Page images
[ocr errors]

hypotheses points to another want in the Baconian doctrine. to fall; the authority not only of school doctrines but of If that power form part of the true method, then the mind the church had been discarded; while here and there a few is not wholly passive or recipient; it anticipates nature, and devoted experimenters were turning with fresh zeal to the moulds the experience received by it in accordance with its unwithered face of nature. The fruitful thoughts which own constructive ideas or conceptions; and yet further, the lay under and gave rise to these scattered efforts of the minds of various investigators can never be reduced to the human mind, were gathered up into unity, and reduced to i same dead mechanical level. There will still be room for system in the new philosophy of Bacon. It is assuredly the scientific use of the imagination, and for the creative little matter for wonder that this philosophy should conflashes of genius.?

tain much that is now inapplicable, and that in many If, then, Bacon himself made no contributions to science, respects it should be vitiated by radical errors. The details if no discovery can be shown to be due to the use of his of the logical method on which its author laid the greatest rules, if his method be logically defective, and the prob- stress have not been found of practical service ;4 yet the lem to which it was applied one from its nature in- fundamental ideas on which the theory rested, the need for capable of adequate solution, it may not unreasonably be rejecting rash generalisation, and the necessity for a critical asked, How has he come to be looked upon as the great analysis of experience, are as true and valuable now as leader in the reformation of modern science? How is it they were then. Progress in scientific discovery is made that he shares with Descartes the honour of inaugurating mainly, if not solely, by the employment of hypothesis, modern philosophy ? To this the true answer seems to be, and for that no code of rules can be laid down such as that Bacon owes his position not only to the general spirit Bacon had devised. Yet the framing of hypothesis is no of his philosophy, but to the manner in which he worked mere random guess work; it is not left to the imagination into a connected system the new mode of thinking, and to alone, but to the scientific imagination. There is required the incomparable power and eloquence with which he ex- in the process not merely a preliminary critical induction, pounded and enforced it. Like all epoch-making works, but a subsequent experimental comparison, verification, or the Novum Organum gave expression to ideas which were proof, the canons of which can be laid down with precision. already beginning to be in the air. "The time was ripe for To formulate and show grounds for these laws is to construct a great change; scholasticism, long decaying, had begun a philosophy of induction, and it must not be forgotten

that the first step towards the accomplishment of the task Whewell, Phil. of Ind. Sc., ii. 399, 402-3; Ellis, Int. to Bacon's was made by Bacon, when he introduced and gave due Works, i. 39, 61; Brewster, Newton, ii, 404; Jevons, Princ. of Science, prominence to the powerful logical instrument of exclusion ii. 220. A severe judgment on Bacon's method is given in Dühring's able but one-sided Kritische Gesch. d. Phil., in which the merits of

or elimination. Roger Bacon are brought prominently forward.

Of the general characteristics of Bacon's philosophy, and * Although it must be admitted that the Baconian method is fairly of the consequent place he holds in the history of modern open to the above-mentioned objections, it is curious and significant speculative thought, this is not the place to speak. It is that Bacon was not thoroughly ignorant of them, but with deliberate consciousness preferred his own method. We do not think, indeed, curious and significant that in the domain of the moral that the notiones of which he speaks in any way correspond to what and metaphysical sciences his influence has been perhaps Whewell and Ellis would call “conceptions or ideas furnished by the more powerful, and his authority has been more frequently mind of the thinker; nor do we imagine that Bacon would have appealed to, than in that of the physical. This is due, not admitted these as necessary elements in the inductive process. But he was certainly not ignorant of what may be called a deductive

so much to his expressed opinion that the inductive method method, and of a kind of hypothesis. This is clear from the use he was applicable to all the sciences, as to the generally pracmakes of the Vindemiatio, from certain hints as to the testing of axioms, tical, or, one may say, positive spirit of his system. from his admission of the syllogism into physical reasoning, and from Theological questions, which had tortured the minds of has been already pointed out ; with regard to axioms, he says (N.0., generations, are by him relegated from the province of i. 106), “In establishing axioms by this kind of induction, we must

reason to that of faith. Even reason must be restrained also examine and try whether the axiom so established be framed to from striving after ultimate truth; it is one of the errors of the measure of these particulars from which it is derived, or whether the human intellect that it will not rest in general prinit be larger or wider. And if it be larger and wider, we must observe ciples,

