Sceptical Chymist/The First Part
The First Part.
I Am ( sayes Carneades ) so unwilling to deny Eleutherius any thing, that though, before the rest of the Company I am resolv’d to make good the part I have undertaken of a Sceptick ; yet I shall readily, since you will have it so, lay aside for a while the Person of an Adversary to the Peripateticks and Chymists ; and before I acquaint you with my Objections against their Opinions, acknowledge to you what may be ( whether truly or not ) tollerably enough added, in favour of a certain number of Principles of mixt Bodies, to that grand and known Argument from the Analysis 36of compound Bodies, which I may possibly hereafter be able to confute.
And that you may the more easily Examine, and the better Judge of what I have to say, I shall cast it into a pretty number of distinct Propositions, to which I shall not premise any thing ; because I take it for granted, that you need not be advertis’d, that much of what I am to deliver, whether for or against a determinate number of Ingredients of mix’d Bodies, may be indifferently apply’d to the four Peripatetick Elements, and the three Chymical Principles, though divers of my Objections will more peculiarly belong to these last nam’d, because the Chymical Hypothesis seeming to be much more countenanc’d by Experience then the other, it will be expedient to insist chiefly upon the disproving of that ; especially since most of the Arguments that are imploy’d against it, may, by a little variation, be made to conclude, at least as strongly against the less plausible, Aristotelian Doctrine.
To proceed then to my Propositions, I shall begin with this. That
This ( sayes Carneades ) I suppose you will easily enough allow. For besides that which happens in the Generation, Corruption, Nutrition, and wasting of Bodies, that which we discover partly by our Microscopes of the extream littlenesse of even the scarce sensible parts of Concretes ; and partly by the Chymical Resolutions of mixt Bodies, and by divers other Operations of Spagyrical Fires upon them, seems sufficiently to manifest their consisting of parts very minute and of differing Figures. And that there does also intervene a various local Motion of such small Bodies, will scarce be denied ; whether we chuse to grant the Origine of Concretions assign’d by Epicurus, or that related by Moses. For the first, as you well know, supposes not only all 38mixt Bodies, but all others to be produc’d by the various and casual occursions of Atomes, moving themselves to and fro by an internal Principle in the Immense or rather Infinite Vacuum. And as for the inspir’d Historian, He, informing us that the great and Wise Author of Things did not immediately create Plants, Beasts, Birds, &c. but produc’d them out of those portions of the pre-existent, though created, Matter, that he calls Water and Earth, allows us to conceive, that the constituent Particles whereof these new Concretes were to consist, were variously moved in order to their being connected into the Bodies they were, by their various Coalitions and Textures, to compose.
But ( continues Carneades ) presuming that the first Proposition needs not be longer insisted on, I will pass on to the second, and tell you that
To what may be deduc’d, in favour of this Assertion, from the Nature of the Thing it self, I will add something out of Experience, which though I have not known it used to such a purpose, seems to me more fairly to make out that there May be Elementary Bodies, then the more questionable Experiments of Peripateticks and Chymists prove that there Are such. I consider then that Gold will mix and be colliquated not only with Silver, Copper, Tin and Lead, but with Antimony, Regulus Martis and many other Minerals, with which it will compose Bodies very differing both from Gold, and the other Ingredients of the resulting Concretes. And the same Gold will also by common Aqua Regis, and ( I speak it knowingly ) by divers other Menstruums be reduc’d into a seeming Liquor, in so much that the Corpuscles of Gold will, with those of the Menstruum, pass through Cap-Paper, and with them also coagulate into a Crystalline Salt. And I have further try’d, that 40with a small quantity of a certain Saline Substance I prepar’d, I can easily enough sublime Gold into the form of red Crystalls of a considerable length ; and many other wayes may Gold be disguis’d, and help to constitute Bodies of very differing Natures both from It and from one another, and neverthelesse be afterward reduc’d to the self-same Numerical, Yellow, Fixt, Ponderous and Malleable Gold it was before its commixture. Nor is it only the fixedst of Metals, but the most fugitive, that I may employ in favour of our Proposition : for Quicksilver will with divers Metals compose an Amalgam, with divers Menstruums it seems to be turn’d into a Liquor, with Aqua fortis will be brought into either a red or white Powder or precipitate, with Oyl of Vitriol into a pale Yellow one, with Sulphur it will compose a blood-red and volatile Cinaber, with some Saline Bodies it will ascend in form of a Salt which will be dissoluble in water ; with Regulus of Antimony and Silver I have seen it sublim’d into a kinde of Crystals, with another Mixture I reduc’d it into a malleable Body, into a hard and brittle Substance by another : And 41some there are who affirm, that by proper Additaments they can reduce Quicksilver into Oyl, nay into Glass, to mention no more. And yet out of all these exotick Compounds, we may recover the very same running Mercury that was the main Ingredient of them, and was so disguis’d in them. Now the Reason ( proceeds Carneades ) that I have represented these things concerning Gold and Quicksilver, is, That it may not appear absurd to conceive, that such little primary Masses or Clusters, as our Proposition mentions, may remain undissipated, notwithstanding their entring into the composition of various Concretions, since the Corpuscle of Gold and Mercury, though they be not primary Concretions of the most minute Particles or matter, but confessedly mixt Bodies, are able to concurre plentifully to the composition of several very differing Bodies, without losing their own Nature or Texture, or having their cohæsion violated by the divorce of their associated parts or Ingredients.
Give me leave to add ( sayes Eleutherius ) on this occasion, to what you now observ’d, that as confidently as some 42Chymists, and other modern Innovators in Philosophy are wont to object against the Peripateticks, That from the mixture of their four Elements there could arise but an inconsiderable variety of compound Bodies ; yet if the Aristotelians were but half as well vers’d in the works of Nature as they are in the Writings of their Master, the propos’d Objection would not so calmly triumph, as for want of Experiments they are fain to suffer it to do. For if we assigne to the Corpuscles, whereof each Element consists, a peculiar size and shape, it may easily enough be manifested, That such differingly figur’d Corpuscles may be mingled in such various Proportions, and may be connected so many several wayes, that an almost incredible number of variously qualified Concretes may be compos’d of them. Especially since the Corpuscles of one Element may barely, by being associated among themselves, make up little Masses of differing size and figure from their constituent parts : and since also to the strict union of such minute Bodies there seems oftentimes nothing requisite, besides the bare Contact of a great part of their Surfaces. 43And how great a variety of Phaenomena the same matter, without the addition of any other, and only several ways dispos’d or contexed, is able to exhibit, may partly appear by the multitude of differing Engins which by the contrivances of skilful Mechanitians, and the dexterity of expert Workmen, may be made of Iron alone. But in our present case being allow’d to deduce compound Bodies from four very differently qualified sorts of matter, he who shall but consider what you freshly took notice of concerning the new Concretes resulting from the mixture of incorporated Minerals, will scarce doubt but that the four Elements mannag’d by Natures Skill may afford a multitude of differing Compounds.
I am thus far of your minde ( sayes Carneades ) that the Aristotelians might with probability deduce a much greater number of compound Bodies from the mixture of their four Elements, than according to their present Hypothesis they can, if instead of vainly attempting to deduce the variety and properties of all mixt Bodies from the Combinations and Temperaments of the four Elements, as they are ( among them ) endowd 44with the four first Qualities, they had endeavoured to do it by the Bulk and Figure of the smallest parts of those supposed Elements. For from these more Catholick and Fruitfull Accidents of the Elementary matter may spring a great variety of Textures, upon whose Account a multitude of compound Bodies may very much differ from one another. And what I now observe touching the four Peripatetick Elements, may be also applyed, mutatis mutandis, ( as they speak ) to the Chymical Principles. But ( to take notice of that by the by ) both the one and the other, must, I fear, call in to their assistance something that is not Elementary, to excite or regulate the motion of the parts of the matter, and dispose them after the manner requisite to the Constitution of particular Concretes. For that otherwise they are like to give us but a very imperfect account of the Origine of very many mixt Bodies, It would, I think, be no hard matter to perswade you, if it would not spend time, and were no Digression, to examine, what they are wont to alledge of the Origine of the Textures and Qualities of mixt Bodies, 45from a certain substantial Form, whose Origination they leave more obscure than what it is assum’d to explicate.
