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following treatises, also rejected, and more contemptuously tha Telesius, the common astronomical hypotheses. The planetary motions, their stations and regressions are, he says, explained by astronomers by the help of epicycles and eccentrics; but we ascribe them to the natures and spirits of the planets, and in a higher degree to their souls and minds. Of this idle talk Gilbert remarks that it destroys the study of astronomy. "Quid autem," he observes," tum postea spectabit otiosus incassum philosophus, opinione suâ satiatus, cœlum sine usu sine motuum prævidentiâ: ita nullius usus erit illa scientia." But Patricius's opinions on astronomy could clearly not be of much value, seeing that he was sufficiently ignorant to blame astronomers for not taking into account the distance of the place where their observations are made, from the centre of the earth; and speaks of this omission as "a most evident fallacy:” a remark which proves that he had either never heard of the correction for parallax, or having heard of it was unable to understand its nature.


From him, however, Bacon derived some of the most remarkable statements in the Descriptio Globi Intellectualis; particularly the incredible account of the mutations which Venus underwent in 1578. That, setting aside Patricius's loose way of speaking, the real phenomenon was simply that Venus was visible before sunset, is probably the safest explanation of the whole story; of which I have found no mention elsewhere. Thus much however is certain, that there could have been no such peculiarity in her appearance as to suggest to well-informed persons the notion that she had undergone any real change, since in the controversy whether there were any evidence of corruption or generation in the heavens a fact like this could not have been passed over.

Of the discoveries announced by Galileo in the Sydereus Nuncius Bacon does not speak at much length, though it is difficult not to believe that he was led to say so much of astronomical theories by the interest which these discoveries must have excited when they were first made known. The discovery of Jupiter's satellites, the resolution into stars of the nebula Præsepe, and the irregularities in the moon's surface,

'Physiol. Nov. ii. 9.

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are all mentioned in the following tract; but, as I have said, somewhat briefly.'

It is remarkable that neither in the following tracts nor in his subsequent writings has Bacon mentioned the discoveries of Kepler. The treatise De Stellâ Martis was published in 1609, and became known in England at least as early as 1610. Harriot, it appears from Professor Rigaud's account of his papers, was then in correspondence with him, and repeated his calculations. That Bacon was acquainted with his writings we can hardly believe; they bear so directly on the questions which he has discussed that he could scarcely have neglected to notice them, had he known them even by report. In the very first page of Kepler's great work we find a quotation from Peter Ramus, declaring that he would resign his professorship in favour of any one who should produce an astronomy without hypotheses. To this Kepler subjoins an apostrophe to Ramus, telling him that it is well that death had relieved him of the necessity of redeeming his pledge, and vindicating Copernicus from the charge of having explained the phenomena of astronomy by unreal hypotheses. The same subject is resumed in the preface, and elsewhere throughout the book. Again, in another point of view, it makes Bacon's complaints that astronomers cling superstitiously to perfect circles appear somewhat out of date, to find that before the time at which he wrote the man who confessedly both by his genius and his official position stood at the head of the astronomers of Europe and, so to speak, represented them, had succeeded in saving the phenomena more accurately than had been done before, by means of ellipses. A great change had just taken place; two most remarkable laws, the foundations of modern physical astronomy, had just been propounded, namely the law of elliptic motion, and that of the equable description of areas; and the whole state of the question with respect to the truth or false

1 The interest which these discoveries excited must have been very great. Sir William Lower writes to Harriot, "I gave your letter a double welcome, both because it came from you and contained news of that strange nature Methinks my diligent Galileus hath done more in his threefold discovery than Magellane in opening the straits to the South Sea, or the Dutchmen that were caten by bears in Nova Zembla." The news had just reached him. His date is "the longest day of 1610." It had taken rather more than than three months to travel from Italy to Wales.— Professor Rigaud's Supplement, &c., p. 26.

hood of the Copernican system was thus changed. In trut this system was inextricably connected not only with Kepler's results, but with his method. In his dedication to the Emperor he says, "Locum (that is, the place of Mars) indagine cinti curribus magnæ Matris Telluris in gyrum circumactis." He means by this that he used observations of Mars made when in the same point of his orbit, the earth being at the time of the different observations in different points of hers. The same idea of the connexion of the Copernican hypothesis with Kepler's method, is expressed in one of the complimentary stanzas prefixed to the book:

Calos Keplerus terrarum oppugnat alumnus :
De scalis noli quærere: terra volat.

In one of Kepler's letters to David Fabricius, nothing can be more decided than his rejection of the notion that all motions of the heavenly bodies are in perfect circles. "Quod ais non dubium quin omnes motus fiant per circulum perfectum, si de compositis (id est de realibus) loqueris, falsum: fiunt enim Copernico, ut dixi, per orbitam ad latera circuli excedentem, Ptolemæo et Braheo insuper per spiras. Sin autem loqueris de componentibus, de fictis igitur hoc est de nullis loqueris. Nihil enim in cœlo circumit præter ipsum corpus planetæ, nullus orbis, nullus epicyclus: quod Braheana Astronomia initiatus ignorare non potes." And it is interesting to observe how clearly he distinguishes between the real motions and the component elements into which they may be resolved.

