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foiif a little beyond hii instructions. The judges took no notice of lie intimation, proceeded at once to give judgment, and sent I letter in their united name* to the king announcing what they hid done, and declaring that it was contrary to law and to their oath for them to pay any attention to a request that their decision ihouM be delayed. The king was indignant at this encroachment, and acting partly on the advice of Bacon, held a council oo the 6th of June 1616, at which the judge* attended. James then entered at great length into the case, censuring the judges for the offensive form of their letter, and for not having delayed judgment upon his demand, which had been made solely because he was himself a party concerned. The judges, at the conclusion of his speech, felt on their knees, and implored pardon for the manner of their letter; but Coke attempted to justify the matter contained in it, saying that the delay required by his majesty was contrary to law. The point of law was argued by Bacon, and decided by the chancellor in favour of the king, who put the question to the judges Individually, " Whether, if at any time, in a case depending before the judges, which his majesty conceived to concern him either in power or profit, and thereupon required to consult .with them, and that they should stay proceedings in the meantime, they ought not to stay accordingly?" To this all gave assent except Coke, who said that " when the case should be, he would do that should be fit for a judge to do." N'o notice was taken by the king of this famous, though somewhat evasive, reply, but the judges were again asked what course they <>':!<! take in the special case now before them. They all declared that they would not decide the matter upon general grounds affecting the prerogative, but upon special circumstances incident tti the case; and with this answer they were dismissed. Bacon's conduct throughout the affair has been blamed, but apparently on wrong grounds. As attorney he was merely fulfilling his duty in obeying the command of the king; and in laving down the law on the disputed point, he was, we may be sure, speaking his own convictions. Censure might more reasonably be bestowed on him because he deliberately advised a course of action than •fetch nothing can be conceived better calculated to strengthen the hands of an absolute monarch.1 This appeared to Bacon jtutifiable and right, because the prerogative would be defended lad preserved intact. Coke certainly stands out in a better light, not so much for his answer, which was rather indefinite, ind the foree of which is much weakened by his assent to the Ktond question of the king, but for the general spirit of resistance lo encroachment exhibited by him. He was undeniably troublelome to the king, and it is no matter for wonder that James resolved to remove him from a position where he could do so ouch harm. On the 26th June he was called before the council to answer certain charges, one of which was his conduct in the t'aemunirr question. He acknowledged his error on that head, ud made little defence. On the join he was suspended from council and bench, and ordered to employ his leisure in revising certain obnoxious opinions in his reports. He did not perform iKe task to the king's satisfaction, and a few months later he •M dismissed from office.
Bacon's services to the king's cause had been most important; •nd as he had, at the same time, acquired great favour with Villiers, his prospects looked brighter than before. According to his custom, he strove earnestly to guide by his advice the conduct of the young favourite. His letters, in which he analyses the various relations in which such a man must stand, and preKribts the course of action suitable for each, are valuable and deserving of attention.* Very striking, in view of future events, art the words' in which he give* him counsel as to his dealing *ith judges: "By no means be you persuaded to interpose yourself by word or letter in any cause depending, or like to be depending, in any court of justice, nor suffer any man to do it •here you can hinder it; and by all means dissuade the king himself from it, upon the importunity of any, either for their friends or themselves. If it should prevail, it perverts justice;
1 A somewhat similar case is that of the writ ft Rep inconsvlto bronchi forward by Bacon. See Letlw and Life. v. JJA-2A6. •/&. vi. 6. 7. 'i-»6. »7-5«- Qed.
but if the judge be so just, and of so undaunted a courage (as he ought to be) as not to be inclined thereby, yet it a)waysleavcsa taint of suspicions and prejudice behind it." It is probable that Villicrs at this time had really a sense of the duties at tachingtohisposition4 and was willing to be guided by a man of approved wisdom. It was not long before an opportunity occurred for showing his gratitude and favour. Ellesmere resigned the chancellorship on the sth of March 1616/7, and on the 7th the great seal was bestowed upon Bacon, with the title of lord keeper. Two months later he took his scat with great pomp in the chancery court, and delivered a weighty and impressive opening discourse. He entered with great vigour on his new labouis, and in less than a month he was able to report to Buckingham that he had cleared off all outstanding chancery cases. He seemed now to have reached the height of his ambition; he was the first law officer in the kingdom, the accredited minister of his sovereign, and on the best terms with the king and his favourite. His course seemed perfectly prosperous and secure, when a slight storm arising opened his eyes to the frailty of the tenure by which he held his position.
