These Generals (continues Carneades) being thus premis'd, we might the better survey the Unlikeness that an attentive and unprepossess'd observer may take notice of in each sort of Bodies which the Chymists are wont to call the salts or sulphurs or Mercuries of the Concretes that yield Them, as if they had all a simplicity, and Identity of Nature: whereas salts if they were all Elementary would as little differ as do the Drops of pure and simple Water. 'Tis known that both Chymists and Physitians ascribe to the fixt salts of calcin'd Bodies the vertues of their concretes; and consequently very differing Operations. So we find the Alkali of Wormwood much commended in distempers of the stomach; that of Eyebright for those that have a weak sight; and that of Guaiacum (of which a great Quantity yields but a very little salt) is not only much commended in Venereal Diseases, but is believed to have a peculiar purgative vertue, which yet I have not had occasion to try. And though, I confess, I have long thought, that these Alkalizate salts are, for the most part, very neer of kin, and retain very little of the properties of the Concretes whence they were separated; Yet being minded to Observe watchfully whether I could meet with any Exceptions to this General Observation, I observ'd at the Glasse-house, that sometimes the Metal (as the Workmen call it) or Masse of colliquated Ingredients, which by Blowing they fashion into Vessels of divers shapes, did sometimes prove of a very differing colour, and a somewhat differing Texture, from what was usuall. And having enquired whether the cause of such Accidents might not be derived from the peculiar Nature of the fixt salt employ'd to bring the sand to fusion, I found that the knowingst Workmen imputed these Mis-adventures to the Ashes, of [Errata: Ashes off] some certain kind of Wood, as having observ'd the ignobler kind of Glass I lately mention'd to be frequently produc'd when they had employ'd such sorts of Ashes which therefore they scruple to make use of, if they took notice of them beforehand. I remember also, that an Industrious Man of my acquaintance having bought a vast quantity of Tobacco stalks to make a fixt Salt with, I had the Curiosity to go see whether that Exotick Plant, which so much abounds in volatile salt, would afford a peculiar kind of Alcali; and I was pleas'd to find that in the Lixivium of it, it was not necessary, as is usual, to evaporate all the Liquor, that there might be obtain'd a Saline Calx, consisting like lime quench'd in the Air of a heap of little Corpuscles of unregarded shapes; but the fixt salt shot into figur'd Crystal, almost as Nitre or Sal-armoniack and other uncalcin'd salts are wont to do; And I further remember that I have observ'd in the fixt Salt of Urine, brought by depuration to be very white, a tast not so unlike to that of common salt, and very differing from the wonted caustick Lixiviate tast of other salts made by Incineration. But because the Instances I have alledg'd of the Difference of Alcalizate salt are but few, and therefore I am still inclin'd to think, that most Chymists and many Physitians do, inconsideratly enough and without Warrant from Experience, ascribe the Vertues of the Concretes expos'd to Calcination, to the salts obtain'd by it; I shall rather, to shew the Disparity of salts, mention in the first Place the apparent Difference betwixt the Vegetable fixt salts and the Animal Volatile ones: As (for Example) betwixt salt of Tartar, and salt of Harts-horn; whereof the former is so fixt that 'twill indure the brunt of a violent Fire, and stand in fusion like a Metal; whereas the other (besides that it has a differing tast and a very differing smell) is so far from being fixt, that it will fly away in a gentle heat as easily as Spirit of Wine it self. And to this I shall add, in the next place, That even among the Volatile salts themselves, there is a considerable Difference, as appears by the distinct Properties of (for Instance) salt of Amber, salt of Urine, salt of Mans Skull, (so much extoll'd against the falling Sicknesse) and divers others which cannot escape an ordinary Observer. And this Diversity of Volatile salts I have observ'd to be somtimes Discernable even to the Eye, in their Figures. For the salt of Harts-horn I have observ'd to adhere to the Receiver in the forme almost of a Parallelipipedon; and of the Volatile salt of humane blood (long digested before distillation, with spirit of Wine) I can shew you store of graines of that Figure which Geometricians call a Rhombus; though I dare not undertake that the Figures of these or other Saline Crystals (if I may so call Them) will be alwaies the same, whatever degree of Fire have been employ'd to force them up, or how hastily soever they have been made to convene in the spirits or liquors, in the lower part of which I have usually