but must push its investigations deeper. Experience whether, by indicating to us new particulars, it confirm that wideness and largeness as by a collateral security, that we may not either and observation are the only remedies against prejudice stick fast in things already known, or loosely grasp at shadows and

and error. Into questions of metaphysics as commonly abstract forms, not at things solid and realised in matter." (Cf. also understood Bacon can hardly be said to have entered, but the passage from Valerius Terminus, quoted in Ellis's note on the

a long line of thinkers have drawn inspiration from him, above aphorism.) Of the syllogism he says, “I do not propose to give up the syllogism altogether. s. is incompetent for the principal things and it is not without justice that he has been looked upon rather than useless for the generality. In the mathematics there is as the originator and guiding spirit of that empirical school no reason why it should not be employed. It is the flux of matter which numbers among its adherents such names as Hobbes, and the inconstancy of the physical body which requires induction, Locke, Hume, Hartley, Mill, Condillac, the Encyclopædists, that thereby it may be fixed as it were, and allow the formation of notions well defined. In physics you wisely note, and therein I agree

and many others of smaller note. with you, that after the notions of the first class and the axioms In concluding this article, the writer desires to express his obligaconcerning them have been by induction well made out and defined, tions to Mr James Spedding for various observations and suggestions syllogism may be applied safely; only it must be restrained from leap- | made upon it before it went to press, and for the use of certain MS. ing at once to the most general notions, and progress must be made notes relating to disputable passages in Bacon's life. through a fit succession of steps.”—“ Letter to Baranzano,” Letters Biography.--Spedding, Letters and Life of Lord Bacon, 7 vols. and Life, vii. 377.) And with this niay be compared what he says of 1862-74; Macaulay, Essays ; Campbell, Lires of Chancellors ; Monmathematics (Nov. Org., ii. 8; Parasceve, vii.) In his account of tagu, Works, vols. xvi. and xvii., 1834; Hepworth Dixon, Personal Experientia Literata (De. Aug., v. 2) he comes very near to the modern History of Lord Bacon, 1861, and Story of Lord Bacon's Life, 1862. mode of experimental research. It is, he says, the procedure from one Works. The classical edition is that by Messrs R. L. Ellis, experiment to another, and is not a science, but an art or learned J. Spedding, and D. D. Heath, 2d ed., 7 vols., 1870 (i.-iii. consagacity (resembling in this Aristotle's & yxlvota), which may, how tains Philosophical Works ; iv. V., Translations; vi. vii., Literary ever, be enlightened by the precepts of the Interpretatio. Eight and Professional Works). Montagu's edition (17 vols., 1825–34) varieties of such experiments are enumerated, and a comparison is drawn between this and the inductive method ; “though the rational method See the vigorous passage in Herschel, Discourse on the Study of of inquiry by the Organon promises far greater things in the end, yet Natural Philosophy, § 105 ; cf. § 96 of the same work. this sagacity, proceeding by learned experience, will in the meantime 4 Bacon himself seems to anticipate that the progress of science present mankind with a number of inventions which lie near at hand." would of itself render his method antiquated (Nov. Ory., i. 130). (cf. N. 0., i. 103.)

< Nov. Org., i. 127.

III. 28


is full, but badly arranged and edited. Of numerous editions of Bacon und seine Nachfolger, 2d ed., 1875 (1st ed., 1856, trans. individual works, or portions of the whole, the following are good : into English by Oxenford, 1857); Rémusat, Bacon, sa vie, &c., Euvres Philosophiques de Bacon, par Bouillet, 3 vols., 1834 ; Essays, 1857 (2d ed., 1858); Craik, Bacon, his Writings and his Philoby Whately, 5th ed., 1866, and by W. A. Wright, 1862; Novum sophy, 3 vols. 1846-7 (new ed., 1860); A. Dorner, De Baconis PhiloÖrganum, by Kitchin (1855); Translation hy the same (1855); sophia, Berlin, 1867 ; Liebig, Ueber Francis Bacon von Verulam Advancement of Learning, by W. A. Wright.

und die Methode der Naturforschung, 1863 ; Lasson, Ueber Baco von Philosophy.--Besides the Introductions in Ellis and Spedding's Verulam's wissenschaftliche Principien, 1860; Böhmer, Ueber F. edition, the following may be noticed :-Kuno Fischer, Franz 'Bacon von Verulam, 1864.