But to proceed to a new Proposition.
Of the Experiments that induce me to make this Concession, I am like to have occasion enough to mention several in the prosecution of my Discourse. And therefore, that I may not hereafter be oblig’d to trouble You and my self with needless Repetitions, I shall now only desire you to take notice of such Experiments, when they shall be mention’d, and in your thoughts referre them hither.
To these three Concessions I have but this Fourth to add, That
When I said, without very much Inconvenience, I had in my Thoughts that sober Admonition of Galen, Cum de re constat, de verbis non est Litigandum. And therefore also I scruple not to say Elements or Principles, partly because the Chymists are wont to call the Ingredients of mixt Bodies, Principles, as the Aristotelians name them Elements ; I would here exclude neither. And, partly, because it seems doubtfull whether the same Ingredients may not be call’d Principles ? as not being compounded of any more primary Bodies : and Elements, in regard that all mix’d Bodies are compounded of them. But I thought it requisite to limit my Concession by premising the words, very much, to the word Inconvenience, because that though the Inconvenience of calling the distinct Substances, mention’d in the Proposition Elements or Principles, be not very great, 47yet that it is an Impropriety of Speech, and consequently in a matter of this moment not to be altogether overlook’d, You will perhaps think, as well as I, by that time you shall have heard the following part of my Discourse, by which you will best discern what Construction to put upon the former Propositions, and how far they may be look’d upon, as things that I concede as true, and how far as things I only represent as specious enough to be fit to be consider’d.
And now Eleutherius ( continues Carneades ) I must resume the person of a Sceptick, and as such, propose some part of what may be either dislik’t, or at least doubted of in the common Hypothesis of the Chymists : which if I examine with a little the more freedom, I hope I need not desire you ( a Person to whom I have the Happinesse of being so well known ) to look upon it as something more suitable to the Employment whereto the Company has, for this Meeting, doom’d me ; then either to my Humour or my Custom.
Now though I might present you many things against the Vulgar Chymical Opinion of the three Principles, and the 48Experiments wont to be alledg’d as Demonstrations of it, yet those I shall at present offer you may be conveniently enough comprehended in four Capital Considerations ; touching all which I shall only premise this in general, That since it is not my present Task so much to assert an Hypothesis of my own, as to give an Account wherefore I suspect the Truth of that of the Chymists, it ought not to be expected that all my Objections should be of the most cogent sort, since it is reason enough to Doubt of a propos’d Opinion, that there appears no cogent Reason for it.
To come then to the Objections themselves ; I consider in the first place, That notwithstanding what common Chymists have prov’d or taught, it may reasonably enough be Doubted, how far, and in what sence, Fire ought to be esteem’d the genuine and universal Instrument of analyzing mixt Bodies.
This Doubt, you may remember, was formerly mention’d, but so transiently discours’d of, that it will now be fit to insist upon it ; And manifest that it was not so inconsiderately propos’d as our Adversaries then imagin’d.
49But, before I enter any farther into this Disquisition, I cannot but here take notice, that it were to be wish’d, our Chymists had clearly inform’d us what kinde of Division of Bodies by Fire must determine the number of the Elements : For it is nothing near so easy as many seem to think, to determine distinctly the Effects of Heat, as I could easily manifest, if I had leasure to shew you how much the Operations of Fire may be diversify’d by Circumstances. But not wholly to pass by a matter of this Importance, I will first take notice to you, that Guajacum ( for Instance ) burnt with an open Fire in a Chimney, is sequestred into Ashes and Soot, whereas the same Wood distill’d in a Retort does yield far other Heterogeneities, ( to use the Helmontian expression ) and is resolv’d into Oyl, Spirit, Vinager, Water and Charcoal ; the last of which to be reduc’d into Ashes, requires the being farther calcin’d then it can be in a close Vessel : Besides having kindled Amber, and held a clean Silver Spoon, or some other Concave and smooth Vessel over the Smoak of its Flame, I observ’d the Soot into which that Fume condens’d, 50to be very differing from any thing that I had observ’d to proceed from the steam of Amber purposely ( for that is not usual ) distilled per se in close Vessels. Thus having, for Tryals sake, kindled Camphire, and catcht the Smoak that copiously ascended out of the Flame, it condens’d into a Black and unctuous Soot, which would not have been guess’d by the Smell or other Properties to have proceeded from Camphire : whereas having ( as I shall otherwhere more fully declare ) expos’d a quantity of that Fugitive Concrete to a gentle heat in a close Glass-Vessel, it sublim’d up without seeming to have lost any thing of its whiteness, or its Nature, both which it retain’d, though afterwards I so encreased the Fire as to bring it to Fusion. And, besides Camphire, there are divers other Bodies ( that I elsewhere name ) in which the heat in close Vessels is not wont to make any separation of Heterogeneities, but only a comminution of Parts, those that rise first being Homogeneal with the others, though subdivided into smaller Particles : whence Sublimations have been stiled, The Pestles of the Chymists. But not here 51to mention what I elsewhere take notice of, concerning common Brimstone once or twice sublim’d, that expos’d to a moderate Fire in Subliming-Pots, it rises all into dry, and almost tastless, Flowers ; Whereas being expos’d to a naked Fire it affords store of a Saline and Fretting Liquor : Not to mention this, I say, I will further observe to you, that as it is considerable in the Analysis of mixt Bodies, whether the Fire act on them when they are expos’d to the open Air, or shut up in close Vessels, so is the degree of Fire by which the Analysis is attempted of no small moment. For a milde Balneum will sever unfermented Blood ( for Instance ) but into Phlegme and Caput mortuum, the later whereof ( which I have sometimes had ) hard, brittle, and of divers Colours, ( transparent almost like Tortoise-shell ) press’d by a good Fire in a Retort yields a Spirit, an Oyl or two, and a volatile Salt, besides a Caput mortuum. It may be also pertinent to our present Designe, to take notice of what happens in the making and distilling of Sope ; for by one degree of Fire the Salt, the Water and the Oyl or Grease, whereof that factitious 52Concrete is made up, being boyl’d up together are easily brought to mingle and incorporate into one Mass ; but by another and further degree of Heat the same Mass may be again divided into an oleagenous, an aqueous, a Saline, and an Earthy part. And so we may observe that impure Silver and Lead being expos’d together to a moderate Fire, will thereby be colliquated into one Mass, and mingle per minima, as they speak, whereas a much vehementer Fire will drive or carry off the baser Metals ( I mean the Lead, and the Copper or other Alloy ) from the Silver, though not, for ought appears, separate them from one another. Besides, when a Vegetable abounding in fixt Salt is analyz’d by a naked Fire, as one degree of Heat will reduce it into Ashes, ( as the Chymists themselves teach us ) so, by only a further degree of Fire, those Ashes may be vitrified and turn’d into Glass. I will not stay to examine how far a meere Chymist might on this occasion demand, If it be lawful for an Aristotelian to make Ashes, ( which he mistakes for meere Earth ) pass for an Element, because by one degree of Fire it may be 53produc’d, why a Chymist may not upon the like Principle argue, that Glass is one of the Elements of many Bodies, because that also may be obtain’d from them, barely by the Fire ? I will not, I say, lose time to examine this, but observe, that by a Method of applying the Fire, such similar Bodies may be obtain’d from a Concrete, as Chymists have not been able to separate ; either by barely burning it in an open Fire, or by barely distilling it in close Vessels. For to me it seems very considerable, and I wonder that men have taken so little notice of it, that I have not by any of the common wayes of Distillation in close Vessels, seen any separation made of such a volatile Salt as is afforded us by Wood, when that is first by an open Fire divided into Ashes and Soot, and that Soot is afterwards plac’d in a strong Retort, and compell’d by an urgent Fire to part with its Spirit, Oyl and Salt ; for though I dare not peremptorily deny, that in the Liquors of Guajacum and other Woods distill’d in Retorts after the common manner, there may be Saline parts, which by reason of the Analogy may pretend to the name of some kinde of 54volatile Salts ; yet questionless there is a great disparity betwixt such Salts and that which we have sometimes obtain’d upon the first Distillation of Soot ( though for the most part it has not been separated from the first or second Rectification, and sometimes not till the third ) For we could never yet see separated from Woods analyz’d only the vulgar way in close vessels any volatile Salt in a dry and Saline form, as that of Soot, which we have often had very Crystalline and Geometrically figur’d. And then, whereas the Saline parts of the Spirits of Guajacum, &c. appear upon distillation sluggish enough, the Salt of Soot seems to be one of the most volatile Bodies in all Nature ; and if it be well made will readily ascend with the milde heat of a Furnace, warm’d only by the single Wieck of a Lamp, to the top of the highest Glass Vessels that are commonly made use of for Distillation : and besides all this, the taste and smell of the Salt of Soot are exceeding differing from those of the Spirits of Guajacum, &c. and the former not only smells and tastes much less like a vegetable Salt, than like that of Harts-horn, and other 55Animal Concretes ; but in divers other Properties seems more of Kinne to the Family of Animals, than to that of vegetable Salts, as I may elsewhere ( God permitting ) have an occasion more particularly to declare. I might likewise by some other Examples manifest, That the Chymists, to have dealt clearly, ought to have more explicitly and particularly declar’d by what Degree of Fire, and in what manner of Application of it, they would have us Judge a Division made by the Fire to be a true Analysis into their Principles, and the Productions of it to deserve the name of Elementary Bodies. But it is time that I proceed to mention the particular Reasons that incline me to Doubt, whether the Fire be the true and universal Analyzer of mixt Bodies ; of which Reasons what has been already objected may pass for one.