Coke was in disgrace but not in despair; there seemed to be a way whereby he could reconcile himself to Buckingham, through the marriage of his daughter, who had an ample fortune, to Sir John Villiers, brother of the marquess, who was penniless or nearly so. The match was distasteful to Lady Hatton and to her daughter; a violent quarrel was the consequence, and Bacon, who thought the proposed marriage most unsuitable, took Lady Hatton's part. His reasons for disapproval he explained to the king and Buckingham, but found to his surprise that their indignation was strongly roused against him. He received from both bitter letters of reproof; it was rumoured that he would be disgraced, and Buckingham was said to have compared his present conduct to his previous unfaithfulness to Essex. Bacon, who seems to have acted from- a simple desire to do the best for Buckingham's own interests,at once changed his course, advanced the match by every means in his power, and by a humble apology appeased the indignation that had been excited against him. It had been a sharp lesson, but things seemed to go on smoothly after it, and Bacon's affairs prospered.
On the 4th of January 1617/8 he received the higher title of lord chancellor; in July of the same year he was made Baron Verulam and in January 1620/1 he was created Viscount St Albans. His fame, too, had been increased by the publication in 1620 of his most celebrated work, the Novum Organttm. He seemed at length to have made satisfactory progress towards the realization of his cherished aims; the method essential for his Instauration was partially completed; and he had attained as high a rank in the state as he had ever contemplated. But his actions in that position were not calculated to promote the good of his country.
Connected with the years during which he held office-is one of the weightiest charges against his character. Buckingham, notwithstanding the advice he had received from Bacon himself, was in the habit of addressing letters to him recommending the caus/.s of suitors. In many cases these seem nothing more than letters of courtesy, and, from the general tone, it might fairly be concluded that there was no intention to sway the opinion of the judge illegally, and that Bacon did not understand the letters in that sense. This view is supported by consideration of the few answers to them which are extant.5 One outstanding case, however, that of Dr Steward.'casts some suspicion on all the others. The terms of Buckingham's note7 concerning it might easily have aroused doubts; and we find that the fur:her course of the action was to all appearances exactly accommodated to Dr Steward, who
* A position which Bacon in some recpccts approved. See Essays, "Of Ambition." "It is counted by some a weakness in princes to have favourites; but it is of all others the best remedy against ambitious great ones; for when the way of pleasuring and displeasuring lieth by the favourite, it is impossible any other should be over great."
1 Letters and Life, vi. 278, 294-296, 313.
• Ibid, vii. 579-588, analysis of the case by D. D. Heath, who ex« presses a strong opinion against Bacon's action in the matter.
V ' 1M. vi. 44!.
had been so strongly recommended. It is, of course, dangerous to form an extreme judgment on an isolated and partially understood case, of which also we have no explanation from Bacon himself, but if the interpretation advanced by Heath be the true one, Bacon certainly suffered his first, and, so far as we can see, just judgment on the case to be set aside, and the whole matter to be reopened in obedience to a request from Buckingham.
It is somewhat hard to understand Bacon's position with regard to the king during these years. He was the first officer of the crown, the most able man in the kingdom, prudent, sagacious and devoted to the royal party. Yet his advice was followed only when it chimed in with James's own will; his influence was of a merely secondary kind; and his great practical skill was employed simply in carrying out the measures of the king in the best mode possible. We know indeed that he sympathized cordially with the home policy of the government; he had no objection to such monopolies or patents as seemed advantageous to the country, and for this ho is certainly not to be blamed.1 The opinion was common at the time, and the error was merely ignorance of the true principles of political economy. But we know also that the patents were so numerous as to be oppressive, and we can scarcely avoid inferring that Bacon more readily saw the advantages to the government than the disadvantages to the people. In November 1620, when a new parliament was summoned to meet on January following, he earnestly pressed that the most obnoxious patents, those of alehouses and inns, and the monopoly of gold and silver thread, should be given up, and wrote to Buckingham, whose brothers were interested, advising him to withdraw them from the impending storm. This prudent advice was unfortunately rejected. But while he went cordially with the king in domestic affairs, he was not quite in harmony with him on questions of foreign policy. Not only was he personally in favour of a war with Spain for the recovery of the Palatinate, but he foresaw in such a course of action the means of drawing together more closely the king and his parliament. He believed that the royal difficulties would be removed if a policy were adopted with which the people could heartily sympathize, and if the king placed himself at the head of his parliament and led them on. But his advice was ncglerted by the vacillating and peace-loving monarch, his proffered proclamation was put aside, and a weak, featureless production substituted in its place. Nevertheless the new parliament seemed at first more responsive than might have been looked for. A double subsidy was granted, which was expressly stated to be "not on any .consideration or condition for or concerning the Palatinate." The session, however, was not far advanced when the question of patents was brought up; a determined attack was made upon the very ones of which Bacon had been in dread, and it was even proposed to proceed against the referees (Bacon and Montagu) who had certified that there was no objection to them in point of law. This proposal, though pressed by Coke, was allowed to drop; while the king and Buckingham, acting under the advice of Williams, afterwards lord keeper, agreed to give up the monopolies. It was evident, however, that a determined attack was about to be made upon Bacon, and (hat the proceeding against the referees was really directed against him. It is probable that this charge was dropped because a more powerful weapon had in the meantime been placed in his enemies' hands. This was the accusation of bribery and corrupt dealings in chancery suits, an accusation apparently wholly unexpected by Bacon, and the possibility of which he seems never to have contemplated until it was actually brought against him. At the beginning of the session a committee had been appointed for inquiring into abuses in the courts of justice. Some illegal practices of certain chancery officials had been detected and punished by the court itself, and generally there was a disposition to overhaul its affairs, while Coke and Lionel Cranncld, earl of Middlesex (1575-1645) directly attacked some parts of the chancellor's administration. But on the i^ih of March one
1 For a full discussion of Bacon's connexion with the monopolies, ec Gardiner, Prince Churtcs, &c. ii. 355-373. For his opinion of * in general, set Letters and Life. vi. 49.
