clay, and burn the brick; and, more than that, according to the hard condition of the Israelites at the latter end, to gather the straw and stubble, over all the fields, to burn the bricks withal. For he knoweth, that except he do it, nothing will be done: men are so set to despise the means of their own good. And as for the baseness of many of the experiments; as long as they be God's works, they are honourable enough. And for the vulgarness of them, true axioms must be drawn from plain experience, and not from doubtful; and his lordship’s course is to make wonders plain, and not plain things wonders; and that experience likewise must broken and grinded, and not whole, or as it groweth. And for use; his lordship hath often in his mouth the two kinds of experiments; “experimenta fructifera,” and “experimenta lucifera:” experiments of use, and experiments of light: and he reporteth himself, whether he were not a strange man, that should think that light hath no use, because it hath no matter. Further, his lordship thought good also to add unto many of the experiments themselves some gloss of the causes : that in the succeeding work of interpreting nature, and framing axioms, all things may be in more readiness. And for the causes herein by himn assigned ; his lordship persuadeth himself, they are far more certain than those that are rendered by others; not for any excellency of his own wit, as his lordship is wont to say, but in respect of his continual conversation with nature and experience. He did consider likewise, that by this addition of causes, men's minds, which make so much haste to find out the causes of things, would not think themselves utterly lost in a vast wood of experience, but stay upon these causes, such as they are, a little, till true axioms may be more fully discovered. I have heard his lordship say also, that one great reason, why he would not put these particulars into any exact method, though he that looketh attentively into them shall find that they have a secret order, was, because he conceived that other men would now think that they could do the like; and so go on with a further collection: which, if the method had been exact, many would have despaired to attain by imitation. As for his lordship's love of order, I can refer any man to his lordship’s Latin book, De Augmentis Scientiarum; which, if my judgment be any thing, is written in the exactest order that I know any writing to be. I will conclude with a usual speech of his lordship’s; That this work of his Natural History is the world as God made it, and not as men have made it; for that it hath nothing of imagination.
W. Rawley. This epistle is the same that should have been prefixed to this book, if his lordship had lived.
Experiments in consort, touching the straining and the water through the vessels, it falleth. Now
passing of bodies one through another ; which they certain it is that this salter part of water, once call Percolation.
salted throughout, goeth to the bottom. And Dig a pit upon the sea-shore, somewhat above therefore no marvel, if the draining of water by the high-water mark, and sink it as deep as the descent doth not make it fresh: besides, I do somelow-water mark; and as the tide cometh in, it what doubt, that the very dashing of the water, will fill with water, fresh and potable. This is that cometh from the sea, is more proper to strike commonly practised upon the coast of Barbary, off the salt part, than where the water slideth of where other fresh water is wanting. And Cæsar her own motion. knew this well when he was besieged in Alexan- 3. It seemeth percolation, or transmission, which dria; for by digging of pits in the sea-shore, he is commonly called straining, is a good kind of did frustrate the laborious works of the enemies, separation, not only of thick from thin, and gross which had turned the seawater upon the wells of from fine, but of more subtile natures; and varieth Alexandria; and so saved his army, being then according to the body through which the transin desperation. But Cæsar mistook the cause, mission is made: as if through a woollen bag, the for he thought that all sea-sands had natural liquor leaveth the fatness; if through sand, the springs of fresh water : but it is plain, that it is saltness, &c. They speak of severing wine from the sea-water ; becaus the pit filleth according to water, passing it through ivy wood, or through the measure of the tide; and seawater passing or other the like porous body; but “non constat.” straining through the sands, leaveth the saltness. 4. The gum of trees, which we see to be com
2. I remember to have read, that trial hath been monly shining and clear, is but a fine passage or made of salt-water passed through earth, through straining of the juice of the tree through the wood ten vessels, one within another; and yet it hath and bark. And in like manner, Cornish dianot lost its saltness, as to become potable : but monds, and rock rubies, which are yet more rethe same man saith, that, by relation of another, splendent than gums, are the fine exudations of salt-water drained through twenty vessels hath stone. become fresh. This experiment seemeth to cross 5. Aristotle giveth the cause, vainly, why the that other of pits made by the sea-side; and yet feathers of birds are more lively colours than the but in part, if it be true that twenty repetitions hairs of beasts; for no beast hath any fine azure, do the effect. But it is worth the note, how poor or carnation, or green hair. He saith, it is bethe imitations of nature are in common co cause birds are more in the beams of the sun than experiments, except they be led by great judg- beasts; but that is manifestly untrue; for cattle are ment, and some good light of axioms. For first, more in the sun than birds, that live commonly in there is no small difference between a passage the woods, or in some covert. The true cause is, water through twenty small vessels, and through that the excrementitious moisture of living creasuch a distance, as between the low-water and tures, which maketh as well the feathers in birds, high-water mark. Secondly, there is a great dif- as the hair in beasts, passeth in birds through a ference between earth and sand; for all earth hath finer and more delicate strainer than it doth in in it a kind of nitrous salt, from which sand is beasts: for feathers pass through quills; and hair more free; and besides, earth doth not strain the through skin. water so finely as sand doth. But there is a third 6. The clarifying of liquors by adhesion, is an point, that I suspect as much or more than the inward percolation; and is effected, when some other; and that is, that in the experiment of trans- cleaving body is mixed and agitated with the limission of the sea-water into the pits, the water quors ; whereby the grosser part of the liquor riseth; but in the experiment of transmission of sticks to that cleaving body; and so the finer parts