In the next place I observe, That there are some mixt Bodies from which it has not been yet made appear, that any degree of Fire can separate either Salt or Sulphur or Mercury, much less all the Three. The most obvious Instance of this Truth is Gold, which is a Body so fix’d, and wherein the Elementary 56Ingredients ( if it have any ) are so firmly united to each other, that we finde not in the operations wherein Gold is expos’d to the Fire, how violent soever, that it does discernably so much as lose of its fixednesse or weight, so far is it from being dissipated into those Principles, whereof one at least is acknowledged to be Fugitive enough ; and so justly did the Spagyricall Poet somewhere exclaim,
And I must not omit on this occasion to mention to you, Eleutherius, the memorable Experiment that I remember I met with in * Gasto Claveus* Gasto Claveus Apolog. Argur. & Chrysopera., who, though a Lawyer by Profession, seems to have had no small Curiosity and Experience in Chymical affairs : He relates then, that having put into one small Earthen Vessel an Ounce of the most pure Gold, and into another the like weight of pure Silver, he plac’d them both in that part of a Glass-house Furnace wherein the Workmen keep their Metal, ( as our English Artificers call their Liquid Glass ) continually melted, and that having there kept both the Gold and 57the Silver in constant Fusion for two Moneths together, he afterwards took them out of the Furnace and the Vessels, and weighing both of them again, found that the Silver had not lost above a 12th part of its weight, but the Gold had not of his lost any thing at all. And though our Author endeavours to give us of this a Scholastick Reason, which I suppose you would be as little satisfied with, as I was when I read it ; yet for the matter of Fact, which will serve our present turne, he assures us, that though it be strange, yet Experience it self taught it him to be most true.
And though there be not perhaps any other Body to be found so perfectly fix’d as Gold, yet there are divers others so fix’d or compos’d, at least of so strictly united parts, that I have not yet observ’d the Fire to separate from them any one of the Chymists Principles. I need not tell you what Complaints the more Candid and Judicious of the Chymists themselves are wont to make of those Boasters that confidently pretend, that they have extracted the Salt or Sulphur of Quicksilver, when they have disguis’d it by Additaments, wherewith it re58sembles the Concretes whose Names are given it ; whereas by a skilful and rigid Examen, it may be easily enough stript of its Disguises, and made to appear again in the pristine form of running Mercury. The pretended Salts and Sulphurs being so far from being Elementary parts extracted out of the Bodie of Mercurie, that they are rather ( to borrow a terme of the Grammarians ) De-compound Bodies, made up of the whole Metal and the Menstruum or other Additaments imploy’d to disguise it. And as for Silver, I never could see any degree of Fire make it part with any of its three Principles. And though the Experiment lately mentioned from Claveus may beget a Suspition that Silver may be dissipated by Fire, provided it be extreamly violent and very lasting : yet it will not necessarily follow, that because the Fire was able at length to make the Silver lose a little of its weight, it was therefore able to dissipate it into its Principles. For first I might alledge that I have observ’d little Grains of Silver to lie hid in the small Cavities ( perhaps glas’d over by a vitrifying heat ) in Crucibles, wherein Silver has been long kept in Fusion, 59whence some Goldsmiths of my Acquaintance make a Benefit by grinding such Crucibles to powder, to recover out of them the latent particles of Silver. And hence I might argue, that perhaps Claveus was mistaken, and imagin’d that Silver to have been driven away by the Fire, that indeed lay in minute parts hid in his Crucible, in whose pores so small a quantity as he mist of so ponderous a Bodie might very well lie conceal’d.
