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S Y L V A SYL V A R U M.
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 indigested 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 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, that one 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 further collection: which, if the method had been exact, many would have despaired to attain by imitation. As for bis 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 a 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.
Experiments in consort, touching the straining and the water through the vessels, it falleth. Now passing of bodies one through another ; which they certain it is
this salter part
water, once call Percolation.
salted throughout, goeth to the bottom. And Dig a pit upon the sea-shore, somewhat above therefore no marvel, if the draining of water by the high-water mark, and sink it as deep as the descent doth not make it fresh: besides, I do somelow-water mark; and as the tide cometh in, it what doubt, that the very dashing of the water, will fill with water, fresh and potable. This is that cometh from the sea, is more proper to strike commonly practised upon the coast of Barbary, off the salt part, than where the water slideth of where other fresh water is wanting. And Cæsar her own motion. knew this well when he was besieged in Alexan- 3. It seemeth percolation, or transmission, which dria; for by digging of pits in the sea-shore, he is commonly called straining, is a good kind of did frustrate the laborious works of the enemies, separation, not only of thick from thin, and gross which had turned the seawater upon the wells of from fine, but of more subtile natures; and varieth Alexandria ; and so saved his army, being then according to the body through which the transin desperation. But Cæsar mistook the cause, mission is made: as if through a woollen bag, the for he thought that all sea-sands had natural liquor leaveth the fatness; if through sand, the springs of fresh water : but it is plain, that it is saltness, &c. They speak of severing wine from the sea-water ; becaus the pit filleth according to water, passing it through ivy wood, or through the measure of the tide; and seawater passing or other the like porous body; but “non constat." straining through the sands, leaveth the saltness. 4. The gum of trees, which we see to be com
2. I remember to have read, that trial hath been monly shining and clear, is but a fine passage or made of salt-water passed through earth, through straining of the juice of the tree through the wood ten vessels, one within another; and yet it hath and bark. And in like manner, Cornish dianot lost its saltness, as to become potable : but monds, and rock rubies, which are yet more rethe same man saith, that, by relation of another, splendent than gums, are the fine exudations of salt-water drained through twenty vessels hath stone. become fresh. This experiment seemeth to cross 5. Aristotle giveth the cause, vainly, why the that other of pits made by the sea-side; and yet feathers of birds are more lively colours than the but in part, if it be true that twenty repetitions hairs of beasts; for no beast hath any fine azure, do the effect. But it is worth the note, how poor or carnation, or green hair. He saith, it is bethe imitations of nature are in common courses of cause birds are more in the beams of the sun than experiments, except they be led by great judg-beasts; but that is manifestly untrue; for cattle are ment, and some good light of axioms. For first, more in the sun than birds, that live commonly in there is no small difference between a passage of the woods, or in some covert. The true cause is, water through twenty small vessels, and through that the excrementitious moisture of living creasuch a distance, as between the low-water and tures, which maketh as well the feathers in birds, high-water mark. Secondly, there is a great dif- as the hair in beasts, passeih in birds through a ference between earth and sand; for all earth hath finer and more delicate strainer than it doth in in it a kind of nitrous salt, from which sand is beasts: for feathers pass through quills; and hair more free; and besides, earth doth not strain the through skin. water so finely as sand doth. But there is a third 6. The clarifying of liquors by adhesion, is an point, that I suspect as much or more than the inward percolation; and is effected, when some other; and that is, that in the experiment of trans- cleaving body is mixed and agitated with the limission of the sea-water into the pits, the water quors; whereby the grosser part of the liquor riseth; but in the experiment of transmission of sticks to that cleaving body; and so the finer part 3
are freed from the grosser. So the apothecaries 10. If you strike or pierce a solid body that is clarify their syrups by whites of eggs, beaten brittle, as glass, or sugar, it breaketh not only with the juices which they would clarify; which where the immediate force is; but breaketh all whites of eggs gather all the dregs and grosser about into shivers and fitters; the motion, upon parts of the juice to them; and after the syrup the pressure, searching all ways, and breaking being set on the fire, the whites of eggs them- where it findeth the body weakest. selves harden, and are taken forth. So hippocras 11. The powder in shot, being dilated into is clarified by mixing with milk, and stirring it such a flame as endureth not compression, moveth about, and then passing it through a woollen bag, likewise in round, the flame being, in the nature which they call Hippocrates's Sleeve, and the of a liquid body, sometimes recoiling, sometimes cleaving nature of the milk draweth the powder breaking the piece, but generally discharging the of the spices, and grosser parts of the liquor to it; bullet, because there it findeth easiest deliver. and in the passage they stick upon the woollen ance. bag.
