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into the error pointed at in the ancient fable; in which the other parts of the body found fault with the stomach, because it neither performed the office of motion as the limbs do, nor of sense, as the head does; but yet notwithstanding it is the stomach which digests and distributes the aliment to all the rest. So if any man think that Philosophy and Universality are idle and unprofitable studies, he does not consider that all arts and professions are from thence supplied with sap and strength. And this I take to be a great cause, which has so long hindered the more flourishing progress of learning; because these fundamental knowledges have been studied but in passage, and not drunk deeper of. For if you will have a tree bear more fruit than it has used to do, it is not anything you can do to the boughs, but it is the stirring of the earth, and putting richer mould about the roots, that must work it. Neither is it to be forgotten that this dedication of colleges and societies to the use only of professory learning has not only been inimical to the growth of the sciences, but has also been prejudicial to states and governments. For hence it proceeds that princes when they have to choose men for business of state find a wonderful dearth of able men around them; because there is no collegiate education designed for these purposes, where men naturally so disposed and affected might (besides other arts) give themselves especially to histories, modern languages, books of policy and civil discourse; whereby they might come better prepared and instructed to offices of state.
And because founders of Colleges do plant, and founders of Lectures do water, I must next speak of the deficiencies which I find in public lectures; wherein I especially disapprove of the smallness of the salary assigned to lecturers in arts and professions, particularly amongst ourselves. For it is very necessary to the progression of sciences that lecturers in every sort be of the most able and sufficient men; as those who are ordained not for transitory use, but for keeping up the race and succession of knowledge from age to age. This cannot be, except their condition and endowment be such that the most eminent professors may be well contented and willing to spend their whole life in that function and attendance, without caring for practice. And therefore if you will have sciences flourish, you must observe David's military law; which was, "That those who stayed with the baggage should have equal
part with those who were in the action; " else will the baggage be ill attended. So lecturers in sciences are as it were the keepers and guardians of the whole store and provision of learning, whence the active and militant part of the sciences is furnished; and therefore they ought to have equal entertainment and profit with the men of active life. Otherwise if the fathers in sciences be not amply and handsomely maintained, it will come to pass, as Virgil says of horses,
Et patrum invalidi referent jejunia nati;
the poor keeping of the parents will be seen in the weakliness of the children.
I will now notice another defect, wherein I should call in some alchemist to help me; one of those who advise the studious to sell their books and build furnaces, and forsaking Minerva and the Muses as barren virgins, to rely upon Vulcan. But certain it is that for depth of speculation no less than for fruit of operation in some sciences (especially natural philosophy and physic) other helps are required besides books. Wherein also the beneficence of men has not been altogether wanting; for we see spheres, globes, astrolabes, maps, and the like have been provided and prepared as assistants to astronomy and cosmography, as well as books. We see likewise that some places instituted for physic have gardens for the examination and knowledge of simples of all sorts, and are not without the use of dead bodies for anatomical observations. But these respect but a few things. In general, it may be held for certain that there will hardly be any great progress in the unravelling and unlocking of the secrets of nature, except there be a full allowance for expenses about experiments; whether they be experiments appertaining to Vulcan or Dædalus (that is, the furnace or engine), or any other kind. And therefore as secretaries and emissaries of princes are allowed to bring in bills of expenses for their diligence in exploring and unravelling plots and civil secrets, so the searchers and spies of nature must have their expenses paid, or else you will never be well informed of a great number of things most worthy to be known. For if Alexander made such a liberal assignation of money to Aristotle, to support hunters, fowlers, fishers and the like, that he might be better furnished for compiling a History of Animals;
1 1 Sam. xxx. 24.
2 Georg. iii. 128.
certainly much more do they deserve it, who instead of wandering in the forests of nature, make their way through the labyrinths of arts.
