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If his work had been addressed to the philoso- | frenzy is a good emblem; for words are but phy of the country, instead of having confined his images of matter, and to fall in love with thein is professional objections to divines and politicians, all one as to fall in love with a picture." he would have explained that, as our opinions always constitute our intellectual and often our worldly wealth, prejudice is common to us all, and is particularly conspicuous amongst all professional men, with respect to the sciences which they profess.
These different subjects are classed under the quaint expression of "Distempers of Learning,' to which, that the metaphor may be preserved, he has appended various other defects, under the more quaint term of "Peccant Humours of Learning."
His observations upon the advantages of learnHis objections to learning from the errors of ing, although encumbered by fanciful and minute learned men, contain his observations upon the analysis, abound with beauty; for, not contenting study of words; upon useless knowledge; and himself with the simple position with which phiupon falsehood, called by him delicate learning; losophy would be satisfied, that knowledge teaches contentious learning; and fantastical learning; us how to select what is beneficial, and avoid what all of them erroneously considered objections to is injurious, he enumerates various modes, divine learning; as the study of words is merely the se- and human, by which the happiness resulting from lection of one species of knowledge; and conten-knowledge ever has been and ever will be manitious learning is only the conflict of opinion which ever exists when any science is in progress, and the way from sense to the understanding is not sufficiently cleared; and falsehood is one of the consequences attendant upon inquiry, as Our opinions, being formed not only by impressions upon our senses, but by confidence in the communication of others and our own reasonings, unavoidably teem with error, which can by time alone be corrected.
After having stated what he terms divine proofs of the advantages of knowledge, he says, the human proofs are:
1. Learning diminishes afflictions from nature. 2. Learning diminishes evils from man to man. 3. There is a union between learning and military virtue.
4. Learning improves private virtues.
1. It takes away the barbarism of men's minds.
2. It takes away levity, temerity, and in-
3. It takes away vain admiration,
5. It is power.
6. It advances fortune.
7. It is our greatest source of delight.
As it is Bacon's doctrine that knowledge consists in understanding the properties of creatures and the names by which they are called, "the occupation of Adam in Paradise," it may seem extraordinary that he should not have formed a higher estimate than he appears to have formed of the study of words. Words assist thought; they teach us correctness; they enable us to acquire the knowledge and character of other nations; and the study of ancient literature in particular, if it is not an exercise of the intellect, is a discipline of humanity; if it do not strengthen the understanding, it softens and refines the taste; it gives us liberal views; it accustoms the mind to take an interest in things foreign to itself; to love virtue for its own sake; to prefer glory to riches, and to fix our thoughts on the remote and perinanent, instead of narrow and fleeting objects. It teaches us to believe that there is really something great and excellent in the world, surviving all the shocks and accidents and fluctuations of opinion, and raises us above that low and servile fear, which bows only to present power and up-together, listening to the airs and accords of the start authority. Rome and Athens filled a place in the history of mankind which can never be occupied again. They were two cities set on a hill which cannot be hid; all eyes have seen them, and their light shines like a mighty sea-mark into the abyss of time:
These positions are proved by all the force of his reason, and adorned by all the beauty of his imagination. When speaking of the power of knowledge to repress the inconveniences which arise from man to man, he says, "In Orpheus's theatre all beasts and birds assembled, and, forgetting their several appetites, some of prey, some of game, some of quarrel, stood all sociably
harp; the sound whereof no sooner ceased, or was drowned by some louder noise, but every beast returned to his own nature; wherein is aptly described the nature and condition of men, who are full of savage and unreclaimed desires of profit, of lust, of revenge; which, as long as they give ear to precepts, to laws, to religion, "Still green with bays each ancient altar stands." sweetly touched with eloquence and persuasion But, notwithstanding these advantages, Bacon of books, of sermons, of harangues, so long is says, "the studying words and not matter is a society and peace maintained; but if these indistemper of learning, of which Pygmalion's struments be silent, or sedition and tumult make
them not audible, all things dissolve into anarchy | tigation of every species of philosophy, divine, and confusion."
