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persons of quality : above all, Sir George Jeffries, newly made Lord Chief Justice of England, with Mr. Justice Withings, danced with the bride, and were exceeding merry. These great men spent the rest of the afternoon, till eleven at night, in drinking healths, taking tobacco, and talking much beneath the gravity of judges, that had but a day or two before condemed Mr. Algernon Sidney.
Mr. C. Butler, in his Essay on the Life of Chancellor de l'Hôpital, says, “When a magistrate, after the sittings of the court, returned to his family," he had little temptation to stir again from home. His library was necessarily his sole resource ; his books, his only company. Speaking generally, he had studied hard at college, and had acquired there a taste for literature, which never forsook him. To this austere and retired life, we owe the Chancellor de l'Hôpital, the President de Thou, Pasquier, Loisel, the Pithous, and many other ornaments of the magistracy. These days are passed."
Of loss of time by useless inquiry. As the inclination to affection is im printed deeply in our nature, insomuch that, if it issue not towards our fellow creatures, it will fix upon other creatures ; so the love of truth, if it be not rightly directed. will waste itself in idle inquiry. Inquiry cannot, strictly speaking, ever be said to be wholly useless : for it is, indeed, some consolation to reflect that, however we may err and stray in the pursuit of knowledge, our labours are seldom, if ever, wholly lost. Some wheat will spring up amidst the tares. The waters of science cannot be troubled without exerting their virtue.
Bacon, in his Novum Organum, when speaking of instances of power, says, “ Neither are superstitions, and those commonly called magical matters, to be quite excluded : for, although things of this kind lie strangely buried, and deep involved in falsehood and fable; yet some regard should be had to discover whether no natural operation is concealed in the heap; for example: in fascination-1. The power of imagination. 2. The sympathy or consent of distant things. 3. The communication of impressions, from spirit to spirit, as well as from body to body,' &c.
The pursuit of alchemy is at an end. Yet surely to alchemy this right is due, that it may truly be compared to the husbandman, whereof Æsop makes the fable, that, when he died, told his sons he had left unto them a great mass of gold buried under ground in his vineyard, but did not remember the particular place where it was hidden; who, when they had with spades turned up all the vineyard, gold indeed they found none, but by reason of their stirring and digging the mould about the roots of their vines, they had a great vintage the year following: so the painful search and stir of alchemists to make gold hath brought to light a great number of good and fruitful experiments, as well for the disclosing of nature, as the use of man's life.
1. Avoiding idle curiosity. The modes of preventing useless 2. Knowledge of existing inventions. inquiry are by
3. Contracting the inquiry within narrow
Idle curiosity. We spend our days in unprofitable questions and disputations, intricate subtleties, de luna cuprinu, about moonshine in the water.
Truths, that the learn'd pursue with eager thought,
Bacon, in his Novum Organum, says, “ Among prerogative instances, we assign the twenty-fifth place to intimating instances that is, such as hint or point out the advantages or conveniences of mankind; for bare power and knowledge only enlarge, but do not enrich human nature, and therefore such things as principally appertain to the uses of life, are to be selected, or culled out from the general mass of things." Again, “ As a further ground of expec. tation men may please to consider the infinite expense of genius, time, and treasure that has been bestowed upon things and studies of very little use and value; whilst, if but a part thereof were employed upon sound and serviceable matters, every difficulty mi ht be conquered. The angel in the Paradise Lost says,
“ But whether thus these things or whether sot,
but to know
Think only what concerns thee and thy being." Les hommes ne sont pas nés pour employer leur temps à mesurer des lignes, à examiner les rapports des angles, à considérer les divers mouvemens de la matière : leur esprit est trop grand, leur vie trop courte, leur temps trop précieux pour l'occuper à de si petits objets; mais ils sont obligés d'être justes, équitables, judicieux dans tous leurs discours, dans toutes leur actions, et dans toutes les affaires qu'ils manient, et c'est a quoi ils doivent particu. lièrement s'exercer et se former.
-“ Quid fas optare, quid asper
Quid sumus, aut quidnam victuri gigoimus." Curiosity in things of little use is either in words or in matter; the first distemper of learning is when men study words, not matter ; a vanity which more or less will ever exist.
Pygmalion frenzy is a good emblem of this vanity, for what are words bat the images of matter? and except they be animated with the spirit of reason, to fall in love with them, is all one as to fall in love with a picture.
Demetrius the grammarian finding in the temple of Delphos a kpot of philosophers chatting together, said to them, “ Either I am much deceived, or by your cheerful and pleasant countenance, you are engaged in no very deep discourse.' To which one of them, Heraclean the magician, replied, 'Tis for such as are puzzled about inquiring whether the future tense of the verb Baliw be spelt with a double , or that hunt after the derivation of the com. paratives χείριον, βέλτιον, and the superlatives χείρισον, βέλτισον, το knit their brows whilst discouring of their science.'
