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LORD BACon can only be said to have carried the three first parts of his Instauratio Magna to any degree of perfection. Of these the Sylva Sylvarum is but a dry catalogue of natural phenomena, the collection of which, however necessary it might be, Bacon viewed as a sort of mechanical l.boi r, and would never have stooped to the task, had not the field been abandoned by the generality of philosophers, as unworthy of them. The two other portions of the instauratio Magna, which this volume contains, unfold the design of his philosophy, and exhibit all the peculiarities of his extraordinary mind, enshrined in the finest passages of his writings.
Of the De Augmentis, though one of the greatest books of modern times, only three translations have appeared, and each of these strikingly imperfect. That of Wats, issued while Bacon was living, is singularly disfigured with solecisms, and called forth the just censures of Bacon and his friends. The version of Eustace Cary is no less unfortunate, owing to its poverty of diction, and antiquated phraseology. Under the public sense of these failures, another translation was produced about sixty years ago by Dr. Shaw, which might have merited approbation, had not the learned physician been impressed with the idea that he could improve Bacon by relieving his work of some of its choicest passages, and entirely altering the arrangement. In the present version, our task has been principally to rectify Shaw's mistakes, by restoring the author's own