The Philosophers of the Natural Science Period.

1. Galileo, 15641641, and the group of scientists.

2. Bacon, 15611626.

3. Hobbes, 15881679.

4. The Rationalists.

Descartes, 15961650.

Spinoza, 16321677.

Leibnitz, 16461716.

Countries other than Italy and Germany come upon the philosophic stage during the eighty-nine years of the period of teeming natural science. England is represented by Bacon and Hobbes, France by Descartes, Holland by the Jew, Spinoza, and, at the end of the period, Germany by Leibnitz. Still Italy yields the most influential thinker of them all,—Galileo, who is the most prominent of a long series of astronomers coming from many countries. The most completely representative is Descartes, who was the founder of the Rationalistic school; for he was not only interested in mathematics itself, but in the application of mathematics to metaphysical questions. Neither as influential as Galileo, nor as comprehensive as Descartes, the Englishmen, Bacon and Hobbes, were nevertheless important as the forerunners of the English empirical school. Spinoza is more of a “world’s philosopher” than any of the others, and he joins in his doctrine the scholasticism of the Middle Ages and the mathematics of the Renaissance; while Leibnitz occupies the position between the Enlightenment and the Renaissance.

The Mathematical Astronomers. After enthusiastically canvassing the traditional theories of antiquity, the Humanists had been unable to find one which would explain and organize the newly accumulated materials of their “new world.” But working in more or less narrow circles, natural science had already made a beginning in the midst of the Humanists. Beginning with Copernicus, an interest in physics and astronomy had been aroused, but in these early days it was more speculative than empirical. The speculations of the astronomers had but little influence upon their own time. However, when the ancient theories proved inadequate to explain the facts of the “new world,” and especially when the empirical researches of Galileo confirmed the speculations of his predecessors, the Renaissance turned away from antiquity to nature herself for an explanation. This was about the year 1600, the year of the beginning of the Natural Science period.

The most prominent of these astronomers were—

Copernicus, 14731543, a Pole.
Bruno, 15481600, an Italian.
Tycho Brahe, 15461601, a Dane.
Kepler, 15711630, a German.
Galileo, 15641641, an Italian.
Huyghens, 16291695, a Hollander.
Newton, 16421722, an Englishman.

While the greatest of these scientists is Newton, who belongs to the next period, the most influential is Galileo. Modern methods in science began with Galileo. Of the four predecessors of Galileo three—Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, and Bruno—are in spirit Humanists; for their final explanation of nature is the world of spirits. Kepler belongs to both the Humanistic and Natural Science periods; for at first he constructed his natural science by an amalgamation of the doctrine of spirits and the Copernican theory; but in the latter part of his life he adopted completely the mechanical view of nature. The above scientists may be divided for convenience into two groups: (1) the speculative scientists before Galileo; (2) Galileo and the following empirical investigators.

For fourteen centuries the ancient Ptolemaic astronomy had been regarded by the learned as beyond question. Although complex and unwieldy, it explained all phenomena satisfactorily enough as they appeared to the senses; and it brought phenomena into a system. (The Ptolemaic system has been fully described in vol. ipp. 322 ff.) To recapitulate it: the world-all was conceived as a hollow sphere with the earth as the centre and the fixed stars in the periphery, while the planets were supposed to move in epicycles. The universe was divided into the heavenly and terrestrial realms, which were occupied by various spirits. God resided outside this hollow sphere and held it, as it were, in his lap.

The history of the changes leading up to our modern astronomical conception makes a vivid chapter. How Copernicus contributed the idea of placing the sun at the centre of things, Kepler the idea of the orbits of the planets as ellipses, Bruno the idea of the boundlessness of space and time, and how Galileo, corroborating these theories by empirical investigations, was put under the ban of the church—all this shows what heroism must have been required to tear down a time-honored and firmly intrenched traditional conception. Probably the speculative astronomers were not conscious that they were undermining the whole astronomical structure, and probably their sole motive was to simplify the Ptolemaic conception, not to destroy it. For Copernicus accepted the Ptolemaic system, except that he put the sun instead of the earth at the centre, and thereby simplified it by making many of the epicycles unnecessary; and Kepler simplified it further by supplanting the epicycles with ellipses. However, the result was inevitably an entirely new conception of the universe, and with it a new conception of the relation among particular material things. It was in this way that new scientific methods arose.

The universe now comes to be regarded as a mechanism, and what was formerly looked upon as the influence of spirits or as Providential guidance becomes an impersonal law of causal necessity. In the heavens above and the earth beneath there are no longer vital forces and supernatural influences. The universe becomes a homogeneous whole throughout, in which there is no difference between the fall of an apple and the revolution of the planets, no distinction between terrestrial and celestial spheres. The Christian heaven is nowhere in it; the Mediæval spirits are banished from it. The Greek gods have been pushed out, and the Christian God has been made to stand aside.

The demand that the new conception of the universe be verified in concrete experiments, if it were to replace the old Ptolemaic system, the revival of the study of Archimedes, the rivalry in trade and inventions among the Italian towns, were three causes for the demand for greater exactness. Investigation, experiment, and invention came into vogue. Magic, alchemy, astrology, and conjurations were no longer accepted as serious methods. In the Middle Ages deduction had been purely the logical employment of the syllogism in theological discussions, while induction, so far as it was used at all, had been the reference of nature phenomena to spiritual forces. Now deduction and induction6 come to be used for other purposes, and mathematics is necessarily conjoined with both. The new Natural Science period is essentially a “strife of methods”; it is the period when the true plan of scientific procedure is being determined. It is here that the importance and influence of Galileo is seen upon modern science and philosophy.

The influence of mathematics in modern times grew up from these astronomical beginnings among the Humanists; and the Natural Science period with its contention as to methods was the immediate result. Bacon, for example, regarded final causes as one of the “idols.” Hobbes maintained that physics has only to do with efficient causes; Descartes held that it is audacious in man to think of reading the purposes of God in nature; while Spinoza thought it absurd to attribute divine purpose to nature. By degrees everything in nature came to be regarded as a mechanism, and there was no distinction between the animate and the inanimate. The discovery of the mechanical circulation of the blood by Harvey, in 1626, became a vigorous impulse toward the mechanical study of animal life. Descartes regarded animals as complex automata and on this line he published essays on dioptrics, musical law, and the fœtus. Hobbes applied mechanical law to psychological phenomena. The study of reflex action was carried on with great vigor in the Low Countries and France. The mechanical theory was rendered complete in this early time by the exclusion of the soul from the explanation of the body of man, just as God had been pushed into the background of the universe.

Galileo Galilei (15641641).7 The dates of the life of Galileo show him to have been a younger contemporary of Bruno, and, like Bruno, to have been a victim of the ecclesiastical reaction that was sweeping away all scientific freedom in Italy. But while Bruno belonged both chronologically and in spirit to the first period of the Renaissance, Galileo is the true beginner of the second period. Bruno was a philosopher of nature, while Galileo was a true scientist. Galileo gave to all future thought a wisely formulated method of dealing with the new materials of the nature world. His laws of projectiles, falling bodies, and the pendulum created a new theory of motion. He set the hypothesis of Copernicus upon an experimental basis and made the future work of Newton possible. He was professor at the Universities of Padua and Pisa, and he was mathematician and philosopher at the court of Tuscany. That he perjured himself and thereby saved his life from the Inquisition, there is no doubt; but instead of death he had an old age of great bitterness. He gave open adherence to the Copernican system in 1610, when he constructed a telescope and discovered the satellites of Jupiter; and after this there followed discovery after discovery, like the spots on the sun and the phases of Venus, which latter discovery confirmed the Copernican hypothesis. He invented the hydrostatic balance, the proportional compass, the thermoscope, microscope, and telescope. His two most noteworthy writings are The Dialogue concerning the Two Most Important World-Systems, and Investigations into Two New Sciences.

As to method, Galileo objected to formal logic, that it is not a means of discovering new truth, although valuable as a corrective of thought. New truth is discovered when we frame an hypothesis from certain experiences, and then infer the truth of other cases from that hypothesis. The hypothesis is first formed by induction from a few characteristic cases; the inference to other cases is made by deduction. He therefore linked induction and deduction closely together, and conceived them as necessarily complementary in scientific investigation. Either induction or deduction alone is absurd and impossible. By induction alone we should be obliged to examine all cases, an impossible undertaking. By deduction alone we should be in the same straits as the Scholastics, and never discover new laws. We must begin with our perceptual experiences and make an induction from them; then we must bring mathematics into use in constructing the hypothesis from which to deduce (calculate) new cases. This is the true, modern method and reveals the great genius of Galileo.

A mathematical law never exactly coincides with any particular concrete relations. A mathematical law is an hypothesis or ideal construction. What value, then, has a mathematical law for science? The orbits of planets8 are described as ellipses, but no actual planet moves in a perfect ellipse. The ellipse is an hypothetical, mathematical orbit for a planet which has no disturbing influences upon it. We get at such a law by the method of concomitant variations;9 and the value of it consists in the simplification and system that it gives the facts. For example, knowing that a planet would move in an ellipse if it suffered no perturbations, and then knowing the influences upon any particular planet, we can calculate its orbit. Mathematical law, although ideal, is the common rule under which all nature phenomena can be brought. However, only by measurements founded on the tests of observation and experiment can we know how far the claims of such deduction are supported. Measure everything measurable, and calculate the measurement of those things not directly measurable.

Nature, therefore, must be called upon to explain her own phenomena. Since the laws of nature are found by investigating nature phenomena as we experience them, the laws must be a part of nature and can be found nowhere else. To explain nature phenomena by referring them to spiritual influence is no real explanation. To say that God moves the planets is to involve the subject in mystery. Here is where Galileo shows that he does not belong to the Scholastics or the Mystics or the Humanists. He searched for some constant element, and not for a “vital force” behind nature phenomena. He declared this constant element to be motion—measurable motion. He is the author of the theory that mechanics is the mathematical theory of motion. Science was therefore taken by him out of the paralyzing grip of the theologian.

The Life of Francis Bacon, Baron Verulam (15611626). Francis Bacon was a native of London and received his university education at Cambridge. He was in the English diplomatic service at an early age, but he later returned to London and took up the legal profession. At the age of thirty-two he entered Parliament and became immediately distinguished as a debater. At forty-three he became legal adviser of the crown, and when he was fifty-six he was made Lord Chancellor. After a brilliant career in public office he was accused and convicted of bribery and corruption, deposed from office, and heavily fined. His most notable writings are his Essays, two parts of his uncompleted Instauratio Magnaviz.De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum and Novum Organum, and his New Atlantis, a Utopian fragment.

The Position of Bacon in Philosophy. Tradition has frequently placed Bacon as the founder of modern philosophy. This estimate is due to a remark by Diderot, which was repeated by many French writers. The estimate, however, rests on a misapprehension of Bacon’s influence. Bacon was more of a Humanist than a technical philosopher, and in his constructive philosophy he seems not only to have had no influence upon his contemporaries, but also to have been uninfluenced by them. He was unconscious of the influence of Kepler and Galileo and their mighty scientific constructions. Bacon’s Novum Organum, which embodies his scientific methods, had no influence upon his own time, nor was it read in the seventeenth century. Its influence was first felt in the eighteenth century. However, all this must be qualified in one respect. Bacon’s New Atlantis did have an immediate influence. The ideal of a college of science, which Bacon presented in his New Atlantis, was not only the cause of the work of Diderot in his Encyclopedia in the eighteenth century, but what is more important, it had effect in his own time. It led to the founding of the Royal Society, thirty-six years after Bacon’s death, and later to the founding of similar academies abroad. While the reader may be confused by the conflicting estimates of Bacon, the words of his own countryman, Sir David Brewster, may be accepted as embodying the truth: “Had Bacon never lived, the student of nature would have found in the works and writings of Galileo not only the principles of inductive philosophy, but also its practical application to the noblest efforts of invention and discovery.” So far from being the founder of modern science, Bacon developed only one side of it, the inductive side, and that without success. He identified deduction with the Aristotelian syllogism, and he was therefore unaware of the importance of the use of mathematics in the method of deduction. He did not seem to have the slightest idea that mathematics was going to be the scientific method; consequently science has gone much further than Bacon dreamed it would go. Bacon’s importance in the Renaissance does not consist in his contribution to the content of philosophy or to his successful formulation of the scientific method.

Wherein then lies the value of Bacon’s work as a philosopher?10 Bacon was the first in England to collect the fruits of the Renaissance and give them a secular character. Taking them out of the hands of the theologian, he, a lawyer, “gave them a legal existence by the most eloquent plea that has ever been made for them.” It was a time when philosophy and science were passing out of the hands of the theologian; and Bacon, feeling that science, including philosophy, should be secularized, drew a sharp line between the work of science and that of theology. Out of his great contempt for antiquity, Bacon voiced for England the contemporary reaction against the old scholastic methods. He set up the ideal and gave directions for following it. He issued the call to go from abstractions back to things. A man of worldly wisdom and pungency, his nature was buoyant in its belief in the coming age. He had confidence amounting to an optimism that final principles would be found to explain all the particulars of the “new world.” He was a prophet who outlined his prophecy. He felt that not only nature but all the activities of man would be reduced to some simple principles. He shared and expressed the confidence of his time that wonderful things were to be revealed; that nothing is impossible to man, provided man hits upon the right key to nature’s secrets. Just as every age, that feels itself upon the threshold of a new epoch, writes Utopias,11 so Bacon wrote the New Atlantis, the Utopian fragment, for his age. This is the literary expression of his optimism about the future of a distinctively secular science. The world of the New Atlantis is the world of new machines. Bacon’s most ambitious scientific contribution to the same end is his Instauratio Magna. Of this only two parts were completed: De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum and Novum Organum. Bacon is best known in philosophy by the second part, which was thus named to contrast it with the “old” Organum of Aristotle.

The high influence that Bacon gained later among philosophers may therefore be accounted for by the association of his eminent position and wonderful personality with his bold expression of this congenial utilitarianism. Even in that rich Elizabethan age of English literature, he was prominent as a writer and politician. He had occupied high political positions under James I; but his peculiar personality would in itself have attracted attention, for his genius was such that any of the products of that age—even the plays of Shakespeare—have seemed possible to him. Pope describes him as “the wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind.” Macaulay says in his essay, Bacon, that there were many things that he loved more than virtue and many that he feared more than guilt. His career shows that he loved himself, wealth, and learning. His unusual love for learning may be safely taken as his excuse for his unscrupulous lust for wealth. His great versatility prevented his success in any one direction, but he had the power of expressing the feeling of his impressive age and of becoming its personal representative.

The Aim of Bacon. Bacon sought to secularize philosophy by making it the same as science. It was the age when Nature was conceived to be identical with the world of the natural sciences. Bacon stood in this age as the formulator of the scientific usefulness of philosophy. Philosophy is to ameliorate social conditions and enrich human life by bringing nature under control. Ancient and mediæval times had not been occupied with the improvement of human society, but Bacon was inspired with the feeling of the modern statesman for such improvement. The true test of philosophy, according to Bacon, is what it will do. That philosophy is worth while which will effectively remove the weighing conditions upon human society, so that there are no longer two classes,—those that sacrifice and those that satisfy their ambitions. This dominant utilitarian motive in Bacon sets him in opposition to pure theoretical and contemplative knowledge, and makes him the father of utilitarianism and positivism12 in England.13 Knowledge is the only kind of permanent power, and man can master the world when he gives up verbal discussions and belief in magic. Man must gain a positive insight into nature. Science and philosophy must be separated from theology, and philosophy must be reduced to science. Thus while aiming to give a tangible form to the scholastic doctrine of the “twofold truth,” Bacon through his utilitarianism missed the goal reached by Galileo and Descartes.

The Method of Bacon. Bacon says that the method of the scientist should not be like that of the spider that spins a web out of himself, nor like that of the ant which merely collects material, but like that of the bee which collects, assimilates, and transforms. Bacon’s original inspiration had been his respect for method, and this grew more pronounced. Philosophy, i. e. science, is method. With Bacon we see the beginning of philosophy cut loose from personality and over-valued because it had mechanical accuracy. Nevertheless, the method of Bacon was very comprehensive. It included on the one hand a critical survey of the past, and on the other an anticipatory programme for the science of the future. Let us now turn to these two aspects of his method.

(aBacon’s criticism of the past was a trenchant criticism of prevailing philosophy, and amounted to a break with the past. Bacon felt that what passed for science in his day was but a pretence. In the presence of the facts of life traditional science was but empty words. The early thinkers are not the ancients. We are the ancients, for we embody in ourselves all the preceding centuries. Thus does Bacon swing from the mediæval blind acceptance of the past to an equally blind rejection of the past. But why did the ancient thinkers err? Not because they were not men of talent, nor because they lacked in intellectual opportunity; but because their method of procedure led them astray. The early thinkers followed wrong paths, and their results, which we now possess, are vain.

What must be our attitude in the presence of this traditional philosophy? We must dispossess ourselves of the prejudices that have misled the past, for they form the obstacles to our true knowledge of the world. The roots of the errors that have infected philosophy are “fantastic, contentious, and delicate learning.” We must not, indeed, trust to our every-day perceptions; for although science is based on our perceptions, our every-day perceptions are corrupted by our uncritical habits of thought. Thus there have arisen perversions and falsifications, of which we must first of all be rid. Bacon calls these Idols.14 Idols are false images, that intervene between us and the truth and are mistaken for reality. Bacon makes four general classes of Idols:—

(1) The Idols of the Tribe, or the presuppositions common to the human race.

(2) The Idols of the Cave,15 or individual prejudices due to natural individual disposition, situation in life, etc.

(3) The Idols of the Forum, or the traditional meanings of words, by which we substitute the word for the idea. These are the worst illusions.

(4) The Idols of the Theatre,16 the theories or philosophic dogma, which command discipleship from groups of men and have not been subjected to our own criticism.

Bacon’s classification of our prejudices as Idols is a critical attempt to separate, in what passes for knowledge, the subjective, which has become traditional, from the real. Logic, religion, and poetry have had a bad effect on science, as is especially shown in the theatrical character of philosophy.

(b) Having dispossessed ourselves of our prejudices or Idols, we are ready to proceed to a positive construction of a scientific method of work. By what, in general, ought science to be guided? By induction and experience. Bacon suggests the following steps for the science of the future:—

(1) There must be an exhaustive collection of particular instances.

(2) There must then be an analysis and comparison of these instances, for to Bacon induction was not a mere enumeration of single instances. Negative instances, and instances of difference of degree, must be taken into account. Hasty generalizations must be avoided, and we must ascend gradually from the particular to the general.

(3) The simple “form” of the phenomenon must be discovered. Of the four causes of Aristotle, Bacon emphasizes the “formal.” By “form” Bacon means the nature that is always present when the phenomenon is present, absent when the phenomenon is absent, and increases or decreases with the phenomenon. The “form” is the abiding essence of the phenomenon.

The English Natural Science Movement. The natural science movement in England thus received at the start the impression of the sober Anglo-Saxon mind. Through its entire history English philosophy differed from that of the Continent. Here at the outset the Englishman is skeptical, not only of scholastic deductions from dogma, but also of deductions of all kinds.17 He prefers the slow road of patient empirical discovery. Even pure contemplative knowledge and the deductions of mathematics have little charm for him. To be sure, induction even in the hands of an Englishman demands by its nature the establishment of a general principle, but Bacon would have refused to use such a deduction to establish a new truth in the way that Galileo used his mathematical hypotheses. According to Bacon, an hypothesis is true only so far as it has already received the indispensable sanction of experience.

Thomas Hobbes18 and his Contemporaries. During a certain period Bacon had under him a secretary by the name of Thomas Hobbes. Here was an obscure man turning to philosophy because of his interest in politics; whose point of attachment to philosophy was the mechanical theory of nature, so universally accepted by the scientists of that time. No contemporary of Hobbes—neither Bacon, Descartes, nor Galileo—had so systematic a philosophy. No other man succeeded better in expressing all that was in his mind. Hobbes was one of a large group of political theorists of the Renaissance. When the mediæval idea of the universal Christian state, such as was embodied in Augustine’s City of God, was no longer held, many of the Humanists tried to construct theoretical systems of political government that would meet the demands of the time. Macchiavelli, Thomas More, Bodin, Althusius, and Grotius19 belong to this group. Hobbes is best known in modern times as a writer on this aspect of morals and politics; but politics is only a part of his general mechanical system of the universe. He is the forerunner of modern materialism, and his peculiar theory of society is only an exemplification of this theory.

In passing from Bacon to Hobbes we come to a very different type of man. Bacon had risen to fame by his own genius, in spite of the hostility of his powerful relatives; Hobbes was a hard-headed man, with a narrow outlook, but with undoubted talents, which were fostered all his life under the patronage of the Devonshire family. Bacon was a practical politician; Hobbes was a doctrinaire and theoretical political writer. Of the voluminous literary remains of Bacon his philosophy forms but a small part; Hobbes had a general philosophical system, with which his classical and theological studies have connection.

In the succeeding chapter we shall review the philosophy of the rationalist, Descartes, who was a contemporary of Hobbes. We shall find that Descartes and Hobbes are alike in this: that both employed Galileo’s mathematical theory as authoritative. They differed, however, in the way in which they used Galileo’s theory. Descartes reduced mathematics to the rational, and conceived it to be the instrument of the reason; Hobbes reduced the rational to the mathematical, and conceived the reason as a form of mechanics. The starting-point of Descartes was the subjective, and he was held at a standstill until the relation of thought and mechanics was solved by him. The point of view of Hobbes was objective, and since all was mechanical, he discussed only incidentally the relation between thought and mechanical existence. Hobbes conceived the world in the terms of only one series, the mechanical. Descartes’ main motive was to preserve the rational; and, consequently, the world to him consisted of a double or dualistic series of terms. We therefore place Descartes, with Spinoza and Leibnitz, in a group called Rationalists. Hobbes was a materialist, and his greatness consisted in going the full length of materialism: he went beyond all the scientists of his time by extending the mechanical theory to the mental life.

The Life and Writings of Hobbes (15881679). The life of Hobbes falls into five natural periods. In his first and last periods he was the classical scholar. During his middle period of about thirteen years he was the philosopher. Furthermore, at one time he was absorbed in mathematics and at another in controversy. His period as mathematician was begun not until he was forty years old, and was preparatory to his creative philosophical period, which was begun when he was about fifty.

1. As a Classical Scholar (including his early years) (15881628)—the first forty years of his life. At Oxford (16031608); first journey abroad (16081612); beginning of his relations with the Devonshire family and also of his acquaintance with the “new science”; time of leisurely study (16121628) and acquaintance with Bacon, Herbert of Cherbury, and Ben Jonson; translation of Thucydides (1628).

2. As Mathematician (16281638). Second journey abroad (16291631) for eighteen months as tutor to the son of Sir Gervase Clifton; reads Euclid while abroad; third journey abroad (16341637), when he meets Galileo; begins to develop the conception of motion and sensation; by 1638 he is counted among the notable philosophers and he meets the Parisian scientists, Mersenne and Gassendi.

3. As Philosopher (16381651). Plans his philosophy under title of Elements of PhilosophyDe CorporeDe Homine, and De Cive, which is interrupted by the English Revolution; Elements of Law (“little treatise”) written in 1640, read by a few in manuscript, published without his consent in 1650 in two parts: Human Nature and De Corpore Politico; flees to Paris (1640) and enters again the scientific circle at Paris; criticises Descartes’ MeditationsDe Cive published (1642), which is De Corpore Politico enlarged; acts for a time as tutor to Charles II in Paris; engages upon his general philosophical theory (16421645); Liberty and Necessity, written (1646), published (1654); Leviathan published (1651).

4. As Controversialist (16511668). Flees back to London (1651); De Corpore, published (1655); Behemoth, written (1668), proscribed and not published until after his death; controversies with Bramhall, Ward, Wallis, and Boyle; De Homine, published (1658).

5. As Classical Scholar (16681679). Translation of Iliad and Odyssey (1675).

In Molesworth’s edition (18391845), Hobbes’ Latin works occupy five volumes, the English eleven. The Elements of Philosophy—the De CorporeDe Homine, and De Cive—were not published in the sequence in which they were planned, but, on account of political exigencies, in the above order.

The Influences upon the Thought of Hobbes. 1. The premature birth of Hobbes had no inconsiderable influence upon his life. When his mother was carrying him, she had suffered a great fright, at the announcement of the approach of the Spanish Armada. Was it in consequence of this that Hobbes’s life was a series of panics and controversies? He was extremely conservative in politics. He saw the new changes without sympathy with either party, and he had no political ideals—only fear. The time in which he lived reinforced this natural conservatism. When he was translating Thucydides, Buckingham was assassinated and the Petition of Rights was presented. Henry IV of France had been assassinated not many years before, and the Puritan element had become a disturbing factor in England. His study and his alliance with the Devonshire family confirmed him in his conservative position. All signs of the time pointed toward decentralization of government, toward war and rebellion. In fear he was “the first that fled” to France at the beginning of the troubles of Charles I; in fear he fled back to London eleven years later, lest the Roman Catholics, whom his Leviathan had offended, should murder him. Hobbes was again in great panic over the London fire and looked upon it as a divine penalty, on account of the impurity of the English court. Hobbes was always in fright lest he might not have peace.

2. The father of Hobbes was one of the unworthy clergymen of the English Established Church in the reign of Elizabeth. He was a dissolute man, and after many escapades he abandoned his family. In consequence of this Hobbes always had an antipathy toward the offices of the church and toward theology. Although he claimed to be a communicant, his allegiance was only nominal, as his theory will show.

3. Hobbes was very much influenced by the new mathematical science. His years at Oxford left little impression upon him, and he was but little interested in the scholasticism which was taught there. Yet his twenty years on the Continent brought him into the midst of the scientific circles of Italy and France. He was well along into maturity when he felt this influence. On his second journey, he read Euclid for the first time. He was then forty-three. On his third journey, he met Galileo and the French scientists, Mersenne and Gassendi, and it was then that he began his reflections concerning motion and sensation. The writings of Kepler, Descartes, and Galileo influenced him mightily. Although he acted as Bacon’s secretary after the latter’s fall, Bacon’s influence upon him was little and has been overestimated. The mental powers of Bacon and his secretary were different, and Bacon knew nothing of the mathematical method. Hobbes shows to some degree the empirical tendency of his nationality, and he believed that knowledge must spring from experience. Further than this, the method that Bacon pursued does not appear in him. The mission of Hobbes was to construct a mechanical view of the world.

Of the three influences upon Hobbes, his inherited timidity is seen in his conservative political theory; the influence of his father is seen in his theory of religion; the influence of the “new” mathematical science is seen in his whole philosophy, especially in his psychology.

The Fundamental Principle in the Teaching of Hobbes. The assumption from which Hobbes deduced his entire philosophy was the mechanical conception of the physical world,—the characteristic philosophical assumption of his age. Hobbes’s contemporaries, both the natural scientists and the philosophers, had, however, on the whole, restricted the conception of mechanism to the physical world. Hobbes differed from them all in universalizing the conception. He extended its application from the physical over upon the mental realm, and thereby reduced the mental world to physics. He stated this mechanical principle in two parts: all that exists is bodyall that occurs is motion. Hobbes applies this assumption to the physical world and it gives him materialism;20 he applies it to knowledge and it gives him sensationalism;21 he applies it to the will and it gives him determinism;22 he applies it to morals and politics and it gives him naturalism.23 Body is nature; body is everything. Body is the first term leading through man up to the State. With Hobbes, as with others of his time, the political field was the whole ground to be penetrated. The fundamental principle, by which Hobbes thought the whole field was to be explained, is body in motion. The mental world became drawn into the physical, and thereby his mechanical conception became the more natural.

