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vered, if it were truly his, as Gassendi seems to suppose, could not be warranted by any thing, at least, within the knowledge of that age. But from some expressions of Herbert I should infer that he did not think our faculties competent to solve the whole problem of quiddity, as the logicians called it, or the real nature of any thing, at least, objectively without us." He is, indeed, so obscure, that I will not vouch for his entire consistency. It has been an additional motive to say as much as I have done concerning Lord Herbert, that I know not where any account of his treatise De Veritate will be found. Brucker is strangely silent about this writer, and Buhle has merely adverted to the letter of Gassendi. Descartes has spoken of Lord Herbert's book with much respect, though several of their leading principles were far from the same. It was translated into French in 1639, and this translation he found less difficult than the original."
29. Gassendi himself ought, perhaps, to be counted wholly among the philosophers of this period, since many of his writings were published, and all defence of may have been completed within it. They are contained in six large folio volumes, rather closely printed. The Exercitationes Paradoxicæ, published in 1624, are the earliest. These contain an attack on the logic of Aristotle, the fortress that so many bold spirits were eager to assail. But in more advanced life Gassendi withdrew in great measure from this warfare, and his Logic, in the Syntagma Philosophicum, the record of his latest opinions, is chiefly modelled on the Aristotelian, with sufficient commendation of its author. In the study of ancient philosophy, however, Gassendi was impressed with an admiration of Epicurus. His physical theory, founded on
Cum facultates nostræ ad analogiam propriam terminatæ quidditates rerum intimas non penetrent: ideo quid res naturalis in seipsa sit, tali ex analogia ad nos ut sit constituta, perfecte sciri non potest. p. 165. In another place he says, it is doubtful whether any thing exist in nature, concerning which we have a complete knowledge. The eternal and necessary truths which Herbert contends for our knowing, seem to have been his communes notitiæ, subjectively un
derstood, rather than such as relate to external objects.
"Descartes, vol. viii. p. 138 and 168. J'y trouve plusieurs choses fort bonnes, sed non publici saporis; car il y a peu de personnes qui soient capables d'entendre la métaphysique. Et, pour le général du livre, il tient un chemin fort différent de celui que j'ai suivi. . . . Enfin, par conclusion, encore que je ne puisse m'accorder en tout aux sentimens de cet auteur, je ne laisse pas de l'estimer beaucoup au-dessus des esprits ordinaires.
corpuscles and a vacuum, his ethics, in their principle and precepts, his rules of logic and guidance of the intellect, seemed to the cool and independent mind of the French philosopher more worthy of regard than the opposite schemes prevailing in the schools, and not to be rejected on account of any discredit attached to the name. Combining with the Epicurean physics and ethics the religious element which had been unnecessarily discarded from the philosophy of the Garden, Gassendi displayed both in a form no longer obnoxious. The Syntagma Philosophiæ Epicuri, published in 1649, is an elaborate vindication of this system, which he had previously expounded in a commentary on the tenth book of Diogenes Laertius. He had already effaced the prejudices against Epicurus himseif, whom he seems to have regarded with the affection of a disciple, in a biographical treatise on his life and moral
His chief works after 1650.
30. Gassendi died in 1656; the Syntagma Philosophicum, his greatest as well as last work, in which it is natural to seek the whole scheme of his philosophy, was published by his friend Sorbière in 1658. We may therefore properly defer the consideration of his metaphysical writings to the next period; but the controversy in which he was involved with Descartes will render it necessary to bring his name forward again before the close of this chapter.
On the Philosophy of Lord Bacon.
31. Ir may be judged from what has been said in a former chapter, as well as in our last pages, that at the
for the phi- beginning of the seventeenth century, the higher philosophy, which is concerned with general truth, and the means of knowing it, had been little benefited by the labours of any modern inquirer. It was become, indeed, no strange thing, at least out of the air of a college, to question the authority of Aristotle; but his disciples pointed with scorn at the endeavours which had
as yet been made to supplant it, and asked whether the wisdom so long reverenced was to be set aside for the fanatical reveries of Paracelsus, the unintelligible chimæras of Bruno, or the more plausible, but arbitrary, hypotheses of Telesio.
32. Francis Bacon was born in 1561. He came to
years of manhood at the time when England was Lord Bacon. rapidly emerging from ignorance and obsolete methods of study, in an age of powerful minds, full himself of ambition, confidence, and energy. If we think on the public history of Bacon, even during the least public portion of it, philosophy must appear to have been but his amusement; it was by his hours of leisure, by time hardly missed from the laborious study and practice of the law and from the assiduities of a courtier's life, that he became the father of modern science. This union of an active with a reflecting life had been the boast of some ancients, of Cicero and Antonine; but what comparison, in depth and originality, between their philosophy and that of Bacon?
33. This wonderful man, in sweeping round the champaign of universal science with his powerful His plan of genius, found as little to praise in the recent, as philosophy. in the ancient methods of investigating truth. He liked as little the empirical presumption of drawing conclusions from a partial experience as the sophistical dogmatism which relied on unwarranted axioms and verbal chicane. All, he thought, was to be constructed anew; the investigation of facts, their arrangement for the purposes of inquiry, the process of eliciting from them the required truth. And for this he saw, that, above all, a thorough purgation of the mind itself would be necessary, by pointing out its familiar errors, their sources, and their remedies.
