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not only in the fame and admiration of the present time, nor in the history or tradition of the ages succeeding; but also in some solid work, fixed memorial, and immortal monument, bearing a character or signature, both of the power of a king, and the difference and perfection of such a king." And therefore he sends this treatise as "tending to that end."
The age of Bacon has generally been styled the learned age, and yet our author felt himself called upon to vindicate its dignity! But that learning was absolutely confined (so far as it gives the name to that age) to a knowledge of the Greek and Latin authors; it was a learning acquired in a very different spirit from that in which it was originally promulged; it was, therefore, a jealous learning, and Bacon, though a perfect master of it himself, was about to become in some respects its impugner. He therefore maintained and asserted, with great force and unparalleled richness of diction, the dignity of learning. But he so asserted it, as to show the most rigid devotees of antiquity, while he captivated them by the variety and splendour of his vindication, that "there were more things in heaven and earth than were dreamt of in their philosophy."
The first book, therefore, maintains "the excellency of learning and knowledge." This may seem, now-a-days, to be a needless expenditure of time and trouble, but it was a triumphant effort then, and there has not been any thing equal to it since. The examination of our early impressions and fundamental notions, is a useful, but a most difficult procedure, as any one who has tried to think or write continuously on things taken for granted, will at once acknowledge. In this discourse, therefore, on learning itself, the modern scholar will find set forth, with logical precision and consummate clearness, facts and principles of permanent value in relation to it.
The discredits and disgraces which learning has received from ignorance, "but ignorance severally disguised," are first considered: these include the objections to learning, “ appearing sometimes in the zeal and jealousy of divines, sometimes in the severity and arrogancy of politicians, and sometimes in the errors and imperfections of learned men." Divines allege, "that the aspiring to overmuch knowledge was the original temptation and sin, whereupon ensued the fall of man; that knowledge hath in it somewhat of the serpent, and therefore when it entereth into a man, it maketh him swell; that Solomon gives a censure, "that there is no end of making books, and that much study is a weariness of the flesh;" and that "in spacious knowledge there is much contristation, and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth anxiety;" that St. Paul gives a caveat," that we be not spoiled through vain philosophy;" that experience demonstrates how learned men have been arch-heretics, how learned times have been inclined to atheism, and how the contemplation of second causes doth derogate from our dependence upon God, who is the first cause. It cannot be denied that the objections of divines are not fairly stated; and they are objections which the reader will hear at present, uttered by some of them in high and low places, at the mystic shrine, and the cloudy coterie, and in the broad world. We have no space for the "reprehension" of this fallax, but it would be a good exercise for the student, who may be startled with them, to try to answer them himself, before turning to our author. The objections of politicians are stated with equal fairness, and answered with equal success: "That learning doth soften men's minds, and makes them more unapt for the honour and exercise of arms; that it doth mar and pervert men's dispositions for matter of government and policy, in making them too curious and irresolute by variety of reading, or too peremptory or positive by strictness of rules and axioms, or too immoderate and overweening by reason of the greatness of examples, or too incompatible and differing from the times by reason of the dissimilitude of examples; or at least that it doth divert men's travels from action and business, and bringeth them to a love of leisure and privateness; and that it doth bring into states a relaxation of discipline, whilst every man is more ready to argue than to obey and execute." Here again are enumerated and most fairly set forth,
all the objections of the politicians—we yet hear of them from them, and they are yet used and acted on. Let Bacon furnish the reply, and the objectors, wherever ensconced, must fall with their objections.
The "discredits," from "the errors and imperfections of learned men themselves," are next considered. Those which may arise from their fortune, or condition, such as scarcity of means, privateness of life, and meanness of employments, or from their manners, are soon disposed of.
The "vanities" which have been mixed up with their studies, at least such as fall under a "popular observation," are next animadverted upon: and vanities in studies are declared to be chiefly of three sorts; the fantastical, the contentious, the delicate learning; vain imaginations, vain altercations, and vain affectations. The accounts of the "first distemper of learning, when men study words and not matter;" of the second, when they follow speculations of "unprofitable subtility or curiosity;" and of the third, "delight in deceiving, and aptness to be deceived," are replete with the soundest observations. Having "gone over these three diseases of learning," he notices briefly, but with the finest touch," some other rather peccant humours than formed diseases, which nevertheless are not so secret and intrinsic, but that they fall under a popular observation and traducement:" such as an affectation of antiquity or novelty, diffidence of the possibility of new discoveries, strong prepossessions that the best opinions have always prevailed, a premature reduction of knowledge to methods and systems, the neglect or abandonment of the philosophia prima, too great a reverence of the mind withdrawing men from experience, the infection of general philosophy with particular arts, conceits, or studies, "impatience of doubt and haste to assertion," peremptory tradition of knowledge, narrow views and objects, and mistaking the true end of knowledge. We quote the account of this last mentioned "peccant humour," as a sample of his dissection" of them all.
