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The Method of Lord Bacon.
31 importance, and denying their sacred right to the special attention of mankind, but from a desire to deal with those subjects only which can be reduced to positive proof, and do not rest on opinion or faith. The subjects of the moral and political sciences involve not only opinions, but feelings; and their discussion frequently rouses passions. For feelings are
For feelings are “subjective," as the German metaphysician has it--they are inseparable from the individual being-an attack upon them is felt as one upon the person itself; whilst facts are "objective” and belong to everybodythey remain the same facts at all times and under all circumstances : they can be proved; they have to be proved, and when proved, are finally settled. It is with facts only that the Association deals. There may for a time exist differences of opinion on these also, but the process of removing them and resolving them into agreement is a different one from that in the moral and political sciences. These are generally approached by the deductive process; but if the reasoning be ever so acute and logically correct, and the point of departure, which may be arbitrarily selected, is disputed, no agreement is possible ; whilst we proceed here by the inductive process, taking nothing on trust, nothing for granted, but reasoning upwards from the meanest fact established, and making every step sure before going one beyond it, like the engineer in his approaches to a fortress. We thus gain ultimately a roadway, a ladder by which even a child may, almost without knowing it, ascend to the summit of truth, and obtain that immensely wide and extensive view which is spread below the feet of the astonished beholder. This road has been shown us by the great Bacon ; and who can contemplate the prospects which it opens without almost falling into a trance similar to that in which he allowed his imagination to wander over future ages of discovery !
POSITION OF DOMESTIC SERVANTS. Who would not feel the deepest interest in the welfare of their Domestic Servants ? Whose heart would fail to sympathise with those who minister Position of Domestic Servants.
to us in all the wants of daily life, attend us in sickness, receive us upon our first appearance in this world, and even extend their care to our mortal remains—who live under our roof, form our household, and are a part of our family?
And yet upon inquiry we find that in this metropolis the greater part of the inmates of the workhouse were domestic servants.
I am sure that this startling fact is no proof either of a want of kindness and liberality in masters towards their servants, or of vice in the latter, but is the natural consequence of that peculiar position in which the domestic servant is placed, passing periods during his life, in which he shares in the luxuries of an opulent masters and others in which he has not even the means of earning sufficient to sustain him through the day.
It is the consideration of these peculiar vicissitudes which makes it the duty of both masterand servants to endeavour to discover and to agree upon some means for carrying the servant through life, safe from the temptations of the prosperous, and from the sufferings of the evil day,
THE USE AND ABUSE OF FIGURES.
The public generally connect in their minds Statistics, if not with unwelcome taxation (for which they naturally form an important basis), certainly with political controversies, in which they are in the habit of seeing public men making use of the most opposite statistical results with equal assurance in support of the most opposite arguments. A great and distinguished French minister and statesman is even quoted as having boasted of the invention of what he is said to have called "l'art de grouper les chiffres ;" but if the same ingenuity and enthusiasm which may have suggested to him this art should have tempted him or others, as historians, to group facts also, it would be no more reasonable to make the historical facts answerable for the use made of them than it would be to make statistical science responsible for many an ingenious financial statement. Yet this science has suffered The Use and Abuse of Figures.
materially in public estimation by such use, although the very fact that statesmen, financiers, physicians, and naturalists seek to support their statements and doctrines by statistics, shows conclusively that they all acknowledge them as the foundation of truth; and this ought, therefore, to raise, instead of depressing, the science in the general esteem of the public.
OUR OBLIGATIONS TO THE PAST.
SCIENCE is not of yesterday. We stand on the shoulders of past ages, and the amount of observations made, and facts ascertained, has been transmitted to us and carefully preserved in the various storehouses of Science. Other crops have been reaped, but still lie scattered on the field. Many a rich harvest is ripe for cutting, but waits for the reaper. Economy of labour is the essence of good husbandry, and no less so in the field of Science.