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"The method observed in thus rendering them into English, is not that of a direct translation, (which might have left them more obscure than they are; and no way suited this design;) but a kind of open version, which endeavours to express, in modern English, the sense of the author, clear, full, and strong; though without deviating from him, and, if possible, without losing of his spirit, force, or energy. And though this attempt may seem vain, or bold, it was doubtless better to have had the view, than willingly to have aimed at second prizes.

"The liberty sometimes taken, not of abridging, (for just and perfect writings are incapable of abridgment,) but of dropping, or leaving out, some parts of the author's writings, may require greater excuse. But this was done in order to shorten the works, whose length has proved one discouragement to their being read. And regard has been had to omit none of the philosophical matter; but only certain personal addresses, compliments, exordiums, and the like; for, as the reasons and ends, for which these were originally made, subsist no longer, it was thought superfluous to continue such particularities, in a work of this general nature."

In the year 1810 the Novum Organum was translated into Italian. The following is a copy of the title-page: Nuovo Organo Delle Scienze di Francesco Bacone, Di Verulamio, Traduzione in Italiano del can. Antonio Pellizzari, Edizione seconda arricchita di un Indice e di Annotazioni. Bassano, Tipografia Remondiniana, 1810.

For the translation of the Novum Organum contained in this volume, I am indebted to my friend William Wood: excepting the translation of the Catalogue of Particular Histories, for which I am indebted to my friend and pupil, William G. Glen.



The translation was published in 1671, in the third edition of the Resuscitatio. It is "translated into English by R. G., gentleman." Of this tract Archbishop Tennison, says, in his Baconiana: "The second section is the History of Winds, written in Latin by the author, and by R. G., gentleman, turned into English. It was dedicated to King Charles, then Prince, as the first-fruits of his lordship's Natural History; and as a grain of mustard-seed, which was, by degrees, to grow into a tree of experimental science. This was the birth of the first of those six months, in which he determin64 (God assisting him) to write six several histories of natural things. To wit, of Dense and Rare Bodies; of Heavy and Light Bodies; of Sympathy and Antipathy; of Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury; of Life and Death; and (which he first perfected) that of Winds, which he calls the Wings, by which men fly on the sea, and the besoms of the air and earth. And he rightly observeth, concerning those postnati, (for, as he saith, they are not a part of the six days' work or primary creatures,) that the generation of them has not been well understood, because men have been ignorant of the nature and power of the air, on which the winds attend, as Æolus on Juno.

"The English translation of this book of Winds is printed in the second part of the Resuscitatio, as it is called, though improperly enough; for it is rather a collection of books already printed, than a resuscitation of any considerable ones, which before slept in private manuscript."

The translations of the Histories of Density and Rarity; of Heavy and Light; of Sympathy and Antipathy; of Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt, are from the third edition of the Resuscitatio, published in 1671; which contains also a translation of the Entrance to the History of Life and Death.

The translation of the History of Life and Death is taken from the seventh edition of the Sylva Sylvarum, published in 1658. Of this translation, Archbishop Tennison thus speaks in his Baconiana: “The sixth section is the History of Life and Death, written by his lordship in Latin, and first turned into English by an injudicious translator, and rendered much better a second time, by an abler pen, made abler still by the advice and assistance of Dr. Rawley.

"This work, though ranked last amongst the six monthly designations, yet was set forth in the second place. His lordship (as he saith) inverting the order, in respect of the prime use of this argument, in which the least loss of time was by him esteemed very precious. The subject of this book, (which Sir Henry Wotton calleth none of the least of his lordship's works,) and the argument of which some had before undertaken, but to much less purpose, is the first of those which he put in his Catalogue of the Magnalia Naturæ. And, doubtless, his lordship undertook both a great and a most desirable work, of making art short, and life easy and long. And it was his lordship's wish that the nobler sort of physicians might not employ their times wholly in the sordidness of cures, neither be honoured for necessity only; but become coadjutors and instruments of the Divine omnipotence and clemence, in prolonging and renewing the life of man; and in helping Christians, who pant after the land of promise, so to journey through this world's wilderness, as to have their shoes and garments (these of their frail bodies) little worn and impaired.'"

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For this translation I am indebted to my dear friend, the Reverend Archdeacon Wrangham, with whom, after an uninterrupted friendship of more than forty years, I am happy to be associated in this work.

Archbishop Tennison thus speaks of this fourth book: "The fourth part of the Instauration designed, was Scala Intellectus.

"To this there is some sort of entrance in his lordship's distribution of the Novum Organum, and in a page or two under that title of Scala, published by Gruter. But the work itself passed not beyond the model of it in the head of the noble author.

"That which he intended was, a particular explication and application of the second part of the Instauration, (which giveth general rules for the interpretation of nature,) by gradual instances and examples.

