Imágenes de páginas

enim nullæ sunt vires, neque corpus nisi a corpore patitur, atque omnis incitatio corporis, quæ videtur esse ad se collocandum, appetit atque molitur configurationem versus aliud corpus, non collocationem aut situm simplicem.


1 The Thema Coli, had it stood by itself, would have followed here; for it belongs properly to this class, and was written before the New Atlantis. But being so closely connected with the Descriptio Globi Intellectualis, which belongs to the next, it was thought better not to separate them. J. S.


THE New Atlantis seems to have been written in 1624, and, though not finished, to have been intended for publication as it stands. It was published accordingly by Dr. Rawley in 1627, at the end of the volume containing the Sylva Sylvarum ; for which place Bacon had himself designed it, the subjects of the two being so near akin ; the one representing his idea of what should be the end of the work which in the other he supposed himself to be beginning. For the story of Solomon's House is nothing more than a vision of the practical results which he anticipated from the study of natural history diligently and systematically carried on through successive generations. In this part of it, the work may probably be considered as complete. Of the state of Solomon's House he has told us all that he was as yet qualified to tell. His own attempts to “ interpret nature” suggested the apparatus which was necessary for success : he had but to furnish Solomon's House with the instruments and preparations which he had himself felt the want of. The difficulties which had baffled his single efforts to provide that apparatus for himself suggested the constitution and regulations of a society formed to overcome them: he had but to furnish Solomon's House with the helps in head and hand which he had himself

wished for. His own intellectual aspirations suggested - the result : he had but to set down as known all that

he himself most-longed to know. But here he was obliged to stop. He could not describe the process of a perfect philosophical investigation ; because it must of course have proceeded by the method of the Novum Organum, which was not yet expounded. Nor could he give a particular example of the result of such investigation, in the shape of a Form or an Axiom; for that presupposed the completion, not only of the Novum Organum, but (at least in some one subject) of the Natural History also ; and no portion of the Natural History complete enough for the purpose was as yet producible. Here therefore he stopped ; and it would almost seem that the nature of the difficulty which stood in his way had reminded him of the course he ought to take ; for just at this point (as we learn from Dr. Rawley) he did in fact leave his fable and return to his work. He had begun it with the intention of exhibiting a model political constitution, as well as a model college of natural philosophy, but “ his desire of collecting the natural history diverted him, which he preferred many degrees before it.” And in this, according to his own view of the matter, he was no doubt right; for though there are few people now who would not gladly give all the Sylva Sylvarum, had there been ten times as much of it, in exchange for an account of the laws, institutions, and administrative arrangements of Bensalem, it was not so with Bacon ; who being deeper read in the phenomena of the human heart than in those of the material world, probably thought the perfect knowledge of na

« AnteriorContinuar »