« PreviousContinue »
bolizelh most with gold ; put in also with the silver, a tenth part of quicksilver, and a twelfth part of nitre, by weight: both these to quicken and open the body of the metal: and so let the'work be continued by the space of six months at the least. I wish also, that there be at some times an injection of some oiled substance; such as they use in the recovering of gold, which by vexing with separations hath been made churlish: and this is to lay the parts more close and smooth, which is the main work. For gold, as we see, is the closest and therefore the heaviest, of metals; and is likewise the most flexible and tensible. Note, that to think to make gold of quicksilver, because it is the heaviest, is a thing not to be hoped; for quicksilver will not endure the manage of the fire. Next to silver, I think copper were fittest to be the material.
Experiment solitary touching the nature of gold.
328. Gold hath these natures; greatness of weight; closeness of parts; fixation; pliantness, or softness; immunity from rust j colour or tincture of yellow. Therefore the sure way, though most about, to make gold, is to know the causes of the several natures before rehearsed, and the axioms concerning the same. For if a man can make a metal that hath all these properties, let men dispute whether it be gold or no.
Experiments in consort touching the inducing and accelerating of putrefaction.
The inducing and accelerating of putrefaction, is a subject of a very universal inquiry : for corruption is a reciprocal to generation: and they two are as nature's two terms or boundaries; and the guides to life and death. Putrefaction is the work of the spirits of bodies, which ever are unquiet to get forth and congregate with the air, and to enjoy the sunbeams. The getting forth, or spreading of the spirits, which is a degree of getting forth, hath five differing operations. If the spirits be detained within the body, and move more violently, there followeth colliquation, as in metals, &c. If more mildly, there followeth digestion, or maturation; as in drinks and fruits. If the spirits be not merely detained, but protrude a little, and that motion be confused and inordinate, there followeth putrefaction; which ever dissolveth the consistence of the body into much inequality; as in flesh, rotten fruits, shining wood, Dec. and also in the rust of metals. But if that motion be in a certain order, there followeth vivification and figuration; as both in living creatures bred of putrefaction, and in living creatures perfect. But if the spirits issue out of the body, there followeth desiccation, induration, consumption, &c. as in brick, evaporation of bodies liquid, &c.
329. The means to induce and accelerate putrefaction, are, first, by adding some crude or watery moisture; as in wetting of any flesh, fruit, wood, with water, &c. for contrariwise unctuous and oily substances preserve.
330. The second is by invitation or excitation; as when a rotten apple lieth close to another apple that is sound; or when dung, which is a substance
already putrified, is added to other bodies. And this is also notably seen in church-yards where they bury much, where the earth will consume the corpse in far shorter time than other earth will.
331. The third is by closeness and stopping, which detaineth the spirits in prison more than they would; and thereby irritateth them to seek issue; as in corn and clothes which wax musty; and therefore open air, which they call aer perflabilis, doth preserve: and this doth appear more evidently in agues, which come, most of them, of obstructions, and penning the humours, which thereupon putrify.
332. The fourth is by solution of continuity; as we see an apple will rot sooner if it be cut or pierced; and so will wood, &c. And so the flesh of creatures alive, where they have received any wound.
333. The fifth is either by the exhaling or by the driving back of the principal spirits which preserve the consistence of the body; so that when their government is dissolved, every part retumeth to his nature or homogeny. And this appeareth in urine and blood when they cool, and thereby break : it appeareth also in the gangrene, or mortification of flesh, either by opiates or by intense colds. I conceive also the same effect is in pestilences; for that the malignity of the infecting vapour danceth the principal spirits, and maketh them fly and leave their regiment; and then the humours, flesh, and secondary spirits, do dissolve and break, as in an anarchy.
334. The sixth is when a foreign spirit, stronger and more eager than the spirit of the body, entereth the body; as in the stinging of serpents. And this is the cause, generally, that upon all poisons followeth swelling: and we see swelling followeth also when the spirits of the body itself congregate too much, as upon blows and bruises; or when they are pent in too much, as in swelling upon cold. And we see also, that the spirits coming of putrefaction of humours in agues, &c. which may be counted as foreign spirits, though they be bred within the body, do extinguish and suffocate the natural spirits and heat.