12. This motion upon pressure, and the reci. 7. The clarifying of water is an experiment tend- procal thereof, which is motion upon tensure, we ing to health ; besides the pleasure of the eye, use to call, by one common name, motion of liwhen water is crystalline. It is effected by cast- berty; which is, when any body, being forced to ing in and placing pebbles at the head of a cur- a preternatural extent or dimension, delivereth rent, that the water may strain through them. and restoreth itself to the natural : as when a
8. It may be, percolation doth not only cause blown bladder pressed, riseth again; or when clearness and splendour, but sweetness of savour; leather or cloth tentured, spring back. These for that also followeth as well as clearness, when two motions, of which there be infinite instances, the finer parts are severed from the grosser. So it we shall handle in due place. is found, that the sweats of men, that have much 13. This motion upon pressure is excellently heat, and exercise much, and have clean bodies, also demonstrated in sounds; as when one chimand fine skins, do smell sweet; as was said of eth upon a bell, it soundeth; but as soon as he Alexander; and we see commonly that gums layeth his hand upon it, the sound ceaseth: and have sweet odours.
so the sound of a virginal string, as soon as the
quill of the jack falleth from it, stoppeth. For Experiments in consort, touching motion of bodies these sounds are produced by the subtile percusupon their pressure.
sion of the minute parts of the bell, or string, 9. Take a glass, and put water into it, and wet upon the air; all one, as the water is caused to your finger, and draw it round about the lip of the leap by the subtile percussion of the minute parts glass, pressing it somewhat hard; and after you of the glass, upon the water, whereof we spake have drawn it some few times about, it will make a little before in the ninth experiment. For you the water frisk and sprinkle up in fine dew. This must not take it to be the local shaking of the instance doth excellently demonstrate the force of bell, or string, that doth it: as we shall fully compression in a solid body: for whensoever a declare, when we come hereafter to handle sounds. solid body, as wood, stone, metal, &c. is pressed, there is an inward tumult in the parts thereof Experiments in consort, touching separations of seeking to deliver themselves from the compres
bodies by weight. sion: and this is the cause of all violent motion. 14. Take a glass with a belly and a long neb; Wherein it is strange in the highest degree, that fill the belly, in part, with water : tako also this motion hath never been observed, nor inquir- another glass, whereinto put claret wine and waed; it being of all motions the most common, and ter mingled; reverse the first glass, with the belly the chief root of all mechanical operations. This upwards, stopping the neb with your finger; motion worketh in round at first, by way of proof then dip the mouth of it within the second glass, and search which way to deliver itself: and then and remove your finger: continue it in that posworketh in progress where it findeth the deliver- ture for a time; and it will unmingle the wine ance easiest. In liquors this motion is visible; from the water: the wine ascending and settling for all liquors strucken make round circles, and in the top of the upper glass; and the water de withal dash; but in solids, which break not, it is scending and settling in the bottom of the lower so subtile as it is invisible; but nevertheless be- glass. The passage is apparent to the eye; for wrayeth itself by many effects; as in this instance you shall see the wine, as it were, in a small whereof we speak. For the pressure of the fin- vein, rising through the water. For handsome. ger, furthered by the wetting, because it sticketh so ness' sake, because the working requireth some much the better unto the lip of the glass, after small time, it were good you hang the upper glass some continuance, putteth all the small parts of upon a nail. But as soon as there is gathered so the glass into work, that they strike the water much pure and unmixed water in the bottom of sharply; from which percussion that sprinkling the lower glass, as that the mouth of the upper cometh.
glass dippeth into it, the motion ceaseth.