But Secondly, admitting that some parts of the Silver were driven away by the violence of the Fire, what proof is there that it was either the Salt, the Sulphur, or the Mercury of the Metal, and not rather a part of it homogeneous to what remain’d ? For besides, that the Silver that was left seem’d not sensibly alter’d, which probably would have appear’d, had so much of any one of its Principles been separated from it : We finde in other Mineral Bodies of a less permanent nature than Silver, that the Fire may divide them into such minute parts, as to be able to carry them away with its self, without at all destroying their Nature. Thus we see that in the re60fining of Silver, the Lead that is mix’d with it ( to carry away the Copper or other ignoble Mineral that embases the Silver ) will, if it be let alone, in time evaporate away upon the Test ; but if ( as is most usual amongst those that refine great quantities of Metals together ) the Lead be blown off from the Silver by Bellowes, that which would else have gone away in the Form of unheeded steams, will in great part be collected not far from the Silver, in the Form of a darkish Powder or Calx, which, because it is blown off from Silver, they call Litharge of Silver. And thus AgricolaAgricola de Natura Fossil. Lib. 9. Cap. 11. & 12. in divers places informs us, when Copper, or the Oare of it is colliquated by the violence of the Fire with Cadmia, the Sparks that in great multitudes do fly upwards do, some of them, stick to the vaulted Roofs of the Furnaces, in the form of little and ( for the most part ) White Bubbles, which therefore the Greeks, and, in Imitation of them, our Drugsters call Pompholix : and others more heavy partly adhere to the sides of the Furnace, and partly ( especially if the Covers be not kept upon the Pots ) fall to the Ground, and by reason of their Ashy 61Colour as well as Weight were called by the same Greeks σποδος, which, I need not tell you, in their Language signifies Ashes. I might add, that I have not found that from Venetian Talck ( I say Venetian, because I have found other kinds of that Mineral more open ) from the Lapis Ossifragus, ( which the Shops call Ostiocolla ) from Muscovia Glass, from pure and Fusible Sand, to mention now no other Concretes ; those of my Acquaintance that have try’d have been able by the Fire to separate any one of the Hypostatical Principles, which you will the less scruple to believe, if you consider that Glass may be made by the bare Colliquation of the Salt and Earth remaining in the Ashes of a burnt Plant, and that yet common Glass, once made, does so far resist the violence of the Fire, that most Chymists think it a Body more undestroyable then Gold it self. For if the Artificer can so firmly unite such comparative gross Particles as those of Earth and Salt that make up common Ashes, into a Body indissoluble by Fire ; why may not Nature associate in divers Bodies the more minute Elementary Corpuscles she has at hand too firmly to 62let them be separable by the Fire ? And on this Occasion, Eleutherius, give me leave to mention to you two or three sleight Experiments, which will, I hope, be found more pertinent to our present Discourse, than at first perhaps they will appear. The first is, that, having ( for Tryals sake ) put a quantity of that Fugitive Concrete, Camphire, into a Glass Vessel, and plac’d it in a gentle Heat, I found it ( not leaving behinde, according to my Estimate, not so much as one Grain ) to sublime to the Top of the Vessel into Flowers : which in Whiteness, Smell, &c. seem’d not to differ from the Camphire it self. Another Experiment is that of Helmont, who in several places affirms, That a Coal kept in a Glass exactly clos’d will never be calcin’d to Ashes, though kept never so long in a strong Fire. To countenance which I shall tell you this Tryal of my own, That having sometimes distilled some Woods, as particularly Box, whilst our Caput mortuum remain’d in the Retort, it continued black like Charcoal, though the Retort were Earthen, and kept red-hot in a vehement Fire ; but as soon as ever it was brought out of the candent 63Vessel into the open Air, the burning Coals did hastily degenerate or fall asunder, without the Assistance of any new Calcination, into pure white Ashes. And to these two I shall add but this obvious and known Observation, that common Sulphur ( if it be pure and freed from its Vinager ) being leasurely sublim’d in close Vessels, rises into dry Flowers, which may be presently melted into a Bodie of the same Nature with that which afforded them. Though if Brimstone be burnt in the open Air it gives, you know, a penetrating Fume, which being caught in a Glass-Bell condenses into that acid Liquor called Oyl of Sulphur per Campanam. The use I would make of these Experiments collated with what I lately told you out of Agricola is this, That even among the Bodies that are not fixt, there are divers of such a Texture, that it will be hard to make it appear, how the Fire, as Chymists are wont to imploy it, can resolve them into Elementary Substances. For some Bodies being of such a Texture that the Fire can drive them into the cooler and less hot part of the Vessels wherein they are included, and if need be, remove them from place 64to place to fly the greatest heat, more easily than it can divorce their Elements ( especially without the Assistance of the Air ) we see that our Chymists cannot Analyze them in close Vessels, and of other compound Bodies the open Fire can as little separate the Elements. For what can a naked Fire do to Analyze a mixt Bodie, if its component Principles be so minute, and so strictly united, that the Corpuscles of it need less heat to carry them up, than is requisite to divide them into their Principles. So that of some Bodies the Fire cannot in close Vessels make any Analysis at all, and others will in the open Air fly away in the Forms of Flowers or Liquors, before the Heat can prove able to divide them into their Principles. And this may hold, whether the various similar parts of a Concrete be combin’d by Nature or by Art ; For in factitious Sal Armoniack we finde the common and the Urinous Salts so well mingled, that both in the open Fire, and in subliming Vessels they rise together as one Salt, which seems in such Vessels irresoluble by Fire alone. For I can shew you Sal Armoniack which after the ninth Sublimation does still retain its 65compounded Nature. And indeed I scarce know any one Mineral, from which by Fire alone Chymists are wont to sever any Substance simple enough to deserve the name of an Element or Principle. For though out of native Cinnaber they distill Quicksilver, and though from many of those Stones that the Ancients called Pyrites they sublime Brimstone, yet both that Quicksilver and this Sulphur being very often the same with the common Minerals that are sold in the Shops under those names, are themselves too much compounded Bodies to pass for the Elements of such. And thus much, Eleutherius, for the Second Argument that belongs to my First Consideration ; the others I shall the lesse insist on, because I have dwelt so long upon this.
Proceed we then in the next place to consider, That there are divers Separations to be made by other means, which either cannot at all, or else cannot so well be made by the Fire alone. When Gold and Silver are melted into one Mass, it would lay a great Obligation upon Refiners and Goldsmiths to teach them the Art of separating them 66by the Fire, without the trouble and charge they are fain to be at to sever them. Whereas they may be very easily parted by the Affusion of Spirit of Nitre or Aqua fortis ( which the French therefore call Eau de Depart : ) so likewise the Metalline part of Vitriol will not be so easily and conveniently separated from the Saline part even by a violent Fire, as by the Affusion of certain Alkalizate Salts in a liquid Form upon the Solution of Vitriol made in common water. For thereby the acid Salt of the Vitriol, leaving the Copper it had corroded to joyn with the added Salts, the Metalline part will be precipitated to the bottom almost like Mud. And that I may not give Instances only in De-compound Bodies, I will add a not useless one of another kinde. Not only Chymists have not been able ( for ought is vulgarly known ) by Fire alone to separate true Sulphur from Antimony ; but though you may finde in their Books many plausible Processes of Extracting it, yet he that shall make as many fruitlesse Tryals as I have done to obtain it by, most of them will, I suppose, be easily perswaded, that the Productions of such 67Processes are Antimonial Sulphurs rather in Name than Nature. But though Antimony sublim’d by its self is reduc’d but to a volatile Powder, or Antimonial