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bound by indissoluble ties to distant worlds. It would be easy to extend our remarks to the improvements in chimistry and the kin dred sciences. Perhaps in no way would the benefit of the inductive philosophy appear more striking than on a comparison of the labors of Sir Humphry Davy, with the toils of the alchimists of the dark ages. With the simple, and to us very obvious, principles on which Davy proceeded in the construction of the safety lamp, it is now impossible to conjecture what the Arabian chimists would have produced. We can scarcely help pausing to contemplate what a different destiny might have awaited mankind, if those principles had been understood by the Mussulman. The followers of the impostor might then have been put in possession of the amazing mechanical powers and chimical processes, which now dis tinguish and adorn christian lands. Science would have returned perhaps to its native Egypt; have spread over Arabia; have traveled eastward to Persia, to Hindoostan, to China. The magnetic needle might have pointed the ships of Islam to the distant western world, and established the religion of the prophet here. Our streams might have been navigated, and our lands filled by the Mussulman; and the Tigris, and the Euphrates, and the Ganges, perhaps might have been the first to open their bosoms to bear the vessel navigated by steam. God designed doubtless, that these sciences should start up, and receive their form and consummation on christian soils; and we love to trace the wonderful means by which he has directed man in science and the mechanic arts, as he has in religion; thus shewing that the worlds of nature and of grace are under his control. Our limits forbid our following out the bearing of the principles of the inductive philosophy on the arts and sciences. To our mind there is nothing more interesting than to observe the amazing changes which the inductive method has made in the opinions, the philosophy, and the arts of mankind, and in the ultimate effect which we believe those principles will have in sending the gospel around the globe. Hand in hand with the christian religion, we believe that those arts and scientific results will yet encompass the world. Already we trace their influence in enlarging and liberalizing all the usual modes of thinking among men; in lessening the distances between nations; in rendering it easy to cross seas, and plains; in forming neighborhoods of what were remote districts; in producing sympathy and a rapid interchange of feeling, between the distant parts of republics and remote kingdoms; and in forming facilities for carrying the gospel around the globe. That these improvements have been made on christian ground, we regard as proof at once of the large and liberal influence of true christianity, and at the same time as evidence, that it is the intention of God that this religion should encompass the world. We
do not adduce this as a proof that the christian religion is true; but we cannot but regard it as one of the vast array of circumstances that God has placed every where around the christian scheme, evincing that it is under his benignant care; that all those great advances which tend to exalt and adorn human nature, tend also to the spread of the christian system; and that such is the economy of things that no great advance can be made in true science which shall not contribute to strengthen and confirm the evidences of revelation; no facility of communication be opened among mankind—no process of breaking down existing barriers, and annihilating prejudices, and of cementing man and man, of binding nations in one universal brotherhood, which shall not contribute to the spread of the christian scheme; and no spread of christianity in its purity, which shall not also convey to benighted men letters, science, mechanic arts, and liberty. We discern here, we think, evidence, that the scheme has the temporal approbation of God; and in the staid and motionless formality of China, in the corruption of Hindoostan, in the wretchedness of pagan islanders, and Africans, and in the dark features and bloody hands which are every where seen under the reign of Islam, we think we discern the frown of God on the schemes of religion which thus fetter and bind down the faculties of man, and which never have been, and never can be, connected with true science and the mechanic arts.
But one other topic remains, pertaining to the character of Bacon. We refer to his moral and religious character-unhappily the most difficult part of our inquiry. That dark shade which passed over his name, toward the close of his life, which hurled him degraded from the office he had so long and so earnestly sought, which led Pope to characterize him as the
"Wisest, greatest, meanest of mankind,"
has rendered it almost impossible to estimate his moral and religious character. To this sad period of Bacon's life, his character, so far as we know, except as a man fond of display, and ambitious, was beyond reproach. In the offices which he held, and in his private deportment, he was never suspected of a want of integrity. Hume declares that he was not only the ornament of his age and nation, but also "beloved for the courteousness and humanity of his behavior." It is natural for us to seek some palliation for Bacon's great offense; and happily there were circumstances, which while they by no means justify his crime, yet serve in some measure to modify its character, and render it much less base and ignominious than such an offense would be deemed in our times.
The parliament which was assembled by James in 1621, entered immediately into an investigation of the existing abuses of the nation.
Unhappily they found in this, their favorite employment, an ample field of labor. Abuses had crept into the government under James, which this vain monarch either would not believe could exist under his wise administration, or which he was unwilling to correct. The necessity of the case, however, compelled him to yield to a determined and inflexible house of commons. That house, he already saw, was disposed to apply an unsparing hand to all the abuses of the government, and even to most of the royal prerogatives. The necessity of the case compelled him to express his royal gratification with their labors, and to encourage them in their work. "I assure you," said he," had I before heard these things complained of, I would have done the office of a just king, and out of parliament have punished them, as severely, and peradventure more, than you now intend to do."
