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raise itself upon; or a fort or commanding ground, for strife and contention; or a shop, for profit or sale; and not a rich storehouse, for the glory of the Creator, and the relief of man's estate."
If the intricacies of a court are neither discovered nor illustrated with the same happiness as the intricacies of philosophy, "because the distributions and partitions of knowledge are not like several lines that meet in one angle, and so touch but in a point; but are like branches of a tree, that meet in a stem, which hath a dimension and quantity of entireness and continuance, before it come to discontinue and break itself into arms and boughs; therefore it is good, before we enter into the former distribution, to erect and constitute one universal science, by the name of Philosophia Prima,' primitive or summary philosophy, as the main and common way, before we come where the ways part and divide themselves."
"That it be a receptacle for all such profitable observations and axioms as fall not within the compass of any of the special parts of philosophy or sciences, but are more common and of a higher stage.' Is not the precept of a musician, to fall from a discord or harsh accord upon a concord or sweet accord, alike true in affection! Is not the trope of music, to avoid or slide from the close or cadence, common with the trope of rhetoric of deceiving expectation? Is not the delight of the quavering upon a stop in music the same with the playing of light upon the water.”
If in a work written when the author was more than sixty years of age, and if, after the vexations and labours of a professional and political life, the varieties and sprightliness of youthful imagination, are not to be found, yet the peculiar properties of his mind may easily be traced, and the stateliness of the edifice be discovered from the magnificence of the ruins. His vigilance in recording every fact tending to alleviate misery or to promote happiness, is noticed by Bishop Sprat in his history of the Royal Society, where he says, "I shall instance in the sweating-sickness. The medicine for it was almost infallible: but, before that could be generally published, it had almost dispeopled whole towns. If the same disease should have returned, it might have been again as destructive, had not the Lord Bacon taken care, to set down the particular course of physic for it, in his History of Henry the Seventh, and so put it beyond the possibility of any private man's invading it."
And his account of the same calamity contains an allusion to his favourite doctrine of vital spirit, of which the philosophy is explained in his history of Life and Death, and illustrated in his fable of Proserpine in the Wisdom of the Ancients, and which is thus stated in his Sylva Sylvarum: "The knowledge of man, hitherto, hath been determined by the view, or sight; so that whatsoever is invisible, either in respect of the fineness of the body itself; or the smallness of the parts; or of the subtilty of the motion, is little inquired. And yet these be the things that govern nature principally; and without which, you cannot make any true analysis and indication of the proceedings of nature. The spirits or pneumaticals, that are in all tangible bodies, are scarce known. Sometimes they take them for vacuum; whereas they are the most active of bodies. Sometimes they take them for air; from which they differ exceedingly, as much as wine from water; and as wood from earth. Sometimes they will have them to be natural heat, or a portion of the element of fire; whereas some of them are crude, and cold. And sometimes they will have them to be the virtues and qualities of the tangible parts, which they see; whereas they are things by themselves. And then, when they come to plants, and living creatures, they call them souls. And such superficial speculations they have; like prospectives, that show things inward when they are but paintings. Neither is this a question of words, but infinitely material in nature. For spirits are nothing else but a natural body, rarified to a proportion, and included in the tangible parts of bodies, as in an integument. And they be no less differing one from the other, than the dense or tangible parts: and they are in all tangible bodies whatsoever, more or less; and they are never (almost) at rest: and from them, and their motions, principally proceed arefaction, colliquation, concoction, maturation, putrefaction, vivification, and most of the effects of nature.”
One of his maxims of government for the enlargement of the bounds of empire is to be found in his comment upon the ordinance. “That all houses of husbandry, that were used with twenty acres of ground and upwards, should be maintained and kept up forever; together with a competent proportion of land to be used and occupied with them;" and which is thus stated in the treatise "De Augmentis," which was published in the year 1623. "Let states and kingdoms that aim at greatness by all means take heed how the nobility, and grandees, and that those which we call gentlemen, multiply too fast; for that makes the common subject grow to be a peasant and base swain driven out of heart, and in effect nothing else but the nobleman's bond-slaves and labourers. Even as you may see in coppice-wood, if you leave your studdles too thick, you shall never have clean underwood, but shrubs and bushes: so in a country, if the nobility be too many, the commons will be base and heartless, and you will bring it to that, that not the hundredth pole will be fit for an helmet; especially as to the infantry, which is the nerve of an army; and so there will be great population and little strength. This which I speak of hath been in no nation more clearly confirmed
than in the examples of England and France, whereof England, though far inferior in territory and population, hath been nevertheless always an overmatch in arms; in regard the middle-people of England make good soldiers, which the peasants of France do not. And herein the device of Henry the Seventh King of England (whereof I have spoken largely in the history of his life) was profound and admirable, in making farms and houses of husbandry of a standard; that is maintained with such a proportion of land unto them, as may breed a subject to live in convenient plenty, and to keep the plough in the hands of the owners, or at least usufructuary, and not hirelings and mercenaries; and thus a country shall merit that character whereby Virgil expresses ancient Italy,
"Terra potens armis atque ubere glebâ.