15. Let the upper glass be wine, and the lower must of wine, or wort of beer, while it worketh, water; there followeth no motion at all. Let before it be tunned, the burrage stay a small the upper glass be water pure, the lower water time, and be often changed with fresh; it will coloured, or contrariwise, there followeth no mo- make a sovereign drink for melancholy passions. tion at all. But it hath been tried, that though And the like I conceive of orange flowers. the mixture of wine and water, in the lower 19. Rhubarb hath manifestly in it parts of glass, be three parts water and but one wine, yet contrary operations : parts that purge; and parts it doth not dead the motion. This separation of that bind the body; and the first lie looser, and water and wine appeareth to be made by weight; the latter lie deeper: so that if you infuse rhufor it must be of bodies of unequal weight, or barb for an hour, and crush it well, it will purge else it worketh not; and the heavier body must better, and bind the body less after the purging ever be in the upper glass. But then note withal, than if it had stood twenty-four hours; this is that the water being made pensile, and there | tried; but I conceive likewise, that by repeating being a great weight of water in the belly of the the infusion of rhubarb several times, as was glass, sustained by a small pillar of water in the said of violets, letting each stay in but a small neck of the glass, is that which setteth the time, you may make it as strong a purging medimotion on work: for water and wine in one glass, cine as scammony. And it is not a small thing with long standing, will hardly sever.
won in physic, if you can make rhubarb, and 16. This experiment would be extended from other medicines that are benedict, as strong purmixtures of several liquors, to simple bodies which gers as those that are not without some malignity. consist of several similar parts: try it therefore 20. Purging medicines, for the most part, have with brine or salt-water, and fresh water: placing their purgative virtue in a fine spirit; as appearthe salt-water, which is the heavier, in the upper eth by that they endure not boiling without much glass; and see whether the fresh will come loss of virtue. And therefore it is of good use in above. Try it also with water thick sugared, and physic, if you can retain the purging virtue, and pure water; and see whether the water, which take away the unpleasant taste of the purger; cometh above, will lose its sweetness: for which which it is like you may do, by this course of purpose it were good there were a little cock infusing oft, with little stay, for it is probable that made in the belly of the upper glass.
the horrible and odious taste is in the grosser part.
21. Generally, the working by infusions is Experiments in consort, touching judicious and
gross and blind, except you first try the issuing accurate infusions, both in liquors and air.
of the several parts of the body, which of them 17. In bodies containing fine spirits, which do issue more speedily, and which more slowly; easily dissipate, when you make infusions, the and so by apportioning the time, can take and rule is, a short stay of the body in the liquor re- leave that quality which you desire. This to ceiveth the spirit; and a longer stay confoundeth know there be two ways; the one to try what it; because it draweth forth the earthy part long stay, and what short stay worketh as hath withal, which embaseth the finer. And there- been said ; the other to try in order the succeeding fore it is an error in physicians, to rest simply upon infusions of one and the same body, successively, the length of stay for increasing the virtue. But in several liquors. As, for example; take orange if you will have the infusion strong, in those pills, or rosemary, or cinnamon, or what you will; kinds of bodies which have fine spirits, your way and let them infuse half an hour in water; then is not to give longer time, but to repeat the infu- take them out, and infuse them again in other sion of the body oftener. Take violets, and in-water; and so the third time: and then taste and fuse a good pugil of them in a quart of vinegar; consider the first water, the second, and the third; let them stay three quarters of an hour, and take and you will find them differing, not only in them forth, and refresh the infusion with like strength and weakness, but otherwise in taste or quantity of new violets seven times; and it will odour; for it may be the first water will have make a vinegar so fresh of the flower, as if, a more of the scent, as more fragrant; and the twelvemonth after, it be brought you in a saucer, second more of the taste, as more bitter or biting, you shall smell it before it come at you. Note, &c. that it smelleth more perfectly of the flower a 22. Infusions in air, for so we may well call good while after than at first.
