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to arts and sciences at large. For if men judge that learning should be referred to action, they judge well; but in this they fall into the error described in the ancient fable, in which the other parts of - the body did suppose the stomach had been idle, because it neither performed the office of motion, as the limbs do, nor of sense, as the head doth ; but yet, notwithstanding, it is the stomach that digesteth and distributeth to all the rest : so if any man think philosophy and universality to be idle studies, he doth not consider that all professions are from thence served and supplied. And this I take to be a great cause that hath hindered the progression of learning, because these fundamental knowledges have been studied but in passage.
For if you will have a tree bear more fruit than it hath used to do, it is not any thing you can do to the boughs, but it is the stirring of the earth, and putting new mould about the roots, that must work it. Neither is it to be forgotten, that this dedicating of foundations and donations to professory learning hath not only had a malign aspect and influence upon the growth of sciences, but hath also been prejudicial to states and governments. For hence it proceedeth that princes find a solitude in regard of able men to serve them in causes of state, because there is no education collegiate which is free; where such as were so disposed might give themselves to histories, modern languages, books of policy and civil discourse, and other the like enablements unto service of estate.
And because founders of colleges do plant, and founders of lectures do water, it followeth well in order to speak of the defect which is in public lectures; namely, in the smallness and meanness of the salary or reward which in most places is assigned unto them; whether they be lectures of arts, or of professions. For it is necessary to the progression of sciences that readers be of the most able and sufficient men; as those which are ordained for generating and propagating of sciences, and not for transitory use. This cannot be, except their condition and endowment be such as may content the ablest man to appropriate his whole labour, and continue his whole age in that function and attendance; and therefore must have a proportion answerable to that mediocrity or competency of advancement, which may be expected from a profession or the practice of a profession. So as, if you will have sciences flourish, you must observe David's military law, which was, “ That those which staid with the carriage should “ have equal part with those which were in the ac“ tion;" else will the carriages be ill attended. So readers in sciences are indeed the guardians of the stores and provisions of sciences, whence men in active courses are furnished, and therefore ought to have equal entertainment with them; otherwise if the fathers in sciences be of the weakest sort, or be ill-maintained.
“ Et patrum invalidi referent jejunia nati.”
Another defect I note, wherein I shall need some alchemist to help me, who call upon men to sell their
books, and to build furnaces ; quitting and forsaking Minerva and the Muses as barren virgins, and relying upon Vulcan. But certain it is, that unto the deep, fruitful, and operative study of many sciences, especially natural philosophy and physic, books be not the only instrumentals; wherein also the beneficence of men hath not been altogether wanting: for we see spheres, globes, astrolabes, maps, and the like, have been provided as appurtenances to astronomy and cosmography, as well as books: we see likewise that some places instituted for physic have annexed the commodity of gardens for simples of all sorts, and do likewise command the use of dead bodies for anatomies. But these do respect but a few things. In general, there will hardly be any main proficience in the disclosing of nature, except there be some allowance for expenses about experiments; whether they be experiments appertaining to Vulcanus or Dædalus, furnace or engine, or any other kind; and therefore as secretaries and spials of princes and states bring in bills for intelligence, so you must allow the spials and intelligencers of nature to bring in their bills; or else you shall be ill advertised.
And if Alexander made such a liberal assignation to Aristotle of treasure for the allowance of hunters, fowlers, fishers, and the like, that he might compile an history of nature, much better do they deserve it that travail in arts of nature.
Another defect which I note, is an intermission or neglect in those which are governors in universities, of consultation ; and in princes or superior persons, of visitation: to enter into account and consideration, whether the readings, exercises, and other customs appertaining unto learning, anciently begun, and since continued, be well instituted or not; and thereupon to ground an amendment or reformation in that which shall be found inconvenient. For it is one of your majesty's own most wise and princely maxims, “ That in all usages and precedents, the “ times be considered wherein they first began; “ which, if they were weak or ignorant, it derogateth “ from the authority of the usage, and leaveth it for
suspect.” And therefore in as much as most of the usages and orders of the universities were derived from more obscure times, it is the more requisite they be re-examined. In this kind I will give an instance or two, for example sake, of things that are the most obvious and familiar: the one is a matter, which though it be ancient and general, yet I hold to be an error ; which is, that scholars in universities come too soon and too unripe to logic and rhetoric, arts fitter for graduates than children and novices: for these two, rightly taken, are the gravest of sciences, being the arts of arts; the one for judgment, the other for ornament: and they be the rules and directions how to set forth and dispose matter ; and therefore for minds empty and unfraught with matter, and which have not gathered that which Cicero calleth " sylva” and “supellex,” stuff and variety, to begin with those arts, (as if one should learn to weigh, or to measure, or to paint the wind), doth work but this effect, that the wisdom of those
arts, which is great and universal, is almost made contemptible, and is degenerate into childish sophistry and ridiculous affectation. And further, the untimely learning of them hath drawn on, by consequence, the superficial and unprofitable teaching and writing of them, as fittest indeed to the capacity of children. Another is a lack I find in the exercises used in the universities, which do make too great a divorce between invention and memory; for their speeches are either premeditate, “ in verbis con“ceptis,” where nothing is left to invention; or merely extemporal, where little is left to memory : whereas in life and action there is least use of either of these, but rather of intermixtures of premeditation and invention, notes and memory; so as the exercise fitteth not the practice, nor the image the life : and it is ever a true rule in exercises, that they be framed as near as may be to the life of practice; for otherwise they do pervert the motions and faculties of the mind, and not prepare them. The truth whereof is not obscure, when scholars come to the practices of professions, or other actions of civil life; which when they set into, this want is soon found by themselves, and sooner by others. But this part, touching the amendment of the institutions and orders of universities, I will conclude with the clause of Cæsar's letter to Oppius and Balbus, “ Hoc quemadmodum “ fieri possit, nonnulla mihi in mentem veniunt, et “ multa reperiri possunt; de iis rebus rogo vos ut cogitationem suscipiatis.”
Another defect, which I note, ascendeth a little