His love of familiar illustration is to be found in various parts of the history; speaking of the commotion by the Cornish men in behalf of the impostor Perkin Warbeck, he says, "The course he held towards the rebels, it was utterly differing from his former custom and practice: which was ever full of forwardness and celerity to make head against them, or to set upon them as soon as ever they were in action. This he was wont to do. But now, besides that he was attempered by years, and less in love with dangers, by the continued fruition of a crown; it was a time when the various appearance to his thoughts of perils of several natures and from divers parts, did make him judge it his best and surest way, to keep his strength together in the seat and centre of his kingdom: according to the ancient Indian emblem, in such a swelling season, to hold the hand upon the middle of the bladder, that no side might rise." And again, “All this while the rebellion of Cornwall, whereof we have spoken seemed to have no relation to Perkin; save that perhaps Perkin's proclamation had stricken upon the right vein, in promising to lay down exactions and payments, and so had made them now and then have a kind thought on Perkin. But now these bubbles by much stirring began to meet, as they use to do upon the top of water." And his kind nature and holy feeling appear in "Somewhat about this time came letters from his account of the conquest of Granada. Ferdinando and Isabella, King and Queen of Spain; signifying the final conquest of Granada, from the Moors; which action, in itself so worthy, King Ferdinando, whose manner was never to lose any virtue for the showing, had expressed and displayed in his letters at large, with all the particularities and religious punctos and ceremonies, that were observed in the reception of that city and kingdom: showing, amongst other things, that the king would not by any means in person enter the city, until he had first aloof seen the cross set up upon the greater tower of Granada, whereby it became Christian ground. That likewise before he would enter, he did homage to God above, pronouncing by a herald from the height of that tower, that he did acknowledge to have recovered that kingdom by the help of God Almighty, and the glorious Virgin, and the virtuous apostle Saint James, and the holy father Innocent the Eighth, together with the aids and services of his prelates, nobles, and commons. That yet he stirred not from his camp till he had seen a little army of martyrs, to the number of seven hundred and more Christians that had lived in bonds and servitude, as slaves to the Moors, pass before his eyes, singing a psalm for their redemption."
HISTORY OF HENRY VIII.
Of this tract Archbishop Tenison says, "the Second is, the fragment of the History of Henry the Eighth, printed at the end of his lordship's miscellany works, of which the best edition is that in quarto, in the year 1629. This work he undertook, upon the motion of King Charles the First, but (a greater king not lending him time) he only began it; for that which we have of it, was (it seems) but one morning's work."
This tract is thus noticed in his letters.
To the Marquis of Buckingham.
Though your lordship's absence fall out in an ill time for myself; yet because I hope in God this noble adventure will make your lordship a rich return in honour, abroad and at home, and chiefly in the inestimable treasure of the love and trust of that thrice-excellent prince; I confess I am so glad of it, as I could not abstain from your lordship's trouble in seeing it expressed by these few and hasty
"I beseech your lordship, of your nobleness vouchsafe to present my most humble duty to his highness, who, I hope, ere long will make me leave King Henry the Eighth, and set me on work in re lation of his highness's adventures.
I very humbly kiss your lordship's hands, resting ever
"Your lordship's most obliged friend and servant.
(6 February 21, 1622.’
To the Prince.