335. The seventh is by such a weak degree of heat, as setteth the spirits in a little motion, but is not able either to digest the parts, or to issue the spirits; as is seen in flesh kept in a room, that is not cool: whereas in a cool and wet larder it will keep longer. And we see that vivification, whereof putrefaction is the bastard brother, is effected by such soft heats; as the hatching of eggs, the heat of the womb, &c.
336. The eighth is by the releasing of the spirits, which before were close kept by the solidness of their coverture, and thereby their appetite of issuing cheeked; as in the artificial rusts induced by strong waters in iron, lead, &c, and therefore wetting hasteneth rust or putrefaction of any thing, because it softeneth the crust for the spirits to come forth.
337. The ninth is by the interchange of heat and cold, or wet and dry; as wc see in the mouldering of earth in frosts and sun; and in the more hasty rotting of wood, that is sometimes wet, sometimes dry.
338. The tenth is by time, and the work and pro
cedure of the spirits themselves, which cannot keep their station; especially if they be left to themselves, and there be not agitation or local motion. As we see in corn not stirred; and men's bodies not exercised.
339. All moulds are inceptions of putrefaction; as the moulds of pies and flesh; the moulds of oranges and lemons, which moulds afterwards turn into worms, or more odious putrefactions: and therefore, commonly, prove to be of ill odour. And if ihe body be liquid, and not apt to putrify totally, it will cast up a mother in the top, as the mothers of distilled waters.
340. Moss is a kind of mould of the earth and trees. But it may be better sorted as a rudiment of germination; to which we refer it.
Eiptriments in consort touching prohibiting and preventing putrefaction.
It is an inquiry of excellent use, to inquire of the means of preventing or staying putrefaction; for therein consisleth the means of conservation of bodies: for bodies have two kinds of dissolutions ; the one by consumption and desiccation j the other by putrefaction. But as for the putrefactions of the bodies of men and living creatures, as in agues, worms, consumptions of the lungs, imposthurnes, nnd ulcers both inwards and outwards, they are a great part of physic and surgery; and therefore we will reserve the inquiry of them to the proper place, where we shall handle medical experiments of all sorts. Of the rest we will now enter into an inquiry: wherein much light may be taken from that which hath been said of the means to induce or accelerate putrefactions; or the removing that which caused putrefaction, doth prevent and avoid putrefaction.
341. The first means of prohibiting or checking putrefaction, is cold: for so we see that meat and drink will last longer unputrified or unsoured, in winter than in summer: and we see that flowers and fruits, put in conservatories of snow, keep fresh. And this worketh by the detention of the spirits, and constipation of the tangible parts.
342. The second is astriction: for astriction prohibitetli dissolution: as we see generally in medicines, whereof such as are astringents do inhibit putrefaction: and by the same reason of astringency, some small quantity of oil of vitriol will keep fresh water long from putrifying. And this astriction is in a substance that hath a virtual cold: and it worketh partly by the same means that cold doth.
343. The third is the excluding of the air; and again, the exposing to the air: for these contraries, is it cometh often to pass, work the same effect, according to the nature of the subject matter. So we **, that beer or wine, in bottles close stopped, last '°ng; that the gamers under ground keep corn longer than those above ground; and thBt fruit closed in wax keepeth fresh; and likewise bodies put in honey and flour keep more fresh : and liquors, drinks, and juices, with a little oil cast on the top, l<eep fresh. Contrariwise, we see that cloth and apparel not aired do breed moths and mould; nnd
the diversity is, that in bodies that need detention of spirits, the exclusion of the air doth good; as in drinks and corn: but in bodies that need emission of spirits to discharge some of the superfluous moisture, it doth hurt, for they require airing.
344. The fourth is motion and stirring; for putrefaction asketh rest: for the subtle motion which putrefaction requireth, is disturbed by any agitation; and all local motion keepeth bodies integral, and their parts together; as we see that turning over of corn in a garner, or letting it run like an hour-glass, from an upper-room into a lower, doth keep it sweet j and running waters putrify not: and in men's bodies, exercise hicdereth putrefaction; and contrariwise, rest and want of motion, or stoppings, whereby the run of humours, or the motion of perspiration is stayed, further putrefaction; as we partly touched a little before.
