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we possess (besides a history of Ireland) only a few sermons and pamphlets.
The public teaching of philosophy at the universities differed little during this period from that which had prevailed before the change of religion. The ethics, logic, and physics of Aristotle were still taught at Oxford and Cambridge. Hobbes, of whom we shall have occasion to say more hereafter, tells us in his short autobiography that he spent most of his time at Oxford in studying the philosophy and logic of Aristotle, and that when he went to the continent soon after, and exhibited his attainments, he found himself only laughed at for his pains. The grand development of ethical philosophy, which in Spain was worked out about this time by Soto, Suarez, and Victoria, and which has been practically illustrated to take one striking instance in the treatment of the negro race by the Spaniards, differing as it does so advantageously from the general behaviour of the Teutonic nations, could not, as being closely connected with Catholicity, find a counterpart in England. The new logical system of the Frenchman, Peter Ramus, though much talked of and much commended in England, does not appear to have in the slightest degree superseded that of Aristotle in the schools.* Physics and astronomy, which, in the hands of Kepler, Galileo, Grassi, &c. were making towards the close of this period
* Ramus seems to have deserved the strong terms of censure which Bacon uses of him, and to have been, in fact, little better than a charlatan. He ridiculed the syllogistic process on account of its cumbrousness and alleged inutility, and proposed to substitute a logic of common sense, such as good reasoners actually made use of in argument. As if Aristotle meant that every one must argue in syllogisms, and not merely to analyse the nature and form of intellectual conviction.
such astonishing progress abroad, were not cultivated in England with any striking success until after the Restoration.* Yet in the history of philosophy this is the period of distinction for England above all others, for in it she produced the man who founded the new logic, the new method of investigating the truth of nature and of history, Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam.
Bacon was born on the 22nd January, 1561, at his father's house in the Strand, London. Sir Nicholas Bacon was keeper of the Great Seal, and one of Elizabeth's most trusted and valuable councillors, having been retained in office for twenty years up to the time of his death in 1579. Francis, the second son, was sent at a very early age to Trinity College, Cambridge, but left it at the age of sixteen, without having taken a degree. Even while at the University he is said to have been disgusted with the dry Aristotelianism, which was the only philosophical food that the place afforded, and to have dreamed of a renovation and re-classification of the sciences. Being a younger son, he derived no benefit from the family estates of Gorhambury and Redgrave, and therefore commenced to study law at Gray's Inn. Through his brother's influence he was returned to the House of Commons, but failed to make that step the instrument of his advancement, as he had anticipated. In his embarrassment he found a generous friend in the Earl of Essex, who bestowed upon him his domain of Twickenham. In this pleasant retreat, now consecrated to the memory of Pope, he composed his Essays. Under James I. he rapidly rose in his profession, until in 1618 he was raised to the peerage and appointed Lord Chancellor. Three years afterwards he was impeached by the
In the department of pure mathematics, however, Napier, the inventor of logarithms, and his coadjutor or corrector, Briggs, fall within this period. The method of logarithms was first published at Edinburgh in 1614.
Parliament, and found guilty of having received presents from suitors in his court. He resigned the seals, and spent the remainder of his life in retirement at Gorhambury, where he died in 1627.
With regard to the Baconian philosophy, we shall here only attempt something like a circumstantial description of the works containing it. These are three in number,--the treatise on the Advancement of Learning, the Instauratio Magna, and the De Augmentis Scientiarum. The first was composed in English, and first published in 1605. Its general object was to exhibit a survey of the whole field of human knowledge, showing its actual state in its various departments, and noting what parts had been cultivated, what were lying waste, without, however, entering upon the difficult inquiry as to erroneous methods of cultivation; his purpose in this work being only "to note omissions and deficiencies," with a view to their being made good by the labours of the learned.
The Instauratio Magna, which, though in a most unfinished state, owing to the pressure of his public and active duties upon the writer, is the most important repository of the Baconian philosophy, appeared in 1620. It was written in Latin, dedicated to King James, and divided into six parts. Of five of these Bacon has given us little more than outline sketches, or tables of contents. The first part, Partitiones Scientiarum, was to be a general ground-plan of existing knowledge, noticing and sometimes supplying deficiencies. This is wanting, but its place is partly supplied by the De Augmentis. The second part, the Novum Organum, the logic of the new inductive philosophy, is described by its author as "the science of a better and more perfect use of reason in the investigation of things, and of the true aids of the understanding." This part we have, though not executed to the full extent of the design. The third part, Historia Naturalis, was to be a description of
universal nature. To this Bacon has contributed nothing but his Centuries of Natural History, containing about one thousand observed facts and experiments. He reckons up one hundred and thirty particular histories which ought to be written for this work. Of the fourth part, Scala Intellectus, we have only a few introductory pages, which show that the design of this part was to illustrate the actual course of scientific inquiry, to trace the steps by which the mind proceeded in analytic investigation. The fifth part is termed Prodromi sive Anticipationes Philosophic Secunda. Of this we have a few fragments, headed Cogitata et Visa, Filum Labyrinthi, &c. The sixth part was to be the Philosophia Secunda itself. "To perfect this last part," he says, "is above our powers and beyond our hopes. We may, as we trust, make no despicable beginnings; the destinies of the human race must complete it, in such a manner, perhaps, as men, looking only at the present, would not readily conceive."
The De Augmentis Scientiarum, which appeared in 1623, is an enlarged and revised version in Latin-about one-third being new matter of the treatise on the Advancement of Learning.
CIVIL WAR PERIOD.
THE literature of this period will be better understood after a brief explanation has been given of the political changes which attended the fall, restoration, and ultimate expulsion of the Stuart dynasty.
The Puritan party, whose proceedings and opinions in the two preceding reigns have been already noticed, continued to grow in importance, and demanded, with increasing loudness, a reform in the Church establishment. They were met at first by a bigotry at least equal, and a power superior, to their own. Archbishop Laud, who presided in the High Commission Court*, had taken for his motto the word "thorough," and had persuaded himself that only by a system of severity could conformity to the established religion be enforced. Those who wrote against, or even impugned in conversation, the doctrine, discipline, or government of the Church of England, were brought before the High Commission Court, and heavily fined; and a repetition of the offence, particularly if any expressions were used out of which a seditious meaning could be extracted, frequently led to an indictment of the offender in the Star Chamber† (in which also Laud had a seat), and to his imprisonment
* Established by Queen Elizabeth to try ecclesiastical offences.