Christopher Aubrey appeared at the bar of the House, and charged Bacon with having received from him a sum of money while his suit was going on, and with having afterwards decided against him. Bacon's letter2 on this occasion is worthy of serious attention; he evidently thought the charge was but part of the deliberate scheme to ruin him which had already been in progress. A second accusation (Edward Egerton's case) followed immediately after, and was investigated by the House, who, satisfied that they had just matter for reprehension, appointed the iqth for a conference with the Lords. On that day Bacon, as he had feared, was too ill to attend. He wrote1 to the Lords excusing his absence, requesting them to appoint a convenient time for his defence and cross-examination of witnesses, and imploring them not to allow their minds to be prejudiced against him, at the same time declaring that he would not " trick up an innoccnry with cavillations, but plainly and ingenuously declare what he knew or remembered." The charges rapidly accumulated, but Bacon still looked upon them as party moves, and was in hopes of defending himself.4 Nor did he seem to have lost his courage, if we are to believe the common reports of the day,4 though certainly they do not appear worthy of very much credit.
The notes6 bearing upon the interview which he obtained with the king show that be had begun to sec more clearly the nature and extent of the offences with which he was charged, that he now felt it impossible altogether to exculpate himself, and that his hopes were directed towards obtaining some mitigation of his sentence. The long roll of charges made upon the iglh of April finally decided him; he gave up all idea of defence, and wrote to the king begging him to show him favour in this emergency.7 The next day he sent in a general confession to the Lords,' trusting that this would be considered satisfactory. The Lords, however, decided that it was not sufficient u a ground for their censure, and demanded a detailed and particular confession. A list of twenty-eight charges was then sent him, to which an answer by letter was required. On the 3oth of April his " confession and humble submission*'* was handed in. In it, after going over the several instances, he says, " I do again confess, that on the points charged upon me, although they should be taken as myself have declared them, there is a great deal of corruption and neglect; for which I am heartily and penitently sorry, and submit myself to the judgment, grace, and mercy of the court."10 On the 3rd of May, after considerable discussion, the Lords decided upon the sentence, which was,11 That he should undergo fine and ransom of £40,000; that he should be imprisoned in the Tower during the king's pleasure; that he should be for ever incapable of any office, place or employment in the state or commonwealth; that he should never sit in parliament, or come within the verge of the court. This heavy sentence was
8 Letters and Life, vii. 213: " I know I have clean hands and a clean heart, and f hope a clean house for friends or servants. But
tion is the panic," * /bid. vii, 215-216.
'Ibid. vii. 225-226. From theletter to the king (March 25,IM')— "When 1 enter into myself, I find not the materials of such a tempest as is comcn upon me. 1 have been (a* your majesty Icnoweth best) never author of any immoderate counsel, but always desired to have things carried siwvibus m<x/«. I have been no avaricious oppressorof t he people. I havebtxmnohauehtyorintolerableornateful man in my conversation or carriage. I have inherited no hatred from my father, but am a ypod patriot born. Whence ahould this be? For these arc the thing* that use to raise dislikes abroad. . . . And Tor the briberies and gift* wherewith 1 am charged, when the book of hearts shall be otxrncd, I hope I shall not be found to have the troubled fountain of a corrupt heart in a depraved habit of taking rewards to pervert juitioe, howsoever 1 may be frail, and partake of (he abuse of the times."
