For let not men of narrower natures fancy that such action is not proper to the larger one, and cannot be historical. For there are different kinds of men, our science of men tells us, and that is an unscientific judgment which omits 'the particular addition, that bounteous nature hath closed in each,'—her 'addition to the bill that writes them all alike.' For there is a kind of men 'whose minds are proportioned to that which may be dispatched at once, or within a short return of time, and there is another kind, whose minds are proportioned to that which begins afar off, and is to be won with length of pursuit,'—so the Coryphaeus of those choir that the latter kind compose, informs us, 'so that there may be fitly said to be a longanimity, which is commonly also ascribed to God as a magnanimity.'
And our English philosophers had to light what this one calls a new 'Lamp of Tradition,' before they could make sure of transmitting their new science, through such mediums as those that their time gave them; and a very gorgeous many-branched lamp it is, that the great English philosopher brings out from that 'secret school of living Learning and living Art' to which he secretly belongs, for the admiration of the professionally learned of his time, and a very lustrous one too, as it will yet prove to be, when once it enters the scholar's apprehension that it was ever meant be lighted, when once the little movement that turns on the dazzling jet is ordered.
For we have all been so taken up with the Baconian Logic hitherto and its wonderful effects in the relief of the human estate, that the Baconian RHETORIC has all this time escaped our notice; and nobody appears to have suspected that there was anything in that worth looking at; any more than they suspect that there is anything in some of those other divisions which the philosopher himself lays so much stress on his proposal for the Advancement of Learning,—in his proposal for the advancement of it into all the fields of human activity. But we read this proposition still, as James the First was expected to read it, and all these departments which are brought into that general view in such a dry and formal and studiously scholastic manner, appear to be put there merely to fill up a space; and because the general plan of this so erudite performance happened to include them.
For inasmuch as the real scope and main bearing of this proposition, though it is in fact there, is of course not there, in any such form as to attract the particular attention of the monarch to whose eye the work is commended; and inasmuch as the new art of a scientific Rhetoric is already put to its most masterly use in reserving that main design, for such as may find themselves able to receive it, of course, the need of any such invention is not apparent on the surface of the work, and the real significance of this new doctrine of Art and its radical relation to the new science, is also reserved for that class of readers who are able to adopt the rules of interpretation which the work itself lays down. Because the real applications of the New Logic could not yet be openly discussed, no one sees as yet, that there was, and had to be, a Rhetoric to match it.
For this author, who was not any less shrewd than the one whose methods we have just been observing a little, had also early discovered in the great personages of his time, a disposition to moderate his voice whenever he went to speak to them on matters of importance, in his natural key, for his voice too, was naturally loud, and high as he gives us to understand, though he 'could speak small like a woman'; he too had learned to take the tone from the ear of him to whom he spake, and he too had learned, that it was not enough merely to speak so as to make himself heard by those whom he wished to affect. He also had learned to speak according to the affair he had in hand, according to the purpose which he wished to accomplish. He also is of the opinion that different kinds of audiences and different times, require different modes of speech, and though he found it necessary to compose his works in the style and language of his own time, he was confident that it was a language which would not remain in use for many ages; and he has therefore provided himself with another, more to his mind which he has taken pains to fold carefully within the other, and one which lie thinks will bear the wear and tear of those revolutions that he perceives to be imminent.
But in consequence of our persistent oversight of this Art of Tradition, on which he relies so much, (which is as fine an invention of his, as any other of his inventions which we find ourselves so much the better for), that appeal to 'the times that are farther off,' has not yet taken effect, and the audience for whom he chiefly laboured is still 'deferred.'
This so noble and benign art which he calls, with his own natural modesty and simplicity, the Art of Tradition, this art which grows so truly noble and worthy, so distinctively human, in his clear, scientific treatment of it,—in his scientific clearance of it from the wildnesses and spontaneities of accident, or the superfluities and trickery of an art without science,—that stops short of the ultimate, the human principle,—this so noble art of speech or tradition is, indeed, an art which this great teacher and leader of men will think it no scorn to labour: it is one on which, even such a teacher can find time to stop; it is one which even such a teacher can stop to build from the foundation upwards, he will not care how splendidly; it is one on which he will spend without stint, and think it gain to spend, the wealth of his invention.
But, at the same time, it is with him a subordinate art. It has no worth or substance in itself; it borrows all its worth from that which masters and rigorously subdues it to its end. Here, too, we find ourselves coming down on all its old ceremonial and observance, from that new height which we found our foreign philosopher in such quiet possession of,—taking his way at a puff through poor Cicero's periods,—those periods which the old orator had taken so much pains with, and laughing at his pains:—but this English philosopher is more daring still, for it is he who disposes, at a word, without any comment, just in passing merely,—from his practical stand-point,—of 'the flutes and trumpets of the Greeks,' like the other making nothing at all in his theory of criticism of mere elegance, though it is the Gascon, it is true, who undertakes the more lively and extreme practical demonstrations of this theoretical contempt of it,—setting it at nought, and flying in the face of it,—writing in as loquacious and homely a style as he possibly can, just for the purpose for setting it at nought, though not without giving us a glimpse occasionally, of a faculty that would enable him to mince the matter as fine as another if he should see occasion—as, perhaps, he may. For he talks very emphatically about his poetry here and there, and seems to intimate that he has a gift that way; and that he has, moreover, some works of value in that department of letters, which he is anxious to 'save up' for posterity, if he can. But here, it is the scholar, and not the loquacious old gentleman at all, who is giving us in his choicest, selectest, courtliest phrase, in his most stately and condensed style, his views of this subject; but that which is noticeable is, that the art in its fresh, new upspringing from the secret of life and nature, from the soul of things, the art and that which it springs from, is in these two so different forms identical. Here, too, the point of its criticism and review is the same. 'Away with that eloquence that so enchants us with its harmony that we should more study it than things'; but here the old Roman masters the philosopher, for a moment, and he puts in a scholarly parenthesis, 'unless you will affirm that of Cicero to be of so supreme perfection as to form a body of itself.'
But Hamlet, in his discourse with that wise reasoner, and unfortunate practitioner, who thought that brevity was the soul of wit, and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, puts it more briefly still.
Polonius. What do you read, my lord? Hamlet. Words, words, words!
'More matter, and less art,' another says in that same treatise on art and speculation. Now inasmuch as this art and science derives all its distinction and lustre from that new light on the human estate of which it was to be the vehicle, somebody must find the trick of it, so as to be able to bring out that doctrine by its help, before we can be prepared to understand the real worth of this invention. It would be premature to undertake to set it forth fully, till that is accomplished. There must be a more elaborate exhibition of that science, before the art of its transmission can be fully treated; we cannot estimate it, till we see how it strikes to the root of the new doctrine, how it begins with its beginning, and reaches to its end: we cannot estimate it till we see its relation, its essential relation, to that new doctrine of the human nature, and that new doctrine of state, which spring from the doctrine of nature in general, which is the doctrine, which is the beginning and the end of the new science.
We find here on the surface, as we find everywhere in this comprehensive treatise, much apparent parade of division and subdivision, and the author appears to lay much stress upon this, and seems disposed to pride himself upon his dexterity in chopping up the subject as finely as possible, and keeping the parts quite clear of one another; and sometimes, in his distributions, putting those points the farthest apart which are the most nearly related, though not so far, that they cannot 'look towards each other,' though it may be, as the other says, 'obliquely.' He evidently depends very much on his arrangement, and seems, indeed, to be chiefly concerned about that, when he comes to the more critical parts of his subject. But it is to the continuities which underlie these separations, to which he directs the attention of those to whom he speaks in earnest, and not in particular cases only. 'Generally,' he says, 'let this be a rule, that all partitions of knowledge be accepted rather for LINES and VEINS, than for sections and separations, and that the continuance and entireness of knowledge be preserved. For the contrary hereof,' he says, 'is that which has made PARTICULAR SCIENCES BARREN, SHALLOW, and ERRONEOUS, while they have not been nourished and maintained from the common fountain.' For this is the ONE SCIENCE, the deep, the true, the fruitful one, the fruitful because the ONE.
These lines, then, which he cautions us against regarding as divisions, which are brought in with such parade of scholasticism, with such a profound appearance of artifice, will always be found by those who have leisure to go below the surface, to be but the indications of those natural articulations and branches into which the subject divides and breaks itself, and the conducting lines to that trunk and heart of sciences, that common fountain from which all this new vitality, this sudden up-springing and new blossoming of learning proceeds, that fountain in which its flowers, as well as its fruits, and its thick leaves are nourished.