Flowers, of a compounded Nature like the Mineral that affords them : yet I remember that some years ago I sublim’d out of Antimony a Sulphur, and that in greater plenty then ever I saw obtain’d from that Mineral, by a Method which I shall therefore acquaint you with, because Chymists seem not to have taken notice of what Importance such Experiments may be in the Indagation of the Nature, and especially of the Number of the Elements. Having then purposely for Tryals sake digested eight Ounces of good and well powder’d Antimony with twelve Ounces of Oyl of Vitriol in a well stopt Glas-Vessel for about six or seven Weeks ; and having caus’d the Mass ( grown hard and brittle ) to be distill’d in a Retort plac’d in Sand, with a strong Fire ; we found the Antimony to be so opened, or alter’d by the Menstruum wherewith it had been digested, That whereas crude Antimony, forc’d up by the Fire, arises only in Flowers, our Antimony thus handled afforded us 68partly in the Receiver, and partly in the Neck and at the Top of the Retort, about an Ounce of Sulphur, yellow and brittle like common Brimstone, and of so Sulphureous a smell, that upon the unluting the Vessels it infected the Room with a scarce supportable stink. And this Sulphur, besides the Colour and Smell, had the perfect Inflamability of common Brimstone, and would immediately kindle ( at the Flame of a Candle ) and burn blew like it. And though it seem’d that the long digestion wherein our Antimony and Menstruum were detain’d, did conduce to the better unlocking of the Mineral, yet if you have not the leasure to make so long a Digestion, you may by incorporating with powder’d Antimony a convenient Quantity of Oyl of Vitriol, and committing them immediately to Distillation, obtain a little Sulphur like unto the common one, and more combustible than perhaps you will at first take notice of. For I have observ’d, that though ( after its being first kindled ) the Flame would sometimes go out too soon of its self, if the same Lump of Sulphur were held again to the Flame of a Candle, it would be 69rekindled and burn a pretty while, not only after the second, but after the third or fourth accension. You, to whom I think I shewed my way of discovering something of Sulphureous in Oyl of Vitriol, may perchance suspect, Eleutherius, either that this Substance was some Venereal Sulphur that lay hid in that Liquor, and was by this operation only reduc’d into a manifest Body ; or else that it was a compound of the unctuous parts of the Antimony, and the Saline ones of the Vitriol, in regard that ( as GuntherLib. 1. Observat. Cap. 6. informs us ) divers learned men would have Sulphur to be nothing but a mixture made in the Bowels of the Earth of Vitriolate Spirits and a certain combustible Substance. But the Quantity of Sulphur we obtain’d by Digestion was much too great to have been latent in the Oyl of Vitriol. And that Vitriolate Spirits are not necessary to the Constitution of such a Sulphur as ours, I could easily manifest, if I would acquaint you with the several wayes by which I have obtain’d, though not in such plenty, a Sulphur of Antimony, colour’d and combustible like common Brimstone. And though I am not now minded 70to discover them, yet I shall tell you, that to satisfie some Ingenious Men, that distill’d Vitriolate Spirits are not necessary to the obtaining of such a Sulphur as we have been considering, I did by the bare distillation of only Spirit of Nitre, from its weight of crude Antimony separate, in a short time, a yellow and very inflamable Sulphur, which, for ought I know, deserves as much the name of an Element, as any thing that Chymists are wont to separate from any Mineral by the Fire. I could perhaps tell you of other Operations upon Antimony, whereby That may be extracted from it, which cannot be forc’d out of it by the Fire ; but I shall reserve them for a fitter Opportunity, and only annex at present this sleight, but not impertinent Experiment. That whereas I lately observed to you, that the Urinous and common Salts whereof Sal Armoniack consists, remain’d unsever’d by the Fire in many successive Sublimations, they may be easily separated, and partly without any Fire at all, by pouring upon the Concrete finely powder’d, a Solution of Salt of Tartar, or of the Salt of Wood-Ashes ; for upon your diligently mixing 71of these you will finde your Nose invaded with a very strong smell of Urine, and perhaps too your Eyes forc’d to water by the same subtle and piercing Body that produces the stink ; both these effects proceeding from hence, that by the Alcalizate Salt, the Sea Salt that enter’d the composition of the Sal Armoniack is mortify’d and made more fixt, and thereby a divorce is made between it and the volatile Urinous Salt, which being at once set at liberty, and put into motion, begins presently to fly away, and to offend the Nostrils and Eyes it meets with by the way. And if the operation of these Salts be in convenient Glasses promoted by warmth, though but by that of a Bath, the ascending Steams may easily be caught and reduc’d into a penetrant Spirit, abounding with a Salt, which I have sometimes found to be separable in a Crystalline Form. I might add to these Instances, that whereas Sublimate, consisting, as you know, of Salts & Quicksilver combin’d and carried up together by Heat, may be Sublim’d, I know not how often, by a like degree of Fire, without suffering any divorce of the component Bodies, the Mercury may be ea72sily sever’d from the adhering Salts, if the Sublimate be distill’d from Salt of Tartar, Quick Lime, or such Alcalizate Bodies. But I will rather observe to you, Eleutherius, what divers ingenious men have thought somewhat strange ; that by such an Additament that seems but only to promote the Separation, there may be easily obtain’d from a Concrete that by the Fire alone is easily divisible into all the Elements that Vegetables are suppos’d to consist of, such a similar Substance as differs in many respects from them all, and consequently has by many of the most Intelligent Chymists been denied to be contain’d in the mixt Body. For I know a way, and have practis’d it, whereby common Tartar, without the addition of any thing that is not perfectly a Mineral except Salt-petre, may by one Distillation in an Earthen Retort be made to afford good store of real Salt, readily dissoluble in water, which I found to be neither acid, nor of the smell of Tartar, and to be almost as volatile as Spirit of Wine it self, and to be indeed of so differing a Nature from all that is wont to be separated by Fire from Tartar, that divers 73Learned Men, with whom I discours’d of it, could hardly be brought to beleeve, that so fugitive a Salt could be afforded by Tartar, till I assur’d it them upon my own Knowledge. And if I did not think you apt to suspect me to be rather too backward than too forward to credit or affirm unlikely things, I could convince you by what I have yet lying by me of that anomalous Salt.
The Fourth thing that I shall alledge to countenance my first Consideration is, That the Fire even when it divides a Body into Substances of divers Consistences, does not most commonly analyze it into Hypostatical Principles, but only disposes its parts into new Textures, and thereby produces Concretes of a new indeed, but yet of a compound Nature. This Argument it will be requisite for me to prosecute so fully hereafter, that I hope you will then confess that ’tis not for want of good Proofs that I desire leave to suspend my Proofs till the Series of my Discourse shall make it more proper and seasonable to propose them.
It may be further alledg’d on the behalf of my First Consideration, That some such distinct Substances may be ob74tain’d from some Concretes without Fire, as deserve no less the name of Elementary, than many that Chymists extort by the Violence of the Fire.
We see that the Inflamable Spirit, or as the Chymists esteem it, the Sulphur of Wine, may not only be separated from it by the gentle heat of a Bath, but may be distill’d either by the help of the Sun-Beams, or even of a Dunghill, being indeed of so Fugitive a Nature, that it is not easy to keep it from flying away, even without the Application of external heat. I have likewise observ’d that a Vessel full of Urine being plac’d in a Dunghill, the Putrefaction is wont after some weeks so to open the Body, that the parts disbanding the Saline Spirit, will within no very long time, if the Vessel be not stopt, fly away of it self ; Insomuch that from such Urine I have been able to distill little or nothing else than a nauseous Phlegme, instead of the active and piercing Salt and Spirit that it would have afforded, when first expos’d to the Fire, if the Vessel had been carefully stopt.