* Ibid. vii. 217, and Gardiner, Prince Charles. &c. i. 450.
'Letters and Life, vii, 236, 23**. 7 Ibid, vii, 141.
8 Ibid. vii. 242-244; "Ii ftttfth thtrefore thai, without fig-leavc*. I do ingenuously confew and acknowledge, that having understood the particulars of the charge, not furtiully from the House but enough to inform my conscience and memory, I find matter sufficient and full, both to move me to drwtrt the defence, and to move your !..i.|*hips to condemn and ci'inure me."
1 Ibid. vii. 252-262. wJliid. vii. 261. "Ibid, vii 270.
only partially executed. The fine vat in effect remitted by the king; imprisonment in lie Tower lasted lor about (our days; a gco«»I pardon (not of course covering the parliamentary censure) was made out, and though delayed at the seal for a time by Lord Keeper Williams, wa» passed probably in November 1621. The cause of the delay seems to have lain with Buckingham, whose friendship had cooled, and who had taken offence at the fallen chancellor's unwillingness to part with York House. This difference was finallysmoothed ovcr.and it was probably through his influence that Bacon received the much-desired permission tc come within the verge of the court. He never again sat in parliament.
So ends this painful episode, which has given rise to the most severe condemnation of Bacon, and which still presents great and perhaps insuperable difficulties. On the whole, the tendency of the most recent and thorough researches has been towards the opinion that Bacon's own account of the matter (from which, indeed, our knowledge of it is chiefly drawn) is substantially correct. He distinguishes three ways in which bribes may be fivcn,' and ingenuously confesses that his own acts amounted to corruption and were worthy of condemnation. Now, corruption strictly interpreted would imply the deliberate sale of justice, and this Bacon explicitly denies, affirming that he never "had bribe or reward in his eye or thought when he pronounced any sentence or order." When we analyse the specific charges against him, with his answers to them, we find many that are rally of little weight. The twenty-eighth and last, that of Mgligenee in looking after his servants, though it did him much barm, may fairly be said to imply no moral blame. The majority of the others are instances of gratuities given after the decision, ud it is to be regretted that the judgment of the peers gives us no means of determining how such gifts were looked upon, whether or not the acceptance of them was regarded as a "corrupt" practice. In four cases specifically, and in some others by implication, Bacon confesses that he had received bribes from suiton pendtnle lilt. Yet he affirms, as we said before, that his intention was never swayed by a bribe; and vo far as any of these cases can be traced, bis decisions, often liven in conjunction with some other official, are to all appearance thoroughly just. In several cases his judgment appears to have been given against the party bestowing the bribe, and in at least one instance, that of Lady Wharton, it seems impossible to doubt Uttl he must have known when accepting the present that his opinion would be adverse to her cause. Although, then, he felt ilut these practices were really corrupt, and even rejoiced that his own fall would tend to purify the courts from them,1 he did not feel that he was guilty of perverting justice for the sake of reward. How far, then, is such defence or explanation admissible and satisfactory? It is clear that two things are to be considered: the one the guilt of taking bribes or presents on any consideration, (he other the moral guilt depending upon the wilful perversion of justice. The attempt has sometimes been made to defend U» whole of Bacon's conduct on the ground that he did nothing that was not done by many of his contemporaries. Bacon himself disclaims a defence of this nature, and we really have no direct evidence which shows to what extent the offering and receiving of such bribes then prevailed. That the practice was common is indeed implied by the terms in which Bacon speaks of it, and it is not improbable that the fact of these gifts being taken by officials was a thing fairly well known, although all •ere aware of their illegal character, and it was plain that any public exposure of such dealings would be fatal to the individual against whom the charge was made out.1 Bacon knew all this;
1 Letters and Lift, vii. 235-236: "The first, of bargain and contract for reward to pervert justice, pendente lite. The second, where the judgt conceives the cause to be at an end, by the information of the party or otherwise, and useth not such diligence as he ought to inquire
i it And th« third, where the cause is really ended, and it is sine I'uiit without relation to any precedent promise. . . . For the first of ttora I take myself to be as innocent as any born upon St Innocent's Djv, in my heart. For the second. I doubt on some particulars I may be faulty. And for the last, 1 conceived it to be no fault, but therein I deire to be better informed, that 1 may be twice penitent, once for tbe fact and again for the error." * Joid. vii. 342.