Here in this Art of Tradition, which comprehends the whole subject of the human speech from the new ground of the common nature in man—that double nature which tends to isolation on the one hand, and which makes him a part and a member of society on the other; we find it treated, first, as a means by which men come simply to a common understanding with each other, by which that common ground, that ground of community, and communication, and identity, which a common understanding in this kind makes, can be best reached; and next we find it treated as a means by which more than the understanding shall be reached, by which the sentiment, the common sentiment, which also belongs to the larger nature, shall be strengthened and developed,—by which the counteracting and partial sentiments shall be put in their place, and the will compelled; whereby that common human form, which in its perfection is the object of the human love and reverence shall be scientifically developed; by which the particular form with its diseases shall be artistically disciplined and treated. This Art of Tradition concerns, first, the understanding; and secondly, the affections and the will. As man is constituted, it is not enough to convince his understanding.
First, then, it is 'the organ' and 'method' of tradition; and next, it is what he calls the illustration of it. First, the object is, to bring truth to the understanding in as clear and unobstructed a manner as the previous condition—as the diseases and pre-occupations of the mind addressed will admit of, and next to bring all the other helps and arts by which the sentiments are touched and the will mastered. First, he will speak true, or as true as they will let him; but it is not enough to speak true. He must be able to speak sharply too, perhaps—or humorously, or touchingly, or melodiously, or overwhelmingly, with words that burn. It is not enough, perhaps, to reach the ear of his auditor: 'peradventure' he too 'will also pierce it.' It is not enough to draw diagrams in chalk on a black board in this kind of mathematics, where the will and the affections are the pupils, and standing ready to defy axioms, prepared at any moment to demonstrate practically, that the part is greater than the whole, and face down the universe with it, 'murdering impossibility to make what cannot be, slight work.' It is not enough to have a tradition that is clear, or as clear a one as will pass muster with the government and with the preconceptions of the people themselves. He must have a pictured one—a pictorial, an illuminated one—a beautiful one,—he must have what he calls an ILLUSTRATED TRADITION.
'Why not,' he says. He runs his eye over the human instrumentalities, and this art which we call art—par excellence, which he sees setting up for itself, or ministering to ignorance and error, and feeding the diseased affections with 'the sweet that is their poison,' he seizes on at once, in behalf of his science, and declares that it is her lawful property, 'her slave, born in her house,' and fit for nothing in the world but to minister to her; and what is more, he suits the action to the word—he brings the truant home, and reforms her, and sets her about her proper business. That is what he proposes to have done in his theory of art, and it is what he tells us he has done himself; and he has: there is no mistake about it. That is what he means when he talks about his illustrated tradition of science—his illustrated tradition of the science of HUMAN NATURE and its differences, original and acquired, and the diseases to which it is liable, and the artificial growths which appertain to it. It is very curious, that no one has seen this tradition—this illustrated tradition, or anything else, indeed, that was at all worthy of this new interpreter of mysteries, who goes about to this day as the inventor of a method which he was not able himself to put to any practical use; an inventor who was obliged to leave his machine for men of a more quick and subtle genius, or to men of a more practical turn of mind to manage, men who had a closer acquaintance with nature.
That which is first to be noted in looking carefully at this draught of a new Art of Tradition which the plan of the Advancement of Learning includes,—that which the careful reader cannot fail to note, is the fact, that throughout all this most complete and radical exhibition of the subject (for brief and casual as that exhibition seems on the surface, the science and art from its root to its outermost branches, is there)—throughout all this exhibition, under all the superficial divisions and subdivisions of the subject, it is still the method of PROGRESSION which is set forth here: under all these divisions, there is still one point made; it is still the Art of a Tradition which is designed to reserve the secrets of science, and the nobler arts of it, for the minds and ages that are able to receive them. This new art of tradition, with its new organs and methods, and its living and beautiful illustration, when once we look through the network of it to the unity within, this new rhetoric of science, is in fact the instrument which the philosopher would substitute, if he could, for those more cruel weapons which the men of his time were ready to take in hand; and it is the instrument with which he would forestall those yet more fearful political convulsions that already seemed to his eye to threaten from afar the social structures of Christendom; it is the beautiful and bloodless instrumentality whereby the mind of the world is to be wrenched insensibly from its old place without 'breaking all.'
For neither does this author, any more than that other, who has been quoted here on this point, think it wise for the philosopher to rush madly out of his study with his EUREKA, and bawl to the first passer by in scientific terms the last result of his science, 'lording it over his ignorance' with what can be to him only a magisterial announcement. For what else but that can it be, for instance, to tell the poor peasant, on his way to market, with his butter and eggs in his basket, planting his feet on the firm earth without any qualms or misgivings, and measuring his day by the sun's great toil and rejoicing race in heaven, what but this same magisterial teaching is it, to stop him, and tell him to his bewildered face that the sun never rises or sets, and that the earth is but a revolving ball? Instead of giving him a truth you have given him a falsehood. You have brought him a truth out of a sphere with which he is not conversant, which he cannot ascend to—whose truths he cannot translate into his own, without jarring all. Either you have told him what must be to him a lie, or you have upset all his little world of beliefs with your magisterial doctrine, and confounded and troubled him to no purpose.
But the Method of Progression, as set forth by Lord Bacon, requires that the new scientific truth shall be, not nakedly and flatly, but artistically exhibited; because, as he tells us, 'the great labour is with the people, and this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.' He will not have it exhibited in bare propositions, but translated into the people's dialect. He would not begin if he could—if there were no political or social restriction to forbid it—by overthrowing on all points the popular belief, or wherever it differs from the scientific conclusion. It is a very different kind of philosophy that proceeds in that manner. This is one which comprehends and respects all actualities. The popular belief, even to its least absurdity 'is something more than nothing in nature'; and the popular belief with all its admixture of error, is better than the half-truths of a misunderstood, untranslated science; better than these would be in its place. That truth of nature which it contains for those who are able to receive it, and live by it, you would destroy for them, if you should attempt to make them read it prematurely, in your language. Any kind of organism which by means of those adjustments and compensations, with which nature is always ready to help out anything really hers,—any organism that is capable of serving as the means of an historical social continuance, is already some gain on chaos and social dissolution; and is, perhaps, better than a series of philosophical experiments. The difficulty is not to overthrow the popular errors, but to get something better in their place, he tells us; and that there are men who have succeeded in the first attempt, and very signally failed in the second. Beautiful and vigorous unions grew up under the classic mythologies, that dissolved and went down for ever, in the sunshine of the classic philosophies. For there were more things in heaven and earth than were included in those last, or dreamt of in them.
In your expurgation, of the popular errors, you must be sure that the truth they contain, is in some form as strongly, as effectively composed in your text, or the popular error is truer and better than the truth with which you would replace it. This is a master who will have no other kind of teaching in his school. His scholars must go so far in their learning as to be able to come back to this popular belief, and account for it and understand it; they must be as wise as the peasant again, and be able to start with him, from his starting point, before they can get any diploma in this School of Advancement, or leave to practise in it. But when the old is already ruinous and decaying, and oppressing and keeping back the new,—when the vitality is gone out of it, and it has become deadly instead, when the new is struggling for new forms, the man of science though never so conservative from inclination and principle, will not be wanting to himself and to the state in this emergency. He 'loves the fundamental part of state more' than in such a crisis he will 'doubt the change of it,' and will not 'fear to jump a body with a dangerous physic, that's sure of death without it.'
First of all then, the condition of this lamp of tradition, that is to burn on for ages, is, that it shall be able to adapt itself to the successive stages of the advancement it lights. It is the inevitable condition of this school which begins with the present, which begins with the people, which descends to the lowest stage of the contemporary popular belief, and takes in the many-headed monster himself, without any trimming at all, for its audience,—it is the first condition of such a school, conducted by a man of science, that it shall have its proper grades of courts and platforms, its selecter and selectest audiences. There must be landing places in the ascent, points of rendezvous agreed on, where 'the delicate collateral sounds' are heard, which only those who ascend can hear. There is no jar,—there is no forced advancement in this school; there is no upward step for any, who have not first been taught to see it, who have not, indeed, already taken it. For it is an artist's school, and not a pedant's, or a vague speculator's, who knows not how to converge his speculation, even upon his mode of tradition.
