Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

that as

corded two years later; 1 remembering the instructions to Sir John Digby which I have quoted; and observing the spirit of the introductory conversation, - especially with reference to one or two passages which appear to have been inserted on revision, I am inclined to think that Eupolis, the "Politique," would have limited his approval to a war against the Turks ; and that not simply as Infidels, but as dangerous neighbours to all Christendom. And I suppose things then stood the Christian powers might very fairly, and merely in self-defence and as a matter of international policy, have demanded securities from the Turks, the refusal of which would (even according to modern opinions) have formed a just ground of war. That it would have been a "holy war," that is, that it would incidentally have had the effect of recovering to the Church countries then subject to Infidels, would in Bacon's eyes no doubt have been a great additional recommendatión: experience not having yet sufficiently proved that subjection of territory to Christian rule does not involve conversion of people to the Christian faith.

Setting aside the practical question as to the lawfulness of wars for the propagation of the faith a question which would now in any company of divines and statesmen be negatived without a division, and regarding the work as a literary composition, it will be found not merely to be still interesting, but to deserve a conspicuous place among Bacon's writings. For it is the only specimen we have of his manner of conducting a discussion in the form of dialogue; and enough is

1 44 Though offensive wars for religion are seldom to be approved, or never, except there be some mixture of civil titles."- Considerations touching a War with Spain: written in 1624.

180

PREFACE TO THE ADVERTISEMENT, ETC.

done to show how skilfully he could handle that fine but difficult instrument. The design of the composition is to represent the question as fairly debated between several speakers looking at it from different points of view, and each bringing the full force of his wit and learning to the support of his own conclusion; and nothing can be more natural and life-like than the conversation, so far as it goes. The historical matters incidentally handled have an interest also which is by no means obsolete. And the dedicatory letter to Bishop Andrews contains the fullest account of Bacon's own personal feelings and designs as a writer which we have from his own pen.

This fragment was first published by Dr. Rawley in 1629, along with two or three others, in a small volume entitled Certain miscellany works of the Right Honourable Francis Lo. Verulam, Viscount St. Alban: the alleged motive of the publication being to supersede or prevent corrupt copies, and "to satisfy the desires of some who held it unreasonable that any delineations of that pen, though in never so small a model, should not be shown to the world."

It was

afterwards by Bacon's own direction (as I have said), and apparently under his supervision, translated into Latin, and added to the Opera Moralia et Civilia. There is a manuscript copy of part of it in the British Museum,1 and another in the Cambridge University Library; but Rawley's edition contains some passages which are not in the MS. and therefore I suppose it was printed from a corrected copy and is the better authority.

As in other similar cases I have compared the English with the Latin, and quoted in foot-notes all variations which seem to be at all material.

1 Harl. MSS. 4263.

ADVERTISEMENT TOUCHING AN

HOLY WARRE.

WRITTEN IN THE YEARE 1622.

WHEREUNTO THE AUTHOR PREFIXED AN EPISTLE TO THE BISHOP OF WINCHESTER LAST DECEASED.

LONDON.

Printed by John Haviland for Humphrey Robinson.

TO

THE RIGHT REVEREND FATHER IN GOD,

LANCELOT ANDREWS,

LORD BISHOP OF WINCHESTER, AND COUNSELLOR OF ESTATE TO HIS MAJESTY.

MY LORD,

AMONGST Consolations, it is not the least, to represent to a man's self like examples of calamity in others. For examples give a quicker impression than arguments; and besides, they certify us, that which the Scripture also tendereth for satisfaction, that no new thing is happened unto us. This they do the better,2 by how much the examples are liker in circumstances to our own case; and more especially if they fall upon persons that are greater and worthier than ourselves. For as it savoureth of vanity, to match ourselves highly in our own conceit; so on the other side it is a good sound conclusion, that if our betters have sustained the like events, we have the less cause to be grieved.5

3

In this kind of consolation I have not been wanting to myself; though as a Christian I have tasted

1 penetrant magis.

2 afficiunt autem exempla eo magis, quo, &c.
8 si Fortuna illos non levius mulctarit, qui, &c.
4 si nos ipsos cum melioribus componamus.
5 non esse cur nos supra modum conqueramur.

« AnteriorContinuar »