345. The fifth is the breathing forth of the adventitious moisture in bodies; for as wetting doth hasten putrefaction, so convenient drying, whereby the more radical moisture is only kept in, putteth back putrefaction; so we see that herbs and flowers, if' they be dried in the shade, or dried in the hot sun for a small time, keep best For the emission of the loose and adventitious moisture doth betray the radical moisture; and carrieth it out for company.
346. The sixth is the strengthening of the spirits of bodies; for as a great heat keepeth bodies from putrefaction, but a tepid heat inclineth them to putrefaction; so a strong spirit likewise preserveth, and a weak or faint spirit disposeth to corruption. So we find that salt water corrupteth not so soon as fresh: and salting of oysters, and powdering of meat, keepeth them from putrefaction. It would be tried also, whether chalk put into water or drink, doth not preserve it from putrifying or speedy souring. So we see that strong beer will last longer than small; and all things that are hot and aromatical, do help to preserve liquors, or powders, &c. which they do as well by strengthening the spirits, as by soaking out the loose moisture.
347. The seventh is separation of the cruder parts, and thereby making the body more equal; for all imperfect mixture is apt to putrify; and watery substances are more apt to putrify than oily. So we see distilled waters will last longer than raw waters; and things that have passed the fire do last longer than those that have not passed the fire; as dried pears, &c.
348. The eighth is the drawing forth continually of that part where the putrefaction beginneth; which is commonly, the loose and watery moisture; not only for the reason before given, that it provoketh the radical moisture to come forth with it; but because being detained in the body, the putrefaction taking hold of it, infecteth the rest: as we see in the embalming of dead bodies ; and the same reason is of preserving herbs, or fruits, or flowers, in bran or meal.
349. The ninth is the commixture of any thing that is more oily or sweet; for such bodies are least apt to putrify, the air working little upon them; and they not putrifying, preserve the rest. And therefore we see syrups and ointments will last longer than juices.
350. The tenth is the commixture of somewhat that is dry; for putrefaction beginneth first from the spirits, and then from the moisture: and that that is dry is unapt to putrify: and therefore smoke preserveth flesh; as we see in bacon and neats' tongues, and Martlemas beef, &c.
351. The opinion of some of the ancients, that blown airs do preserve bodies longer than other airs, seemeth to me probable; for that the blown airs, being overcharged and compressed, will hardly receive the exhaling of .any thing, but rather repulse it. It was tried in a blown bladder, whereinto flesh was put, and likewise a flower; and it sorted not: for dry bladders will not blow; and new bladders rather farther putrefaction: the way wore therefore to blow strongly with a pair of bellows into a hogshead, putting into the hogshead, before, that which you would have preserved; and in the instant that you withdraw the bellows stop the hole close.
Experiment solitary touching wood shining in the dark.
352. The experiment of wood that shineth in the dark, we have diligently driven and pursued; the rather, for that of all things that give light here below, it is the most durable, and hath least apparent motion. Fire and flame are in continual expense; sugar shineth only while it is in scraping; and saltwater while it is in dashing; glow-worms have their shining while they live, or a little after; only scales of fishes putrified seem to be of the same nature with shining wood: and it is true, that all putrefaction hath with it an inward motion, as well as fire or light. The trial sorted thus: 1. The shining is in some pieces more bright, in some more dim; but the most bright of all doth not attain to the light of a glow-worm. 2. The woods that have been tried to shine, are chiefly sallow and willow; also the ash and hazel; it may be it holdeth in others. 3. Both roots and bodies do shine, but the roots better. 4. The colour of the shining part, by daylight, is in some pieces white, in some pieces inclining to red; which in the country they call the white and red garret. 5. The part that shineth is, for the most part, somewhat soft, and moist to feel to; but some was found to be firm and hard, so as it might be figured into a cross, or into beads, &c. But you must not look to have an image, or the like, in any thing that is lightsome: for even a face in iron red-hot will not be seen, the light confounding the small differences, of lightsome and darksome, which show the figure. 6. There was the shining part pared off, till you came to that that did not shine: but within two days the part contiguous began also to shine, being laid abroad in the dew; so as it seemeth the putrefaction spreadeth. 7- There was other dead wood of like kind that was laid abroad, which shined not at first; but after a night's lying abroad began to shine. 8. There was other wood that did first shine; and being laid dry in the
house, within five or six days lost the shining; and laid abroad again, recovered the shining. 9. Shining woods being laid in a dry room, within a sevennight lost their shining; but being laid in a cellar, or dark room, kept the shining. 10. The boring of holes in that kind of wood, and then laying it abroad, seemeth to conduce to make it shine: the cause is, for that all solution of continuity doth help on putrefaction, as was touched before. 11. No wood hath been yet tried to shine, that was cut down alive, but such as was rotted both in stock and root while it grew. 12. Part of the wood that shined was steeped in oil, and retained the shining a fortnight. 13. The like succeeded in some steeped in water, and much better. 14. How long the shining will continue, if the wood be laid abroad every night, and taken in and sprinkled with water in the day, is not yet tried. 15. Trial was made of laying it abroad in frosty weather, which hurt it not. 16. There was a great piece of a root which did shine, and the shining part was cut off till no more shined; yet after two nights, though it were kept in a dry room, it got a shining.