The founders of this school trust much in their general plan of instruction and relief, to the gradual advancement of a common intelligence, by means of a scientific, but concealed historical teaching. They will teach their lower classes, their 'beginners,' as great nature teaches—insensibly;—as great nature teaches—in the concrete, 'in easy instances.' For the secret of her method is that which they have studied; that is the learning which they have mastered; the spirit of it, which is the poet's gift, the quickest, subtlest, most searching, most analytic, most synthetic spirit of it, is that with which great nature has endowed them. They will speak, as they tell us, as the masters always have spoken from of old to them who are without; they will 'open their mouths in parables,' they will 'utter their dark sayings on the harp.' They know that men are already prepared by nature's own instruction, to feel in a fact,—to receive in historical representations—truths which would startle them in the abstract, truths which they are not yet prepared to disengage from the historical combinations in which they receive them; though with every repetition, and especially with the pointed, selected, prolonged repetition of the teacher, where the 'ILLUSTRIOUS INSTANCE' is selected and cleared of its extraneous incident, and made to enter the mind alone, and pierce it with its principle,—with every such repetition, the step to that generalization and axiom becomes insensibly shorter and more easy. They know that men are already wiser than their teachers, in some—in many things; that they have all of them a great stock of incommunicative wisdom which all their teachers have not been able to make them give up, which they never will give up, till the strong man, who is stronger, enters with his larger learning out of the same book, with his mightier weapons out of the same armory, and spoils their goods, or makes them old and worthless, by the side of the new, resplendent, magic wealth he brings with him.
The new philosophy of nature has truths to teach which nature herself has already been teaching all men, with more or less effect, miscellaneously, and at odd hours, ever since they were born; and this philosopher gives a large place in his history, to that vulgar, practical human wisdom, which all the books till his time had been of too high a strain to glance at. But 'art is a second nature, and imitateth that dextrously and compendiously, which nature performs by ambages and length of time.' The scientific interpreter of nature will select, and unite, and teach continuously, and pointedly, in grand, ideal, representative fact, in 'prerogative instances,' that which nature has but faintly and unconsciously impressed with her method; for he has a scientific organum, and what is more,—a great deal more, a thousand times more,—he has the scientific genius that invented it. His soul is a Novum Organum—his mind is a table of rejections that sifts the historic masses, and brings out the instances that are to his purpose, the bright, bold instances that flame forth the doubtful truth, that tell their own story and need no interpreter, the high ideal instances that talk in verse because it is their native tongue and they can no other. He has found,—or rather nature lent it to him, the universal historic solvent, and the dull, formless, miscellaneous facts of the common human experience, spring up in magic orders, in beautiful, transparent, scientific continuities, as they arrange themselves by the laws of his thinking.
For the truth is, and it must be said here, and not here only, but everywhere, wherever there is a chance to say it,—that Novum Organum was not made to examine the legs of spiders with, or the toes of 'the grandfather-long-legs,' or any of their kindred; though of course it is susceptible of such an application, when it falls into the hands of persons whose genius inclines them in those directions; and it is a use, that the inventor would not have disdained to put it to himself, if he had had time, and if his attention had not been so much distracted by the habits and history of that 'nobler kind of vermin,' which he found feeding on the human weal in his time, and eating out the heart of it. This man was not a fool, but a man. He was a naturalist indeed, of the newest and highest style, but that did not hinder his being a man at the same time. He and his company were the first that set the example of going, deliberately, and on principle, out of the human nature for knowledge; but it was that they might re-return with better axioms for the culture, and nobility, and sway of that form, which, 'though it be but a part in the continent of nature,' is as this one openly declares, 'the end and term of NATURAL PHILOSOPHY, in the intention of MAN.' His science included the humblest and least agreeable of nature's performances; his Novum Organum was able to take up the smallest conceivable atom of existence, whether animate or not, and make a study of it. He has no disrespect for caterpillars or any kind of worm or insect; but he is not a caterpillar himself, or an insect of any kind, or a Saurian, or an Icthyosaurian, but a man; and it was for the sake of building up from a new basis a practical doctrine of human life, that he invented that instrument, and put so much fine work upon it.
With his 'PREROGATIVE INSTANCES,' he will build height after height, the solid, but imperceptible stair-way to his summit of knowledges, so that men shall tread its utmost floors without knowing what heights they are—even as they tread great nature's own solidities, without inquiring her secret.
The shrewd unlearned man of practice shall take that great book of nature, that illustrated digest of it, on his knees, to while away his idle hours with, in rich pastime, and smile to see there, all written out, that which he faintly knew, and never knew that he knew before; he will find there in sharp points, in accumulations, and percussions, that which his own experience has at length wearily, dimly, worked and worn into him. It is his own experience, exalted indeed, and glorified, but it is that which beckons him on to that which is yet beyond it; he shall read on, and smile, and laugh, and weep, and wonder at the power; but never dream that it is science, the new science—the science of nature—the product of the new organum of it applied to human nature, and human life. The abstract statement of that which the concrete exhibition veils, is indeed always there, though it lie never so close, in never so snug a corner; but it is there so artistically environed, that the reader who is not ready for it, who has not learned to disengage the principle from the instance, who has had no hint of an illustrated tradition in it, will never see it; or if he sees it, he will think it is there by accident, or inspiration, and pass on.
Here, in this open treatise upon the art of delivering and teaching of knowledge, the author lays down, in the most impressive terms, the necessity of a style which shall serve as a veil of tradition, imperceptible or impenetrable to the uninitiated, and admitting 'only such as have by the help of a master, attained to the interpretation of dark sayings, or are able by their own genius to enter within the veil'; and after having distributed under many heads, the secret of this method of scientific communication, he asserts distinctly that there is no other mode of dealing with the popular belief and preconception, but the one just described—that same method which the teachers of the people have always instinctively adopted, whenever that which was new and contrary to the received doctrines, was to be communicated. 'For a man of judgment,' he says, 'must, of course, perceive, that there should be a difference in the teaching and delivery of knowledge, according to the presuppositions, which he finds infused and impressed upon the mind of the learner. For that which is new and foreign from opinions received, is to be delivered in ANOTHER FORM, from that which is agreeable and familiar. And, therefore, Aristotle, when he says to Democritus, "if we shall indeed dispute and not follow after similitudes," as if he would tax Democritus with being too full of comparisons, where he thought to reprove, really commended him.' There is no use in disputing in such a case, he thinks. 'For those whose doctrines are already seated in popular opinion, have only to dispute or prove; but those whose doctrines are beyond the popular opinions, have a double labour; the one to make themselves conceived, and the other to prove and demonstrate; so that it is of necessity with them to have recourse to similitudes AND TRANSLATIONS to express themselves. And, therefore, in the infancy of learning, and in rude times, when those conceptions which are now trivial, were then new, the world was full of parables and similitudes, for else would men either have passed over without mark, or else REJECTED FOR PARADOXES, that which was offered before they had understood or judged. So in divine learning, we see how frequent parables and tropes are, for it is a rule in the doctrine of delivery, that every science which is not consonant with presuppositions and prejudices, must pray in aid of similes and allusions.'
The true master of the art of teaching will vary his method too, he tells us according to the subject which he handles,—and the reader should note particularly the illustration of this position, the instance of this general necessity, which the author selects for the sake of pointing his meaning here, for it is here—precisely here—that we begin to touch the heart of that new method which the new science itself prescribed,—'the true teacher will vary his method according to the subject which he handles,' for there is a great difference in the delivery of mathematics, which are the most abstracted of sciences, and POLICY, which is the most immersed, and the opinion that 'uniformity of method, in multiformity of matter, is necessary,' has proved very hurtful to learning, for it tends to reduce learning to certain empty and barren—note it,—barren— 'generalities;'—(so important is the method as that; that it makes the difference between the fruitful and the barren, between the old and the new) 'being but the very husks and shells of sciences, all the kernel being forced out and expressed with the torture and press of the method; and, therefore, as I did allow well of particular topics for invention'—therefore—his science requires him to go into particulars, and as the necessary consequence of that, it requires freedom—'therefore'—as I did allow well of particular topics of invention, 'so do I allow likewise of particular methods of tradition.' Elsewhere,—in his Novum Organum—he quotes the scientific outlines and divisions of this very book, he quotes the very draught and outline of the new human science, which is the principal thing in it, and tells us plainly that he is perfectly aware that those new divisions, those essential differences, those true and radical forms in nature, which he has introduced here, in his doctrine of human nature, will have no practical effect at all, as they are exhibited here; because they are exhibited in this method which he is here criticising, that is, in empty and barren abstractions,— because it was impossible for him to produce here anything but the husks and shells of that principal science, all the kernel being forced out and expulsed with the torture and press of the method. But, at the same time, he gives us to understand, that these same shells and husks may be found in another place, with the kernels and nuts in them, and that he has not taken so much pains to let us see in so many places, what new forms of delivery the new philosophy will require, merely for the sake of letting us see, at the same time, that when it came to practice, he himself stood by the old ones, and contented himself with barren abstractions, and generalities, the husks and shells of sciences, instead of aiming at particulars, and availing himself of these 'particular methods of tradition.'
