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by the war in the Palatinate, had been again resumed, and it was resolved that the match should proceed. Bacon was no longer in office; but he was still attentive to public affairs, and the return of the former political conjuncture would naturally remind him of his former advice, and induce him to take the subject up again; while the utter and final breach with Spain which followed soon after sufficiently accounts for his not proceeding further with it; although he thought so well both of the matter, and of the manner in which he had opened it, that he had the fragment translated into Latin and included among his Opera Moralia et Civilia.1
The argument of the dialogue has but little interest for us at this day, except as indicating a stage in the history of opinion and even for that it is hardly available, because it is not carried far enough to enable us to judge what Bacon's own opinion was upon the question proposed. His design apparently was to exhaust the subject, by showing it from all sides; as seen by the Roman Catholic "zelant," by the Protestant zelant, by the orthodox and moderate divine, by the soldier, by the statesman, and by the courtier; while the distribution of he parts is such as to give full scope to them all. But as the formal discussion breaks off before the first speaker has concluded (who represents the extreme Roman Catholic view),the "moderate divine" having said nothing, and the statesman (who, though a Roman Catholic also, would, I presume, have represented Bacon's own opinion) having merely intimated that he did not consider the design impracticable,—it is not easy to conjecture with any confidence what the ultimate judgment was intended to be. Comparing it however with an opinion of Bacon's own, recorded two years later; remembering the instructions to Sir John Digby which I have quoted; and observing the spirit of the introductory conversation,-especially with reference to one or two passages which appear to have
1 "Postremo duo fragmenta adjici mandavit; Dialogum de Bello Sacro, et Novam Atlantidem. Fragmentorum autem genera tria esse dixit. Primum eorum quæ libris integris amissis servata sunt; ut Somnium Scipionis. Secundum eorum quæ auctor ipse, vel morte præreptus vel aliis negotiis distractus, perficere non potuit, ut Platonis Atlantis. Tertium eorum quæ auctor itidem ex composito et volens deseruit: ex quo genere sunt ista duo quæ diximus. Neque tamen ea deseruit Dominatio sua fastidio argumenti, sed quod alia multa habuerat quæ merito antecedere deberent."- Rawley's preface to the Opera Moralia et Civilia, 1638.
"Though offensive wars for religion are seldom to be approved, or never, except there be some mixture of civil titles."- Considerations touching a War with Spain: written in 1624.
been inserted on revision,- I am inclined to think that Eupolis, the "Politique," would have limited his approval to a war against the Turks; and that not simply as Infidels, but as dangerous neighbours to all Christendom. And I suppose that as things then stood the Christian powers might very fairly, and merely in self-defence and as a matter of international policy, have demanded securities from the Turks, the refusal of which would (even according to modern opinions) have formed a just ground of war. That it would have been a "holy war,”—that is, that it would incidentally have had the effect of recovering to the Church countries then subject to Infidels, — would in Bacon's eyes no doubt have been a great additional recommendation: experience not having yet sufficiently proved that subjection of territory to Christian rule does not involve conversion of people to the Christian faith.
Setting aside the practical question as to the lawfulness of wars for the propagation of the faith a question which would now in any company of divines and statesmen be negatived without a division,- and regarding the work as a literary composition, it will be found not merely to be still interesting, but to deserve a conspicuous place among Bacon's writings. For it is the only specimen we have of his manner of conducting a discussion in the form of dialogue; and enough is done to show how skilfully he could handle that fine but difficult instrument. The design of the composition is to represent the question as fairly debated between several speakers looking at it from different points of view, and each bringing the full force of his wit and learning to the support of his own conclusion; and nothing can be more natural and life-like than the conversation, so far as it goes. The historical matters incidentally handled have an interest also which is by no means obsolete. And the dedicatory letter to Bishop Andrews contains the fullest account of Bacon's own personal feelings and designs as a writer which we have from his own pen.
This fragment was first published by Dr. Rawley in 1629, along with two or three others, in a small volume entitled Certain miscellany works of the Right Honourable Francis Lo. Verulam, Viscount St. Alban: the alleged motive of the publication being to supersede or prevent corrupt copies, and "to satisfy the desires of some who held it unreasonable that any delineations of that pen, though in never so small a model,
should not be shown to the world." It was afterwards by Bacon's own direction (as I have said), and apparently under his supervision, translated into Latin, and added to the Opera Moralia et Civilia. There is a manuscript copy of part of it in the British Museum', and another in the Cambridge University Library; but Rawley's edition contains some passages which are not in the MS. and therefore I suppose it was printed from a corrected copy and is the better authority.
As in other similar cases I have compared the English with the Latin, and quoted in foot-notes all variations which seem to be at all material.
1 Harl. MSS. 4263.