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BARON VERULAM, VISCOUNT ST. ALBAN, AND LORD HIGH
CHANCELLOR OF ENGLAND.
VOLUME THE SIXTH.
DE AUGMENTIS SCIENTIARUM.
PRINTED FOR M. JONES, PATERNOSTER-ROW.
THE design of this first purt of the work, is to give a summary account of that stock of knowledge whereof mankind are possessed ; to lay this knowledge down under such natural branches, or scientifical divisions, as may most commodiously admit of its farther improvement; to point out its deficiencies, or desiderata ; and, lastly, to shew, by examples, the direct ways of supplying these deficiencies.
In the execution of this plan, the author ranges all human knowledge under the several arts and sciences, in the order of nuture; so as to shew how these are formed from the general mass; und how they may be improved. Whence he is often obliged to depart from the received divisions of the sciences ; though without absolutely disapproving the use of those divisions on other occasions. For the nature of his design laid him under a double necessity of altering them ; first, because to class and sort matters as they are related in nature, is a quite different end and intention from that of throwing them together in a heap for use. Thus, a secretary of state sorts and distributes his papers in his general office, so as to luy those of like kind together ; viz. treaties along with treaties, instructions along with instructions, foreign letters, domestic letters, fc. each in their separate cells; though in some particular cabinet he may lay such together, us, however different in kind, are likely to be used together. After the same manner the author, in this general repository of learning, was necessituted to make his divisions according to the natures, not.
according to the common uses of things : whereas, had he been to treat any particular science, he would perhaps have followed the divisions that are better accommodated to use and practice.
His second reason for altering the received divisions is, that as he every where sets down the desirleratu in the sciences ; and works up these desiderata into one body with the rest; he was, on this account also, obliged to alter, and enlarge the former divisions, to make room for new arts, and news brunches of science.
With regard to the matter, or things delivered in the following piece, the author foresaw that the principal objections would lie against those set down as deficient; those he proposes to be effected ; and those af an inferior, or secondary consideration.
For, the deficiencies here pointed out, may be imagined already supplied by some one or other of the ancients or moderns. But in this particular, greut diligence and attention are required, to perceive, in a strong and pure light, the severul designs and schemes of the author, in their full latitude, scope, and tendency: and, on the other hand, a sober examination of such supposed ancients and moderns must be undertaken, to shew whether this be more than a light suspicion ; or whether they have, in reality, had any such views for the perfecting of arts und sciences. *
As to the several great things pointed out to be performed ; if they appear too difficult, or unsuitable to human abilities, the author desires to be understood in this light; that all those things are to be esteemed possible, and performable, which may be effected, 1. by certain persons, though not by every one ; 2. by many in conjunction, though not by any sole hand ; 3. by a succession of ages, though not in a single age; and 4. by public care, and a public expence, though not by private industry, and a private purse.
* See the first part of the Novum Organum.