odours, have the same diversities with infusions 18. This rule, which we have given, is of sin- in water; in that the several odours, which are gular use for the preparations of medicines, and in one flower, or other body, issue at several other infusions. As for example: the leaf of times; some earlier, some later: so we find that burrage hath an excellent spirit to repress the violets, woodbines, strawberries, yield a pleasing fuliginous vapour of dusky melancholy, and so scent, that cometh forth first; but soon after an to cure madness: but nevertheless if the leaf be ill scent quite differing from the former. Which infused long it yieldeth forth but a raw substance, is caused, not so much by mellowing, as by the of no virtue: therefore I suppose, that if in the late issuing of the grosser spirit,
23. As we may desire to extract the finest of a good length, three or four foot deep within spirits in some cases; so we may desire also to the same ground; with one end upon the high discharge them, as hurtful, in some other. So ground, the other upon the low. Cover the trough wine burnt, by reason of the evaporating of the with brakes a good thickness, and cast sand upon finer spirit, inflameth less, and is best in agues: the top of the brakes: you shall see, saith he, opium loseth some of its poisonous quality, if it that after some showers are past, the lower end be vapoured out, mingled with spirits of wine, or of the trough will run like a spring of water: the like: sena loseth somewhat of its windiness which is no marvel, if it hold while the rainby decocting; and generally, subtile or windy water lasteth; but he said it would continue long spirits are taken off by incension, or evaporation. time after the rain is past: as if the water did And even in infusions in things that are of too multiply itself upon the air, by the help of the high a spirit, you were better pour off the first coldness and condensation of the earth, and the infusion, after a small time, and use the latter. consort of the first water.
Experiment solitary touching the appetite of con- Experiment solitary touching the venomous quality tinuation in liquids.
of man's flesh. 24. Bubbles are in the form of a hemisphere; 26. The French, which put off the name of air within, and a little skin of water without: the French disease unto the name of the disease and it seemeth somewhat strange, that the air of Naples, do report, that at the siege of Naples, should rise so swiftly while it is in the water; there were certain wicked merchants that barrelled and when it cometh to the top, should be stayed up man's flesh, of some that had been lately slain by so weak a cover as that of the bubble is. But in Barbary, and sold it for tunney; and that upon as for the swift ascent of the air, while it is under that foul and high nourishment was the original the water, that is a motion of percussion from the of that disease. Which may well be, for that it water; which itself descending driveth up the is certain that the cannibals in the West Indies air; and no motion of levity in the air. And eat man's flesh: and the West Indies were full this Democritus called “motus plagæ.” In this of the pox when they were first discovered : and common experiment, the cause of the inclosure at this day the mortalest poisons, practised by of the bubble is, for that the appetite to resist the West Indians, have some mixture of the separation, or discontinuance, which in solid blood, or fat, or fiesh of man: and divers witches bodies is strong, is also in liquors, though fainter and sorceresses, as well amongst the heathen, as and weaker; as we see in this of the bubble: amongst the Christians, have fed upon man's we see it also in little glasses of spittle that filesh, to aid, as it seemeth, their imagination, children make of rushes; and in castles of bub- with high and foul vapours. bles, which they make by blowing into water, having obtained a little degree of tenacity by Experiment solitary touching the version and transmixture of soap: we see it also in the stillicides
mutation of air into water. of water, which if there be water enough to fol. 27. It seemeth that there be these ways, in low, will draw themselves into a small thread, likelihood, of version of vapours of air into because they will not discontinue; but if there water and moisture. The first is cold; which be no remedy, then they cast themselves into doth manifestly condense; as we see in the conround drops; which is the figure that saveth the tracting of the air in the weather-glass; whereby body most from discontinuance: the same reason it is a degree nearer to water. We see it also in is of the roundness of the bubble, as well for the the generation of springs, which the ancients skin of water, as for the air within: for the air thought, very probably, to be made by the version likewise avoideth discontinuance; and therefore of air into water, holpen by the rest, which the casteth itself into a rough figure. And for the air hath in those parts; whereby it cannot dissistop and arrest of the air a little while, it showeth pate. And by the coldness of rocks; for there that the air of itself hath little or no appetite of springs are chiefly generated. We see it also in ascending.
the effects of the cold of the middle region, as
they call it, of the air; which produceth dews Experiment solitary touching the making of artifi- and rains. And the experiment of turning water cial springs.
into ice, by snow, nitre, and salt, whereof we 25. The rejection, which I continually use, of shall speak hereafter, would be transferred to the experiments, though it appeareth not, is infinite: turning of air into water. The second way is by but yet if an experiment be probable in the work, compression; as in stillatories, where the vapour and of great use, I receive it, but deliver it as is turned back upon itself, by the encounter of doubtful. It was reported by a sober man, that the sides of the stillatory; and in the dew upon an artificial spring may be made thus: Find out the covers of boiling pots; and in the dew a hanging ground, where there is a good quick towards rain, upon marble and wainscot. But fall of rain-water. Lay a half trough of stone, this is like to do no great effect; except it be