observ'd them after a while to shoot. And although, as I lately told You, I seldom found any Difference, as to Medical Vertues, in the fixt Salts of Divers Vegetables; and accordingly I have suspected that most of these volatile Salts, having so great a Resemblance in smell, in tast, and fugitiveness, differ but little, if at all, in their Medicinal properties: As indeed I have found them generally to agree in divers of them (as in their being somewhat Diaphoretick and very Deopilative; [Errata: Deopilative)] Yet I remember Helmont somewhere informes us, that there is this Difference betwixt the saline spirit of Urine and that of Mans blood, that the former will not cure the Epilepsy, but the Latter will. Of the Efficacy also of the Salt of Common Amber against the same Disease in Children, (for in Grown Persons it is not a specifick) I may elsewhere have an Occasion to Entertain You. And when I consider that to the obtaining of these Volatile Salts (especially that of Urine) there is not requisite such a Destructive Violence of the Fire, as there is to get those Salts that must be made by Incineration, I am the more invited to conclude, that they may differ from one another, and consequently recede from an Elementary Simplicity. And, if I could here shew You what Mr. Boyle has Observ'd, touching the Various Chymicall Distinctions of Salts; You would quickly discern, not only that Chymists do give themselves a strange Liberty to call Concretes Salts, that are according to their own Rules to be look'd upon as very Compounded Bodies; but that among those very Salts that seem Elementary, because produc'd upon the Anatomy of the Bodies that yield them, there is not only a visible Disparity, but, to speak in the common Language, a manifest Antipathy or Contrariety: As is evident in the Ebullition and hissing that is wont to ensue, when the Acid Spirit of Vitrioll, for Instance, is pour'd upon pot ashes, or Salt of Tartar. And I shall beg leave of this Gentleman, sayes Carneades, casting his Eyes on me, to let me observe to You out of some of his papers, particularly those wherein he treats of some Preparations of Urine, that not only one and the same body may have two Salts of a contrary Nature, as he exemplifies in the Spirit and Alkali of Nitre; but that from the same body there may without addition be obtain'd three differing and Visible Salts. For He Relates, that he observ'd in Urine, not only a Volatile and Crystalline Salt, and a fixt Salt, but likewise a kind of Sal Armoniack, or such a Salt as would sublime in the form of a salt, and therefore was not fixt, and yet was far from being so fugitive as the Volatile salt; from which it seem'd also otherwise to differ. I have indeed suspected that this may be a Sal Armoniack properly enough so call'd, as Compounded of the Volatile salt of Urine, and the fixt of the same Liquor, which, as I noted, is not unlike sea-salt; but that it self argues a manifest Difference betwixt the salts, since such a Volatile salt is not wont to Unite thus with an ordinary Alcali, but to fly away from it in the Heat. And on this occasion I remember that, to give some of my Friends an Ocular proof of the difference betwixt the fixt and Volatile salt (of the same Concrete) Wood, I devis'd the following Experiment. I took common Venetian sublimate, and dissolv'd as much of it as I well could in fair Water: then I took Wood Ashes, and pouring on them Warme Water, Dissolv'd their salt; and filtrating the Water, as soon as I found the Lixivium sufficiently sharp upon the tongue, I reserv'd it for use: Then on part of the former solution of sublimate dropping a little of this Dissolv'd Fixt salt of Wood, the Liquors presently turn'd of an Orange Colour; but upon the other part of the clear solution of sublimate putting some of the Volatile salt of Wood (which abounds in the spirit of soot) the Liquor immediately turn'd white, almost like Milke, and after a while let fall a white sediment, as the other Liquor did a Yellow one. To all this that I have said concerning the Difference of salts, I might add what I Formerly told you, concerning the simple spirit of Box, and such like Woods, which differ much from the other salts hitherto mention'd, and yet would belong to the saline Principle, if Chymists did truly teach that all Tasts proceed from it. And I might also annex, what I noted to you out of Helmont concerning Bodies, which, though they consist in great part of Chymical Oyles, do yet appear but Volatile salts; But to insist on these things, were to repeat; and therefore I shall proceed.
[Footnote 18: Error vero per distillationem nobis monstrat etiam Spiritum salinum plane volatilem odore nequicquam ut nec gustu distinguibilem a spiritu Urinae; In eo tamen essentialiter diversum, quod spiritus talis cruoris curat Epilepsiam, non autem Spiritus salis lotii. Helmont. Aura Vitalis.]