MM. vii. 244; "Neither will your lordships forget that there
he was well aware that the practice was in itself indefensible,' and that his conduct was therefore corrupt and deserving of censure. So far, then, as the mere taking of bribes is concerned, he would permit no defence, and his own confession and judgment on his action contain as severe a condemnation as has ever been passed upon him. Yet in the face of this he does not hesitate to call himself "the justest chancellor that hath been in the five changes since Sir Nicholas Bacon's time";4 and this on the plea that his intentions had always been pure, and had never been affected by the presents he received. His justification has been set aside by modem critics, not on the ground that the evidence demonstrates its falsity,' but because it is inconceivable or unnatural that any man should receive a present from another, and not suffer his judgment to be swayed thereby. It need hardly be said that such an a priori conviction is not a sufficient basis on which to found a sweeping condemnation of Bacon's integrity as an administrator of justice. On the other hand, even if it be admitted to be possible and conceivable that a present should be given by a suitor simply as seeking favourable consideration of his cause, and not as desirous of obtaining an unjust decree, and should be accepted by the judge on the same understanding, this would not entitle one absolutely to accept Bacon's statement. Further evidence is necessary in order to give foundation to a definite judgment either way; and it is extremely improbable, nay, almost impossible, that such can ever be produced. In these circumstances, due weight should be given to Bacon's own assertions of his perfect innocence and purity of intention; they ought not to be put out of court unless found in actual contradiction to the facts, and the reverse of this is the'case, so far as has yet appeared.'
The remaining five years of his life, though he was still harassed by want of means, for James was not liberal, were spent in work far more valuable to the world than anything he had accomplished in his high office. In March 1622 he presented to Prince Charles his History of Henry VII.; and immediately, with unwearied industry, set to work to complete some portions of his great work. In November 1622 appeared the HistoriaVentorum; in January 1622/3, the Historia Vilae el Mortis', and in October of the same year, the De Augmenlis Scientiarum, a Latin translation, with many additions, of the Advancement. Finally, in December 1624, he published his Apophthegms, and Translations of some of the Psalms, dedicated to George Herbert; and, in 1625, a third and enlarged edition of the Essays.
Busily occupied with these labours, his life now drew rapidly to a close. In March 1626 he came to London, and when driving one day near Highgate, was taken with a desire to discover whether snow would act as an antiseptic. He stopped his carriage, got out at a cottage, purchased a fowl, and with his own hands assisted to stuff it withsnow. He was seized with a sudden chill, and became so seriously unwell that he had to be conveyed to Lord Arundcl's house, which was near at hand. Here his illness increased, the cold and chill brought on bronchitis and he died, after a few days' suffering, on the 9th of April 1626.
are vitia temporis as well as vitia homim's. and that the beginning of reformations hath the contrary power to the pool of Bethesda. for that had strength to cure only him that was first cast in. and this hath commonly strength to hurt him only that is first cast in."
* See. among many other passages. Essays, "Of Great Place": "For corruptions do not only bind thine own hands or thy servant's hands from taking, but bind the hands of suitors also from offering: for integrity used doth the one; but integrity professed, and with a manifest detestation of bribery, doth the other; and avoid not only the fault but the suspicion."
* Cf. Letters and Life, vii. 560: " I was the justest judge that was in England these fifty years; but it was the justest censure in Parliament that was these two hundred years."
* Or on the ground that there was a distinct rule forbidding chancellors and the like officials to take presents. This docs not seem to have been the case, if we may judge from what Bacon says Letters and Life, vii. 233.
7 Not only do the cases, so far as they are known, support Bacon's plea of innocence, but it is remarkable that no attempt at a reversal of any of his numerous decrees appears to have been successful. Had his decrees been wilful perversions of justice, it is scarcely conceivable that some of them should not have been overturned Set- IfUtri ani Life, vii. 555-562.
Bacon's Works and Philosophy.
A complete survey of Bacon's works and an estimate of his place in literature and philosophy are matters for a volume. It is here proposed merely lo classify the works, to indicate their general character and to enter somewhat more in detail upon what he himself regarded as his great achievement,—the reorganization of the sciences and the exposition of a new method by which the human mind might proceed with security and certainty towards the true end of all human thought and action. Cutting aside the letters and occasional writings, we may conveniently distribute the other works into three classes, Professional, Literary, Philosophical. The Professional works include the Reading on the Statute of Uses, the Maxims of Law and the treatise (possibly spurious) on the Use of the Law. "I am in good hope," said Bacon himself, "that when Sir Edward Coke's reports and my rules and decisions shall come to posterity, there will be (whatsoever is now thought) question who was the greater lawyer."' If Coke's reports show complclcr mastery of technical details, greater knowledge of precedent, and more of the dogged graspof the letter than do Bacon's legal writings, there can be no dispute that the latter exhibit an infinitely more comprehensive intelligence of the abstract principles of jurisprudence, with a richness and ethical fulness that more than compensate for their lack of dry legal detail. Bacon seems indeed to have been a lawyer of the first order, with a keen scientific insight into the bearings of isolated facts and a power of generalization which admirably filled him for Ihc,self-imposed lask, unfortunately never completed, of digesting or codifying the chaotic mass of the English law.
