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mate of probability by causing us to rate the grounds of judgment not according to their real influence on the truth of the decision, but according to their bearing on our personal interests therein.Pp. 402, 403.
There is much good discussion on the subject of language, both considered in itself and as a source of error, which we must pass, as we must also the remarks on testimony, and the sensible and thoroughly judicious observations on the art of criticism, which many of our tyros in that field of study might do well to read.
On the doctrine of the perfecting of knowledge two means are described : acquisition and communication. The former may be either by speculation or by experience. Experience may be either immediate or mediate. In the latter case our acquisition is through testimony. Under this head are given rules for the proper method of reading.
I. As concerns the quantity of what is to be read, there is a single rule: Read much, but not many works, (multum non multo.)
II. As concerns the quality of what is to be read, there may be given five rules : 1. Select the works of principal importance, estimated by relation to the several sciences themselves, or to your particular aim in reading, or to your individual disposition and wants. 2. Read not the more detailed works on a science until you have a rudimentary knowledge of it in general. 3. Make yourself familiar with a science in its actual present state before you proceed to study it in its chronological development. 4. To avoid erroneous and exclusive views, read and compare together the more important works of every sect and party. 5. To avoid a one-sided development of mind, combine with the study of works which cultivate the understanding, the study of works which cultivate the taste.
III. As concerns the mode or manner of reading itself, there are four principal rules : 1. Read that you may accurately remember, but still more that you may fully understand. 2. Strive to compare the general tenor of a work before you attempt to judge of it in detail. 3. Accommodate the intensity of the reading to the importance of the work. Some works are therefore to be only dipped into, others are to be run over rapidly, and others to be studied long and sedulously. 4. Regulate on the same principle the extracts which you make from the works you read.-P. 486.
We are unwilling to close without registering our grateful acknowledgements of the fidelity and thoroughness displayed by the editor in the preparation of this volume for publication. The Lectures were left in such a condition as to require much
skill and labor in their arrangement; and the selection and adjustment of the papers of which the appendix is made up must have been a herculean task. Then there were the quotations to verify, involving extensive search through the works referred to, a labor which we shall only appreciate when we realize the immensity of the field from which the author drew his materials. There is little necessity to urge upon our students generally the propriety of an acquaintance with this volume; it is hardly supposable that they will fail of this from the intrinsic character of the work itself. The somewhat strong tendency for a long time growing in many literary circles to a contempt for logic, which has naturally been engendered by its inefficient treatment hitherto, and the false utilities claimed for it, will be largely neutralized by a study of these Lectures.
ART. II.—LEONARDO DA VINCI.
THE events of the past few months have again turned the attention of the civilized world to Italy. The peculiar circumstances of that country invest it with an interest possessed by no other land in Christendom. During the twenty-five centuries of its history what mighty changes have transpired in the history of the world! The restless course of empire has swayed to and fro, from the Euphrates on the east to the Thames on the west. Twice has its pathway crossed Italy itself. Pagan Rome, from her seven hills, received tribute from every nation and tribe of the then known world. Fifteen centuries later, Catholic Rome sent forth edicts that changed the fate of nearly all Europe, dispensing crowns and overthrowing thrones at its will. To Italy again were all eyes turned as the center of all excellence in literature, science, art.
In a philosophical point of view there was a marked difference between the Augustan age and the time of Leo the Tenth. The former was marked by a grand absorption, a gathering into the Eternal City, as a store-house or a museum, of all works of literature and art of surrounding nations and of preceding ages. It lacked an inherent organizing power to remodel from the materials thus collected works of original genius. It was an age of accumulation rather than of creation. This was reserved for Italy's second visitation. At its approach the hands had stood still for centuries on the great dial face of the world's advancement, while the pendulum of time kept moving on in mournful darkness. The ignorance, superstition, and vices of the masses, the bigotry, ambition, and oppression of the rulers, and the unscrupulous perversion of Christianity by the Church, during the Middle Ages, were almost beyond belief. We turn away from its dark record with our cheeks blushing with shame for our race! Where shall we turn for a genius that shall readjust the disordered machinery of the human mind, restore a sound philosophy, and lead the world back to the truths that had been so long deserted? The work is too extensive, and the material of the human mind too intractable, for this to be accomplished by any one person or in any short time.