There was one realm which Hobbes left untouched by his principle: the realm of the spirit, i. e. God, souls, angels. The science of bodies cannot deal with the supernatural, for the supernatural does not consist of bodies in motion. Matter and mind are homogeneous; matter and spirit are not. The contrast in Hobbes is not between matter and mind, the material and the psychical, but between matter and spirit, the material and the supra-material.

The Method of Hobbes. Hobbes made the method of Galileo his own. He believed that all knowledge is rooted in mathematics. There is one true method of treating all subjects: the mathematical calculation of them as motions of bodies. Knowledge consists in using words as the signs of experience and in reckoning with them. Scientific thought is the combination of signs. It is the rationalizing of our experiences. Science has a truth in itself and stands as a rationally organized world, quite different from the world of experience which it has organized. The world of bodies in causally related motions is such an organized world, the most systematized and most simply constructed world that science can devise. But how does the scientist proceed? He begins with a phenomenon, which is a body in motion, and finds out the causes of the phenomenon, which causes are nothing more nor less than the elements of the phenomenon in question. Then the scientist proceeds from the causes to other phenomenal effects. These new effects are like the original phenomenon and its causes,—bodies in motion. Thus the world of the scientist is a world of causes and effects, for “the natural reason of man is busily flying up and down among the creatures, and bringing back a true report of their order, causes, and effects.” Thus we find Hobbes to be a nominalist (see vol. ip. 358) who, nevertheless, used the deductive method—rather a strange combination. Like all his English successors, he employed induction and deduction, but the two processes never became fused.24 Moreover for induction he has no method.

The order in which the writings of Hobbes appeared seems to have been the sport of outward events, for they were not written according to his original plan. On his return from his third journey to the Continent (1638), Hobbes, then fifty years old, had adopted the mechanical theory and had planned his philosophy. His comprehensive work was to be called the Elements of Philosophy, and was to be divided into three parts: De Corpore, treating physical bodies; De Homine, treating man as a psychological individual; De Cive, treating man as the citizen of a State. Hobbes’s philosophy was therefore to be a universal philosophy, and he intended to bring his works out in logical order—first, the science of physics, then of human nature, and last of society. However, the growing disturbances in the political world at that time moved him to publish several treatises on politics first, and his physics and psychology more than fifteen years later.

The Kinds of Bodies. There are two kinds of bodies, natural and artificial. Natural bodies are those belonging to the physical world. The artificial bodies are the institutions of society, of which the most important is the State. Man belongs to both classes of bodies—he has a physical nature and he is a member of the State. Man is the connecting link between natural and artificial bodies. Philosophy is therefore divided into three parts: physics, which treats of purely natural bodies; psychology, which treats of man in his rôle as a natural individual; politics, which treats of man in social congregations with his fellows. Looking at the situation from the other end, political bodies are decomposable into men, men are in turn decomposable into physical bodies. Political bodies are dependent on the psychical nature of men, and the psychical nature of men is dependent on the nature of physical bodies, i. e. on bodies and their motions. Thus all bodies, natural and artificial, must be explained in terms of motion, if they are explained scientifically. Physical bodies are the first term leading up through man to the last term in the series, which is the State.

Hobbes’s Application of the Mathematical Theory to Psychology. Although the prime interest of Hobbes lay in the political life of man, he nevertheless made an original contribution to psychology. He snatched the science of mental phenomena from the hands of the scholastic theologian and made it for the first time an independent science. Psychology had been based upon the assumptions of the theologian; for these Hobbes substituted the assumptions of the mathematician. Consciousness became in his hands not a soul, but the motion of bodies. It is described by him as “the movement of certain parts of the organic body.” The states of consciousness, such as sensations, perceptions, etc., are brain movements or the refined movements of atoms in the nervous system. Memory and imagination are “decaying sensations”; thought is the sum of several sensations; experience is the totality of sensations bound together by the rigid laws of association. Hobbes was the father of what is known as the Associational Psychology, or the theory that consciousness is composed of mental atoms under fixed laws of association.

But although Hobbes took psychology out of the hands of the theologian and made it a mechanical science, he did not identify it with physics. It is still psychology. The mental states are the physical motion of bodies, but they are not external motions, nor are they the copies of the external motions of bodies. Mental states are brain movements; they are the result of external motions. They come about in this way. A moving body in the outer world makes an impression on the sense organ, and this motion is transmitted by the nerves to the heart and brain. A reaction is effected in the brain, and this is a mental state. The brain transformations, and not the movement of the external object, is that of which we are conscious. The mental state is an “apparition” of the actual fact in the external world; it is an effect in a causal series. Our perception of light is, for example, a modification of the cerebral substance, and not of the external body itself. We deceive ourselves when we think that the sensations of light, sound, heat are outside us. These qualities of things are modifications of ourselves. There is nothing external to us, except the motions of bodies which are the causes of these modifications. The external world is no doubt real, but we have no knowledge of it—no knowledge of aught save the motions of bodies within ourselves. This is the point of view of all subsequent English philosophy: the substance of things is quite different from our knowledge of them. The substance of things is real; but is not the object of our knowledge. The object of our knowledge is a modification of ourselves.

The independence of knowledge with reference to theology on the one side, and to physical reality on the other, is well illustrated in Hobbes’s discussion of language. Speech consists of words, which are only the counters of things. Words are markers by which men may know a thing as “seamen mark a rock.” Science consists in their manipulation. Science combines them by addition and subtraction into judgments and syllogisms, and thereby constructs a body of demonstrated principles. Words are only counters, and he is a fool who mistakes the counter for the coin of reality. Words only represent reality, and the law of their use is mathematics. Truth and falsity are terms that are concerned with the correct or incorrect manipulation of these verbal counters and not with real things.

Hobbes’s Application of the Mathematical Theory to Politics. In the same way that material bodies in motion give rise to mental states, and mental states as bodies in motion give rise to the human consciousness, so men as individuals are the source of the artificial body,—the State. In every individual man the impulse to self-preservation is innate, and is, in fact, his absolute and universal characteristic. Just as the law of the mechanical association of ideas is the fundamental principle of the human mind, so the mechanical law of self-preservation is the principle of man’s ethical and political life. All our political institutions are the result of the striving of men for self-preservation. In his natural state—when, as Hobbes conceived, man lived without social organization—man had no other standard for conduct than his own self-interest; in the artificial political state, which man has constructed, self-interest is still his motive. Egoism is the sole working principle of human beings both before and after they live in societies; but the political state is the most ingenious contrivance which egoism has hit upon for its own profit. Hobbes conceived that the original state of man, which under the name of “state of nature” was a common problem in the Renaissance, was a condition in which every man was making war against every other man. (Compare Locke and Rousseau.) But such a condition of things was obviously self-destructive. Consequently man arbitrarily and artificially formed the political State to avoid this self-destructive, internecine warfare. Under the circumstances it was the most effective way in which man could gain his personal ends, for the political State was the only possible means to peace. In the “state of nature” the right of every man to everything was the equivalent of the right of every man to nothing. So men made a compact with one another under which each relinquished a portion of his rights in order that each might have a portion of them secure. But what gives security to this compact? The sovereign to which the powers of the many have thus been delegated. What is the sovereign? It is the soul of the State, the general will,—represented by a single person in a monarchy, by an assembly in a republic. This sovereign, in whom the contract is vested, is absolute; for the sovereign was not a party to the original contract, since he did not then exist. The contract was made among the individuals, at that time in a “state of nature.” So long as the State preserves its power among the people, the people must render their obedience to the State,—to the sovereign in whom the contract was vested. The might of the political State makes right. Whatever the State commands is right; whatever is forbidden is wrong. There was no right and wrong in the “state of nature,” only the possible and the impossible. An act is a crime when it breaks the contract, and thus the ground of morality is political legislation. Even the religion of the people is determined by the State. Any political State is better than a revolution. Here was philosophical justification of Charles I. A reversion to war is a reversion to the “state of nature.”

When Hobbes was in France as a refugee he wrote the Leviathan, which contained this doctrine of political society. He presented a vellum-bound copy to Charles II, hoping to gain favor with that prince. However, the Leviathan, unfortunately for Hobbes’s purpose, contained two paragraphs that antagonized the royalists and the Catholics. One was, that when a commonwealth is unable to protect its citizens in peace, that commonwealth is dissolved and a new sovereign commonwealth is formed. The second was, that while the sovereign state shall decide what the religion of its people shall be, no religion is infallible—neither Anglican, Catholic, nor Puritan. The religion that the sovereign makes legal is only a temporary one; the true religion will come not until the Last Judgment. The church is subordinate to the State, like everything else, and it does not matter much what the State religion shall be, provided there be peace. Religion is only a superstition resting on a defective knowledge of nature, and it is of little consequence what particular religion the State makes binding.

It hardly need be said that the Leviathan pleased neither Charles II nor the Catholics. The sequel of its publication was that Hobbes fled back to England from fear of assassination.

The Renaissance in England after Hobbes. The philosophies of Bacon and Hobbes do not exhaust, but merely represent the philosophy of England during the Renaissance. Empiricism25 had to wait for Locke in the next period before it became dominant. After Hobbes Scholasticism was narrowly confined to limited circles and appeared under the form of Skepticism or of Platonism, neo-Platonism, or Mysticism. The reaction toward Platonism was centred in a group of ethical scholars, called the Cambridge School. It included Culverwell, Cudworth, Henry More, and Cumberland. This Platonic movement was short-lived. The scientific spirit, represented in the Renaissance by Bacon and Hobbes, dominated the next period,—the Enlightenment,—and we shall find it spreading its influence over France and Germany in the form that Locke gave to it.

But the history of the philosophy of the Renaissance is not yet completed. Contemporary with Bacon and Hobbes, there was a movement on the Continent which was more characteristic of the Renaissance, and indeed more important to it than the movement in England. This was the school of Rationalists, to which we now turn.


The Long List of Representatives of the Humanistic Period. There was a revival of scholasticism,—Paulus Barbus Socinas (d. 1494), Cajetan (d. 1534), Ferrariensis (d. 1528), Melchior Cano (d. 1560), Dominicus de Soto (d. 1560), Dominicus Banez (d. 1604), John of St. Thomas (d. 1644), Vasquez (d. 1604), Toletus (d. 1596), Fonseca (d. 1599), Suarez (d. 1617), John the Englishman (d. 1483), Johannes Magistri (d. 1482), Antonius Trombetta (d. 1518), Maurice the Irishman (d. 1513). Among the Humanists were Pletho, Bessarion (d. 1472), Lorenzo Valla (d. 1457), Marsilio Ficino (d. 1499), Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (d. 1494), Francesco Pico della Mirandola (d. 1533), Theodore of Gaza (d. 1478), Agricola (d. 1485), George of Trebizond (d. 1484), Justus Lipsius (d. 1606), Schoppe (b. 1562), Paracelsus (d. 1541), Reuchlin (d. 1522), Fludd (d. 1637), Montaigne (d. 1592), Charron (d. 1603), Sanchez (d. 1632), Pomponatius (d. 1530), Achillini (d. 1518), Nifo (d. 1546), Petrus Ramus (d. 1572), Scaliger (d. 1558). The Italian nature philosophers were Cardano (d. 1576), Telesio (d. 1588), Patrizzi (d. 1597), Bruno (d. 1600), Campanella (d. 1639). The notable scientists were Cusanus (d. 1464), Copernicus (d. 1543), Tycho Brahe (d. 1601), Kepler (d. 1631). The Protestant Mystics were Luther (d. 1546), Zwingli (d. 1531), Franck (d. 1545), Weigel (d. 1588), Boehme (d. 1624). The political philosophers were Macchiavelli (d. 1527), Thomas More (d. 1535), Jean Bodin (d. 1597), Gentilis (d. 1611), Althusius (d. 1638), Hugo Grotius (d. 1645).

As examples of the first epoch of the Renaissance2 we have selected Cusanus (14011464), Paracelsus (14931541), and Bruno (15481600). These three men will represent fairly well the wide interests of this epoch, and more especially its neo-Platonic spirit and its methods. The reader will see from their dates that the lives of these three philosophers nearly cover the Humanistic Period. Cusanus lived during the last half century of the Middle Ages and the first decade of the Humanistic Period; Paracelsus’s life covers the middle of the Humanistic Period; Bruno lived during the last part of the period, and his death (1600) coincides with the last year of the period. All three were neo-Platonists. They had been so impressed with the nature-world that had opened before them that they were mystic nature-worshipers—pantheists, to whom neo-Platonism became the truest philosophical standard. All three were scientists in different degrees. Yet Cusanus, the cardinal of the church, and Bruno, the speculative philosopher, contributed more to science than Paracelsus, who aspired to medical science. This seeming inconsistency in their lives is not difficult to explain. Paracelsus merely reflects the science of the time; while Cusanus and Bruno anticipate the Natural Science Period—the one by his empirical discoveries, the other by his mystic speculations which were almost prophecies.

Nicolas of Cusa (14011464). Modern German scholars place Nicolas of Cusa (Nicolas Cusanus) with Bacon and Descartes, as the leaders of the modern philosophical movement. Nicolas lived two hundred years before Descartes and one hundred years before Bacon. The German estimate of him shows at least that he was modern in his thought, although he belongs in time to the Middle Ages for the most part. He lived when the Middle Ages were passing over into the Renaissance. His principal work, the Idiota, was published in 1450, when the Renaissance was on the threshold. He was certainly a forerunner of modern times. He was a German, a cardinal, and is now reverenced by liberal Catholics as one of their deepest thinkers.

Cusanus was a scientist of no small merit. He died before the great discoveries were made; but he anticipated Copernicus in his belief that the earth rotated on its axis; he anticipated Bruno in conceiving space to be boundless and time unending; he proposed a reform in the calendar; he was the first to have a map of Germany engraved. He condemned the prevalent superstitions of the church and the use of magic in explaining nature events. Thus he anticipated the science of the time of Bacon, Hobbes, and Descartes, and transcended his own period.