So when explaining, amidst the advantages of knowledge, its excellency in diffusing happiness through succeeding ages, he says, "Let us conclude with the dignity and excellency of knowledge and learning in that whereunto man's nature doth most aspire; which is, immortality or continuance: for to this tendeth generation, and raising of houses and families; to this buildings, foundations, and monuments; to this tendeth the desire of memory, fame, and celebration, and, in effect, the strength of all other human desires. We see then how far the monuments of wit and learning are more durable than the monuments of power or of the hands. For, have not the verses of Homer continued twenty-five hundred years, or more, without the loss of a syllable or letter; during which time infinite palaces, temples, castles, cities, have been decayed and destroyed? It is not possible to have the true pictures or statues of Cyrus, Alexander, Cæsar; no, nor of the kings or great personages of much later years; for the originals cannot last, and the copies cannot but leese of the life and truth: but the images of men's wits and knowledges remain in books exempted from the wrong of time, and capable of perpetual renovation. Neither are they fitly to be called images, because they generate still, and cast their seeds in the minds of others, provoking and causing infinite actions and opinions in succeeding ages; so that, if the invention of the ship was thought so noble, which carrieth riches and commodities from place to place, and consociateth the most remote regions in participation of their fruits, how much more are letters to be magnified, which, as ships, pass through the vast seas of time, and make ages so distant to participate of the wisdom, illuminations, and inventions, the one of the other?"
After having thus explained some of the blessings attendant upon knowledge, he concludes the first book with lamenting that these blessings are not more generally preferred.
The second book, after various preliminary observations, and particularly upon the defects of universities, of which, from the supposition that they are formed rather for the discovery of new knowledge than for diffusing the knowledge of our predecessors, he, through life, seems to have formed too high an estimate, he arranges and adorns every species of history, which he includes within the province of memory,—and every species of poetry, by which imagination can "elevate the mind from the dungeon of the body to the enjoying its own divine essence:"—and, passing from poetry, by saying, "but it is not good to stop too long in the theatre: let us now pass on to the judicial place or palace of the mind, which we are to approach and view with more reverence and attention," he proceeds to the inves
natural, and human, of which, from his analysis of human philosophy, or the science of man, some conception may be formed of the extent and perfection of the different parts of the work.
These different subjects, exhibited with this perspicuity, are adorned with beautiful illustration and imagery: as, when explaining the doctrine of the will, divided into the image of good, or the exhibition of truth, and the culture or Georgics of the mind, which is its husbandry or tillage, so as to love the truth which it sees, he says, "The neglecting these Georgics seemeth to me no better than to exhibit a fair image or statue, beautiful to behold, but without life or motion."
Having thus made a small globe of the intellectual world, he, looking at the work he had made, and hoping that it was good, thus concludes: "And being now at some pause, looking back into that I have passed through, this writing seemeth to me, 'si nunquam fallit imago,' (as far as a man can judge of his own work,) not much better than the noise or sound which musicians make while they are tuning their instruments, which is nothing pleasant to hear, but yet is a cause why the music is sweeter afterwards: so have I been content to tune the instruments of the muses, that they may play that have better hands. And surely, when I set before me the condition of these times, in which learning hath made her third visitation or circuit in all the qualities thereof: as the excellency and vivacity of the wits of this age; the noble helps and lights which we have by the travails of ancient writers; the art of printing, which communicateth books to men of all fortunes; the openness of the world by navigation, which hath disclosed multitudes of experiments, and a mass of natural history; the leisure wherewith these times abound, not employing men so generally in civil business as the states of Græcia did, in respect of their popularity, and the state of Rome, in respect of the greatness of their monarchy; the present disposition of these times at this instant to peace; the consumption of all that ever can be said in controversies of religion, which have so much diverted men from other sciences; and the inseparable property of time, which is ever more and more to disclose truth,-I cannot but be raised to this persuasion, that this third period of time will far surpass that of the Grecian and Roman learning; only if men will know their own strength, and their own weakness both; and take, one from the other, light of invention, and not fire of contradiction; and esteem of the inquisition of truth as of an enterprise, and not as of a quality or ornament; and employ wit and magnificence to things of worth and excellency, and not ‘o things vulgar and of popular estimation."
Of this work he presented copies to the King
and to different statesmen, and, to secure its perpetuity, he exerted himself with his friends to procure a translation of it into Latin, which, in the decline of his life, he accomplished.
As a philosopher, Bacon, who beheld all things from a cliff, thus viewed the intellectual globe, dilating his sight to survey the whole of science, and contracting it so that the minutest object could not escape him.
and the education of youth; institute orders and fraternities for nobility, enterprise, and obedience; but, above all, establish good laws for the regulation of the kingdom, and as an example to the world."
