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COGITATA ET VISA.
The Cogitata et Visa stands first in Gruter's volume of 1653, where it first appeared. That a work with that title was composed about the year 1607 may be inferred from the date (1607) of a letter addressed by Bacon to Sir Thomas Bodley “after he had imparted to him a writing entitled Cogitata et Visa ;” from a letter addressed (19 Feb. 1607) by Sir Thomas Bodley to Bacon, giving his opinion of it; and from an entry in the Commentarius Solutus (26 July, 1608) “Imparting my Cogitata et Visa, with choice, ut videbitur." Whether the writing here spoken of was exactly the same as that which Gruter published it is of course impossible to say.
The following allusion in Bacon's letter to Bodley—“ If you be not of the lodgings chalked up, whereof I speak in my preface would seem rather to imply that it was not; there being no preface to the Cogitata as printed by Gruter, nor any allusion to the chalked lodgings anywhere in the work. And it is otherwise probable that it underwent many alterations before it attained its final shape, in which it must certainly be reckoned among the most perfect of Bacon's productions. Allowance being made however for this uncertainty, we need not scruple to place it here. It covers most of the ground occupied by the first book of the Novum Organum, and was intended to be followed by an example of a true inductive investigation, with all its apparatus of tables, &c., as applied to one or two particular subjects; which would have covered the same ground which the second book of the Novum Organum was meant to occupy.
For the text, there are only two authorities that I know of; namely the copy printed by Gruter, and a manuscript in the library of Queen's College, Oxford"; a very beautiful manuscript, carefully corrected throughout in Bacon's own hand, and perfect but for the loss of a leaf in the middle. The differences between the two, though not otherwise material, are sufficient to prove that neither can have been taken from the other; and as the manuscript is fuller in some places, and the printed copy in others, it is difficult to say which was the later. The manuscript however is certainly the more accurate; and has certainly been revised by Bacon himself, -a fact which we cannot be so sure of with regard to the other. I have therefore, by permission of the Provost of Queen's College, printed the text from it; giving in the notes the readings of Gruter's copy, where there is any difference between them.
The notes which do not relate to these variations are Mr. Ellis's.
I CCLXXX, fo. 205.
COGITATA ET VISA:
INTERPRETATIONE NATURÆ, SIVE DE SCIENTIA OPERATIVA.'
FRANCISCUS Bacon sic cogitavit; Scientiam in cujus possessione genus humanum adhuc versatur, ad certitudinem et magnitudinem operum non accedere. Medicos siquidem morbos complures insanabiles pronuntiare, et in reliquorum cura sæpius errare et deficere: Alchimistas in spei suæ amplexibus senescere et immori: Magorum opera fluxa, nec fructuosa : Mechanicas artes non multum lucis a philosophia petere, sed experientiæ telas, lentas sane ac humiles, paulatim continuare: Casum, authorem rerum proculdubio utilem; sed qui per longas ambages et circuitus donaria sua in homines spargat. Itaque visum est ei, Inventa hominum quibus utimur admodum imperfecta et immatura censeri: Nova vero, hoc scientiarum statu, nonnisi per sæculorum spatia expectari; eaque ipsa quæ hactenus humana exhibuit industria, Philosophiæ haud attribui.
Cogitavit et illud ; in his? rerum humanarum angustiis, id maxime et ad præsens deploratum et in futurum ominosumi esse; quod homines, contra bonum suum, cupiunt ignorantiam ignominiæ eximere, et sibi per inopiam istam satisfieri. Medicus enim præter cautelas practicæ suæ (in quibus ad existimationem Artis tuendam haud parum præsidii est), hanc generalem veluti totius Artis cautelam advocat; quod Artis suæ infirmitatem in Naturæ calumniam vertit, et quod Ars non attingit, id ex arte impossibile in Natura supponit. Neque certe damnari potest Ars, cum ipsa judicet. Etiam Philosophia ex qua medicina ista (quam
The title in Gruter's copy is : Francisci Baconi De Verulamio, Cogitata et Visa de Interpretatione Naturæ, sive de Inventione Rerum et Operum. 2 iis. G.
3 artis. – G.