In other respects Cusanus belongs in this period with Bruno and Paracelsus. He did not seek to discover a new method; but he turned back to the revived traditional Greek systems for an explanation of the “new world.” He found in the mystic numbers of Plato and the Pythagoreans the principle of all scientific investigation. The world of nature phenomena must be accounted for by the spiritual world. Cusanus uses almost the identical language of Bruno, when he says that the world is the mirror of God and that man is an epitome of the universe. In the neo-Platonic spirit of the Humanists, he regarded the world as a soul-possessing and articulate Oneness. Although a scientist, he conceived science to be only a conjecture, which in its unreality reveals the inner interconnections of the real world—the world of the spirit.

Paracelsus (14931541). Paracelsus did not transcend his time as did Cusanus. He merely expressed it. He was the exponent of its science as Bruno was the representative of its poetic speculation. Paracelsus was a much-traveled Swiss, who tried to reform the practice of medicine by a kind of magical chemistry. The poet Browning makes his adventures the basis of a poem. As a physician Paracelsus could employ the magic arts without much danger of the charge of heresy, for the practice of the magic art was theoretically justified by the neo-Platonism of the time. The Faust of Goethe is at first a Paracelsus. The universal spirit behind nature presents itself in an infinite number of spiritual individuals. Nature facts are to be understood and mastered by understanding the activities of these spiritual forces. In this way medicine became a brewing of tinctures, magical drinks, and secret remedies. It was an alchemy which grew to the proportions of a science. The alchemists of the time expected to discover a panacea against disease, which would give them the highest power. This is the meaning of the “philosopher’s stone,” which was to heal all diseases, transmute everything into gold, and bring all spirits into the power of its possessor. Paracelsus thus turned back to Greek hylozoism for the truth about physiology and the cure of disease; and he met with some degree of personal success, for his physics had many adherents both in theory and in practice.3

In the neo-Platonic manner Paracelsus conceived the world as fundamentally a developing vital principle (Vulcanus). Man is this cosmic force individualized (Archæus). The laws that operate in the world are the same as in man, except that in man they are hidden. The study of nature’s laws, as they lie open, will reveal how those same laws operate in a human being. Now the vital principle in nature manifests itself in three realms: the terrestrial, the astral or celestial, and the spiritual or divine. The Archæus or vital principle in man must have the same realms of activity. There is man’s body, which gets its strength from the terrestrial realm of nature; man’s mind, which is nourished by the stars; man’s soul, that feeds on faith in Christ. Perfect health, therefore, consists in the sympathetic interaction of these three realms in man. A complete medicine consists of physics, astronomy, and theology.

But Paracelsus was a chemist, and the terrestrial nature of man was his peculiar interest. The theologian may prescribe for the human soul, and it is the duty of the astronomer to care for the human intellect; but the practical physician must understand the human body. Here is the Archæus imprisoned in the gross terrestrial body! It is in continual warfare with that body. What is the nature of that body which is so hostile to the human vital principle? Here Paracelsus introduces his strange chemical analysis which characterizes him as a Renaissance physician. Nature has three essences of which all bodies are composed: (1) mercury, that makes bodies liquid; (2) sulphur, that makes them combustible; (3) salt, that makes them rigid. These essences are compounded in such a way that from them the four elements—earth, air, water, and fire—are derived. Each one of these elements is controlled by elemental spirits. The earth is controlled by gnomes, the water by undines, the air by sylphs, and the fire by salamanders. Thus the chemical analysis of Paracelsus discovers four sets of spirits with which the physician is obliged to deal. Gnomes, sylphs, undines, and salamanders are in warfare with the human vital principle for control. When the Archæus is in any way checked by these, there is disease; when the Archæus has them under control, the man has health. The medicines that the physician administers are determined by their effectiveness in helping the Archæus in its battle against the hostile spirits. This makes medicine a field for the magician in the control of spirits.

Giordano Bruno (15481600). The neo-Platonic spirit of the Humanistic Period reached its most complete development in the æsthetic philosophy of Giordano Bruno. He sang the world-joy of the æsthetic Renaissance. Italy ordained him priest, exiled him as heretic, and then burned him at the stake as recalcitrant. Italy has produced very few great speculators since his day. The Council of Trent met when he was fifteen years old; already the counter-Reformation had begun in Italy, and Italy was soon to become an intellectually arid waste. The influence of Bruno appears in Spinoza and perhaps in Leibnitz. His one contribution to modern science was in his inspired conception that because God is infinite, the world is infinite in space and time. The philosophers who influenced his thought were Pythagoras, Plato, Plotinus, and Lucretius.

The fundamental thought of the Humanistic Period was expressed by Bruno in his imaginative conception of the divine beauty of the living All. Poet as well as philosopher, he was consumed by a love for nature as a beautiful religious object. He revolted from all asceticism and scholasticism. The “new world” in which he found himself was to him the emblem of God. The thought of that chief of neo-Platonists, Plotinus, of the beauty of the universe had never been so sympathetically regarded as by the Renaissance; in the hands of Bruno this beauty became the manifestation of the divine Idea. Philosophy, æsthetics, and religion were identical to him. To express his thought he employed the usual neo-Platonic symbol of the all-forming and all-animating light. Bruno was no patient student of natural phenomena as such, but a lover of the great illumination of nature facts by the great soul behind them. He was not interested in any single group of phenomena, as was Paracelsus; but he loved them all as a religion. Not only externally but internally is the universe an eternal harmony. When one gazes upon it with the enthusiasm of a poet, its apparent defects will vanish in the harmony of the whole. Man needs no special theology, for the world is perfect because it is the life of God. Bruno is a universalistic optimist and a mystic poet. Before this cosmic harmony man should never utter complaint, but should bow in reverence. True science is religion and morality.

Since Bruno conceived no theodicy (proof of the goodness and justice of God) to be necessary, he did not define in exact terms his conception of God. Nevertheless, to escape the charge of atheism, he distinguished between the universe and the world. For him God = the universe = nature = matter = the principle immanent in the world. The “world,” on the other hand, = the sum-total of nature phenomena. The “world” is the body of God, and God is the soul of the “world.” God is natura naturans; the world is natura naturata4. Just as the sum of the parts of man’s body does not equal the man himself, so to identify God with the totality of objects of nature is atheism in the true sense. It is to make God a finite being, although very big. In opposition to this, Bruno conceives God as the one substance manifesting himself through all things. This is to magnify God and to make him really omnipresent.

Nevertheless, Bruno is involved in all the inconsistencies of the Mystic. In a neo-Platonic fashion he frequently speaks of God as if he were a plural number of atoms. God is not only the world unity, but in every particle of the world is He writ small. The elements of the world are monads, and each is the mirror of the All. The Absolute is the primal unity; and yet in the paradoxical fashion in which the neo-Platonist is so successful, Bruno says that all creation is unfolded out of God and is included in him. The speculative poet is so in love with the world that he does not stop to make consistent the distinctions which he has drawn. The natura naturans and the natura naturata, the unity and plurality of the world, are the two aspects of the reality in his own life—and that reality is God.

But a deeper insight into the Renaissance shows that its revolutionary

But a deeper insight into the Renaissance shows that its revolutionary, negative, and spectacular aspect is not its whole significance. No doubt a strong, universal, and well-centralized government and a unity of faith are social ideals. The reverence in which the name of Rome was held long after the empire had been destroyed, and the reluctance with which the first Protestants separated themselves from the Catholic church, show that the loss of such a unity is a real loss. But the church of the Middle Ages was not the carrier of all the treasure of the past, nor could the church with its own inherent limitations stand as representative of modern times. The new problem which the Renaissance faced might be destructive of much of the traditional past, but it contained many new elements. The “new man” found himself in a “new universe.” He was obliged to undertake the solution of a far deeper problem than antiquity had ever attempted. He must orient himself in a larger world than the past had ever imagined. He must do this in the very presence of mediæval institutions, which had not lost their spiritual nor their temporal power. The constructive problem before the man of the Renaissance was therefore an exceedingly complex one. How should he explain his relation to the “new universe” in a way that would not antagonize tradition? It was a new problem, a real problem in which the traditional factor was always persistently present.

There were two motifs which give to the problem of the Renaissance its constructive character. These were naturalism and subjectivismIn the first place, the Renaissance is the period when the naturalism of the Greeks was recovered. By naturalism is meant the love for earthly life. Of this the mediæval church and the mediæval time had little or nothing. The church had been born out of the revulsion from the earthly, and it rose on the aspiration for the supernatural. The Renaissance was, on the contrary, born out of a passionate joy in nature, which joy was intensified by the unexpected possession of the literature of the past and by the discovery of new lands beyond the seas. Man felt now the happiness and dignity of earthly living and the worth of the body as well as the soul. In the next place, the Renaissance is marked by the rise of subjectivism. At the beginning of our book we have already given the meaning of subjectivism (see vol. ip. 2), and we have characterized modern civilization as subjective in distinction from the ancient as objective and the Middle Ages as traditional. We have also found, as we have gone on, the beginnings of subjectivism in the Sophists, Stoics, and Christians. But in the Renaissance for the first time does the individual as a rational self gain the central position. This is subjectivism: the individual is not only the interpreter of the universe, but also its mental creator. Of the subjective motif in modern times the Renaissance marks the inauguration, and German Idealism the culmination. While the world of the ancients was cosmo-centric and the mediæval world was theo-centric, the world of the modern man is ego-centric. The love of life, and the love of life because the individual feels his own capacity for life—this is the situation presented to the man of the Renaissance. Thus in the restoration of naturalism and in the construction of subjectivism did the Renaissance stand for positive upbuilding, in spite of the fact that in all this the period was constrained by the powerful tradition of the church.

The Two Periods of the Renaissance: The Humanistic (14531600); The Natural Science (16001690). The Renaissance is divided into two periods at the year 1600. The reason for taking this date as a division line will soon appear. The period before 1600 we call the Humanistic, or the period of the Humanities; the period after this date the Natural Science Period.

(a) The Similarities of the Two Periods. These two periods are alike in having the same motives. Both feel the same urgent need (1) for new knowledge, (2) for a new standard by which to measure their new knowledge, (3) for a new method of gaining knowledge. From the beginning to the end of the Renaissance the “new man” was feeling his way about, was trying to orient and readjust himself in his “new universe.” He was seeking new acquisitions to his rich stores of knowledge, to systematize his knowledge by some correct method, and to set up some standard by which his knowledge might be tested.

(b) The Differences of the Two Periods. There are, however, some marked differences in the carrying out of these motives by each period, and to these we must give our attention.

(1) The Countries which participate in the Renaissance differ in the Two Periods. In the Humanistic Period Italy and Germany were chiefly concerned. There are two reasons for this. In the first place, these countries had been engaged in commerce with the Orient, had become prosperous and more or less acquainted with the culture of the Orient. In the second place, Italy had been the refuge of the Greek scholars; when the colony of Greek refugees in Florence had died out in 1520, northerners like Erasmus, Agricola, Reuchlin, the Stephani, and Budæus had luckily already made themselves masters of the Greek language and literature, and had carried their learning into Germany.

In the Natural Science Period the Renaissance had practically become dead both in Germany and in Italy. The reason for this is not far to seek. In Italy, in 1563, the Council of Trent had fixed the dogma of the church and had made it impossible for the church to assimilate anything more from antiquity. The so-called Counter-Reformation set in, and Italy became dumb under the persecutions of the Inquisition. Furthermore, the discovery of the sea-route to the East had turned commerce away from Italy. When we look to Germany, we find a similar situation. The Thirty Years’ War (16181648) had devastated the land and had made intellectual life wholly impossible.

On the other hand, England, France, and the Low Countries represent the Natural Science Period in the Renaissance. By the War of Liberation (15681648) Holland became the European country where the greatest freedom of thought was granted, and it proved itself an asylum for thinkers and scholars. France, through the influence of the University of Paris, was the centre of mathematical research. In England the brilliant Elizabethan era had already begun.

(2) The Intellectual Standards differ in the Two Periods. The Humanistic Period has been well characterized as the time of “the struggle of traditions.” Naturally enough, with the revival of Greek learning the thinkers of the first period of the Renaissance would try to solve the new problems by the standards which they found in antiquity. What did Aristotle, Plato, the Epicureans say in matters of science? What standards did they yield for solving the new problems of the “new universe”? The traditions of antiquity were therefore revived; and the contention was, Which should be taken as a standard? Among all the ancient systems neo-Platonism became the most prominent. It dominated the Humanistic Period because its æsthetic character and its mystical explanations appealed to the susceptible mind of that time. Nevertheless, the sway of neo-Platonism was not absolute. The “struggle of traditions” continued throughout the period, as appears in the schisms of the church and in the literary and philosophical contentions.

The Natural Science Period, in its hope of finding a standard to explain the problems of the “new universe,” discovered a new standard within the “new universe” itself. No tradition of antiquity had proved itself adequate to the situation. Nothing could be found in Plato and Aristotle to give a theoretic standard for the new discoveries and inventions. Nature disclosed its own standard within itself. The Natural Science Period said nature facts must be explained by nature facts. But the question will naturally be asked, Why did the thinkers of this period, when the theories of antiquity were found to be inadequate, turn to nature rather than elsewhere for an explanation of nature? The answer to this is found in the great successes of the physical astronomers, who had started their investigations at the beginning of the Humanistic Period, and had reached the zenith of their glory at the beginning of the Natural Science Period. The discoveries of Galileo were especially important.

(3) The Scientific Methods in the Two Periods were Different. The method usually employed in the Humanistic Period was magic. This first period tried to explain nature facts of the “new universe” by referring them to agencies in the spiritual world. In their neo-Platonic nature-worship the scholars of this period imagined that the control of nature was to be obtained by a fanciful linking of the parts of nature to the spirits supposed to be in nature. The Bible is the product of the spiritual world, so why is not the “new nature-world” inspired from the same source? God is the first cause of all things; He is in all things and each finite thing mirrors Him. All things have souls. To gain control over nature, some all-controlling formula must be found which will reveal the secret of the control of spirits over nature; and to master the spirits that control nature is to control nature herself. Hence arose, as the methods of this first period, magic, trance-mediumship, necromancy, alchemy, conjurations, and astrology. Antiquity could offer (and especially is this true of Platonism) only spiritual causes for nature facts,—hence the search in this time for the philosopher’s stone. There was never a blinder groping after a method.