"It may please your excellent highness,
“I send your highness, in all humbleness, my book of Advancement of Learning, translated into Latin, but so enlarged as it may go for a new work. It is a book, I think, will live, and be a citizen of the world, as English books are not. For Henry the Eighth, to deal truly with your highness, I did so despair of my health this summer, as I was glad to choose some such work, as I might compass within days; so far was I from entering into a work of length. Your highness's return hath been my restorative. When I shall wait upon your highness, I shall give you a farther account. So I most humbly kiss your highness's hands, resting
"Your highness's most devoted servant. “I would (as I wrote to the duke in Spain) I could do your highness's journey any honour with my pen. It began like a fable of the poets; but it deserveth all in a piece a worthy narration."
HISTORY OF GREAT BRITAIN.
The first letter upon this subject is
"To the Lord Chancellor, touching the History of Britain.
“It may please your good lordship,
"Some late act of his majesty, referred to some former speech which I have heard from your lordship, bred in me a great desire, and the strength of desire a boldness to make an humble proposition to your lordship, such as in me can be no better than a wish: but if your lordship should apprehend it, it may take some good and worthy effect. The act I speak of, is the order given by his majesty for the erection of a tomb or monument for our late sovereign Queen Elizabeth :1 wherein I may note much, but only this at this time, that as her majesty did always right to his majesty's hopes, so his highness doth in all things right to her memory; a very just and princely retribution. But from this occasion, by a very easy ascent, I passed farther, being put in mind, by this representative of her person, of the more true and more vive representation, which is of her life and government: for as statues and pictures are dumb histories, so histories are speaking pictures; wherein if my affection be not too great, or my reading too small, I am of this opinion, that if Plutarch were alive to write lives by parallels, it would trouble him both for virtue and fortune, to find for her a parallel amongst women. And though she was of the passive sex, yet her government was so active, as, in my simple opinion, it made more impression upon the several states of Europe, than it received from thence. But I confess unto your lordship I could not stay here, but went a little farther into the consideration of the times which have passed since King Henry VIII; wherein I find the strangest variety, that in so little number of successions of any hereditary monarchy hath ever been known. The reign of a child; the offer of an usurpation, though it was but as a diary ague; the reign of a lady married to a foreigner; and the reign of a lady solitary and unmarried; so that as it cometh to pass in massy bodies, that they have certain trepidations and wavering before they fix and settle; so it seemeth that by the providence of God this monarchy, before it was to settle in his majesty, and his generations, in which I hope it is now established forever, hath had these prelusive changes in these barren princes. Neither could I contain myself here, as it is easier for a man to multiply than to stay a wish, but calling to remembrance the unworthiness of the history of England, in the main continuance thereof; and the partiality and obliquity of that of Scotland, in the latest and largest authors that I have seen: I conceived it would be honour for his
"The monument here spoken of was erected in King Henry VII's chapel at Westminster, in the year 1606."
2 "The unworthiness of the history of England hath been long complained of by ingenious men, both of this and other nations, Sir Francis Bacon hath expressed himself much to the same effect, though more at large in his second book of the Advancement of Learning: where he carries this period of remarkable events somewhat higher than in this letter, beginning with the union of the roses under Henry VII. and ending with the union of the kingdoms under King James. A portion of time filled with so great and variable accidents both in church and state, and since so well discovered to the view of the world, that had other parts the same performance, we should not longer lie under any reproach of this kind. The reign of King Henry VII. was written by our author soon after his retirement, with so great beauty of style, and wisdom of observation, that nothing can be more entertaining; the truth of history not being disguised with the false colours of romance. It was so acceptable to the P. of Wales, that when he became king, he commanded him to proceed with the reign of King Henry VIII. But my Lord Bacon meditating the history of nature, which he hardly lived to publish; his ill state of health, and succeeding death, put an end to this and other noble designs; leaving the ecclesiastical and civil affairs of those times to be related by the learned pens of Dr. Burnet, notwithstanding the objections of the avowed enemies, and seeming friends to the reformation, and the Lord Herbert of Cherbury: that I think there is not much of moment to be expected from a future hand And for the annals of Queen Elizabeth compiled by Mr. Camden, the esteem of them is as universal as the language in which they are written. Nor must I forget in this place to take notice of two fair and large volumes lately published in French by Monsieur de Larrey; where building upon the foundations laid by these gentlemen, and some other memoirs, he hath not forgotten to do much honour to the English nation: beginning his history also with Henry VII."-Stephens. "This I take to be meant of Buchanan's history of Scotland; a book much admired by some, though censured by inany for his partiality in favour of the lords, against Mary Queen of the Scots, and the regal power. In other respects, Archbishop Spotswood informs us that he penned it with such judgment and eloquence, as no country can show a better."-Stephen .