He takes also this occasion to recommend a method which was found extremely serviceable at that time; namely, the method of teaching by aphorism, 'without any show of an art or method; not merely because it tries the author, since aphorisms being made out of the pith and heart of sciences, no man can write them who is not sound and grounded,' who has not a system with its trunk and root, though he makes no show of it, but buries it and shows you here and there the points on the surface that are apt to look as if they had some underlying connection—not only because it tries the author, but because they point to action; for particulars being dispersed, do best agree with dispersed directions; and, moreover, aphorisms representing a BROKEN KNOWLEDGE, invite men to inquire farther, whereas methods, carrying the show of a total, do secure men as if they were at farthest, and it is the advancement of learning that he is proposing.
He suggests again, distinctly here, the rule he so often claims he has himself put in practice, elsewhere, that the use of CONFUTATION in the delivery of science, ought to be very sparing; and to serve to remove strong preoccupations and prejudgments, and not to minister and excite disputations and doubts. For he says in another place, 'As Alexander Borgia was wont to say of the expedition of the French for Naples, that they came with chalk in their hands, to mark up their lodgings, and not with weapons to fight, so I like better that entry of truth which cometh peaceably, with chalk to mark up those minds, which are capable to lodge and harbour it, than that which cometh with pugnacity and contention.'
He alludes here too, in passing, to some other distinctions of method, which are already received, that of ANALYSIS and synthesis, or CONSTITUTION, that of concealment, or CRYPTIC, which he says 'he allows well of, though he has himself stood upon those which are least handled and observed.' He brings out his doctrine of the necessity of a method which shall include particulars for practical purposes also, under another head: here it is the limit of rules,—the propositions or precepts of arts that he speaks of, and the degree of particularity which these precepts ought to descend to. 'For every knowledge,' he says, 'may be fitly said to have a latitude and longitude, accounting the latitude towards other sciences' (for there are rules and propositions of such latitude as to include all arts, all sciences)—'and the longitude towards action, that is, from the greatest generality, to the most particular precept: and as to the degree of particularity to which a knowledge should descend,' though something must, of course, be left in all departments to the discretion of the practitioner, he thinks it is a question which will bear looking into in a general way; and that it might be possible to have rules in all departments, which would limit very much the necessity of individual experiment, and not leave us so much at the mercy of individual discretion in the most serious matters. Philosophy, as he finds it, does not appear to be very helpful to practice, on account of its keeping to those general propositions, so much, as well as on some other accounts, and has fallen into bad repute, it seems, among men who find it necessary to make, without science, as they best can, rules of some sort;—rules that are capable of dealing with that quality in particulars which is apt to be called obstinacy in this aspect of it. 'For we see remote and superficial generalities do but offer knowledge to scorn of practical men, and are no more aiding to practice, than an Ortelius's universal map is to direct the way between London and York.' And what is this itself but a universal map, this map of the advancement of learning?
All this doctrine of the tradition of sciences, he produces under the head of the method of their tradition, but in speaking of the organ of it, he treats it exclusively as the medium of tradition for those sciences which require CONCEALMENT, or admit only of a suggestive exhibition. And as he makes, too, the claim that he has himself given practical proof, in passing, of his proficiency in this art, and appeals to the skilful for the truth of this statement, the passage, at least, in which this assertion is made, will be likely to repay the inquiry which it invites.
He begins by drawing our attention to the fact, that words are not the only representatives of things, and he says 'this is not an inconsiderable thing, for while we are treating of the coin of intellectual matters, it is pertinent to observe, that as money may be made of other materials besides gold and silver, so other marks of things may be invented besides words and letters.' And by way of illustrating the advantages of such a means of tradition, under certain disadvantages of position, he adduces as much in point, the case of Periander, who being consulted how to preserve a tyranny newly usurped, bid the messenger attend and report what he saw him do, and went into his garden and topped all the highest flowers; signifying that it consisted in the cutting off and keeping low of the nobility and grandees. And thus other apparently trivial, purely purposeless and sportive actions, might have a traditionary character of no small consequence, if the messenger were only given to understand beforehand, that the acts thus performed were axiomatical, pointing to rules of practice, that the forms were representative forms, whose 'real' exhibition of the particular natures in question, was much more vivid and effective, much more memorable as well as safe, than any abstract statement of that philosophic truth, which is the truth of direction, could be.
As to the 'accidents of words, which are measure, sound, and elevation of accent, and the sweetness and harshness of them,' even here the new science suggests a new rule, which is not without a remarkable relation to that 'particular method of tradition,' which the author tells us in another place, some parts of his new science required. 'This subject,' he says, 'involves some curious observations in rhetoric, but chiefly POESY, as we consider it in respect of the verse, and not of the argument; wherein, though men in learned tongues do tie themselves to the ancient measures, yet in modern languages it seemeth to me as free to make new measures of verses as of dances.' The spirit of the new philosophy had a chance to speak out there for once, without intending, of course, to transcend that particular limit just laid down, namely, the measure of verses, and with that literal limitation, to the form of the verse, the remark is sufficiently suggestive; for he brings out from it at the next step, in the way of formula, the new principle, the new Shaksperian principle of rhetoric: In these things the sense is better judge than the art. And of the servile expressing antiquity in an unlike and an unfit subject, it is well said:—'Quod tempore antiquum videtur, id incongruitate est maxime novum.''
But when he comes to speak specifically of writing as a means of tradition, he confines his remarks to that particular kind of writing, which is agreed on betwixt particular persons, and called by the name of cipher, giving excellent reasons for this proceeding, impertinent as it may seem, to those who think that his only object is to make out a list and 'muster-roll of the arts and sciences';—stopping to tell us plainly that he knows what he is about, and that he has not brought in 'these private and retired arts,' with so much stress, and under so many heads, in connection with 'the principal and supreme sciences,' and the mode of their tradition, without having some occasion for it.
'Ciphers are commonly in letters, or alphabets, but may be in words,' he says, proceeding to enumerate the different kinds, and furnishing on the spot, some pretty specimens of what may be done in the way of that kind which he calls 'doubles,' a kind which he is particularly fond of; one hears again the echo of those delicate, collateral sounds, which our friend, over the mountains, warned us of, declining to say any more about them in that place. In the later edition, he takes occasion to say, in this connection, 'that as writing in the received manner no way obstructs the manner of pronunciation, but leaves that free, an innovation in it is of no purpose.' And if a cipher be the proper name for a private method of writing, agreed on betwixt particular persons, it is certainly the name for the method which he proposes to adopt in his tradition of the principal sciences; as he takes occasion to inform those whom it may concern, in an early portion of the work, and when he is occupied in the critical task of putting down some of the primary terms. 'I doubt not,' he says, by way of explanation, 'but it will easily appear to men of judgment, that in this and other particulars, wheresoever my conception and notion may differ from the ancient, I am studious to keep the ancient terms.' Surely there is no want of frankness here, so far as the men of judgment are concerned at least. And after condemning those innovators who have taken a different course, he says again, 'But to me on the other side that do desire as much as lieth in my pen, to ground a sociable intercourse between antiquity and proficience, it seemeth best to keep way with antiquity usque ad aras; and therefore to retain the ancient TERMS, though I sometimes alter the uses and definitions, according to the moderate proceeding in civil government, where, although there be some alteration, yet that holdeth which Tacitus wisely noteth 'eadem magistratuum vocabula.' Surely that is plain enough, especially if one has time to take into account the force and historic reach of that last illustration, 'eadem magistratuum vocabula.'
In the later and enlarged edition of his work, he lays much stress upon the point that the cipher 'should be free from suspicion,' for he says, 'if a letter should come into the hands of such as have a power over the writer or receiver, though the cipher itself be trusty and impossible to decipher, it is still subject to examination and question, and (as he says himself), 'to avoid all suspicion,' he introduces there a cipher in letters, which he invented in his youth in Paris, 'having the highest perfection of a cipher, that of signifying omnia per omnia;' and for the same reason perhaps, that of 'avoiding all suspicion,' he quite omits there that very remarkable passage in the earlier work, in which he treats it as a medium of tradition, and takes pains to intimate his reasons for producing it in that connection, with the principal and supreme sciences. If it was, indeed, any object with him to avoid suspicion, and recent disclosures had then, perhaps, tended to sharpen somewhat the contemporary criticism; he did well, unquestionably, to omit that passage. But at the time when that was written, he appears to be chiefly inclined to notice the remarkable facilities, which this style offers to an inventive genius. For he says, 'in regard of the rawness and unskilfulness of the hands through which they pass, the greatest matters, are sometimes carried in the weakest ciphers.' And that there may be no difficulty or mistake as to the reading of that passage, he immediately adds, 'In the enumeration of these private and retired arts, it may be thought I seek to make a great muster-roll of sciences, naming them for show and ostentation, and to little other purpose. But'—note it—'But, let those which are skilful in them judge, whether I bring them in only for appearance, or whether, in that which I speak of them, though in few words, there be not some seed of proficience. And this must be remembered, that as there be many of great account in their countries and provinces, which, when they come up to the seat of the estate, are but of mean rank, and scarcely regarded; so these arts, ("these private and retired arts,") being here placed with the principal and supreme sciences, seem petty things, YET TO SUCH AS HAVE CHOSEN THEM TO SPEND THEIR LABOURS AND STUDIES IN THEM, THEY SEEM GREAT MATTERS. ("Let those which are skilful in them, judge (after that) whether I bring them in only for appearance" or to little other purpose).'