(R, AD.)


BACON, JOHN, who may be considered the founder of be found among the monuments in Westminster Abbey. the British school of sculpture, was born Nov. 24, 1740. (See Memoir of the late John Bacon, R.A., by the Rev. He was the son of Thomas Bacon, cloth-worker in South- Richard Cecil: London, 1811.) wark, whose forefathers possessed a considerable estate in BACON, SIR NICHOLAS, lord keeper of the great seal in Nicholas. Somersetshire. At the age of fourteen he was bound the reign of Queen Elizabeth, was born at Chislehurst in apprentice in Mr Crispe's manufactory of porcelain at Kent in 1510, and educated at the university of Cambridge, Lambeth, where he was at first employed in painting the after which he travelled in France, and made some stay at small ornamental pieces of china, but by his great skill in Paris. On his return he settled in Gray's Inn, and applied moulding he soon attained the distinction of being modeller himself with such assiduity to the study of the law, that to the work. The produce of his labour he devoted to the he quickly distinguished himself; and, on the dissolution support of his parents, then in somewhat straitened circum- of the monastery of St Edmund's Bury in Suffolk, he stances. While engaged in the porcelain works he had an obtained a grant of several manors from King Henry VIII., opportunity of seeing the models executed by different then in the thirty-sixth year of his reign. Two years

later sculptors of eminence, which were sent to be burned at an he was promoted to the office of attorney in the court of adjoining pottery. An observation of these productions wards, which was a place of both honour and profit. In appears to have immediately determined the direction of this office he was continued by King Edward VI.; and in his genius; he devoted himself to the imitation of them 1552 he was elected treasurer of Gray's Inn. His great with so much success, that in 1758 a small figure sent by moderation and prudence preserved him through the him to the Society for the Encouragement of Arts received dangerous reign of Queen Mary. Very early in the reign a prize, and the highest premiums given by that society of Elizabeth he was knighted; and in 1558 he succeeded were adjudged to him nine times between the years 1763 Nicholas Heath, archbishop of York, as keeper of the great and 1776. During his apprenticeship he also improved seal of England; he was at the same time made one of the the method of working statues in artificial stone, an art queen's privy council. As a statesman, he was remarkable which he afterwards carried to perfection. Bacon first for the clearness of his views and the wisdom of his attempted working in marble about the year 1763, and, counsels, and he had a considerable share in the settling of during the course of his early efforts in this art, was led ecclesiastical questions. That he was not unduly elated to improve the method of transferring the form of the by his preferments, appears from the answer he gave to model to the marble (technically called getting out the Queen Elizabeth when she told him his house at Redgrave points), by the invention of a more perfect instrument for was too little for him, “Not so, madam," returned he, the purpose, which has since been adopted by many “but your majesty has made me too great for my house." sculptors both in this and other countries. This instru- On only one occasion did he partially lose the queen's ment possesses many advantages above those formerly favour. He was suspected of having assisted Hales, the employed; it is more exact, takes a correct measureinent clerk of the hanaper, in his book on the succession, written in every direction, is contained in a small compass, and at the time of Lady Catherine Grey's unjust imprisonment. can be used upon either the model or the marble. In the Bacon was deprived of his seat at the council, and it was year 1769 he was adjudged the first gold medal given by even contemplated to deprive him of the seal also. He the Royal Academy, and in 1770 was made an associate seems, however, to have quickly regained his position, and of that body. He shortly afterwards exhibited a figure of to have stood as high in the royal favour as before. He Mars, which gained him considerable reputation, and he died on the 26th of February 1579, having held the great was then engaged to execute a bust of George III., in-seal more than twenty years, and was buried in St tended for Christ Church College. He secured the king's Paul's, London, where a monument, destroyed by the great favour, and retained it throughout life. His great cele fire of London in 1666, was erected to his memory. brity now procured him numerous commissions, and it is Granger observes that he was the first lord keeper who said, that of sixteen different competitions in which he was ranked as lord chancellor; and that he had much of that engaged with other artists, he was unsuccessful in one case penetrating genius, solidity, judgment, persuasive eloquence, only. Considerable jealousy was entertained against him and comprehensive knowledge of law and equity, which afterby other sculptors, and he was commonly charged with wards shone forth with such splendour in his illustrious son. ignorance of classic style. This charge he repelled by the BACON, ROGER. The 13th century, an age peculiarly Roger. execution of a noble head of Jupiter Tonans, and many of rich in great men, produced few, if any, who can take his emblematical figures are in perfect classical taste. higher rank than Roger Bacon. He is in every way On the 4th of August 1799, he was suddenly attacked worthy to be placed beside such thinkers as Albertus with inflammation, which occasioned his death in little Magnus, Bonaventura, and Thomas Aquinas. These had more than two days, in the 59th year of his age. He left an infinitely wider renown in their day, while he was a widow, his second wife, and a family of six sons and ignored by his contemporaries and neglected by his succesthree daughters. Of his merit as a sculptor, the universal sors; but modern criticism has restored the balance in his reputation of his works affords decisive proof, and his favour, and is even in danger of going equally far in the various productions which adorn St Paul's Cathedral, opposite direction. Bacon, it is now said, was not appreLondon, Christ Church and Pembroke Colleges, Oxford, ciated by his age because he was so completely in advance the Abbey Church, Bath, and Bristol Cathedral , give ample of it, he is alī6th or 17th century philosopher