But Italy, the land of science and of song, the birthplace of literature and art, the cradle and the grave of civil and religious liberty, was the country in which was inaugurated a rerolution in philosophy that, spreading to every nation and permeating every branch of human thought, has wrought out in the history of the world such transformations in religion, science, art, and civil government. Nobly, indeed, did she maintain the pre-eminence she had attained for more than two hundred years. While she was in the zenith of her glory, with her schools of philosophy and art in every city, even the educated minds of surrounding nations were groping in almost unbroken darkness. Scholastic learning in England consisted in reading, writing, a little conversational French, and a smattering of Latin. The education of her universities hardly equaled that received in our most ordinary common schools of the present day. In France the constable of one of the departments could neither read nor write, though he was one of the most influential diplomatists of the empire. His deficient education did not excite surprise among his peers, many of whom were but little his superiors in literary qualifications. In Germany learning was in a more elevated condition, and in Spain much higher still. But Italy far surpassed all other nations.
Among the many names of that most illustrious period, none more justly deserves our notice and admiration than that of
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Leonardo da Vinci. First in the order of time in the constellation of genius that then appeared, he was inferior to none of them in native ability, and those that came after him owe much of their success to the influence he exerted upon every channel of thought, every development of artistic feeling, and even the perfection of the mechanic arts of his own and subsequent ages. History hardly furnishes us another such strange combination of mental and physical endowments of the most opposite and, as deemed by many, of the most contradictory nature. Reduced to the test of ordinary genius, he sets all laws of criticism at defiance.
The powers of this great man so far surpassed the ordinary standard of human genius that he cannot be judged of by the common data by which it is usual to estimate the capacity of the human mind. He was a phenomenon that overstepped the bounds in every department of knowledge which limited the researches of his predecessors; and whether he is to be regarded for his accomplishments or his vast attainments, whether as the philosopher or the painter who made a new era in the arts of design, he equally surprises our judgment and enlarges our sphere of comprehension.*
Such was the dawn of modern art when Leonardo da Vinci broke forth with a splendor that distanced all former excellence; made up of all the elements that constitute genius, favored by education and circumstances, all eye, all ear, all grasp; painter, poet, sculptor, anatomist, architect, engineer, chemist, machinist, musician, man of science, and sometimes empiric, he laid hold of every beauty in the enchanted circle, but without exclusive attachment to one, he dismissed each in her turn.f
His researches were by no means of a cursory kind. He brought to his labor a mind of the keenest analysis. He shrank from no investigation, however arduous; and under the influence of his catalytic touch, every science seemed to crystalize into definite form. He left no science unexamined, and no art un practiced. In each he reached a degree of excellence that would have satisfied any ordinary genius to have attained in one alone. Thus in philosophy we are accustomed to look upon Lord Bacon as the great reorganizer of our modes of reasoning, and as the first who had the courage to dispute the claims of the dogmatic school that had for so long a period paralyzed all efforts toward progress in the human mind. We may give to our English philosopher all due praise for the part * De Quincy.
he acted in restoring reason to her legitimate sphere, but the brightness of his fame does not require that we should give to him any of the credit that justly belongs to others. The rebellion against authority had existed in an unorganized form for a long time before he wrote his “Novum Organum.” A guerilla warfare against the established modes of thinking had been carried on in Italy at least for more than a century, under the leadership of Da Vinci. While Bacon was pursuing his studies in Italy, he perceived the importance of the transformation that was going on; and as Garibaldi is to-day carrying on a civil revolution, so Bacon marshaled into a revolution the hosts of philosophy that had for so long a time been in rebellion. A century before him Leonardo da Vinci had practiced in all his investigations the exact principles of the Baconian philosophy, had defended them in his discussions with the scholastics of his day, and had recorded his views in his various works.
None of the writings of Leonardo da Vinci were published till more than a century after his death; and, indeed, the most remarkable of them are still in manuscript. ... But as he was born in 1452, we may presume his mind to have been in full expansion before 1490. His treatise on painting is known as a very early disquisition on the rules of the art. But his greatest literary distinction is derived from those short fragments of his unpublished writings that appeared not many years since; and which, according, at least, to the common estimate of the age in which he lived, are more like the revelations of physical truth vouchsafed to a single mind than the superstructure of its reasoning upon any established basis. The discoveries which made Galileo, and Kepler, and Maestlin, and Maurolycus, and Castelli, and other names illustrious, the system of Copernicus, and the very theories of recent geologists, are anticipated by Da Vinci within the compass of a few pages, not, perhaps, in the most precise language, or on the most conclusive reasoning, but so as to strike us with something like the awe of preternatural knowledge. In an age of so much dogmatism he first laid down the grand principle of Bacon, that experiment and observation must be the guides to the just theory in the investigation of nature.*
But let us quote from Da Vinci's own words. We will premise by saying that most of his writings are still in manuscript, and these he wrote in the manner of the present Persians, or of the printed Hebrew, from left to right on the page. It is supposed that he did so to prevent their being used by other