Experiments solitary touching the acceleration of birth.
353. The bringing forth of living creatures may be accelerated in two respects; the one, if the embryo ripeneth and perfecteth sooner; the other, if there be some cause from the mother's body, of expulsion or putting it down: whereof the former is good, and argueth strength; the latter is ill, and cometh by accident or disease. And therefore the ancient observation is true, that the child born in the seventh month doth commonly well; but born in the eighth month, doth for the most part die. But the cause assigned is fabulous; which is, that in the eighth should be the return of the reign of the planet Saturn, which, as they say, is a planet malign; whereas in the seventh is the reign of the moon, which is a planet propitious. But the true cause is, for that where there is so great a prevention of the ordinary time, it is the lustiness of the child; but when it is less, it is some indisposition of the mother.
Experiment solitary touching the acceleration of growth and stature.
354. To accelerate growth or stature, it must proceed either from the plenty of the nourishment; or from the nature of the nourishment; or from the quickening and exciting of the natural heat. For the first, excess of nourishment is hurtful; for it maketh the child corpulent ; and growing in breadth rather than in height. And you may take an experiment from plants, which if they spread much are seldom tall. As for the nature of the nourishment; first, it may not be too dry, and therefore children in dairy countries do wax more tall, than where they feed more upon bread and flesh. There is also a received tale; that boiling of daisy roots in milk, which it is certain are great driers, will make dogs little. But so much is true, that an overdry nourishment in childhood putteth back stature. Secondly, the nourishment must be of an opening nature; for that attenuateth the juice, and furthereth the motion of ihe spirits upwards. Neither is it without cause, that Xenophon, in the nurture of the Persian children, doth so much commend their feeding upon cardaroon; which, he saith, made them grow better, and be of a more active habit. Cardamon is in Latin nasturtium; and with us watercresses; which, it is certain, is a herb that, whilst it is young, is friendly to life. As for the quickening of natural heat, it must be done chiefly with exercise; and therefore no doubt much going to school, where they sit so much, hindereth the growth of children; whereas country people that go not to school, are commonly of better stature. And again men must beware how they give children any thing that is cold in operation; for even long socking doth hinder both wit and stature. This hath been tried, that a whelp that hath been fed with nitre in milk, hath become very little, but extreme lively: for the spirit of nitre is cold. And though it be an excellent medicine in strength of years for prolongation of life; yet it is in children and young creatures an enemy to growth: and all for the same reason; for heat is requisite to growth; but after a man is come to his middle age, heat consumed] the spirit.-,; which the coldness of the spirit of nitre doth help to condense and correct.
Eiperiments in consort touching sulphur and mercury, two of Paracelsus's principles.