, whose lot testimony to his powers. Perhaps his best works are to has been by some accident cast in the 13th century; he


is no schoolman, but a modern thinker, whose conceptions scholastic routine, and devoted himself to languages and of science are more just and clear than are even those of experimental researches. Among all the instructors with his more celebrated namesake.1 In this view there is whom he came in contact in Paris, only one gained his certainly a considerable share of truth, but it is much esteem and respect; this was an unknown individual, exaggerated. As a general rule, no man can be completely Petrus de Maharncuria Picardus, or of Picardy, probably dissevered from his national antecedents and surroundings, identical with a certain mathematician, Petrus Peregrinus and Bacon is not an exception. Those who take up such of Picardy, who is perhaps the author of a MS. treatise, an extreme position regarding his merits have known too De Magnete,contained in the Bibliothèque Impériale at Paris

. little of the state of contemporary science, and have limited The contrast between the obscurity of such a man and the their comparison to the works of the scholastic theologians. fame enjoyed by the fluent young doctors of the schools We never find in Bacon himself any consciousness of seems to have roused Bacon's indignation. In the Opus originality; he has no fresh creative thought or method to Minus and Opus Tertium he pours forth a violent tirade introduce whereby the face of science may be changed; he is against Alexander of Hales, and against another professor, rather a keen and systematic thinker, who is working in a not mentioned by name, but spoken of as alive, and blamed well-beaten track, from which his contemporaries were being even more severely than Alexander.

This anonymous drawn by the superiorattractions of theologyand metaphysics. writer, he says, who entered the order when young

Roger Bacon was born in 1214, near Ilchester, in (puerulus), who had received no proper or systematic inSomersetshire. - His family appears to have been in good struction in science or philosophy, for he was the first in circumstances, for he speaks of his brother as wealthy, his order to teach such subjects, acquired his learning by and he himself expended considerable sums on books and teaching others, and adopted a dogmatic tone, which has instruments; but in the stormy reign of Henry III. they caused him to be received at Paris with applause as the suffered severely, their property was despoiled, and several equal of Aristotle, Avicenna, or Averroes. He has cormembers of the family were driven into exile. Roger com- rupted philosophy more than any other; he knows nothing pleted his studies at Oxford, though not, as current tradi- of optics or perspective, and yet has presumed to write de tions assert, at Merton or at Brazenose, neither of those naturalibus ; he is ignorant of speculative alchemy, which colleges having then been founded. His great abilities treats of the origin and generation of things; he, indeed, were speedily recognised by his contemporaries, and he is a man of infinite industry, who has read and observed came to be on terms of close intimacy with some of the much, but all his study is wasted because he is ignorant most independent thinkers of the time. Of these the of the true foundation and method of science.2 most prominent were Adam de Marisco and Robert Grosse It is probable that Bacon, during his stay in Paris, acteste (Capito), afterwards bishop of Lincoln, a man of quired considerable renown.

quired considerable renown. He took the degree of doctor liberal mind and wide attainments, who had especially of theology, and seems to have received from his contemdevoted himself to mathematics and experimental science. poraries the complimentary title of doctor mirabilis. In 1250