The scientific method used in the Natural Science Period was the mathematical. The world of experience was found to coincide with the number system, and therefore mathematics was used as the symbol to determine the form of nature events. Induction and deduction were used in different combinations. The period has been characterized as the time of “the strife of methods.” Induction and deduction became in fact the new methods of finding the truth about the “new world.” Whatever is clear and distinct, like the axioms, must be taken as true. All other knowledge must be deduced from these axiomatic certainties. In contrast with the magical methods of the Humanistic Period, which point beyond nature for an explanation of nature, here in the Natural Science Period mathematics need not lead the explanation farther than nature herself.

(4) The Attitude of the Church toward Science differs in the Two Periods. In the Humanistic Period the attitude of the church toward the new learning was not yet defined. This was because the bearing of the new learning upon dogma was not yet understood. On the one hand, on matters upon which the church had clearly declared itself, it was easily seen what could and what could not be believed. But, on the other hand, the significance of much of the wealth of the newly acquired learning could not at first be fully determined. The enthusiasm for science was so widespread, and the new discoveries were so many, that the church was unable to know what was consistent with dogma and what was not. At the outset the church was inclined to treat the new science with contemptuous toleration. Nevertheless, in spite of the new intellectual intoxication there was no real freedom of thought. The position of science was merely precarious, uncertain, and undefined.

In the Natural Science Period this uncertainty was dispelled because dogma came into violent conflict with science. It was soon found that questions in physics involved metaphysics, and that the new science touched the church doctrines at every point. In 1563 the church authorities at the Council of Trent settled dogma for all time. Great conflicts arose between the church and the secularizing spirit. The scientist became wary. He tried to avoid any intrusion upon the field of theology, and he insisted that his own field existed quite independent of theological dogma. But practically it was impossible for science not to take heretical positions, and this was especially true of the Rationalistic School, which tried to construct a new scholasticism. Safe independence of thought was not gained until the next period (the Enlightenment), and this was brought to pass by political changes.

A Brief Contrast of the Two Periods—A Summary of the Discussion above.

The Humanistic Period.

(1) The Time—14531600.

(2) The Countries Concerned—Italy and Germany.

(3) The Intellectual Standards—Neo-Platonism and other theories of antiquity.

(4) The Method—magic.

(5) The Relation of Science to the Church—precarious and uncertain.

The Natural Science Period.

(1) The Time—16001690.

(2) The Countries Concerned—England, France, and the Low Countries.

(3) The Intellectual Standard—the mechanism of nature facts.

(4) The Method—induction and mathematical deduction in various combinations.

(5) The Relation of Science to the Church—so definitely stated as to be placed in conflict with dogma.

THE RENAISSANCE1 (1453–1690)

The General Character of the Renaissance. The causes that led to the decline of the society of the Middle Ages were of course the same that ushered in the period of the Renaissance,—the first, the longest, and the most hopeful period of modern times. The general characterization of this period may be expressed in a single phrase,—a New Man in a New Universe. This, however, needs explanation.

(a) The New Man of the Renaissance was distinctly a man with a country. The fusion of the German and Roman peoples in the Dark Ages before Charlemagne (800) was now completed. The fusion did not result in a homogeneous whole, but in groups which formed the nations of Europe. The time when this grouping was practically finished is a difficult problem, into which we will not inquire. In a real sense it never was nor will be ended. We know that the nations began to form about the year 1000, and when we examine the history of the Renaissance we find Italians, Germans, French, Dutch, and English with distinctive national characteristics. We find the Renaissance first centralized among the Italians and Germans, and then later among the English, the people of the Low Countries, and the French. The Italian is a new Roman and the German a new Teuton. The undefined nationalities of the Middle Ages now become clear-cut. Philosophy also becomes now more or less of a national concern.

(b) A New Universe is now opened to the “New Man” of the Renaissance. Not only in mental equipment, but in scope for his activity, does the European of the Renaissance differ from the mediæval man. The world is actually a new world—new in its geographical outlines and its astronomical relations; new in its intellectual stores from the past. The physical world that supported his body and the intellectual world that refreshed his mind were newly discovered by the man of the Renaissance. We must examine these two new worlds more in detail.

1. The physical universe had undergone a wonderful transformation for man. Our nineteenth century has often been looked upon as a period of extraordinary discoveries; but no discoveries have ever so revolutionized the human mind as those enumerated above as “the external causes of the fall of the society of the Middle Ages.” Think how new that old world must have seemed to the common people who had supposed it to be flat, as well as to the scientists who had hypothetically supposed it to be solid—how new it must have seemed when they found that it had been actually circumnavigated! How the horizon of men’s minds must have widened when new continents were discovered by sailors and new celestial worlds were found by the telescope of the astronomers! Discovery led to experiment, and the whole new physical world was transformed by the new physical science of Galileo into a mechanical order. It was a wonderful new material world that was discovered and scientifically reorganized at the beginning of the Renaissance. Whereas the common man in mediæval time had found little joy in living, the common man now looked upon the world as a magnificent opportunity. Whereas the mediæval man had turned from the disorders of this wicked world to contemplation of the blessedness of heaven, the man of the Renaissance came forth from the cloister and engaged in trade and adventure. The earth and the things therein had suddenly become objects of emotional interest.

2. Not only was a new geographical and physical world discovered at this time, but also the intellectual world of antiquity was restored. For more than a thousand years in western Europe the literature of the Greeks and Romans had been a thing of shreds and patches, and even then read only in Latin translations. Now the European had come into possession of a large part of it and was reading it in the original. He was aroused to the wonderful intellectual life of the Age of Pericles. The interest in ancient literature, which had been started by Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, became an absorbing and controlling force at this time. The real interest began with the stimulus received by the coming of the Greek scholars to Italy from the East: first the ecclesiastical embassy in 1438, and afterward in 1453 the large number of refugees from Constantinople at the time of its capture by the Turks. Upon these refugees the patronage of the great Italian nobles—chiefly perhaps in Florence—was lavishly bestowed. The Platonic Academy was founded. Learned expounders of the new learning arose,—Pletho, the two Picos, Fincinus, Reuchlin. Of all the philosophies of antiquity Platonism was favored, and it was interpreted in a mystical manner. Aristotle and Christianity were looked upon as mere interpretations of Plato. Nevertheless the Renaissance scholars were interested in all the new literary material from the East. They studied the Jewish Cabala and its mystic numbers. They revived Skepticism, Eclecticism, Stoicism, and Epicureanism. Aristotle was represented by two antagonistic schools; and Taurellus opposed both and appealed to the scholarly world to return to Christianity.

The Significance of the Renaissance in History. We have above characterized the Renaissance as a time in which a “new man” found himself living in a “new universe.” But the old world of mediæval science, culture, and conventional manners had by no means been entirely outgrown and discarded. Periods of history do not “leave their low-vaulted past” as easily as a man may throw away his coat. Mediæval science and theology still remained, not only as a background but also as an aggressive social factor everywhere. Mediæval scholasticism was something with which the Renaissance had always to reckon. Scholasticism modified, frequently restricted, and even directed the thought of the Renaissance. Consequently when we form our final estimate of the place of the Renaissance in the modern movement, we must not overlook the conservative force of the mediæval institutions existing during the period. The “new man” lived in a “new universe”; and his problem was how to explain the relation of that “new universe” to himself so that his explanation would not antagonize the time-honored traditions of the church. This was the constructive problem that gave the Renaissance its place in history.

The first impression, however, of the Renaissance upon the reader is that it stands for no constructive problem whatever. The changes that usher in the Renaissance seem to speak of an epoch that is entirely negative, destructive, and revolutionary. The period seems from one side to be a declaration against time-honored traditions. The “new man” had risen superior to dogma and to Aristotle. Intellectual fermentation had set in, and never had so many attempts at innovation been so strenuously sought. The love for novelty filled the human mind, and the imagination ran riot. The movement toward modern individualism appeared in the decentralization that at this time was everywhere taking place. Latin, for example, ceased to be the one language for educated men, and the modern languages came into use. Rome ceased to be the only religious centre, and Wittenberg, London, and Geneva became centres. There was no longer one church, but many sects. Scientific centres became numerous. Many of the universities had arisen independently, and now Oxford, Vienna, Heidelberg, Prague, and numerous universities in Italy and Germany afforded opportunities for study equal to those of Paris. To the man who looks upon the Classic Period of Scholasticism in the Middle Ages as the golden age of united faith,—to that man the Renaissance will appear only as the beginning of the disintegration and revolution that he sees in modern times.


The Difficulty in the Study of Modern Philosophy. Beside the great spans of ancient and mediæval civilizations, the 450 years of the modern period seem brief. The road is indeed relatively short from mediæval times to the century in which we live, and yet it proves difficult to the student who travels it for the first time. Even for the modern mind the study of modern philosophy is inherently more difficult than that of the ancient and mediæval. The preceding periods present new points of view, but these, once attained, lead along comparatively easy ways. The chief difficulty of the preceding periods is overcome when their peculiar view of things is gained; but the student of modern philosophy is confronted with difficulties all along the way. In the first place, modern philosophy is very complex because it is a conflict of various aspirations. It has neither the objectivity of ancient thought nor the logical consistency of mediæval thought. It arises from subjective motives, whose shadings are difficult to trace. The task is rendered harder by the fact that intimations of the problems in the history of modern philosophy are on the whole present in the beginner’s mind; and yet at the same time his mind possesses, besides these, many mediæval notions as well. For the student to pass successfully through the entire length of modern thought from Cusanus to Spencer means, therefore, two things for him: (1) he must gain an insight into the depth and significance of his own half-formed ideas; (2) he must transcend or give up entirely his mediæval notions. If therefore philosophy represents the epoch that produces it,—either as the central principle or as the marginal and ulterior development of that epoch,—the modern can come to an understanding of the history of modern philosophy only by coming to an understanding of himself and his own inner reflections.

This will explain why the short period of modern thought is traditionally divided into comparatively many periods. These subordinate periods ring out the changes through which the modern man feels that he himself has blindly passed in his inner life. Modern philosophy is no more local and temporary than the ancient; it is no less a part of a social movement; but the modern man is more alive to the differentiations of modern thought than he is to those of antiquity.

The Periods of Modern Philosophy. The divisions of the history of modern philosophy are as follows:—

1. The Renaissance (14531690)—from the end of the Middle Ages to the publication of Locke’s Essay on the Human Understanding.

2. The Enlightenment (16901781)—to the publication of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.

3. German Philosophy (17811831)—to the death of Hegel.

4. The Nineteenth Century Philosophy (1820the present time).

The Renaissance, the first period, covers more than half of the length of modern times. It is sometimes called the springtime of modern history, although it is longer than all the other seasons together. It is to be noted that two epoch-making books form the dividing lines between the first three periods. The transition from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment is signalized by Locke’s great Essay on the Human Understanding, which expressed for one hundred years the political and philosophical opinions of western Europe. The transition from the Enlightenment to German Philosophy was in its turn signalized by the appearance of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, and this book may be said to have been fundamental to human thinking ever since. There is one point further to be noticed in these divisions, and that is the overlapping of the last two periods. German philosophy ends practically with the death of Hegel in 1831, and the modern Evolution movement began at least ten years before, about 1820. No great philosophical treatise marks the division here, for the Evolution movement had its beginnings in German philosophy and in the discoveries and practical inventions of natural science. Evolution, however, became a reaction upon the last phases of German philosophy, and then formed a distinct movement. The book that formulated the Evolution movement most fully appeared several years after the theory was under way. This was Darwin’s Origin of Species, published in 1859. Locke’s Essay and Kant’s Critique are therefore the most influential philosophical interpretations of the history of modern times since its early beginnings in the Renaissance.

The Causes of the Decay of the Civilization of the Middle Ages. The social structure of the mediæval time weakened and broke apart, in the first place because of certain inherent defects in its organism; in the second place because of some remarkable discoveries, inventions, and historical changes. We may call these (1) the internal causes and (2) the external causes of the fall of the civilization of the Middle Ages.

(aThe Internal Causes were inherent weaknesses in mediæval intellectual life, and alone would have been sufficient to bring mediæval society to an end.

(1) The intellectual methods of the Middle Ages were self-destructive methods. We may take scholasticism as the best expression of the intellectual life of the Middle Ages, and scholasticism even in its ripest period used the method of deductive logic. Scholasticism did not employ induction from observation and experiment, but proceeded on the principle that the more universal logically a conception is, the more real it is. (See vol. ip. 355.) On this principle scholasticism set as its only task to penetrate and clarify dogma. Its theism was a logical theism. Even Thomas Aquinas, the great classic schoolman, used formal logic (dialectics) as the method of obtaining the truth. After him in the latter part of the Middle Ages, logic instead of being a method became an end. It was studied for its own sake. This naturally degenerated into word-splitting and quibbling, into the commenting upon the texts of this master and that, into arid verbal discussions. The religious orders frittered away their time on verbal questions of trifling importance. The lifetime of such intellectual employment is always a limited one.

(2) The standard of the truth of things in the Middle Ages became a double standard, and was therefore self-destructive. Ostensibly there was only one standard,—infallible dogma. Really there were two standards,—reason and dogma. The employment of logical methods implied the human reason as a valid standard. Logic is the method of human reasoning. To use logic to clarify dogma, to employ the philosophy of Aristotle to supplement the Bible, to defend faith by argument, amounted in effect to supporting revelation by reason. It was the same as defending the infallible and revealed by the fallible and secular. It was the erecting of a double standard. It called the infallible into question. It was the offering of excuses for what is supposedly beyond suspicion. The scholastic made faith the object of thought, and thereby encouraged the spirit of free inquiry.

(3) The development of Mysticism in the Middle Ages was a powerful factor that led to its dissolution. There is, of course, an element of mysticism in the doctrine of the church from St. Augustine onwards, and in the Early Period of the Middle Ages mysticism had no independence. But mysticism is essentially the direct communion with God on the part of the individual. The intermediary offices of the church are contradictory to the spirit of mysticism. It is not surprising, therefore, to find in the last period of scholasticism numerous independent mystics as representatives of the tendency of individualistic religion, which was to result in the Protestantism of the Renaissance.

