Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

dedicated to professions, and none left free to the study of arts and sciences at large. For if men judge that learning should be referred to use and action, they judge well; but it is easy in this to fall into the error pointed at in the ancient fable; in which the other parts of the body found fault with the stomach, because it neither performed the office of motion as the limbs do, nor of sense, as the head does; but yet notwithstanding it is the stomach which digests and distributes the aliment to all the rest. So if any man think that Philosophy and Universality are idle and unprofitable studies, he does not consider that all arts and professions are from thence supplied with sap and strength. And this I take to be a great cause, which has so long hindered the more flourishing progress of learning; because these fundamental knowledges have been studied but in passage, and not drunk deeper of. For if you •will have a tree bear more fruit than it has used to do, it is not anything you can do to the boughs, but it is the stirring of the earth, and putting richer mould about the roots, that must work it. Neither is it to be forgotten that this dedication of colleges and societies to the use only of professory learning has not only been inimical to the growth of the sciences, but has also been prejudicial to states and governments. For hence it proceeds that princes when they have to choose men for business of state find a wonderful dearth of able men around them ; because there is no collegiate education designed for these purposes, where men naturally so disposed and affected might (besides other arts) give themselves especially to histories, modern languages, books of policy and civil discourse; whereby they might come better prepared and instructed to offices of state.

And because founders of Colleges do plant, and founders of Lectures do water, I must next speak of the deficiencies which I find in public lectures; wherein I especially disapprove of the smallness of the salary assigned to lecturers in arts and professions, particularly amongst ourselves. For it is very necessary to the progression of sciences that lecturers in every sort be of the most able and sufficient men; as those who are ordained not for transitory use, but for keeping up the race and succession of knowledge from age to age. This cannot be, except their condition and endowment be such that the most eminent professors may be well contented and willing to spend their whole life in that function and attendance, without caring for practice. And therefore if you will have sciences flourish, yon must observe David's military law; which was, " That those who stayed with the baggage should have equal part with those who were in the action ; ", else will the baggage be ill attended. So lecturers in sciences are as it were the keepers and guardians of the whole store and provision of learning, whence the active and militant part of the sciences is furnished ; and therefore they ought to have equal entertainment and profit with the men of active life. Otherwise if the fathers in sciences be not amply and handsomely maintained, it will come to pass, as Virgil says of horses,—

Et patrum invalidi referent jejunia nati;*

the poor keeping of the parents will be seen in the weakliness of the children.

I will now notice another defect, wherein I should call in some alchemist to help me; one of those who advise the studious to sell their books and build furnaces, and forsaking Minerva and the Muses as barren virgins, to rely upon Vulcan. But certain it is that for depth of speculation no less than for fruit of operation in some sciences (especially natural philosophy and physic) other helps are required besides books. Wherein also the beneficence of men has not been altogether wanting; for we see spheres, globes, astrolabes, maps, and the like have been provided and prepared as assistants to astronomy and cosmography, as well as books. We see likewise that some places instituted for physic have gardens for the examination and knowledge of simples of all sorts, and are not without the use of dead bodies for anatomical observations. But these respect but a few things. In general, it may be held for certain that there will hardly be any great progress in the unravelling and unlocking of the secrets of nature, except there bo a full allowance for expenses about experiments; whether they be experiments appertaining to Vulcan or Daxlalus (that is, the furnace or engine), or any other kind. And therefore as secretaries and emissaries of princes are allowed to bring in bills of expenses for their diligence in exploring and unravelling plots and civil secrets, so the searchers and spies of nature must have their expenses paid, or else you will never be well informed of a great number of things most worthy to be known. For if Alexander made such a liberal assignation of money to Aristotle, to support hunters, fowlers, fishers and the like, that he might be better furnished for compiling a History of Animals; certainly much more do they deserve it, who instead of wandering in the forests of nature, make their way through the labyrinths of arts.

1 1 Sam. xxx. 24. '* Georg. iii. 128.

Another defect to be noticed (and one of great im

Vol. vni. 26

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »