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by this, that I have propounded my opinions naked and unarmed, not seeking to preoccupate the liberty of men's judgments by confutations. For in any thing which is well set down, I am in good hope that if the first reading move an objection, the second reading will make an answer. And in those things wherein I have erred, I am sure I have not prejudiced the right by litigious arguments; which certainly have this contrary effect and operation, that they add authority to error, and destroy the authority of that which is well invented : for question is an honour and preferment to falsehood, as on the other side it is a repulse to truth. But the errors I claim and challenge to myself as mine own. The good, if any be, is due tanquam adeps sacrificii, [as the fat of the sacrifice,] to be incensed to the honour, first of the Divine Majesty, and next of vour Majesty, to whom on earth I am most bounden.
The following fragment was first printed in Stephens's second collection (1734), from a manuscript belonging to Lord Oxford, which is now in the British Museum (Harl. MSS. 6797. fo. 139.) As far as it goes, it agrees so nearly with the Cogitata et Visa that either might be taken for a free translation of the other, with a few additions and omissions. But I think the English was written first; probably at the time when the idea first occurred to Bacon of drawing attention to his doctrine by exhibiting a specimen of the process and the result in one or two particular cases. The Cogitata et Visa professes to be merely a preface framed to prepare the way for an example of a legitimate philosophical investigation proceeding regularly by Tables. Such an example, or at least the plan and skeleton of it, will be found further on, with the title Filum Labyrinthi, sive Inquisitio legitima de Motu ; and the title prefixed to this fragment is most easily explained by supposing that a specimen of an Inquisitio legitima was meant to be included in it.
It is here printed from the original MS. which is a fair copy in the hand of one of Bacon's servants, carefully corrected in his own.