Among the literary works arc included all that he himself designated moral and historical pieces, and lo these may be added some Ihcological and minor writings, such as the Apophthegms. Of Ihc moral works Ihe most valuable arc Ihe Essays, which have been so widely read and universally admired. The matter is of the familiar, practical kind, that "comes home to men's bosoms." The thoughts are weighty, and even when not original have acquired a peculiar and unique tone or casl by passing Ihrough the crucible of Bacon's mind. A sentence from the pssays can rarely be mistaken for the production of any other writer. The short, pithy .sayings have become popular mottoes and household words. The style is quaint, original, abounding in allusions and witticisms, and rich, even to gorgcousness, with pilcd-up analogies and metaphors.' The first edition contained only ten essays, but the number was increased in 1612 to thirlyeight, and in 1625 to fifty-eight. The short tract, Colours of Good and EM, which with the Medilaliones Sacrae originally accompanied the Essays, was afterwards incorporated with Ihc Dc Augmenlis. Along with these works may be classed the curiously learned piece, De Safientia Veterum, in which he works out a favourite idea, that the mythological fables of the Greeks were allegorical and concealed the deepest truths of their philosophy. As a scientific explanation of the myths the theory is ol no value, but it affords fine scope for the exercise of Bacon's unrivalled power of detecting analogies in things apparently most dissimilar. The Apophthegms, though hardly deserving Macaulay's praise of being the best collection of jests in the world, contain a number of those significant anecdotes which Bacor used with such effeet, in his other writings. Of the hislorica works, besides a few fragments of the projected history of Britain there remains the History of Henry VII., a valuable work, giving a clear and animated narrative qj the reign, and characterizing Henry with great skill. The style is in harmony with the matter
vigorous and flowing, but naturally with less of the quaintness and richness suitable to more thoughtful and original wrilin—
1 The pcculiaritic* of Bacon's style we're noticed very early by contemporaries. (See Letters and Life, i. 268.) Raleigh and Jon
have bo'th recorded their opinions of it, but no one has characterize it more happily than his friend, Sir Tobie Matthews," A man so rare in knowledge, of «o many several kinds, endued with the facility and felicity of expressing it all in so elegant, significant, to abundant and yet to choice and ravishing a way of words, of metaphors, o aUuuons. t» perhaps the world hath not wen since it was a world. — "Address Co the Reader "prefixed to Collection o/ English Letters (1660)
The series of the literary works is completed by the minor realises on Ihcological or ecclesiastical questions. Some of the liter, included among the occasional works, are sagacious and irudcnt and deserve careful study. Of the former, the principal pccimens are the Medilaliones Sacrae and the Confession of Faith. The Paradoxes (Characters of a believing Christian in paradoxes, nd seeming contradictions),.which was often.and justly suspected, has been conclusively proved by Grosart to be the work if another author.
Philosophical Works.—The great mass of Bacon's writings consists of treatises or fragments, which either formed integral >arts of his grand comprehensive scheme, or were closely conlected with it. More exactly they may be classified under three leads: (A) Writings originally intended to form parts of the 'nslauralio, but which were afterwards superseded or thrown aside; (B) Works connected with the Instauralio, bul not directly ncludcd in its plan; (C) Writings which actually formed part of he Instatiratio Magna.
