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a treadmill+his desire was not to solve enigmas, but to multiply enjoyment and mitigate pain.) Century after century, during the evening of Greece, the meridian of Rome, the darkness and the twilight before the new dawn of Italy, rival sects had been repeating their idle cries, the Epicurean adding as little to the quantity of pleasure as the Stoic to that of virtue, or the Scholastic to that of knowledge. At last there came a theoretical philanthropist who, caring nothing about the grounds of moral obligation or the freedom of the will, disdaining disputes as barren as the toils of the damned in Tartarus, made Utility and Progress his watchwords and, leaving the windy war to those who liked it, was content to contribute to the sum of human happiness.) Macaulay devotes ten pages to a contrast of the treatment of the sciences-Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy, Medicine, and Law-in 'The Republic' and the 'De Augmentis,' the one work regarding them as steps to abstraction, the other as aids to invention, and concludes: "The aim of Plato was to exalt man into a god; that of Bacon to provide him with what he wants as a man. The one drew a good bow, but shot at the stars; the other fixed his eye on a common targe, and hit it in the white." But, continues the reviewer, the notion that Bacon found a new way of arriving at truth rests on no better grounds than the medieval belief in Virgil as a conjuror. Induction has been practised from morning till night by every human being since the world began. The man who infers that mince-pies have disagreed with him because he was ill when he ate them, well when he ate them not, most ill when he ate most, and least ill when he
ate least, has employed, unconsciously but sufficiently, all the tables of the Novum Organum.' The right or wrong use of induction depends not on rules but on brains. The objects of preceding speculators did not require induction for their attainment: Bacon stirred men up to pursue an object which could only be attained by induction, and consequently it was more carefully performed. This is the sum of the benefit he conferred on society, and the total of his so-called philosophy.
Three manifest defects combine to render this inadequate even as a popular presentation of the system it professes to unfold:
1. Its Historical incompleteness.
The critic has
merely travestied the Greek schools of thought. 2. Stating so far correctly what Bacon has done, it leaves us with hardly any conception of what he meant to do.
3. It makes Bacon a mere Empiric. An observer and experimentalist, he was also a philosopher animated by a spirit far less removed from that of the ancient thinkers than Macaulay imagines it to have been.
To understand the system we are called on to examine, we must search more widely through its antecedents, and examine more minutely into itself.
Bacon aimed at being both a critic and a creator: in the former rôle he is often unjust, in the latter his embrace was in some respects like that of Ixion; but in both he has left on thought, as on literature, an indelible mark. No part of his design is more definite than the determination, characteristic of his age, to
break with the Past, although no part of it was more incompletely fulfilled. The most eloquent of his attempts to brace himself to the impossible breach is the harangue, supposed to be addressed to an audience of seekers after truth at Paris by a mysterious stranger who takes his seat among them as an equal, but comes with an inspired message.
The date of this piece, entitled 'REDARGUTIO PHILOSOPHIARUM,' is nearly determined by an allusion, "Meditor Instaurationem Philosophiæ," which shows it to be meant as an introduction to the author's already conceived scheme, and written after he had begun to miss co-operation in his work. "Quos socios habes? Ego certe in summâ solitudine versor." It is the "oratio ad filios," mixed with elegancy, novelty, and superstition, suggested in the 'Commentarius,' and M. Bouillet has reasonably conjectured that it is the MS. re
1 Not, however, the first. In a letter to Father Fulgentius (1625), Bacon refers to the constancy of his mind, which has "not grown old or cooled in this pursuit since, forty years ago, he, with a magnificent title, named his first effort "The greatest birth of Time.'" The Temporis Partus Maximus' is lost. If it was identical, or nearly so, with the Temporis Partus Masculus,' the censure of the scholar Henry Cuffe-" a fool could not have written it, and a wise man would not"-is just. If the latter be a juvenile production, it betrays an arrogance rare even at the age of 25; if, as Mr Spedding conjectures, it was written in 1608, on the lines of the hint in the 'Commentarius Solutus,' "to discourse scornfully of the philosophy of the Grecians," it displays a dramatic dishonesty in depreciation. In this fragment as elsewhere, respect is paid to the thinkers who are to philosophy as the heroes before Agamemnon. Their successors are arraigned with a violence comparable only to the censures passed on each other by rival politicians, commentators, or theologians. Aristotle is "pessimus sophista"; Plato, "cavillator urbanus"; Ramus, "literarum tinea"; Galen, "canicula et pestis"; Cornelius Agrippa, "trivialis scurra "; Paracelsus, "asinorum adoptiva"; and the Copernicans, "terræ auriga."
Temporis Partus Masculus.
ferred to in the letter of October 10, 1609, to Toby Matthews :
"I send you the only part which hath any harshness; this other speech of preparation . . . is written out of the same necessity. Nay, it doth more fully lay open that the question between me and the ancients is not of the virtue of the race but of the rightness of the way. And to speak truth, it is to the other but as palma to pugnus, part of the same thing more large."
In comparing the 'Redargutio' with the Partus Masculus,' we find the view more comprehensive, the judg ments more tempered, the style indefinitely raised. It is like passing from Milton's railing at Salmasius to the stately Latin of the Address to the nations of Europe in the 'Defensio Secunda.' We have less of the fist in fight, more of the helping hand. For contempt we have conciliation; for the "de alto despiciens," the constantly repeated reference to the French who came to Italy with chalk to mark rather than with arms to storm their lodgings. Bacon now respects his predecessors, while demurring to their conclusions of his former "verborum ludibrium " and "theologus mente captus," he now admits "ingenia certe illorum capacia, acuta et sublimia." He, however, still regards them as usurpers of a throne-a superior kind of sophists blinding the minds of men. Aristotle is the Ottoman who kills his brothers to reign alone, constructing the world out of categories, juggling with nature, coming in his own name, dropping a curtain over the earlier age, the tyrant whom it is the first duty of the leaders of an inevitable rebellion to depose.
The oration1 itself, the main part of the essay in which these criticisms are set, opens with an appeal to the audience as heirs of a high inheritance,-"men not animals erect, but mortal gods," "Deus mundi conditor et vestrum, animas vobis donavit mundi ipsius capaces; nec tamen eo ipso satiandas." This noble estimate of man's prerogative in the mental, in contrast with the author's mean view of men in the political world, is followed by a reference to our forlorn state in being doomed to live so long on one food variously dressed-i.e., on a small part even of the old philosophy, on the writings of six autocrats-Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Galen, Euclid, Ptolemy. Nor is much of value gained if we add the labours of the alchemists, save that, like husbandmen digging in vain for gold, they broke the soil; or the crude guesses and haphazard experiments of later physicists. Our wealth is small because we have misused our capital-i.e., the faculties designed by the Creator for the best choral hymn to His praise, the study of the heavens and earth. Keep, says the speaker, your inherited learning to adorn discourse, and win esteem. For that the new philosophy will be of small avail; it is not on the surface, nor can be snatched in passing, "nor in broad rumour lies"; it can only appeal to the multitude when its results are manifest. Concede to the old fashions, but as shows, not fetters. Have Lais, be not her slave. Reserve yourselves for better things. See that your minds be sound, then use
1 A summary of the whole of this comprehensive oration, which presents in more artistic form all that is important in the "Pars Destruens" of the 'Novum Organum,' having been given by Dr Abbot, I restrict myself to referring, and that not always in their actual order, to the most salient passages.