Of Marriage and Single Life, by Francis Bacon - …
Of Marriage and Single Life A single life doth well with churchmen;.Francis Bacon's Essays (Remember that these essays are searchable for key words) Of Marriage and Single Life; Of Envy; Of Love; Of Great Place; Of Boldness;.OF MARRIAGE AND SINGLE LIFE.
The essay Of Marriage And Single Life ..
That the English Universities have, throughout, proceeded on the principle, that the intellectual association of mankind must be founded upon articles, upon a promise of belief in certain opinions; that the scope of all they do is to prevail upon their pupils, by fair means or foul, to acquiesce in the opinions which are set down for them; that the abuse of the human faculties so forcibly denounced by Locke under the name of “principling” their pupils, is their sole method in religion, politics, morality, or philosophy—is vicious indeed, but the vice is equally prevalent without and within their pale, and is no farther disgraceful to them than inasmuch as a better doctrine has been taught for a century past by the superior spirits, with whom in point of intelligence it was their duty to maintain themselves on a level. But, that when this object was attained they cared for no other; that if they could make churchmen, they cared not to make religious men; that if they could make Tories, whether they made patriots was indifferent to them; that if they could prevent heresy, they cared not if the price paid were stupidity—this constitutes the peculiar baseness of those bodies. Look at them. While their sectarian character, while the exclusion of all who will not sign away their freedom of thought, is contended for as if life depended upon it, there is a trace in the system of the Universities that any other object whatever is seriously cared for. Nearly all the professorships have degenerated into sinecures. Few of the professors ever deliver a lecture. One of the few great scholars who have issued from either University for a century (and he was such before he went thither), the Rev. Connop Thirlwall, has published to the world that in his University at least, even —is not taught; and his dismissal, for this piece of honesty, from the tutorship of his college, is one among the daily proofs how much safer it is for twenty men to neglect their duty, than for one man to impeach them of the neglect. The only studies really encouraged are classics and mathematics; , though the last, as an instrument for fashioning the mental powers, greatly overrated; but Mr. Whewell, a high authority against his own University, has published a pamphlet, chiefly to prove that the kind of mathematical attainment by which Cambridge honours are gained, expertness in the use of the calculus, is not that kind which has any tendency to produce superiority of intellect. The mere shell and husk of the syllogistic logic at the one University, the wretchedest smattering of Locke and Paley at the other, are all of moral or psychological science that is taught at either. As a means of educating the many, the Universities are absolutely null. The youth of England are not educated. The attainments required for taking all the degrees conferred by these bodies are, at Cambridge, utterly contemptible; at Oxford, we believe, of late years, somewhat higher, but still very low. Honours, indeed, are not gained but by a severe struggle; would not be worthless. But what have the senior wranglers done, even in mathematics? Has Cambridge produced? How many books which have thrown light upon the history, antiquities, philosophy, art, or literature of the ancients, have the two Universities sent forth since the Reformation? Compare them not merely with Germany, but even with Italy or France. When a man is pronounced by them to have excelled in their studies, what do the Universities do? They give him an income, not for continuing to learn, but for having learnt, not for doing anything, but for what he has already done: on condition solely of living like a monk, and putting on the livery of the Church at the end of seven years. They bribe men by high rewards to get their arms ready, but do not require them to fight.
If this principle were to be followed out, without limitation from any other principle, it would, we conceive, lead to universal suffrage. Imposing authorities, it is true, have held that a portion of the people may be found, much less than the whole, whose interest, so far as government is concerned, is identical with that of the whole. A portion might undoubtedly be found, less than the whole, whose interest would generally lie in good government, and only occasionally in bad. But complete identity of interest appears to us to be unattainable: (we are speaking, of course, as our argument requires, of interest.) The identity which is contended for cannot be identity in all things, but only in those which properly fall within the province of government. The payers of wages, for instance, and the receivers, have opposite interests on the question of high or low wages; but as this is a question in which the interference of government cannot be really beneficial to either, the interest of both, so far as relates to the purposes of government, is (it may be contended) the same. Admitting, however (which is more than we are prepared to admit), that there exists no mode in which the middle classes could really benefit their selfish interests at the expense of the poorer class, by means of their exclusive possession of the government; still, when there is a real diversity of interest between two parties, although confined to matters with which law cannot beneficially interfere, and the powers of law are in the hands of one party, it is rarely that we do not witness some attempt, well or ill advised, to make those powers instrumental to the peculiar purposes of the one party; and if these purposes are not thereby compassed, yet the interests of the other party often suffer exceedingly by the means used to compass them. Such, for example, were the laws against combinations of workmen; and the laws which have existed at some periods of our history, fixing a maximum of wages. Nor is the evil annihilated although the excluded be a minority: the small number of the oppressed diminishes the profits of oppression, but does not always weaken the feelings which lead to it. Is the interest of the free blacks in the northern states of America the same with that of the whites? If so, why are they a kind of outcasts? So long, therefore, as any person capable of an independent will is excluded from the elective franchise, we cannot think that the evils of misgovernment, in so far as liable to arise from a diversity of interest between the ruling body and the community, are entirely guarded against.