Billeder på siden



one king to another without their consent, declared themselves | independent, formed a constitution, which they proclaimed on the seventeenth of May, and called a prince of Denmark to the throne. By this constitution the government is monarchical indeed, but so extremely limited, that the whole real power is in the hands of the nation, and is exercised by a legislature, consisting of two houses, chosen by the people, and styled the Storthing, upon Bernadotte rewhich the sovereign has only a qualified veto. solved to coerce the Norwegian nation by force of arms into an acknowledgment of the transfer, and advanced upon Norway with a Swedish army. The new king of Norway, too timid or too weak to defend himself, resigned his crown in the following October, and the Storthing thereupon entered into an arrangement with Bernadotte to confer the crown upon him, on condition of maintaining the constitution they had established. He accepted the condition on the fourth of November, and took the oath of fidelity to the constitution. But he chooses to consider his title to Norway as derived from the treaty of Kiel, and the new constitution as a grant from himself on the fourth of November; while the Norwegians maintain that their constitution exists, by their own will, from the seventeenth of May, and that the title of the king to his crown is derived from the compact of the fourth of November. In this paltry spirit, the king has kept up a dispute with the people of Norway for many years; they persisting in celebrating the seventeenth of May as the anniversary of the constitution, and he interfering by every means in his power-once by military force-to prevent the celebration, but always in vain. The constitution of Norway has proved, in its working, vastly too democratical for the lovers of high monarchical authority; and so the history of the Storthing, for the last few years, has been a history of disputes with the executive government-the latter making earnest and repeated attempts to grasp a greater authority than it now possesses, and the Storthing steadily and resolutely resisting every one of these attempts. But this is a great subject, There is little in the into which we have not time now to enter. history of Europe for the last twenty years more interesting and encouraging, to every philanthropist, to every American, to every lover of popular government, than the history of Norway from the establishment of her democratical constitution.

Sweden has had for ages a Diet-a general assembly of the States of the Kingdom-consisting of four houses, the nobles, the clergy, the burgesses, and the peasants. The houses of the burgesses and the peasants are representative bodies, chosen, the former by the inhabitants of the towns, and the latter by the small landed proprietors, of the class of peasants. All peasants owning land which pays taxes are electors, and eligible to the house of peasants. The kingdom is divided into districts or hereds, for each of which a representative to that house is elected. The house of the clergy consists of representatives chosen by that class, together with the bishops. The house of nobles consists of the head of each noble family in the kingdom. A law may be passed by a majority of the chambers, although the fourth dissent; and when all agree, the king has still an absolute veto. The Diet meets regularly every five years, but may be called together at any time by the king. Whatever may be the nominal authority of the Diet, it is in reality subservient to the crown, for four-fifths of the three upper houses are dependant upon it. But if the Diet were independent, it would have in its hands the destinies of the kingdom, for its control over the public officers is direct and decisive; and any of the judges of the highest court may be removed by a standing committee appointed by the four houses. But in the present composition of The only indethe Diet, the people cannot control the crown. pendent house is the peasants', and its concurrence is not necesWhat sary to any legislative act, if the three others but agree. then can the peasants do, to break up the present abuses which paralyse the country?

Although the resistance of the house of peasants, according to the present working of the constitution, might be nearly fruitless to arrest any bad measure, or its efforts to promote any good one, yet a strong opposition has at times manifested itself there; and there are members of that house who have distinguished themselves by their manly and eloquent speeches in defence of popular rights. But there is an incubus upon the heart of the Swedish nation, which almost stops its pulsations, and which must be removed before the body politic can breathe freely. It is the vast old system of exclusive privileges-exclusive privileges to the nobility, to the clergy, to guilds and corporations, and to individuals. It is amazing how industry is fettered-how the liberty of moving and acting is restrained, among a people boasting of its freedom, Scarcely an art, a trade, a profession, is free to all. A