Ignorance of existing inventions. The celebrated John Hunter, who was almost self-educated, is said to have devoted much of his valuable time to the discovery of some truths that had been known for years.
Bacon, in his Instances of Power, says, “ In the tenth place come instances of power; or, as we sometimes call them, trophies or ensigns of power, inventions, or the works of men's hands; that is, the most noble and perfect works, and as it were the masterpiece in every art. For since the design is to bend nature to things, and bring her to serve the turn of man, (a) it is absolutely proper that the works already in men's possession should be enumerated and set down, (as so many provinces already subdued and cultivated,) especially such works as are best understood, and brought nearest to perfection; because these afford a short and easy passage to further discoveries.
Contracting inquiries within narrow limits. This subject is considered in the Novum Organum.
When a great outrage is committed by a lunatic, as Hadfield's attempting to shoot the King, or Bellingham's shooting Mr. Percival, it is a common vulgar feeling that the offender should be executed : and Bellingham was executed. Q. 1. Does not this error originate in the supposition that insane minds can be influenced by a calculation of the consequences of its actions ? Q. 2. Do not punishments increase the offence, by awakening the morbid feeling? Q.3. Does not punishment originate in the alarm felt by the community at the probable repetition of the offence.
My very good Lord,—I thank your lordship for your last loving letter. I now write to give the King an account of a patent I have stayed at the seal. It is of licence to give in mortmain eight hundred pounds land, though it be in tenure in chief to Allen, that was the player, for an hospital. I like well that Allen playeth the last act of his life so well; but if his majesty give way thus to amortize his tenures, his courts of wards will decay, which I had well hoped should improve. But that which moved me chiefly is, that his majesty now lately did absolutely deny Sir Henry Savile for two hundred pounds, and Sir Edwin Sandys for one hundred pounds, to the perpetuating of two lectures, the one in Oxford, the other in Cambridge, foundations of singular honour to his majesty (the best learned of kings), and of which there is great want; whereas hospitals abound, and beggars abound never a whit the less. If his majesty do like to pass the book at all; yet if he would be pleased to abridge the eight hundred pounds to five hundred pounds, and then give way to the other two books for the university, it were a princely work. And I would make an humble suit to the King, and desire your lordship to join in it, that it might be so. God ever preserve and prosper you. Your Lordship's most obliged friend and faithful servant."
In Herne's History of the Charter House, p. 107, after having stated
(a) Let a clear and strong conception be had of the end in view ; which is no less than to acquire such a command and mastery over nature, as that men may use her like a ready instrument, or agent, in effecting the greatest works; such as lengthening life, ruling the weather, and the like, which to vulgar philosophers appear impossibilities.
Bacon's letter to the King respecting Sutton's Hospital (ante, cliv), says, “ Those who ever understood the temper of this learned man may easily perceive that at this time there were baits enough laid for his partiality, that such a mind as his could not but be biassed, nay, now he was to contest for opposition's sake: this made him busy and importunate, eager at the bar, and earnest in his addresses to the King. The motives that encouraged him to espouse the plaintiff's quarrel, in short were these : 1. The comfortable expectation of a great share of the revenues. cause he was not named by Sutton, as one of the trustees for the foundation; which very reflection Mr. Laws, the executor, used to him much about the trial. 3. He and Sir Edward Coke could never agree, and therefore no wonder if they differed in this affair : an instance whereof I find in a letter of his of expostulation to Sir Edward, wherein he says, He took a liberty to disgrace his law, experience, and discretion, &c. I shall not undertake to answer the particular arguments in the letter, but only briefly take thus much notice of it. First, the simile of salt and sacrifice amounts to no more than this: that we can do nothing perfectly, but yet we must do as well as we can; and in acts of mercy every man is the proper judge of his own discretion. Secondly, he urges the bonourable trustees cannot live for ever; but yet, at their decease, their equals are chosen in their room. What else is urged, is rather a large and studied essay of the end of charity, than a thing proper to this affair.”