On the first day of the ensuing year he thus presented, as a new year's gift, to the king, a discourse touching the plantation of Ireland: “I know not better how to express my good wishes Sweet as such speculations were to such a 'of a new year to your majesty, than by this little mind: pleasing as the labour must have been in book, which in all humbleness I send you. The surmounting the steeps: delightful to tarry upon style is a style of business, rather than curious or them, and painful to quit them, he did not suffer elaborate. And herein I was encouraged by my contemplation to absorb his mind; but, as a states-experience of your majesty's former grace, in man, he was ever in action, ever advancing the accepting of the like poor field-fruits touching the welfare of his country. These opposite exertions union. And certainly I reckon this action as a were the necessary result of his peculiar mind; second brother to the union. For I assure myself for, as knowledge takes away vain admiration; as that England, Scotland, and Ireland, well united, no man marvels at the play of puppets who has is such a trefoil as no prince except yourself, who been behind the curtain, Bacon could not have are the worthiest, weareth in his crown." been misled by the baubles by which common In this discourse, his knowledge of the miseminds are delighted; and, as he had examined theries of Ireland, that still neglected country, and nature of all pleasures, and felt that knowledge of the mode of preventing them, with his heartfelt and benevolence, which is ever in its train, sur- anxiety for her welfare, appears in all his ardent passed them all; the chief source of his happiness, endeavours, by all the power he possessed, to insure wherever situated, must have consisted in dimi- the king's exertions for "this desolate and negnishing evil and in promoting good. lected country, blessed with almost all the dowries of nature, with rivers, havens, woods, quar|ries, good soil, temperate climate, and a race and generation of men, valiant, hard and active, as it is not easy to find such confluence of commodities, if the hand of man did join with the hand of nature; but they are severed,-the harp of Ireland is not strung or attuned to concord. This work, therefore, of all others most memorable and honourable, your majesty hath now in hand; specially, if your majesty join the harp of David, in casting out the evil spirit of superstition, with the harp of Orpheus, in casting out desolation and
With his delicate health and intense love of knowledge, he ought in prudence to have shunned the broad way and the green, and retreated to contemplation; but it was his favourite opinion that, "in this theatre of man's life, God and angels only should be lookers-on; that contemplation and action ought ever to be united, a conjunction like unto that of the two highest planets, Saturn, the planet of rest, and Jupiter, the planet of action."
He could not, thus thinking, but engage in active life; and, so engaged, he could not but act in obedience to the passion by which he was alone animated; by exerting himself and endeavouring | barbarism.' to excite others to promote the public good. We find him, therefore, labouring as a statesman and a patriot to improve the condition of Ireland; to promote the union of England and Scotland; to correct the errors which had crept into our religious establishments, and to assist in the amendment of the law; and, not content with the fruits of his own exertions, calling upon all classes of society to co-operate in reform.
His exertions respecting the union of England and Scotland were, both in and out of parliament, strenuous and unremitted. He spoke whenever the subject was agitated. He was a member of every committee that was formed to carry it into effect: he prepared the certificate of the commissioners appointed to treat of the union: and he was selected to report the result of a conference with the Lords; until, exhausted by fatigue, he was compelled to intercede with the House that he might be assisted by the co-operation of other members in the discharge of these arduous duties; and, it having been decided by all the judges, after an able argument of Bacon's, that all persons born in Scotland after the king's commission were na tural born subjects, he laboured in parliament to extend these privileges to all Scotland, that the rights enjoyed by the children should not be with held from their parents.
To professional men he says, "I hold that every man is a debtor to his profession, from the which, as men do of course seek to receive countenance and profit, so ought they to endeavour themselves by way of amends, to be a help and ornament." And he admonishes the king, that, “as a duty to himself, to the people, and to the King of kings, he ought to erect temples, tombs, palaces, theatres, bridges, make noble roads, cut canals, grant multitude of charters and liberties for comfort of decayed companies and corpora- The journals of the Commons contain an outline tions; found colleges and lectures for learning of many of his speeches, of which one upon the
union of laws, and another upon the general naturalization of the Scottish nation were completed, and have been preserved; and are powerful evidence of his zeal and ability in this good cause, exerted at the risk of the popularity, which, by his independent conduct in parliament, he had justly acquired. But he did not confine his activity to the bar or to the House of Commons. In his hours of recreation he wrote three works for the use of the king: "A Discourse upon the happy Union;" "Considerations on the same;" and a preparation towards "the union of these two mighty and warlike nations under one sovereign and monarchy, and between whom there are no mountains or races of hills, no seas or great rivers, no diversity of tongue or language, that hath created or provoked this ancient and too long continued divorce."
brier with the thistle, which is most unprofitable, but as the vine with the olive, which bears best fruit.