(4) The doctrine of Nominalism was the fourth important element to be mentioned that led to the dissolution of the civilization of the Middle Ages. This was easily suppressed by the church authorities in the early mediæval centuries, when it was a purely logical doctrine and had no empirical scientific basis. In the later years, however, nominalism gained great strength with the acquisition of knowledge of the nature world. Nominalism turned man’s attention away from the affairs of the spirit. It incited him to modify the realism of dogma. It pointed out the importance of practical experience. It emphasized individual opinion, neglected tradition, and placed its hope in the possibilities of science rather than in the spiritual actualities of religion.

(bThe External Causes consisted of certain important events that brought the Middle Ages to a close and introduced the Renaissance. These events caused great social changes by demolishing the geographical and astronomical conceptions of mediæval time which had become a part of church tradition.

First to be mentioned are the inventions which belong to the Middle Ages, but which came into common use not before the beginning of the Renaissance. These played an important part in the total change of the society which followed. They were the magnetic needle, gunpowder, which was influential in destroying the feudal system, and printing, which would have failed in its effect had not at the same time the manufacture of paper been improved. Moreover at the end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century occurred the following events:—

1453. Constantinople fell and its Greek scholars migrated to Italy.

1492. Columbus discovered America, an achievement which was made possible by the use of the magnetic needle.

1498. Vasco da Gama discovered the all-sea route to India and thereby changed the course of the world’s commerce.

1518. The Protestant Reformation was begun by Luther.

1530. Copernicus wrote his De revolutionibus orbium, in which he maintained that the earth moved around the sun.


Dear Sir:

I beg to hand you herewith a report from the auditor of the earnings of the Silverton Railroad for the years 1889, 1890 and 1891, showing also the mileage and bonded debt.

I may add for your information that this road is built through the famous Red Mountain district of the San Juan Country, in which are located the well-known Yankee Girl and Guston mines, besides many other producing properties.

This is the only road that can be built through this district because of lack of room. The mines mentioned are large producers, and there are many more which are being developed rapidly. This is one of the best known mining districts in Colorado. From Ironton to the town of Ouray, which is reached by another branch of the Denver & Rio Grande, the distance is seven miles over very precipitous country.

The reason the road has not been extended to Ouray is because of the excessive cost, but capitalists are now engaged in making estimates and plans for an electric road to cover this distance to follow the line of the Mears toll road as indicated on the map. (No map accompanies this material.) A line of this kind can be built to operate much more cheaply than a railway line, and we have good reason to expect that this gap may be so filled during this year. At the present time stages make daily trips each way over the toll road, and the trip from Silverton to Ouray is a favorite one with the tourists on account of the beauty and grandeur of the scenery on the toll road.

There is every reason to expect that the earnings for the year 1892 will increase in the same proportion as in the past, and will continue for a great many years. The Silverton Railroad is also authorized to build up the Animas River. We would like very much this year to extend the road in that direction some 12 or 15 miles in order to reach a very rich and valuable mining district. There are a great many very extensive mines of low grade material lying between Silverton and the summit of the range towards the northeast, and our object in offering to you the bonds of the present line of the railroad is to obtain funds to extend the line up the Animas River.

We can offer you at the present time $400,000 out of a total of $425,000. These bonds are issued in denominations of $1,000 each. The interest is payable semi-annually on the first of April and the first of October at the rate of six per cent per annum in U. S. gold coin.

Yours very truly,John L. McNeil,[3] Treasurer.


NOTE.—This Society is not responsible, as a body, for the facts and opinions advanced in any of its publications.

Vol. XXIII.—September, 1890.


By C. W. Gibbs, M. Am. Soc. C. E.


The Silverton Railroad is a short line but 17.5 miles long, and has the reputation of being the steepest (5 per cent. grade), the crookedest (30 degree curves) and the best paying road in Colorado; and is owned by one man, Otto Mears. It also has a turn-table on its main track, and it is the purpose of this paper to describe it and explain why it was so placed.

This road leaves the Denver and Rio Grande at Silverton, and runs over a divide 11 113 feet above sea level, then down into the rich mining country beyond. The country is very rough and rugged, and in order to reach the town of Red Mountain it was necessary to run up on a switchback, as no room for a loop could be found. A wye was, therefore, built, and the engine could be turned while the train stood on the main track. The engine was thus placed ahead of the train, only the train is pulled out of the station rear end ahead. It runs thus till the turn-table is reached. The train is stopped at a point marked A, Plate XXII; the engine uncoupled, run on to the table, is turned and pulled up to a point near B, where it is stopped. The train is then allowed to drop down to the turn-table and the engine backed on to it. In coming up from Albany the train is stopped on the down grade between the summit at B and the table; the engine is taken off, turned on the table and run up to about A; the train is then allowed to drop to the table as before and the engine backed up and coupled on, taking not over five minutes in going either way.

The reason of putting the table in was that there were no mines to the east of Ironton as shown on Plate XXI, but between the turn-table and the loop there were 13several that it was very desireable to reach, and the side hill is so steep that it is impossible to make a loop on it.

This table is the source of a great deal of comment from tourists, of whom there are many during the summer months, as it is on the line known as the “circle,” so extensively advertised by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad.

The road is used both for a freight and passenger road, and as before mentioned, is the best paying road in Colorado, two engines being kept busy hauling ore to Silverton from the Red Mountain district.

The object of writing this paper was to describe what the author thinks is quite a novelty, being the only turn-table that he has ever heard of which is used upon a switchback in this manner, and where the grades are adjusted as they are to let the train run by gravity on the table from both ways.

Plate XXI is a print from a photograph of the map filed in Washington, and is about 9 000 feet to the inch.

Plate XXII is an enlarged sketch of the line near the turn-table.


J. Foster Cromwell, M. Am. Soc. C. E.—It occurs to me that the use of this turn-table being simply to turn the engine during transit, while the train waits, and, moreover, as the service is a special one on a spur line, it would have been better to obtain an engine capable of running in either direction and not requiring to be turned, rather than resort to a turn-table in the main track which contains an element of danger as well as of delay to the traffic. The device, however, is an ingenious one to meet the peculiar conditions of line; and if experience with it proves satisfactory, there are other problems on a larger scale relating to change of direction in mountain location that it may help to solve.

C. W. Gibbs, M. Am. Soc. C. E.—If a special engine had been procured, as Mr. Crowell suggests, it would have been at an extra expense, owing to the limited number wanted; and even with a special design, it might have been difficult for any engine to have backed its load over so steep a grade and such sharp curves without more danger than was suggested there might be at the turn-table. The delay to traffic amounts to nothing, for there are no competing lines, nor do I expect there ever will be. The turn-table has now been in actual operation every day since June, 1889, and no accident has ever occurred.

VOL. XXIII. No. 450.

C.W. GIBBS, Chief Engineer.

YEARS 1889, 1890 AND 1891

Gross earnings from Frt. Psngr. Exp. Etc. $ 80,881.66
Operating and all other expenses 34,285.04
Interest on first mortgage bonds 1 year 25,500.00
Gross earnings from Frt. Psngr. Exp. Etc. $105,673.39
Operating and all other expenses 51,127.22
Interest on first mortgage bonds 1 year 25,500.00
Gross earnings from Frt. Psngr. Exp. Etc. $121,611.38
Operating and all other expenses 57,548.37
Interest on first mortgage bonds 1 year 25,500.00
Length of line 17 miles
Length of side tracks 8 miles
25 miles
Floating debt Nil
Bonded debt $425,000.00

Alex Anderson, Auditor

At the time the foregoing statement was made, the Company owned the following equipment:

3 locomotives

2 coaches

1 baggage and express car

In addition to the above, the company now owns 50 freight cars, which it has since purchased, and it also has a floating debt of $32,502.76.

Alex Anderson, Auditor

As has already been noted Engine 100 was purchased and put into service as soon as the railroad started operating.

The Rio Grande Southern Railroad bought a number of engines in both 1890 and ’91 and, as it was not yet in operation and did not need so many, it kept its sister railroad in supply. A record of those it loaned to the S. R. in 1892 is as follows:

No. 8—January 1 to April 12

No. 5—July 7 to November 19

No. 7—August 14 to September 2

No. 6—September 2 to October 10

No. 34—November 27 to December 31

A picture of No. 5 with a train at Summit may be found herein.

It has always been supposed that the Shay engine belonged originally to the Silverton Railroad but the Lima Locomotive Works’ records reveal that Mears bought it under his own name in the spring of 1890. It, as No. 269, was used on construction of the Rio Grande Southern throughout that year and the next.

It isn’t known how or when it got into the possession of the S. R. but it was with that company in the summer of 1892 and a picture of it on the lower leg of the turntable track exists. It seems to have been called both “Ironton” and “Guston” during this period. It was traded to the R. G. S. for the latter’s Engine 34 on November 27, 1892. (Note that the table above shows the 34 merely on loan. The trade date, however, is correct.)

Locomotive 34 was a Baldwin of the 56 class which had, before going to the R. G. S., belonged to both the D. & R. G. and the R. G. W. The S. R. numbered it “101” but several years later changed it to a mere “1”.

Red Mountain and Ironton became two flourishing towns with plenty of stores and all the appurtenances of civilization. In the eighties and early nineties Red Mountain had three newspapers. In 1890 it had a population of 598 while Ironton had 322. Even Chattanooga had a mill, some stores and 51 people. The locality was a beehive of activity as mines and mills were working 17every place. The hills were liberally sprinkled with houses, stores, mills, boarding houses, barns and mine buildings. An incendiary fire at Red Mountain on August 20, 1892 destroyed practically the whole town causing property damage estimated at $259,000. But nothing daunted these optimists. They immediately went about rebuilding it.

The transportation of supplies to the district—machinery, timbers for mines, lumber, living necessities, coal and feed for animals—must have been terrific for such little trains to handle. Return trains carried ore bound for the smelters at Silverton and Durango. A company in which Mears was interested built a smelter, the Standard, at Durango in 1889, to handle copper ore from the Red Mountain area but it did not prove a success. Eventually, in 1897, the property was sold and rased. The slag pile may still be seen just south of town.

Operation, not counting sharp curves and steep grades, was complicated. Turning facilities were numerous for such a short piece of railroad—Silverton, Sheridan Junction, Red Mountain, Corkscrew Gulch, Ironton and Albany. The Operation of the turntable has already been exhibited. It, very soon after completion, began having trouble with snow, and a long entrance shed was built to alleviate the condition. Each leg of the wye at Red Mountain would accommodate only two cars, and so the engine and baggage car went around it and hooked onto the other end of the coaches.

Four regular freights and probably an extra one or two operated. The company did not have enough engines or anything else for such traffic and so must have borrowed from the R. G. S. and the D. & R. G. Passenger business was only a sideline but Mears maintained the dignity of his little railroad by running daily, each way, two passenger trains, each with two or three coaches and baggage car. He charged 20c per mile straight and had all the riders he could handle.

Business had been very good, so good, in fact, that the Silverton Railroad had the reputation of being the best-paying for its size in the state. Mears even used profit from it to assist the R. G. S. which was not doing as well as had been expected.

An extension of the Silverton Railroad up the Animas River Valley had been considered for several years. It became a reality in 1893 when the two miles from Silverton to the Silver Lake mill at Waldheim were built. It was considered a part of the S. R. system, not a separate line.

The San Juan’s most common precious metal was silver. Others were gold, lead, zinc and copper. Trouble had been brewing for some time but when the government repealed the Sherman Silver Purchasing Act in 1893 a panic descended not only on the San Juan but on all of the United States.

All mining towns had, of course, boomed and were replete with hordes of promoters, prospectors, miners and hangers-on. Saloons, gambling joints and brothels flourished. Now, mines closed by the dozens and the populace departed. Many towns, especially the small ones, were practically deserted. Train operation came down to a mixed freight and passenger.

As some of Mears’ letters indicate, he was, after the panic, having a most difficult time in making ends meet. He gave up the Rio Grande Southern almost immediately and allowed it to go into receivership on the 2nd of August, 1893. He tried, however, to hang on to the Silverton Railroad but, as some of the letters reveal, he had to do a good deal of juggling with bonds, stocks and notes to stave off creditors.

In 1896 the company claimed 18.25 miles of track from Silverton to Albany, 3.75 miles of branches and .48 miles of spurs. In the same year it listed two locomotives, three combination cars, 36 box cars, one caboose and one “other”.

Even with the hard times Mears managed by borrowing to extend the railroad in 1896 from Waldheim to the Sunnyside mine at Eureka, another 6½ miles. This entire piece, Silverton to Eureka, he incorporated as the Silverton Northern. This railroad was justified as both the Silver Lake and Sunnyside mines carried a good deal of gold.

At the turn of the century the most talked of and anticipated event in the mining country was the Meldrum Tunnel which was to bore through the range west of Red Mountain town and connect with mines at Pandora near Telluride on the other side.

The tunnel was to be large enough to contain a railroad which was to connect the Silverton Railroad with the Rio Grande Southern at Pandora. This would have saved much mileage and would, except at the ends, have been free from snow.

Andrew Meldrum, a Scotchman, the originator of the project, raised money and started work in 1898. He left a point on the west side one and a half miles south of Pandora and drilled eastward until he had reached a depth of 1400 feet. Except for one joggle it was quite straight. At the same time he ran another tunnel westward from a point about one-half of a mile north of Joker Tunnel to a depth of 600 feet or more. Altogether he drilled about 1.6 miles on the west side and .6 mile on the east side. Finally, in 1900, with 3.4 miles yet to go, he ran out of money and had to abandon the project.

However, Meldrum’s dream did materialize in 1946 during World War II when the government loaned the Idarado Mining Company, which had bought the old Treasury Tunnel workings at Red Mountain, the money to complete a tunnel through the mountain to the Pandora side. It takes several drops and rises and goes in various directions in order to contact the ore veins, so that the total length is 7½ miles. This amount does not include some tail tunnels.