34. It is not exactly known at what age Bacon first conceived the scheme of a comprehensive philosophy, but it was, by his own account, very early conception. in life. Such noble ideas are most congenial to the san
b Those who place Lord Bacon's birth in 1560, as Mr. Montagu has done, must be understood to follow the old style, which creates some confusion. He was born the 22nd of January, and died the 9th of April, 1626, in the sixtysixth year of his age, as we are told in his life by Rawley, the best authority we have.
In a letter to Father Fulgentio, which bears no date in print, but must have been written about 1624, he refers to a juvenile work about forty years before, which he had confidently entitled The Greatest Birth of Time. Bacon says: Equidem memini me quadraginta abhinc annis juvenile opusculum circa has res confecisse, quod magna prorsus
guine spirit of youth, and to its ignorance of the extent of labour it undertakes. In the dedication of the Novum Organum to James in 1620, he says that he had been about some such work near thirty years," so as I made no haste." "And the reason," he adds, "why I have published it now, specially being imperfect, is, to speak plainly, because I number my days, and would have it saved. There is another reason of my so doing, which is to try whether I can get help in one intended part of this work, namely, the compiling of a natural and experimental history, which must be the main foundation of a true and active philosophy." He may be presumed at least to have made a very considerable progress in his undertaking before the close of the sixteenth century. But it was first promulgated to the world by the publication of his Treatise on the Advancement of Learning in 1605. In this, indeed, the whole of the Baconian philosophy
fiducia et magnifico titulo, "Temporis Partum maximum" inscripsi. The apparent vain-glory of this title is somewhat extenuated by the sense he gave to the phrase, Birth of Time. He meant that the lapse of time and long experience were the natural sources of a better philosophy, as he says in his dedication of the Instauratio Magna: Ipse certè, ut ingenue fateor, soleo æstimare hoc opus magis pro partu temporis quam ingenii. Illud enim in eo solummodo mirabile est, initia rei, et tantas de iis quæ invaluerunt suspiciones, alicui in mentem venire potuisse. Cætera non illibenter sequuntur.
No treatise with this precise title appears. But we find prefixed to some of the short pieces a general title, Temporis Partus Masculus, sive Instauratio Magna Imperii Universi in Humanum. These treatises, however, though earlier than his great works, cannot be referred to so juvenile a period as his letter to Fulgentio intimates, and I should rather incline to suspect that the opusculum to which he there refers has not been preserved. Mr. Montagu is of a different opinion. See his Note I. to the Life of Bacon in vol. xvi. of his edition. The Latin tract De Interpretatione Naturæ Mr. M. supposes to be the germ of the Instauratio, as the Cogitata et Visa are of the Novum Organum. I do not dissent from this; but the former bears marks of having been written after Bacon had been immersed in active life. The most probable conjecture appears to be
that he very early perceived the meagreness and imperfection of the academical course of philosophy, and of all others which fell in his way, and formed the scheme of affording something better from his own resources; but that he did not commit much to paper, nor had planned his own method till after he was turned of thirty, which his letter to the king intimates.
In a recent and very brilliant sketch of the Baconian philosophy (Edinb. Review, July, 1837), the two leading principles that distinguish it throughout all its parts are justly denominated utility and progress. To do good to mankind, and do more and more good, are the ethics of its inductive method. We may only regret that the ingenious author of this article has been hurried sometimes into the low and contracted view of the deceitful word utility, which regards rather the enjoyments of physical convenience, than the general well-being of the individual and the species. If Bacon looked more frequently to the former, it was because so large a portion of his writings relates to physical observation and experiment. But it was far enough from his design to set up physics in any sort of opposition to ethics, much less in a superior light. I dissent also from some of the observations in this article, lively as they are, which tend to depreciate the originality and importance of the Baconian methods. The reader may turn to a note on this subject by Dugald Stewart, at the end of the present section.
may be said to be implicitly contained, except perhaps the second book of the Novum Organum. In 1623, he published his more celebrated Latin translation of this work, if it is not rather to be deemed a new one, entitled De Augmentis Scientiarum. I find, upon comparison, that more than two thirds of this treatise are a version, with slight interpolation or omission, from the Advancement of Learning, the remainder being new matter.
35. The Instauratio Magna had been already published in 1620, while Lord Bacon was still chancellor. Fifteen years had elapsed since he gave to the Magna. world his Advancement of Learning, the first fruits of such astonishing vigour of philosophical genius, that, inconceivable as the completion of the scheme he had even then laid down in prospect for his new philosophy by any single effort must appear, we may be disappointed at the great deficiencies which this latter work exhibits, and which he was not destined to fill up. But he had passed the interval in active life, and in dangerous paths, deserting, as in truth he had all along been prone enough to do, the
shady spaces of philosophy," as Milton calls them, for the court of a sovereign, who, with some real learning, was totally incapable of sounding the depths of Lord Bacon's mind, or even of estimating his genius.
36. The Instauratio Magna, dedicated to James, is divided, according to the magnificent ground-plot of First part: its author, into six parts. The first of these he Partitiones entitles Partitiones Scientiarum, comprehending a general summary of that knowledge which mankind already possess; yet not merely treating this affirmatively, but taking special notice of whatever should seem deficient or imperfect; sometimes even supplying, by illustration or precept, these vacant spaces of science. This first part he declares to be wanting in the Instauratio. It has been chiefly supplied by the treatise De Augmentis Scientiarum ; yet perhaps even that does not fully come up to the amplitude of his design.
37. The second part of the Instauratio was to be, as he expresses it, "the science of a better and more Second part : perfect use of reason in the investigation of ganum. things, and of the true aids of the understanding;" the