"But the greatest error of all the rest, is the mistaking or misplacing of the last or furthest end of learning and knowledge: for men have entered into a desire of learning and knowledge, sometimes upon a natural curiosity, and inquisitive appetite; sometimes to entertain their minds with variety and delight; sometimes for ornament and reputation; sometimes to enable them to victory of wit and contradiction; and most times for lucre and profession; and seldom sincerely to give a true account of their gift of reason, to the benefit and use of men: as if there were sought in knowledge a couch, whereupon to rest a searching and restless spirit ; or a terrace, for a wandering and variable mind to walk up and down with a fair prospect; or a tower of state, for a proud mind to 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."
He then weighs the dignity of knowledge " in the balance with other things," and takes the value by testimonies and arguments divine and human. From the "wisdom of God," the knowledge of angels, the production of light, the employments of Paradise, the learning of prophets and apostles, and the procedures of the Redeemer, he argues upon divine testimony and evidence the true dignity and value of learning. He then adduces "human proof," and, " in so large a field," the selection of them is as choice as the statement is beautiful. He shows that the inventors of arts were even deified by the heathens, and how civil policy was regulated and states advanced by learning. Its dignity is lastly asserted from its moral effects; and after going over four particulars, he conducts the argument, on human grounds alone, to the verge of immortality.
"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 tend 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 demolished? 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 lose 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 infi nite 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!"
The public means of promoting learning, "by amplitude of reward, by soundness of direction, and by conjunction of labours," are then considered, and urged upon the attention of the king. The public acts of merit towards learning are conversant about places, books, and teachers: places must have convenient buildings, endowments, franchises, and ordinances; books require libraries, &c.; and teachers should be readers in the present arts and sciences, and inquirers after new ones; and six desiderata are pointed out, all of which, except the last, a public or authorized institution, for the discovery of arts, have been since to a considerable extent supplied.
We now come to the main subject of the work, the Partitiones Scientiarum, or the Distribution of Knowledge. Bacon had "taken all knowledge to be his province," and his object here is to survey the whole field of learning, visiting every quarter of it, and reporting the state of its various departments. In order to facilitate so extensive an inquiry, he refers the subjects of investigation to those faculties, with which they were supposed to be principally concerned-" HISTORY to the MEMORY, POETRY to the IMAGINATION, and PHILOSOPHY to the REASON." That this division, whatever may be its convenience, is logically erroneous is almost self-evident; and it has been largely shown to be so by Dugald Stewart, in the Preface to his Preliminary Dissertation, and Jeremy Bentham, in the second part of his Chrestomathia. The latter, and the greater philosopher of the two, asks, What is the primary source of this division? "Not the nature of the subject, and its respective parts, but the nature of the several human faculties, which, by a strange misconception, are respectively considered as applying themselves exclusively to different parts of it. Strange indeed may this misconception be pronounced: at any rate, if it be true, that when these faculties come to be mentioned, so it is that, of all the branches into which the body of the arts and sciences has ever been or ever can be divided, not a single one can be mentioned, upon which the whole list of the human faculties cannot be shown to be, in some way or other, applied." Both Stewart and Bentham were occupied at the same time, each without the knowledge of the other, on the same task of examining this threefold distribution of Bacon's. The former concluded his critical strictures by acknowledging that it was more easy to point out its defects than to supply them; but the latter laboured on, and struck out "the first lines of a Tabular Diagram of the principal and most extensive branches of art and science, framed in the exhaustively-bifurcate method," of which the success would have been complete, if the nomenclature had been simpler. These two philosophers, however, speak with great respect of Bacon's design. Bentham says, "for the age of Bacon, his sketch was a precocious and precious fruit of the union of learning with genius;" and Stewart is far from concluding that it was " the abortive offspring of a warm imagination," but "in every
respect worthy of the sublime genius by which it was formed." It would be absurd to conclude that because Bacon refers history to the memory, poetry to the imagination, and philosophy to the reason, that therefore his illogical method affects the correctness of the enumerations, definitions, and subordinate classifications themselves. We believe that Bacon's survey, vast as it is, will be found to be the correctest ever given; and that his report itself (we speak of course in relation to the then state of sciences) was not, and could not be vitiated by the preliminary mistake; and none knew better than himself, "that all partitions of knowledges should be accepted rather for lines and veins, than for sections and separations; that the continuance and entireness of knowledge be preserved." Upon this universal partition of knowledge into History, Poetry, and Philosophy, taken from the triplicity of the intellectual faculties, our author wrote the Partitiones Scientiarum, which occupies the eight remaining books, of which it is impossible to present any satisfactory analysis, from the depth of their erudition, and the amazing minuteness as well as encyclopædical vastness of his plan. Let the reader turn to the tabular view, entitled, "The General Distribution of Human Knowledge," in The Advancement, which is a literal translation of that "Partitio Universalis Doctrinæ Humanæ," in the De Augmentis; and from the inspection of such a table of contents, he will be disposed to agree with us that any intelligible or useful outline of such a work is not compatible with the limits of this Essay. But ou all and each of these, large and small, principal and secondary, does Bacon descant with unequalled sagacity, pointing out the deficiencies of each, and the means of rectifying the
errors of all.