The Idarado property is now considered one of the richest in the world for hardrock ores—silver, gold, lead, zinc, copper and manganese.

Meldrum lived out his life in Ouray and died in a cabin there all alone, a few years too soon to see his dream come true.

Everybody hoped and expected that mining would soon revive but the time dragged on and it did not. William Jennings Bryan ran for president of the United States in 1896 on a “free coinage of silver” platform and the “Silver San Juan”, Mears especially, ardently campaigned for him. When Bryan was defeated, Mears gave up on a mining revival and early in 1897 moved to the East. There he took up several business enterprises and stayed for ten years. However, he retained a general supervision over his railroads and made numberless trips back to the San Juan.

Revenues had decreased so greatly that the railroad was finally, in 1898, 20forced into receivership. Alex Anderson, a Scotchman and a former auditor, was made the receiver.

The Crawford interests who were promoting the Joker Tunnel (a drainage operation) got control of the railroad in a foreclosure sale in 1904. On November 3 of that year it was incorporated by Otto Mears, Alex Anderson, John Ewing, George Crawford and Harry Riddell as the Silverton Railway, with Mears as president. The new company replaced the old 30-lb. steel with 45-lb. Mr. Ridgway, as superintendent at this time, 1904 and 1905, had to keep three sets of books—one for the S. R., one for the S. Ry. and one for the S.N.

Just before and after the reorganization, business revived until it was nearly as good as in the beginning though only one passenger train ever ran again and then only as far as Joker Tunnel. The train consisted of two coaches and a baggage car to Red Mountain where one coach was set out and the rest went on to Joker. In 1912 a daily passenger was running only as far as Red Mountain. In 1919 and ’20 a passenger was still going to the same destination. During this period about two freights operated though the number depended on the amount of business. A little engine could haul three loads up to Red Mountain and a big one could haul five. Both handled ten loads down. In the winter operation was suspended either for short periods or for the season because of snow blockades.

The turntable was still standing in early 1906 for John Crum who that spring drove a logging team from Albany Gulch to the Gold Lion mine, at night turned his horses loose on a flat nearby and in the morning had to play tag with them around the table to catch them.

Mears, who was expecting great things of the Cold Prince mine and mill at Animas Forks on the Silverton Northern, decided he needed a turntable worse there than at Corkscrew. So, in the summer of 1906, Edward Meyer, an engineer, took a train to the gulch to retrieve all essential and removable parts along with other appurtenances. These were then transported to and installed at Animas Forks.

Joe Dresbach, the general manager of the time, has also stated that essential and removable parts of the turntable at Corkscrew were retrieved 21and installed at Animas Forks.

Charles Decker, an engineer, says that the housing and operating parts of the turntable at Corkscrew were gone when he went there for the first time in 1907. The train merely ran over the stationary table onto a switchback that had been extended to hold several cars, and then backed out.

After the turntable was abandoned a train leaving Red Mountain headed into Corkscrew Gulch, backed down to Joker Tunnel, headed into Corkscrew again and finally backed to Red Mountain. Or the operation was reversed by backing out of Red Mountain to begin with. As trains will not back through much snow downhill and practically none uphill this railroad got into trouble in the winter no matter how it started out or what it did.

Mears was employed by the D. & R. G. to reconstruct the railroad in the Animas canyon after the disastrous flood of October 5, 1911. He used S. Ry., S. G. & N. and S. N. engines and crews to work from the north end. Trains went to Joker Tunnel to pick up rails that had been brought that far by freight teams from Ouray. Silverton ran out of coal, and some that had already been hauled to the Treasury Tunnel at Red Mountain was brought back to town. In about 60 days the line was open and the first two freight cars to arrive in Silverton were one of caskets and one of beer.

Many derailments and minor accidents occurred but in its 39 years of operation only one fatality. In 1902 or ’03 an engine ran off a short rail at Sheridan Junction causing it to overturn. The engineer, Bally Thompson, was caught and crushed under the boiler. The whole top of his head and jaw were torn off and his skin was cooked like that of a roasted turkey.

The year ending June 30, 1911 showed a cash balance of $9 while the year ending December 31, 1917 turned up with a deficit of $25,241. Regular operation ceased in 1921 and abandonment proceedings were held in the early fall of 1922. All rolling stock, including Engines 100 and 101 (1) were turned over to the S. N.

Below is the last station list ever published:

.00 Silverton 9,300
5.30 Burro Bridge 10,236
7.23 Chattanooga 10,400
10.64 Summit 11,235
11.97 Red Mountain 11,025
12.66 Vanderbilt
12.85 Yankee Girl
13.26 Robinson
13.46 Guston
13.93 Paymaster Coal Track
14.38 Corkscrew Gulch
14.81 Paymaster Ore Track
15.03 Silver Belle
16.06 Joker

As the track was not immediately removed an occasional train was run to Red Mountain or even to the mines beyond. With the salvaging of the rails in 1926 the Silverton Railroad made its last run.

The original Red Mountain Town was on the east side of the small hill called the Knob. The place began declining about 1907 and the time came when it was deserted and all structures were in a state of near or complete collapse. The Idarado, the old Treasury Tunnel, to the north side of the Knob, with all its prosperous looking mine and mill buildings and its nice dwellings, most of which were moved there from Eureka, now constitutes the town of Red Mountain. This Tunnel is a World War II development and is famous because it bores through the mountain to the mines on the Telluride side.

The new highway has almost obliterated the old railroad grade. It may be seen crawling along on the sidehill up to Burro Bridge, and again at Chattanooga Loop and overhead as it climbs to the summit. It also may be seen curving around the Knob to old Red Mountain town, crawling along the mountain to Corkscrew Gulch and dropping down to Joker Tunnel. Then all traces of it are gone except some old grade at Albany. First a road, then a railroad and again a road!


The Silverton Railroad! The most intriguing piece of narrow gauge in the world! The railroad of the steepest grades, the sharpest curves, the crookedest loops, the highest altitude and the oddest switchbacks, on one of which sat a wye with a depot inside and on the other a housed-over turntable! And the railroad of the famous Otto Mears passes!

Otto Mears and Fred Walsen, after the Opening up of the rich Yankee Girl mine made it feasible, in 1882 and ’83 built a toll road they called the “Rainbow Route” from Ouray to Silverton. This was the most famous and the most difficult piece of road engineering of the day. The line crept along the precipitous mountains of the Uncompahgre River and Red Mountain Creek canons and in places was cut out of sheer granite walls. It was so narrow and crooked in places that only by the expedient of backing up or unhitching a buggy and setting it on a sidehill could another conveyance get by. The grades were so steep, often 19%, that most of the early cars could not climb them. It was the road of the famous Bear Creek toll bridge where a driver stopped and parted with his cash, $2 for a saddle horse or $5 for a buggy and team.

While Mears and Walsen were constructing their road from Ouray to Red Mountain in the summer of 1882, the Denver and Rio Grande was completing its railroad from Durango to Silverton. The next year while Mears and Walsen were extending their road from Red Mountain to Silverton, the D. & R. G., through its construction engineer, Thomas Wigglesworth, was making a survey from Silverton to Red Mountain and Ironton Park. Nothing came of it but one wonders if it did not give Mears the idea of building a railroad himself.

The Silverton Railroad was incorporated on July 5, 1887 and chartered on July 8. Mears was the president of the company and John L. McNeil was the treasurer. Though we have no evidence to the effect, Walsen was, without doubt, an incorporator and official. Since much of the Rainbow Route toll road grade was to be used the railroad adopted the name. Incidentally a new wagon road had to be built.

The first part from Silverton to Chattanooga would not be too difficult but Red Mountain would have to be ascended on a steep grade and by many curves to the summit, Sheridan Pass. Then the line would have to go around a succession of curves to Red Mountain town and over more curves, grades and switchbacks from there down to Ironton. The greatest of engineering skill was necessary to accomplish such an undertaking.

The first necessity, of course, was a locomotive. So the company purchased the D. & R. G.’s No. 42, a Baldwin of 30 tons, called 60 class. It was overhauled and given the number “100” and the name “Ouray”. The number may be seen on the old-fashioned kerosene headlight in a picture herein.

The 5.3 miles of railroad from Silverton to Burro Bridge must have been constructed in the summer of 1887 for it is known to have been in operation by the first of June of the next year. In 1888 Charles W. Gibbs, who had served under Mr. Wigglesworth on a number of projects, became the locating and construction engineer. He started late in May at Burro Bridge and in early November had completed 11.2 miles through Red Mountain and to Ironton. Only 11.2 miles in over five months! But anyone acquainted with the country is not surprised.

Spurs then or later were laid to the Yankee Girl, Vanderbilt, North Star, Silver Bell, Guston and Treasury Tunnel. The map here included was made by Mr. Gibbs and appeared in a September 1890 Bulletin of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Mr. Gibbs built the 1.5 miles from Ironton to Albany in 1889.[1] Albany was the Saratoga mill which stood against the east hill of Ironton Park. His report notes 5% grades, 30° curves, 3-foot gauge and 30-lb. rail. No reliable figures for the cost of construction are available but ordinarily a railroad of that kind at that time ate up about $25,000 to the mile.

In 1888 Mr. Gibbs was writing love letters to Miss Adeline Hammon of Colorado Springs and the next year they were married. She has kept his letters all these years from which these excerpts, dealing with the construction of the railroad from Burro Bridge to Ironton, are taken.

“Chattanooga, June 10, 1888. Arrived here bag and baggage about three 3weeks ago and have my headquarters 10,200 feet above sea level and my next camp will be still higher, about 11,000 feet. More than 100 Mexican workers camped nearby.”

“Gustine Mine, July 22, 1888. I am occupying the house of a former mine superintendent and have many conveniences not found in a railroad camp. Went to Silverton on the passenger train last night and returned this morning. Regular trains are running to where my first camp was (Chattanooga) and in a month’s time will be here and maybe they will get track laid before that as the grading will be done in two weeks time. About 400 Mexicans working.”

“Gustine Mine, August 11, 1888. Work is getting along splendidly and during this week I will get surveys made to Ironton which is as far as the line will be built this year. By the middle of next week the work will be only two miles from here and in a very short time at my door.”

“Gustine Mine, September 16, 1888. Construction work will be done in about five weeks; then I shall go to Telluride to make a short survey for a three foot gauge road.” (This became the Rio Grande Southern.)

“Ironton, October 3, 1888. Since writing you I have moved from the Gustine Mine to Ironton and we are living in a large vacant hotel, lots of room but not the conveniences we had at the mine.”

“Ironton, October 29, 1888. Since my last letter to you I discharged all my men but one and moved to Silverton but was put in charge of the work train and the track laying outfit so am back in the grader’s camp but will be done here in about a week.”

Wyes were placed at Sheridan Junction, Red Mountain and Ironton in 1888 and at Albany the next year. That of the D. & R. G. was used at Silverton. Very little room was available at Red Mountain and so only the smallest kind of wye could be made—one just big enough to accommodate an engine and a car and the depot had to be set inside of it.

Not counting the wyes there was only one switchback, that at Corkscrew Gulch, the most famous in the world as it contained a housed-over turntable.

Curvature was almost continuous. Four curves were particularly sharp—those at Chattanooga, Red Mountain, Joker Tunnel and Ironton. Steep grades 4were also almost continuous, some as much as 5%. Some maps have shown the grade at Chattanooga as 7%. This is an error. Mr. Gibbs, the builder, stated it was 5% and a recent survey has substantiated his figure.

Bridges, as compared to those on the Rio Grande Southern Railroad, were very small, there being, outside of water boxes and culverts, only three. Two were on the main line, one where the railroad crossed Mineral Creek at Chattanooga and the other where the railroad crossed Red Mountain Creek at Joker Tunnel. The other one was on the Treasury Tunnel Branch.

The name of Burro Bridge for the station at milepost 5.3 is very misleading since the railroad sported no span at all at that point. The supposition is that the word applied to the wagon-road bridge across Mineral Creek somewhat below and away from the railroad. This road branched off from the main Silverton-Red Mountain highway about five and one-half miles north of Silverton, crossed Mineral Creek and made its way up Middle Fork Gulch and across Ophir Pass to Ophir. This, first a burro trail and later a very rugged wagon road, was in use for perhaps fifteen years before the advent of the rail line. Since the Silverton Railroad unloaded freight for Ophir in the neighborhood of Burro Bridge it is assumed that this was the reason for the adoption of the name for the station.

The town of Chattanooga eventually grew up to the left of the location shown on the map in order to avoid Mineral Creek floods.

No account of the arrival of the first train in Red Mountain has been found but it is known to have occurred on September 17, 1888. A picture herein shows the train with Engine 100 and Mears standing beside the pilot. It can be assumed that it was a gala occasion, especially for the mines, for here was an efficacious way of getting supplies and of shipping ore.

The unloading of freight on the Silverton Railroad was quite informal. Outside of Red Mountain the line maintained no bona fide stations or agents. Therefore, materials were dropped off, especially for the mines, at the most convenient points.

So far the railroad owned only one locomotive, Number 100, and so had to rent from the D. & R. G. The same was true of cars and coaches.

The railroad had been projected to Ouray, 26.6 miles in all. Mears might have used his toll road but that was, in some places, 19 per cent grade, out of the question for a railroad. The steepest ever attempted in Colorado was 7.6%. Construction from Ironton to the foot of Ironton Park would have been easy but there the canon began where the greater part of six miles would have had to be blasted out of solid rock, where slide rock could have been quite bothersome, where snow blockades would have been continuous for a long winter and where snowslides, two in particular, the Riverside and the Mother Cline, that ran every year, would have been almost impossible to conquer. The Riverside slide that came from two sides, filling the canon and burying the wagon road, often had to be tunnelled to accommodate the summer traffic. The writer, with her parents, was through one in the summer of 1903 or ’04.

At the same time surveys were made for another branch of the system, one that was to go up the Animas River from Silverton to Mineral Point, 19 miles, and possibly across the divide to Lake City.

