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do confess, since I was of any understanding, my mind hath, in effect, been absent from that I have done, and in absence errors are committed, which I do willingly acknowledge; and amongst the rest, this great one that led the rest; that knowing myself by inward calling to be fitter to hold a book, than to play a part, I have led my life in eivil causes, for which I was not very fit by nature, and more unfit by the preoccupation of my mind. Therefore, calling myself home, I have now for a time enjoyed myself, where likewise I desire to make the world partaker; my labours (if so I may term that which was the comfort of my other labours) I have dedicated to the king, desirous, if there be any good in them, it may be as fat of a sacrifice incensed to his honour; and the second copy I have sent unto you, not only in good affection, but in a kind of congruity, in regard of your great and rare desert of learning for books are the shrines where the saint is, or is believed to be. And, you having built an ark, to save learning from deluge, deserve, in propriety, any new instrument or engine, whereby learning should be improved or advanced. So, etc.
acquaintance with scholarship or learning, you should have culled forth the quintessence, and sucked up the sap of the chiefest kind of learning. For, howsowever, in some points, you do vary altogether from that which is and hath been ever the received doctrine of our schools, and was always by the wisest (as still they have been deemed) of all nations and ages, adjudged the truest; yet it is apparent, in those very points, in all your proposals and plots in that book, you show yourself a master workman. For myself, I must confess, and I speak it ingenuè, that for the matter of learning, I am not worthy to be reckoned in the number of smatterers; and yet, because it may seem that being willing to communicate your treatise with your friends, you are likewise willing to listen to whatsoever I or others can except against it; I must deliver unto you, for my private opinion, that I am one of the crew, that say there is, and we profess a greater holdfast of certainty in your sciences, than you by your discourse will seem to acknowledge: for where, at first, you do object the ill success and errors of practitioners of physic, you know as well, they do proceed of the patient's unruliness, for not one of a hundred doth obey his physician in their own indisposition; for few are
SIR THOMAS BODLEY TO SIR FRANCIS BACON, able in that kind to explicate themselves; or by
UPON HIS NEW PHILOSOPHY.
As soon as the term was ended, supposing your leisure was more than before, I was coming to thank you two or three times, rather choosing to do it by word than letter; but I was still disappointed of my purpose, as I am at this present upon an urgent occasion, which doth tie me fast to Fulham, and hath now made me determine to impart my mind in writing. I think you know I have read your 66 Cogitata et visa;" which, I protest, I have done with great desire, reputing it a token of your singular love, that you joined me with those your friends, to whom you would commend the first perusal of your draught; for which I pray give me leave to say but this unto you. First, that if the depth of my affection to your person and spirit, to your works and your words, and to all your ability, were as highly to be valued as your affection is to me, it might walk with your's arm in arm, and claim your love by just desert; but there can be no comparison, where our states are so uneven, and our means to demonstrate our affections, so indifferent; insomuch as, for mine own, I must leave it to be prized in the nature that it is; and you shall evermore find it most addicted to your worth. As touching the subject of your book, you have set afoot so many noble speculations, as I cannot choose but wonder and I shall wonder at it ever, that your expense of time considered in your public profession, which hath in a manner no
reason their diseases are by nature incurable, which is incident, you know, to many sort of maladies; or for some other hidden cause, which cannot be discovered by course of conjecture; howbeit, I am full of this belief, that as physic is ministered now-a-days by physicians, it is much ascribed to their negligence or ignorance, or other touch of imperfection, that they speed no better in their practice: for few are found, of that profession, so well instructed in their art, as they might by the precepts which their art doth afford; which, though it be defective in regard of such perfection, yet for certain it doth flourish with admirable remedies, such as tract of time hath taught by experimental effects, and are the open highway to that knowledge that you recommend. As for alchemy, and magic, some conclusions they have that are worthy the preserving: but all their skill is so accompanied with subtilties and guiles, as both the crafts and the crafts-masters are not only despised, but named with derision. Whereupon to make good your principal assertion, methinks you should have drawn the most of your examples from that which is taught in the liberal sciences, not by picking out cases that happen very seldom, and may, by all confession, be subject to reproof, but by controlling the generals, and grounds, and eminent positions and aphorisms, which the greatest artists and philosophers have from time to time defended; for it goeth for current among all men of learning, that those kinds of arts which clerks in times past did term Quadrivials,
