Imágenes de páginas



reason is of the reforination of justice, for the a £100,000. But the judges first, and most questioning of men of eminent place hath the of the rest, reduced it as before. I do not dislike same terror, though not the same rigour with the that things pass moderately, and, all things conpunishment. But my case stayeth not there; for sidered, it is not amiss, and might easily bave my humble desire is, that his majesty would take been worse. There was much speaking of interthe scal into his hands, which is a great downfall, ceding for the king's mercy, which (in my opinion) and may serve, I hope, in itself, for an expiation was not so proper for a sentence: I said, in conof my faults.

clusion, that mercy was to come “ ex mero motu," Therefore, if mercy and mitigation be in your and so left it. I took some other occasion pertilordships' power, and do no ways cross your ends, nent to do the king honour, by showing how why should I not hope of your favours and com- happy he was in all other parts of his governmiserations? Your lordships may be pleased to ment, save only in the manage of his treasure by behold your chief pattern, the king our sovereign, these officers. a king of incomparable clemency, and whose I have sent the king a new bill for Sussex, for heart is inscrutable for wisdom and goodness. my Lord of Nottingham's certificate was true, and You well remember, that there sat not these hun- I told the judges of it before, but they neglected dred years before, in your house, a prince (and it. I conceive the first man (which is newly set never such a prince) whose presence deserveth to down) is the fittest. God ever preserve and keep be made memorable by records and acts, mixed you, etc. of mercy and justice. Yourselves are either nobles, (and compassion ever beateth in the veins of noble blood,) or reverend prelates, who are the sir FRANCIS BACON TO THE LORD TREASURER servants of him that would not break the bruised BUCKHURST, UPON THE SAME OCCASION OF reed, nor quench smoking flax.

OF ADVANCEMENT OF You all sit upon a high stage, and therefore cannot but be more sensible of the changes of MAY IT PLEASE YOUR Good LORDSHIP, human condition, and of the fall of any from high I have finished a work touching the advanceplaces. Neither will your lordships forget that ment or setting forward of learning, which I have there are “ vitia temporis," as well as • vitia dedicated to his majesty, the most learned of a hominis,” and that the beginning of reformation sovereign, or temporal prince, that time hath hath a contrary power to the pool of Bethseda, for known. And upon reason not unlike, I humbly that had strength only to cure him that first cast present one of the books to your lordship, not only in, and this hath strength to hurt him only that is as a chancellor of a university, but as one that first cast in; and for my part, I wish it may stay was excellently bred in all learning, which I have there, and go no farther.

ever noted to shine in all your speeches and be-
Lastly, I assure myself, your lordships have a haviours. And therefore your lordship will yield
noble feeling of me, as a member of your own a gracious aspect to your first love, and take plea-
body; and one that, in this very session, had some sure in the adorning of that wherewith yourself
taste of your loving affections, which I hope was are so much adorned. And so, humbly desiring
not a lightning before the death of them, but rather your favourable acceptation thereof, with signifi-
a spark of that grace which now, in the conclu- cation of my humble duty, I remain-
sion, will more appear. And, therefore, my hum-
ble suit to your lordships is, that my voluntary
confession may be my sentence, and the loss of
the seal my punishment, and that your lordships A LETTER OF THE LIKE ARGUMENT TO THE LORD
will spare any farther sentence, but recommend
me to his majesty's grace and pardon for all that MAY IT PLEASE your good Lordshir,
is past. And so, etc.

I humbly present your lordship with a work,
Your lordships', etc

wherein, as you have much commandment over
Francis St. Alban, Can. the author, so your lordship hath also great

interest in the argument. For, to speak without
fattery, few have like use of learning, or like

judgment in learning, as I have observed in your THE LORD CHANCELLOR BACON TO THE DUKE. lordship. And, again, your lordship hath been a My very GOOD LORD,

great planter of learning, not only in these places My Lord of Suffolk's cause is this day sen- in the church which have been in your own gift, tenced. My lord, and his lady, fined at £30,000, but also in your commendatory vote, no man hath with imprisonment in the Tower at their own more constantly held, "detur digniori;” and, charges. Bingley at £2,00Q and committed to therefore, both your lordship is beholden to learnthe Fleet; Sir Edward Coke did his part, I have ing, and learning beholden to you.