Through operation to Ironton began in June 1889. The claim that two daily passenger trains ran there has generally been disbelieved but the following table for 1889, copied from the Official Railway Guide of May 1891, proves the point.



6 to 8 servings

4 eggs

2½ C. milk

½ C. sugar

1½ tsp. vanilla

¼ tsp. salt

1 (9-in.) pie shell, unbaked

⅛ tsp. nutmeg

Beat eggs. Blend in milk, sugar, vanilla and salt. Place pie plate with prepared shell on oven rack. Pour egg mixture into shell. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Bake in preheated 350° F. oven until knife inserted halfway between center and outside edge comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm or chilled.


1 (10-inch) tube cake or 10 to 12 servings

2½ C. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. ginger

¼ tsp. nutmeg

1 C. butter, softened

2 C. sugar

5 eggs, separated

½ C. water

1½ C. shredded carrots

½ C. finely chopped pecans

½ tsp. vanilla

½ tsp. cream of tartar

Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl beat together butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add ¾ cup flour mixture alternately with ¼ cup water, blending thoroughly after each addition. Repeat with remaining flour and water. Stir in carrots, pecans and vanilla.

Wash and dry beaters. In large mixing bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed until stiff but not dry, just until whites no longer slip when bowl is tilted. Gently fold whites into yolk mixture. Pour into greased and floured 10-inch tube pan.

Bake in preheated 375° F. oven until wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 1½ hours. Cool on wire rack 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

Seven Minute Frosting

5 cups

This frosting is named for the seven minutes of cooking and beating needed to form the desired glossy peaks. Some cooks use a double boiler to equalize cooking heat. Cooking should stop the moment the stiff peaks form.

2 egg whites

1½ C. sugar

⅓ C. cold water

⅛ tsp. cream of tartar

⅛ tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

In large saucepan combine all ingredients except vanilla. Beat 1 minute at low speed with portable electric mixer. Place pan over low heat and beat at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Beat until frosting will hold swirls, about 2 minutes longer.

French Dishes with a Texas Flair

Omelets, crepes, souffles, and quiches are becoming routine fare in many homes because cooks have found they are actually simple to prepare and can be combined with a great variety of other foods, especially leftovers. Texans add hot sauces, jalapenos, fresh Texas vegetables, and a range of meats to create Lone Star specials.



1 serving

2 eggs

2 T. water

¼ tsp. salt

Dash pepper

1 T. butter

Mix eggs, water, salt and pepper with fork. Heat butter in 8-inch omelet pan or fry pan over medium-high heat until just hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Pour in egg mixture. Mixture should set at edges at once. With pancake turner turned over, carefully push cooked portions at edges toward center so uncooked portions flow to bottom. Tilt pan as necessary so uncooked eggs can flow. Slide pan rapidly back and forth over heat to keep mixture in motion and sliding freely. While top is still moist and creamy-looking, fill, if desired. With pancake turner fold in half or roll, turning out onto plate with a quick flip of the wrist.

Variations: Omelets can be flavored with a variety of herbs and spices. Mix in ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon per omelet.

Omelets can hold almost any leftover food. For each omelet, fill with ⅓ to ½ cup of any of the following:

Shredded or sliced Cheddar, Swiss Mozzarella, Gouda, Provolone, or other firm cheese

Cottage, ricotta or cream cheese

Cooked, drained and crumbled sausage, bacon or ground beef

Flaked canned or cooked fish

Sauteed sliced mushrooms

Sauteed chopped onions or green pepper

Drained, cooked, chopped, diced or sliced vegetables

Drained, canned or chopped or sliced fresh fruit

Chopped nuts

Jelly, jam or preserves

Nutritional Quality of Eggs

Eggs are especially rich in high-quality protein, unsaturated fats, iron, phosphorus, trace minerals, vitamins A, E, and K, and all B vitamins, including vitamin B 12. Eggs are second only to fish liver oils as a natural source of vitamin D.

Two eggs are an economical means of adding a lot of nutritive value to the menu. The price per two-egg servings of large eggs ranges from 11 to 16 cents; for medium eggs, from 9½ to 14 cents.


2 servings (Pictured on cover)

Puffy omelets have a long history, dating back to ancient Roman times. Beating the yolks and whites separately results in the “puff.” An ovenproof pan is essential because, after the omelet puffs over a surface unit, it goes into a hot oven for final baking.

4 eggs, separated

¼ C. water

¼ tsp. cream of tartar

¼ tsp. salt

1 T. butter

Beat egg whites with water, salt and cream of tartar at high speed until stiff but not dry, or just until whites no longer slip when bowl is tilted. Beat egg yolks at high speed until thick and lemon-colored, about 5 minutes. Fold yolks into whites.

Heat butter in 10-inch omelet pan or fry pan with ovenproof handle[3] over medium-high heat until just hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Pour in omelet mixture and gently smooth surface. Reduce heat to medium. Cook slowly until puffy and lightly browned on bottom, about 5 minutes. Lift omelet at edge to judge color. Bake in preheated 350° F. oven 10 to 12 minutes, or until knife inserted halfway between center and outside edge comes out clean.

To serve, loosen omelet edges with spatula. With a sharp knife cut upper surface down center of omelet but DO NOT cut through to bottom of omelet. Fill, if desired. Tip skillet. With pancake turner, fold in half and turn out onto plate with a quick flip of the wrist. Serve immediately.



6 servings

This recipe, the basis for so many others, goes back to the days of ancient Greece. Unlike modern cooks, however, the Greeks thought it suitable only for women and children. The pan of water (or water bath) that the custard cups sit in during baking promotes even cooking.

4 eggs, slightly beaten

½ C. sugar

¼ tsp. salt

3 C. milk, heated until very warm

1½ tsp. vanilla


Beat together eggs, sugar and salt until well blended. Gradually stir in hot milk. Blend in vanilla. Pour into six (6 oz. each) custard cups or a 1½-quart casserole. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Set custard cups or casserole in large baking pan, then put pan on rack in oven. Pour very hot water into pan to within ½ inch of top of custard.

Bake in preheated 350° F. oven until a knife inserted near center comes out clean; 25 to 30 minutes for custard cups or 35 to 40 minutes for casserole. Remove immediately from hot water. Serve warm or chilled.

Variation: If desired 1 tablespoon raisins, fruit preserves, drained fruit cocktail, flaked coconut or chopped nuts may be placed in each custard cup before adding custard mixture.



8 servings

Rice came to this country accidentally in a ship blown off course from Madagascar to England. The grateful crew thanked the South Carolina rescuers with a handful of the grains. Just a century later, rice was called “Carolina gold.” In this golden custard pudding, it lives up to the name.

4 eggs

2 C. milk

½ C. sugar

1 T. butter, melted

1 tsp. vanilla

¼ tsp. salt

2 C. cooked rice

⅓ C. raisins, optional

Cinnamon or nutmeg, optional

In medium bowl, beat eggs. Blend in milk, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt. Stir in rice and raisins, if desired. Pour into greased 1½-quart casserole.

Bake in preheated 325° F. oven 35 minutes. Gently stir rice up from bottom of dish. Continue baking until knife inserted halfway between center and outside edge comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes longer.

Sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg, if desired.



10 to 12 servings

2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 C. sugar, divided

1½ tsp. vanilla, divided

4 eggs

1 (9-in.) graham cracker crumb crust, baked

¾ C. sour cream

In large mixing bowl beat cream cheese at medium speed until fluffy. Blend in ¾ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour into crumb crust.

Bake in preheated 325° F. oven 30 minutes.

Blend together sour cream, remaining ¼ cup sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla.

Gently spread mixture over top of hot cheesecake and bake until center is set, about 30 minutes longer. Cool completely on wire rack.

Chill until firm, several hours or overnight.


6 to 8 servings

2 C. sugar, divided

⅓ C. cornstarch

¼ tsp. salt

1½ C. cold water

½ C. lemon juice

5 eggs, separated

2 T. butter

1 to 3 tsp. grated lemon peel

1 (9-in.) pie shell, baked

¼ tsp. cream of tartar

½ tsp. vanilla

In large saucepan combine 1½ cups sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually stir in water and lemon juice until smooth. Beat egg yolks and blend into sugar mixture. Add butter. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils. Boil, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in lemon peel. Pour hot filling into baked pie shell.

Meringue: In large mixing bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed until foamy. Add remaining ½ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating constantly until sugar is dissolved[2] and whites are glossy and stand in soft peaks. Beat in vanilla.

Spread meringue over filling starting with small amounts at edges and sealing to crust all around. Cover pie with remaining meringue, spreading evenly in attractive swirls.

Bake in preheated 350° F. oven until peaks are lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool at room temperature.

Time-Tested Favorites


4 servings or 2 cups

This popular combination of hard-cooked eggs, mayonnaise, and seasonings is often served in sandwiches or in scooped-out tomatoes. It is great, too, served in a lettuce cup.

¼ C. mayonnaise

2 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. instant minced onion

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

6 hard-cooked eggs

½ C. finely chopped celery

4 lettuce leaves

Blend together mayonnaise, lemon juice, onion, salt and pepper. Cut 4 slices from center of 1 egg and reserve for garnish. Chop all remaining eggs. Stir chopped eggs and celery into mayonnaise mixture until moistened throughout.

For each serving, spoon about ½ cup into a lettuce leaf. Garnish with reserved egg slice.

Variations: Add any of the following ingredients to taste:

Sliced or chopped ripe or green pitted olives

Chopped green pepper, mushrooms, parsley, chives or watercress

Shredded carrots

Shredded Cheddar or Swiss cheese

Crumbled bacon

Chopped pimiento strips, onions


8 to 10 servings

These stuffed eggs are so popular at picnics and buffets that the name “deviled” seems undeserved. It comes from the fiery seasonings sometimes used; milder variations are below.

6 hard-cooked eggs

2 T. mayonnaise

½ to 1 tsp. prepared mustard

½ tsp. lemon juice

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. Worcestershire sauce

⅛ tsp. pepper

Cut eggs in half lengthwise. Remove yolks and set whites aside. Mash yolks with fork, then blend in remaining ingredients. Refill whites using about 1 tablespoon yolk mixture for each egg half.

Variations: Add any of the following ingredients to yolk mixture:

Chopped parsley or chives

Deviled ham

Drained tiny shrimp or flaked tuna

Minced onion

Finely minced ham

Sweet pickle relish

Parsley flakes

Finely chopped pitted ripe or green olives, radishes or celery

Grated Parmesan cheese

Shredded Cheddar cheese

Toasted sesame seeds or finely chopped nuts


Enough for 1 broiler or 6 servings of fried meat

This may be used for batter-fried chicken or one version of chicken-fried steak. Spices such as garlic salt or paprika may be added to the flour to change the flavor from time to time.

2 eggs

½ C. milk

1 C. unsifted flour

1 tsp. double-acting baking powder

½ tsp. salt

In a deep bowl, beat the eggs and milk lightly. Combine the remaining ingredients and add to the egg mixture, a small quantity at a time. Stir just until the batter is smooth. Set the batter aside for 30 minutes. Dip the meat in the batter until it is well-coated and fry in hot oil or shortening.


12 appetizers

In Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Pickled Eggs are a sign of summertime. Vary the flavor by substituting pineapple juice or canned beet liquid for the vinegar. The latter gives them a rosy look.

2 C. white vinegar

2 T. sugar

1 med. onion, sliced and separated into rings

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. whole mixed pickling sauce

12 hard-cooked eggs

In medium saucepan combine all ingredients except eggs. Simmer over low heat, uncovered, until onion is tender, about 10 minutes.

Arrange eggs in each of two 1-quart jars with tight-fitting lids. Pour 1 cup vinegar mixture over eggs in each jar. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight to blend flavors. Eggs may be stored in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.



About 1¼ cups

2 egg yolks or 1 whole egg

2 T. vinegar or lemon juice, divided

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. dry mustard

½ tsp. salt

Dash cayenne pepper

1 C. salad oil, divided

In small mixing bowl, beat together egg yolks, 1 tablespoon vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt and cayenne at medium speed until blended. Continue beating, adding ¼ cup salad oil drop by drop. Add remaining oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating constantly. Slowly beat in remaining vinegar. Chill thoroughly.

To prepare in blender: Measure ¼ cup oil and all other ingredients into blender container. Blend at high speed 5 seconds. Blending at high speed, add remaining oil very slowly until thick and smooth. (If necessary, turn off blender occasionally and clean sides with rubber spatula.) Chill thoroughly.


4 servings

In the dining room of the Waldorf one day in 1894, an inventive but hungover Lemuel Benedict created a dish that would forever bear his name. He put together buttered toast, crisp bacon, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce—and a classic was born! Oscar of the Waldorf, a menu maker of the first order, altered the bacon to ham and the toast to English muffins.

4 English muffins, split, toasted and buttered

8 poached eggs

¾ C. Hollandaise Sauce

16 slices Canadian-style bacon, broiled or pan-fried

Top each English muffin half with 2 slices bacon, 1 poached egg, and about 1 tablespoon hot Hollandaise Sauce. Serve hot.


About ¾ cup

While this is a French concoction, the name may come from the fact that Holland is famous for its butter, a main constituent of the sauce. Louis Diat, chef extraordinaire and sauce expert formerly with New York City’s Ritz Carlton, wrote that “if the sauce does curdle, you can bring it back to homogenous thickness by putting a fresh egg yolk in another pan and gradually whipping in the curdled mixture.” The blender method avoids the curdling problem altogether.

3 egg yolks

2 T. lemon juice

¼ tsp. salt

⅛ tsp. paprika

Dash cayenne pepper

½ C. butter (1 stick), chilled and cut in eighths

In saucepan beat together egg yolks, lemon juice and seasonings. Add half the butter. Cook over low heat, stirring rapidly, until butter melts. Add remaining butter, stirring constantly, until butter melts and sauce thickens. Cover and refrigerate if not using immediately.

To prepare in blender: Measure all ingredients except butter into blender container. Melt butter and add to other ingredients. Blend at low speed until sauce thickens, 15 to 20 seconds.

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