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minds judge by reflection on ourselves, they are more subject to error. And though, for the matter itself, my judgment be in some things fixed, and not accessible by any man's judgment that goeth not my way: yet even in those things, the admonition of a friend may make me express myself diversly. I would have come to your lordship, but that I am hastening to my house in the country: and so I commend your lordship to God's goodness,
Rawley's XCVII. To Sir THOMAS BODELEY, after he had imparted to him a writing intitled, Cogitata et Visa.
IN respect of my going down to my house in the country, I shall have miss of my papers, which I pray you therefore to return unto me. You are, I bear you witness, slothful, and you help me nothing; so as I am half in conceit, that you affect not the argument: for myself, I know well, you love and affect. I can say no more to you, but non canimus surdis, respondent omnia sylva. If you be not of the lodg ings chalked up, whereof I speak in my preface, I am but to pass by your door. But if I had you a fortnight at Gorhambury, I would make you tell me another tale; or else I would add a cogitation against libraries, and be revenged on you that way. I pray you send me some good news of Sir Thomas Smith; and commend me very kindly to him. So I rest1607.
Appendix XCVIII. Sir THOMAS BODELEY'S letter to Sir
to a collec-1
tion of let
ters of archbishop Usher, lét ter XIV. P. 19.
FRANCIS BACON, about his Cogitata et Visa, wherein he declareth his opinion freely touching the same.
As soon as the term was ended, supposing your leisure was more than before, I was coming to thank you two or three times, rather choosing to do it by
word than by letter: but I was still disappointed of my purpose, as I am at this present upon an urgent occasion, which doth tie me fast to Fulham, and hath now made me determine to impart my mind in writing.
I think you know I have read your Cogitata et Visa, which I protest I have done with great desire, reputing it a token of your singular love, that you joined me with those your chiefest friends, to whom you would commend the first perusal of your draught; for which, I pray you, give me leave to say but this unto you:
First, that if the depth of my affection to your person and spirit, to your works and your words, and to all your abilities, were as highly to be valued, as your affection is to me, it might walk with yours arm in arm, and claim your love by just desert. But there can be no comparison where our states are so uneven, and our means to demonstrate our affections so different: insomuch as for my own, I must leave it to be prized in the nature that it is; and you shall evermore find it most addicted to your worth.
As touching the subject of your book, you have set afoot so many rare and noble speculations, as I cannot choose but wonder, and I shall wonder at it ever, that, your expence of time considered in your public profession, which hath in a manner no acquaintance with scholarship or learning, you should have culled out the quintessence, and sucked up the sap of the chiefest kind of learning.
For howsoever in some points you do vary altogether from that which is, and hath been ever, the received doctrine of our schools, and was always by the wisest, as still they have been deemed, of all nations and ages adjudged the truest; yet it is apparent, that in those very points, and in all your proposals and plots in that book, you shew yourself a master workman.
For myself, I must confess, and I speak it ingenuè, that for the matter of learning, I am not worthy to be reckoned in the number of smatterers.
And yet because it may seem, that being willing to communicate your treatise with your friends, you are likewise willing to listen to whatsoever I or others can
except against it; I must deliver unto you for my private opinion, that I am one of that crew that say there is, and we profess, a far greater holdfast of certainty in our sciences, than you by your discourse will seem to acknowledge.
For whereas, first, you do object the ill success and errors of practitioners in physic, you know as well they do proceed of the patient's unruliness, for not one of a hundred doth obey his physician in observing his cautels; or by misinformation of their own indispositions, for few are able in this kind to explicate them'selves; or by reason their diseases are by nature in"curable, which is incident, you know, to many sorts of maladies; or for some other hidden cause which cannot be discovered by course of conjecture. Howbeit, I am full of this belief, that as physic is ministred now-a-days by physicians, it is much to be ascribed to their negligence or ignorance, or other touch of imperfection, that they speed no better in their practice: for few are found of that profession so well instructed in their art, as they might by the precepts which their art doth afford; which though it be defective in regard of such perfection, yet for certain it doth flourish with admirable remedies, such as tract of time hath taught by experimental events, and are the open highway to that principal knowledge that you recommend.
