Imágenes de páginas






THE following pieces were first published by Tenison in 1679, in a single volume entitled "Baconiana, or certain genuine Remains of Sir Francis Bacon Baron of Verulam and Viscount of St. Alban's; in arguments Civil, Moral, Natural, Medical, Theological, and Bibliographical; now for the first time faithfully published; with an introduction professing to give an account of all the Lord Bacon's works."


[ocr errors]

Tenison was intimate at college with William Rawley the Doctor's son, and afterwards with John Rawley his executor. Through them he had access to the Bacon manuscripts which had been left in the Doctor's hands, and may therefore be considered as an original authority in the matter. He was not a man of much sagacity or intellectual vigour; and there is reason to believe that he sometimes took leave to alter the text a little, when it contained expressions which he thought undignified. But he was a great venerator of Bacon, and upon the whole a careful, conscientious, and scholarlike editor. He assures us that he has printed nothing as Bacon's which he did not find either written in his own hand or transcribed by Dr. Rawley; and though

some of the manuscripts appear to have been in a condition which required more judgment in the decipherer than he could perhaps be trusted for (for he compares his labour in extracting the sense to that of reducing mercury to its proper form after its divers shapes and transmutations), yet, with some little allowance on that account, they may be all accepted as authentic.

Those which he has collected under the respective titles of Physiological and Medical Remains (the Abecedarium Naturæ excepted, which has been printed already) may be considered as loose notes or memoranda connected with the collection of Natural History; and as there are no means of guessing when they were written, this seems the fittest place for them. Being merely the remains of the collection from which Rawley had already selected all that he thought worth publishing, they are of little value, and little need be said about them.

They are all in Bacon's own English; except the latter portion of the catalogue of bodies attractive and non-attractive, which appears to have been written by him in Latin. Of the second-articles of questions touching minerals — a Latin translation by Rawley had been published in the Opuscula Philosophica, which I have not thought it necessary to reprint. The English original from which Tenison took it was one of three (he tells us); and the words "This is the clean copy were written on the back of it in Bacon's own hand. These questions are not, I think, to be classed among the Topica inquisitionis which Bacon speaks of at the end of the Parasceve; they are not directions for the collection of a natural history of minerals quæ sit in ordine ad condendam philosophiam, but merely questions

[ocr errors]

with a view to obtain better and cheaper manufactures. They were referred to one Dr. Meverel, a chemist of that day, whose answers Tenison has printed along with them. These answers, as they may perhaps throw some light upon the state of chemical science in Ba con's time, I have appended as notes.

The experiments about weight in air and water have some interest in connexion with Bacon's method of determining specific gravities, as explained in the Historia Densi et Rari; concerning which Mr. Ellis has contributed a valuable note.

Among the Physiological Remains, Tenison has inserted a speech touching the recovering of drowned mineral works, fathered upon Bacon by Edward Bushel, a great projector of such things, who in his early youth had been in Bacon's service. His story is that this speech was prepared by Bacon for the Parliament of 1621. But Tenison evidently did not believe it to be genuine; and it is in fact so manifest a fabrication that I have not admitted it at all into this edition. It is obviously a mere puff of some project of Bushel's own. The other pieces sufficiently explain themselves.

J. S.

« AnteriorContinuar »