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of instruction of truth, or in form of confutation of not well converted by the labour of man. In which, falsehood. The declinations from religion, besides if I have in any point receded from that which is the privative, which is atheism, and the branches commonly received, it hath been with a purpose of thereof, are three ; heresies, idolatry, and witch- proceeding in melius, and not in aliud ; a mind of craft: heresies, when we serve the true God with a amendment and proficience, and not of change and false worship; idolatry, when we worship false gods, difference. For I could not be true and constant to supposing them to be true; and witchcraft, when we the argument I handle, if I were not willing to go adore false gods, knowing them to be wicked and beyond others, but yet not more willing than to false. For so your majesty doth excellently well have others go beyond me again ; which may the observe, that witchcraft is the height of idolatry. better appear by this, that I have propounded my And yet we see, though these be true degrees, opinions naked and unarmed, not seeking to preocSamuel teaches us that they are all of a nature, cupate the liberty of men's judgments by confutawhen there is once a receding from the word of tions. For in any thing which is well set down, I God; for so he saith, “ Quasi peccatum ariolandi am in good hope, that if the first reading move an est repugnare, et quasi scelus idololatriæ nolle ac- objection, the second reading will make an answer. quieseere."
And in those things wherein I have erred, I am These things I have passed over so briefly, sure, I have not prejudiced the right by litigious because I can report no deficience concerning them : arguments, which certainly have this contrary effect for I can find no space or ground that lieth vacant and operation, that they add authority to error, and and unsown in the matter of divinity ; so diligent destroy the authority of that which is well invented. have been men, either in sowing of good seed, or in For question is an honour and preferment to falsesowing of tares.
hood, as on the other side it is a repulse to truth.
But the errors I claim and challenge to myself as Thus have I made, as it were, a small globe of my own. The good, if any be, is due tanquam the intellectual world, as truly and faithfully as I adeps sacrificii, to be incensed to the honour first of could discover; with a note and description of those the Divine Majesty, and next of your majesty, to parts which seem to me not constantly occupate, or whom on earth I am most bounden.
M A GN ALI A NATURÆ,
PRÆCIPUE QUOAD USUS HUMANOS.
The prolongation of life : the restitution of youth in some degree: the retardation of age: the curing of diseases counted incurable : the mitigation of pain : more easy and less loathsome purgings: the increasing of strength and activity: the increasing of ability to suffer torture or paip : the altering of complexions, and fatness and leanness: the altering of statures: the altering of features : the increasing and exalting of the intellectual parts: versions of bodies into other bodies : making of new species: transplanting of one species into another: instruments of destruction, as of war and poison : exhilaration of the spirits, and putting them in good disposition : force of the imagination, either upon another body, or upon the body itself: acceleration of time in maturations: acceleration of time in clarifications: acceleration of putrefaction: acceleration of decoction: acceleration of germination : making rich composts for the earth : impressions of the air, and raising of tempests: great alteration; as in induration, emollition, &c. turning crude and watery substances into oily and unctuous substances : drawing of new foods out of substances not now in use : making new threads for apparel ; and new stuffs, such as are paper, glass, &c. : natural divinations : deceptions of the senses: greater pleasures of the senses : artificial minerals and cements.
A NATURAL HISTORY.
IN TEN CENTURIES.
TO THE READER.