Very little is known of Bacon's life at Oxford; it is said he was again at Oxford, and probably about this time, though he took orders in 1233, and this is not improbable. In the the exact date cannot be fixed, he entered the Franciscan following year, or perhaps later, he crossed over to France, order. His fame spread very rapidly at Oxford, though it and studied for a considerable length of time at the univer was mingled with suspicions of his dealings in magic and sity of Paris, then the centre of intellectual life in Europe. the black arts, and with some doubts of his orthodoxy. The

years Bacon spent there were unusually stirring. The About 1257, Bonaventura, general of the order, interdicted two great orders, the Franciscans and Dominicans, were in his lectures at Oxford, and commanded him to leave that the vigour of youth, and had already begun to take the town and place himself under the superintendence of the lead in theological discussion, Alexander of Hales, the body at Paris. Here for ten years he remained under conauthor of the great Summa, was the oracle of the Francis- stant supervision, suffering great privations, and strictly cans, while the rival order rejoiced in Albertus Magnus, and prohibited from writing anything which might be published. in the rising genius of the angelic doctor, Thomas Aquinas. But during the time he had been at Oxford his fame had

The scientific training which Bacon had received, partly reached the ears of the Papal legate in England, Guy de by instruction, but more from the study of the Arab Foulques, a man of culture and scientific tastes, who in writers, made patent to his eyes the manifold defects in 1265 was raised to the papal chair as Clement IV. In the imposing systems reared by these doctors. It dis- the following year he wrote to Bacon, who had been already gusted him to hear from all around him that philosophy in communication with him, ordering him, notwithstanding was now at length complete, that it had been reduced into

? It is difficult to identify this unknown professor. Brewer thinks compact order, and was being set forth by a certain pro the reference is to Richard of Cornwall ; but the little we know of fessor at Paris. Even the great authority on which they Richard is not in harmony with what is said here, nor with the terms reposed, Aristotle, was known but in part, and that part in which he is elsewhere spoken of by Bacon. Erdmann conjectures was rendered well-nigh unintelligible through the vileness

Thomas Aquinas, which is extremely improbable, as Thomas was un

questionably not the first of his order to study philosophy. Cousin of the translations; yet not one of those professors would and Charles think that Albertus Magnus is aimed at, and certainly learn Greek so that they might arrive at a real knowledge much of what is said applies with peculiar force to him. But some of their philosopher. The Scriptures, if read at all in the

things do not at all cohere with what is otherwise known of Albert.

The unknown is said to have received no regular philosophic training; schools, were read in the erroneous versions ; but even

we know that Albert did. The unknown entered the order when very these were being deserted for the Sentences of Peter Lombard.

young; unless the received date of Albert's birth be false, he did not Physical science, if there was anything deserving that enter till nearly twenty-eight years of age. Albert, too, could not be name, was cultivated, not by experiment in the true Aris said with justice to be utterly ignorant of alchemy, and his mechanical totelian

inventions are well known. but by discussion and by arguments deduced

It is worth pointing out that Brewer, in way,

transcribing the passage bearing on this (Op. Ined. p. 327), has the from premises resting on authority or custom. Every

words Fratrum puerulus, which in his marginal note he interprets as where there was a show of knowledge covering and con applying to the Franciscan order. In this case, of course, Albert could cealing fundamental ignorance. Bacon, accordingly, who

not be the person referred to, as he was a Dominican. But Charles, knew what true science was, and who had glimpses of a

in his transcription, entirely onits the important word Fratrum.

There are other instances in which Brewer and Charles do not agree, scientific organon or method, rithdrew from the usual

8.g., according to Brewer, Bacon speaks of Thomas and Albert as

pueri duorum ordinum ; according to Charles, he says, primi duorum See Dühring,ratist'e'ta, I. Phil., 192, 249 51.

ordinum ; a discrepancy not unimportant.

