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liar manner the compositions of Father Southwell. But he had genius too; in addition to the moral beauty which we both see and feel in his works, there are constant traces of a fervid and poetical imagination. He seems, however, almost afraid to trust himself in the fairy land of poetry, lest he should imbibe some of its illusions. One consequence of which is, that in his poetical pieces his genius is much more restrained than in his prose compositions. While the former are in general marked by gentleness and simplicity, the latter are characterized by energy and passion.
Besides the works already mentioned, Southwell wrote the Rules of Good Life, and a supplication to Queen Elizabeth. Of his various compositions, many editions were published, but they have all now become uncommonly scarce.
ART. VII.-Franc. Baconis de Verulamio, summi Anglia Cancellarii, Novum Organum Scientiarum.
“Multi pertransibunt et augebitur scientia.” - Lugd. Bat. 1645.
After a cursory view of Lord Bacon's Essays, and of his Advancement of Learning, we endeavoured, in a former number, to explain the object and some of the excellencies and defects of his Novum Organum; and particularly his observations upon the defects of our senses, and of our judgements : the Idols by which we are constantly warped,“ The Idols of the Tribe,” whose temples are universal and worshippers every where. We now proceed to make a few, and only a few, observations upon the remaining species of idols; for, to use Bacon's own words,
" 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.”
And next, therefore, of
Idols of the Den, or the Defects of Individuals. Individual defects of the senses are not, Bacon says, within the limits of the Novum Organum: and he is not very copious in his observations upon individual defects of the judgement; but this subject ought, as it seems to us, to comprize the whole doctrine of mental discipline, as far as it relates to
making the mind pliant at any time to acquire any sort of knowledge. Bacon, however, contents himself with stating,
“Besides the general aberrations of human nature, we, every one of us, have our particular den or cavern, which refracts and corrupts the light of nature: either because every man has his respective temper, education, acquaintance, course of reading, and authorities, or from the difference of impressions, as they happen in a mind prejudiced or prepossessed, or in one that is calm, and equal."
Upon Inability at particular times to acquire knowledge, the Novum Organum does not contain any observations; and it is only casually remarked in his Advancement of Learning, where he says, : “ There is a kind of culture of the mind which is built upon this ground, that the minds of all mortals are at some times in a more perfect state: at other times in a more depraved state. The objects, therefore, of this culture are, the fixation of good times and the obliteration of bad times, that the good seasons may be cherished and the evil crossed and expunged out of the calendar; and to attain this two seasons are chiefly to be observed, the one when the mind is best disposed to a business, the other when it is worst; that by the one, we may be well forward on our way; by the latter we may, by a strenuous contention, work out the knots and stondes of the mind, and make it plain for other occasions."
Upon inability to acquire particular sorts of knowledge, there are some observations in the Novum Organum and in the Advancement of Learning, not only upon the causes and varieties of this sort of Idolatry, but upon its consequences and remedies.
" From the attachment, (he says,) of individuals to particular studies, either because they believe themselves to have been the authors and inventors, or because they have bestowed much thought upon them, or from other accidents of their lives, or from their natural conformation, they are so warped to particular truths, as to have a partial or total inability to acquire other sorts of knowledge.”
From the infinite variety of this class of Idols, we shall select two specimens; and first:
Of ability to view either only the differences, or only the corres
pondencies of things. Of which Bacon says,
“ The great and radical difference of capacities as to philosophy and the sciences lies here, that some are stronger and fitter to observe the differences of things, and others to observe their correspondencies : for a steady and sharp genius can fix its contemplations, and dwell and fasten upon all the subtlety of differences, whilst a sublime and ready genius perceives and compares the smallest and most general agreements of things.-Ingenia autem sublimia et discursiva etiam tenuissimas et catholicas rerum similitudines et agnoscunt et componunt.” · If this observation of Bacon's is well founded, no man ever existed to whom these epithets were more peculiarly applicable, than Bacon himself: for, of all the extraordinary properties of his wonderful mind, his constant observation of what, we, in common parlance, call trifles, appears to us 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 Huid 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 pellicule 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 great axioms of nature through small and contemptible instances."
