Page images

Continuance. When a body is left to itself a considerable time guarded from external force, that the intestine motions may take their own course: the works of time being more subtle than the works of fire.

Regulation of Motion, which generally consists in the form of the vessels. As certain vegetables, cucumbers, melons, compelled by the form of a vessel to assume the form of animals,


26. MAGICAL INSTANCES, or those instances where a great effect is produced from an apparently small cause. As the loadstone animates numberless bodies without loss or diminution of its virtues by the rapid and powerful expansion of gunpowder into flame, vast effects are produced: and by a drop of poison, the most powerful and noble animals may in a moment be destroyed.

The magical effects of poisons seem, to use Bacon's words, to be amongst the most glaring, of which we select a few, made by Mons. Condamine, with the vegetable poison of ticunas mixed with that of lamas: he says,

"I made a very small incision with a lancet between the ears of a cat, and with a pencil I put into it a drop of the poison: in an instant the creature died in my hands.

I pricked a hawk in the left claw: into the puncture I introduced a small drop of the poison, and then set the creature at liberty; but he could not fly: the utmost he could do was to perch on a stick, which was within six inches of the ground. He shook his head several times, as if to get rid of something that seemed troublesome in his throat. His eyes were restless, and his feathers were all bristled up. His head fell between his legs, and in three minutes he died.

M. le Chevalier de Grossée had an eagle, which he kept a good while in his court-yard, and intended to make a present of it to M. Reaumur, to adorn his cabinet, but wanted to know how to put it to death without injuring its feathers. M. de Reaumur sent him an arrow fresh dipped in the poison: it was stuck into the wing of this large bird, the eagle dropped down dead in an instant."

"These magical effects," Bacon adds, "are produced three ways; viz. (1.) by self-multiplication, as in fire, and those poisons, called specific; as also in motions, which pass and increase, as they go, from wheel to wheel; (2.) by excitation, or invitation, in another body; as the loadstone animates numberless needles, without loss, or diminution of its virtue and we find the same kind of virtue in yeast, &c. (3.) by the pre-occupation of motion, as we above observed in gunpowder, guns, and mines."

The pre-occupation, to which this allusion refers, is an examination, under the doctrine of motions, of the effects produced where the motion of impulse is quicker than the motion of recovery:

or where a new impression is received, before the effect, of a former impression is discharged. Thus, when a musical string is struck, it vibrates, and the strings appear double, treble, &c.; rings twirled upon an axis appear spheres; a lighted stick moved quickly in a circle, appears a circle of fire. Upon the same principle, he says, the effects produced by gunpowder are occasioned by the impelling force being quicker than the force of resistance: and such great masses of matter, as in an elephant or a whale, are moved by a small portion of animal spirit; and the animal spirit itself is put to flight and almost instantly condensed by a small quantity of opium. The modes of producing magical effects, which require a knowledge of the measures of motions, are, therefore,

1. By consents of

2. By antipathies.

1. Self multiplication.

2. Excitement.

{ Pre-occupation of motion.

Such is a faint view, a most imperfect outline, of Bacon's doctrine of Prerogative Instances:-If any of our readers should be induced from these specimens to examine the work itself, we will venture to recommend to his consideration the Instances of Reluctance, which include the science of all the different motions in nature: and the Sovereign Instances, or all the different arts of experimenting.

In the conclusion of the Novum Organum (App. 52,) Bacon enumerates and endeavours to arrange these different instances.

1. To the Senses.

1. For Information.

2. To the Understanding.

2. For Practice.

And he thus concludes :

"For the instances honoured and ennobled with these prerogatives are like a soul among vulgar instances of view; and as we said at the first, a few of them serve instead of many, and therefore when we make tables, such instances are studiously to be sought out, and set down therein. The doctrine of them was also necessary to what we design shall follow; and therefore a preparatory account thereof was here requisite.

And now we should proceed to the helps and rectification of induction, then to concretes, latent processes, concealed structures

&c. as mentioned in order, under the twenty-first aphorism; that at length, like faithful guardians, we might possess mankind of their fortunes, and release and free the understanding from its minority, upon which an amendment of the state and condition of mankind, and an enlargement of their power over nature, must necessarily ensue. For by the fall, man at once forfeited his innocency and his dominion over the creatures, though both of them are, in some measure, recoverable, even in this life; the former by religion and faith; and the latter by arts and sciences. For the world was not made absolutely rebellious by the curse, but in virtue of that denunciation, " In the sweat of thy brow thou shalt eat thy bread;" it is at length, not by disputes, or indolent magical ceremonies, but by various real labours, subdued, and brought in some degree to afford the necessaries of life."

