« 上一頁繼續 »
Indeed, Bacon's method was dis- which impelled Kepler to his repeated proved by his own contemporaries. assaults on the tough problem of the Kepler tried twenty guesses on the planetary orbits. The same compreorbit of Mars, and the last proved cor- hensive multiplicity of objects which rect. Galileo deduced important prin- prevented him from throwing his full ciples from assumptions, and then force into affairs, and taking a decided brought them to the test of experiment. stand as a statesman, operated likewise Gilbert's hypothesis, that “the earth is to dissipate his energies as an explorer of a great natural magnet with two poles," Nature. The analogies, relations, likeis now more than an hypothesis. The nesses of things occupied his attention Novum Organum contains a fling at to the exclusion of a searching examithe argument from final causes ; and nation of the things themselves. As a the very year it was published, Har- courtier, lawyer, jurist, politician, statesvey, the friend and physician of Bacon, man, man of science, student of uniby reasoning on the final cause of the versal knowledge, he has been practivalves in the veins, discovered the cir- cally excelled in each department by culation of the blood. All these men special men, because his intellect was had the scientific instinct and scientific one which refused to be arrested and genius that Bacon lacked. They made fixed. no antithesis between the anticipation And, in conclusion, the essential deof nature and the interpretation of na- fect of the Baconian method consisted ture, but they anticipated in order to in its being an invention of genius to interpret. It is not the disuse of dispense with the necessity of genius. hypotheses, but the testing of hypothe- It was, as Mr. Ellis has well remarked, ses by facts, and the willingness to “ a mechanical mode of procedure, give them up when experience decides pretending to lead to absolute certainty against them, which characterizes the of result.” It levelled capacities, bescientific mind.
cause the virtue was in the instrument Sixth, Bacon, though he aimed to used, and not in the person using it. institute a philosophy of observation, Bacon illustrates the importance of his and gave rules for observing, was not method by saying that a man of ordihimself a sharp and accurate observer of nary ability with a pair of compasses Nature, — did not possess, as has often can describe a better circle than a man been remarked, acuteness in propor- of the greatest genius without such tion to his comprehensiveness. His help; that the lame, in the path, outNatural History, his History of Life and strip the swift who wander from it; Death, of Density and Rarity, and the indeed, the very skill and swiftness of like, all prove a mental defect dis- him who runs not in the right direction qualifying him for the business. His only increases his aberration. With eye roved when it should have been his view of philosophy, as the investipatiently fixed. He caught at resem- gation of the forms of a limited number blances by the instinct of his wide- of simple natures, he thought that, with ranging intellect; and this peculiarity, “the purse of a prince and the assistconstantly indulged, impaired his pow- ance of a people,” a sufficiently copier of distinguishing differences. He pus natural history might be formed, spread his mind over a space so large within a comparatively short period, to that its full strength was concentrated furnish the materials for the working on nothing. He could not check the of his method; and then the grand indiscursive action of his intellect, and stauration of the sciences would be raphold it down to the sharp, penetrating, idly completed. In this scheme there dissecting analysis of single appear- 'could, of course, be only one great ances ; and his brain was teeming with name, - the name of Bacon. Those too many schemes to allow of that who collected the materials, those who mental fanaticism, that fury of mind, applied the method, would be only his VOL. XXII. — NO. 133.
