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cause which retains the planets in their orbits, which acts in the sun, and which directs an iron bar towards the centre of the earth, has been discovered, calculated, and demonstrated by the great Newton. But what sagacity in Bacon to have imagined what no one else had ever thought of!

This is a very different notion from the subtle matter produced by tubular atoms, which sometimes turn about themselves, although in a plenum, or from the globular matter formed of such particles. These ridiculous opinions were received for some time among the curious. They formed a very bad romance; but not only succeeded, like Cyrus and Pharamond, but were embraced as a truth by people who endeavoured to think. If we except Bacon, Galileo, Toricelli, and a very small number of sages, the world was then quite blind on the subject of physics.

These blind philosophers quitted Greek chimeras for chimeras of vortices and tubular atoms, and when at last attraction and gravitation are discovered and demonstrated, they declaim about occult qualities. Alas ! are not all the primary principles of nature occult qualities to us? The causes of motion, repulsion, generation; the immutability of the various species of sentiment, memory, and thought-are they not all profoundly concealed ?

Bacon suspected, and Newton demonstrated, the existence of a principle, until then unknown. Men must abide by it until they become gods. Newton was wise enough in demonstrating the laws of attraction to say, that he was ignorant of the cause of it. He added, that it was perhaps an impulse, perhaps a light substance, prodigiously elastic, spread throughout nature. He apparently endeavours, by these perhapses, to reconcile minds which are scared at the word attraction, and at a property of matter which acts throughout the universe without apparent contact.*

* Much reasoning and pleasantry of Voltaire, in reference to the opponents of attraction, is here omitted as unnecessary to the generality of English readers, although judiciously opposed to the national vanity of that day in France, which was naturally disposed to uphold the system of Descartes against that of a foreigu rival. The argument retained remains applicable, at. traction being still disputed, although very little eems likely to be gained by the substitution of the word pressure. Whether the action be attributable to pushing or pulling, the laws which govern it are similar, and the cause, as Voltaire justly observes, equally occult.-T.

SECTION II. It is not long since the following useless and frivolous question was agitated in a celebrated company. “Which was the greatest man, Cæsar, Alexander, Tamerlane, or Cromwell ?” Some one replied, without contradiction, that the greatest man was Sir Isaac Newton. This person was right, for if true greatness consists in having received a powerful genius from heaven, and in making use of it to enlighten ourselves and others, such a man as Sir Isaac Newton, who is scarcely found in six centuries, is truly the great man; and politicians and conquerors, in which no age has been deficient, are generally nothing more than illustrious evils. It is to him who prevails over minds by the force of truth, and not to them who make slaves by violence; it is to him who knew the universe, rather than to those who disfigure it, that we owe respect.

The great Bacon was the son of a keeper of the seals, and for a long time chancellor himself under King James the First. Thus, in the midst of the intrigues of the court, and the duties of his situation, which required a man quite devoted to them, he found time to be a great philosopher, a good historian, and an elegant writer. What is still more astonishing, he lived in an age in which the art of good writing was still less known than sound philosophy. He has been, as it is the custom among men, more esteemed since his death than he was during his life. His enemies were in the court of London, his admirers were foreigners. When the Marquis d'Effiat carried the princess Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry the Great, over to England to become the wife of King Charles I., that minister visited Bacon, who being ill in bed, received him with the curtains drawn. * You resemble the angels,” said d'Effiat to him, “ whom we always hear spoken of, and believe to be superior to men, but never have the consolation of seeing them.”

It is known that Bacon was accused of a crime very unworthy of a philosopher, that of allowing himself to be corrupted by money. It is recorded, that he was condemned by the House of Peers to pay about four hundred thousand livres of our money and to lose his office. Now the English so reverence his memory, that they will hardly confess that he was guilty. If my opinion was asked, I should make use of a speech which I have heard given to Lord Bolingbroke. Some one, speaking in his presence of the avarice of the Duke of Marlborough, quoted instances of it, for the truth of which he appealed to the testimony of Lord Bolingbroke, who, being of a contrary party, could have mentioned the Duke's bad qualities with a good grace. “ He was so great a man," answered Lord B. significantly, “ I have forgotten his vices."-In the like manner I will confine myself to speaking of that which has gained Chancellor Bacon the esteem of Europe.

