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do I much build upon my present anticipations, neither do I think ourselves yet learned or wise enough to wish reasonably: for as it asks some knowledge to demand a question not impertinent, so it asketh some sense to make a wish not absurd.'
The Inventory, or an enumeration and view of inventions already discovered and in use, together with a note of the wants and the nature of the supplies, being the 10th chapter; and this a small fragment thereof, being the preface to the Inventory.2
The plainest method and most directly pertinent to this intention, will be to make distribution of sciences, arts, inventions, works, and their portions, according to the use and tribute which they yield and render to the conditions of man's life, and under those several uses, being as several offices of provisions, to charge and tax what may be reasonably exacted or demanded; not guiding ourselves neither by the poverty of experiences and probations, nor according to the vanity of credulous imaginations; and then upon those charges and taxations to distinguish and present, as it were in several columns, what is extant and already found, and what is defective and further to be provided. Of which provisions, because in many of them after the manner of slothful and faulty officers and accomptants it will be returned (by way of excuse) that no such are to be had, it will be fit to give some light of the nature of the supplies, whereby it will evidently appear that they are to be compassed and procured. And yet nevertheless on the other side again it will be as fit to check and control the vain and void assignations and gifts whereby certain ignorant, extravagant, and abusing wits have pretended to indue the state of man with wonders, differing as much from truth in nature as Cæsar's Commentaries differeth from the acts of King Arthur or Huon of Bourdeaux in story. For it is true that Cæsar did greater things than those idle wits had the audacity to feign their supposed worthies to have done; but he did them not in that monstrous and fabulous manner.
The chapter ends before the bottom of the page; leaving about a fifth of it blank. 2 The words fragment only of the same, with which the original heading ended, have a line drawn through them, and the words in Roman character are added in Bacon's hand.
3 The concluding sentence, which is crowded into the page and overflows into the margin, has evidently been inserted subsequently to the original transcript. After "procured" there seems to be an "&c."
The chapter immediately following the Inventory; being the 11th in order; a part thereof.'
It appeareth then what is now in proposition not by general circumlocution but by particular note. No former philosophy varied in terms or method; no new placet or speculation upon particulars already known; no referring to action by any manual of practice; but the revealing and discovering of new inventions and operations. This to be done without the errors and conjectures of art, or the length or difficulties of experience; the nature and kinds of which inventions have been described as they could be discovered; for your eye cannot pass one kenning without further sailing; only we have stood upon the best advantages of the notions received, as upon a mount, to shew the knowledges adjacent and confining. If therefore the true end of knowledge not propounded hath bred large error, the best and perfectest condition of the same end not perceived will cause some declination. For when the butt is set up men need not rove, but except the white be placed men cannot level. This perfection we mean not in the worth of the effect, but in the nature of the direction; for our purpose is not to stir up men's hopes, but to guide their travels. The fulness of direction to work and produce any effect consisteth in two conditions, certainty and liberty. Certainty is when the direction is not only true for the most part, but infallible. Liberty is when the direction is not restrained to some definite means, but comprehendeth all the means and ways possible; for the poet saith well Sapientibus undique late sunt viæ, and where there is the greatest plurality of change, there is the greatest singularity of choice. Besides as a conjectural direction maketh a casual effect, so a particular and restrained direction is no less casual than an uncertain. For those particular means whereunto it is tied may be out of your power or may be accompanied with an overvalue of prejudice; and so if for want of certainty in direction you are frustrated in success, for want of variety in direction you are stopped in attempt. If therefore your direction be certain, it must refer you and point you to somewhat which, if it be present, the effect you seek will of necessity follow, else may you perform and not obtain. If it be free, then must it refer you to somewhat which if it be absent the effect you seek
'The words in Roman letters are inserted in Bacon's hand.