And this leads me to consider in the Fifth place, That it will be very hard to 75prove, that there can no other Body or way be given which will as well as the Fire divide Concretes into several homogeneous Substances, which may consequently be call’d their Elements or Principles, as well as those separated or produc’d by the Fire. For since we have lately seen, that Nature can successefully employ other Instruments than the Fire to separate distinct Substances from mixt Bodies, how know we, but that Nature has made, or Art may make, some such Substance as may be a fit Instrument to Analyze mixt Bodies, or that some such Method may be found by Humane Industry or Luck, by whose means compound Bodies may be resolv’d into other Substances, than such as they are wont to be divided into by the Fire. And why the Products of such an Analysis may not as justly be call’d the component Principles of the Bodies that afford them, it will not be easy to shew, especially since I shall hereafter make it evident, that the Substances which Chymists are wont to call the Salts, and Sulphurs, and Mercuries of Bodies, are not so pure and Elementary as they presume, and as their Hypothesis requires. And this may 76therefore be the more freely press’d upon the Chymists, because neither the Paracelsians, nor the Helmontians can reject it without apparent Injury to their respective Masters. For Helmont do’s more than once Inform his Readers, that both Paracelsus and Himself were Possessors of the famous Liquor, Alkahest, which for its great power in resolving Bodies irresoluble by Vulgar Fires, he somewhere seems to call Ignis Gehennae. To this Liquor he ascribes, ( and that in great part upon his own Experience ) such wonders, that if we suppose them all true, I am so much the more a Friend to Knowledge than to Wealth, that I should think the Alkahest a nobler and more desireable Secret than the Philosophers Stone it self. Of this Universal Dissolvent he relates, That having digested with it for a competent time a piece of Oaken Charcoal, it was thereby reduc’d into a couple of new and distinct Liquors, discriminated from each other by their Colour and Situation, and that the whole body of the Coal was reduc’d into those Liquors, both of them separable from his Immortal Menstruum, which remain’d as fit for such Operati77ons as before. And he moreover tells us in divers places of his Writings, that by this powerful, and unwearied Agent, he could dissolve Metals, Marchasites, Stones, Vegetable and Animal Bodies of what kinde soever, and even Glass it self ( first reduc’d to powder, ) and in a word, all kinds of mixt Bodies in the World into their several similar Substances, without any Residence or Caput mortuum. And lastly, we may gather this further from his Informations, That the homogeneous Substances obtainable from compound Bodies by his piercing Liquor, were oftentimes different enough both as to Number and as to Nature, from those into which the same Bodies are wont to be divided by common Fire. Of which I shall need in this place to mention no other proof, then that whereas we know that in our common Analysis of a mixt Body, there remains a terrestrial and very fixt Substance, oftentimes associated with a Salt as fixt ; Our Author tells us, that by his way he could Distill over all Concretes without any Caput mortuum, and consequently could make those parts of the Concrete volatile, which in the Vulgar Analysis would have 78been fixt. So that if our Chymists will not reject the solemn and repeated Testimony of a Person, who cannot but be acknowledg’d for one of the greatest Spagyrists that they can boast of, they must not deny that there is to be found in Nature another Agent able to Analyze compound Bodies less violently, and both more genuinely and more universally than the Fire. And for my own part, though I cannot but say on this Occasion what ( you know ) our Friend Mr. Boyle is wont to say, when he is askt his Opinion of any strange Experiment ; That He that hath seen it hath more Reason to beleeve it, than He that hath not ; yet I have found Helmont so faithful a Writer, even in divers of his improbable Experiments ( I alwayes except that Extravagant Treatise De Magnetica Vulnerum Curatione, which some of his Friends affirm to have been first publish’d by his Enemies ) that I think it somewhat harsh to give him the Lye, especially to what he delivers upon his own proper Tryal. And I have heard from very credible Eye-witnesses some things, and seen some others my self, which argue so strongly, that a circulated Salt, or a Menstruum 79( such as it may be ) may by being abstracted from compound Bodies, whether Mineral, Animal, or Vegetable, leave them more unlockt than a wary Naturalist would easily beleeve, that I dare not confidently measure the Power of Nature and Art by that of the Menstruums, and other Instruments that eminent Chymists themselves are as yet wont to Empoly about the Analyzing of Bodies ; nor Deny that a Menstruum may at least from this or that particular Concrete obtain some apparently similar Substance, differing from any obtainable from the same Body by any degree or manner of Application of the Fire. And I am the more backward to deny peremptorily, that there may be such Openers of compound Bodies, because among the Experiments that make me speak thus warily, there wanted not some in which it appear’d not, that one of the Substances not separable by common Fires and Menstruums could retain any thing of the Salt by which the separation was made.
And here, Eleutherius, ( sayes Carneades ) I should conclude as much of my Discourse as belongs to the first Con80sideration I propos’d, but that I foresee, that what I have delivered will appear liable to two such specious Objections, that I cannot safely proceed any further till I have examin’d them.
And first, one sort of Opposers will be forward to tell me, That they do not pretend by Fire alone to separate out of all compound Bodies their Hypostatical Principles ; it being sufficient that the Fire divides them into such, though afterwards they employ other Bodies to collect the similar parts of the Compound ; as ’tis known, that though they make use of water to collect the Saline parts of Ashes from the Terrestrial wherewith they are blended, yet it is the Fire only that Incinerates Bodies, and reduces the fix’d part of them into the Salt and Earth, whereof Ashes are made up. This Objection is not, I confess, inconsiderable, and I might in great part allow of it, without granting it to make against me, if I would content my self to answer, that it is not against those that make it that I have been disputing, but against those Vulgar Chymists, who themselves believe, and would fain make others do so, That the Fire is not only 81an universal, but an adaequate and sufficient Instrument to analyze mixt Bodies with. For as to their Practice of Extracting the fix’d Salt out of Ashes by the Affusion of Water, ’tis obvious to alleadge, that the Water does only assemble together the Salt the Fire had before divided from the Earth : as a Sieve does not further break the Corn, but only bring together into two distinct heaps the Flour and the Bran, whose Corpuscles before lay promiscuously blended together in the Meal. This I say I might alleadge, and thereby exempt my self from the need of taking any farther notice of the propos’d Objection. But not to lose the Rise it may afford me of Illustrating the matter under Consideration, I am content briefly to consider it, as far forth as my present Disquisition may be concern’d in it.
Not to repeat then what has been already answer’d, I say farther, that though I am so civil an Adversary, that I will allow the Chymists, after the Fire has done all its work, the use of fair Water to make their Extractions with, in such cases wherein the Water does not cooperate with the Fire to make the Ana82lysis ; yet since I Grant this but upon Supposition that the Water does only wash off the Saline Particles, which the Fire Alone has Before Extricated in the Analyz’d Body, it will not be Reasonable, that this Concession should Extend to other Liquors that may Add to what they Dissolve, nor so much as to other Cases than those Newly Mentioned : Which Limitation I Desire You would be Pleas’d to Bear in Mind till I shall Anon have Occasion to make Use of it. And This being thus Premis’d, I shall Proceed to Observe,
First, That Many of the Instances I Propos’d in the Preceding Discourse are Such, that the Objection we are Considering will not at all Reach Them. For Fire can no more with the Assistance of Water than without it Separate any of the Three Principles, either from Gold, Silver, Mercury, or some Others of the Concretes named Above.
Hence We may Inferre, That Fire is not an Universal Analyzer of all Mixt Bodies, since of Metals and Minerals, wherein Chymists have most Exercis’d Themselves, there Appear scarce Any which they are able to Analyze by Fire, 83Nay, from which they can Unquestionably Separate so much as any One of their Hypostatical Principles ; Which may well Appear no small Disparagement as well to their Hypothesis as to their Pretensions.
It will also remain True, notwithstanding the Objection, That there may be Other Wayes than the wonted Analysis by Fire, to Separate from a Compound Body Substances as Homogeneneous as those that Chymists Scruple not to Reckon among their Tria Prima ( as some of them, for Brevity Sake, call their Three Principles. )
And it Appears, That by Convenient Additaments such Substances may be Separated by the Help of the Fire, as could not be so by the Fire alone : Witness the Sulphur of Antimony.
