Billeder på siden

I see that controversies of religion must hinder the advancement of sciences.'*

Long before the publication of his Instauration, Bacon had imparted the plan of it to bishop Andrews, who was his literary inquisitor; p and he told the king that about some such work he had been engaged near thirty years. I

Vanity, which is oftener the froth of folly than of genius, never inflated Bacon's mind,-never corrupted or hardened his heart by extinguishing, as it is wont to do, all the social and

* Bacon's Works, vol. 12, pp. 92, 93; and see vol. 13, p. 44.

† Bacon, writing to Mr. Matthew, tells him, 'I have now, at last, taught that child to go, at the swaddling whereof you were. My work touching the Proficiency and Advancement of Learning I have put into two books, whereof the former, which you saw, I cannot but account as a page of the latter. I have now published them both, whereof I thought it a small adventure to send you a copy, who have more right to it than any man, except bishop Andrews, who was my inquisitor.'—Bacon's Works, vol. 13, p. 62.

Ib. vol. 12, p. 393.


best feelings of our nature in the greedy gulf of selfishness. He hearkened not to the voice of the charmer, charmed he never so wisely. Writing not for praise or glory, but for practice and the good of men, he contented himself, as he declared, to be 'a servant to posterity.' And again, he says, 'I must confess my desire to be, that my writings should not court the present time, or some few places, in such sorts as might make them either less general to persons, or less permanent to future ages.'

However, though he sought not the applause of his own age, he found it. His domestic chaplain tells us that his fame sounded so loud in foreign parts, that many persons of distinguished rank crossed the seas to enjoy the pleasure of his conversation. 'I have known, too,' he adds,

• Bacon's Works, vol. 12, p. 232.

+ Rawley's Life; and see Bacon's Works, vol. 7, p. 115. In his late excellent Life of Galileo, p. 2, Mr. Drinkwater reiterates the oft repeated, but most erro

• some of no mean parts that have professed to make use of their note-books, when they have arisen from his table. * In conversation, he was no dashing man, but ever a countenancer and fosterer of another man's parts; neither was he one that would appropriate the speech wholly to himself, or delight to

neous, statement, that Bacon, as a philosopher, attracted little attention among his contemporaries, and that they were but slightly affected by his precepts. Surely the convincing evidence collected by Professor Napier ought to set this question at rest for ever.

1:-See his masterly Paper read before the Royal Society of Edinburgh, in 1818, and printed in its Transactions, vol. 8, pp. 373—425. In the sequel, we shall resume this subject.

* In Aubrey's anecdotes, we are told that 'Richard, Earl of Dorset, was a great admirer and friend of the lord Chancellor Bacon, and was wont to have sir Tho. Billingsley along with him, to remember and put down my lord's sayings at table.'--Letters from the Bodleian Library, &c. vol. 2, p. 221. Aubrey's anecdotes are very curious, and form the most important and interesting part of this collection. His knowledge of Bacon was principally derived from Hobbes, who had been intimate with both.

outvie others. He would draw a man on to speak upon such a subject, as wherein he was peculiarly skilful and would delight to speak. And for himself, he contemned no man's observations, but would light his toreh at any candle.' He willingly imparted his knowledge to all around him; and if there was any argument, it was for truth, not victory. He well knew, (what sir Thomas Brown has so happily illustrated,) that, “in all disputes, so much as there is of passion, so much there is of nothing to the purpose; for then reason, like a had hound, spends upon a false scent, and forsakes the question first started.'*

Though Bacon's moral and politicalt and legal writings would alone have been sufficient to perpetuate his name, yet he so

* Religio Medici, p. 35.

+ “If all lord Bacon's philosophy,' says Mr. Hallam, had never existed, there would be enough in his political writings to place him among the greatest men this country has produced.'-Constitutional History, vol. 1, p. 490, note.

surpassed all his contemporaries, and even himself, in his philosophy, that the Instauration must be considered as the principal pedestal of his fame.

The INSTAURATIO MAGNA was designed by its author to consist of six parts:

I. Partitiones Scientiarum.
II. Novum Organum, sive Indicia de In-

terpretatione Naturæ. III. Phænomena Universi, sive Historia

Naturalis et Experimentalis ad con

dendam Philosophiam. IV. Scala Intellectus. V. Prodromi, sive Anticipationes Philo

sophiæ Secundæ. VI. Philosophia secunda, sive Scientia


I. The Advancement of Learning contains the partition of sciences, and forms the first part of the Instauration. More extensive erudition, keener sagacity, loftier eloquence, and more profound reflections on

« ForrigeFortsæt »