In Stephens's collection of letters, p. 234, which contains this letter to Buckingham, there is the following note upon these observations of Heme: “ It were to be wished this observation did not hold true in these times ; for though the foundations of hospitals are to be commended, which Sir Francis Bacon hath done both in this letter and other his writings, yet it shews that some more adequate remedy for supporting the poor, than what arises from these charities, or even from the laws enacted for their relief, was then, and yet is to be desired. And as the defect thereof is no small reproach to the government of a country, happy in its natural product, and enriched by commerce; so it would be an act of the greatest humanity, that the poor might be provided for, and beggary and idleness, the successive nursery of rogues, as far as possible extirpated. And since his majesty has recommended it to the parliament from his throne, with a tenderness becoming the father of his country, it is to be hoped that great assembly will be able in his reign to effect so good a work. Upon this occasion I cannot but take notice of a story which has been spread abroad to the defamation of Sir Francis Bacon (but upon no good ground, as far as I can judge), as if in the accomplishment of the foundation of the Chartreux Hospital, begun by Mr. Sutton, and carried on by his executors, Sir Francis who was then the King's Solicitor, had, for some ill designs of gain to himself or others, endeavoured to have defeated the same. The fact whereof was: that the heir at law supposing, that notwithstanding what Mr. Sutton had done in procuring acts of parliament, and patents from the King, in order to establish this noble charity, the greatest part of his estate was descended to bim; it was argued on his behalf, by the Solicitor General, and by Mr. Henry Yelverton, and Mr. Walter, men of great reputation in those times. And whatever ill intentions some of the court might have, my request to the reader is, that before he pass any censure upon Sir Francis Bacon relating hereunto, be would please to peruse his advice given to the King touching Mr. Sutton's estate, and published in the Resuscitatio, p. 265."
Journal of Proceedings against Lord Bacon. [From a tract, entitled, A Collection of the Proceedings, &c.] 15th March, 1620.-Sir Robert Philips reports from the committee appointed to inquire iuto abuses in the courts of justice, viz.--I am commanded from the said committee to render an account of some abuses in the courts of justice, which have been presented unto us. In that which I shall deliver are three parts : 1. The person against whom it is alleged. 2. The matter alleged. 3. The opinion of the committee.
1. The person against whom it is alleged is no less than the Lord Chancellor ; a man so endued with all parts both of nature and art, as that I will say no more of him, being not able to say enough. 2. The matter alleged is corruption. 3. The persons by whom this is presented to us are two, Awbrey and Egerton.
Awbrey's petition saith, that he having a cause depending before the Lord Chancellor, and being tired by delays, was advised by some, that are near my lord, to quicken the way by more than ordinary means, viz. by presenting my Jord with 1001. The poor gentleman, not able by any means to come to his wished-for port, struck sail at this, and made a shift to get 1001. from the usurer ; and having got it, went with Sir George Hastings and Mr. Jenkins of Gray's Inn; and being come to my lord's house, they took the money of him, and carried it in to my Lord Chancellor, and came out to him again, saying, My lord was thankful, and assured him of good success in his business. Sir George Hastings acknowledges the giving of advice, and carrying in of money to my lord, and saith, he presented it to my lord as from himself, and not from Awbrey. This is also confirmed by divers letters; but it wrought not the effect which the gentleman expected ; for notwithstanding this, he was still delayed.
Egerton sheweth, that he desiring to procure my lord's favour, was persuaded by Sir George Hastings and Sir Richard Young to present my lord with a sur of money. Before this advice, he had given a present of 521. and odd shillings in plate, as a testimony of his love ; but yet rests doubtful whether before his calling to seal, or since. But now, by mortgaging his estate, he got up 4001. and sends for Sir George Hastings and Sir Richard Young, desires their assistance in presenting this money, and told them how much it was. They took it and carried it in, and presented it to the Lord Chancellor, as a gratuity from the gentleman, for that my lord (when he was Attorney) stood by him. My lord (as they say) started at it first, saying, It was too much, he would not take it; but at length was persuaded, because it was for favours past, and took it; and the gentleman returned him thanks, saying, That their lord said that he did not only enrich him, but laid a tie on him to assist him in all just and lawful business. Sir George Hastings and Sir Richard Young acknowledged the receiving and delivery of the purse, but said they knew not what was in it.
Then a question was proposed, whether there were any suit depending during those offers, either in the Chancery or Star Chamber; but there was no certain evidence of it. Thus you see corruption laid to the charge of a judge too, a great judge, nay, to the great keeper of the king's conscience.
Another point came in by the by, shewing that some indirect means are sometimes open (I fear too often) to the courts of justice. It concerns no less man than a divine, that is now a bishop, but then called Doctor Field. Mr. Egerton and he being acquainted, and Mr. Egerton's mind being troubled with the ill success of his business, vented it to this divine, who contrary to his profession, took upon him to broke for him in such a manner, as was never prece. dented by any. He made Egerton to acknowledge a recognizance of 10,0001. with a defeasance, that if my Lord Chancellor did decree it for him, 60001. was to be distributed amongst those honourable persons that did solicit it for him ;