Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

21. Instances of the Rod or Radius (Virgae sive Radii); called also Instances of Endurance (Perlationis*), or of No Farther (Non Ultra).

22. Instances of the Course (Curriculi); called also Water Instances (Instantiae ad Aquam), from the water-clocks of the ancients. These are instances of the measuring of things by time. Under this head Playfair observes that Bacon, after remarking that every change and every motion requires time, has the following very curious anticipation of facts, which appeared then doubtful, but which subsequent discovery has ascertained :“ The consideration of these things produced in me a doubt altogether astonishing, namely, whether the face of the serene and starry heavens be seen at the instant it really exists, or not till some time later; and whether there be not, with respect to the heavenly bodies, a true time and an apparent time, no less than a true place and an apparent place, as astronomers say, on account of parallax. For it seems [Bacon's word is videbaturit seemed] incredible that the species or rays of the celestial bodies can pass through the immense interval between them and us in an instant, or that they do not even require some considerable portion of time.”_" The measurement of the velocity of light,” Playfair subjoins, " and the wonderful consequences arising from it, are the best commentaries on this passage, and the highest eulogy on its author.” Bacon, however, immediately proceeds thus:

But this suspicion, as to any great interval betwixt the real and apparent time afterwards vanished, upon considering that infinite loss and diminution of quantity, as to sight, between the real body of a star and the apparent object, which difference is caused by the distance; and, at the same time, considering to what a distance objects that are barely wbite may, of a sudden, be seen here below, amounting to sixty miles at the least; for there is no question but that the light of the celestial bodies

* Shaw translates Permeating Instances ; Mr. Wood, Instunces of Completion.

has not only the vivid strength of whiteness, but also vastly exceeds the light of flame, as we find flame here in power and strength of radiancy. Nay, that immense velocity wherewith gross matter moves, in the diurnal rotation, renders this wonderfully swift motion of the rays of light, from the fixed stars, more probable. But what has the greatest weight with me is this, that if there should here be any considerable space of time between reality and sight, or the existence of the object, and its being seen, it must then happen that the sight would be frequently intercepted and confounded by clouds arising in the inean time, or by the like disturbances in the medium. And thus much for the simple mensuration of time.

23. Instances of the How Much (Instantiae Quanti); called also Doses of Nature (Doses Naturae).

24. Instances of Struggle (Instantiae Luctae); called also Instances of Predominance. Here Bacon enume. rates and illustrates at great length the principal kinds of motions and active virtues or powers in nature ; which he makes to be, 1. Motion of Resistance (antitypiae); 2. Of Connexion (nexus) ; 3. Of Liberty; 4. Oi Matter (hyles); 5. Of Continuity continuationis); 6. Of Acquisition (ad lucrum), or Of Need (indigentiae); 7. Of Greater Congregation ; 8. Of Lesser Congregation; 9. The Magnetic Motion; 10. Of Avoidance (fugae); 11. Of Ăssimilation, or Self-multiplication, or Simple Generation ; 12. Of Excitement; 13. Of Ím. pression ; 14. Of Configuration or Position (situs) ; 15. Of Penetration (Per-transitionis), or Motion according to the Passages (secundum meatus); 16. The Royal or Political Motion (by which the predominant and ruling parts in any body bridle, conquer, subjugate, and reguIate the rest, and compel them to unite, to separate, to stand still, to move, to take their places, not according to their own inclinations, but with a reference to, and as may be most conducive to the welfare of, that ruling part); 17. The Spontaneous Motion of Rotation (with its nine different species, all likewise enumerated); 18. Of Trepidation ; 19. Of Repose (decubitus), or of Aversion to Motion (exhorrentiae motus).

25. Prompting Instances (Instantiae Innuentes).

26. Many-sided Instances (Instantiae Polychrestae, literally Instances of many uses.) The ways in which man acts upon natural bodies (besides their mere application to and removal from one another), are stated to be seven : 1. By the exclusion of whatever impedes or dis. turbs ; 2. By compressions, extensions, agitations, and such like; 3. By heat and cold;. 4. By detention in a suitable place; 5. By checking and regulating motion ; 6. By means of special eements, or sympathies, in things (consensus) ; 7. By a temperate and due alternation, and a series and succession of all these ways. These seven methods are all illustrated at great length.

27. Magical Instances; being those in which the matter or efficient cause is slight or small in comparison of the magnitude of the work or effect produced.

And so much for the subject of prerogative instances. It must be observed, that in this our new machine for the understanding, we deliver a logic, not a philosophy : but as our logic directs the understanding, and instructs it, not like the commun logic, to catch and lay hold of abstracted notions, as it were by the slender twigs, or tendrils, of the mind; but really enters and cuts through nature, and discovers the virtues and actions of bodies, together with their laws, as determined in matter; so that this knowledge flows not only from the nature of the mind, but also from the nature of things, and the uni. verse; hence it is no wonder that, in order to give examples and illustrations of our art, we every where employ physical considerations and experiments. .

And now we should proceed to the helps and rectifications 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 coudition 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 shalt thou eat thy bread," 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.

SECTION IV.

THE REMAINDER OF THE INSTAURATIO Magna, AND

THE OTHER PHILOSOPHICAL 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 produced at Leyden in 1638; and there is an English translation 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 Vol. ii. p. 214.
See Vol. ii.

p.

6.

« AnteriorContinuar »