any injunctions from his superiors, to write out and send | Naturæ, 1542-English translation, 1659; (3.) Libellus de Roger. to him a treatise on the sciences which he had already Retardandis Senectutis Accidentibus, 1590-translated as asked of him when papal legate. Bacon, who in despair the “ Cure of Old Age,” 1683; (4.) Sanioris Medicince of being ever able to communicate his results to the world, Magistri D. Rogeri Baconis Anglici de Arte Chymiæ Scripta, had neglected to conipose anything, and whose previous 1603—a collection of small tracts containing Excerpta de writings had been mostly scattered tracts, capitula quædam, Libro Avicenne de Anima, Breve Breviarium, Verbum took fresh courage from this command of the Pope. Rely- Abbreviatum, Secretum Secretorum, Tractatus Trium Vering on his powerful protection, he set at naught the many borum, and Speculum Secretorum ; (5.) Perspectiva, 1614, obstacles thrown in his way hy the jealousy of his superiors which is the fifth part of the Opus Majus ; (6.) Specula and brother friars, and despite the want of funds, instru- Mathematica, which is the fourth part of the same; (7.) ments, materials for copying, and skilled copyists, com Opus Majus ad Clementem IV., edited by Jebb, 1733; pleted in about eighteen months three large treatises, the (8.) Opera hactenus Inedita, by J. S. Brewer, 1859, conOpus Majus, Opus Minus, and Opus Tertium, which, with taining the Opus Tertium, Opus Minus, Compendium Studii some other tracts, were despatched to the Pope by the Philosophiæ, and the De Secretis Operibus Naturæ. hands of one Joannes, a young man trained and educated How these works stand related to one another can only with great care by Bacon himself.

be determined by internal evidence, and this is a somewhat The composition of such extensive works in so short a hazardous method. The smaller works, which are chiefly time is a marvellous feat. · We do not know what opinion on alchemy, are unimportant, and the dates of their comClement formed of them, but before his death he seems to position cannot be ascertained. It is known that before have bestirred himself on Bacon's behalf, for in 1268 the the Opus Majus Bacon had already written some tracts, latter was released and permitted to return to Oxford. among which an unpublished work, Computus Naturalium, Here he continued his labours in experimental science, and on chronology, belongs probably to the year 1263; while, also in the composition of complete treatises. The works if the dedication of the De Secretis Operibus be authentic, sent to Clement he regarded as mere preliminaries, laying that short treatise must have been composed before 1249. down principles which were afterwards to be applied to It is, however, with the Opus Majus that Bacon's real the several sciences. The first part of an encyclopædic activity begins. That great work, which has been called work probably remains to us in the Compendium Studii by Whewell at once the Encyclopædia and the Organum Philosophiæ, belonging to the year 1271. In this work of the 13th century, requires a much fuller notice than Bacon makes a vehement attack upon the ignorance and can here be given. As published by Jebb it consists vices of the clergy and monks, and generally upon the in- of six parts; there should, however, be a seventh, De sufficiency of the existing studies. În 1278 he underwent Morali Philosophia, frequently referred to in the Opus the punishment which seems to have then been the natural Tertium. Part I. (pp. 1-22), which is sometimes desigconsequence of outspoken opinions. His books were con nated De Utilitate Scientiarum, treats of the four offendidemned by Jerome de Ascoli, general of the Franciscans, cula, or causes of error. These are, authority, custom, the a gloomy bigot, who afterwards became Pope, and the un- opinion of the unskilled many, and the concealment of real fortunate philosopher was thrown into prison, where he ignorance with show or pretence of knowledge. The last remained for fourteen years. During this time, it is said, error is the most dangerous, and is, in a sense, the cause he wrote the small tract De Retarılandis Senectutis Acci- of all the others. The offendicula have sometimes been dentibus, but this is merely a tradition. In 1292, as ap- looked upon as an anticipation of the more celebrated docpears from what is probably his latest composition, the trine of Idola ; the two classifications, however, have little Compendium Studii Theologiæ, he was again at liberty. in common. In the summary of this part, contained in The exact time of his death cannot le determined ; 1294 the Opus Tertium, Bacon shows very clearly his perception is probably as accurate a date as can be fixed upon. of the unity of science, and the necessity of an encyclo