The remainder of the second book is taken up with the two first of his partitions, History and Poetry. Eleven chapters are devoted to the former, with its divisions and subdivisions ; and the twelfth contains the best account ever given of the second principal part of human learning" Poesy," in which he can report no deficience. "It being as a plant that cometh of the lust of the earth, without a formal seed, it hath sprung up and spread abroad more than any other kind: but, to ascribe to it that which is due, for the expression of affections, passions, corruptions, and customs, we are beholden to poets, more than to the philosophers' works; and for wit and eloquence, not much less than to orators' harangues. But it is not good to stay 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."
The third book contains six chapters, and is occupied with the partitions of philosophy into the "three knowledges "-of God, of nature, of man. "In philosophy, the contemplations of man do either penetrate unto God, or are circumfered of nature, or are reflected or reverted upon himself; out of which several inquiries there do arise three knowledges, Divine Philosophy, Natural Philosophy, and Human Philosophy, or humanity. For all things are marked or stamped with this triple character-of the power of God, the difference of nature, and the use of man." He there recommends the erection of the Philosophia Prima. Natural Theology is the subject of the second chapter, and the remaining chapters are occupied with the speculative and operative partitions of natural philosophy, and the partition of the mathematics. Perhaps his proposed " Kalendar of Popular Errors" suggested to Sir Thomas Browne, who was his friend, the "Vulgar Errors." This chapter being completed, the author says of it," Thus have we now dealt with two or three beams of man's knowledge, that is, radius directus, which is referred to nature; radius refractus, which is referred to God, and cannot refract truly because of the inequality of the medium; there resteth radius reflexus, whereby man beholdeth and contemplateth himself."
The fourth book, which consists of three chapters, is accordingly occupied with a portion of the radius reflexus, the philosophy of humanity, of which the second chapter is the most Taluable, as treating of medicine, under the three parts of the preservation of health, the
cure of diseases, and the prolongation of life; and the first chapter, among other curious suggestions, certainly hints at our modern phrenology. "But unto all this knowledge de communi vinculo, of the concordances between the mind and the body, that part of inquiry is most necessary which considereth of the seats and domiciles, which the several faculties of the mind do take and occupate in the organs of the body; which knowledge hath been attempted, is controverted, and deserveth to be much better inquired." But this inquisition requires a "Delian diver," and he has not been found yet. "And thus much," concludes our author, "of that particular human philosophy which concerns the body, which is but the tabernacle of the mind."
The fifth book "concerns the mind," and it consists of five chapters. The partitions are into logical and ethical and logic is divided into invention, judgment, memory, and tradition; "for man's labour is to invent that which is sought or propounded; or to judge that which is invented; or to retain that which is judged; or to deliver over that which is retained." Invention is of two kinds, " much differing," the one of arts and sciences, the other of arguments the former is reported deficient on three grounds, and he delivers some important instructions in the latter. The art of judging is divided into corrupt and genuine, or syllogism and induction; and again into analytics and the doctrine of confutations; the last of which consisted of three parts, the confutation of sophisms, interpretation, and idols. The doctrine of idols was partitioned into idols of the tribe, the den, and the market. The art of custody or memory he divided into the doctrine of helps for the memory, and of the memory itself.
The sixth book contains four chapters, and treats of the art of memory, which he divides into grammar, method, and ornament of speech. Grammar, of which he seemed to have a very perfect conception, is divided into the art of speaking, and the art of writing; and again into literary and philosophical, or with regard to words and things. The art of speaking regarded the accidents of words, (1.) sound, (2.) measure, (3.) accent. The art of writing has two parts, with regard, (1.) to alphabet, and, (2.) cipher. Method of speech is distinguished into, (1.) doctrinal or initiation, (2.) open or concealed, (3.) aphoristical or regular, (4.) into question and answer, and, (5.) the method of conquering prejudice. Rhetoric and oratory are considered under the doctrine of ornament of speech, with an appendage respecting a collection of sophisms, studied antithets, and lesser forms of speech. And under two general appendices of traditive knowledge, he reviews the art of criticism, and school-learning; in the one he discusses certain points relative to editions of authors, illustrating authors, and censuring them; and the other is considered under the separate heads of public schools and colleges; of preparing the genius; of suiting the study to the genius; of the use of academical exercises; and the action of the stage, considered as a part of discipline in schools. The Colours of Good and Evil, will be found in the third chapter of this book.
The seventh book is occupied with ethics or morality; the leading divisions of which relate to the doctrine of the image of good, and the cultivation of the mind; under both of which will be found a rich but compact store of moral observations, as terse and yet as full, for pages together, as any of the Essays themselves.
The eighth book contains, in three chapters, the partition of civil knowledge, and it is worthy of one so thoroughly acquainted with human affairs. It is treated of under the three heads, of, (1.) prudence in conversation, (2.) prudence in business, and, (3.) prudence in government. That part of the second head, which concerns the advancement of fortune, or the way of rising in life, discovers the most extraordinary study of, and insight into, the art of promotion. In the third chapter are discussed the partitions relative to the preservation, the happiness, and the enlargement of a state; and the doctrine of universal justice, already noticed.