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The first use of the table of comparisons is to shew the nature sought in its process from existence to non-existence. Thus, vegetables or common water do not exhibit heat to the touch, but masticated pepper or boiling water are hot Now the question is, what alteration has taken place in the water whilst it passes from cold to boiling; or in the pepper whilst masticating? Does any thing more take place than motion of the parts?
The second use of the table of comparisons is of the same sort as the first, viz.-to shew the alteration in the nature sought when in existence, in its increase and in its decrease. Thus, flame is hotter than the human body: boiling water than warm. Is there any difference except in the motion of the parts?
TABLE IV.-TABLE OF EXCLUSIONS.
A table of such natures as do not always attend the sought nature, or which vary according to some inverse law of the sought nature;—that is, in other words, a table of such natures as may be absent when the sought nature is present; or present when the sought nature is absent; or which increase as the sought nature decreases; or decrease as the sought nature increases. Thus,
Table of Exclusions in Heat.
Natures not always present with the sought Natures varying according to some inverse law of the sought nature.
Which may be absent Which may be present Which may increase as Which may decrease when the sought nawhen the sought na- the sought nature as the sought nature ture is present. ture is absent. decreases. increases.
Quiescence of parts. &c.
Motion of the whole
Quiescence of parts.
Quiescence of parts.
a greater heat than
Quiescence of parts. &c.
The use of this table is to sift nature by proper rejections and exclusions, to making a perfect resolution and separation, not by fire, but by the mind, which is, as it were, the divine fire; and, after the rejection and exclusion is duly made, to see the affirmative and true nature as the result of the operation, whilst the volatile opinions go off in fume; a thing never yet done, nor
attempted, unless by Plato, who made some little use of this form of induction in the sifting of definitions and ideas. Thus in enquiring into the nature of heat, light may be rejected, for in the discovery of the nature of heat, the object is to find that which is always present when heat is present: absent when it is absent: which increases with its increase, and decreases with its decrease for although by a knowledge of the nature of heat as it appears in light, we may arrive at new inventions in a subject somewhat similar, yet he who understands the laws of heat in all cases, will perceive the unity of nature, and produce such things with respect to the regulation of heat, as have not entered into the heart of men to conceive; for instance, the regulation of fevers, inflammations, &c.
TABLE V.-OF RESULT.
The first Vintage or Dawn of Doctrine :
or a collection of such natures as always accompany the sought nature, increase with its increase, and decrease with its decrease.
It appears, that, in all instances, the nature of heat is motion of parts; flame is perpetually in motion; hot or boiling liquors are in continual agitation; the sharpness and intensity of heat is increased by motion, as in bellows and blasts; existing fire and heat are extinguished by strong compression, which checks and puts a stop to all motion; all bodies are destroyed or, at least, remarkably altered by heat; and when heat escapes the body it rests from its labours; and hence it appears, that heat is motion, and nothing else. The sort of motion is the next subject of inquiry, which, after a very minute investigation, to which we must refer our readers, he explains.
The various objections to Bacon's method appear to be reduceable to two. The one, lately stated in a note to Dr. Brown's valuable inquiry on cause and effect; the other, by Mr. Coleridge, in one of his volumes of Essays, abounding with thought and with beauty. The one objection is, that the truth of which Bacon is in search, does not exist: the other, that if it do exist, his mode is not the one to discover it.
"It is (says Dr. Brown) this mistake as to the universality of certain forms or essential principles, corresponding with all the variety of changes in the phenomena of the universe, and necessarily similar wherever the changes are similar, a mistake which was very naturally accompanied with the belief, that, by the communication of the supposed form, any property might be superinduced on any substance,-that appears to me to constitute the great error of Lord Bacon's general view of physical science, and to have been that which seduced him into some of those extravagant anticipations of an almost unlimited
empire of man over nature, in which his magnificent fancy delighted to indulge. To those who have a clear notion of the relation of Cause and Effect, it may be almost superfluous to repeat, that, there are no 'forms,' in the wide sense which Lord, Bacon gives to that word, as one common operative principle of all changes that are exactly similar. The powers, properties, qualities, of a substance, do not depend on any thing in a substance. They are truly the substance itself, considered in relation to certain other substances, and nothing more."
To these objections, not unforeseen by Bacon himself, we must content ourselves with referring our readers to the beginning of the second part of the Novum Organum, and to that part of his Advancement of Learning in which he treats of metaphysics, where he says,
"An opinion hath prevailed, and is grown inveterate, that the essentiall formes and true differences of things can by no diligence of man be found out. Which opinion, in the mean, gives and grants us thus much; that the invention of formes is of all other parts of knowledge the worthiest to be sought, if it be possible they may be found. And as for possibility of invention, there are some faint-hearted discoverers, who, when they see nothing but aire and water, think there is no farther land. But it is manifest that Plato, a man of an elevated wit, and who beheld all things as from a high cliffe, in his doctrine of ideas, did descry that formes were the true objects of knowledge; however he lost the reall fruit of this most true opinion, by contemplating and apprehending formes, as absolutely abstract from matters, and not confined and determined by matter: whereupon it came to passe that he turned himselfe to theologicall speculations, which infected and distained all his naturall philosophy. But if we keep a watchfull and a severe eye upon action and use, it will not be difficult to trace and find out what are the formes; the disclosure whereof would wonderfully enrich and make happy the estate of man."