Bacon's Works.—Leland has said that it is easier to col-pædical treatment. “Nam omnes scientiæ sunt annexæ, lect the leaves of the Sibyl than the titles of the works et mutuis se fovent auxiliis, sicut partes ejusdem totius, written by Roger Bacon ; and though the labour has been quarum quælibet opus suum peragit, non solum propter se, somewhat lightened by the publications of Brewer and sed pro aliis."-Op. Ined., p. 18.) Charles, referred to below, it is no easy matter even now to Part II. (pp. 23-43) treats of the relation between philoform an accurate idea of his actual productions. His writ- sophy and theology. All true wisdom is contained in the ings, so far as known to us, may be divided into two classes, Scriptures, at least implicitly; and the true end of philothose yet in manuscript and those printed. An enormous sophy is to rise from the imperfect knowledge of created number of MSS. are known to exist in British and French things to a knowledge of the Creator. Ancient philolibraries, and probably all have not yet been discovered. sophers, who had not the Scriptures, received direct illuMany are transcripts of works or portions of works already mination from God, and only thus can the brilliant results published, and therefore require no notice. Of the others, attained by them be accounted for. several are of first-rate value for the comprehension of

Part III. (pp. 44-57) treats of the utility of grammar, Bacon's philosophy, and, though extracts from them have and the necessity of a true linguistic science for the adebeen given by Charles, it is clear that till they have found an quate comprehension either of the Scriptures or of books editor, no representation of his philosophy can be complete.1 on philosophy. The necessity of accurate acquaintance

The works hitherto printed (neglecting reprints) are the with any foreign language, and of obtaining good texts, is a following :-(1.) Speculum Alchimiæ, 1541--translated subject Bacon is never weary of descanting upon. He lays into English, 1597; (2.) De Mirabili Potestate Artis et down very clearly the requisites of a good translator; he

should know thoroughly the language he is translating 1 The more important MSS. are :-(1., The extensive work on the fundamental notions of physics, called Communia Naturalium, which in the Brit. Mus.; (5.) the Metaphysica, in the Biblioth. Impér, at is found in the Mazarin Library at Paris, in the British Museum, and Paris ; (6.) The Compendium Studii Thevlogia, in the Brit. Mus.; (7.) in the Bodleian and University College Libraries at Oxford ; (2.) On The logical fragments, such as the Summa Dialectices, in the Bodleian, the fundamental notions of mathematics, De Communibus Mathematice, and the glosses upon Aristotle's physics and metaphysics in the library part of which is in the Sloane collection, part in the Bodleian ; (3.) Baconis Physica, contained among the additional MSS, in the British At the close of the Verb. Abbrev. is a curious note, concluding Museum ; (4.) The fragment called Quinta Pars Compendii Theologia, with the words ipse Rogerus fuit discipulus fratris Alberti/

at Amiens.

Roger. from, the language into which he is translating, and the operative arts in a way that forcibly reminds us of Francis subject of which the book treats.

Bacon, is said to have three great prerogatives over all other Part IV. (57–255) contains an elaborate treatise on sciences :-(1.) It verifies their conclusions by direct experimathematics,“ the alphabet of philosophy," and on its ment; (2.) It discovers truths which they could never reach; importance in science and theology. Bacon shows at great (3.) It investigates the secrets of nature, and opens to us length that all the sciences rest ultimately on mathematics, a knowledge of past and future. As an instance of his and progress only when their facts can be subsumed under method, Bacon gives an investigation into the nature and inathematical principles. This singularly fruitful thought cause of the rainbow, which is really a very fine specimen he exemplifies and illustrates by showing how geometry of inductive research. is applied to the action of natural bodies, and demonstrat The seventh part of the Opus Majus, not given in Jebb's ing by geometrical figures certain laws of physical forces. edition, is noticed at considerable length in the Opus TerHe also shows how his method may be used to determine tium (cap. xiv.) Extracts from it are given by Charles, some curious and long-discussed problems, such as the light (pp. 339–348). of the stars, the ebb and flow of the tide, the motion of As has been seen, Bacon had no sooner finished this the balance. He then proceeds to adduce elaborate and elaborate work than he began to prepare a summary to be sometimes slightly grotesque reasons tending to prove that sent along with it. Of this summary, or Opus Minus, part mathematical knowledge is essential in theology, and closes has come down and is published in Brewer's Op. Ined. this section of his work with two comprehensive sketches (313-389), from what appears to be the only MS. The of geography and astronomy. That on geography is par- work was intended to contain an abstract of the Opus ticularly good, and is interesting as having been read by Majus, an account of the principal vices of theology, and Columbus, who lighted on it in Petrus de Alliaco's Imago treatises on speculative and practical alchemy. At the Mundi, and was strongly influenced by its reasoning. same time, or immediately after, Bacon began a third work