"He thought that his rules, without some more sensible explication, were like discourses in geometry or mechanics, without figures and types of engines. He therefore designed to select certain subjects in nature or art; and, as it were, to draw to the sense a certain scheme of the beginning and progress of philosophical disquisition in them; showing, by degrees, where our consideration takes root, and how it spreadeth and advanceth. And some such thing is done by those who, from the Cicatricule, or from the Punctumn Saliens, observe and register all the phenomena of the animal unto its death, and after it, also, in the medical, or culinary, or other use of its body; together with all the train of the thoughts occasioned by those phenomena, or by others in compare with them. "And because he intended to exhibit such observations, as they gradually arise, therefore, he gave to that designed work the title of the Scale, or Ladder of the Understanding. He also expressed the same conceit by another metaphor, advising students to imitate men who, by going by degrees, from several eminences of some very high mountain, do at length arrive at the top, or pike of it."


For this translation I am also indebted to my friend, Archdeacon Wrangham. Of this tract Archbishop Tennison thus speaks: "The fifth part of the Instauration designed, was what he called Prodromi sive Anticipationes Philosophiæ Secundæ. To this we find a very brief entrance in the Organum, and the Scripta, published by Gruter. And, though his lordship is not known to have composed any part of this work by itself, yet something of it is to be collected from the axioms and greater observations interspersed in his Natural Histories, which are not pure but mixed writings. The anticipations he intended to pay down as use, till he might furnish the world with the principal."




SEEING he was satisfied that the human under- | be infinite, and above the strength of a mere morstanding creates itself labour, and makes not a tal, yet will it, in the execution, be found to be judicious and convenient use of such real helps more sound and judicious than the course which as are within man's power, whence arise both a has hitherto been pursued. For this method manifold ignorance of things, and innumerable admits at least of some termination, whilst, in the disadvantages, the consequence of such ignorance; present mode of treating the sciences, there is a he thought that we ought to endeavour, with all sort of whirl, and perpetual hurry round a circle. our might, either (if it were possible) completely Nor has he forgotten to observe that he stands to restore, or, at all events, to bring to a better alone in this experiment, and that it is too bold issue that free intercourse of the mind with things, and astonishing to obtain credit. Nevertheless, nothing similar to which is to be met with on he thought it not right to desert either the cause earth, at least as regards earthly objects. But or himself, by not exploring and entering upon that errors which have gained firm ground, and will forever continue to gain ground, would, if the mind were left to itself, successively correct each other, either from the proper powers of the understanding, or from the helps and support of logic, he entertained not the slightest hope. Because the primary notions of things, which the mind ignorantly and negligently imbibes, stores up, and accumulates, (and from which every thing else is derived,) are faulty and confused, and carelessly abstracted from the things themselves; and in the secondary and following notions, there is an equal wantonness and inconsistency. Hence it happens that the whole system of human reasoning, as far as we apply it to the investigation of nature, is not skilfully consolidated and built up, but resembles a magnificent pile that has no foundation. For while men admire and celebrate the false energies of the mind, they pass by, and lose sight of the real; such as may exist if the mind adopt proper helps, and act modestly towards things instead of weakly insulting them. But one course was left, to begin the matter anew with better preparation, and to effect a restoration of the sciences, arts, and the whole of human learning, established on their proper foundation. And, although, at the first attempt, this may appear to

the only way, which is pervious to the human mind. For it is better to commence a matter which may admit of some termination, than to be involved in perpetual exertion and anxiety about that which is interminable. And, indeed, the ways of contemplation nearly resemble those celebrated ways of action; the one of which, steep and rugged at its commencement, terminates in a plain, the other, at the first view smooth and easy, leads only to by-roads and precipices. Uncertain, however, whether these reflections would ever hereafter suggest themselves to another, and, particularly, having observed, that he has never yet met with any person disposed to apply his mind to similar meditations, he determined to publish whatsoever he had first time to conclude. Nor is this the haste of ambition, but of his anxiety, that if the common lot of mankind should befall him, some sketch and determination of the matter his mind had embraced might be extant, as well as an earnest of his will being honourably bent upon promoting the advantage of mankind. He assuredly looked upon any other ambition as beneath the matter he had undertaken; for that which is here treated of is either nothing, or it is so great that he ought to be satisfied with its own worth, and seek no other return.