And Lastly, I must Represent, That since it appears too that the Fire is but One of the Instruments that must be Employ’d in the Resolution of Bodies, We may Reasonably Challenge the Liberty of doing Two Things. For when ever any Menstruum or other Additament is Employ’d, together with the Fire to Obtain a Sulphur or a Salt from 84a Body, We may well take the Freedom to Examine, whether or no That Menstruum do barely Help to Separate the Principle Obtain’d by It, or whether there Intervene not a Coalition of the Parts of the Body Wrought upon with Those of the Menstruum, whereby the Produc’d Concrete may be Judg’d to Result from the Union of Both. And it will be farther Allowable for Us to Consider, how far any Substance, Separated by the Help of such Additaments, Ought to pass for one of the Tria Prima ; since by One Way of Handling the same Mixt Body it may according to the Nature of the Additaments, and the Method of Working upon it, be made to Afford differing Substances from those Obtainable from it by other Additaments, and another Method, nay and ( as may appear by what I Formerly told You about Tartar ) Differing from any of the Substances into which a Concrete is Divisible by the Fire without Additaments, though perhaps those Additaments do not, as Ingredients, enter the Composition of the Obtained Body, but only Diversify the Operation of the Fire upon the Concrete ; and though that 85Concrete by the Fire alone may be Divided into a Number of Differing Substances, as Great as any of the Chymists that I have met with teach us that of the Elements to be. And having said thus much ( sayes Carneades ) to the Objection likely to be Propos’d by some Chymists, I am now to Examine that which I Foresee will be Confidently press’d by Divers Peripateticks, who, to Prove Fire to be the true Analyzer of Bodies, will Plead, That it is the very Definition of Heat given by Aristotle, and Generally Received, Congregare Homogenea, & Heterogenea Segregare, to Assemble Things of a Resembling, and Disjoyn those of a Differing Nature. To this I answer, That this Effect is far from being so Essential to Heat, as ’tis Generally Imagin’d ; for it rather Seems, that the True and Genuine Property of Heat is, to set a Moving, and thereby to Dissociate the parts of Bodies, and Subdivide them into Minute Particles, without regard to their being Homogeneous or Heterogeneous, as is apparent in the Boyling of Water, the Distillation of Quicksilver, or the Exposing of Bodies to the action of the Fire, whose Parts 86either Are not ( at least in that Degree of Heat Appear not ) Dissimilar, where all that the Fire can do, is to Divide the Body into very Minute Parts which are of the same Nature with one another, and with their Totum, as their Reduction by Condensation Evinces. And even when the Fire seems most so Congregare Homogenea, & Segregare Heterogenea, it Produces that Effect but by Accident ; For the Fire does but Dissolve the Cement, or rather Shatter the Frame, or structure that kept the Heterogeneous Parts of Bodies together, under one Common Form ; upon which Dissolution the Component Particles of the Mixt, being Freed and set at Liberty, do Naturally, and oftentimes without any Operation of the Fire, Associate themselves each with its Like, or rather do take those places which their Several Degrees of Gravity and Levity, Fixedness or Volatility ( either Natural, or Adventitious from the Impression of the Fire ) Assigne them. Thus in the Distillation ( for Instance ) of Man’s Blood, the Fire do’s First begin to Dissolve the Nexus or Cement of the Body ; and then the Water, being the most 87Volatile, and Easy to be Extracted, is either by the Igneous Atomes, or the Agitation they are put into by the Fire, first carried up, till Forsaken by what carried it up, its Weight sinks it down into the Receiver : but all this while the other Principles of the Concrete Remain Unsever’d, and Require a stronger Degree of Heat to make a Separation of its more Fixt Elements ; and therefore the Fire must be Increas’d which Carries over the Volatile Salt and the Spirit, they being, though Beleev’d to be Differing Principles, and though Really of Different Consistency, yet of an almost Equal Volatility. After them, as less Fugitive, comes over the Oyl, and leaves behinde the Earth and the Alcali, which being of an Equal Fixednesse, the Fire Severs them not, for all the Definition of the Schools. And if into a Red-hot Earthen or Iron Retort you cast the Matter to be Distill’d, You may Observe, as I have often done, that the Predominant Fire will Carry up all the Volatile Elements Confusedly in one Fume, which will afterwards take their Places in the Receiver, either according to the Degree of their Gravity, or ac88cording to the Exigency of their respective Textures ; the Salt Adhering, for the most part, to the Sides and Top, and the Phlegme Fastening it self there too in great Drops, the Oyle and Spirit placing themselves Under, or Above one another, according as their Ponderousness makes them Swim or Sink. For ’tis Observable, that though Oyl or Liquid Sulphur be one of the Elements Separated by this Fiery Analysis, yet the Heat which Accidentally Unites the Particles of the other Volatile Principles, has not alwayes the same Operation on this, there being divers Bodies which Yield Two Oyls, whereof the One sinks to the Bottom of that Spirit on which the other Swims ; as I can shew You in some Oyls of the same Deers Blood, which are yet by Me : Nay I can shew you Two Oyls carefully made of the same Parcel of Humane Blood, which not only Differ extreamly in Colour, but Swim upon one another without Mixture, and if by Agitation Confounded will of themselves Divorce again.
And that the Fire doth oftentimes divide Bodies, upon the account that some 89of their Parts are more Fixt, and some more Volatile, how far soever either of these Two may be from a pure Elementary Nature is Obvious enough, if Men would but heed it in the Burning of Wood, which the Fire Dissipates into Smoake and Ashes : For not only the latter of these is Confessedly made up of two such Differing Bodies as Earth and Salt ; but the Former being condens’d into that Soot which adheres to our Chimneys, Discovers it self to Contain both Salt and Oyl, and Spirit and Earth, ( and some Portion of Phlegme too ) which being, all almost, Equally Volatile to that Degree of Fire which Forces them up, ( the more Volatile Parts Helping perhaps, as well as the Urgency of the Fire, to carry up the more Fixt ones, as I have often Try’d in Dulcify’d Colcothar, Sublim’d by Sal Armoniack Blended with it ) are carried Up together, but may afterwards be Separated by other Degrees of Fire, whose orderly Gradation allowes the Disparity of their Volatileness to Discover it self. Besides, if Differing Bodies United into one Mass be both sufficiently Fixt, the Fire finding no Parts Volatile 90enough to be Expell’d or carried up, makes no Separation at all ; as may appear by a Mixture of Colliquated Silver and Gold, whose Component Metals may be easily Sever’d by Aqua Fortis, or Aqua Regis ( according to the Predominancy of the Silver or the Gold ) but in the Fire alone, though vehement, the Metals remain unsever’d, the Fire only dividing the Body into smaller Particles ( whose Littlenesse may be argu’d from their Fluidity ) in which either the little nimble Atoms of Fire, or its brisk and numberless strokes upon the Vessels, hinder Rest and Continuity, without any Sequestration of Elementary Principles. Moreover, the Fire sometimes does not Separate, so much as Unite, Bodies of a differing Nature ; provided they be of an almost resembling Fixedness, and have in the Figure of their Parts an Aptness to Coalition, as we see in the making of many Plaisters, Oyntments, &c. And in such Metalline Mixtures as that made by Melting together two parts of clean Brass with one of pure Copper, of which some Ingenious Trades-men cast such curious Patterns ( for Gold and Silver Works ) 91as I have sometimes taken great Pleasure to Look upon. Sometimes the Bodies mingled by the Fire are Differing enough as to Fixidity and Volatility, and yet are so combin’d by the first Operation of the Fire, that it self does scarce afterwards Separate them, but only Pulverize them ; whereof an Instance is afforded us by the Common Preparation of Mercurius Dulcis, where the Saline Particles of the Vitriol, Sea Salt, and sometimes Nitre, Employ’d to make the Sublimate, do so unite themselves with the Mercurial Particles made use of, first to Make Sublimate, and then to Dulcifie it, that the Saline and Metalline Parts arise together in many successive Sublimations, as if they all made but one Body. And sometimes too the Fire does not only not Sever the Differing Elements of a Body, but Combine them so firmly, that Nature her self does very seldom, if ever, make Unions less Dissoluble. For the Fire meeting with some Bodies exceedingly and almost equally Fixt, instead of making a Separation, makes an Union so strict, that it self, alone, is unable to Dissolve it ; As we see, when an Alca92lizate Salt and the Terrestrial Residue of the Ashes are Incorporated with pure Sand, and by Vitrification made one permanent Body, ( I mean the course or greenish sort of Glass ) that mocks the greatest Violence of the Fire, which though able to Marry the Ingredients of it, yet is not able to Divorce them. I can shew you some