will of necessity withdraw, else may you have power and not attempt. This notion Aristotle had in light, though not in use. For the two commended rules by him set down, whereby the axioms of sciences are precepted to be made convertible, and which the latter men have not without elegancy surnamed the one the rule of truth because it preventeth deceit, the other the rule of prudence because it freeth election, are the same thing in speculation and affirmation which we now observe. An example will make my meaning attained, and yet percase make it thought that they attained it not. Let the effect to be produced be Whiteness; let the first direction be that if air and water be intermingled or broken in small portions together, whiteness will ensue, as in snow, in the breaking of the waves of the sea and rivers, and the like. This direction is certain, but very particular and restrained, being tied but to air and water. Let the second direction be, that if air be mingled as before with any transparent body, such nevertheless as is uncoloured and more grossly transparent than air itself, that then &c. as glass or crystal, being beaten to fine powder, by the interposition of the air becometh white; the white of an egg being clear of itself, receiving air by agitation becometh white, receiving air by concoction becometh white; here you are freed from water, and advanced to a clear body, and still tied to air. Let the third direction exclude or remove the restraint of an uncoloured body, as in amber, sapphires, &c. which beaten to fine powder become white; in wine and beer, which brought to froth become white. Let the fourth direction exclude the restraint of a body more grossly transparent than air, as in flame, being a body compounded between air and a finer substance than air; which flame if it were not for the smoke, which is the third substance that incorporateth itself and dyeth the flame, would be more perfect white. In all these four directions air still beareth a part. Let the fifth direction then. be, that if any bodies, both transparent but in an unequal degree, be mingled as before, whiteness will follow; as oil and water beaten to an ointment, though by settling the air which gathereth in the agitation be evaporate, yet remaineth white; and the powder of glass or crystal put into water, whereby the air giveth place, yet remaineth white, though not so perfect. Now are you freed from air, but still you are tied to transparent bodies. To ascend further by scale I do forbear, partly because
it would draw on the example to an over-great length, but chiefly because it would open that which in this work I determine to reserve; for to pass through the whole history and observation of colours and objects visible were too long a digression; and our purpose is now to give an example of a free direction, thereby to distinguish and describe it; and not to set down a form of interpretation how to recover and attain it. But as we intend not now to reveal, so we are circumspect not to mislead; and therefore (this warning being given) returning to our purpose in hand, we admit the sixth direction to be, that all bodies or parts of bodies which are unequal equally, that is in a simple proportion, do represent whiteness'; we will explain this, though we induce it not. It is then to be understood, that absolute equality produceth transparence, inequality in simple order or proportion produceth whiteness, inequality in compound or respective order or proportion produceth all other colours, and absolute or orderless inequality produceth blackness; which diversity, if so gross a demonstration be needful, may be signified by four tables; a blank, a chequer, a fret, and a medley; whereof the fret is evident to admit great variety. Out of this assertion are satisfied a multitude of effects and observations, as that whiteness and blackness are most incompatible with transparence; that whiteness keepeth light, and blackness stoppeth light, but neither passeth it; that whiteness or blackness are never produced in rainbows, diamonds, crystals, and the like; that white giveth no dye, and black hardly taketh dye; that whiteness seemeth to have an affinity with dryness, and blackness with moisture; that adustion causeth blackness, and calcination whiteness; that flowers are generally of fresh colours, and rarely black, &c. All which I do now mention confusedly by way of derivation and not by way of induction. This sixth direction, which I have thus explained, is of good and competent liberty for whiteness fixed and inherent, but not for whiteness fantastical or appearing, as shall be afterwards touched. But first do you need a reduction back to certainty or verity; for it is not all position or contexture of unequal bodies that will produce colour; for aqua fortis, oil of vitriol,
1 Compare De Aug. iii. 4. Vol. I. p. 566. "At in Metaphysicâ, si fiat inquisitio, hujusmodi quidpiam reperies; Corpora duo Diaphana intermixta, Portionibus eorum Opticis simplici ordine sive æqualiter collocatis, constituere Albedinem." And observe that this sentence is not to be found in the corresponding passage of the Advancement of Learning, but is interpolated in the translation.
&c. more manifestly, and many other substances more obscurely, do consist of very unequal parts, which yet are transparent and clear. Therefore the reduction must be, that the bodies or parts of bodies so intermingled as before be of a certain grossness or magnitude; for the unequalities which move the sight must have a further dimension and quantity than those which operate many other effects. Some few grains of saffron will give a tincture to a tun of water; but so many grains of civet will give a perfume to a whole chamber of air. And therefore when Democritus (from whom Epicurus did borrow it) held that the position of the solid portions was the cause of colours, yet in the very truth of his assertion he should have added, that the portions are required to be of some magnitude. And this is one cause why colours have little inwardness and necessitude with the nature and proprieties of things, those things resembling in colour which otherwise differ most, as salt and sugar, and contrariwise differing in colour which otherwise resemble most, as the white and blue violets, and the several veins of one agate or marble, by reason that other virtues consist in more subtile proportions than colours do; and yet are there virtues and natures which require a grosser magnitude than colours, as well as scents and divers other require a more subtile; for as the portion of a body will give forth scent which is too small to be seen, so the portion of a body will shew colours which is too small to be endued with weight; and therefore one of the prophets with great elegancy describing how all creatures carry no proportion towards God the creator, saith, That all the nations in respect of him are like the dust upon the balance, which is a thing appeareth but weigheth not. But to return, there resteth a further freeing of this sixth direction; for the clearness of a river or stream sheweth white at a distance, and crystalline glasses deliver the face or any other object falsified in whiteness, and long beholding the snow to a weak eye giveth an impression of azure rather than of whiteness. So as for whiteness in apparition only and representation by the qualifying of the light, altering the intermedium, or affecting the eye itself, it reacheth not. But you must free your direction to the producing of such an incidence, impression, or operation, as may cause a precise and determinate passion of the eye; a matter which is much more easy to induce