majesty, and a work very memorable, if this island of Great Britain, as it is now joined in monarchy for the ages to come, so it were joined in history for the times past: and that one just and complete history were compiled of both nations. And if any man perhaps should think it may refresh the of former discords, he may satisfy himself with the verse olim hæc meminisse juvabit:' for the case being now altered, it is matter of comfort and gratulation to remember former troubles. Thus much, if it may please your lordship, is in the optative mood; and it is time that I did look a little into the potential; wherein the hope which I conceived was grounded upon three observations. The first, the nature of these times, which flourish in learning, both of art and language; which giveth hope not only that it may be done, but that it may be well done. Secondly, I do see that which all the world sees in his majesty, both a wonderful judgment in learning, and a singular affection towards learning, and works which are of the mind more than of the hand. For there cannot be the like honour sought and found, in building of galleries,1 and planting of elms along high-ways, and in those outward ornaments, wherein France is now so busy, things rather of magnificence than of magnanimity, as there is in the uniting of states, pacifying of controversies,3 nourishing and augmenting of learning and arts, and the particular actions appertaining to these; of which kind Cicero judged truly, when he said to Cæsar, Quantum operibus tuis detrahet vetustas, tantum addet laudibus.' And lastly, I call to mind, that your lordship at some times hath been pleased to express unto me a great desire, that something of this nature should be performed; answerable indeed to your other noble and worthy courses and actions: joining and adding unto the great services towards his majesty, which have, in small compass of time, been performed by your lordship, other great deservings both of the church and commonwealth, and particulars; so as the opinion of so great and wise a man doth seem to me a good warrant both of the possibility and worth of the matter. But all this while I assure myself, I cannot be mistaken by your lordship, as if I sought an office or employment for myself; for no man knows better than your lordship, that if there were in me any faculty thereunto, yet neither my course of life nor profession would permit it; but because there be so many good painters both for hand and colours, it needeth but encouragement and instructions to give life unto it. So in all humbleness I conclude my presenting unto your lordship this wish; which, if it perish, it is but a loss of that which is not. And so craving pardon that I have taken so much time from your lordship, I remain-'
The next letter is
"To the king, upon sending unto him a beginning of the history of his majesty's times.
"Hearing that your majesty is at leisure to peruse story, a desire took me to make an experiment what I could do in your majesty's times, which being but a leaf or two, I pray your pardon, if I send it for your recreation; considering that love must creep where it cannot go. But to these I add these petitions: First, that if your majesty do dislike any thing, you would conceive I can amend it upon your least beck. Next, that if I have not spoken of your majesty encomiastically, your majesty would be pleased only to ascribe it to the law of a history; which doth not cluster together praises upon the first mention of a name, but rather disperseth and weaveth them through the whole narrative. And as for the proper place of commemoration, which is in the period of life, I pray God I may never live to write it. Thirdly, that the reason why I presumed to think of this oblation, was because whatsoever my disability be, yet I shall have that advantage which almost no writer of history hath had; in that I shall write of times not only since I could remember, but since I could observe. And lastly, that it is only for your majesty's reading."
Of this tract, Archbishop Tenison says, "This was an essay, sent to King James, whose times it considered. A work worthy his pen, had he proceeded in it; seeing (as he saith) he should have written of times, not only since he could remember, but since he could observe; and by way of introduction, of times, as he further noteth, of strange variety; the reign of a child; the offer of usurpation by the Lady Jane, though it were but as a diary ague; the reign of a lady married to a foreigner, and the reign of a lady solitary and unmarried.
"His lordship, who had given such proof of his skill in writing a History of England, leaving the world, to the unspeakable loss of the learned part of it; his late majesty, a great favourer of that work, and wise in the choice of fit workmen, encouraged Sir Henry Wotton to endeavour it, by his royal invitation, and a pension of 500l. per annum. This proposal was made to that excellent man, in his declining years; and he died after the finishing some short characters of some few kings; which characters are published in his Remains.
1 "The magnificent gallery at the Louvre in Paris, built by Henry IV.”
2 "The union of England and Scotland.'
"The conference at Hampton Court held between the bishops and puritans as they were then called, soon after the king's coming to the crown of England, and where his majesty was the moderator."-Stephens. VOL. I.-36
2 A 2
STATE OF EUROPE.