Having had the honour to be continually with my lord in compiling of this work, and to be employed therein, I have thought it not amiss, with his lordship’s good leave and liking, for the better satisfaction of those that shall read it, to make known somewhat of his lordship’s intentions touching the ordering and publishing of the same. I have heard his lordship often say, that if he should have served the glory of his own name, he had been better not to have published this Natural History: for it may seem an undigested heap of particulars, and cannot have that lustre, which books cast into methods have ; but that he resolved to prefer the good of men, and that which might best secure it, before any thing that might have relation to himself
. And he knew well, that there was no other way open to unloose men's minds, being bound, and, as it were, maleficiate, by the charms of deceiving notions and theories, and thereby made impotent for generation of works, but only no where to depart from the sense, and clear experience, but to keep close to it
, especially in the beginning: besides, this Natural History was a debt of his, being designed and set down for a third part of the “Instauration.” I have also heard his lordship discourse, that men, no doubt, will think many of the experiments, contained in this collection, to be vulgar and trivial, mean and sordid, curious and fruitless, and therefore he wisheth that they would have perpetually before their eyes what is now in doing, and the difference between this Natural History and others. For those Natural Histories which are extant, being gathered for delight and use, are full of pleasant descriptions and pictures, and affect and seek after admiration, rarities, and secrets. But, contrariwise, the scope which his lordship intendeth, is to write such a Natural History as may be fundamental to the erecting and building of a
true philosophy, for the illumination of the understanding, the extracting of axioms, and the producing of many noble works and effects. For he hopeth by this means to acquit himself of that for which he taketh himself in a sort bound, and that is, the advancement of all learning and sciences. For, having in this present work collected the materials for the building, and in his “ Novum Organum," of which his lordship is yet to publish a second part, set down the instruments and directions for the work; men shall now be wanting to themselves, if they raise not knowledge to that perfection whereof the nature of mortal men is capable. And in this behalf, I have heard his lordship speak complainingly, that his lordship, who thinketh he deserveth to be an architect in this building, should be forced to be a workman, and a labourer, and to dig the clay, and burn the brick; and, more than that, according to the hard condition of the israelites at the latter end, to gather the straw and stubble, over all the fields, to burn the bricks withal. For he knoweth, that except he do it, nothing will be done : men are so set to despise the means of their own good. And as for the baseness of many of the experiments; as long as they be God's works, they are honourable enough. And for the vulgarness of them, true axioms must be drawn from plain experience, and not from doubtful; and his lordship's course is to make wonders plain, and not plain things wonders; and that experience likewise must be broken and grinded, and not whole, or as it groweth. And for use ; his lordship hath often in his mouth the two kinds of experiments; experimenta fructifera, and experimenta lucifera; experiments of use, and experiments of light: and he reporteth himself, whether he were not a strange man, that should think that light hath no use, because it hath no matter. Further his lordship thought good also to add unto many of the experiments themselves some gloss of the causes; that in the succeeding work of interpreting nature, and framing axioms, all things may be in more readiness. And for the causes herein by him assigned; his lordship persuadeth himself, they are far more certain than those that are rendered by others; not for any excellency of his own wit, as his lordship is wont to say, but in respect of his continual conversation with nature and experience. He did consider likewise, that by this addition of causes, men's minds, which make so much haste to find out the causes of things, would not think themselves utterly lost in a vast wood of experience, but stay upon these causes, such as they are, a little, till true axioms may be more fully discovered. I have heard his lordship say also, great reason, why he would not put these particulars into any exact method, though he that looketh attentively into them shall find that they have a secret order, was, because he conceived that other men would now think that they could do the like; and so go on with a farther collection : which if the method had been exact, many would have despaired to attain by imitation. As for his lordship's love of order, I can refer any man to his lordship's Latin book, “ De Augmentis Scientiarum ;" which, if my judgment be any thing, is written in the exactest order that I know any writing to be. I will conclude with an usual speech of his lordship’s : That this work of his Natural History is the world as God made it, and not as men have made it; for that it hath nothing of imagination.
This epistle is the same, that should have been prefixed to this book, if his lordship had lived.
the sea-water passing or straining through the sands, Experiments in consort, touching the straining leaveth the saltness. and passing of bodies one through another ; which
2. I remember to have read, that trial hath been they call Percolation.
made of salt-water passed through earth, through Dig a pit upon the sea-shore, somewhat above ten vessels, one within another; and yet it hath not the high-water mark, and sink it as deep as the lost its saltness, as to become potable : but the same low-water mark; and as the tide cometh in, it will man saith, that by the relation of another, salt-water fill with water, fresh and potable. This is com- drained through twenty vessels hath become fresh. monly practised upon the coast of Barbary, where This experiment seemeth to cross that other of pits other fresh water is wanting. And Cæsar knew this made by the sea-side ; and yet but in part, if it be well when he was besieged in Alexandria : for by true that twenty repetitions do the effect. But it is digging of pits in the sea-shore, he did frustrate the worth the note, how poor the imitations of nature laborious works of the enemies, which had turned are in common course of experiments, except they the sea-water upon the wells of Alexandria ; and so be led by great judgment, and some good light of saved his army being then in desperation. But axioms. For first, there is no small difference beCæsar mistook the cause, for he thought that all tween a passage of water through twenty small sea-sands had natural springs of fresh water : but it vessels, and through such a distance, as between is plain, that it is the sea-water: because the pit the low-water and high-water mark. Secondly, filleth according to the measure of the tide ; and there is a great difference between earth and sand;
for all earth hath in it a kind of nitrous salt, from | tending to health ; besides the pleasure of the eye,
pressure. 3. It seemeth percolation, or transmission, which 9. Take a glass, and put water into it, and wet is commonly called straining, is a good kind of sepa- your finger, and draw it round about the lip of the ration, not only of thick from thin, and gross from glass, pressing it somewhat hard ; and after you fine, but of more subtile natures ; and varieth ac- have drawn it some few times about, it will make cording to the body through which the transmission the water frisk and sprinkle up in a fine dew. This is made: as if through a woollen bag, the liquor instance doth excellently demonstrate the force of leaveth the fatness; if through sand, the saltness, compression in a solid body : for whensoever a solid &c. They speak of severing wine from water, body, as wood, stone, metal, &c. is pressed, there passing it through ivy wood, or through other the is an inward tumult in the parts thereof seeking to like porous body; but non constat.