confirm their propositions by infallible demonstrations. And likewise in. Trivials, such lessons and directions are delivered unto us, as will effect very near, or as much altogether, as every faculty doth promise. Now, in case we should concur to do as you advise, which is, to renounce our common notions, and cancel all our theorems, axioms, rules, and tenets, and so to come babes "ad regnum naturæ," as we are willed by scriptures to come "ad regnum cœlorum." There is nothing more certain, in my understanding, than that it would instantly bring us to barbarism, and, after many thousand years, leave us more unprovided of theorical furniture, than we are at this present: For that were indeed to become "Tabula rasa," when we shall leave no impression of any former principles, but be driven to begin the world again, to travel by trials of actions and sense, (which are your proofs by particulars,) what to place in "intellectu" for our general conceptions, it being a maxim of all men's approving; "in intellectu nihil esse quod non prius fuit in sensu." And so in appearance it would befall us, that till Plato's year be come about, our insight in learning would be of less reckoning than now it is accounted. As for that which you inculcate, of a knowledge more excellent than now is among us, which experience might produce, if we would but essay to extract it out of nature by particular probations, it is no more upon the matter, but to incite us unto that which, without instigation, by a natural instinct men will practise themselves; for it cannot in reason be otherwise thought, but that there are infinite, in all parts of the world, (for we may not in this case confine our cogitations within the bounds of Europe,) which embrace the course which you purpose, with all diligence and care, that any ability can perform. For every man is born with an appetite of knowledge, wherewith he cannot be glutted, but still, as in a dropsy, thirst after more. But yet, why men should so hearken to and such persuasions, as wholly to abolish those settled opinions, and general theorems, to which they have attained by their own and their ancestors' experience, I see nothing alleged to induce me to think it. Moreover, I may speak, as I suppose, with good probability, that if we should make a mental survey, what is like to be effected all the world over; those five or six inventions which you have selected, and imagined to be but of modern standing, would make but a slender show among so many hundreds of all kinds of natures, which are daily brought to light by the enforcement of wit or casual events, and may be compared, or partly preferred, above those that you have named. But were it so here, that all were admitted that you can require, for the augmentation of our knowledge, and that all our theorems and general positions were utterly extinguished with
a new substitution of others in their places, what hope may we have of any benefit of learning by this alteration? assuredly, as soon as the new are brought ad azμy by the inventors and their followers, by an interchangeable course of natural things, they will fall by degrees in oblivion to be buried, and so in continuance to perish outright; and that perchance upon the like to your present pretences, by proposål of some means to advance all our knowledge to a higher pitch of perfectness; for still the same defects that antiquity found, will reside in mankind, and therefore other issues of their actions, devices, and studies, are not to be expected than is apparent, by records, were in former times observed. I remember here a note which Paterculus made of the incomparable wits of the Grecians and Romans, in their flourishing state; that there might be this reason of their notable downfall, in their issue that came after, because by nature, "Quod summo studio petitum est, ascendit in summum, difficilisque in perfecto mora est;" insomuch that men perceiving that they could not go farther, being come to the stop, they turned back again of their own accord, forsaking those studies that are most in request, and betaking themselves to new endeavours, as it the thing they sought had been by prevention foreprized by others. So it fared in particular with the eloquence of that age, that when their successors found that hardly they could equal, by no means excel their predecessors, they began to neglect the study thereof, and speak for many hundred years in a rustical manner, till this later resolution brought the wheel about again, by inflaming gallant spirits to give the onset a fresh, with straining and striving to climb unto the top and height of perfection, not in that gift alone, but in every other skill in any part of learning. For I do not hold it any erroneous conceit to think of every science, that as now they are professed, so they have been before in all precedent ages, though not alike in all places, nor at all times alike in one and the same; but according to the changes and turning of times with a more exact and plain, or with a more rude and obscure kind of teaching.