Encouraged in this manner, and resolved to strike an effectual blow, they commenced their investigations respecting the character and deeds of the Lord Chancellor. Unhappily, here also they found an ample field for the work of reform. The result is well known. Charges of extensive bribery were brought against him. It was alledged that he had received money and other presents, to the amount of many thousand pounds, while causes in chancery were depending on his decision. As to these charges Bacon made a general acknowledgment of guilt. With this confession the parliament was wholly unsatisfied. Determined to humble the greatest man of their time, they demanded an explicit confession in de tail of each act of corruption. Power they knew was in their hands. A weak, vain, and silly, though learned monarch, trembled before them. They had cominenced a process which could ter minate only in the fall of the reigning sovereign; and they resolved that the highest man in the realmn should feel the weight of their power. Bacon made them an ingenuous, frank, full, and most mortifying confession of guilt, and bowed himself before the representatives of the people. He acknowledged his guilt in twenty-eight articles, specified the amount he had received, detailed as far as was then practicable, the circumstances, and left himself at the mercy of an indignant parliament. "For extenuation," says he, “I will use none concerning the matters themselves; only it may please your lordships, out of your nobleness, to cast your eyes of compassion upon my person and estate. I was never noted for an avaricious man; and the apostle saith that covetousness is the root of all evil. I hope also that your lordships do the rather find me in a state of grace; for that in all these particulars, there are few or none that are not almost two years old; whereas those that are in the habit of corruption do commonly wax worse; so that it hath pleased God to prepare me by precedent degrees of amend
ment to my present penitency; and for my estate, it is so mean and poor, as my care is now chiefly to satisfy my debts." Being asked by a committee of the house of lords, whether this was his true and real confession, he used the following noble and touching language, "My lords, it is my act, my hand, my heart; I beseech your lordships to be merciful to a broken reed." The sentence for the crime we have already recorded.
We have no wish to justify these deeply humiliating and disgraceful crimes. We know not an instance in all history where we could weep over human weakness, as over the fall of this great man. It is one of the thousands of instances that every where meet us of human depravity-but if it fixes us in grief, and appals the soul, it shows us man scarcely "less than archangel ruined," and arrests our thoughts not like the obscuration of a planet, or the withdrawal of the beams of a twinkling star, but with the deep melancholy which is shed over created things, when the sun
"In dim eclipse disastrous twilight sheds
O'er half the nations, and with fear of change
The only way in which this offense can be in any manner palliated, is by a detail of the acknowledged circumstances of the case. 1. Bacon was distinguished for want of economy during his whole life. It is clear, as he says, that he was not "an avaricious man," but his great error was a love of office and honor; his great foible a fondness for display. This fondness had involved him in debts which he was unable to pay. 2. The affairs of his domestic economy, it appears, he entrusted to servants, who were regardless of expense, and probably unconcerned about the dignity, virtue, or solvency of their master. One article of the charge against him was, that "the lord chancellor hath given way to great exactions by his servants." To this he replies, "I confess it was a great fault of neglect in me, that I looked no better to my servants." 3. It is indisputable that Bacon was not enriched by these bribes. 4. It is more than probable, that Bacon only followed a custom which until that time had been regarded as no violation of the oath of the lord chancellor. Hume affirms that "it had been usual for former chancellors to take presents." If this was the case, it lessens greatly the enormity of the crime. It also casts much light on the character of the parliament which was thus resolved to make him a victim. 5. It is said that the presents which Bacon received did in no instance influence his decisions. It was never alledged, even by parliament, that he had given an unjust or erroneous sentence. None of his decisions were ever reversed; and it is affirmed that he "had given just decrees against those very persons from whom VOL. IV.
he had received the wages of iniquity."* It is further to be remarked, that of the twenty-eight charges of corruption against Bacon, but seven occurred during the existence of the suit. It remains yet to be demonstrated-a thing which he did not acknowledge, and which neither the witnesses in the case, nor the nature of his decisions proved, that even those presents influenced in the least his decisions. The more we contemplate the case of Bacon, the more we are disposed to think that injustice has been done to his character. We believe, in relation to the errors and failings of the men of those times-of such men as Calvin, and Cranmer, and Luther, and Bacon, that men have pronounced sentence with a severity drawn rather from the present views of morals, than from the sober estimate which we ought to make, if thrown into the circumstances of their times. This we think particularly :: true with regard to the crime of Bacon. While we feel assuredly, that crimes such as those with which he was charged, deserve the abhorrence of mankind, and go to impair and destroy all justice in the administration of laws, we are still inclined to look upon the errors of that age, and in those circumstances, with less severity than we should be disposed to apply in the more enlightened periods of the world. It is not easy to form an estimate of Bacon's religious character. We are favored with so few and imperfect details of his private habits; we have so little that tells us the true biography of the man-his feelings, his usual deportment, his private modes of action; we are let so little into the interior arrangements of his life, that we cannot easily pronounce on his personal character. Charity would lead us to hope, notwithstanding his fondness for preferment, and the great error of his life, that he may have exemplified in his private life, the principles which he has so ably and so constantly inculcated. On the subject of his religious opinions he has left us no room to doubt. There is scarcely to be found in any language or in any writer, so constant à reference to the great religious interests of man, as in the writings of Bacon. There is no where to be found a more profound deference to the authority of the bible. There is perhaps no where more caution displayed, lest the profoundness, variety, compass and originality of investigation, should lead the mind astray, than in his investigations. It was one of his recorded sentimentsone of the results of his investigations, which he has expressed without hesitancy or qualification, " that a little philosophy inclineth a man to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion; for while the mind of man looketh