But Bacon accepted the Great Seals, and no further progress was made in the Novum Organum. He died in the year 1626; and, according to his wish, is buried in the same grave with his mother. Near to him lies his faithful secretary; and although only a few letters of his name, scarcely legible, can now be traced, he will ever be remembered for his affectionate attachment to his master and friend. Upon the monument which he raised to Lord Bacon, who appears sitting in deep but tranquil thought, he has inscribed this epitaph :















H. P.

ART. VIII. The Memoirs of Sigr. Gaudentio di Lucca: taken from his confession and examination before the fathers of the Inquisition at Bologna, in Italy; making discovery of an unknown Country in the midst of the vast Deserts of Africa, as ancient, populous and civilized as the Chinese: with an account of their antiquity, origine, religion, customs, polity, &c. and the manner

how they got first over those vast deserts: interspersed with several most surprising and curious incidents. Copied from the original manuscript kept in St. Mark's Library at Venice: with critical notes of the learned Signor Rhedi, late Library-keeper of the said Library. To which is prefixed, a letter of the secretary of the Inquisition to the same Signor Rhedi, giving an account of the manner and causes of his being seized. Faithfully translated from the Italian, by E. T. Gent. London, 1737, 8vo. pp.


The above very copious title page in some measure explains the way in which these Memoirs first came to be published. The author or publisher as he calls himself, has however thought fit in his address to the reader, and in the letter ascribed to the erudite Signor Rhedi, to give a very minute and matter of fact account of the whole affair of the seizure of Signor Gaudentio di Lucca, and the manner in which the manuscript came into his hands; and this he has done in a style of great pleasantry. The hero of this narrative had, it seems, when past the prime of life, settled as a physician at Bologna, where, being possessed of a fine presence and polite address, he gained the good opinion of persons of both sexes. Having in the course of conversation muttered strange things of an unknown nation, and dropped certain words as if he were skilled in judicial astrology, the Holy Inquisition thought him a proper subject for their tribunal. He was commanded to deliver to the Inquisitors a written history of his life, which, fortunately for us, he very readily did. A copy of this precious manuscript was sent by the secretary of the Inquisition to his intimate friend, the most grave and learned Signor Rhedi, who, out of his especial favour, allowed the discriminating publisher to take a copy of it, who, in his turn, allowed with the printer to print it; and by this lucky train of circumstances it has become our lot to review it, a task which we enter upon great satisfaction.

The work is partly a romance and partly a scheme of Patriarchal Government. It sets out by giving a particular account of the parentage and birth of Signor Gaudentio. We must content ourselves however by briefly observing that he was born at Ragusa, and was sent to the University of Paris to complete his education. At the age of nineteen, the death of his father, a merchant, in embarrassed circumstances, obliged him to leave the University. His elder brother and himself embarked the wreck saved from their father's property, in a small trading vessel for the purposes of traffic. As they were sailing towards Cyprus, they were attacked by two pirates, whom they resisted with the greatest possible heroism, but heroism was vain-every man was killed except our adventurer, who was spared for the

sake of amusing the world with his memoirs. He too had a narrow escape,-his obstinate resistance, and the fact of his having slain the brother of the victorious pirate, had nearly drawn down vengeance on his head. The extraordinary interposition of a fair Persian Lady, whose story we have not space to relate, although she again appears in these Memoirs, saves him from any other punishment than that of being sold for a slave. He is taken to Grand Cairo, and offered to a stranger merchant for sale. The stranger was richly clad, and although he did not appear more than forty years of age, he had the most serene and venerable look imaginable. He eyed Gaudentio from top to toe with a most penetrating look. And then having enquired into his qualifications, and particularly his knowledge of the arts, sciences, laws, and customs of the Christians, he paid his price, without a word, only requiring that all his books, mathematical instruments, &c.should be delivered with him. Full of sorrowful reflections for his enslaved lot, Gaudentio is conducted to the merchant's house, the magnificence of which, especially the richness of the furniture, struck him with admiration. His master received him with an engaging affability, which excited his surprize, but he was filled with still greater surprise, when that person addressed him in the following words.

"Young man, said he, by the laws of this country you are mine; I have bought you at a very high price, and would give twice as much for you, if it were to be done again: but, continued he, with a more serious air, I know no just laws in the universe, that can make a freeborn man become a slave to one of his own species. If you will voluntarily go along with us, you shall enjoy as much freedom as I do myself: you shall be exempt from all the barbarous laws of these inhuman countries, whose brutal customs are a shame to the dignity of a rational creature, and with whom we have no commerce, but to enquire after arts and sciences, which may contribute to the common benefit of our people. We are blest with the most opulent country in the world we leave it to your choice to go along with us if you please; if you will not, I here give you your liberty, and restore to you all that remains to you of your effects, with what assistance you want, to carry you back again into your own country.”

The effect of such a speech upon a young and ardent mind may be easily conceived. Gratitude and curiosity alike incited him to visit this unknown and glorious country, for such he learned it was, from the handsome youths who accompanied the merchant, and who, although attending upon him, were treated more like sons than servants. From them he collected that they were called Mezoranians or children of the Sun, and that the merchant was a governor in his own country, or as they called

« PreviousContinue »