Swede can scarcely move without a passport, or engage in any
business without a royal license. The people are split into clans,
having little connexion or sympathy with each other; there is
no middle class, strong in numbers and character; and the nobi-
lity are therefore entirely separated from the peasantry, and con-
sequently supercilious and exclusive, though they are generally
poor, and dependant upon official employment for their support.
Though the elements of a free government do certainly exist
among this people, which at some time or other will grow into a
I cannot think that the spirit of a free
popular constitution-popular in practice as in theory-it is far
enough from it now.
people yet exists among the mass of the Swedes. The peasant
elector is the proprietor of a small farm, but he is poor; he is
accustomed from infancy to the restraints and privations of a
vicious system; his life is uniform, his labours constant, his ne-
cessities pressing; and his life has been too quiet in a remote
part of the world, free from the agitations which in other coun-
tries have awakened the peasant to a sense of his rights and his
wrongs, for him to think a great deal of the administration of a
government which suffers things to go on in the old way, and in
which, moreover, he feels himself to have a share indeed, but a
share that is quite insignificant, and a voice that is scarcely heard.
He has been taught the common rudiments of education, and
every Swede can read-but reading, as the example of Sweden
proves, is not of itself sufficient to make a freeman. Even the
inhabitant of the towns, the burgess, the man to whom Europe
owes her regeneration after the night of the middle ages, is not
Their numbers are too
here the bold resolute man he then was.
few; they have not sufficient wealth; the towns are too small; and
the burgess, accustomed to the supercilious deportment of the
nobility, and infected himself with an appetite for the most trifling
distinctions and titles, is hardly firm to look upon himself as a
partner in the government.

The judicial system, if the courts were all opened to the public, would be excellent; but there is a Hered court, for each of the two hundred and sixty-four hereds or districts into which the country is divided, sitting three times a year, over which a heredhoving presides, assisted by a jury of twelve men, elected for two years by the peasants; and corresponding local courts for the towns. Above these are the Lagman's courts, in which a lagman presides, assisted by a jury; and over all are the Hof courts, of which there are three in different parts of the kingdom. But on petition to the king, the adjustments of the Hof courts may be reviewed in the Council of State.

The guards about Stockholm are a fine-looking body of men, well appointed and well disciplined. The military force of the kingdom consists of three descriptions of troops-the enlisted troops, the indeldta troops, and the landstrum. There are only about six thousand enlisted troops, all of whom are stationed in the capital and its environs. The indeldta soldier is a military Each district is obliged to colonist, and upon this description of force the defence of the country chiefly rests, by land and sea. furnish small farms and cottages for a certain number of men, who are trained to arms, constitute a standing force, and may be embodied at any time, but who are permitted to marry, and, when not called into active service, support themselves on their little State. The number of indeldta troops is about twenty-seven farms. It is only when called out that they receive pay from the The Swedish thousand men ; the landstrum is a sort of militia, and numbers about sixty thousand: so that the whole military force of Sweden is nominally less than one hundred thousand men. soldier, all history shows, is brave, resolute, and yields readily to Patience and discipline are attributes of strict military discipline. the northern nations. For Sweden, a poor country, abounding in natural defences, its military system is well devised, and would doubtless prove sufficient, except, perhaps, in case of a sudden invasion by a large Russian force, in winter, from the Aland islands, the point where Sweden is most vulnerable. For their defence by sea, the Swedes rely less upon heavy ships of war than upon a numerous flotilla of gun-boats and small vessels, acting with ease among the innumerable islands which form the best bulwark against hostile fleets. Under competent leaders, the Swedish troops are capable of as much as any others; and, when brought to co-operate with more numerous forces, as during the operations with the allies in Germany, under Bernadotte, form a valuHer star began to decline at Lutzen, and able auxiliary; but alone Sweden can scarcely ever again venture upon offensive war. though it floated like a meteor at times under Charles XII., it set in blood and darkness on the fatal field of Pultowa.

The currency of the country is almost exclusively of paper.