deliver themselves from the compression : and this 4. The gum of trees, which we see to be com- is the cause of all violent motion. Wherein it is monly shining and clear, is but a fine passage or strange, in the highest degree, that this motion hath straining of the juice of the tree through the wood never been observed, nor inquired; it being of all and bark. And in like manner, Cornish diamonds, motions the most common, and the chief root of all and rock rubies, which are yet more resplendent mechanical operations. This motion worketh in than gums, are the fine exudations of stone. round at first, by way of proof and search which
5. Aristotle giveth the cause, vainly, why the way to deliver itself: and then worketh in progress, feathers of birds are of more lively colours than the where it findeth the deliverance easiest. In liquors hairs of beasts; for no beast hath any fine azure, or this motion is visible; for all liquors strucken make carnation, or green hair. He saith, it is because round circles, and withal dash; but in solids, which birds are more in the beams of the sun than beasts; break not, it is so subtile, as it is invisible ; but but that is manifestly untrue; for cattle are more nevertheless bewrayeth itself by many effects; as in in the sun than birds, that live commonly in the this instance whereof we speak. For the pressure of woods, or in some covert. The true cause is, that the finger, furthered by the wetting, because it stickthe excrementitious moisture of living creatures, eth so much the better unto the lip of the glass, which maketh as well the feathers in birds, as the after some continuance, putteth all the small parts hair in beasts, passeth in birds through a finer and of the glass into work; that they strike the water more delicate strainer than it doth in beasts: for sharply; from which percussion that sprinkling feathers pass through quills; and hair through skin. cometh.
6. The clarifying of liquors by adhesion, is an 10. If you strike or pierce a solid body that is inward percolation; and is effected, when some brittle, as glass, or sugar, it breaketh not only where cleaving body is mixed and agitated with the liquors: the immediate force is; but breaketh all about into whereby the grosser part of the liquor sticks to shivers and fitters; the motion, upon the pressure, that cleaving body; and so the finer parts are freed searching always, and breaking where it findeth the from the grosser. So the apothecaries clarify their body weakest. syrups by whites of eggs, beaten with the juices 11. The powder in shot, being dilated into such which they would clarify; which whites of eggs a flame as endureth not compression, moveth likegather all the drėgs and grosser parts of the juice wise in round, the flame being in the nature of a to them; and after the syrup being set on the fire, liquid body, sometimes recoiling, sometimes breakthe whites of eggs themselves harden, and are taken ing the piece, but generally discharging the bullet, forth. So hippocras is clarified by mixing with because there it findeth easiest deliverance. milk, and stirring it about, and then passing it 12. This motion upon pressure, and the reciprothrough a woollen bag, which they call Hippo- cal thereof, which is motion upon tensure, we use to crates's Sleeve, and the cleaving nature of the milk call, by one common name, motion of liberty; which draweth the powder of the spices, and grosser parts is, when any body, being forced to a preternatural of the liquor to it; and in the passage they stick extent or dimension, delivereth and restoreth itself upon the woollen bag.