This tract is supposed by Mallet to have been the first work written by Lord Bacon, and to have been written about the year 1580, when he was between 19 and 20 years of age:-because it states, "that Henry III. of France was then 30 years old: now that king began his reign in 1576, at the age of 24 years, so that Bacon was then 19." How far this evidence is satisfactory, may be collected from other parts of the same tract. It says, "Gregory XIII. of the age of 70 years:❞—but Gregory XIII. was 70 years old in the year 1572, when he was elected pope, so that according to this reasoning, it might be inferred that it was written when Bacon was 12 years of age. In another part of the tract it states, "The King of Spain, Philip, son to Charles the Fifth, about 60 years of age:" but he was born on the 21st of May, 1527, so that he was 60 years old in 1587, when Bacon was between 16 and 17 years old.-The author of Bacon's Life in the Biographia Britannica, from these different dates, concludes that the tract was written at different periods of time, beginning, as he must suppose, when Bacon was quite a boy: but, as it was not necessary for the purposes of this tract that the ages of the different monarchs should be ascertained with great precision, it is, perhaps, not probable that they were accurately examined, and the only fair inference is, that it was written at a very early period of his life.1
The same author says, "But what is extremely remarkable in this small treatise, is the care and accuracy with which he has set down most of the little princes in Germany, with the state of their dominions." This minute observation, however, extends to all his works: and of all the extraordinary properties of Bacon's wonderful mind, his constant observation of what we, in common parlance, call trifles, appears to be one of the most extraordinary. "See," he says, "the little cloud upon glass or gems or blades of swords, and mark well the discharge of that cloud, and you shall perceive that it ever breaks up first in the skirts, and last in the midst. May we not learn from this the force of union even in the least quantities and weakest bodies, how much it conduceth to preservation of the present form and the resisting of a new. In like manner, icicles, if there be water to follow them, lengthen themselves out in a very slender thread, to prevent a discontinuity of the water; but if there be not a sufficient quantity to follow, the water then falls in round drops, which is the figure that best supports it against discontinuation; and at the very instant when the thread of water ends, and the falling in drops begins, the water recoils upwards to avoid being discontinued. So in metals, which are fluid upon fusion, though a little tenacious, some of the mettled mass frequently springs up in drops, and sticks in that form to the sides of the crucible. There is a like instance in the looking-glasses, commonly made of spittle by children, in a loop of rush or whalebone, where we find a consistent pellicle of water." Possessing this peculiar property himself, Bacon constantly admonishes his readers of its importance. "The eye of the understanding, (he says,) is like the eye of the sense: for as you may see great objects through small crannies or levels, so you may see axioms of great nature through small and contemptible instances." And again, “it should be considered as an oracle, the saying of the poor woman to the haughty prince, who rejected her petition as a thing below his dignity to notice—then cease to reign;' for it is certain, that whoever will not attend to matters because they are too minute or trifling, shall never obtain command or rule over nature.” And again, “he who cannot contract the sight of his mind as well as disperse and dilate it, wanteth a great faculty: for certainly this may be averred for truth, that they be not the highest instances that give the best and surest information. This is not unaptly expressed in the tale, so common, of the philosopher, who while he gazed upward to the stars fell into the water; for if he had looked down, he might have seen the stars in the water, but looking up to heaven he could not see the water in the stars. In like manner it often comes to pass that small and mean things conduce more to the discovery of great matters, than great things to the discovery of small matters; and therefore Aristotle notes well, that the nature of every thing is best seen in its smallest portions. For that cause he inquires the nature of a commonwealth, first in a family and the simple conjugations of society, man and wife; parents and children; master and servant, which are in every cottage. So likewise the nature of this great city of the world, and the policy thereof, must be sought in every first concordances and least portions of things. So we see that secret of nature, (esteemed one of the great mysteries,) of the turning of iron touched with a loadstone towards the poles, was found out in needles of iron, not in bars of iron.”
Or the importance of biography, Bacon speaks in his Advancement of Learning; concluding his remarks by saying, "Bona fama propria possessio defunctorum," which possession I cannot but
"The tract says, 'D. Antonio, elect King of Portugal, is now in France, where he hath levied soldiers, whereof part are emb irked, hoping to be restored again.”