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THIS tract, published by Gruter in 1653, must have been written about 1612. This follows from what is said of the new star in Cygnus', which was first observed in 1600. It is therefore intermediate in date between the Advancement of Learning and the De Augmentis; and though on a larger scale than either, it is to be referred to the same division of Bacon's writings. The design of all three is the same, namely, a survey of the existing state of knowledge. The commendation of learning which forms the first book of the other two works being in this one omitted, it commences with the tripartite division of knowledge which Bacon founded on the corresponding division of the faculties of man-memory, imagination, and 'reason. History, which corresponds to memory, is here as in the De Augmentis primarily divided into natural and civil, whereas in the Advancement the primary division of history is quadripartite, literary and ecclesiastical history being made co-ordinate with civil history, instead of being as here subordinated to it.

The divisions of natural history are then stated, and are the same as in the De Augmentis; and the remainder of the tract relates to one of these divisions, namely the history of things

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celestial, or in other words to astronomy. The problems which it should consider, and the manner in which they ought to be solved, are treated of at some length; but even with respect to astronomy much which it is proposed to do is left undone, the whole tract being merely a fragment.

Bacon has nowhere else spoken so largely of astronomy; the reason of which apparently is, that he was writing just after Galileo's discoveries had been made known in the Sydereus Nuncius, published in 1611; a circumstance which makes the Descriptio Globi Intellectualis one of the most interesting of his minor writings. The oracles of his mind were in this case evoked by the contemplation, not of old errors, but of new truths.

The Thema Cali, which contains a provisional statement of his own astronomical opinions, is immediately connected with the astronomical part of the Descriptio Globi Intellectualis. They are clearly of the same date, and form in reality but one work.

In the De Augmentis Bacon has expressed the same general views on the subject of astronomy as in these tracts; and they are in truth views which it was natural for a man not well versed in the phenomena of the science to entertain and to promulgate. What had been done by the old astronomers seemed to him full of useless subtleties and merely mathematical conceptions; men therefore were to be exhorted to cast all these aside, and to study the phenomena of the heavens independently of arbitrary hypotheses. Let us first obtain an accurate knowledge of the phenomena, and then begin to search out their real causes. Orbs, eccentrics, and epicycles must not stand between the astronomer and the facts with which he has to deal. In this language, which had been held by others, there is something not wholly untrue; yet the counsel which it contains would, if it could have been followed, have put an end to the progress of astronomical science. Let us obtain an accurate knowledge of the phenomena this no doubt is necessary, but then how is it to be done? To say that instead. of trying to resolve the motion of the planets into a combination of elementary circular motions, we ought to be content to save the appearances by means of spirals, is to no purpose unless we are prepared to give an accurate definition of the kind of spiral we mean. Failing this, a statement that the

apparent path of a planet is a spiral or irregular line along which it moves with varying velocity, is much too vague to be of any scientific value whatever; and if we seek to give precision to this statement, we find ourselves led back again into the region of mathematical conceptions, or, if the phrase be preferred, of mathematical hypotheses. The distinction between what is real and what is only apparent lies at the root of all astronomy; and it is in vain to seek for a physical cause of that which has only a phenomenal existence, as for instance of the stations and regressions of the planets. Thus in two points of view, astronomy must of necessity employ mathematical hypotheses, firstly in order to the distinct conception of the phenomena, and secondly in order to be able to state the problems which a higher science is afterwards to solve. If the hypotheses employed are inappropriate, as in the systems of Ptolemy or Tycho Brahe, they may nevertheless have done good service in making it possible to conceive the phenomena, and moreover may serve to suggest the truer views by which they are to be replaced. Almost any hypothesis is better than none, "citius enim," as Bacon has elsewhere said, "emergit veritas ex errore quam ex confusione." The wrong hypotheses doubtless lead to premature speculation touching physical causes; but this is a mischief which in course of time tends to correct itself, as we see in the Ptolemaic system, of which the overthrow was in good measure due to the cumbrous machinery of solid orbs which had been constructed to explain the motions mechanically. It came to be seen that even if this system could save the phenomena, it was unable to give a basis on which a just explanation of their causes could be founded.

I have said that'almost any hypothesis is better than none. But the truth is that as soon as men begin to speculate at all an hypothesis of some kind or other is a matter of necessity. On merely historical grounds and apart from any consideration of the relation between facts and ideas, questions might be propounded to a writer who was trying to describe the phenomena of the heavens without introducing any portion of theory, to which he would not find it easy to give clear answers. Thus we know that one of the philosophers of antiquity affirmed that the sun is new every day;-are you prepared, we might ask, to set aside the authority of Heraclitus, and to maintain your theory in opposition to his? If you affirm that the sun which

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