And again :
“ He who cannot contract the sight of his mind as well as disperse and dilate it, wanteth a great faculty : and should consider, 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 :
“ 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 exprest in the tale, so common, of the philosopher, that while he gazed upward to the starres fell into the water : for if he had
lookt down, he might have seen the starres in the water : 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 common-wealth, 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 we see that secret of nature (esteemed one of the great mysteries) of the turning of iron toucht with a loadstone towards the poles, was found out in needles of iron, not in barres of iron.”
The next specimen which we select is,
Attachment to Antiquity or Novelty. The nature of this Idol appears to us to be best stated in the Advancement of Learning, where Bacon says,
“Wherein the daughters of Time do take after the father; for as Time devoureth his children, so these, one of them seeketh to depress the other; while antiquity envieth there should be new additions; and novelty cannot be content to add things recent, but it must deface and reject the old. Surely the advice of the prophet is the true direction in this case. State super vias antiquas et videte quænam sit via recta et bona et ambulate in ea. Antiquity deserveth that reverence that men should make a stay awhile, and stand thereupon, and look about to discover which is the best way; but when the discovery is well taken, then not to rest there but cheerfully to make progression. Indeed to speak truly, Antiquitas sæculi, juventus Mundi, certainly our times are the ancient times, when the world is now ancient, and not those which we count ancient, ordine retrogrado, by a computation backward from our own times.”
We quit this Idol with Sir Henry Wotton's remark in his answer to Bacon; “ of your Novum Organum, I shall speak more hereafter, but I have learnt thus much already by it, that we are extremely mistaken in the computation of Antiquity, by searching it back wards, because indeed the first times were the youngest.”
Some of the most obvious consequences of this idolatry are the rejection of knowledge if it appear to differ from the favorite pursuit ; as the Cambridge mathematician, who said that Milton's Paradise Lost proved nothing: or the lawyer, who refused to proceed in a most interesting novel, because the first chapter contained a bad will: and,--the infecting studies with the favorite pursuit ; as the poet, who, when doomed to study law, turned Coke upon Littleton and his reports into verse; or the geometrician, who took no pleasure in the Æneid, but in tracing the voyage of Æneas.
Upon this topic, Bacon abounds with observations : we cannot however think it necessary to cite any of his illustrations, as it is scarcely possible to converse with a member of any profession without perceiving the effects of this idolatry. The cure of diseases appears in the conversation of physicians ; fractured limbs in the friendly intercourse of anatomists; and lawyers will put a case amidst the philosophy of Newton, and the imagination of Milton. Upon hearing the Witches in Macbeth say, « we are doing a deed without a name," we do not forget our learned friend in the pit, who exclaimed, “ then it's not worth a farthing;” nor do we forget that, after a high encomium by a late eminent lawyer, upon the powers displayed by Bacon in his reading on the statute of uses, he says, “what might we not have expected from the hands of such a master, if his vast mind had not so embraced within its compass the whole field of science, as very much to detach him from professional studies.” We wish it was in our power to forget, that Sir Edward Coke, (or that his contracted mind ought to be forgotten,) in Lord Bacon's presentation copy to him of the Novum Organum, which is now at Holkham, wrote with his own hand, under the hand writing of Lord Bacon,
Instaura legis, justitiamque prius ; and over the device of the ship, passing between Hercules' pillars :
“ It deserveth not to be read in schools,
But to be freighted in the Ship of Fools." We lament, that within the limits of a review, instead of a minutè explanation of the various remedies which, in different parts of his works, Bacon has suggested for these defects, we are compelled to confine ourselves to a mere enumeration of his admonitions:
1. That the mind should not be fixed, but kept open to receive continual improvement, which, he says, is exceeding rare. . 2. That the mind should be daily employed upon some subject from which it is averse, and that we should bear ever toward the contrary of that whereunto we are by nature inclined : like as when we row against the stream, or when we make a crooked wand straight, by bending it the contrary way.
3. That, if the mind is too discursive, the habit of firedness should be formed by engaging in studies that will not admit mental aberration; and particularly in the study of the mathematics, of which he says, if a man be bird-witted, that is, quickly carried away, and hath not the patient faculty of attention, the mathematics give a remedy thereunto, wherein, if the wit be caught away but for a moment, the demonstration is new to begin.