Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> An Oration Delivered Before the Two Societies of the South Carolina College, on the 4th of Dec., 1849 >> Page 202

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Page 202

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 202
demonstrated the truth of it. Harvey had discovered
the circulation of the blood ; Paracelsus had, at least,
rescued chemistry from the magicians ; Agricola had
commenced mineralogy ; Leonardo had suggested the
very theory of Geology now most in vogue ; Colum-
bus and De Gama had revealed two new worlds to
astonished Europe, and Sir Francis Drake had sailed
round the globe.
But the actual discoveries of Bacon were of little
consequence ; it is to his system of logic and his
method of investigation that we owe, it is said, so
much to his Induction and " experimentum erucis."
If Bacon was the first author and expounder of In-
ductive reasoning, and first suggested that nature
should be put to the torture to disclose her facts, and
modern improvements are due to these processes, to
what do we owe the important discoveries before
Bacon's time ? Can it be that they were all accidents,
and that there was no questioning of nature—no
induction ? Certainly not. Tubal Cain himself, if he
discovered as well as wrought in metals, must have
experimented in physics, and must have reasoned by
strict induction on the results. Aristotle minutely
examined and characterized almost every thing in
animated nature, and, a century or more before the
Novum Organum, Leonardo declared, in almost the
same words, that the phenomena of nature were to be
solved not by theories, but a rigid investigation of the
facts.
It is not true then that Physical Philosophy
and Inductive reasoning began with Bacon. He pro-
pounded a system and collected facts ; but it was
not until recently not until men's minds had been