MOST SERENE and mighty KING:

YOUR majesty will, perhaps, accuse me of theft, in that I have stolen from your employments time sufficient for this work. I have no reply, for there can be no restitution of time, unless, perhaps, that which has been withdrawn from your affairs might be set down as devoted to the perpetuating of your name and to the honour of your age, were what I now offer of any value. It is at least new, even in its very nature; but copied from a very ancient pattern, no other than the world itself, and the nature of things, and of the mind. I myself (ingenuously to confess the truth) am wont to value this work rather as the offspring of time than of wit. For the only wonderful circumstance in it is, that the first conception of the matter, and so deep suspicions of prevalent notions should ever have entered into any person's mind; the consequences naturally follow. But, doubtless, there is a chance, (as we call it,) and something as it were accidental in man's thoughts, no less than in his actions and words. I would have this chance, however, (of which I am speaking,) to be so understood, that if there be any merit in what I offer, it should be attributed to the immeasurable mercy and bounty of God, and to the felicity of this your age; to which felicity I have devoted myself whilst living with the sincerest zeal, and I shall, perhaps, before my death have rendered the age a light unto posterity, by kindling this new torch amid the darkness of philosophy. This regeneration and instauration of the sciences is with justice due to the age of a prince surpassing all others in wisdom and learning. There remains for me to but to make one request, worthy of your majesty, and very especially relating to my subject, namely, that, resembling Solomon as you do in most respects, in the gravity of your decisions, the peacefulness of your reign, the expansion of your heart, and, lastly, in the noble variety of books you have composed, you would further imitate the same monarch in procuring the compilation and completion of a Natural and Experimental History, that shall be genuine and rigorous, not that of mere philologues, and serviceable for raising the superstructure of philosophy, such, in short, as I will in its proper place describe that, at length, after so many ages, philosophy and the sciences may no longer be unsettled and speculative, but fixed on the solid foundation of a varied and well considered experience. I for my part have supplied the instrument, the matter to be worked upon must be sought from things themselves. May the great and good God long preserve your majesty in safety.

Your majesty's

Most bounden and devoted,







It appears to me that men know not either their acquirements or their powers, and trust too much to the former, and too little to the latter. Hence it arises that, either estimating the arts they have become acquainted with at an absurd value, they require nothing more, or forming too low an opinion of themselves, they waste their powers on trivial objects, without attempting any thing to the purpose. The sciences have thus their own pillars, fixed as it were by fate, since men are not roused to penetrate beyond them either by zeal or hope: and inasmuch as an imaginary plenty mainly contributes to a dearth, and from a reliance upon present assistance, that which will really hereafter aid us is neglected, it becomes useful, nay, clearly necessary, in the very outset of our work, to remove, without any circumlocution or concealment, all excessive conceit and admiration of our actual state of knowledge, by this wholesome warning not to exaggerate or boast of its extent or utility. For, if any one look more attentively into that vast variety of books which the arts and sciences are so proud of, he will everywhere discover innumerable repetitions of the same thing, varied only by the method of treating it, but anticipated in invention; so that although at first sight they appear numerous, they are found, upon examination, to be but scanty. And with regard to their utility I must speak plainly. That philosophy of ours which we have chiefly derived from the Greeks, appears to me but the childhood of knowledge, and to possess the peculiarity of that age, being prone to idle loquacity, but weak and unripe for generation; for it is fruitful of controversy and barren of effects. So that the fable of Scylla seems to be a lively image of the present state of letters; for she exhibited the countenance and expression of a virgin, but barking monsters surrounded and fastened themselves to her womb. Even thus, the sciences to which we have been accustomed have their flattering and specious generalities, but when we come to particulars, which, like the organs of generation, should produce fruit and effects, then spring up altercations and barking questions, in the which they end, and bring forth nothing else. Besides, if these sciences were not manifestly a dead letter, it would never happen, as for many ages has been the case in practice, that they should adhere almost immovably to their original footing, without acquiring a growth worthy of mankind: and this so completely, that frequently not only an assertion continues to be an assertion, but even a question to be a question, which, instead of being solved by discussion, becomes fixed and encouraged; and every system of instruction successively handed down to us brings upon the stage the characters of master and scholar, not those of an inventor and one capable of adding some excellence to his inventions. But we see the contrary happen in the mechanical arts. For they, as if inhaling some life-inspiring air, daily increase, and are brought to perfection; they generally in the hands of the inventor appear rude, cumbrous, and shapeless, but afterwards acquire such additional powers and facility, that sooner may men's wishes and fancies decline and change, than the arts reach their full height and perfection. Philosophy and the intellectual sciences on the contrary, like statues, are adored and celebrated, but are not made to advance: nay, they are frequently most vigorous in the hands of their author, and thenceforward degenerate. For since men have voluntarily surrendered themselves, and gone over in crowds to the opinion of their leader, like those silent senators of Rome,† they add nothing to the extent of learning themselves, but perform the servile duty of illustrating and waiting upon particular authors. Nor let any one allege that learning, slowly springing up, attained by degrees its full stature, and from that time took up its abode in the works of a few, as having performed its predetermined course; and that, as it is impossible to discover any further improvement, it only

* Alluding to the frontispiece of the original work, which represents a vessel passing beyond the Pillars of Hercules. + Pedarii Senatores.

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