That apology would seem sufficient, but we must know what these labours and studies are, before we can perceive the depth of it. And if we have the patience to follow him but a step or two further, we shall find ourselves in the way of some very direct and accurate information, as to that. For we are coming now, in the order of the work we quote from, to that very part, which contains the point of all these labours and studies, the end of them,—that part to which the science of nature in general, and the secret of this art of tradition, was a necessary introduction. [For this Art of Tradition makes the link between the new Logic and the application of it to Human Nature and Human Life.]
Thus far, this art has been treated as a means of simply transferring knowledge, in such forms as the conditions of the Advancement of Learning prescribe,—forms adapted to the different stages of mental advancement, commencing with the lowest range of the common opinion in his time,—starting with the contemporary opinions of the majority, and reserving 'the secrets of knowledge,' for such as are able to receive them. Thus far, it is the Method, and the Organ of the tradition of which he has spoken. But it is when he comes to speak of what he calls the Illustration of it, that the convergency of his design begins to be laid open to us, for this work is not what it may seem on the surface, as he takes pains to intimate to us—a 'mere muster-roll of sciences.'
It is when he comes to tell us that he will have his 'truth in beauty dyed,' that he does not propose to have the new learning left in the form of argument and logic, or in the form of bare scientific fact, that he does not mean to appeal with it to the reason only; that he will have it in a form in which it will be able to attract and allure men, and make them in love with it, a form in which it will be able to force its way into the will and the affections, and make a lodgement in the hearts of men, long ere it is able to reach the judgment;—it is not till he begins to bring out here, his new doctrine of the true end of rhetoric, and the use to which it ought to be put in subordination to science, that we begin to perceive the significance of the arrangement which brings this theory of an Illustrated Art of Tradition into immediate connection with the new science of human nature and human life which the Author is about to constitute,—so as to serve as an introduction to it—the arrangement which interposes this art of Tradition, between the New Logic and its application to Human Nature and Human Life—to POLICY and MORALITY.
He will not consent to have this so powerful engine of popular influence, which the aesthetic art seems, to his eye, to offer, left out, in his scheme of scientific instrumentalities: he will not pass it by scornfully, as some other philosophers have done, treating it merely as a voluptuary art. He will have of it, something which shall differ, not in degree only, but in kind, from the art of the confectioner.
He begins by stating frankly his reasons for making so much of it in this grave treatise, which is what it professes to be, a treatise on Learning and its Advancement. 'For although,' he says, 'in true value, it is inferior to wisdom, as it is said by God to Moses, when he disabled himself for want of this faculty, "Aaron shall be thy speaker, and thou shalt be to him as God;" yet with people it is the more mighty, and it is just that which is mighty with the people—which he tells us in another place—is wanting. "For this people who knoweth not the law are cursed."' But here he continues, 'for so Solomon saith, "Sapiens corde appellabitur prudens, sed dulcis eloquio majora reperiet;" signifying that profoundness of wisdom will help a man to a name or admiration,'—(it is something more than that which he is proposing as his end)—'but that it is eloquence—which prevails in active life;' so that the very movement which brought philosophy down to earth, and put her upon reforming the practical life of men, was the movement which led her to assume, not instinctively, only, but by theory, and on principle, this new and beautiful apparel, this deep disguise of pleasure. She comes into the court with her case, and claims that this Art, which has been treated hitherto as if it had some independent rights and laws of its own, is properly a subordinate of hers; a chattel gone astray, and setting up for itself as an art voluptuary.
Works on rhetorics are not wanting, the author reports. Antiquity has laboured much in this field. Notwithstanding, he says, there is something to be done here too, and the Elizabethan aesthetics must be begun also in the prima philosophia. 'Notwithstanding,' he continues, 'to stir the earth a little about the roots of this science, as we have done of the rest; the duty and office of Rhetoric is to apply reason to imagination for the better moving of THE WILL; for we see reason is disturbed in the administration of the will by three means; by sophism, which pertains to logic; by imagination or impression, which pertains to rhetoric; and by passion or affection, which pertains to morality.' So in this negotiation within ourselves, men are undermined by inconsequences, solicited and importuned by impressions and observations, and transported by passions. Neither is the nature of man so unfortunately built, as that these powers and arts should have force to disturb reason and not to establish and advance it. For the end of logic is to teach a form of logic to secure reason, not to entrap it. The end of morality is to procure the affections to obey reason, and not to invade it. The end of rhetoric is to fill the imagination to second reason, and not to oppress it. For these abuses of arts come in but ex obliquo for caution.
That is the real original English doctrine of Art:—that is the doctrine of the age of Elizabeth, at least, as it stands in that queen's English, and though it may be very far from being orthodox at present, it is the doctrine which must determine the rule of any successful interpretation of works of art composed on that theory. 'And, therefore,' he proceeds to say, 'it was great injustice in Plato, though springing out of a just hatred of the rhetoricians of his time, to esteem of rhetoric but as a voluptuary art, resembling it to cookery that did mar wholesome meats, and help unwholesome, by variety of sauces to the pleasure of the taste.' 'And therefore, as Plato said eloquently, "That virtue, if she could be seen, would move great love and affection, so, seeing that she cannot be showed to the sense by corporal shape, the next degree is to show her to the imagination in lively representation": for to show her to reason only, in subtilty of argument was a thing ever derided in—Chrysippus and many of the Stoics—who thought to thrust virtue upon men by sharp disputations and conclusions, which have no sympathy with the will of man.'
'Again, if the affections in themselves were pliant and obedient to reason, it were true there should be no great use of persuasions and injunctions to the will, more than of naked propositions and proofs; but in regard of the continual mutinies and seditions of the affections,
Video meliora proboque Deteriora sequor;
'Reason would become captive and servile, if eloquence of persuasions did not practise and win the imagination from the affections part, and contract a confederacy between the reason and the imagination, against the affections; for the affections themselves carry ever an appetite to good, as reason doth. The difference is'—mark it—'the difference is, that the affection beholdeth merely the present; reason beholdeth the future and sum of time. And therefore the present filling the imagination most, reason is commonly vanquished; but after that force of eloquence and persuasion hath made things future and remote, appear as present, then, upon the revolt of the imagination reason prevaileth.' Not less important than that is this art in his scheme of learning. No wonder that the department of learning which he refers to the imagination should take that prime place in his grand division of it, and be preferred deliberately and on principle to the two others.
'Logic differeth from Rhetoric chiefly in this, that logic handleth reason exact and in truth, and rhetoric handleth it as it is planted in popular opinions and manners. And therefore Aristotle doth wisely place rhetoric as between logic on the one side, and moral or civil knowledge on the other, (and when we come to put together the works of this author, we shall find that that and none other is the place it takes in his system, that that is just the bridge it makes in his plan of operations.)' The proofs and demonstrations of logic are towards all men indifferent and the same: but the proofs and persuasions of rhetoric ought to differ according to the auditors.
Orpheus in sylvis inter delphinas Arion.
Which application, in perfection of idea, ought to extend so far, that if a man should speak of the same thing to several persons, he should speak to them all respectively, and several ways; and there was a great folio written on this plan which came out in those days dedicated 'to the Great Variety of Readers. From the most able to him that can but spell'; (this is just the doctrine, too, which the Continental philosopher sets forth we see);—though this 'politic part of eloquence in private speech,' he goes on to say here, 'it is easy for the greatest orators to want; whilst by observing their well graced forms of speech, they lose the volubility of APPLICATION; and therefore it shall not be amiss to recommend this to better inquiry, not being curious whether we place it here, or in that part which concerneth policy.'
Certainly one would not be apt to infer from that decided preference which the author himself manifests here for those stately and well-graced forms of speech, judging merely from the style of this performance at least, one would not be inclined to suspect that he himself had ever been concerned in any literary enterprises, or was like to be, in which that volubility of application which he appears to think desirable, was successfully put in practice. But we must remember, that he was just the man who was capable of conceiving of a variety of styles adapted to different exigencies, if we would have the key to this style in particular.