The first bank was established in 1657, and for a time its business was conducted upon the just principles of banking. But it was a government institution, and in the urgent necessities of the State, the temptation to over-issues was too strong to be resisted. Vast issues were made from time to time, as one exigency succeeded another, without a sufficient basis, or any adequate means of redemption: depreciation began, as a necessary consequence, till at last the notes fell to one-third the same nominal amount in silver. At this rate of three for one, the rate of depreciation is now permanent, and new issues are made every day at this fixed rate. The consequence has been that gold and silver have nearly disappeared. Scarcely any coin is to be seen, except small pieces of copper; and the country is suffering under the curse of a universal paper currency, bank notes being in circulation of the smallest denominations-some even as low as six cents. The enormous loss upon the depreciation of the original issues fell, of course, upon the people, while the government, the unjust author of all this mischief, reaped the advantage of the fraud, if any real and permanent advantage can accrue from a departure from the eternal canons of right to individuals or nations.


WITH the exception of naval and military men, there is no class of the community who witness more examples of fortitude and personal courage, than the practitioners of surgery. What greater proof can be given of confidence and courage, than that with which a person surrenders himself, blindfolded, and bound hand and foot, to the knife of the operator? Every day in the week, this great metropolis produces, in silence and in secrecy, acts of heroism, of strength of mind, and firmness of purpose, that would do honour to the ancient Roman. I have witnessed many in both sexes; and although the first amputation I ever saw had nothing of the "sublime or the beautiful" to recommend it, yet it affords an illustration of the observation, from low life, of how much the mind may be under control, even during great bodily pain, and the bitter anguish of the sudden loss of a limb.

"How do you find yourself, Mrs. Judy?" said a St. Bartholomew's surgeon, after taking off the arm of an Irish basket-woman. "How do I find myself? why, without my arm-how the divil else should I find myself?" was Mrs. Judy's reply.

In another operation, shortly afterwards, of much more importance, the force of female character was evinced in a different manner. A lady, of some consequence, of the highest order as to intellectual endowments, had occasion to submit to one of the most serious, painful, and protracted operations that the sex can be subject to. Her case was a source of great interest to all her friends, and of the most bitter anguish to all her relatives. When the necessity of an operation became decided, she determined on the speedy and secret execution of it, and arrangements were made of her own planning, by which her physician, three surgeons, and myself, then a surgical aide-de-camp, were introduced into the house, and the operation successfully performed, without the knowledge of any one of her own family, or the cognizance of any of a large establishment, excepting her own maid.-London Medical Gazette.

We met when life and hope were new,

When all we look'd on smiled,-
And Fancy's wand around us threw

Enchantments, sweet as wild!-
Ours were the light and bounding hearts
The world had yet to wring ;-
The bloom that, when it once departs,
Can know no second spring!

What though our love was never told,
Or breathed in sighs alone;

By signs that would not be controll'd,

Its growing strength was shown:—
The touch, that thrill'd us with delight;
The glance, by art untamed;

In one short moon, as brief as bright,
That tender truth proclaim'd!

We parted, chilling looks among ;-
My inmost soul was bow'd;
And blessings died upon my tongue,
I dared not breathe aloud :-
A pensive smile, serene and bland,

One thrilling glance-how vain!
A pressure of thy yielding hand:-
We never met again!

Yet still a spell was in thy name,

Of magic power to me,

That bade me strive for wealth and fame,
To make me worthy thee!

And long, through many an after-year,
When boyhood's dream had flown,
With nothing left to hope or fear,
I loved, in silence, on!

More sacred ties at length are ours,
As dear as those of yore;
And later joys, like autumn flowers,
Have bloom'd for us once more!
But never canst thou be again
What once thou wert to me ;-

I glory in another's chain-
And thou'rt no longer free.

Thy stream of life glides calmly on,
-A prosperous lot is thine-
The brighter, that it did not join

The turbid waves of mine!
Yet, oh! could fondest love relume
Joy's sunshine on my brow,
Thine scarce can be a happier doom
Than I might boast of now!