The considerations touching the pacification of the church, are dedicated to the king; and, after apologizing for his interposition as a layman with ecclesiastical matters, and describing the nature of the various reformers, and the objections to the reform of the church, he examines with great accuracy the government of bishops,-the liturgy,—the ceremonies, and subscription,—a preaching ministry,-the abuse of excommunications,—the provision for sufficient maintenance in the church, and non-residents, and pluralities, of which he says: "For non-residence, except it be in case of necessary absence, it seemeth an abuse, drawn out of covetousness and sloth; for that men should live of the flock that they do not feed, or His anxiety to assist in the improvement of the of the altar at which they do not serve, is a thing church appears in his exertions in parliament, and that can hardly receive just defence; and to exerin his publications in his times of recreation. cise the office of a pastor, in matter of the word When assisting in the improvement of our civil and doctrine, by deputies, is a thing not war establishment, he was ever mindful that our coun- ranted." And he thus concludes: "Thus have try ought to be treated as our parents, with mild- I, in all humbleness and sincerity of heart, ness and persuasion, and not with contestations; to the best of my understanding, given your maand, in his suggestions for the improvement of jesty tribute of my cares and cogitations in this our religious establishments, his thoughts have a holy business, so highly tending to God's glory, glory around them, from the reverence with which your majesty's honour, and the peace and welfare he always approaches this sacred subject, and of your states; insomuch as I am persuaded, that particularly on the eve of times, which he foresaw, the papists themselves should not need so much when voices in religion were to be numbered and the severity of penal laws, if the sword of the spinot weighed, and when his daily prayer was, rit were better edged, by strengthening the author"Remember, O Lord, how thy servant hath |ity, and suppressing the abuses in the church.” walked before thee; remember what I have first sought, and what hath been principal in my intentions. I have loved thy assemblies: I have mourned for the division of the church: I have delighted in the brightness of thy sanctuary. This vine, which thy right-hand hath planted in this nation, I have ever prayed unto thee that it might stretch her branches to the seas and the floods."
His publications are two: the one entitled, "An Advertisement, touching the Controversies of the Church of England;" the other, "Certain Considerations touching the better Pacification and Edification of the Church of England." These tracts abound with thought; and, according to his usual mode, consist of an extensive survey of the whole of our religious establishment, and the most minute observations of all its parts, even to the surplice of the minister, that simple pastoral garment, which, with the crook to guide, and to draw back the erring flock, beautiful emblems of the good shepherd, are still retained by the established church.
His tract upon church controversies contains an outline of all religious disputes, and abounds with observations well worthy the consideration of ecclesiastical controversialists; who will, percance, submit to be admonished by Bacon that, as Christians, they should contend, not as the
Early in this year, (1607, Et. 47,) an event occurred of considerable importance to his worldly prospects and professional tranquillity, by the promotion of Sir Edward Coke from the office of attorney-general to the chief justiceship of the common pleas, occasioning a vacancy in the office of solicitor-general, which Bacon strenuously exerted himself to obtain, under the delusion, that, by increasing his practice, he should be enabled sooner to retire into contemplative life. He applied to Lord Salisbury, to the lord chancellor, and to the king, by whom, on the 25th day of June, 1607, he was appointed solicitor, to the great satisfaction of his profession, the prospect of worldly emolument, and the hope of professional tranquillity, by a removal from conflict with the coarse mind and acrid humour of Sir Edward Coke, rude to his equals and insolent to the unfortunate.
Who can forget his treatment of Bacon? who, when reviled, reviled not again, but in due season thus expostulated with him:
Mr. Attorney,-I thought best, once for all, to let you know in plainness what I find of you, and what you shall find of me. You take to yourself a liberty to disgrace and disable my law, my experience, my discretion. What it pleaseth you I
Upon the trial of Raleigh, Coke, after denouncing him as an atheist and a traitor, reproached him, with the usual antipathy of a contracted mind to superior intellect, for being a genius and man of wit.
