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so much as by illustrations drawn from other things operating in like manner, and producing similar results ; or as he himself has finely expressed it, "bythe same footsteps of nature treading or printing upon several subjects or matters.” He had great sagacity of observation, solidity of judgment and scope of fancy; in this resembling Plato and Burke, that he was a popular philosopher and a philosophical declaimer. His writings have the gravity of prose with the fervour and vividness of poetry. His sayings have the effect of axioms, are at once striking and self-evident. He views objects from the greatest height, and his reflections acquire a sublimity in proportion to their profundity, as in deep wells of water we see the sparkling of the highest fixed stars. The chain of thought reaches to the centre, and ascends the brightest heaven of invention. Reason in him works like an instinct: and his slightest suggestions carry the force of conviction. His opinions are judicial. His induction of particulars is alike wonderful for learning and vivacity, for curiosity and dignity, and an all-pervading intellect binds the whole together in a graceful and pleasing form. His style is equally sharp and sweet, flowing and pithy, condensed and expansive, expressing volumes in a sentence, or amplifying a single thought into pages of rich, glowing, and delightful eloquence.
He had great liberality from seeing the various aspects of things (there was nothing bigotted or intolerant or exclusive about him ) and yet he had firmness and decision from feeling their weight and consequences. His character was then an amazing insight into the limits of human knowledge and acquaintance with the landmarks of human intellect, so as to trace its past history or point out the path to future inquirers, but when he quits the ground of contemplation of what others have done or left undone to project him. self into future discoveries, he becomes quaint and fantastic, instead of original. His strength was in reflection, not in production: he was the surveyor, not the builder of the fabric of science. He had not strictly the constructive faculty. He was the principal pioneer in the march of modern philosophy, and has completed the education and discipline of the mind for the acquisition of truth, by explaining all the impediments or furtherances that can be applied to it or cleared out of its way. In a word, he was one of the greatest men this country has to boast, and his name deserves to stand, where it is generally placed, by the side of those of our greatest writers, whether we consider the variety, the strength or splendour of his faculties, for ornament or use.
His Advancement of Learning is his greatest work; and next to that, I like the Essays; for
the Novum Organum is more laboured and less effectual than it might be. I shall give a few instances from the first of these chiefly, to explain the scope of the above remarks.
The Advancement of Learning is dedicated to James I. and he there observes, with a mixture of truth and flattery, which looks very much like a bold irony,
“ I am well assured that this which I shall say is no amplification at all, but a positive and measured truth ; which is, that there hath not been, since Christ's time, any king or temporal monarch, which hath been so learned in all literature and erudition, divine and human (as your majesty). For let a man seriously and diligently revolve and peruse the succession of the Emperours of Rome, of which Cæsar the Dictator, who lived some years before Christ, and Marcus Antoninus were the best-learned ; and so descend to the Emperours of Grecia, or of the West, and then to the lines of France, Spain, England, Scotland, and the rest, and he shall find his judgment is truly made. For it seemeth much in a king, if by the compendious extractions of other men's wits and labour, he can take hold of any superficial ornaments and shews of learning, or if he countenance and prefer learning and learned men: but to drink indeed of the true fountain of learning, nay, to have such a fountain of learning in himself, in a king, and in a king born, is almost a miracle.”
To any one less wrapped up in self-sufficiency than James, the rule would have been more staggering than the exception could have been gratifying. But Bacon was a sort of prose-lau
gratifying. But Bacon wat sort of prose-laureat to the reigning prince, and his loyalty had never been suspected.
In recommending learned men as fit counsellors in a state, he thus points out the deficiencies of the mere empiric or man of business in not being provided against uncommon emergencies. _“Neither,” he says,
can the experience of one man's life furnish examples and precedents for the events of one man's life. For as it happeneth sometimes, that the grand-child, or other descendant, resembleth the ancestor more than the son: so many times occurrences of present times may sort better with ancient examples, than with those of the latter or immediate times; and lastly, the wit of one man can no more countervail learning, than one man's means can hold way with a common purse.”—This is finely put. It might be added, on the other hand, by way of caution, that neither can the wit or opinion of one learned man set itself up, as it sometimes does, in opposition to the common sense or experience of mankind.
When he goes 'on to vindicate the superiority of the scholar over the mere politician in disinterestedness" and inflexibility of principle, by arguing ingeniously enough-" The corrupter sort of mere politiques, that have not their thoughts established by learning in the love and apprehension of duty, nor never look abroad into universality, do refer all things to themselves, and thrust themselves into the centre of the world, as if all times should meet in them and their fortunes, never caring in all tempests what becomes of the ship of estates, so they may save themselves in the cock-boat of their own fortune, whereas men that feel the weight of duty, and know the limits of self-love, use to make good their places and duties, though with peril”I can only wish that the practice were as constant as the theory is plausible, or that the time gave evidence of as much stability and sincerity of principle in well-educated minds as it does of versatility and gross egotism in self-taught men. I need not give the instances, “they will receive” (in our author's phrase)“ an open allowance :" but I am afraid that neither habits of abstraction nor the want of them will entirely exempt men from a bias to their own interest ; that it is neither learning nor ignorance that thrusts us into the centre of our own little world, but that it is nature that has put a man there!