Napoleon knew how to break men like dogs. He would trample upon

frisking to him: and no monarch ever had so many absolute instruments of his absolute will as Napoleon. I do not speak only of his immediate servants;

princes and sovereigns showed themselves equally well broken.-Niebuhr.


A BAD handwriting ought never to be forgiven; it is a shameful indolence; indeed, sending a badly-written letter to a fellow-creature is as impudent an act as I know of. Can there be anything them, and again show them a piece of bread and pat them, so that they came more unpleasant than to open a letter which at once shows that it will require long deciphering? Besides, the effect of the letter is gone if we must spell it. Strange, we carefully avoid troubling other people with trifles, or to appear before them in dress which shows negligence or carelessness, and yet nothing is thought of giving the disagreeable trouble of reading a badly-written letter. In England, good breeding requires writing well and legibly; with us (Germans) it seems as if the contrary principle were acknowledged. Although many people may not have made a brilliant career by their fine handwriting, yet I know that more than a few have spoiled theirs by a bad one. The most important petitions are frequently read with no favourable disposition, or entirely thrown aside, merely because they are written so badly.-Niebuhr.


Death is a fearful thing, and life full of hopes; it is want of well-squared judgment to leave any honourable means unessayed of saving one's life.-Sir Philip Syaney.

It is better with willingness to purchase thanks, than with a discontented doing to have the pain and not the reward.-Sir Philip Sidney.

The VOLUMES of the LONDON SATURDAY JOURNAL may be had as follows:-
VOLUME I., containing Nos. 1 to 26, price 5s. 6d. in cloth.
VOLUME 11., containing Nos. 27 to 52, price 5r. 6d. in cloth.
VOLUMES I. and II. bound together, containing the Numbers for 1839, price
10s. 6d. in cloth.

BACK NUMBERS and PARTS, to complete Sets, may always be obtained.

London: WILLIAM SMITH, 113, Fleet Street. Edinburgh: FRASER and Co. Dublin: CURRY and Co.-Printed and Stereotyped by Bradbury and Evans, Whitefriars.


No. 73.]



SATURDAY, MAY 23, 1840.




by an appeal to observation and fact, that we can ever arrive at a knowledge of the true system of nature. Such was the fundamental principle laid down by Bacon; and it has been called the inductive method of investigating nature. Induction literally signifies a bringing in, and is sufficiently expressive of the method of bringing together particular facts and instances, previously to any attempt at forming a system or theory, or by reasoning upon mere conjectures about nature's laws and properties, as philosophers had been accustomed to do before. In his treatment of this important subject of induction, Bacon exhibited a comprehensiveness of mind, a penetration and a sagacity, such as the world had never before seen, and which well entitles him to the appellations he has received of the Prophet of the Arts, and the Father of Experimental Philosophy. We shall, therefore, now proceed to give an account of the most important and considerable part of his general work, entitled the Instauratio Magna, or Instauration of the Sciences. It is called Novum Organon Scientiarum, or a New Method of studying the Sciences, from the Greek word Organon, which signifies an instrument or machine.