When Bacon presented him with a copy of his Novum Organum, he wrote with his own hand, at the top of the title-page, Edw. C. ex dono auctoris.
Instaurare paras veterum documenta sophorum:
pray think of me; I am one that knows both | tures where records and muniments are piled to mine own wants and other men's: and it may be, the exclusion of all higher or nobler matters. perchance, that mine mend, others stand at a stay. For genius he had no love: with philosophy he And surely, I may not endure in public place to had no sympathy. be wronged, without repelling the same to my best advantage to right myself. You are great, and therefore have the more enviers, which would be glad to have you paid at another's cost. Since the time I missed the solicitor's place, the rather, I think, by your means, I cannot expect that you and I shall ever serve as attorney and solicitor together, but either to serve with another, upon your remove, or to step into some other course; so as I am more free than ever I was from any occasion of unworthy conforming myself to you more than general good manners, or your particular good usage shall provoke: and, if you had not been short-sighted in your own fortune, as I think, you might have had more use of me; but that tide is passed. I write not this, to show my friends what a brave letter I have written to Mr. Attorney; I have none of those humours, but that I have written is to a good end: that is, to the more decent carriage of my master's service, and to our particular better understanding one of another. This letter, if it shall be answered by you in deed and not in word, I suppose it will not be worse for us both; else it is but a few lines lost, which for a much smaller matter I would have adventured. So this being to your self, I for my part rest, &c.
Of Coke's bitter spirit there are so many painful instances, that unless Bacon had to complain of unfairness in other matters, the acrimony which overflowed upon all, could not be considered altogether the effect of personal rivalry. It would have been well had his morbid feelings been confined to his professional opponents; but, unmindful of the old maxim, "Let him take heed how he strikes, who strikes with a dead hand,” his rancorous abuse extended to prisoners on trials for their lives, for which he was severely censured by Bacon, who told him that in his pleadings he was ever wont to insult over misery.
And over the device of the ship passing between Hercules's pillars, he wrote the two following verses:
"It deserveth not to be read in schools,
But to be freighted in the Ship of Fooles." From professional altercations with this contracted mind, Bacon was rescued by his promo|tion.
Another and more important advantage attendant upon his appointment was the opportunity which it afforded him to assist in the encouragement of merit and in legal reform. Detur digniori was his constant maxim and constant practice. He knew and taught that power to do good is the true and lawful end of aspiring; and when appointed solicitor, he acted in obedience to his doctrines, encouraging merit, and endeavouring to discharge the duty which he owed to his profession by exertions and works for the improvement of the law.
In the midst of arduous affairs of state and professional duties, he went right onward with his great work, conferring with various scholars and philosophers, from whose communications there was any probability of his deriving advantage.
In the progress of the Novum Organum he had, at different periods, even from his youth, arranged his thoughts upon detached parts of the work, and collected them under different titles: "Temporis partus maximus," "Filum Labyrinthi,” Cogitata et Visa, &c.
Who can forget Coke's treatment of Raleigh, He now sent to the Bishop of Ely the "Cogientitled as he was by station and attainments to He communicated also on the the civil observances of a gentleman, and, by long tata et Visa." imprisonment and subsequent misfortunes, to the subject with his friend, Mr. Mathew, who, havcommiseration of all men. It is true that there ing cautioned him that he might excite the prewere some persons present at this trial, who re- judices of the churchmen, spoke freely, yet with membered that Raleigh and Cobham had stood | approbation of the work. He also sent the tract only a few years before, with an open satisfac- to Sir Thomas Bodley, who received it with all tion, to witness the death of Essex, against whom they had secretly conspired; but even the sense of retributive justice, though it might deaden their pity, could not lessen their disgust at the cruel and vulgar invectives of Coke, whose knowledge neither expanded his intellect, nor civilized his manners. Fierce with dark keeping, his mind resembled some of those gloomy strucVOL. I. -(8)
the attachment of a collegian to Aristotle, and the schoolmen and university studies, and, with the freedom of a friend, respectfully imparted to Bacon that his plan was visionary.
In the year 1609, as a relaxation from abstruse speculations, he published in Latin his interesting little work, "De Sapientia Veterum,” of which he sent a copy to his friend, Mr. Mathew, saying,