Which not heard him do better; and began with a fine of 'maketh me presume, with good assurance, that




your lordship will accept well of these my for me, to have done as gardeners use to do, by labours, the rather because your lordship in pri- taking their seeds and slips, and rearing them rate speech hath often begun to me, in expressing first into plants, and so uttering them in pots, your admiration of his majesty's learning, to when they are in flower, and in their best state. whom I have dedicated this work; and, whose But, forasmuch, as my end was merit of the state virtue and perfection in that kind, did chiefly of learning, to my power, and not glory; and, move me to a work of this nature. And, so with because my purpose was rather to excite other signification of my most humble duty and affec- men's wits, than to magnify my own, I was tion towards your lordship, I remain, etc. desirous to prevent the uncertainness of my own

life and times, by uttering rather seeds than

plants; nay, and farther, as the proverb is, by SIR FRANCIS BACON, OF THE LIKE ARGUMENT, sowing with the basket, than with the hand. TO THE EARL OF NORTHAMPTON, WITH RE- Wherefore, since I have only taken upon me to QUEST TO PRESENT THE BOOK TO HIS MA

ring a bell, to call other wits together, (which is

the meanest office,) it cannot but be consonant to IT MAY PLEASE YOUR GOOD Lordship, Having finished a work touching the advance- my desire, to have that bell heard as far as can

be. And, since that they are but sparks, which ment of learning, and dedicated the same to his

can work but upon matter prepared, I have the sacred majesty, whom I dare avouch (if the records of time err not) to be the learnedest king abroad, that they may the better find, and light

more reason to wish, that those sparks may fly that hath reigned; I was desirous in a kind of


those minds and spirits which are apt to be congruity, to present it by the learnedest coun- kindled. And, therefore, the privateness of the sellor in this kingdom, to the end, that so good language considered wherein it is written, excludan argument, lightening upon so bad an author, might receive some reparation by the hands into ing so many readers, (as, on the other side, the

obscurity of the argument, in many parts of it, which, and by which, it should be delivered.

excludeth many others ;) I must account it a And, therefore, I make it my humble suit to your second birth of that work, if it might be translated lordship to present this mean, but well meant into Latin, without manifest loss of the sense and writing to his majesty, and with it my


matter. For this purpose, I could not represent and zealous duty; and also my like humble

to myself any man, into whose hands I do more request of pardon, if I have too often taken his


yourname in vain, not only in the dedication, but in earnestly desire that work should fall,

self; for, hy that I have heard and read, I know the voucher of the authority of his speeches and

no man a greater master in commanding words writings. And so I remain, &c.

to serve matter. Nevertheless, I am not ignorant

of the worth of your labours, whether such as SIR FRANCIS BACON, HIS LETTER OF REQUEST your place and profession imposeth on you, or TO DOCTOR PLAYFER, TO TRANSLATE THE such as your own virtue may, upon your volunBOOK OF ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING INTO tary election, take in hand. But I can lay before

you no other persuasions, than either the work Mr. Doctor PLAYFER,

itself may affect you with, or the honour of his A great desire will take a small occasion to majesty, to whom it is dedicated, or your partihope, and put in trial that which is desired. It cular inclination to myself; who, as I never took pleased you a good while since, to express unto so much comfort in any labours of my own, so I