ALTHOUGH We cannot charge the Physics of antiquity with being absolutely regardless of experiment,—some attention to fact being necessary to render a theory plausible,-yet so unskilful was the use made of it, and to so limited an extent was it pursued, that the physical theories by which the ancients accounted for natural phenomena are mere chimeras. They took up principles lightly from an inaccurate and careless observation of many things; where more accurate observations were made, they unwarrantably generalised from too limited a number of facts. In some instances, indeed, they made very important discoveries in natural philosophy, astronomy, and other branches of physical inquiry; but they pursued no regular system of experimental investigation, and too often, from superficial examination, made facts subservient to preconceived theories. During the middle ages, the faults of the ancients were not likely to be corrected by the visionaries who then dignified themselves with the name of philosophers. Indeed, Before laying down the rules to be observed in this inductive the authority of Aristotle, (undoubtedly a great and immortal process of reasoning, Bacon philosophically points out, with great name, but one too long and too slavishly venerated, even to the exactness, various general sources of those errors which men are exclusion of the evidence of men's senses-sight for instance,) for apt to commit in forming their notions of things. The prejudices nearly two thousand years, exercised as complete a control over that check the progress of truth he figuratively but strikingly the human mind as any religious superstition which ever darkened designates Idols, because mankind bow down and pay homage to or cramped it; so that, even in the fourteenth and fifteenth centu- them, instead of regarding truth. Their names, though significant, ries, an appeal from the Stagyrite to Nature herself was reckoned are somewhat quaint and fantastical; but such a style of compoequivalent to heresy. But men could not always shut their eyes sition was characteristic of the age in which Bacon flourished. to the light and the phenomena of nature. Notwithstanding that These Idols of the mind, or grand sources of prejudices and the thunder of the Vatican was fulmined for the purpose of drowning prepossessions, are divided into four classes-Idols of the Tribe, every voice that attempted to promulgate principles opposed to Idols of the Den, Idols of the Market, and Idols of the Theatre. the doctrines of the schools, examples of experimental inquiry The comprehensiveness of mind which Bacon here displays, in began to be given to the world in the sixteenth century. It was distributing the sources of error under these several heads, is very reserved, however, for Lord Bacon, who had turned his mighty remarkable; for under one or other of them everything which can and creative intellect to the contemplation of the state of human retard the progress of the human mind in its search after truth knowledge, to mark its imperfections and plan its improvement. will be found to come. "While the rules which Bacon gives us," This truly great man, unlike Plato, Aristotle, and all the other says Dr. Thomas Brown, "are rules of physical investigation, the philosophers of antiquity, was the father of no new sect of philo- temple which he purified was not that of nature itself, but the sophers, the inventor of no new theoretical system; but, taking temple of the mind; in its inmost sanctuaries were all the idols to pieces the fanciful fabrics of those who had gone before him, which he overthrew; and it was not till these were removed, that he sketched the plan of another edifice, to be constructed by those Truth would deign to unveil herself to adoration." who came after him, not hastily, but slowly from age to age, and according to the immutable principles of nature and truth. Knowledge is power," said he; but in his day the natural alliance between the knowledge and the power of man seemed entirely interrupted. Improvement in art was left to the fortuitous operations of chance, and that of science to the collision of opposite opinions. "Men have sought to make a world from their own conceptions," he says, "and to draw from their own minds all the materials which they employed; but if, instead of doing so, they had consulted experience and observation, they would have had facts and not opinions to reason about, and might have ultimately arrived at the knowledge of the laws which govern the material world." It is only in conducting scientific inquiry


1. The Idols of the Tribe are so called because they are common to frail humanity, and spring not from peculiarity of circumstance, but from the nature of the human mind itself. "The mind," he says, "is not like a plain mirror, which reflects the images of things exactly as they are; it is like a mirror of an uneven surface, which combines its own figure with the figures of the objects it represents," thus distorting and perverting them. Among the idols of this class, the tendency in the mind to suppose a greater uniformity in nature than really exists is none of the least conspicuous. Rash and superficial generalisation has been the bane of science in all ages, and probably more than anything else has retarded its progress. For instance, when it was perceived that the orbits of the planets returned into themselves, (that is, after

Bradbury and Evans, Printers, Whitefriars.