But we must look a little at these labours and studies themselves, which required such elaborate and splendid arts of delivery, if we would fully satisfy ourselves, as to whether this author really had any purpose after all in bringing them in here beyond that of mere ostentation, and for the sake of completing his muster-roll of the sciences. Above, we see an intimation, that the divisions of the subject are, after all, not so 'curious' but that the inquiry might possibly be resumed again in other connections, and in the particular connection specified, namely, in that part which concerneth Policy.
In that which follows, the new science of human nature and human life—which is the end and term of this treatise, we are told—is brought out under the two heads of Morality and Policy; and it is necessary to look into both these departments in order to find what application he was proposing to make of this art and science of Tradition and Delivery, and in order to see what place—what vital place it occupied in his system.
THE SCIENCE OF POLICY.
'Policy is the most immersed.'—Advancement of Learning.
Reversing the philosophic order, we glance first into that new department of science which the author is here boldly undertaking to constitute under the above name, because in this his own practical designs, and rules of proceeding, are more clearly laid open, and the place which is assigned in his system to that radical science, for which these arts of Delivery and Tradition are chiefly wanting, is distinctly pointed out.
And, moreover, in this department of Policy itself, in marking out one of the grand divisions of it, we find him particularly noticing, and openly insisting on, the form of delivery and inculcation which the new science must take here, that is, if it is going to be at all available as a science of practice.
In this so-called plan for the advancement of learning, the author proceeds, as we all know, by noticing the deficiencies in human learning as he finds it; and everywhere it is that radical deficiency, which leaves human life and human conduct in the dark, while the philosophers are busied with their controversies and wordy speculations. And in that part of his inventory where he puts down as wanting a science of practice in those every-day affairs and incidents, in which the life of man is most conversant, embodying axioms of practice that shall save men the wretched mistakes and blunders of which the individual life is so largely made up; blunders which are inevitable, so long as men are left here, to natural human ignorance, to uncollected individual experience, or to the shrewdest empiricism;—in this so original and interesting part of the work, he takes pains to tell us at length, that that which he has before put down under the head of 'delivery' as a point of form and method, becomes here essential as a point of substance also. It is not merely that he will have his axioms and precepts of direction digested from the facts, instead of being made out of the teacher's own brains, but he will have THE FACTS themselves, in all their stubbornness and opposition to the teacher's preconceptions, for the body of the discourse, and the precepts accommodated thereto, instead of having the precepts for the body of the discourse, and the facts brought in to wait upon them. That is the form of the practical doctrine.
He regrets that this part of a true learning has not been collected hitherto into writing, to the great derogation of learning, and the professors of learning; for from this proceeds the popular opinion which has passed into an adage, that there is no great concurrence between wisdom and learning. The deficiency here is well nigh total he says: 'but for the wisdom of business, wherein man's life is most conversant, there be no books of it, except some few scattered advertisements, that have no proportion to the magnitude of the subject. For if books were written of this, as of the other, I doubt not but learned men with mean experience would far excel men of long experience without learning, and outshoot them with their own bow. Neither need it be thought that this knowledge is too variable to fall under precept,' he says; and he mentions the fact, that in old Rome, so renowned for practical ability, in its wisest and saddest times, there were professors of this learning, that were known for GENERAL WISE MEN, who used to walk at certain hours in the place, and give advice to private citizens, who came to consult with them of the marriage of a daughter, for instance, or the employing of a son, or of an accusation, or of a purchase or bargain, and every other occasion incident to man's life. There is a pretty scheme laid out truly. Have we any general wise man, or ghost of one, who walks up and down at certain hours and gives advice on such topics? However that may be, this philosopher does not despair of such a science. 'So,' he says, commenting on that Roman custom, 'there is a wisdom of council and advice, even in private cases, arising out of a universal insight into the affairs of the world, which is used indeed upon particular cases propounded, but is gathered by general observation of cases of like nature.' And fortifying himself with the example of Solomon, after collecting a string of texts from the Sacred Proverbs, he adds, 'though they are capable, of course, of a more divine interpretation, taking them as instructions for life, they might have received large discourse, if he would have broken them and illustrated them, by deducements and examples. Nor was this in use with the Hebrews only, but it is generally to be found in the wisdom of the more ancient times, that as men found out any observation that they thought was good for life, they would gather it, and express it in parable, or aphorism, or fable.'
But for fables, they were vicegerents and supplies, where examples failed. Now that the times abound with history, THE AIM IS BETTER WHEN THE MARK IS ALIVE. And, therefore, he recommends as the form of writing, 'which is of all others fittest for this variable argument, discourses upon histories and examples: for knowledge drawn freshly, and in our view, out of particulars, knoweth the way best to particulars again; and it hath much greater life for practice, when the discourse attendeth upon the example, than when the example attendeth upon the discourse. For this is no point of order as it seemeth at first' (indeed it is not, it is a point as substantial as the difference between the old learning of the world and the new)—'this is no point of order, but of substance. For when the example is the ground being set down in a history at large, it is set down with all circumstances, which may sometimes control the discourse thereupon made, and sometimes supply it as a very pattern for action; whereas the examples which are alleged for the discourse's sake, are cited succinctly and without particularity, and carry a servile aspect towards the discourse which they are brought in to make good.'
The question of method is here, as we see, incidentally introduced; but it is to be noted, and it makes one of the rules for the interpretation of that particular kind of style which is under consideration, that in this casual and secondary introduction of a subject, we often get shrewder hints of the author's real intention than we do in those parts of the work where it is openly and distinctly treated; at least, these scattered and apparently accidental hints,—these dispersed directions, often contain the key for the 'second' reading, which he openly bespeaks for the more open and elaborate discussion.
And thus we are able to collect, from every part of this proposal for a practical and progressive human learning, based on the defects of the unpractical and stationary learning which the world has hitherto been contented with, the author's opinion as to the form of delivery and inculcation best adapted to effect the proposed object under the given conditions. This question of form runs naturally through the whole work, and comes out in specifications of a very particular and significant kind under some of its divisions, as we shall see. But everywhere we find the point insisted on, which we have just seen so clearly brought out, in the department which was to contain the axioms of success in private life. Whatever the particular form may be, everywhere we come upon this general rule. Whatever the particular form may be, everywhere it is to be one in which the facts shall have the precedence, and the conclusions shall follow; and not one in which the conclusions stand first, and the facts are brought in to make them good. And this very circumstance is enough of itself to show that the form of this new doctrine will be thus far new, as new as the doctrine itself; that the new learning will be found in some form very different, at least, from that which the philosophers and professed teachers were then making use of in their didactic discourses, in some form so much more lively than that, and so much less oracular, that it would, perhaps, appear at first, to those accustomed only to the other, not to be any kind of learning at all, but something very different from that.
But this is not the only point in the general doctrine of delivery which we find produced again in its specific applications. Through all the divisions of this discourse on Learning, and not in that part of it only in which the Art of its Tradition is openly treated, we find that the prescribed form of it is one which will adapt it to the popular preconceptions; and that it must be a form which will make it not only universally acceptable, but universally attractive; that it is not only a form which will throw open the gates of the new school to all comers, but one that will bring in mankind to its benches. Not under the head of Method only, or under the head of Delivery and Tradition, but in those parts of the work in which the substance of the new learning is treated, we find dispersed intimations and positive assertions, that the form of it is, at the same time, popular and enigmatical,—not openly philosophical, and not 'magisterial,'— but insensibly didactic; and that it is, in its principal and higher departments—in those departments on which this plan for the human relief concentrates its forces—essentially POETICAL. That is what we find in the body of the work; and the author repeats in detail what he has before made a point of telling us, in general, under this head of Delivery and Tradition of knowledge, that he sees no reason why that same instrument, which is so powerful for delusion and error, should not be restored to its true uses as an instrument of the human advancement, and a vehicle, though a veiled one—a beautiful and universally-welcome vehicle—for bringing in on this Globe Theatre the knowledges that men are most in need of.
The doctrine which is to be conveyed in this so subtle and artistic manner is none other than the Doctrine of Human Nature and Human Life, or, as this author describes it here, the Scientific Doctrine of MORALITY and POLICY. It is that new doctrine of human nature and human life which the science of nature in general creates. It is the light which universal science, collected from the continent of nature, gives to that insular portion of it 'which is the end and term of natural philosophy in the intention of man.' Under these heads of Morality and Policy, the whole subject is treated here. But to return to the latter.
The question of Civil Government is, in the light of this science, a very difficult one; and this philosopher, like the one we have already quoted on this subject, is disposed to look with much suspicion on propositions for violent and sudden renovations in the state, and immediate abolitions and cures of social evil. He too takes a naturalist's estimate of those larger wholes, and their virtues, and faculties of resistance.
