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he wrote the Advancement he had already formed that classification he should have omitted all mention of the Idols of the Theatre; for though it is true that that was not the place to discuss them, and therefore in the corresponding passage of the De Augmentis they are noticed as to be passed by “for the present,” yet they are noticed by name, and in all Bacon's later writings the confutation of them holds a very prominent place.

To me the most probable explanation of the fact is this. I have already shown that between the composition and the transcription of these fragments the design of the work appears to have undergone a considerable change; the order of the chapters being entirely altered. We have only to suppose therefore that they were composed before the Advancement and transcribed after, and that preparing them for the transcriber Bacon made the same kind of alterations in the originals which he afterwards made upon the transcript, and the difficulty disappears. Nothing would be easier than to correct “three” into “ four,” and insert “the Idols of the Theatre” at the end of the sentence.

And this reminds me (since I shall have so much to do with these questions of date) to suggest a general caution with regard to them all ; namely, that in the case of fragments like these, the comparison of isolated passages can hardly ever be relied upon for evidence of the date or order of composition, or of the progressive developement of the writer's views; and for this simple reason,— we can never be sure that the passages as they now stand formed part of the original writing. The copy of the fragment which we have may be (as there is reason to believe this was) a transcript from several loose papers, written at different periods and containing alterations or additions made from time to time. We may know perhaps that when Bacon published the Advancement of Learning he was ignorant of some fact with which he afterwards became acquainted; we may find in one of these fragments, - say the Temporis Partus Masculus,- a passage implying acquaintance with that fact. Does it follow that the Temporis Partus Masculus was written after the Advancement of Learning ? No; for in looking over the manuscript long after it was written, he may have observed and corrected the error. And we cannot conclude that he at the same time altered the whole composition so as to bring it into accordance with the views he then held ; for that might be too long a work. He may have inserted a particular correction, but meant to rewrite the whole ; and if so, in spite of the later date indicated by that particular passage, the body of the work would still represent a stage in his opinions anterior to the Advancement of Learning.

I have felt some doubt whether in printing this fragment, I should follow the example of Stephens, who gave it exactly as he found it; or that of later editors, who have altered the order of the chapters so as to make it agree with the numbers. The latter plan will perhaps, upon the whole, be the more convenient. There can be little doubt that the numbers of the chapters indicate the order in which Bacon meant them to be read ; and if any one wishes to compare it with the order in which they seem to have been written, he has only to look at Bacon's table of contents, which was made with reference to the transcript, and which I give unaltered, except as to the spelling.

The notes to this piece are mine. — J. S.






A few fragments of the first book, viz. 1. The first chapter entire. [Of the ends and limits of know

ledge.] 2. A portion of the 11th chapter. [Of the scale.] 3. A small portion of the 9th chapter [being an Inducement

to the Inventory.] 4. A small portion of the 10th chapter [being the preface

to the Inventory.] 5. A small portion of the 16th chapter [being a preface to the

inward elenches of the mind.] 6. A small portion of the 4th chapter. [Of the impediments

of knowledge in general.] 7. A small portion of the 5th chapter.] Of the diversion of


This is written in the transcriber's hand: all that follows in Bacon's. The words between brackets have a line drawn through them. For an exact facsimile of the whole, made by Mr. Netherclift, see the beginning of the volume.

8. The 6th chapter entire. [Of] 9. A portion of the 7th chapter. 10. The 8th chapter entire. 11. Another portion of the 9th chapter. 12. The Abridgment of the 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 21.

22. 25. 26th chapters of the first book. 13. The first chapter of [the] a book of the same argument

written in Latin and destined (for] to be (traditionary] separate and not public.

None of the Annotations of Stella are set down in these fragments.

"This refers to the first chapter of the Temporis Partus Masculus ; which follows in the MS. volume, but not here. It is important as bearing upon the date of that fragment.

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