the good liking which you conceive of my shall never acknowledge myself more obliged in book, of the Advancement of Learning, and that any thing to the labour of another, than in that more significantly (as it seemed to me) than out which shall assist this. Which your labour if I of courtesy, or civil respect. Myself, as I then can, by my place, profession, means, friends, took contentment in your approbation thereof, so travail, word, deed, requite unto you, I shall I should esteem and acknowledge, not only my esteem myself so straitly hound thereunto, as I contentment increased, but my labours advanced, shall be ever most ready, both to take and seek if I might obtain your help in that nature which , occasions of thankfulness. And so leaving it, I desire. Wherein, before I set down in plain nevertheless, “ Salva amicitia," (as reason is,) to terms my request unto you, I will open myself, your own good liking, I remain, etc. what it was which I chiefly sought, and propounded to myself, in that work, that you may perceive that which I now desire to be pursuant'sir FRANCIS BACON, TO SIR THOMAS BODLEY thereupon, if I do not err. (For any judgment UPON SENDING HIM HIS BOOK OF TITE AD that a man maketh of his own doings, had need be spoken with a “Si nunquam fallit imago.") I Sir, have this opinion, that if I had sought my own I think no man may more truly say wit, the commendation, it had been a much fitter course psalm, “multum incola fuit anima inea.” For !





do confess, since I was of any understanding, my acquaintance with scholarship ‘or learning, you mind hath, in effect, been absent from that I have should have culled forth the quintessence, and done, and in absence errors are committed, which sucked up the sap of the chiefest kind of learnI do willingly acknowledge; and amongst the ing. For, howsowever, in some points, you do rest, this great one that led the rest; that know- vary altogether from that which is and hath been ing myself by inward calling to be fitter to hold a ever the received doctrine of our schools, and book, than to play a part, I have led my life in was always by the wisest (as still they have been civil causes, for which I was not very fit by deemed) of all nations and ages, adjudged the nature, and more unfit by the preoccupation of truest; yet it is apparent, in those very points, in my mind. Therefore, calling myself home, I all your proposals and plots in that book, you have now for a time enjoyed myself, where like show yourself a master workman. For myself, wise I desire to make the world partaker; my I must confess, and I speak it ingenuè, that for labours (if so I may term that which was the the matter of learning, I am not worthy to be comfort of iny other labours) I have dedicated to reckoned in the number of smatterers; and yet, the king, desirous, if there be any good in them, because it may seem that being willing to comit may be as fat of a sacrifice incensed to his municate your treatise with your friends, you are honour; and the second copy I have sent unto likewise willing to listen to whatsoever I or you, not only in good affection, but in a kind of others can except against it; I must deliver unto congruity, in regard of your great and rare desert you, for my private opinion, that I am one of the of learning: for books are the shrines where the crew, that say there is, and we profess a greater saint is, or is believed to be. And, you having holdfast of certainty in your sciences, than you built an ark, to save learning from deluge, deserve, by your discourse will seem to acknowledge : in propriety, any new instrument or engine, for where, at first, you do object the ill success whereby learning should be improved or advanced. and errors of practitioners of physic, you know So, etc.

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

reason their diseases are by nature incurable,

which is incident, you know, to many sort of SIR,

inaladies; or for some other hidden cause, which As soon as the term was ended, supposing your cannot be discovered by course of conjecture; leisure was more than before, I was coming to howbeit, I am full of this belief, that as physic thank you two or three times, rather choosing to is ministered now-a-days by physicians, it is do it by word than letter; but I was still disap- much ascribed to their negligence or ignorance, pointed of my purpose, as I am at this present or other touch of imperfection, that they speed no upon an urgent occasion, which doth tie me fast better in their practice: for few are found, of to Fulham, and hath now made me determine to that profession, so well instructed in their art, as impart my mind in writing. I think you know I they might by the precepts which their art doth have read your “Cogitata et visa ;” which, I afford; which, though it be defective in regard of protest, I have done with great desire, reputing it such perfection, yet for certain it doth flourish a token of your singular love, that you joined me with admirable remedies, such as tract of time with those your friends, to whom you would hath taught by experimental effects, and are the commend the first perusal of your draught; for open highway to that knowledge that you rewhich I pray give me leave to say but this unto commend. As for alchemy, and magic, some you. First, that if the depth of my affection to conclusions they have that are worthy the preyour person and spirit, to your works and your serving: but all their skill is so accompanied words, and to all your ability, were as highly to with subtilties and guiles, as both the crafts and be valued as your affection is to me, it might the crafts-masters are not only despised, but named walk with your's arm in arın, and claim your with derision. Whereupon to make good your love by just desert; but there can be no compa- principal assertion, methinks you should have rison, where our states are so uneven, and our drawn the most of your examples from that means to demonstrate our affections, so indiffer- which is taught in the liberal sciences, not by ent; insomuch as, for mine own, I must leave it picking out cases that happen very seldom, and to be prized in the nature that it is; and you may, by all confession, be subject to reproof, but shall evermore find it most addicted to your worth. by controlling the generals, and grounds, and As touching the subject of your book, you have eminent positions and aphorisms, which the set afoot so many noble speculations, as I cannot greatest artists and philosophers have from time choose but wonder and I shall wonder at it ever, to time defended; for it goeth for current among that your expense of time considered in your all men of learning, that those kinds of arts public profession, which hath in a manner nol which clerks in times past did term Quadrivials,

[ocr errors]

confirm their propositions by infallible demon- j a new substitution of others in their places, what
strations. And likewise in Trivials, such les- hope may we have of any benefit of learning by
sons and directions are delivered unto us, as will this alteration ? assuredly, as soon as the new
effect very near, or as much altogether, as every are brought ad uxury by the inventors and their
faculty doth promise. Now, in case we should followers, by an interchangeable course of
concur to do as you advise, which is, to renounce natural things, they will fall by degrees in
our common notions, and cancel all our theorems, oblivion to be buried, and so in continuance to
axioms, rules, and tenets, and so to come babes perish outright; and that perchance upon the
“ad regnum naturæ," as we are willed by scrip- like to your present pretences, by proposål of
tures to come ad regnum cælorum." There is some means to advance all our knowledge to a
nothing more certain, in my understanding, than higher pitch of perfectness; for still the same
that it would instantly bring us to barbarism, defects that antiquity found, will reside in man-
and, after many thousand years, leave us more kind, and therefore other issues of their actions,
unprovided of theorical furniture, than we are at devices, and studies, are not to be expected than
this present: For that were indeed to become is apparent, by records, were in former times
“Tabula rasa," when we shall leave no impres- observed. I remember here a note which Pater-
sion of any former principles, but be driven to culus made of the incomparable wits of the
begin the world again, to travel by trials of Grecians and Romans, in their flourishing state;
actions and sense, (which are your proofs by that there might be this reason of their notable
particulars,) what to place in “intellectu” for our downfall, in their issue that came after, because
general conceptions, it being a maxim of all by nature, “Quod summo studio petitum est,
men's approving; "in intellectu nihil esse quod ascendit in summum, difficilisque in perfecto mora
non prius fuit in sensu.” And so in appearance est;" insomuch that men perceiving that they
it would befall us, that till Plato's year be come could not go farther, being come to the stop, they
about, our insight in learning would be of less turned back again of their own accord, forsaking
reckoning than now it is accounted. As for that those studies that are most in request, and be-
which you inculcate, of a knowledge more taking themselves to new endeavours, as it the
excellent than now is among us, which expe- thing they sought had been by prevention fore-
rience might produce, if we would but essay to prized by others. So it fared in particular with
extract it out of nature by particular probations, the eloquence of that age, that when their suc-
it is no more upon the matter, but to incite us cessors found that hardly they could equal, by
unto that which, without instigation, by a natu- no means excel their predecessors, they began to
ral instinct men will practise themselves; for it neglect the study thereof, and speak for many
cannot in reason be otherwise thought, but that hundred years in a rustical manner, till this later
there are infinite, in all parts of the world, (for resolution brought the wheel about again, by
we may not in this case confine our cogitations inflaming gallant spirits to give the onset a fresh,
within the bounds of Europe,) which embrace the with straining and striving to climb unto the top
course which you purpose, with all diligence and height of perfection, not in that gift alone,
and care, that any ability can perform. For but in every other skill in any part of learning.
every man is born with an appetite of knowledge, For I do not hold it any erroneous conceit to
wherewith he cannot be glutted, but still, as in a think of every science, that as now they are pro-
dropsy, thirst after more. But yet, why men fessed, so they have been before in all precedent
should so hearken to and such persuasions, as ages, though not alike in all places, nor at all
wholly to abolish those settled opinions, and times alike in one and the same; but according
general theorems, to which they have attained by to the changes and turning of times with a more
their own and their ancestors' experience, I see exact and plain, or with a more rude and obscure
nothing alleged to induce me to think it. More- kind of teaching,
over, I may speak, as I suppose, with good pro And if the question should be asked, what
bability, that if we should make a mental survey, proof I have of it; I have the doctrine of Aris-
what is like to be effected all the world over; totle, and of the deepest learned clerks, of whom
those five or six inventions which you have we have any means to take any notice; that as
selected, and imagined to be but of modern there is of other things, so there is of sciences,
standing, would make but a slender show among "ortus et interitus:" which is also the meaning
so many hundreds of all kinds of natures, which (if I should expound it) of " nihil novum sub
are daily brought to light by the enforcement of sole," and is as well to be applied “ ad facta,” as
wit or casual events, and may be compared, or " ad dicta ; ut nihil