'Civil knowledge is conversant about a subject,' he says, 'which is, of all others, most immersed in matter, and hardliest reduced to axiom. Nevertheless, as Cato, the censor, said, "that the Romans were like sheep, for that a man might better drive a flock of them than one of them, for, in a flock, if you could get SOME FEW to go right, the rest would follow;" so in that respect, MORAL PHILOSOPHY is more difficult than policy. Again, moral philosophy propoundeth to itself the framing of internal goodness, but civil knowledge requireth only an external goodness, for that, as to society, sufficeth. Again, States, as great engines, move slowly, and are not so soon put out of frame;' (that is what our foreign statist thought also) 'for, as in Egypt the seven good years sustained the seven bad, so governments for a time, well grounded, do bear out errors following. But the resolution of particular persons is more suddenly subverted. These respects do somewhat qualify the extreme difficulty of civil knowledge.'
This is the point of attack, then,—this is the point of scientific attack,—the resolution of particular persons. He has showed us where the extreme difficulty of this subject appears to lie in his mind, and he has quietly pointed, at the same time, to that place of resistance in the structure of the state, which is the key to the whole position. He has marked the spot exactly where he intends to commence his political operations. For he has discovered a point there, which admits of being operated on, by such engines as a feeble man like him, or a few such together, perhaps, may command. It is the new science that they are going to converge on that point precisely, namely the resolution of particular persons. It is the novum organum that this one is bringing up, in all its finish, for the assault of that particular quarter. Hard as that old wall is, great as the faculty of conservation is in these old structures that hold by time, there is one element running all through it, these chemists find, which is within their power, namely, the resolution of particular persons. It is the science of the conformation of the parts, it is the constitutional structure of the human nature, which, in its scientific development, makes men, naturally, members of communities, beautiful and felicitous parts of states,—it is that which the man of science will begin with. If you will let him have that part of the field to work in undisturbed, he will agree not to meddle with the state. And beside those general reasons, already quoted, which tend to prevent him from urging the immediate application of his science to this 'larger whole,' for its wholesale relief and cure, he ventures upon some specifications and particulars, when he comes to treat distinctly of government itself, and assign to it its place in his new science of affairs. If one were to judge by the space he has openly given it on his paper in this plan for the human advancement and relief, one would infer that it must be a very small matter in his estimate of agencies; but looking a little more closely, we find that it is not that at all in his esteem, that it is anything but a matter of little consequence. It was enough for him, at such a time, to be allowed to put down the fact that the art of it was properly scientific, and included in his plan, and to indicate the kind of science that is wanting to it; for the rest, he gives us to understand that he has himself fallen on such felicitous times, and finds that affair in the hands of a person so extremely learned in it, that there is really nothing to be said. And being thrown into this state of speechless reverence and admiration, he considers that the most meritorious thing he can do, is to pass to the other parts of his discourse with as little delay as possible.
It is a very short paragraph indeed for so long a subject; but, short as it is, it is not less pithy, and it contains reasons why it should not be longer, and why that new torch of science which he is bringing in upon the human affairs generally, cannot be permitted to enter that department of them in his time. 'The first is, that it is a part of knowledge secret and retired in both those respects in which things are deemed secret; for some things are secret because they are hard to know, and some because they are not fit to utter. Again, the wisdom of antiquity, the shadows whereof are in the Poets, in the description of torments and pains, next unto the crime of rebellion, which was the giants offence, doth detest the crime of futility, as in Sisyphus and Tantalus. But this was meant of particulars. Nevertheless, even unto the general rules and discourses of policy and government, [it extends; for even here] there is due a reverent handling.' And after having briefly indicated the comprehension 'of this science,' and shown that it is the thing he is treating under other heads, he concludes, 'but considering that I write to a king who is a master of it, and is so well assisted, I think it decent to pass over this part in silence, as willing to obtain the certificate which one of the ancient philosophers aspired unto; who being silent when others contended to make demonstration of their abilities by speech, desired it might be certified for his part that there was one that knew how to hold his peace.'
And having thus distinctly cleared himself of any suspicion of a disposition to introduce scientific inquiry and innovation into departments not then open to a procedure of that sort, his proposal for an advancement of learning in other quarters was, of course, less liable to criticism. But even that part of the subject to which he limits himself involves, as we shall see, an incidental reference to this, from which he here so modestly retires, and affords no inconsiderable scope for that genius which was by nature so irresistibly impelled, in one way or another, to the criticism and reformation of the larger wholes. He retires from the open assault, but it is only to go deeper into his subject. He is constituting the science of that from which the state proceeds. He is analyzing the state, and searching out in the integral parts of it, that which makes true states impossible. He has found the revolutionary forces in their simple forms, and is content to treat them in these. He is bestowing all his pains upon an art that will develop—on scientific principles, by simply attending to the natural laws, as they obtain in the human kind, royalties, and nobilities, and liege-men of all degrees—an art that will make all kinds of pieces that the structure of the state requires.
THE SCIENCE OF MORALITY.
Section I.—THE EXEMPLAR OF GOOD.
'Nature craves All dues to be rendered to their owners.'
But this great innovator is busying himself here with drawing up a report of THE DEFICIENCIES IN LEARNING; and though he is the first to propose a plan and method by which men shall build up, systematically and scientifically, a knowledge of Nature in general, instead of throwing themselves altogether upon their own preconceptions and abstract controversial theories, after all, the principal deficiency which he has to mark—that to which, even in this dry report, he finds himself constrained to affix some notes of admiration—this principal deficiency is THE SCIENCE OF MAN—THE SCIENCE of human nature itself. And the reason of this deficiency is, that very deficiency before named; it is that very act of shutting himself up to his own theories which leaves the thinker without a science of himself. 'For it is the greatest proof of want of skill, to investigate the nature of any object in itself alone; and, in general, those very things which are considered as secret, are manifested and common in other objects, but will never be clearly seen if the contemplations and experiments of men be directed to themselves alone.' It is this science of NATURE IN GENERAL which makes the SCIENCE of Human Nature for the first time possible; and that is the end and term of the new philosophy,—so the inventor of it tells us. And the moment that he comes in with that new torch, which he has been out into 'the continent of nature' to light,—the moment that he comes back with it, into this old debateable ground of the schools, and begins to apply it to that element in the human life in which the scientific innovation appears to be chiefly demanded, 'most of the controversies,' as he tells us very simply—'most of the controversies, wherein moral philosophy is conversant, are judged and determined by it.'
But here is the bold and startling criticism with which he commences his approach to this subject; here is the ground which he makes at the first step; this is the ground of his scientific innovation; not less important than this, is the field which he finds unoccupied. In the handling of this science he says, (the science of 'the Appetite and Will of Man'), 'those which have written seem to me to have done as if a man that professed to teach to write did only exhibit fair copies of alphabets and letters joined, without giving any precepts or directions for the carriage of the hand, or the framing of the letters; so have they made good and fair exemplars and copies, carrying the draughts and portraitures of good, virtue, duty, felicity; propounding them, well described, as the true objects and scopes of man's will and designs; but how to attain these excellent marks, and how to frame and subdue the will of man to become true and conformable to these pursuits, they pass it over altogether, or slightly and unprofitably; for it is not,' he says, 'certain scattered glances and touches that can excuse the absence of this part of—SCIENCE.
'The reason of this omission,' he supposes, 'to be that hidden rock, whereupon both this and many other barks of knowledge have been cast away, which is, that men have despised to be conversant in ordinary and common matters, the judicious direction whereof, nevertheless, is the wisest doctrine; for life consisteth not in novelties nor subtleties, but, contrariwise, they have compounded sciences chiefly of a certain resplendent or lustrous mass of matter, chosen to give glory either to the subtlety of disputations, or to the eloquence of discourses.' But his theory of teaching is, that 'Doctrine should be such as should make men in love with the lesson, and not with the teacher; being directed to the auditor's benefit, and not to the author's commendation.' Neither needed men of so excellent parts to have despaired of a fortune which the poet Virgil promised himself, and, indeed, obtained, who got as much glory of eloquence, wit, and learning, in the expressing of the observations of husbandry as of the heroical acts of AEneas.
'Nec sum animi dubius, verbis ea vincere magnum Quam sit, et angustis hunc addere rebus honorum.' Georg. iii. 289.
