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that snow might prove as good a preservative as salt. To test the idea, he ordered an excursion into the country, where, owing to the protracted severity of the weather, snow might yet be found. Accompanied by Dr. Witherborne, the king's physician, he drove out to Highgate, where he stopped at a small cottage at the foot of the hill, purchased a hen lately killed, and stuffed its body with snow, which he thrust in with his own hands. He was almost immediately seized with a chill, and finding himself too unwell to return to Gray's Inn, he was conveyed to Lord Arundel's house at Highgate. There he was warmly welcomed; but, being a peer and an exchancellor, the attendants could do no less than put him into the State bed, which was unhappily damp, and sorely aggravated his disease. For a day or two, indeed, nature seemed to rally, but the cold was followed by fever, the fever induced congestion of the lungs, and, in the calmness of an assured hope, his pure and noble spirit passed away to that Heaven of which only it was worthy
“cotum conciliumque divinum animorum immortalium”—early in the morning of Easter Sunday, the 9th of April, 1626.
“ Full of repentance,
gave his honours to the world again,
"My name and memory,” says Bacon, in words I have already quoted, “I leave to men's charitable speeches, and to foreign nations, and to the next ages.” The legacy is one in which England—though England is not namedmust have a share. She can neither surrender her claim to his writings as a precious portion of her literature, nor
abandon the advantage which her sons may derive from his character and example.
No doubt, as we have already acknowledged, he was deficient in moral strength. He loved pomp, and beauty, and brightness, and in the indulgence of these tastes, yielded to a profuse living, which plunged him frequently into pecuniary difficulties. He was too easily drawn aside from absolute rectitude of purpose by his regard for power and place ; yet consciously dishonest he was not, and if he condescended to accept presents, he never allowed them to bias his judgment. He was not "the meanest of mankind,” but he was not the strongest. His intentions were loftier than his practice ; his aspirations were purer than his ambition. Yet when this defectiveness has been admitted, how much remains to command our admiration and esteem. And first, he was an indefatigable student, sacrificing even his life to a philosophical experiment. Neither the stir and excitement of a Court, nor the pressure of his high judicial dignity, could abstract him from his beloved studies. Knowledge was the constant object of his labours; his thoughts, hopes, and desires were concentrated on the acquisition of knowledge. It was the mistress from whose endearing bosom he sorrowed to be torn; the star, which shed its serenely consoling light on his darkest hour.
Then, again, Bacon, I take it, was a sincere Christian. The light of a tranquil, steadfast, religious spirit seems to radiate from every page of his writings. He recognised in it “the bond of charity, the rule of evil passions, the consolation of the wretched, the support of the timid, the hope of the dying.” It was a stay and a support when the storms of adversity buffeted him so rudely; it cheered and sustained him as he entered the valley of the
shadow. His most malignant enemies have not ventured to accuse him of an irreligious life. His worst slanderers do not say that he was insolent in the day of triumph or abject in the day of dejection ; for in both, his higher and purer inspiration moderated and restrained him. He forgave with ready forgiveness those who had most deeply injured him, and poured coals of fire on the heads of his persecutors.
By adversity his character was ennobled, purified, strengthened; it developed fresh graces as troubles pressed more heavily upon him. He had learned the sublime lesson that out of sorrow springs the highest wisdom. As be himself says, in that
, grand rythmical style of his :
“Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament; adversity is the blessing of the New, which carrieth the greater benediction and the clearer wisdom of God's favour. Yet, even in the Old Testament, if you listen to David's lays, you shall hear as many hearse-like airs as carols; and the pencil of the Holy Ghost hath laboured more in describing the afflictions of Job than the felicities of Solomon. Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes. We see in needleworks and embroideries it is more pleasing to have a lively work upon a sad and solemn ground than to have a dark and melancholy work upon a lightsome ground. Judge, therefore, of the pleasure of the heart by the pleasure of the eye. Certainly, virtue is like precious odours, more fragrant when they are incensed or crushed; for prosperity doth but discover vice, but adversity doth but discover virtue."
And so the adversity which overtook Francis Bacon, brought out all the highest and loveliest qualities of his nature.
To “the next ages” and “to men's charitable speeches,”. Bacon left the legacy of his philosophy—the grand work of a grand mind, of the most comprehensive genius the world has ever known. Its object was defined by himself to be “usui et commodis hominum," for the advantage and welfare of mankind.
“ Meditor," he says, “instaurationem philosopbiæ ejusmodi quæ nihil inanis aut abstracti habeat, quæque vitæ humanæ conditiones in melius provebat”—I contemplate the inauguration of a system of philosophy, which shall have in it nothing of the vapid or abstruse, but provide for the greater happiness of human life. The Baconian philosophy is essentially practical : it deals with facts, not theories; with experiments, not speculations. Macaulay, in a rhetorical passage, sums up the benefits which it has conferred upon man :
“It has lengthened life," he says; "it has mitigated pain; it has extinguished diseases; it has increased the fertility of the soil; it has given new securities to the mariner; it has furnished new arms to the warrior; it has spanned great rivers and estuaries with bridges of form unknown to our fathers; it has guided the thunderbolt innocuously from heaven to earth; it has lighted up the night with the splendour of the day; it has extended the range of the human vision; it has multiplied the power of the human muscles; it has accelerated motion; it has annihilated distance; it has facilitated intercourse, correspondence, all friendly offices, all despatch of business ; it has enabled men to descend to the depths of the sea, to soar into the air, to penetrate securely into the noxious recesses of the earth, to traverse the land in cars which whirl along without horses, and the ocean in ships which run ten knots an hour against the wind. These are but a part of its fruits, and of its first fruits. For it is a philosophy which never rests, which has never attained, which is never perfect. Its law is progress. A point which yesterday was invisible is its goal to-day, and will be its starting-point to-morrow.”
This is eloquent and impressive; but it is overcoloured. The merit of Bacon did not lie in indicating the method of modern science, which he did not, which perhaps it would have been impossible for him to forecast. Of the science of his own day he knew little, and understood less. The magnetic researches of Gilbert he despised; the astronomical theory of Copernicus he refused to accept. He lived, moreover, before the great sciences of physics and astronomy had taken shape. But what Bacon did, and in doing conferred an inestimable benefit on later generations, was to demonstrate the existence of a Philosophy of Science—"to insist on the unity of knowledge and inquiry throughout the physical world, to give dignity by the large and noble temper in which he treated them to the petty details of experiment in which science had to begin, to clear a way for it by setting scornfully aside the traditions of the past, to claim for it its true rank and value, and to point to the numerous results which its culture would bring in increasing the power and happiness of mankind.”
To natural science he ascribed a place of pre-eminence wbich it had never before, but has ever since, been permitted to occupy :
“ Through all those ages," he says, “wherein men of genius or learning principally or even moderately flourished, the smallest part of human industry has been spent on natural philosophy, though this ought to be esteemed as the great mother of the sciences; for all the rest, if torn from this root, may perhaps be polished and formed for use, but can receive little increase.' “Let none,” he continues, "expect any great promotion of the sciences, especially in their effective part, unless natural philosophy be drawn out to particular sciences; and, again, unless these particular sciences be brought back again to natural philo