neque facium, partly preferred, above those that you have quod non est dictum aut factum prius.” I have named. But were it so here, that all were ad- farther for my warrant, that famous complaint of mitted that you can require, for the augmentation Solomon to his son, against the infinite making of our knowledge, and that all our theorems and of books in his time, of which, in all congruity, general positions were utterly extinguished with great part wore of observations and instructions

[ocr errors]

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 painphlet (only some parcels your main discourse) you are not able to im panel 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 inuch 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 Yours to be used, and commanded, Abecedarii, by the frequent spelling of particulars,

Tho. Bodley. to come to the notice of new generals, and so

From Fulham, Feb. 19, 1607. afresh to create new principles of sciences, the end of all would be, that when we should be dis Sir,-One kind of holdness doth draw on possessed of the learning which we have, all our another; insomuch as methinks I should offend consequent travail will but help us in a circle, to to signify, that before the transcript of your book conduct us to the place from whence we set for- be fitted for the press, it will be requisite for yon wards, and bring us to the happiness to be to cast a censor's eye upon the style and the elorestored “in integrum,” which will require as cution; which, in the framing of some periods, many ages as have marched before us, to be per- and in divers words and phrases, will hardly go fectly achieved. And this I write, with no dis- for current, if the copy brought to me be just the like of increasing our knowledge with new-found same that you would publish. devices, (which is undoubtedly a practice of

Tho. BODLEY. 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

SIR FRANCIS BACON TO THE BISHOP OF ELY, UPON been very obstinate and eminent, and hath produced strange effects, above the reach and the

SENDING HIS WRITING INTITULED, COGITATA hope of men's common capacities; and yet our notions and theorems have always kept in grace My very good LORD, buth with them, and with the rarest that ever Now, your lordship hath been so long in the were named among the learned.

church and the palace, disputing between kings By this you see to what boldness I am brought and popes, methinks you should take pleasure to by your kindness; that (if I seem to be too saucy look into the field, and refresh your mind with in this contradiction) it is the opinion that I hold some matter of philosophy; though that science of your noble disposition, and of the freedom in be now, through age, waxed a child again, and these cases, that you will afford your special left to boys and young men. And because you friend, that hath induced me to it. And although are wont to make me believe you took liking to I myself, like a carrier's horse, cannot baulk the my writings, I send you some of this vacation beaten way, in which I have been trained, yet fruits, and thus much more for my mind and pursince it is my censure of your Cogitata that I pose. “I hasten not to publish, perishing I must tell you, to be pain, you have very much would prevent." And I am forced to respect as wror.ged yourself and the world, to smother such well my times, as the matter; for with me it is a treasure so long in your coffer: for though I lthus, and I think with all men, in my case: if I


« AnteriorContinuar »