Another defect to be noticed (and one of great importance) is a neglect of consultation in governors of universities, and of visitation in princes or superior persons, to enter into careful account and consideration whether the readings, disputations, and other scholastic exercises anciently begun, and since continued up to our time, may be profitably kept up, or whether we should rather abolish them and substitute better. For I find it is one of your Majesty's most wise maxims; "That in all usages or precedents the times be considered wherein they first began; which, if they were disordered or ignorant, it derogates greatly from the authority of the precedents, and leaves all things for suspect." And therefore inasmuch as most of the institutions of the universities are derived from times a good deal more obscure and ignorant than our own, it is the more convenient that they be re-examined. In this kind I will give an instance or two, of things which appear the most obvious and familiar. It is a general custom (and yet I hold it to be an error) that scholars come too soon and too unripe to the study of logic and rhetoric, arts fitter for graduates than children and novices; for these two rightly taken are the gravest of sciences, being the arts of arts, the one for judgment, the other for ornament; besides they give the rule and direction how both to set forth and illustrate the subject matter. And therefore for minds empty and ignorant (and which have not yet gathered what Cicero calls "stuff" or "furniture," that is matter and variety) to begin with those arts (as if one should learn to weigh or to measure or to paint the wind), works but this effect, that the virtue and faculty of those arts (which are great and universal) are almost made contemptible, and either degenerate into childish sophistry and ridiculous affectation, or at least lose not a little of their reputation. And further, the premature and untimely learning of these arts has drawn on, by consequence, the superficial and unprofitable teaching and handling of them, a manner of teaching suited to the capacity of children. Another instance of an error which has long prevailed in universities is this; that
1 Sylva. De Orator. iii. 26.
2 Supellex. Orator, c. 24.
they make too great and mischievous a divorce between invention and memory. For most of the speeches there are either entirely premeditate, and delivered in preconceived words, where nothing is left to invention; or merely extempore, where little is left to memory; whereas in common life and action there is little use of either of these separately, but rather of intermixtures of them; that is of notes or commentaries and extempore speech; and thus the exercise fits not the practice, nor the image the life. But it must ever be observed as a rule in exercises, that they be made to represent in everything (as near as may be) the real actions of life; for otherwise they will pervert the motions and faculties of the mind, and not prepare them. The truth whereof appears clearly enough when scholars come to the practice of their professions, or other offices of civil life; which when they set into, this want I speak of is soon found out by themselves, but still sooner by others. But this part, touching the amendment of the Institutions and Orders of Universities, I will conclude with a sentence taken from one of Cæsar's letters to Oppius and Balbus; "How this may be done, some means occur to me, and many may be found; I beg you therefore to take these matters into consideration."1
Another defect which I note ascends a little higher than the preceding. For as the progress of learning consists not a little in the wise ordering and institutions of each several university; so it would be yet much more advanced if there were a closer connexion and relationship between all the different universities of Europe than now there is. For we see there are many orders and societies which, though they be divided under distant sovereignties and territories, yet enter into and maintain among themselves a kind of contract and fraternity, insomuch that they have governors (both provincial and general) whom they all obey. And surely as nature creates brotherhood in families, and arts mechanical contract brotherhoods in societies, and the anointment of God superinduces a brotherhood in kings and bishops, and vows and regulations make a brotherhood in religious orders; so in like manner there cannot but be a noble and generous brotherhood contracted among men by learning and illumination, seeing that God himself is called "the Father of Lights." 2
'Cic. Ep. ad Att. ix. 8.
2 St. James, i. 17.
The last defect I complain of (to which I have already alluded) is that there has not been, or very rarely been, any public designation of fit men either to write or to make inquiry concerning such parts of knowledge as have not been already sufficiently laboured. To which point it will greatly conduce, if a review and census be made of the sciences, and account be taken what parts of them are rich and well advanced, and. what poor and destitute. For the opinion of plenty is amongst the causes of want; and the great quantity of books makes a show rather of superfluity than lack; of which surcharge nevertheless the true remedy is not to destroy the old books, but to make more good ones; of such a kind that like the serpent of Moses, they may devour the serpents of the enchanters.1
The removal of all the defects formerly enumerated, except the last, and of the active part also of the last, which relates to the designation of writers, are truly works for a king; towards which the endeavours and industry of a private man can be but as an image in a crossway, that may point at the way but cannot go it. But the speculative part of it, which relates to the survey of knowledges to see what in each is deficient, is open likewise to private industry. Wherefore I now intend to make a general and faithful perambulation and survey of learning, with a very careful and accurate inquiry what parts thereof lie fresh and waste, and not yet improved and converted to use by the industry of man; to the end that such a plot marked out, and recorded to memory, may minister light both to public designations and voluntary endeavours. Wherein nevertheless my purpose is at this time to note only omissions and deficiencies, and not to make any redargution of errors and failures; for it is one thing to point out what parts lie untilled, and another thing to mend the manner of tillage.
In addressing myself to which task I am not ignorant how great a work I attempt, and how difficult a province I take upon me; nor again how far unequal my strength is to my will. Nevertheless I have great hope that if my extreme love to learning carry me too far, I may obtain the excuse of affection; for that "it is not granted to any man at the same time to love and to be wise." 2 But I know well I can use no other liberty of judgment, than I must leave to others; and I for my part shall be equally glad either to perform myself or to accept from
Not Moses, but Aaron. Ex. vii. 12.
2 Seneca Proverbia.