So, then, there is room for a new Virgil, but his theme is here;—one who need not despair, if he be able to bring to his subject those excellent parts this author speaks of, of getting as much glory of eloquence, wit, and learning, in the expressing of the observations of this husbandry, as those have had who have sketched the ideal forms of the human life, the dream of what should be. The copies and exemplars of good,—that vision of heaven,—that idea of felicity, and beauty, and goodness that the human soul brings with it, like a memory,—those celestial shapes that the thought and heart of man, by a law in nature, project,—that garden of delights that all men remember, and yearn for, and aspire to, and will have, in one form or another, in delicate air patterns, or gross deceiving images,—that large, intense, ideal good which men desire—that perfection and felicity, so far above the rude mocking realities which experience brings them,—that, that has had its poets. No lack of these exemplars the historian finds, when he comes to make out his report of the condition of his kind—where he comes to bring in his inventory of the human estate: when so much is wanting, that good he reports 'not deficient.' Edens in plenty,—gods, and demi-gods, and heroes, not wanting; the purest abstract notions of virtue and felicity, the most poetic embodiments of them, are put down among the goods which the human estate, as it is, comprehends. This part of the subject appears, to the critical reviewer, to have been exhausted by the poets and artists that mankind has always employed to supply its wants in this field. No room for a poet here! The draught of the ideal Eden is finished;—the divine exemplar is finished; that which is wanting is,—the husbandry thereunto.
Till now, the philosophers and poetic teachers had always taken their stand at once, on the topmost peak of Olympus, pouring down volleys of scorn, and amazement, and reprehension, upon the vulgar nature they saw beneath, made out of the dust of the ground, and qualified with the essential attributes of that material,—kindled, indeed, with a breath of heaven, but made out of clay,—different kinds of clay,—with more or less of the Promethean spark in it; but always clay, of one kind or another, and always compelled to listen to the laws that are common to the kinds of that substance. And it was to this creature, thus bound by nature, thus doubly bound,—'crawling between earth and heaven,' as the poet has it,—that these winged philosophers on the ideal cliffs, thought it enough to issue their mandates, commanding it to renounce its conditions, to ignore its laws, and come up thither at a word,—at a leap,—making no ado about it.
'I can call spirits from the vasty deep.' 'And so can I, and so can any man;'
Says the new philosopher—
'But will they come? Will they come—when you do call for them?'
It was simply a command, that this dirty earth should convert itself straight into Elysian lilies, and bloom out, at a word, with roses of Paradise. Excellent patterns, celestial exemplars, of the things required were held up to it; and endless declamation and argument why it should be that, and not the other, were not wanting:—but as to any scientific inquiry into the nature of the thing on which this form was to be superinduced, as to any scientific exhibition of the form itself which was to be superinduced, these so essential conditions of the proposed result, were in this case alike wanting. The position which these reformers occupy, is one so high, that the question of different kinds of soils, and chemical analyses and experiments, would not come within their range at all; and 'the resplendent or lustrous mass of matter,' of which their sciences are compounded, chosen to give glory either to the subtilty of disputations or to the eloquence of discourses, would not bear any such vulgar admixture. It would make a terrible jar in the rhythm, which those large generalizations naturally flow in, to undertake to introduce into them any such points of detail.
And the new teacher will have a mountain too; but it will be one that 'overlooks the vale,' and he will have a rock-cut-stair to its utmost summit. He is one who will undertake this despised unlustrous matter of which our ordinary human life consists, and make a science of it, building up its generalizations from its particulars, and observing the actual reality,—the thing as it is, freshly, for that purpose; and not omitting any detail,—the poorest. The poets who had undertaken this theme before had been so absorbed with the idea of what man should be, that they could only glance at him as he is: the idea of a science of him, was not of course, to be thought of. There was but one name for the creature, indeed, in their vocabulary and doctrine, and that was one which simply seized and embodied the general fact, the unquestionable historic fact, that he has not been able hitherto to attain to his ideal type in nature, or indeed to make any satisfactory approximation to it.
But when the Committee of Inquiry sits at last, and the business begins to assume a systematic form, even the science of that ideal good, that exemplar and pattern of good, which men have been busy on so long,—the science of it,—is put down as 'wanting,' and the science of the husbandry thereunto, 'wholly deficient.'
And the report is, that this new argument, notwithstanding its every-day theme, is one that admits of being sung also; and that the Virgil who is able to compose 'these Georgies of the Mind,' may promise himself fame, though his end is one that will enable him to forego it. Let us see if we can find any further track of him and his great argument, whether in prose or verse;—this poet who cares not whether he has his 'singing robes' about him or not, so he can express and put upon record his new 'observations of this husbandry.'
THE EXEMPLAR OF GOOD.—'And surely,' he continues, 'if the purpose be in good earnest, not to write at leisure that which men may read at leisure'—note it—that which men may read at leisure—'but really to instruct and suborn action and active life, these GEORGICS of the MIND, concerning the husbandry and tillage thereof, are no less worthy than the heroical descriptions of virtue, duty, and felicity; therefore the main and primitive division of MORAL KNOWLEDGE, seemeth to be into the EXEMPLAR or PLATFORM of GOOD, and THE REGIMEN or CULTURE OF THE MIND, the one describing the NATURE of GOOD, the other prescribing RULES how to SUBDUE, APPLY, and ACCOMMODATE THE WILL OF MAN THEREUNTO.'
As to 'the nature of good, positive or simple,' the writers on this subject have, he says, 'set it down excellently, in describing the forms of virtue and duty, with their situations, and postures, in distributing them into their kinds, parts, provinces, actions, and administrations, and the like: nay, farther, they have commended them to man's nature and spirit, with great quickness of argument, and beauty of persuasions; yea, and fortified and entrenched them, as much as discourse can do, against corrupt and popular opinions. And for the degrees and comparative nature of good, they have excellently handled it also.'—That part deserveth to be reported for 'excellently laboured.'
What is it that is wanting then? What radical, fatal defect is it that he finds even in the doctrine of the NATURE OF GOOD? What is the difficulty with this platform and exemplar of good as he finds it, notwithstanding the praise he has bestowed on it? The difficulty is, that it is not scientific. It is not broad enough. It is special, it is limited to the species, but it is not properly, it is not effectively, specific, because it is not connected with the doctrine of nature in general. It does not strike to those universal original principles, those simple powers which determine the actual historic laws and make the nature of things itself. This is the criticism, therefore, with which this critic of the learning of the world as he finds it, is constrained to qualify that commendation.
Notwithstanding, if before they had come to the popular and received notions of 'vice' and 'virtue,' 'pleasure' and 'pain,' and the rest, they had stayed a little longer upon the inquiry concerning THE ROOTS of GOOD and EVIL, and the strings to those roots, they had given, in my opinion, a great light to that which followed, and especially if they had consulted with nature, they had made their doctrines less prolix and more profound, which being by them in part omitted, and in part handled with much confusion, we will endeavour to resume and open in a more clear manner. Here then, is the preparation of the Platform or Exemplar of Good, the scientific platform of virtue and felicity; going behind the popular notion of vice and virtue, pain and pleasure, and the like, he strikes at once to the nature of good, as it is 'formed in everything,' for the foundation of this specific science. He lays the beams of it, in the axioms and definitions of his 'prima philosophia' 'which do not fall within the compass of the special parts of science, but are more common and of a higher stage, for the distributions and partitions of knowledge are not like several lines that meet in one angle, and so touch but in a point, but are like branches of a tree that meet in a stem which hath a dimension and quantity of entireness and continuance before it comes to discontinue and break itself into arms and boughs,' and it is not the narrow and specific observation on which the popular notions are framed, but the scientific, which is needed for the New Ethics,—the new knowledge, which here too, is POWER. He must detect and recognise here also, he must track even into the nature of man, those universal 'footsteps' which are but 'the same footsteps of nature treading or printing in different substances.' 'There is formed in everything a double nature of good, the one as everything is a total or substantive in itself, and the other, as it is a part or member of a greater body whereof the latter is in degree the greater and the worthier, because it tendeth to the conservation of a more general form.... This double nature of good, and the comparison thereof, is much more engraven upon MAN, if he degenerate not, unto whom the conservation of duty to the public ought to be much more precious than the conservation of life and being;' and, by way of illustration, he mentions first the case of Pompey the Great, 'who being in commission of purveyance for a famine at Rome, and being dissuaded with great vehemency by his friends, that he should not hazard himself to sea in an extremity of weather, he said only to them, "Necesse est ut eam, non ut vivam."' But, he adds, 'it may be truly affirmed, that there was never any philosophy, religion, or other discipline, which did so plainly and highly exalt the good which is communicative, and depress the good which is private and particular, as the holy faith, well declaring that it was the same God that gave the Christian law to men, who gave those laws of nature to inanimate creatures that we spake of before; for we read that the elected saints of God have wished themselves anathematised, and razed out of the book of life, in an ecstasy of charity, and infinite feeling of communion.'