clerks. His office was that of Secretary Thus by the use of Bacon's own of State for the interpretation of Nature; method of exclusion we exclude him Lord Chancellor of the laws of exists from the position due of right to Galience, and legislator of science; Lord leo and Kepler. In the inquiry respectTreasurer of the riches of the universe; ing the father of the inductive sciences, the intellectual potentate equally of he is not “the nature sought.” What, science and art, with no aristocracy then, is the cause of his fame among the round his throne, but with a bureauoc- scientific men of England and France ? racy in its stead, taken from the middle They certainly have not spent their class of intellect and character. There time in investigating the forms of simwas no place for Harvey and Newton ple natures ; they certainly have not and Halley and Dalton and La Place used his method ; why have they used and Cuvier and Agassiz, for genius was his name? unnecessary; the new logic, the Novum In answer to this question, it may be Organum, Bacon himself, mentally said that Bacon, participating in the alive in the brains which applied his intellectual movement of the higher method, was all in all. Splendid dis- minds of his age, recognized the paracoveries would be made, those discov- mount importance of observation and eries would be beneficently applied, experiment in the investigation of Nabut they would be made by clerks ture; and it has since been found conand applied by clerks. All were la- venient to adopt, as the father and tent in the Baconian method, and over founder of the physical sciences, one all the completed intellectual globe of whose name lends to them so much science, as in the commencement of the dignity, and who was undoubtedly one Novum Organum, would be written, of the broadest, richest, and most “ Francis of Verulam thought thus?” imperial of human intellects, if he And if Bacon's method had been really were not one of the most scientific. followed by succeeding men of science, Then he is the most eloquent of all this magnificentautocracy of understand- discoursers on the philosophy of sciing and imagination would have been ence, and the general greatness of his justified ; and round the necks of each mind is evident even in the demonstraof them would be a collar, on which ble errors of his system. No other would be written, “This person is so and writer on the subject is a classic, and so, born thrall of Francis of Verulam.'” Bacon is thus a link connecting men That this feeling of serene spiritual of science with men of letters and men superiority, and consciousness of being of the world. Whewell, Comte, Mill, the founder of a new empire in the Herschel, with more abundant material, world of mind, was in Bacon, we know with the advantage of generalizing the by the general tone of his writings, and philosophy of the sciences from their the politic contempt with which he history, are instinctively felt by every speaks of the old autocrats, Aristotle reader to be smaller men than Bacon. and Plato; and Harvey, who knew him As thinkers, they appear thin and unwell, probably intended to hit this im- fruitful as compared with his fulness perial loftiness, when he described him of suggestive thought; as writers, they as "writing philosophy like a Lord have no pretension to the massiveness, Chancellor.” “ The guillotine governs!” splendor, condensation, and regal dig. said Barrère, gayly, when some friend nity of his rhetoric. The Advancement compassionated his perplexities as a of Learning, and the first book of the practical statesman during the Reign Novum Organum, are full of quotable of Terror. “The Method governs!” sentences, in which solid wisdom is would have been the reply of a Bacon-' clothed in the aptest, most vivid, ian underling, had the difficulties of his most imaginative, and most executive attempts to penetrate the inmost mys- expression. If a man of science at the teries of nature been suggested to him. present day wishes for a compact statement in which to embody his scorn of sweetness and beauty to the homeliest bigotry, of dogmatism, of intellectual practical wisdom, that the reader impaconceit, of any of the idols of the human tiently returns, after being wearied with understanding which obstruct its per- the details of his method given in the ception of natural truth, it is to Bacon second book. His method was antithat he goes for an aphorism. quated in his own lifetime; but it is
And it is doubtless true that the to be feared that centuries hence his spirit which animates Bacon's philo- analysis of the idols of the human unsophical works is a spirit which in- derstanding will be as fresh and new spires effort and infuses cheer. It is as human vanity and pride. impossible to say how far this spirit has It was not, then, in the knowledge of animated inventors and discoverers. Nature, but in the knowledge of human But we know from the enthusiastic ad