[Footnote 19: Aliquando oleum Cinnamomi, &c. suo sali Alcali miscetur absque omni aqua, trium mensium Artificiosa occultaque circulatione, totum in salem volatilem commutatum est. Helmont. Tria Prima Chymicorum, &c. pag. 412.]
This Disparity is also highly eminent in the separated sulphurs or Chymical Oyles of things. For they contain so much of the scent, and tast, and vertues, of the Bodies whence they were drawn, that they seem to be but the Material Crasis (if I may so speak) of their Concretes. Thus the Oyles of Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmegs and other spices, seem to be but the United Aromatick parts that did ennoble those Bodies. And 'tis a known thing, that Oyl of Cinnamon, and oyle of Cloves, (which I have likewise observ'd in the Oyles of several Woods) will sink to the Bottom of Water: whereas those of Nutmegs and divers other Vegetables will swim upon it. The Oyle (abusively call'd spirit) of Roses swims at the Top of the Water in the forme of a white butter, which I remember not to have observ'd in any other Oyle drawn in any Limbeck; yet there is a way (not here to be declar'd) by which I have seen it come over in the forme of other Aromatick Oyles, to the Delight and Wonder of those that beheld it. In Oyle of Anniseeds, which I drew both with, and without Fermentation, I observ'd the whole Body of the Oyle in a coole place to thicken into the Consistence and Appearance of white Butter, which with the least heat resum'd its Former Liquidness. In the Oyl of Olive drawn over in a Retort, I have likewise more then once seen a spontaneous Coagulation in the Receiver: And I have of it by me thus Congeal'd; which is of such a strangely Penetrating scent, as if 'twould Perforate the Noses that approach it. The like pungent Odour I also observ'd in the Distill'd Liquor of common sope, which forc'd over from Minium, lately afforded an oyle of a most admirable Penetrancy; And he must be a great stranger, both to the Writings and preparations of Chymists, that sees not in the Oyles they distill from Vegetables and Animals, a considerable and obvious Difference. Nay I shall venture to add, Eleutherius, (what perhaps you will think of kin to a Paradox) that divers times out of the same Animal or Vegetable, there may be extracted Oyles of Natures obviously differing. To which purpose I shall not insist on the swimming and sinking Oyles, which I have sometimes observ'd to float on, and subside under the spirit of Guajacum, and that of divers other Vegetables Distill'd with a strong and lasting Fire; Nor shall I insist on the observation elsewhere mention'd, of the divers and unminglable oyles afforded us by Humane Blood long fermented and Digested with spirit of Wine, because these kind of oyles may seem chiefly to differ in Consistence and Weight, being all of them high colour'd and adust. But the Experiment which I devis'd to make out this Difference of the oyles of the same Vegetable, ad Oculum, (as they speak) was this that followes. I took a pound of Annisseeds, and having grosly beaten them, caused them to be put into a very large glass Retort almost filled with fair Water; and placing this Retort in a sand Furnace, I caus'd a very Gentle heat to be administer'd during the first day, and a great part of the second, till the Water was for the most part drawn off, and had brought over with it at least most of the Volatile and Aromatick Oyle of the seeds. And then encreasing the Fire, and changing the Receiver, I obtain'd besides an Empyreumatical Spirit, a quantity of adust oyle; whereof a little floated upon the Spirit, and the rest was more heavy, and not easily separable from it. And whereas these oyles were very dark, and smell'd (as Chymists speak) so strongly of the Fire, that their Odour did not betray from what Vegetables they had been forc'd; the other Aromatick Oyle was enrich'd with the genuine smell and tast of the Concrete; and spontaneously coagulating it self into white butter did manifest self [Errata: it self] to be the true Oyle of Annisseeds; which Concrete I therefore chose to employ about this Experiment, that the Difference of these Oyles might be more conspicuous then it would have been, had I instead of it destill'd another Vegetable.