the planet had gone a certain round in the heavens, it was at a certain period found in that exact place from which it took its departure,) it was immediately concluded that all the heavenly bodies move in circles; and this was implicitly believed, until Kepler proved that they move in oval orbits. This propensity has in latter times been recognised under the name of the spirit of system; and the prediction of Bacon, that the sources of error would return, and mingle with science even in its most flourishing condition, has been often verified, particularly in theories regarding the physical constitution of the mass of the globe. Amongst other Idols of the Tribe, prepossessions or partialities in favour of any theory which pleases the fancy are very common to the mind. Thus, any notion which has at first imparted a high degree of satisfaction is supported, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, and facts and observations are twisted and construed to make them correspond with it. The force of general prejudices is also aided by the restless activity of the mental powers, and the ambitious desire of the mind to pry into mysteries, and attempt to grasp the incomprehensible, such as ideas of space, time, eternity, infinity, final causes, and the like. Our purely intellectual opinions are also greatly affected by peculiarities in the moral constitution of the mind. With admirable sagacity our author observes: "The light of the understanding is not a pure daylight, but it receives a tincture from the will and the affections, and forms the sciences accordingly; for men are most willing to believe what they most desire. Difficulties are rejected through impatience; the deeper things of nature are dreaded through a certain awe experience is discarded through pride; truth, when it limits our hopes paradox is shunned through fear of vulgar opposition : and thus, in innumerable ways, and often imperceptibly, do the affections and passions tinge the understanding with their own colouring." The fallacy and incompetency of the senses, and the love of the mind for abstractions and generalisations, complete the number of the sources of error arranged under the head of Idols of the Tribe..

2. The Idols of the Den are those which result from the peculiar mental constitution of the individual. Besides the causes of error which are common to the species, Bacon observes, that every individual has his own dark cavern or den, into which the light is but imperfectly admitted, and where a favourite tutelary idol lurks, at whose shrine the truth is often sacrificed. These idols are characterised by our author as "each man's particular demon, or seducing familiar spirit ;" and again, every mind is compared to "a glass with its surface differently cut, so as differently to receive, reflect, and refract the rays of light that fall upon it." Particular studies greatly influence men's opinions; and Bacon instances this in the case of Aristotle, who depraved his physics so much with his dialectics, as to render the former entirely a science of words and controversy, a source of endless and useless disputation. Amongst other private prejudices, or sources of error arising from the mental constitution of individuals, the natural difference of men's capacities is mentioned. Bacon distinguishes two grand classes of minds; those composing the one being best adapted to perceive the differences of things; those composing the other, to catch their resemblances. "A steady and sharp genius," says he, can fix its contemplations, and dwell and fasten upon all the subtilty of differences; whilst a sublime and ready genius perceives and compares the smallest and most general agreements of things. Both minds fall easily into excess, by grasping either at the dividing scale or the shadows of things." Attachment to times is also mentioned as having a powerful influence in the formation of our ideas of truth and excellence. Thus, an idolatry of the ancients has been carried to excess, and the "wisdom of our ancestors"

[ocr errors]

is a proverbial term of expression to the present day. In general, however, this kind of prejudice has greatly declined since Bacon's time,-truth, and not the establishment of sects, having become the aim and end of philosophical inquiry. There are other kinds of prejudices which our author enumerates; but they are more obscure and less important than the foregoing.

3. The Idols of the Forum are those that arise out of the commerce or intercourse of society, and especially from language, or the means by which men maintain an interchange of thought*.

The re-action of thought upon language, and language upon thought, is a very obvious source of error in reasoning.— Language is very imperfect; and in an inconceivable number of instances, the precise idea which is meant to be conveyed is but very faintly indicated. Lord Bacon's meaning may be illustrated by such words as sensation and will. The former may be defined by saying it is feeling: but what is feeling? What, for example, is the feeling or sensation of cold or heat? What is the sensation of seeing 2 It is obvious that none can describe these to a person supposed never to have experienced them. Will may be defined as volition, but this again is a mere translation; and if an intelligent being could be imagined who had never actually willed anything, nor ever had any desire in his mind to do or say anything, it would be utterly impossible to make him understand what willing is. For such imperfections, there appears to be no remedy but having recourse to particular instances, and carefully comparing the meanings of words with the external archetypes from which they are derived.