pieces of Glass which I saw flow down from an Earthen Crucible purposely Expos’d for a good while, with Silver in it, to a very vehement Fire. And some that deal much in the Fusion of Metals Informe me, that the melting of a great part of a Crucible into Glass is no great Wonder in their Furnaces. I remember, I have Observ’d too in the Melting of great Quantities of Iron out of the Oar, by the Help of store of Charcoal ( for they Affirm that Sea-Coal will not yield a Flame strong enough ) that by the prodigious Vehemence of the Fire, Excited by vast Bellows ( made to play by great Wheels turn’d about by Water ) part of the Materials Expos’d to it was, instead of being Analyz’d, Colliquated, and turn’d into a Dark, Solid and very Ponderous Glass, and that in such Quan93tity, that in some places I have seen the very High-wayes, neer such Iron-works, mended with Heaps of such Lumps of Glasse, instead of Stones and Gravel. And I have also Observ’d, that some kind of Fire-stone it Self, having been employ’d in Furnaces wherein it was expos’d to very strong and lasting Fires, has had all its Fixt Parts so Wrought on by the Fire, as to be Perfectly Vitrifi’d, which I have try’d by Forcing from it Pretty large Pieces of Perfect and Transparent Glass. And lest You might think, Eleutherius, that the Question’d Definition of Heat may be Demonstrated, by the Definition which is wont to be given and Acquiesc’d in, of its contrary Quality, Cold, whose property is taught to be tam Homogenea, quam Heterogenea congregare ; Give me leave to represent to You, that neither is this Definition unquestionable ; for not to Mention the Exceptions, which a Logician, as such, may Take at it, I Consider that the Union of Heterogeneous Bodies which is Suppos’d to be the Genuine Production of Cold, is not Perform’d by every Degree of Cold. For we see for Instance that in the Urine of 94Healthy Men, when the Liquor has been Suffer’d a while to stand, the Cold makes a Separation of the Thinner Part from the Grosser, which Subsides to the Bottom, and Growes Opacous there ; whereas if the Urinal be Warme, these Parts readily Mingle again, and the whole Liquor becomes Transparent as before. And when, by Glaciation, Wood, Straw, Dust, Water, &c. are Suppos’d to be United into one Lump of Ice, the Cold does not Cause any Real Union or Adunation, ( if I may so Speak ) of these Bodies, but only Hardening the Aqueous Parts of the Liquor into Ice, the other Bodies being Accidentally Present in that Liquor are frozen up in it, but not Really United. And accordingly if we Expose a Heap of Mony Consisting of Gold, Silver and Copper Coynes, or any other Bodies of Differing Natures, which are Destitute of Aqueous Moisture, Capable of Congelation, to never so intense a Cold, we find not that these Differing Bodies are at all thereby so much as Compacted, much less United together ; and even in Liquors Themselves we find Phaenomena 95which Induce us to Question the Definition which we are examining. If Paracelsus his Authority were to be look’t upon as a Sufficient Proof in matters of this Nature, I might here insist on that Process of his, whereby he Teaches that the Essence of Wine may be Sever’d from the Phlegme and Ignoble Part by the Assistance of Congelation : and because much Weight has been laid upon this Process, not only by Paracelsians, but other Writers, some of whom seem not to have perus’d it themselves, I shall give You the entire Passage in the Authors own Words, as I lately found them in the sixth Book of his Archidoxis, an Extract whereof I have yet about me ; and it sounds thus. De Vino sciendum est, fæcem phlegmaque ejus esse Mineram, & Vini substantiam esse corpus in quo conservatur Essentia, prout auri in auro latet Essentia. Juxta quod Practicam nobis ad Memoriam ponimus, ut non obliviscamur, ad hunc modum : Recipe Vinum vetustissimum & optimum quod habere poteris, calore saporeque ad placitum, hoc in vas vitreum infundas ut tertiam ejus partem impleat, & sigillo Hermetis occlusum 96in equino ventre mensibus quatuor, & in continuato calore teneatur qui non deficiat. Quo peracto, Hyeme cum frigus & gelu maxime sæviunt, his per mensem exponatur ut congeletur. Ad hunc modum frigus vini spiritum una cum ejus substantia protrudit in vini centrum, ac separat a phlegmate : Congelatum abjice, quod vero congelatum non est, id Spiritum cum substantia esse judicato. Hunc in Pelicanum positum in arenæ digestione non adeo calida per aliquod tempus manere finito ; Postmodum eximito vini Magisterium, de quo locuti sumus.
But I dare not Eleu. lay much Weight upon this Process, because I have found that if it were True, it would be but seldom Practicable in this Country upon the best Wine : for Though this present Winter hath been Extraordinary Cold, yet in very Keen Frosts accompanied with lasting Snowes, I have not been able in any Measure to Freeze a thin Vial full of Sack ; and even with Snow and Salt I could Freeze little more then the Surface of it ; and I suppose Eleu. that tis not every Degree of Cold that is Capable of Congealing Liquors, which is able to make such an Analysis 97( if I may so call it ) of them by Separating their Aqueous and Spirituous Parts ; for I have sometimes, though not often, frozen severally, Red-wine, Urine and Milk, but could not Observe the expected Separation. And the Dutch-Men that were forc’d to Winter in that Icie Region neer the Artick Circle, call’d Nova Zembla, although they relate, as we shall see below, that there was a Separation of Parts made in their frozen Beer about the middle of November, yet of the Freezing of their Back in December following they give but this Account : Yea and our Sack, which is so hot, was Frozen very hard, so that when we were every Man to have his part, we were forc’d to melt it in the Fire ; which we shar’d every second Day, about half a Pinte for a Man, wherewith we were forc’d to sustain our selves. In which words they imply not, that their Back was divided by the Frost into differing Substances, after such manner as their Beer had been. All which notwithstanding, Eleu. suppose that it may be made to appear, that even Cold sometimes may Congregare Homogenea, & Heterogenea Segregare : and to Manifest this I may tell you, that I did once, pur98posely cause to be Decocted in fair Water a Plant abounding with Sulphureous and Spirituous Parts, and having expos’d the Decoction to a keen North-Wind in a very Frosty Night, I observ’d, that the more Aqueous Parts of it were turn’d by the next Morning into Ice, towards the innermost part of which, the more Agile and Spirituous parts, as I then conjectur’d, having Retreated, to shun as much as might be their Environing Enemy, they had there preserv’d themselves unfrozen in the Form of a high colour’d Liquor, the Aqueous and Spirituous parts having been so sleightly ( Blended rather than ) United in the Decoction, that they were easily Separable by such a Degree of Cold as would not have been able to have Divorc’d the Parts of Urine or Wine, which by Fermentation or Digestion are wont, as Tryal has inform’d me, to be more intimately associated each with other. But I have already intimated, Eleutherius, that I shall not Insist on this Experiment, not only because, having made it but once I may possibly have been mistaken in it ; but also ( and that principally ) because of that much more full and eminent 99Experiment of the Separative Virtue of extream Cold, that was made, against their Wills, by the foremention’d Dutch men that Winter’d in Nova Zembla ; the Relation of whose Voyage being a very scarce Book, it will not be amiss to give you that Memorable part of it which concerns our present Theme, as I caus’d the Passage to be extracted out of the Englished Voyage it self.
And on this Occasion I remember, that having the last very Sharp Winter purposely try’d to Freeze, among other Liquors, some Beer moderately strong, in Glass Vessels, with Snow and Salt, I observ’d, that there came out of the Neck a certain thick Substance, which, it seems, was much better able then the rest of the Liquor ( that I found turn’d into Ice ) to resist a Frost, and which, by its Colour and consistence seem’d ma101festly enough to be Yiest, whereat, I confess, I somewhat marvail’d, because I did not either discerne by the Taste, or find by Enquiry, that the Beer was at all too New to be very fit to be Drank. I might confirm the Dutchmens Relation, by what happen’d a while since to a neere Friend of mine, who complained to me, that having Brew’d some Beer or Ale for his own drinking in Holland ( where he then dwelt ) the Keenness of the late bitter Winter froze the Drink so as to reduce it into Ice, and a small Proportion of a very Strong and Spirituous Liquor. But I must not entertain you any longer concerning Cold, not onely because you may think I have but lost my way into a Theme which does not directly belong to my present Undertaking ; but because I have already enlarg’d my self too much upon the first Consideration I propos’d, though it appears so much a Paradox, that it seem’d to Require that I should say much to keep it from being thought a meere Extravagance ; yet since I Undertook but to make the common Assumption 102of our Chymists and Aristotelians appear Questionable, I hope I have so Perform’d that Task, that I may now Proceed to my Following Considerations, and Insist lesse on them than I have done on the First.