"And if any one shall think that our forms have somewhat abstracted in them, because they appear to mix and join together things that are heterogeneous, as the heat of the celestial bodies, and the heat of fire; the fixed redness of a rose, and the apparent redness of the rainbow, the opal or the diamond; death by drowning, and death by burning, stabbing, the apoplexy, consumption, &c. which, though very dissimilar, we make to agree in the nature of heat, redness, death, &c. he must remember, that his own understanding is held and detained by custom, things in the gross, and opinions. For it is certain, that the things above-mentioned, however heterogeneous and foreign they may seem, agree in the form, or law, that ordains heat, redness, and death. Nor can the human power be otherwise freed, and set at liberty from the common course of nature, and extended and exalted to new efficients, and new ways of working, than by disclosing and investigating this kind of forms."
The words of Mr. Coleridge are:
"Let any unprejudiced naturalist turn to Lord Bacon's questions and proposals for the investigation of single problems; to his Discourse on the Winds; and put it to his conscience, whether any desirable end could be hoped for from such a process; or to enquire of his own experience, or historical recollections, whether any important discovery was ever made in this way. For though Bacon never so far deviates from his own principles, as not to admonish the reader that the particulars are to be thus collected, only that by careful selection they may be concentrated into universals; yet so immense is their, number, and so various and almost endless the relations in which each is to be separately considered, that the life of an ante-diluvian patriarch would be expended, and his strength and spirits have been wasted, in merely polling the votes, and long before he could commence the process of simplification, or have arrived in sight of the law which was to reward the toils of the over-tasked Psyche."
In answer to this, Bacon says,
"Let no man shrink at the, multitude of particulars required, but turn this also to an argument of hope. For the particular phænomena of arts and nature are all of them like sheaves, in comparison of the inventions of genius, when disjoined and metaphysically separated from the evidence of things. The former road soon ends in an open plain, whilst the other has no issue, but proves an infinite labyrinth; for men have hitherto made little stay in experience, but passed lightly over it; and, on the other hand, spent infinite time in contemplation and the inventions of genius, whereas, if we had any one at our elbow who could give real answers to the questions we should put about nature, the discovery of causes and of all the sciences would be a work but of a few years."
And, so far from doubting whether any desirable end can be expected from this process, we are satisfied, not only that an enquirer cannot proceed with safety in the discovery of any given nature without a due consideration of all analogous natures; of the magnet, for instance, without considering all attraction; but that it is the mode by which, in fact, we do proceed in making our discoveries, and by which, after the lapse of centuries, the same truths are discovered in different parts of the globe by different enquirers, after the facts have, during this long interval, been ascertained and sifted, and our intermediate results deduced. To abridge the infinity of this long labour is the object of this work.
Having thus explained the mode of investigating any nature, by an examination of all and each of its peculiar properties, he proceeds from these tables to what he has termed Subservient Chains of Instances.
"For the understanding," he says, "left to itself and its
own spontaneous motion, is unequal to the work. Neither the hand without instruments, nor the unassisted understanding can do much, they both require helps to fit them for business; and, as the instruments of the hand either serve to excite motion or direct it, so the instruments of the mind either suggest to, or guard and preserve the understanding."
He then states nine topics upon which he proposes to treat; of which the first only is completed.-They are as follows.
"1. of prerogative instances; 2. of the helps of induction; 3. of the rectification of induction: 4. of the method of varying enquiries, according to the nature of the subject; 5. of prerogative natures for enquiry, or what subjects are to be enquired into first, what second; 6. of the limits of enquiry, or an inventory of all the natures in the universe; 7. of reducing enquiries to practice, or making them subservient to human uses; 8. of the preliminaries to enquiry; 9. and lastly, of the ascending and descending scale of axioms."
We will endeavour concisely to state his twenty-seven prerogative Instances, with a more minute explanation of some few, which, with the hope of exhibiting this sort of assistance in viewing nature, we shall select.
1.-SOLITARY INSTANCES, where bodies differ or agree in every thing save in the nature sought. Thus, if the nature sought be colour, a rainbow and a piece of glass in a stable window, differ in every thing, save in the colour, and the different parts of the same piece of marble, or the different parts of the same leaf of a variegated tulip, agree in every thing save in the colour; or, if the nature sought be heat, flame and a heated stone differ in every thing: and a cold and a heated stone agree in every thing, save in the heat. The use of these instances is to exclude all qualities, except those which relate to the subject of enquiry: and occasionally, by the exclusion of what is irrelevant, to discover the nature sought; by a separation of the chaff to discover the wheat. Thus is not colour produced by refraction: and heat by some motion of the parts of bodies?
2. TRAVELLING INSTANCES, where bodies approach to or recede from existence. Thus clear water and glass are transparent; agitate the water or pulverize the glass, and the surfaces are white; the whiteness has travelled from non-existence to existence; froth subsiding or snow dissolving are instances of whiteness, receding from existence; masticated pepper, striking a light, are instances of heat travelling into existence.-The use of these instances is to drive the nature sought into a narrow compass, for the inquiry is limited to the change produced during the transmigration. Thus, is not heat some motion of the parts?