to the natural: as when a blown bladder, pressed, 7. The clarifying of water is an experiment riseth again ; or when leather or cloth tentured,
spring back. These two motions, of which there and see whether the water, which cometh above, be infinite instances, we shall handle in due place. will lose its sweetness : for which purpose it were
13. This motion upon pressure is excellently also good there were a little cock made in the belly of demonstrated in sounds ; as when one chimeth upon the upper glass. a bell, it soundeth; but as soon as he layeth his hand upon it, the sound ceaseth ; and so the sound of
Experiments in consort, touching judicious and a virginal string, as soon as the quill of the jack
accurate infusions, both in liquors and air. falleth from it, stoppeth. For these sounds are 17. In bodies containing fine spirits, which do produced by the subtle percussion of the minute easily dissipate, when you make infusions, the rule parts of the bell or string upon the air; all one, is, a short stay of the body in the liquor, receiveth as the water is caused to leap by the subtile percus- the spirit; and a longer stay confoundeth it; besion of the minute parts of the glass upon the wa- cause it draweth forth the earthy part withal, ter, whereof we spake a little before in the ninth which embaseth the finer. And therefore it is an experiment. For you must not take it to be the error in physicians, to rest simply upon the length local shaking of the bell, or string, that doth it: as of stay for increasing the virtue. But if you will we shall fully declare, when we come hereafter to have the infusion strong, in those kinds of bodies handle sounds.
which have fine.spirits, your way is not to give
longer time, but to repeat the infusion of the body Experiments in consort touching separations of
oftener. Take violets, and infuse a good pugil of bodies by weight.
them in a quart of vinegar ; let them stay three 14. Take a glass with a belly and a long neb; quarters of an hour, and take them forth, and refill the belly, in part, with water : take also an- fresh the infusion with like quantity of new violets, other glass, whereinto put claret wine and water seven times; and it will make a vinegar so fresh of mingled ; reverse the first glass, with the belly up the flower, as if, a twelvemonth after, it be brought wards, stopping the neb with your finger; then dip you in a saucer, you shall smell it before it come at the mouth of it within the second glass, and remove you. Note, that it smelleth more perfectly of the your finger: continue it in that posture for a time; flower a good while after than at first. and it will unmingle the wine from the water: the 18. This rule, which we have given, is of singuwine ascending and settling in the top of the upper lar use for the preparations of medicines, and other glass; and the water descending and settling in the infusions. As for example: the leaf of burrage bottom of the lower glass. The passage is apparent hath an excellent spirit to repress the fuliginous to the eye; for you shall see the wine, as it were, vapour of dusky melancholy, and so to cure madin a small vein, rising through the water. For hand- ness: but nevertheless, if the leaf be infused long, someness sake, because the working requireth some it yieldeth forth but a raw substance, of no virtue : small time, it were good you hang the upper glass therefore I suppose, that if in the must of wine, or upon a nail. But as soon as there is gathered so wort of beer, while it worketh, before it be tunned, much pure and unmixed water in the bottom of the the burrage stay a small time, and be often changed lower glass, as that the mouth of the upper glass with fresh, it will make a sovereign drink for dippeth into it, the motion ceaseth.
melancholy passions. And the like I conceive of 15. Let the upper glass be wine, and the lower orange flowers. water ; there followeth no motion at all. Let the 19. Rhubarb hath manifestly in it parts of conupper glass be water pure, the lower water coloured, trary operations ; parts that purge, and parts that or contrariwise, there followeth no motion at all. bind the body; and the first lie looser, and the latter But it hath been tried, that though the mixture of lie deeper : so that if you infuse rhubarb for an hour, wine and water, in the lower glass, be three parts and crush it well, it will purge better, and bind the water, and but one wine, yet it doth not dead the body less after the purging, than if it had stoods motion. This separation of water and wine ap- | twenty-four hours; this is tried : but I conceive likepeareth to be made by weight; for it must be of wise, that by repeating the infusion of rhubarb bodies of unequal weight, or else it worketh not; several times, as was said of violets, letting each and the heavier body must ever be in the upper stay in but a small time; you may make it as strong glass. But then note withal, that the water being a purging medicine as scammony.
And it is not a made pensile, and there being a great weight of small thing won in physic, if you can make rhubarb, water in the belly of the glass, sustained by a small and other medicines that are benedict, as strong pillar of water in the neck of the glass, it is that purgers as those that are not without some malignity. which setteth the motion on work : for water and 20. Purging medicines, for the most part, have wine in one glass, with long standing, will hardly their purgative virtue in a fine spirit; as appeareth
by that they endure not boiling without much loss of 16. This experiment would be extended from virtue. And therefore it is of good use in physic, if mixtures of several liquors, to simple bodies which you can retain the purging virtue, and take away consist of several similar parts : try it therefore with the unpleasant taste of the purger; which it is like brine or salt-water, and fresh water; placing the salt- you may do, by this course of infusing oft, with little water, which is the heavier, in the upper glass ; stay. For it is probable that the horrible and odious and see whether the fresh will come above. Try taste is in the grosser part. it also with water thick sugared, and pure water; 21. Generally, the working by infusions is gross