4. The Idols of the Theatre are the last, and consist of the prejudices and perversions of the mind arising from the fabulous and visionary theories, and the romantic philosophies, that so long prevailed in the world. "We call them Idols of the Theatre," says Bacon, "because all the systems of philosophy that have been hitherto invented or received are but so many stage-plays which have exhibited nothing but fictitious and theatrical worlds; and there may still be invented and dressed up numberless other fables of the like kind." "6 Philosophy," he again remarks, "as hitherto pursued, has taken much from a few things, or a little from a great many; and in both cases has too narrow a basis to be of much duration or utility." Lord Bacon, in his review of these false and visionary systems of philosophy, divides them into three general kinds-sophistical-empirical- and superstitious. ancient systems were chiefly of a sophistical nature, and were formed on a few careless and imperfect observations and experiments, the filling up being dependent upon the ingenuity and fancy of the inventor. The philosophies of Aristotle, Anaxagoras, Leucippus, Democritus, and others, are prominent examples of these kinds of Idols of the Theatre. Empirical systems are those which are founded upon a few experiments only, although these may be perfectly true and exact in themselves. The ancient chemists or alchemists, with their idle speculations about the four elements, and their dreams of a universal medicine, which was to reverse the irrevocable doom of humanity—death, as well as the Philosopher's Stone, and the like, are adduced as examples of such false systems. Superstitious systems are those in which certain philosophical theories are interwoven with religion, and made subservient to it. In ancient times the philosophies of Pythagoras and Plato are specimens; and in modern times, Whiston's theory of the globe, and Hutchinson's attempt to trace the physics of

This may be looked upon as the germ of Locke's Essay on the Human Understanding, which every one knows resulted from its great author observing, whilst conversing with some friends, that much of argumentation might be saved if disputants would only come to an understanding about the exact meaning of terms before they debated a point,

the true astronomy to the Mosaic account of the creation, afford very striking examples.

the internal structure or constitution of crystals, is examining into the latent schematism*. We do the same when we attempt to explain elasticity, magnetism, gravitation, and the like, by any peculiar structure of bodies, or any arrangement of the particles of matter.

The second part contains Tables, given in illustration of the inductive method. The materials from which Lord Bacon designed that tables of this kind should be composed for the advancement of

relation between the time and the change effected, would be to have a perfect knowledge of the latent process." By the latent scheAfter various preliminary discussions concerning the "charac-matism, Bacon meant that invisible structure of bodies on which teristics of false systems," the "causes of error in philosophy," so many of their properties depend.—For instance, an inquiry into the "grounds of hope regarding the advancement of science," the great restorer of philosophy proceeds, in the second book of the "Novum Organum," to describe and exemplify the nature of the induction which he deems essential to the right interpretation of nature. He divides the whole into three parts, comprising Aphorisms, or remarks on what is termed the Discovery of Forms; Tables in illustration of this discovery; and the Doctrine of Instances. The word form here employed is borrowed from a sect of ancient philosophers, and, as used by Bacon, has a very compre-science, he gives an example of in his "Natural History, in Ten hensive meaning. In one passage he observes, "When we speak Centuries:" each of the ten sections into which it is divided, conof forms, we understand nothing more than those laws and modes taining one hundred facts and experiments, relating to a great of action which regulate and constitute any simple nature, such variety of subjects; the term natural history being used by him as heat, light, weight, in all kinds of matter susceptible of them. in a very extensive sense, as signifying a record of observations on Again, "The form of any nature is such, that where it is, nature in general. This history of facts was to contain an account the given nature must infallibly be." In short, the form of any of the subject under examination, in all the varieties and modificasubstance is its essential nature-the form of any quality is that tions of which the appearances belonging to it were susceptible.which constitutes the quality,—and the "discovery of forms" may | Not only were the facts which present themselves to the senses be regarded as signifying the discovery of the laws of nature in in nature to be embodied, but also such as could be elucidated by general. Bacon seems to have thought that a knowledge of the experiment. And these facts, both affirmative and negative, are ultimate essences of the qualities, and powers, or properties of reduced into the above-mentioned tables for conveniency. Lord matter lies open to human scrutiny; that is, that to discover the Bacon formally exemplifies his method of induction in this part of nature of heat, cold, colour, and other principles or properties the Novum Organum, on the subject of heat, his object being to of matter, is within the range of possibility. But this great phi- | inquire what is its form or nature. In order to institute this losopher probably overrated the capacity of the human under- inquiry, he arranges the facts and experiments he was acquainted standing in supposing that such should ever take place: indeed, with relating to it in five different tables. Regarding these, Prohe seems to have placed the grand aim of philosophy beyond what fessor Playfair remarks:-"Though his collection of facts be it is, in all probability, given to man to reach. Upwards of two imperfect, his method of treating them is extremely judicious, and centuries have rolled away since the promulgation of Bacon's the whole disquisition is highly interesting." *** The first system, and yet we are still entirely ignorant of the causes of the table contains instances in which heat is found, and is termed various operations of nature. A stone, after being projected into the the "Affirmative Table, or Instances that agree in possessing atmosphere, falls to the earth, we say, by virtue of the laws of the nature of heat ;" and the author enumerates the sun's rays, gravitation :-but the problem what is gravitation, still remains to meteors, fires of all kinds, and many other phenomena. The be solved. Since Bacon's time we have ascertained many of the second table is Negative, and contains a list of things in which effects and properties of heat, but its form or essential nature we heat is not found. The examples here introduced are purposely those are perfectly ignorant of. The question still remains undeter-things which have a sort of natural relation or resemblance to the mined, whether heat be a subtile fluid, and hence material,-or, as Bacon himself supposed, nothing more than a certain motion amongst the particles of bodies. The same remark is applicable to the other agents in nature, light, electricity, elasticity, and the like.