As for alchemy, and magic, some conclusions they have that are worthy the preserving; but all their skill is so accompanied with subtleties and guiles, as both the crafts and craft-masters are not only despised, but named with derision! Whereupon to make good your principal assertion, methinks you should have drawn your examples from that which is taught in the liberal sciences, not by picking out cases that happen very seldom, and may by all confession be subject to reproof; but by controlling the generals, and grounds, and eminent positions, and aphorisms, which the greatest artists and philosophers have from time to timé defended.
For it goeth for current amongst all men of learning, that those kind of arts which clerks in times past did
-term quadrivials, confirm their propositions by infallible demonstrations.
And likewise in the trivials such lessons and directions are delivered unto us, as will effect very near, or as much altogether, as every faculty doth promise. Now in case we should concur to do as you advise, which is, to renounce our common notions, and cancel all our theorems, axioms, rules, and tenets, and so to come babes ad regnum naturæ, as we are willed by Scrip'tures to come ad regnum cælorum; there is nothing more certain in my understanding, than that it would instantly bring us to barbarism, and, after many thousand years, leave us more unprovided of theorical furniture than we are at this present: for that were indeed to become very babes, or tabula rasa, when we shall leave no impression of any former principles, but be driven to begin the world again, and to travel by trials of axioms and sense, which are your proofs by particulars, what to place in intellectu, for our general conceptions; it being a maxim of all mens approving, In intellectu nihil esse, quod non prius fuit in sensu; and so in appearance it would befal us, that till Plato's year be come about, our insight in learning would be of less reckoning than now it is accounted.
As for that which you inculcate, of a knowledge more excellent than now is among us, which experience might produce, if we would but essay to extract it out of nature by particular probations, it is no more upon the matter, but to incite us unto that, which without instigation by a natural instinct men will practise of themselves: for it cannot in reason be otherwise thought, but that there are infinite numbers in all parts of the world, for we may not in this case confine our cogitations within the bounds of Europe, which embrace the course that you purpose, with all the diligence and care that ability can perform; for every man is born with an appetite of knowledge, wherewith he cannot be so glutted, but still, as in a dropsy, thirst after more.
But yet why they should hearken to any such persuasion, as wholly to abolish those settled opinions and general theorems, to which they attained by their own
and their ancestors experience, I see nothing yet alledged to induce me to think it.
Moreover, I may speak, as I should suppose with good probability, that if we should make a mental survey what is like to be effected all the world over, those five or six inventions which you have selected, and imagine to be but of modern standing, would make but a slender show amongst so many hundreds of all kinds of natures, which are daily brought to light by the enforcement of wit, or casual events, and may be compared, or partly preferred above those that you have named.
But were it so here that all were admitted, that you can require, for the augmentation of our knowledge; and that all our theorems and general positions were utterly extinguished with a new substitution of others in their places, what hope may we have of any benefit of learning by this alteration?
Assuredly, as soon as the new are brought with their additions ad ann, by the inventors and their follow. ers, by an interchangeable course of natural things they will fall by degrees to be buried in oblivion, and so on continuance to perish outright; and that perchance upon the like to your present pretences, by proposal of some means to advance all our knowledge to an higher pitch of perfectness: for still the same defects that antiquity found, will reside in mankind.
And therefore, other issues of their actions, devices, and studies are not to be expected, than is apparent by records were in former times observed.
I remember here a note which Paterculus made of the incomparable wits of the Grecians and Romans in their flourishing state, that there might be this reason of their notable downfal in their issue that came after; because by nature Quod summo studio petitum est ascendit in summum, difficilisque in perfecto mora est; insomuch that men perceiving that they could go no farther, being come to the top, they turned back again of their own accord, forsaking those studies that are most in request, and betaking themselves to new endeavours,