nature, that Bacon pre-eminently exmiration expressed for him by men of celled. By this it is not meant that he science, who could not have been blind
was a metaphysician in the usual sense to the impotence of his method, that of the term, though his works contain all minds his spirit touched it must as valuable hints to metaphysicians as have influenced. One principle stands to naturalists; but these hints are on plainly out in his writings, that the in- matters at one remove from the central tellect of man, purified from its idols, is problems of metaphysics. Indeed, for competent for the conquest of nature; all those questions which relate to the and to this glorious task he, above all nature of the mind and the mode by other men, gave an epical dignity and which it obtains its ideas, for all quesloftiness. His superb rhetoric is the tions which are addressed to the specpoetry of physical science. The hum- ulative reason alone, he seems to have blest laborer in that field feels, in read- felt an aversion almost irrational. They ing Bacon, that he is one of a band of appeared to him to minister to the deheroes, wielding weapons mightier than light and vain-glory of the thinker, withithose of Achilles and Agamemnon, en- out yielding any fruit of wisdom which gaged in a siege nobler than that of could be applied to human affairs. Troy; for, in so far as he is honest Pragmatical man,” he says, “should and capable, he is “Man, the minister not go away with an opinion that learnand interpreter of Nature," engaged, ing is like a lark, that can mount, “not in the amplification of the power of and sing, and please herself, and nothone man over his country, nor in the am- ing else; but may know that she plification of the power of that country holdeth as well of the hawk, that can over other countries, but in the ampli- soar aloft, and can also descend and fication of the power and kingdom of strike upon the prey." Not, then, the mankind over the universe.” And, while abstract qualities and powers of the Bacon has thus given an ideal elevation human mind, considered as special obto the pursuits of science, he has at the jects of investigation independent of same time pointed out most distinctly individuals, but the combination of those diseases of the mind wbich check these into concrete character, interestor mislead it in the task of interpretation. ed Bacon. He regarded the machinery As a student of nature, his fame is in motion, the human being as he greater than his deserts; as a student thinks, feels, and lives, men in their reof human nature, he is hardly yet appre- lations with men; and the phenomena ciated; and it is to the greater part of presented in history and life he aimed the first book of the Novum Organum, to investigate as he would investigate where he deals in general reflections the phenomena of the natural world. on those mental habits and dispositions This practical science of human nature, which interfere with pure intellectual in which the discovery of general laws conscientiousness, and where his bene- seems hopeless to every mind not ficent spirit and rich imagination lend ample enough to resist being overwhelmed by the confusion, complica- ing to the regions and governments tion, and immense variety of the details, where they are planted, though they and which it will probably take ages to proceed from the same fountain." complete, – this science Bacon palpa- The Advancement of Learning, afbly advanced. His eminence here is terwards translated and expanded into demonstrable from his undisputed su- the Latin treatise De Augmentis, is periority to other prominent thinkers an inexhaustible storehouse of such in the same department. Hallam justly thoughts, – thoughts which have conremarks, that “if we compare what may stituted the capital of later thinkers, be found in the sixth, seventh, and but which never appear to so much eighth books De Augmentis ; in the advantage as in the compact imaginaEssays, the History of Henry VII., tive form in which they were originally and the various short treatises con- expressed. tained in his works on moral and po- It is important, however, that, in adlitical wisdom, and on human nature, mitting to the full Bacon's just claims from experience of which all such wis- as a philosopher of human nature, we dom is drawn, - if we compare these
should avoid the mistake of supposing works of Bacon with the rhetoric, him to have possessed acuteness in ethics, and politics of Aristotle, or with the same degree in which he possessed the histories most celebrated for their comprehensiveness. Mackintosh says deep insight into civil society and hu- that he is “probably a single instance of man character, — with Thucydides, Ta- a mind which in philosophizing always citus, Philip de Comines, Machiavel, reaches the point of elevation whence Davila, Hume, we shall, I think, find the whole prospect is commanded, that one man may be compared with all without ever rising to that distance these together.”
