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BACON


192


BACONIAN


played such talent for business that he was retained as Secretary by the four succeeding Generals of the Order. Upon his retirement from this office in 1668 he began the well-known "Bibhotheca Scriptorum Societatis Jesu" in folio, published in Rome in 1676. This compilation was based on an earher work of Father Ribadeneira, issued in 1602 and brought down to 1641 by Father Aleganibe. Father South- well revised the original works, adding copious notes of his own. Dr. Oliver praises this volume as " a compilation truly admirable for research, accuracy, elegance of language, piety, and charity of sentiment" . Father Southwell was also the author of "A Journal of Meditations for Every Day in the Year", pub- lished in London in 1669. On the same authority we learn that he was accounted by his religious brethren a model of virtue and sanctity. He died in the professed house of the Gesu, at Rome.

Oliver, Collections etc. (London, 1S45), 193; Foley, Records of the Eng. Prov. S, J., V, 521; VII, 26; Sommervogel, Biblio- theqiw etc. YII, 140S: MicHAun, Biographic Universelle, XXXIX.

Edw.vrd p. Spii-lane.

Bacon, Roger. See Roger B.vcox.

Baconian System of Philosophy, The, takes its name from its founder, Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam, Viscount St. Albans, statesman and philosopher, b. 22 January, 1561; d. 9 April, 1626. He was the second son of Lord Keeper Bacon and Anne, his second ■nnfe, daugliter of Sir Anthony Cooke and sister-in-law of Lord Burghley. In his thirteenth year (1573) he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied under Wliitgift. Before he left (1575) he had already acquired a considerable repu- tation for liis ability and learning. It was at Cam- bridge, as he later confessed to Rawley, that he first had fallen into a dislike of the Aristotelean philoso- phy — "not for the worthlessness of the author, to whom he would ever ascribe all high attributes, but for the unfruit fulness of the way; being a philosophy, as his Lordship used to say, only strong for disputa- tions and contentions but barren of the production of works for the benefit of the life of man. In which mind he continued until liis dying day. "

In June, 1576, he was admitted to Gray's Inn, being destined for the profession of law; but shortly afterwards was attached to the French embassy of Sir Amyas Paulet. His father died in 1579, leaving him small provision. He thereupon retiu-ned to England to continue his legal studies and was ad- mitted barrister 27 June, 1582. Two years later he was elected to Parliament for the Borough of Mel- combe Regis. In the following year he penned his "Letter of Advice to Queen Elizabeth", a document of considerable interest to Catholics, as expressing Bacon's views upon their treatment. Mary Stuart was yet alive, and there were plots and rtmiours of plots against the queen. There were still many adherents of the old faith; and conformity might be secured either by severe measitfes or by insidious ones. The young member had Catholics for the queen's enemies. It was impossible, he thought, to satisfy them; dangerous to irritate by too great severity. He recommended changes in the Oath of Supremacy and even went so far as to urge a cir- cumspect toleration of the sectaries because their teaching led to an issue "which your most excellent Majesty is to wish and desire" viz., the diminution and weakening of Papists. His political life and ad- vancement, notwithstanding his intrigue and in- cessant suit for office, were slow; his extraordinary ambition doomed for years to infruition. He had the misfortune to incur the queen's displeasure by opposing a grant of subsidies in such form as to in- fringe upon the privileges of the Commons. The patronage he found in Essex led to a friendship as remarkable as its end was dramatic and chsastrous.


Lentil 1607, when James I had reigned nearly four years, he had advanced no further in office than to be given the reversion of the post of Registrar of the Star Chamber. But in 1607, he became Solicitor- General. Then, until his fall, he advanced rapidly. The Attorney-Generalship was given to liim in 1613. He became successively a member of the Pri\-y Coim- cil (1616), Lord Keeper of the Cireat Seal (1617). Lord Chancellor (1618). He was raised to the peerage with the title of Baron Verulam (1618) and made Viscount St. Albans (1621). Suddenly he fell. He was accused, as Chancellor, of taking bribes. To this charge he pleaded guilty, was deprived, and declared incapable of holding any office, place, or emplojinent in the State. He was e.xcluded from both "Parliament and Coiu-t, fined £40,000, and sentenced to imprisonment in the Tower during the king's pleasure. In time, all his sentence was re- mitted.

His death occurred five years later. On his way to dine at Highgate, he alighted from his carriage, purchased, killed, and stuffed a hen with snow in order to observe the retarding effects of cold upon putrefaction. He caught a chill which set up bron- chitis. A week later he died in the house of the Earl of Arundel; and was buried, according to his wish, at St. .\lban's in the church of St. Michael.

The philosophy of Lord Bacon is too fragmentary to lend itself to criticism other than discursive, too largely conceived to be brushed aside with a mere line of comment, too full of sj-mbolic expression to be exactly and briefly set down. It is rather of the nature of a method than a system and it is a method that is incomplete. Few attempts at giving a new direction to the pursuit of truth have been more overrated; few the butt of such vigorous criticism. It luight be said that Bacon suft'ered most in it from falling into the very pitfalls that he indicated as dangerous to others. His confidence in liis own powers was colossal. Few men could have wTitten as he did in the " No\-um Orgammi: "The die is cast, the book is WTitten, to be read either now or by posterity — I care not which; it may wait a century for a reader, as God has waited 6000 years for an observer." His misconstruction and minimizing of the work of the old philosophers — except, perhaps, Democritus — is as startling as his ignorance of the contemporary science of liis day, or as the applica- tion he makes of his own principles; for the incipient rules of induction (their use already exemplified in -Aristotle's "Analytica Posteriora"), that find their more exact expression in Mill's Canons, should have prevented some, at least, of liis cruder scientific views. With all his signalling of the insidious dangers of the Idola. he could not altogether rid his understand- ing of the preoccupations caused by them, even in the presentation of Ins Inductive Method. These celebrated phantoms of the mind, of wliicli we must be at pains to rid ourselves, are four in number: the Idola Tribus (preoccupations common to mankind); the Idola Specus (belonging to the individual); the Idola Fori (resulting from a confusion of words and things in the common speech of the market-place); the Idola Thcatri (consisting of the received dogmata of philosophers that take possession of the mind by reason of a presumed authority). Still, the fact that he pointed them out and laid stress upon the danger is an advance. His lists, too, of facts, his confused congeries of instances, point the way to a scientific examination of Nature. Their contents are to be treated by (1) agreement, (2) disagreement, and (3) comparison. Roughly speaking, this would be tanta- mount to the use of the Method of Agreement and Difference, taken together with that of Concomitant Variations. What is not brought into sufficient ]>rominence is the extremely useful part plaj'cil by guesswork and hj^potheses in the generalization and