And if the question should be asked, what proof I have of it; I have the doctrine of Aristotle, and of the deepest learned clerks, of whom we have any means to take any notice; that as there is of other things, so there is of sciences, "ortus et interitus:" which is also the meaning (if I should expound it) of "nihil novum sub sole," and is as well to be applied "ad facta," as "ad dicta; ut nihil neque dictum neque factum, quod non est dictum aut factum prius." I have farther for my warrant, that famous complaint of Solomon to his son, against the infinite making of books in his time, of which, in all congruity, great part were of observations and instructions
in all kind of literature, and of those there is not | stand well assured (for the tenor and subject of
now so much as one pamphlet (only some parcels your main discourse) you are not able to impanel of the Bible excepted) remaining to posterity. a jury in any university that will give up a verAs then there was not in like manner to be found dict to acquit you of error; yet it cannot be gainany footing of millions of authors that were long said, that all your treatise over doth abound with before Solomon, and yet we must give credit to choice conceit of the present state of learning, that which he affirmed; that whatsoever was then and with so worthy contemplations of the means or before, it could never be truly pronounced of to procure it, as may persuade with any student it, "Behold, this is new." Whereupon I must to look more narrowly to his business, not only for my final conclusion infer, seeing all the en- by aspiring to the greatest perfection, of that deavours, study, and knowledge of mankind, in which is now-a-days divulged in the sciences, whatsoever art or science, have ever been the but by diving yet deeper, as it were, into the same as they are at this present, though full of bowels and secrets of nature, and by enforcing of mutabilities, according to the changes and acci- the powers of his judgment and wit to learn of dental occasions of ages and countries, and clerks' St. Paul, "Consectari meliora dona:" which dispositions; which can never but be subject to course, would to God (to whisper so much into intention and remission, both in their devices and your ear) you had followed at the first, when practices of their knowledge. If now we should you fell to the study of such a study as was not accord in opinion with you; first, to condemn worthy such a student. Nevertheless, being so our present knowledge of doubt and incertitude as it is, that you are therein settled, and your (which you confer but by averment) without country soundly served; I cannot but wish with other force of argument, and then to disclaim all all my heart, as I do very often, that you may our axioms and maxims, and general assertions | gain a fit reward to the full of your deserts, which that are left by tradition from our elders to us; I hope will come with heaps of happiness and which, (for so it is to be pretended) have passed honour. all probations of the sharpest wits that ever were Abecedarii, by the frequent spelling of particulars, to come to the notice of new generals, and so afresh to create new principles of sciences, the end of all would be, that when we should be dispossessed of the learning which we have, all our consequent travail will but help us in a circle, to conduct us to the place from whence we set forwards, and bring us to the happiness to be restored in integrum," which will require as many ages as have marched before us, to be perfectly achieved. And this I write, with no dislike of increasing our knowledge with new-found devices, (which is undoubtedly a practice of high commendation) in regard of the benefit they will yield for the present, that the world hath ever been, and will forever continue, very full of such devisers; whose industry that way hath been very obstinate and eminent, and hath produced strange effects, above the reach and the hope of men's common capacities; and yet our notions and theorems have always kept in grace both with them, and with the rarest that ever were named among the learned.
By this you see to what boldness I am brought by your kindness; that (if I seem to be too saucy in this contradiction) it is the opinion that I hold of your noble disposition, and of the freedom in these cases, that you will afford your special friend, that hath induced me to it. And although I myself, like a carrier's horse, cannot baulk the beaten way, in which I have been trained, yet since it is my censure of your Cogitata that I must tell you, to be p.ain, you have very much wronged yourself and the world, to smother such a treasure so long in your coffer: for though I
Yours to be used, and commanded,
From Fulham, Feb. 19, 1607.
SIR, One kind of boldness doth draw on another; insomuch as methinks I should offend to signify, that before the transcript of your book be fitted for the press, it will be requisite for you to cast a censor's eye upon the style and the elocution; which, in the framing of some periods, and in divers words and phrases, will hardly go for current, if the copy brought to me be just the same that you would publish.
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO THE BISHOP OF ELY, UPON
My VERY GOOD LORD,
Now, your lordship hath been so long in the church and the palace, disputing between kings and popes, methinks you should take pleasure to look into the field, and refresh your mind with some matter of philosophy; though that science be now, through age, waxed a child again, and left to boys and young men. And because you are wont to make me believe you took liking to my writings, I send you some of this vacation fruits, and thus much more for my mind and purpose. "I hasten not to publish, perishing I would prevent." And I am forced to respect as well my times, as the matter; for with me it is thus, and I think with all men, in my case: if I
bind myself to an argument, it loadeth my mind;
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO SIR THOMAS BODLEY,
(as for any impediment it might be to the applause
In respect of my going down to my house in the country, I shall have miss of my papers, which, I pray you, therefore, return unto me. You are, I bear you witness, slothful, and you help me nothing; so as I am half in conceit that you affect not the argument; for myself, I know well you love and affect. I can say no more to you, but, "non canimus surdis, respondent omnia silvæ." If you be not of the lodgings chalked up, (whereof I speak in my preface,) I am but to pass by your door. But if I had you but a fort- SIR FRANCIS BACON TO MR. MATTHEW, TOUCHnight at Gorhambury, I would make you tell me another tale, or else I would add a cogitation against libraries, and be revenged on you that way: I pray you send me some good news of Sir Thomas Smith, and commend me very kindly to him. So I rest.
ING INSTAURATIO MAGNA.