The most singular and the best of his works, is that which is at present the least read, and the most useful; I speak of his “Novum Organum Scientiarum. It was the scaffold by means of which experimental philosophy has been built, and now the edifice has been so far raised, the scaffold is no longer useful. Chancellor Bacon did not know nature, but he knew and indicated all the paths which led to her. He despised in good time what was taught by square-capped fools, under the name of philosophy, in houses called colleges; and he did all that depended upon him, whilst these societies, instituted for the acquirement of the perfection of human reason, continued to corrupt it by their quiddities, their horror of a vacuum, their substantial forms, and all those phrases, that ignorance had not only made respectable, but which a ridiculous involvement with religion had rendered sacred.

Bacon is the father of experimental philosophy. It is very true, that before his time astonishing secrets had been discovered; the compass, printing, plate-engraving, oil painting, glass, the art of assisting the sight of aged people by spectacles, gunpowder, &c. had all been previously invented, and a new world had been sought, found, and conquered. Who would not think that these sublime discoveries had been made by great philosophers, and in much more enlightened times than our own ? Not at all, it was in times of scholastic barbarity, that these great changes were made on the earth. Chance only has produced almost all these inventions ; it is even pretended that what is called chance had a great part in the discovery of America; at least it has been believed that Christopher ColumÞus: only undertook his voyage on the word of a captain of a ship, whom a tempest had thrown within sight of the Carribee islands. *

Be that as it may, men knew how to go round the world; they knew how to destroy towns with artificial thunder more terrible than the real; but they knew not the circulation of the blood, the weight of the air, the laws of motion and of light, the number of our planets, &c.—while a man who

sustained a thesis on the categories of Aristotle, on the universal a parte rei, or some other folly, was regarded as a prodigy.

The most useful and astonishing inventions are not those which do the most honour to the human mind. It is to a mechanical instinct, possessed by most men, that we owe the greater proportion of the arts, and not

1. * This reasoning may be questioned in reference to such men as Columbus. ' Chance must naturally lead to scientific discovery, for all such discovery must be founded on matter of fact, the occurrence of which is usually casual, and the due observance of it more so.

The story told by the sea captain to CoJumbus, might stimulate bis imagination to the formation of a eorrect theory; but the theory be certainly formed. In fact, imagination in its wildest exercise is only a power of capriciously combining things existent in themselves, although not in such a combination. The distinction between poetical imagipation and scientific discovery or invention, is only in object and degree. The former is careless of reality, and therefore altogether unconfined in its compounds; whilst the object of the latter being compatibility, the composition is necessarily more restrained. An useful illustrative work migbt be written on the powers, uses, and extent of the faculty of imagination.-7.

VOL. I.

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to sound philosophy. The discoveries of fire, of the art of making bread, of melting and preparing metals, of building houses, and the invention of the shuttle, are all necessary before printing and the compass, yet all these were discovered by men while still savages. What a prodigious use of the mechanics did the Greeks and Romans make. Yet they believed, in their time, that the heavens were of chrystal; and that the stars were little lamps which sometimes fell into the sea : and one of their greatest philosophers, after many researches, discovered that the said stars were fints which had been detached from the earth.

In a word, before Chancellor Bacon, experimental philosophy was not known, and of all the experiments that have been made since, there is scarcely one which is not indicated in his book. He made several himself. He formed pneumatic machines, by which he divined the elasticity of the air; he has turned out to be the discoverer of its gravity. He touched upon it, and the truth was seized by Torricelli. In a little time after, physical experiments suddenly began to be cultivated in almost all parts of Europe. It was a hidden treasure, which Bacon had suspected, and which all the philosophers, encouraged by his suggestions, endeavoured to dig for. We have seen that he describes in express terms the principles of that attraction of which Newton passes for the inventor.

This precursor of philosophy has also been an elegant writer, an historian, and a wit. His Moral Essays are much esteemed, but they are more instructive than amusing, and not being a satire on human nature, like the Maxims of Rochefoucault, nor of the school of scepticism, like those of Montaigne, they are less read than his greater works. His life of Henry VII, has passed for a master-piece; but how is it that some persons dare compare so small a work with the history of our illustrious De Thou? In speaking of the famous impostor Perkins, the son of a converted Jew, who, encouraged by the Duchess of Burgundy, so boldly took the name of Richard IV. and disputed the crown with Henry VII. Chancellor Bacon" thus expresses

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