(A) This class contains some important tracts, which certainly contain little, if anything, that is not afterwards taken up and expanded in the more elaborate works, but arc not undeserving of attention, from the difference in the point of view and mclhod of trcalmenl. The most valuable of them arc: (i) The Advancement of Learning, of which no detailed account need be given, as t is completely worked up into the De Augmenlis, and takes ill )lace as Ihc first part of the Instauralio. (a) Valerias Tttminta, a very remarkable piece, composed probably aboul 1603, though perhaps retouched at n later period. It contains a brief and iomcwhal obscure outline of the first two parts in the Instauralio, and is of importance as affording us some insight into the gradual development of the system in Bacon's own mind. (3) Tcmporit Parlus Masculus, another curious fragment, remarkable not only from its contents, but from its style, which is arrogant and offensive, in this respect unlike any other writing of Bacon's. The adjective masculus points lo Ihe power of bringing forth fruit possessed by the new philosophy, and perhaps indicates that all previous births of lime were to be looked upon as feminine or imperfect; it is used in a somewhat similar sense in Letters and Life, vi. 183," In Kroif masculis, no flourishing or painted words, but such words as are fit to go before deeds." (4) Ktdargutif Pliilosophiarum, a highly finished piece in the form of an oration, composed probably aboul 1608 or 1609, and containing in pretty full detail much of what afterwards appears in connexion with the Idola Thealri in book i. of Ihe Notum Organum. (j) Cogitala el Visa, perhaps the most important of the minor philosophical writings, dating from 1607 (though possibly the tract in Us present form may have been lo some extent altered), and containing in weighty and sonorous Latin the substance of Ihc first book of (he Organum. (6) The Descriplio Globi Intellectual!!, which is lo some extent intermediate between the Advancement and the De Augmenlis, goes over in detail the general classification of the sciences, and enters particularly on some points of minor interest. (7) The brief met Delnlerprctationt Naturae Sentcnliac Duodecim is evidently a first sketch of part of the Notum Organum, and in phraseology is almost identical with it. (8) A few smaller pieces, such as the Inquisilio de Uolu, Ihe Color et Prigus, the Hisloria Suni et Auditus and the PhooiomtM Unittrti, are early specimens of his Natural History, and exhibit the first tentative applications of the new method.
(B) The second groupconsists of treatises on subjects connected with the Inslauralio, but not forming part of it. The most interesting, and in many respects the most remarkable, is Ihe philosophic romance, the New Atlantis, a description of an ideal state in which the principles of the new philosophy are carried out by political machinery and under slate guidance, and where many of the results contemplated by Bacon arc in imagination attained. The work was to have been completed by the addition of a second part; treating of the laws of a model commonwealth, which was never writlen. Another important tract is the De Principiis atque Originibus secundnm Falittliis Cvpidinis ft Cadi, where, under the disguise of two old mythological stories, he (in the manner of the Safitntia Vettntm) finds the deepest truths
The tract is unusually interesting, for in-it he discusses at some length the limits of science, the origin of things and the nature of primitive matter, giving at the same time full notices of Democritus among the ancient philosophers and of Tetesio among the modern. Deserving of attention are also the Cegitationcs de Nature Return, probably written early, perhaps in 1605, and the treatise on the theory of the tides, De Fluxu et Reflux* Uaru, written probably about 1616.
(C) The philosophical works which form part of the Instauratio most of course be classed according to the positions which they respectively hold in that scheme of the sciences.
The great work, the reorganization of the sciences, and the restoration of man to that command over nature which he had lost by the fall, consisted in its final form of six divisions.
I. Partitianes Sdcnliarum, a survey of the sciences, either such as then existed or such as required to be constructed afresh—in fact, an inventory of all the possessions of (he human mind. The famous classification1 on which this survey proceeds is based upon an analysis of the faculties and objects of human knowledge. This division is represented by the Dt Augmfntis Scienttarum.
II. /ntfrprct,tlia Naturae.—After the survey of all that has yet been done in the way of discovery or invention, comes the new method, by which the mind of man is to be trained and directed in its progress towards the renovation of science. This division is represented, though only imperfectly, by the Novum Organum, particularly book ii.
III. Htitona Naturalis et Experimentatis,—The new method is valueless, because inapplicable, unless it be supplied with materials duly collected and presented—in fact, unless there be formed a competent natural history of the Phenomena Universi. A short introductory sketch of the requisites of such a natural history, which, according to Bacon, is essential, necessary, the Amu tot i us negotit, is given in the tract Parasceve, appended to the .Vcrvm Organum. The principal works intended to form portions of the history, and either published by himself or left in manuscript, arc Historic Ventorum, Historia Vitae et Mortis, Histeria Densi et Rari, and the extensive collection of facts and observations entitled Sylva Sytrarum.
IV. Scala InteUectus.—It might have been supposed that the aew philosophy could now be inaugurated. Materials had been supplied. Along with a new method by which they were to he treated, and naturally the next step would be the finished result. But for practical purposes Bacon interposed two divisions between the preliminaries and the philosophy itself. The first *.i» intended to consist of types or examples of investigations conducted by the-new method, serviceable for keeping the whole process vividly before the mind, or, as the title indicates, such that the mind could run rapidly up and down the several steps or grades in the process. Of this division there seems to be only one small fragment, the Filitm Labyrinthi, consisting of but two or three pages.
V. Prodromiy forerunners of the new philosophy. This part, strictly speaking, is quite extraneous to the general design. According to the Distribute Opcris,* it was to contain certain speculations of Bacon's own, not formed by the new method, but by the unassisted use of his understanding. These, therefore, form temporary or uncertain anticipations of the new philosophy. There is extant a short preface to this division of the.work, and according toSpedding.someof the miscellaneous treatises, such as De Principiit, De Flux* et Reflux*, Cogitationts de Nalura Rcrum, may probably have been intended to be included under this head. This supposition receives some support from the manner in which the fifth part is spoken of in the Nov*m Organum, i. 116.
