Page images


THE works of LORD BACON may be considered as






His important work, which contains his Philosophy, and upon which his fame depends, is the "INSTAURATIO MAGNA."

It consists of a preface, and of six distinct parts into which it is divided:

I. PARTITIONES SCIENTIARUM.-A survey of the then existing knowledge, with a designation of the parts of science which were unexplored; -the cultivated parts of the intellectual world, and the deserts.

II. NOVUM ORGANUM.-The art of invention, or the conduct of the understanding in the discovery of truth.

III. PHENOMENA UNIVERSI.-History, natural and experimental, as a foundation for true philosophy.

IV. SCALA INTELLECTUS.-An application of the Novum Organum by gradual instances and examples.

V. PRODROMI, sive Anticipationes Philosophiæ secundæ Anticipations of the sixth part.

VI. SECUNDA PHILOSOPHIA, sive Scientia Activa. The system of philosophy which results from the sincere and strict enquiry prescribed in the former parts.

Since the year 1730 there have been seven editions of the Works of Lord Bacon. In 1730, 4 vols. folio; 1740, 4 vols. folio; 1753, 3 vols. folio; 1765, 5 vols. 4to; 1778, 5 vols. 4to; 1803, 10 vols. 8vo. 1819, 10 vols. 8vo.

It may seem extraordinary, that there is not in either of these editions a translation of any part of the Instauratio Magna :--the Advancement of Learning, which was published in two books, in English, in 1605, not being, as is frequently supposed, a translation of the De Augmentis Scientiarum, which was published in nine books, in Latin in 1623. (a)

(a) They differ in extent, and there are many passages in each of these works which are not contained in the other. The beautiful passage for instance, upon Queen Elizabeth, in the Advancement of Learning, concerning the conjunction of learning in the prince, with felicity in the people, is not in the "De Augmentis."

The treatise" De Augmentis," being more extensive, abounds with passages that are not contained in "The Advancement." I will take one specimen from each subject into which the work is divided:-viz. from,

HISTORY, relating to the Memory.

POETRY, relating to the Imagination. And
PHILOSOPHY, relating to the Understanding.

In the treatise De Augmentis, natural History is divided-
1. Of Nature in Course.
2. Of Nature Erring.
3. Of Arts.

1. As to the subject:

[blocks in formation]

But the division, as to the use, &c. is not contained in the Advancement.

Under Poetry-The fable of Pan, of Perseus, &c. which are not in the Advancement, will be found in the treatise De Augmentis.

It may, perhaps, seem more extraordinary that in the edition of 1753, which has been followed by

Under Philosophy-Speaking of the advancement of universal justice or the laws of laws, he says, "I propose, if God give me leave, having begun a work of this nature in aphorisms, to propound it bereafter, noting it in the mean time for deficient." In the treatise De Augmentis, considerable progress is made in this projected work, in forty-seven distinct axioms, of which the following is a specimen : “Antequam vero ad corpus ipsum legum particvlarium deveni"amus; perstringemus pancis virtutes et dignitates legum in genere. Lex bona censeri possit quæ sit intimatione certa, præcepto justa, "executione commoda; cum forma politiæ congrua et generans "virtutem in subditis."




[ocr errors]

In Archbishop Tenison's Baconiana, the progress of this work, and the difference between the De Augmentis and the Advancement is explained. In the conclusion of his observations, he says, "I have "seen a letter, written by certain gentlemen to Dr. Rawley, wherein they thus importune him for a more accurate version, by his own hand: It is our humble suite to you, and we earnestly solicit you, "to give yourself the trouble, to correct the too much defective "translation of De Augmentis Scientiarum, which Dr. Wats hath set forth. It is a thousand pities, that so worthy a piece should lose its grace and credit by an ill expositor; since those persons, "who read that translation, taking it for genuine, and upon that presumption not regarding the Latine edition, are thereby robbed "' of that benefit which (if you would please to undertake the business) they might receive. This tendeth to the dishonour of that "noble Lord, and the hindrance of the Advancement of Learning."" Of the correctness or incorrectness of these observations, some estimate may be formed from the following specimens.

[ocr errors]

The Instauratio Magna thus begins :



Translation by Wats.—



Another Specimen.—Advancement of Learning.

We see in all other pleasures there is satiety, and after they be used, their verdure departeth; which sheweth well they be but deceits of pleasure, and not pleasures; and that it was the novelty which pleased, and not the quality; and therefore we see that voluptuous men turn friars, and ambitious men turn melancholy; but

the subsequent editions, the Editor has without any authority, ventured to alter the whole of Lord Bacon's own arrangement of the third and fourth parts of the Instauration. (b)

of knowledge there is no satiety, but satisfaction and appetite, are perpetually interchangeable; and therefore appeareth to be good in itself simply, without fallacy or accident.

Wats's Translation.

In all other pleasures there is a finite variety, and after they grow a little stale, their flower and verdure fades, and departs; whereby we are instructed that they were not indeed pure and sincere pleasures, but shadows and deceits of pleasures; and that it was the novelty which pleased, and not the quality; wherefore, voluptuous men often turn friars, and the declining age of ambitious princes is commonly more sad and besieged with melancholy; but of knowledge there is no satiety, but vicissitude, perpetually and interchangeably returning, of fruition and appetite; so that the good of this delight must needs be simpler, without accident or fallacy.

(b) This will appear by a reference to the following treatises :Historia Ventorum.-Historia Densi et Rari.-Historia Gravis et Levis.-Historia Sympathiæ et Antipathiæ.-Historia Sulphuris, Mercuriæ et Salis.-Historia Vitæ et Mortis.

These different treatises in all the editions previous to the edition of 1753, are sections of the third part of the Instauratio: and the fourth section is only a fragment. In the editions of 1753, and 1778, and 1803, and 1819, they form sections of the fourth part, which appears to be a complete work.

The question is, which arrangement is correct?

In the year 1623, Lord Bacon published his History of Life and Death; the title is, Historia Vitæ et Mortis Sive Titulus Secundus in Historia Naturali Experimentali ad condendam Philosophiam Quæ est Instaurationis Magnæ pars Tertia.

In the year 1679, Archbishop Tenison, who was intimate with Dr. Rawley, Lord Bacon's first and last chaplain as he always describes himself, published his Baconiana, in which there is an outline of the Instauration. He arranges all these sections according to the arrangement of Lord Bacon, and of the "History of Life and Death," he says, this is the sixth section of the third part of the Instauration. This work, though ranked last amongst the six monthly designations, yet was set forth in the second place. His Lordship, as he saith, inverting the order, in respect of the prime use of this argument, in which the least loss of time was by him esteemed very precious; and as to "the fourth part of the Instauration, it passed not beyond the model in the head of the noble author."

« PreviousContinue »