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of despair he assigned two reasons:—" Because I number my days, and would have it savedand "to try whether I can get help in one intended part of this work, namely, the compiling of a Natural and Experimental History, which must be the foundation of a true and active philosophy." (a)—Such are the consequences of vain attempts to unite deep contemplation and unremitted action! Such the consequences of forgetting our limited powers; that we can reach only to our arm's length, and our voice be heard only till the next air is still! (6)
It will be remembered, that in the Advancement of Learning, he separates the subject of the human mind (c) into
Under the head of Invention, he says, "The invention of sciences, I purpose, if God give me leave, hereafter to propound, having digested it into two parts; whereof the one I term experientia literata, and the other, interpretatio nature.: the former being but a degree and rudiment of the latter. But I will not dwell too long, nor speak too great upon a promise."—This promise he, however, lived partly to realize.
In the year 1623, he completed his tract upon Literate
(a) See vol. xiv. p. 4.
(6) See the fable of Memnon, in the Wisdom of the Ancients, vol, iii. p. 40.
(c) Ante, p. earii.
Experience, (a) in which, after having explained that our inventions, instead of resulting from reason and foresight, had ever originated in accident: that "we are more beholden to a wild goat for surgery: to a nightingale for modulations of music: to the ibis for some part of physic: to a pot-lid that flew open for artillery: in a word, to chance rather than to logic: so that it is no marvel that the Egyptians had their temples full of the idols of brutes; but almost empty of the idols of men:" he divides this art of Discovery into two parts: "For either the indication is made from experiments to experiments, or from experiments to axioms, which may likewise design new experiments; whereof the former we will term Experientia Literata; the latter, Interpretatio Naturte, or Novum Organum: as a man may go on his way after a three-fold manner, either when himself feels out his way in the dark; or, being weak-sighted, is led by the hand of another; or else when he directs his footing by a light. So when a man essays all kind of experiments without sequence or method, that is a mere palpation; but when he proceeds by direction and order in experiments, it is as if he were led by the hand; and this is it which we understand by Literate Experience; for the light itself, which is the third way, is to be derived from the interpretation of nature, or the New Organ." (6) Literate He then proceeds to explain his doctrine of " Literate expertence. Experience," or the science of making experiments. The hunting of Pan. (c)
In this interesting inquiry the miraculous vigilance of this extraordinary man may, possibly, be more apparent
(a) De Augmentis, L. v. vol. viii. p. 2G5.
(e) Fable of Pan. See Wisdom of Ancients, vol. iii. p. 11.
than in his more abstruse works. An outline of it is subjoined, (a)
A few moments consideration of each of these subjects will not be lost.
Productton is experimenting upon the result of the experiment, and is either, 1st, by Repetition, continuing the experiment upon the result of the experiment; as Newton, who, after having separated light into seven rays, proceeded to separate each distinct pencil of rays: or, 2ndly, by Extension, or urging the experiment to a greater subtlety, as in the memory being helped by images and pictures of persons: may it not also be helped by imaging their gestures and habits? or, 3rdly, by Compulsion, or trying an experiment till its virtue is annihilated: not merely hunting the game, but killing it; as burning or macerating a loadstone, or dissolving iron till the attraction between the iron and the loadstone is gone.
Inversion is trying the contrary to that which is manifested by the experiment: as in heating the end of a small bar of iron, and placing the heated end downwards, and
The Novum Organum is the next subject of consideration. It thus opens:
your hand on the top, it will presently burn the hand. Invert the iron, and place the hand on the ground, to ascertain whether heat is produced as rapidly by descent as by ascent.
Variation is either of the matter, as the trying to make paper of woollen, as well as of linen; or of the efficient, as by trying if amber and jet, which when rubbed, will attract straw, will have the same effect if warmed at the fire; or of the quantity, like jEsop's huswife, who thought that by doubling her measure of barley, her hen would daily lay her two eggs.
Translation is either from nature to nature, as Newton translating the force of gravity upon the earth to the celestial bodies; or from nature to art, as the manner of distilling might be taken from showers or dew, or from that homely experiment of drops adhering to covers put upon pots of boiling water; or from art to a different art, as by transferring the invention of spectacles, to help a weak sight, to an instrument fastened to the ear, to help the deaf; or to a different part of the same art: as, if opiates repress the spirits in diseases, may they not retard the consumption of the spirits so as to prolong life; or from experiment to experiment: as upon flesh putrefying sooner in some cellars than in others, by considering whether this may not assist in finding good or bad air for habitations.
Such are the modes of experimenting by translation,*
* They may be thus exhibited:
•1. From nature. JJ° n*ture-
2 From art $ To a different art.
(To a different part of the same art.
|-3. From experiment to experiment.
His despair of the possibility of completing his important work, of which his Novum Organum was only a portion, appears at the very entrance of the volume, which, instead of being confined to the Novum Organum, exhibits an outline, and only an outline of the whole of his intended labours.
open to all men who will awake and perpetually fix their eyes, one while on the nature of things, another on the application of them to the use and service of mankind.
Copulation of experiments is trying the efficacy of united experiments, which, when separate, produce the same effect: as, by pulling off the more early buds when they are newly knotted, or by laying the roots bare until the spring, late roses will be produced. Will not the germination be more delayed by a union of these experiments?
Chances of an experiment, or the trying a conclusion not for that any reason, or other experiment, induceth you to it, but only because the like was never attempted before: an irrational, and, as it were, a passionate manner of experimenting; but yet the wonders of nature lie out of the high road and beaten paths, so as the very absurdity of an attempt may sometimes be prosperous.
Such is the nature of his tract entitled " Literate Experience."
(a) Vol. ix. p. 145, 6, 7. Cum autem incertus esset, quando haec alicui posthac in raentem ventura sint; eo potissimum usus argumento, quod neminem hactenus invenit, qui ad similes cogitationes animum applicuerit; decrevit prima quaeque, quae perficere licuit, in publicum edere. Neque haec festinatio ambitiosa fuit, sed sollicita; ut si quid illi