There be two great families of things; you may term them by several names; sulphureous and mercurial, which are the chemists' words, for as for their sal, which is their third principle, it is a compound of the other two; inflammable and not inflammable; mature and crude; oily and watery. For we see that in subterranies there are, as the fathers of their tribes, brimstone and mercury; in vegetables and liring creatures there is water and oil; in the inferior order of pneumaticals there is air and flame; and in the superior there is the body of the star and the pure sky. And these pairs, though they be unlike in the primitive differences of matter, yet they seem to have many consents: for mercury and sulphur are principal materials of metals; water and oil are principal materials of vegetables and animals; and seem to differ but in maturation or concoction: flame, in vulgar opinion, is but air incensed; and they both have quickness of motion, and facility of cession, much alike: and the interstellar sky, though the opinion be vain, that the star is the denser part of his orb, hath notwithstanding so much affinity with the star, that there is a rotation of that, as well as of the star. Therefore it is one of the greatest magnalia naturae, to turn water or watery juice into oil or oily juice: greater in nature, than to turn silver or quicksilver into gold.
355. The instances we have wherein crude and watery substance tumeth into fat and oily, are of four kinds. First in the mixture of earth and •aterj which mingled by the help of the sun gather a nitrous fatness, more than either of them have severally j as we sec in that they put forth plants, which need both juices.
356. The second is in the assimilation of nourishment, made in the bodies of plants and living creatures; whereof plants turn the juice of mere water and earth into a great deal of oily matter: living creatures, though much of their fat and flesh are out of oily aliments, as meat and bread, yet they assimilate also in a measure their drink of water, &c. But these two ways of version of water into oil, namely, by mixture and by assimilation, are by many passages and percolations, and by long continuance of soft heats, and by circuits of time.
357. The third is in the inception of putrefaction: as in water corrupted, and the mothers of waters distilled; both which have a kind of fatness or oil.
358. The fourth is in the dulcoration of some metals: as saccharum Saturni, &c.
359. The intention of version of water into a more oily substance is by digestion; for oil is almost nothing else but water digested; and this digestion is principally by heat; which heat must be either outward or inward: again, it may be by provocation or excitation; which is caused by the mingling of bodies already oily or digested; for they will somewhat communicate their nature with the rest. Digestion also is strongly effected by direct assimilation of bodies crude into bodies digested; as in plants and living creatures, whose nourishment is far more crude than their bodies : but this digestion is by a gTeat compass, as hath been said. As for the more full handling of these two principles, whereof this is but a taste, the inquiry of which is one of the profoundest inquiries of nature, we leave it to the title of version of bodies; and likewise to the title of the first congregations of matter; which, like a general assembly of estates, doth give law to all bodies.
Experiment solitary touching chameleons.
360. A chameleon is a creature about the bigness of an ordinary lizard: his head unproportionably big: his eyes great: he moveth his head without the writhing of his neck, which is inflexible, as a hog doth: his back crooked; his skin spotted with little tumours, less eminent near the belly; his tail slender and long: on each foot he hath five fingers; three on the outside, and two on the inside: his tongue of a marvellous length in respect of his body, and hollow at the end; which he will launch out to prey upon flies. Of colour gTeen, and of a dusky yellow, brighter and whiter towards the belly; yet spotted with blue, white, and red. If he be laid upon gTeen, the green predominateth; if upon yellow, the yellow; not so if he be laid upon bine, or red, or white; only the gTeen spots receive a more orient lustre; laid upon black, he looketh all black, though not without a mixture of green. He feedeth not only upon air, though that be his principal sustenance, for sometimes he taketh flies, as was said; yet some that have kept chameleons a whole year together, could never perceive that ever they fed upon any thing else but air; and might observe their bellies to swell after they had exhausted the air and closed their jaws; which they open commonly against the rays of the sun. They have a foolish tradition in magic, that if a chameleon be burnt upon the top of a house, it will raise a tempest; supposing, according to their vain dreams of sympathies, because he nourisheth with air, his body should have great virtue to make impression upon the air.
Experiment solitary touching sublerrany fires,
361. It is reported by one of the ancients, that in part of Media there are eruptions of flames out of plains; and that those flames are clear, and cast not forth such smoke, and ashes, and pumice, as mountain flames do. The reason, no doubt, is, because the flame is not pent as it is in mountains and earthquakes which cast flame. There be also some blind fires under stone, which flame not out, but oil being poured upon them they flame out. The cause whereof is, for that it seemeth that the fire is so choked, as not able to remove the stone, it is heat rather than flame; which nevertheless is sufficient to inflame the oil.
Experiment solitary touching nitre.