Two other objects, subordinate to forms, but often essential to the knowledge of them, are also occasionally subjects of investigation; these are the latent process, and the latent schematism. By the former is meant, the secret and invisible progress by which insensible changes are brought about, and involve what has since been called the law of continuity, according to which no change can possibly take place without a certain portion of time being expended in the operation; in other words, no body can change its bulk, or move from one place to another, without occupying intermediate time-that is, the time which intervenes between the commencement and the termination of every change, or passing through intermediate space-that is, the space which lies between the place where the body was before it began to move, and that where it is found when it has ceased to move. We see this in innumerable operations of nature;-such as the planetary movements; the phenomena of accelerated velocity in falling bodies; the motion of light, shown by the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites; in the progress of disease, in which there is a change of the structure of the parts. Upon this subject the eloquent Playfair remarks: "To know the

things mentioned in the first table, heat alone excepted.—The
parallel negative instances to the sun's rays are obviously those of
the moon, of the stars, and of comets. The third table consists of
a comparison of the degrees of heat found in different substances.
These three tables, containing a great number of positive, negative,
and comparative examples, are designed to "present a view of
instances to the understanding :" and when this view is procured,
the business of induction commences. The first step in an inquiry
into the form or cause of anything by induction, is to consider
what things are to be excluded from the number of possible forms
or causes.
This exclusion confines the field of hypothesis, and
brings the true explanation within narrower limits. Thus, if we
wish to inquire into the quality which is the cause of transparency
in bodies, we would at once exclude rarity and fluidity from those
causes, because the diamond is transparent, and it is a solid and

*We have already observed, that Bacon not only anticipated a greater perfection in human knowledge than it will probably ever attain, but that he has somewhat mistaken the manner in which knowledge is to be made subservient to practical purposes. He supposes that if the form, or cause or law of any quality were known, it would be possible, by imparting that peculiar form to any body, to communicate to it the said quality. Not to dwell upon the improbability of human ingenuity being ever able to penetrate so deeply into the mysteries of nature, the practical utility of such knowledge is very questionable.-But we have adverted to this subject principally for the purpose of observing that Bacon seems to have supposed

that the ultimate atoms of all bodies were alike in their nature,-a doctrine which modern discoveries have gone far to explode.

« ForrigeFortsæt »