MR. MATTHEW, I heartily thank letter of the 10th of February, and I am glad to and advertisement, touching my writings. For receive from you matter both of encouragement my part, I do wish that, since there is almost no "lumen siccum" in the world, but all "madidum, maceratum," infused in the affections, and bloods,
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO MR. MATTHEW, UPON or humours, that these things of mine had those
SENDING HIM PART OF INSTAURATIO MAGNA. MR. MATTHEW,
separations that might make them more acceptable; so that they claim not so much acquaintance I plainly perceive by your affectionate writing of the present times, as they be thereby the less touching my work, that one and the same thing like to last. And to show you that I have some affecteth us both, which is the good end to which purpose to new mould them, I send you a leaf or it is dedicated: for as to any ability of mine, it two of the preface, carrying some figure of the cannot merit that degree of approbation. For whole work; wherein I purpose to take that which your caution for church men, and church matters, is real and effectual of both writings, and chiefly
to add pledge, if not payment to my promise. I lords, and towards the end of the last term, the send you, also, a memorial of Queen Elizabeth, to requite your Eulogy of the late Duke of Florence's felicity. Of this, when you were here, I showed you some model, though, at that time, methought you were as willing to hear Julius Cæsar as Queen Elizabeth commended. But this which I send is more full, and hath more of the narrative; and farther hath one part that I think will not be disagreeable, either to you, or that place, being the true tracts of her proceeding towards the Catholics, which are infinitely mistaken. And though I do not imagine they will pass allowance there, yet they will gain upon excuse. I find Mr. Lezure to use you well, (I mean his tongue, of you,) which shows you either honest or wise. But this I speak merely; for, in good faith, I conceive hope, that you will so govern yourself, as we may take you as assuredly for a good subject, and patriot, as you take yourself for a good Christian; and so we may enjoy your company, and you your conscience, if it may no otherwise be. For my part, assure yourself that, as we say in the law, "mutatis mutandis," my love and good wishes to you are diminished. And so I remain.
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO THE KING, TOUCHING
How honestly ready I have been, most gracious sovereign, to do your majesty humble service to the best of my power, and in a manner beyond my power, (as I now stand,) I am not so unfortunate but your majesty knoweth. For, both in the commission of union, (the labour whereof, for men of my profession, rested most upon my hand,) and this last parliament in the bill of the subsidy, (both body and preamble,) in the bill of attainders of Tresham, and the rest, in the matter of purveyance, in the ecclesiastical petitions, in the grievances, and the like; as I was ever careful (and not without good success) sometimes to put forward that which was good, sometimes to keep back that which was not so good; so your majesty was pleased to accept kindly of my services, and to say to me, such conflicts were the wars of peace, and such victories, the victories of peace; and, therefore, such servants that obtained them were, by kings that reign in peace, no less to be esteemed than services of commanders in the wars. In all which, nevertheless, I can challenge to myself no sufficiency, but that I was diligent and reasonably happy to execute those directions which I received either immediately from your royal mouth, or from my Lord of Salisonry; at which time it pleased your majesty to promise and assure me, that upon the remove of the then attorney, I should not be forgotten, but brought into ordinary place. And this was after confirmed to me by many of my
manner, also, in particular, was spoken of; that is, that Mr. Solicitor should be made your majesty's sergeant, and I solicitor, for so it was thought best, to sort with both our gifts and faculties, for the good of your service. And of this resolution both court and country took knowledge. Neither was this any invention or project of mine own, but moved from my lords; and I think, first, from my lord chancellor. Whereupon resting, your majesty well knoweth, I never opened my mouth for the greater place, though I am sure I had two circumstances, that Mr. Attorney now is, could not allege. The one, nine years' service of the crown; the other, being cousin-german to the Lord of Salisbury, whom your majesty seemeth and trusteth so much. But for less place, I conceived, it was meant me. But after that Mr. Attorney Hubbert was placed, I heard no more of my preferment, but it seemed to be at a stop, to my great disgrace and discouragement. For, (gracious sovereign,) if still when the waters are stirred, another shall be put before me, your majesty had need work a miracle, or else I shall be still a lame man to do your majesty service. And, therefore, my most humble suit to your majesty is, that this which seemed to me was intended, may speedily be performed. And I hope my former service shall be but beginnings to better, when I am better strengthened. For sure I am, no man's heart is fuller (I say not but many have greater hearts, but I say, not fuller) of love and duty towards your majesty, and your children, as I hope time will manifest against envy and detraction, if any be. To conclude, I most humbly crave pardon for my boldness, and rest
SIR FRANCIS BACON TO THE KING, HIS SUIT TO
IT MAY PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY,
Your great and princely favours towards me in advancing me to place, and that which is to me of no less comfort, your majesty's benign and gracious acceptation from time to time of my poor services, much above the merit and value of them, hath almost brought me to an opinion, that I may sooner perchance be wanting to myself in not asking, than find your majesty's goodness wanting to me, in any my reasonable and modest desires. And, therefore, perceiving how at this time preferments of law fly about my ears, to some above me, and to some below me, I did conceive your majesty may think it rather a kind of dulness, or want of faith, than modesty, if I should not come with my pitcher to Jacob's Well, as others do. Wherein I shall propound to your majesty, that which tendeth not so much to the raising my fortune, as to the settling of my mind, being