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Thus have I made as it were a small Globe of the Intellectual World, as truly and faithfully as I could discover ; with a note and description of those parts which seem to me not constantly occupate, or not well converted by the labour of man. In which, if I have in any point receded from that which is commonly received, it hath been with a purpose of proceeding in melius, and not in aliud ; a mind of amendment and proficience, and not of change and difference. For I could not be true and constant to the argument I handle, if I were not willing to go beyond others; but yet not more willing than to have others go beyond me again : which may the better appear by this, that I have propounded my opinions naked and unarmed, not seeking to preoccupate the liberty of men's judgments by confutations. For in any thing which is well set down, I am in good hope that if the first reading move an objection, the second reading will make an answer. And in those things wherein I have erred, I am sure I have not prejudiced the right by litigious arguments ; which certainly have this contrary effect and operation, that they add authority to error, and destroy the authority of that which is well invented : for question is an honour and preferment to falsehood, as on the other side it is a repulse to truth. But the errors I claim and

Ι challenge to myself as mine own. The good, if any be, is due tanquam adeps sacrificii, [as the fat of the sacrifice,] to be incensed to the honour, first of the Divine Majesty, and next of your Majesty, to whom on earth I am most bounden.

FILUM LABYRINTHI,

SIVE

FORMULA INQUISITIONIS.

PREFACE.

The following fragment was first printed in Stephens's second collection (1734), from a manuscript belonging to Lord Oxford, which is now in the British Museum (Harl. MSS. 6797. fo. 139.) As far as it goes, it agrees so nearly with the Cogitata et Visa that either might be taken for a free translation of the other, with a few additions and omissions. But I think the English was written first; probably at the time when the idea first occurred to Bacon of drawing attention to his doctrine by exhibiting a specimen of the process and the result in one or two particular cases.

The Cogitata et Visa professes to be merely a preface framed to prepare the way for an example of a legitimate philosophical investigation proceeding regularly by Tables. Such an example, or at least the plan and skeleton of it, will be found further on, with the title Filum Labyrinthi, sive Inquisitio legitima de Motu ; and the title prefixed to this fragment is most easily explained by supposing that a specimen of an Inquisitio legitima was meant to be included in it.

It is here printed from the original MS. which is a fair copy

in the hand of one of Bacon's servants, carefully corrected in his own.

J. S.

FILUM LABYRINTHI,

SIVE FORMULA INQUISITIONIS.

AD FILIOS."

PARS PRIMA.

1. FRANCIS Bacon thought in this manner. The knowledge whereof the world is now possessed, especially that of nature, extendeth not to magnitude and certainty of works. The Physician pronounceth many diseases incurable, and faileth oft in the rest. The Alchemists wax old and die in hopes. The Magicians perform nothing that is permanent and profitable. The Mechanics take small light from natural philosophy, and do but spin on their own little threads. Chance sometimes discovereth inventions; but that worketh not in years, but ages. So he saw well, that the inventions known are very unperfect; and that new are not like to be brought to light but in great length of time; and that those which are, came not to light by philosophy.

2. He thought also this state of knowledge was the worse, because men strive (against themselves) to save the credit of ignorance, and to satisfy themselves in this poverty. For the Physician, besides his cauteles

1 This is written at the top of the page, in the left-hand corner, in

Bacon's hand.

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