Page images
PDF
EPUB

SEC

M

OF to co state a su Was mai

[ocr errors]

PART I I.

BACON'S PHILOSOPHICAL WORKS.

SECTION IV.—THE REMAINDER OF THE INSTAURATIO

MAGNA, AND THE OTHER FouosoPHICAL Writings: * Of the Six Parts of which the Instauratio Magna was to consist,* not one was left by Bacon in a completed state. The treatise De Augmentis Scientiarum is merely a substitute for the First; the Novum Organum, which was to form the Second, is unfinished ;t and of the remaining Parts we have only some portions and fragments. We will now proceed to give an account of the several tracts of which the Third Part of the Instauratio is composed, as they are commonly arranged.

At its head is placed a short Latin Dedication to Prince Charles, then heir to the crown, afterwards Charles I., which was originally prefixed to the Historia Naturalis et Experimentalis ad Condendam Philosophiam,' published, in 8vo., in 1622, by Bacon himself, designated by him the Third Part of the Instauratio Magna, but containing only the Historia Ventorum (or History of the Winds), the first of six similar histories or inquisitions which it was designed to include. Of this volume, which is now scarce, a very neat re-impression, in 12mo., in which certain other tracts were also included, was pro

duced at Leyden in 1638; and there is an English trans·lation of the entire contents of this latter volume “by

R. G., Gent.” originally printed, in 12mo., at London, in 1653, and reprinted in the Second Part of the Resuscitatio, 1670. The principal portion of the volume * See Vol. ii. p. 25.

See Pol, ii. p, 214,
See Vol, ii. p. 6.

VOL. III.

B

of translations by R. G. has also been adopted by Mr. Montagu. Shaw has, with unaccountable perverseness, given the History of the Winds and what we have of the other similar Histories as portions of the Fourth Part of the Instauratio, nowhere, as far as we have observed, even deigning to notice Bacon's own express declaration that they belong to Part Third. In the Dedication to Prince Charles, Bacon describes what he now presents as the first fruits of his intended Natural History (Primitias Historice postræ".Naturalis) ;:and he has bound himself, he says, as it were kiyisi yow, that he shall every month that he

may be allowed to live finish and produce, or pubishon editurasi, one or more of the other parts of it, ac. cording as the subjects may be more or less difficult or extensive. Others, he hopes, may perhaps be moved by his example to the like industry.

Then follows, in the common arrangement of the Third Part of the Instauratio, a short treatise entitled • Parasceve (more properly printed Parasceue) ad Historiam Naturalem et Experimentalem' (A Preparation for Natural and Experimental History). This was originally published at the end of the Novum Organum, folio, 1620. There is a translation of it in the Second Part of the, Resuscitatio, by a writer who signs himself W. W. at the end of a short address to the reader, in which he considers the Parasceue as an introduction to the Sylva Sylvarum. Another translation, apparently by Mr. Wood, is given by Mr. Montagu in his 14th volume. Shaw gives his translation, or paraphrase, of it as part of an Introduction to the Sylva.

In a second or extended title the Parasceue is called • Descriptio Historiæ Naturalis, &c., that is, “A Description of Natural and Experimental History, such as may

be sufficient in itself, and may serve for laying the basis and foundations of a True Philosophy.' In a short introduction Bacon explains that his reason for publishing his Instauratio in portions is, that so much of it at least may be placed out of danger. This consideration has induced him to add to the Novum Organum the present Description and Delineation of Natural and Experi

5

we

mental History, embracing materials for the Work of the Interpreter (Opus Interpretis), which is to follow it. Its proper place, it might be thought, would rather be when he should have come in the order of his inquiry to the Preparatives.

But it seems to us a wiser part (he proceeds, in the version of W. W.), rather to anticipitate it than to tarry for its proper place, because that such an history, as design in our mind, and shall presently describe, is a thing of exceeding great weight; nor can it be compassed without vast labour and charges, as that which stands in need of many men's endeavours; and, as we have elsewhere said, is a work truly regal. Wherefore we think it not amiss to try, if happily these things may be regarded by others; so that while we are perfecting in order those things which we design, this part, which is so various and burdensome, may in our lifetime, if so it please the Divine Majesty, be provided and prepared, others adjoining their labours to ours in this occasion; especially seeing that our strength, if we should stand under it alone, may seem hardly sufficient for so great a province: for, as for the business itself of the intellect, possibly we shall be able to conquer that with our own strength ; but the materials of the understanding are of so large an extent, that those must be gained and brought in from every place, as it were by factors and merchants. Besides we esteem it as a thing scarce worthy our enterprise, that we ourselves should spend time in such a business as is obtainable by almost all men's industries. But that which is the main of the business we will now ourselves perform, which is to propound diligently and exactly the manner and description of such a sort of history as may satisfy our intention, lest men, not being admonished, should loiter out their times, and order themselves after the example of the Natural Histories now in use, and so should stray far from our intention.

First, then, he proposes to give some general precepts for the compiling of a History of this kind, and then to lay a particular figure, or exemplification, of it before the eyes of men. Such a History he is wont to call First History, or Mother History.

The remainder of the treatise is digested into ten Aphorisms. They comprise, however, only the general

varum.

precepts, and contain scarcely any thing worthy of note that is not to be found in the Advancement of Learning or the De Augmentis.

But the Aphorisms are followed, as originally published along with the Novum Organum, by what is called ' A Catalogue of Particular Histories, arranged according to Chapters’ (Catalogus Historiarum Particularium, secundum Capita), which may perhaps be intended for the particular figure of First History promised in the introductory remarks to the Parasceue. The Catalogue is divided from the Aphorisms by a blank leaf; but the paging runs on, the blank leaf being reckoned though not numbered. The Catalogue, however, is not included by W. W. in his translation. Mr. Montagu has printed a translation of it by Mr. W. G. Glen; and it is also given by Shaw in his Introduction to the Sylva Syl

The Histories enumerated are 130 in all; namely, 21 to which no heading is prefixed, but which all relate to the elements, constituent parts, principles, and processes of General Nature ; 4 entitled Histories of the Greater Masses ; 15 Histories of Species ; 88 Histories of Man (including his inventions, works, &c.); and 2 of Mathematical subjects (Numbers and Figures).

The next tract is a fragment of a larger work which had been entitled ' Abecedarium Naturæ ' (The Alphabet of Nature). It was first published by Tenison in the Baconiana (1679), along with an English translation. In his Introduction Tenison observes that the Abecedarium was commonly said to be lost, and is well nigh so, the latter part of it only remaining. work,” he adds, “ is said to be a metaphysical piece ; but it is not so in the strictest sense. Its principal de sign is the partition of things into their several classes ; a design which his Lordship brought to more perfection in his Organon and book De Augmentis Scientiarum. And, though in it were handled conditions of things, yet not abstractly from all body, but with reference to it. And therefore his lordship did not call it Abecedarium Hyperphysicum, but the Alphabet of Nature. And his

6. This

« PreviousContinue »