which prevents a distinct perception The most valuable peculiarity of this of every part of it.” This judgment is wisdom is, that it not merely points out accurate as far as regards parts considwhat should be done, but it points out ered as elements of a general view, but how it can be done. This is especially in the special view of single parts he true in all his directions for the culture has been repeatedly excelled by men of the individual mind; the mode by whom it would be absurd to compare which the passions may be disciplined, to him in general wisdom. His mind and the intellect enriched, enlarged, and was contracted to details by effort; it strengthened. So with the relations dilated by instinct. It was telescopic of the individual to his household, to rather than microscopic; its observasociety, to government, he indicates the tion of men was extensive rather than method by which these relations may minute. “Were it not better,” he says, be known and the duties they imply" for a man in a fair room to set up one performed. In his larger speculations great light, or branching candlestick of regarding the philosophy of law, the prin- lights, than to go about with a small ciples of universal justice, and the or- watch-candle into every corner ?” Cerganic character of national institutions, tainly, but the small watch-candle in he anticipates, in the sweep of his in- some investigations is better than the tellect, the ideas of the jurists and his- great central lamp; and his genius actorians of the present century. Vol- cordingly does not include the special umes have been written which are genius of such observers as La Bruyère, merely expansions of this statement of Rochefoucauld, Saint-Simon, Balsac, Bacon, that “there are in nature certain and Shaftesbury, — the detective police fountains of justice, whence all civil of society, politics, and letters, – men laws are derived but as streams; and whose intellects were all contracted into like as waters do take tinctures and a sharp, sure, cat-like insight into the tastes from the soils through which darkest crevices of individual natures, they run, so do civil laws vary accord- — whose eyes dissected what they looked upon, -- and to whom the slight- quil deposit, year after year, into his est circumstance was a key that opened receptive and capacious intellect, of the the whole character to their glance. facts of history and of his own wide For example: Saint-Simon sees a lady, experience of various kinds of life. whose seemingly ingenuous diffidence These he pondered, classified, reduced makes her charming to everybody. He to principles, and embodied in senpeers into her soul, and declares, as tences which have ever since been the result of his vision, that “modesty quotable texts for jurists, moralists, is one of her arts.” Again, after the historians, and statesmen; and all the death of the son of Louis XIV., the while his own servants were deceiving court was of course overwhelmed with and plundering him, and his followers decorous grief; the new dauphin and enriching themselves with bribes taken dauphiness were especially inconsolable in his name. The "small watch-canfor the loss; and, to all witnesses but dle” of the brain would have been valone, were weeping copiously. Saint- uable to him here. Simon simply says, “ Their eyes were The work by which his wisdom has wonderfully dry, but well managed.” reached the popular mind is his collecBacon might have inferred hypocrisy; tion of Essays. As originally published but he would not have observed the in 1597, it contained only ten; in the lack of moisture in the eyes amid all last edition published in his lifetime, the convulsive sobbing and the ago- the number was increased to fiftynized dips and waves of the handker- seven. The sifted result of much obchief. Take another instance: The servation and meditation on public and Duke of Orleans amazed the court by private life, he truly could say of their the diabolical recklessness of his con- matter, that “it could not be found in duct. St. Simon alone saw that ordi- books." Their originality can hardly nary vices had no pungency for him; be appreciated at present, for most of that he must spice licentiousness with their thoughts have been incorporated atheism and blasphemy in order to de- with the minds which have fed on rive any pleasure from it; and solves them, and have been continually reprothe problem by saying that he was duced in other volumes. Yet it is prob“born bored,” – that he took up vice able that these short treatises are rareat the point at which his ancestors had ly thoroughly mastered, even by the left it, and had no choice but to carry most careful reader. Dugald Stewart it to new heights of impudence or to testifies that after reading them for the reject it altogether. Again, to take an twentieth time he observed something example from a practical politician: which had escaped his attention in the Shaftesbury, who played the game of nineteenth. They combine the greatfaction with such exquisite subtlety in est brevity with the greatest beauty of the reign of Charles II., detected the expression. The thoughts follow each fact of the secret marriage between the other with such rapid ease; each king's brother and Anne Hyde by no- thought is so truly an addition, and not ticing at dinner that her mother, Lady an expansion of the preceding; the Clarendon, could not resist expressing point of view is so continually changed, a faint deference in her manner when in order that in one little essay the she helped her daughter to the meat; subject may be considered on all its and on this slight indication he acted sides and in all its bearings; and each as confidently as if he had learned the sentence is so capable of being develfact by being present at the wedding. oped into an essay,
- that the work reNow neither in his life nor in his quires long pauses of reflection, and writings does Bacon indicate that he frequent reperusal, to be estimated at had studied individuals with this keen its full worth. It not merely enriches attentiveness. His knowledge of hu- the mind, it enlarges it, and teaches it man nature was the result of the tran- comprehensive habits of reflection. The