Until the language of modern analysis had enabled us to express the nature and properties of curves merely quantitively, without reference to genesis or construction, it was difficult to attain to a clear way of thinking as to the relation which astronomical hypotheses bear to reality. In order to define the motion which actually takes place, it was necessary to refer to simpler motions which have only an abstract or ideal existence. But then it was asked, how can the result be real if the elements are not so? In this point of view the unpicturesqueness of symbolical language, though it has led to other inconveniences, has delivered us from a great deal of confused thinking. If Poinsot's illustration of the motion of a rigid body by means of a central ellipsoid rolling on a fixed plane, had been proposed at the beginning of the seventeenth century,

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most people would have said that the hypothesis was absurd, though it might correspond to the phenomena.

To take the matter more generally, it must be remembered that positive truth or falsehood belongs only to the region of the actual and individuated. To say that two and three make five is not to deny that four and one do so too, although if I assert that of five houses, first three were built and then two added, I contradict the assertion that four were built at first and that only one is of later date. Not merely in the relation between cinematical or formal and physical astronomy, but generally, the question whether an hypothesis be true or false does not arise unless it is presented as a causal explanation. Thus when Berosus taught that one half of the moon is luminous, and that her phases arise from this half being always turned towards the sun in virtue of their mutual sympathy, both being bright, the explanation is unexceptionable, except so far as relates to the efficient cause. One half of the moon always is bright; and always is turned to the sun; and this Berosus saw as clearly as we do. It is in this way that false hypotheses are transformed into true ones; not by the transformation of anything false into truth, but by the severance of the causal or real element from that which is neither true nor false, namely the abstract conception. But the interest of the subject has led me to dwell on it at too much length.

It is curious to observe that in the interval between the composition of the following tracts and that of the De Augmentis Bacon's leaning against the Copernican system became more decided, though in the same interval the system had received an accession of strength, of which doubtless he was not aware, in the discovery of Kepler's third law. This law, connecting as it does the planets with the sun by an uniform

This discovery was made, as Kepler has informed us, on the 15th of May, 1618. In Professor Rigaud's account of Harriot's papers, published in 1833, it is mentioned that Harriot, who was apparently the first person to determine the periods of Jupiter's satellites, committed an error of calculation, in consequence of which that of the first satellite is given at about half its real length, but that Harriot, even before the publication in 1614 of Marius's Mundus Jovialis, seems to have suspected his error. The Professor enquires why he did not try his result by means of Kepler's third law, as we know that he was a student of the work in which this law is stated; forgetting that only the first two laws were given in the De Stellâ Martis, and that in the interval referred to, between 1610 and 1614, Harriot could no more have known of Kepler's third law than of Newton's Principia. But it is really curious that Kepler does not seem to have applied his law to the satellites. The application is said to have been first made by Vendelinus. See Narrien, Hist, of Astronomy, p. 398.

relation which is fulfilled also by the earth, is in some respec the most remarkable of the three, and points the most directly to the sun as the great centre of our system. No doubt neithe this law, nor all three together, amounts to a positive demostration it has sometimes been forgotten that after all they are but approximations to the truth; but of all approximations these laws are the most remarkable, and it would be very dificult to doubt, even without the knowledge we now possess, that they are grounded on a physical basis. This basis is their correspondence with a causal or physical approximation. They would be absolutely true if the lesser bodies of the solar system did not attract one another, and if all were attracted by the sun as if he and they were physical points. It would be possible to crowd together a number of epicycles whereby the orbit of the earth would be better represented than on the elliptic hypothesis; but such a system would have no physical significance. No doubt too, all the laws might be true and yet the earth at rest; but we could not adopt such an opinion without doing violence to all our ideas of symmetry and harmony,-ideas which influence our judgments of natural things more than we are aware of. Such a doctrine would be felt "primam violare fidem." We may well believe that had Bacon been acquainted with the discoveries of Kepler, he would not only have been impressed by their astronomical importance, but have felt the full force of the lesson which they convey. He would have felt that they constituted a sufficient reason for transferring the allegiance which had been paid to Mother Earth to a nobler object more justly entitled to the homage which she had so long received. We now know that neither Earth nor Sun is the true Hestia of the old Philosopheme. We know too, that in all the orbs of heaven that we can see or dream of, there can be nothing fully entitled to the appellation, nothing wholly fixed, or wholly unperturbed. Happy for us if we feel also that there is a Sun of suns whose absolute existence transcends our conceptions of space and time.'

1 Deus, sine qualitate bonus, sine quantitate magnus, sine indigentia creator, sine situ præsens, sine habitu omnia continens, sine loco ubique totus, sine tempore sempiternus, sine ulla mutatione mutabilia faciens, nihilque patiens. - St. Augustine, De Trin.

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