VI. The new philosophy, which is the work of future ages, ud the result of the new method.
Bacon's grand motive in his attempt to found the sciences anew was the Intense conviction that the knowledge man
1 The division of the sciences adopted in the great French EncyctoPtdtt wa« founded upon thi« classification of Baron's. See Diderot's Proipfctui ((Evrrei, Hi) and d'Ak-mbert's Dtuourt ((Euvrei,\.) The •chrme should be compared with later attempts of the same nature by Ampere. Cnurnot, Comte and Herbert Spencer.
'See abo " Letter to Fulgcnlio," Letteri and Lije. vfl. 533.
possessed was of little service to him. "The knowledge whereof the world is now possessed, especially that of nature, extendeth not to magnitude and certainty of works."1 Man's sovereignty over nature, which is founded on knowledge alone, had been lost, and instead of the free relation between things and the human mind, there was nothing but vain notions and blind experiments. To restore the original commerce between man and nature, and to recover the impcrium hominis. is the grand object of all science. The want of success which had hitherto attended efforts in the same direction had been due to many causes, but chiefly to the want of appreciation of the nature of philosophy and its real aim. Philosophy is not the science of things divine and human; it is not the search after truth. "I find that even those that have sought knowledge for itself, and not for benefit or ostentation, or any practical enablcment in the course of their life, have nevertheless propounded to themselves a wrong mark, namely, satisfaction (which men call Truth) and not operation." * "' Is there any such happiness as for a man's mind to be raised above the confusion of things, where he may have the prospect of the order of nature and error of man? But is this a view of delight only and not of discovery ? of contentment and not of benefit? Shall he not as well discern the riches of nature's warehouse as the beauty of her shop? Is truth ever barren? Shall he not be able thereby to produce worthy effects, and to endow the life of man with infinite commodities? " * Philosophy is altogether practical; it is of little matter to the fortunes of humanity what abstract notions one may entertain concerning the nature and the principles of things.* This truth, however, has never yet been recognized;7 it has not yet been seen that the true aim of all science is " to endow the condition and life of man with new powers or works," * or " to extend more widely the limits of the power and greatness of man." * Nevertheless, it is not to be imagined that by this being proposed as the great object of search there is thereby excluded all that has hitherto been looked upon as the higher aims of human life, such as the contemplation of truth. Not so, but by following the new aim we shall also arrive at a true knowledge of the universe in which we are, for without knowledge there is no power; truth and utility are in ultimate aspect the same; "works themselves are of greater value as pledges of truth than as contributing to the comforts of life."I0 Such was the conception of philosophy with which Bacon started, and in which he felt himself to be thoroughly original. As his object -was new and hitherto unproposed, so the method he intended to employ was different from all modes of investigation hitherto attempted. "It would be," as he says, "an unsound fancy and self-contradictory, to expect that things which have never yet been done can be done except by means which have never yet been tried."" There were many obstacles in his way, and he seems always to have felt that the first part of the new scheme must be a pars dcstrucns, a destructive criticism of all other methods. Opposition was to be expected, not only from previous philosophies, but especially from the human mind itself. In the first place, natural antagonism might be looked for from the two opposed sects, the one of whom, in despair of knowledge, maintained that all science was impossible; while the other, resting on authority ..ml on the learning that had been handed down from the Greeks, declared that science was already completely known, and consequently devoted their energies to methodizing and elaborating it. Secondly, within the domain of science itself, properly so called, there were two " kind of rovers " who must be dismissed. The first were the speculative or logical philosophers, who construe the universe ex onatogia hominis, and not ex anologia mundi, who fashion nature according to preconceived ideas, and who employ in (heir investigations syllogism and abstract reasoning. The second class, who were equally offensive, consisted of those who practised blind experience, which is mere
1 Fit. Lab.; Cot. * Visa, \.; cf. Pref. to Ins. Mag,
« Vol. Ter. 232; cf. N. O. i. 124. » Lrlter$. i. 123. • W. 0. i. 116.
'Fil. Lab. 5; cf. N. O. i. 81; Vat. Ter. (Works, iii. 235): Adtanccment, blc. i. (Works, iii. 294).
• Fit. Lab. 5; cf. N. O. \. 01; Vol. Ter. (Works, iii. 222JM); New Atlantis (Wortt.'iu. 156). *N.Q.\. 116. » Ibid. i. 124. "76*0.6.