362. It is reported, that in some lakes the water is so nitrous, as, if foul clothes be put into it, it scoureth them of itself: and if they stay any whit long, they moulder away. And the scouring virtue of nitre is the more to be noted, because it is a body cold; and we see warm water scoureth better than cold. But the cause is, for that it hath a subtle spirit, which severeth and divideth any thing that is foul and viscous, and sticketh upon a body.
Experiment solitary touching congealing of air.
363. Take a bladder, the greatest you can get: fill it full of wind, and tie it about the neck with a silk thread waxed; and upon that put likewise wax very close; so that when the neck of the bladder drieth, no air may possibly get in or out. Then bury it three or four foot under the earth in a vault, or in a conservatory of snow, the snow being made hollow about the bladder; and after some fortnight's distance, see whether the bladder be shrunk j for if it be, then it is plain that the coldness of the earth or snow hath condensed the air, and brought it a degree nearer to water: which is an experiment of great consequence.
Experiment solitary touching congealing of water into crystal.
364. It is a report of some good credit, that in deep caves there are pensile crystals, and degrees of crystal that drop from above; and in some other, though more rarely, that rise from below: which though it be chiefly the work of cold, yet it may be that water that passeth through the earth, gathereth a nature more clammy and fitter to congeal and become solid than water of itself. Therefore trial would be made, to lay a heap of earth, in great frosts, upon a hollow vessel, putting a canvass between, that it falleth not in: and pour water upon it, in such quantity as will be sure to soak through; and see whether it will not make a harder ice in the bottom of the vessel, and less apt to dissolve than ordinarily. I suppose also, that if you make
the earth narrower at the bottom than at the top, in fashion of a sugar-loaf reversed, it will help the experiment. For it will make the ice, where it issueth, less in bulk; and evermore smallness of quantity is a help to version.
Experiment solitary touching preserving of roseleaves both in colour and smell.
365. Take damask roses, and pull them; then dry them upon the top of a house, upon a lead or terras, in the hot sun, in a clear day, between the hours only of twelve and two, or thereabouts. Then put them into a sweet dry earthen bottle, or a glass, with narrow mouths, stuffing them close together, but without bruising: stop the bottle or glass close, and these roses will retain not only their smell perfect, but their colour fresh for a year at least. Note, that nothing do so much destroy any plant, or other body, either by putrefaction or arefaction, as the adventitious moisture which hangeth loose in the body, if it be not drawn out. For it betrayeth and tolleth forth the innate and radical moisture along with it, when itself goeth forth. And therefore in living creatures, moderate sweat doth preserve the juice of the body. Note, that these roses, when you take them from the drying, have little or no smell; so that the smell is a second smell, that issueth out of the flower afterwards.
Experiments in consort touching the continuance of fiame.
366. The continuance of flame, according unto the diversity of the body inflamed, and other circumstances, is worthy the inquiry; chiefly, for that though flame be almost of a momentary lasting, yet it receiveth the more and the less: we will first therefore speak at large of bodies inflamed wholly and immediately, without any wick to help the inflammation. A spoonful of spirit of wine, a little heated, was taken, and it burnt as long as came to a hundred and sixteen pulses. The same quantity of spirit of wine, mixed with the sixth part of a spoonful of nitre, burnt but to the space of ninetyfour pulses. Mixed with the like quantity of baysalt, eighty-three pulses. Mixed with the b'ke quantity of gunpowder, which dissolved into a black water, one hundred and ten pulses. A cube or pellet of yeHow wax was taken, as much as half the spirit of wine, and set in the midst, and it burnt only to the space of eighty-seven pulses. Mixed with the sixth part of a spoonful of milk, it burnt to the space of one hundred pulses; and the milk was curdled. Mixed with the sixth part of a spoonful of water, it burnt to the space of eighty-six pulses; with an equal quantity of water, only to the space of four pulses. A small pebble was laid in the midst, and the spirit of wine burnt to the space of ninety-four pulses. A piece of wood of the bigness of an arrow, and about a finger's length, was set up in the midst, and the spirit of wine burnt to the space of ninety-four pulses. So that the spirit of wine simple endured the longest; and the spirit of wine with the bay-salt, and the equal quantity of water, were the shortest.