Part V. (pp. 256–357) treats of perspective. This was as a preamble to the other two, giving their general scope the part of his work on which Bacon most prided himself, and aim, but supplementing them in many points. The and in it, we may add, he seems to owe most to the Arab part of this work, generally called Opus Tertium, is printed writers Alkindi and Alhazen. The treatise opens with an by Brewer (pp. 1–310), who considers it to be a complete able sketch of psychology, founded upon, but in some im- treatise. Charles, however, has given good grounds for portant respects varying from, Aristotle's De Anima. The supposing that it is merely a preface, and that the work anatomy of the eye is next described; this is done well went on to discuss grammar, logic (which Bacon thought and evidently at first hand, though the functions of the of little service, as reasoning was innate), mathematics, parts are not given with complete accuracy. Many other general physics, metaphysics, and moral philosophy. He points of physiological optics are touched on, in general founds his argument mainly on passages in the Communia erroneously. Bacon then discusses very fully vision in a Naturalium, which indeed prove distinctly that it was sent right line, the laws of reflection and refraction, and the to Clement, and cannot, therefore, form part of the Comconstruction of mirrors and lenses. In this part of the pendium, as Brewer seems to think. It must be confessed, work, as in the preceding, his reasoning depends essentially however, that nothing can well be more confusing than the upon his peculiar view of natural agents and their activities. references in Bacon's works, and it seems well-nigh hopeHis fundamental physical maxims are matter and force; the less to attempt a complete arrangement of them until the latter he calls virtus, species, imago agentis, and by num texts have been collated and carefully printed. berless other names. Change, or any natural phenomenon, All these large works Bacon appears to have looked on as is produced by the impression of a virtus or species on preliminaries, introductions, leading to a great work which matter—the result being the thing known. Physical action should embrace the principles of all the sciences. This great is, therefore, impression, or transmission of force in lines, work, which is perhaps the frequently referred to Liber Sex and must accordingly be explained geometrically. This view Scientiarum, he began, and a few fragments still indicate its of nature Bacon considered fundamental, and it lies, in-outline. First appears to have come the treatise now called deed, at the root of his whole philosophy. To the short Compendium Studii Philosophiæ (Brewer, pp. 393–519),connotices of it given in the 4th and 5th parts of the Opus taining an account of the causes of error, and then entering Majus, he subjoined two, or perhaps three, extended ac at length upon grammar. After that, apparently, logic counts of it. We possess at least one of these in the tract was to be treated; then, possibly, mathematics and physics ; De Multiplicatione Specierum, printed as part of the Opus then speculative alchemy and experimental science. It is, Majus by Jebb (pp. 358-444). We cannot do more than however, very difficult, in the present state of our knowrefer to Charles for discussions as to how this theory of ledge of the MSS., to hazard even conjectures as to the connature is connected with the metaphysical problems of force tents and nature of this last and most comprehensive work. and matter, with the logical doctrine of universals, and in Bacon's fame in popular estimation has always rested general with Bacon's theory of knowledge.

on his mechanical discoveries, Careful research has Part VI. (pp. 445-477) treats of experimental science, shown that very little in this department can with accuracy domina omnium scientiarum.There are two methods of be ascribed to him. He certainly describes a method of knowledge: the one by argument, the other by experience. constructing a telescope, but not so as to lead one to conMere argument is never sufficient; it may decide a ques- clude that he was in possession of that instrument. Guntion, but gives no satisfaction or certainty to the mind, powder, the invention of which has been claimed for him which can only be convinced by immediate inspection or on the ground of a passage in his works, which fairly inintuition. Now this is what experience gives. But experi- terpreted at once disposes of any such claim, was already ence is of two sorts, external and internal; the first is that known to the Arabs. Burning-glasses were in common usually called experiment, but it can give no complete use, and spectacles it does not appear he made, although knowledge even of corporeal things, much less of spiritual. he was probably acquainted with the principle of their conOn the other hand, in inner experience the mind is illu-struction. His wonderful predictions in the De Secretis) minated by the divine truth, and of this supernatural en must be taken cum grano salis ; and it is not to be forlightenment there are seven grades.

gotten that he believed in astrology, in the doctrine of Experimental science, which in the Opus Tertium (p. signatures, and in the philosopher's stone, and knew that 46) is distinguished from the speculative sciences and the the circle had been squared.

« EelmineJätka »