I had almost forgot to take notice, that there is another sort of Bodies, which though not obtain'd from Concretes by Distillation, many Chymists are wont to call their Sulphur; not only because such substances are, for the most part, high colour'd (whence they are also, and that more properly, called Tinctures) as dissolv'd Sulphurs are wont to be; but especially because they are, for the most part, abstracted and separated from the rest of the Masse by Spirit of Wine: which Liquor those men supposing to be Sulphureous, they conclude, that what it works upon, and abstracts, must be a Sulphur also. And upon this account they presume, that they can sequester the sulphur even of Minerals and Metalls; from which 'tis known that they cannot by Fire alone separate it. To all This I shall answer; That if these sequestred substances where indeed the sulphurs of the Bodies whence they are drawn, there would as well be a great Disparity betwixt Chymical Sulphurs obtain'd by Spirit of Wine, as I have already shewn there is betwixt those obtain'd by Distillation in the forme of Oyles: which will be evident from hence, that not to urge that themselves ascribe distinct vertues to Mineral Tinctures, extolling the Tincture of Gold against such and such Diseases; the Tincture of Antimony, or of its Glass, against others; and the Tincture of Emerauld against others; 'tis plain, that in Tinctures drawn from Vegetables, if the superfluous spirit of Wine be distill'd off, it leaves at the bottom that thicker substance which Chymists use to call the Extract of the Vegetable. And that these Extracts are endow'd with very differing Qualities according to the Nature of the Particular Bodies that afforded them (though I fear seldom with so much of the specifick vertues as is wont to be imagin'd) is freely confess'd both by Physitians and Chymists. But, Eleutherius, (sayes Carneades) we may here take Notice that the Chymists do as well in this case, as in many others, allow themselves a License to abuse Words: For not again to argue from the differing properties of Tinctures, that they are not exactly pure and Elementary Sulphurs; they would easily appear not to be so much as Sulphur's, although we should allow Chymical Oyles to deserve that Name. For however in some Mineral Tinctures the Natural fixtness of the extracted Body does not alwayes suffer it to be easily further resoluble into differing substances; Yet in very many extracts drawn from Vegetables, it may very easily be manifested that the spirit of Wine has not sequestred the sulphureous Ingredient from the saline and Mercurial ones; but has dissolv'd (for I take it to be a Solution) the finer Parts of the Concrete (without making any nice distinction of their being perfectly Sulphureous or not) and united it self with them into a kind of Magistery; which consequently must contain Ingredients or Parts of several sorts. For we see that the stones that are rich in vitriol, being often drench'd with rain-Water, the Liquor will then extract a fine and transparent substance coagulable into Vitriol; and yet though this Vitriol be readily dissoluble in Water, it is not a true Elementary Salt, but, as You know, a body resoluble into very differing Parts, whereof one (as I shall have occasion to tell You anon) is yet of a Metalline, and consequently not of an Elementary Nature. You may consider also, that common Sulphur is readily dissoluble in Oyle of Turpentine, though notwithstanding its Name it abounds as well, if not as much, in Salt as in true Sulphur; witness the great quantity of saline Liquor it affords being set to flame away under a glasse Bell. Nay I have, which perhaps You will think strange, with the same Oyle of Turpentine alone easily enough dissolv'd crude Antimony finely powder'd into a Blood-red Balsam, wherewith perhaps considerable things may be perform'd in Surgery. And if it were now Requisite, I could tell You of some other Bodies (such as Perhaps You would not suspect) that I have been able to work upon with certain Chymical Oyles. But instead of digressing further I shall make this use of the Example I have nam'd. That 'tis not unlikely, but that Spirit of Wine which by its pungent tast, and by some other Qualities that argue it better (especially its Reduciblenesse, according to Helmont, into Alcali, and Water,) seems to be as well of a Saline as of a Sulphureous Nature, may well be suppos'd Capable of Dissolving Substances That are not meerly Elementary sulphurs, though perhaps they may abound with Parts that are of kin thereunto. For I find that Spirit of Wine will dissolve Gumm Lacca, Benzoine, and the Resinous Parts of Jallap, and even of Guaiacum; whence we may well suspect that it may from Spices, Herbs, and other lesse compacted Vegetables, extract substances that are not perfect Sulphurs but mixt Bodies. And to put it past Dispute, there is many a Vulgar Extract drawn with Spirit of Wine, which committed to Distillation will afford such differing substances as will Loudly proclaim it to have been a very compounded Body. So that we may justly suspect, that even in Mineral Tinctures it will not alwaies follow, that because a red substance is drawn from the Concrete by spirit of Wine, that Substance is its true and Elementary Sulphur. And though some of these Extracts may perhaps be inflamable; Yet besides that others are not, and besides that their being reduc'd to such Minuteness of Parts may much facilitate their taking Fire; besides this, I say, We see that common Sulphur, common Oyle, Gumm Lac, and many Unctuous and Resinous Bodies, will flame well enough, though they be of very compounded natures: Nay Travellers of Unsuspected Credit assure Us, as a known thing, that in some Northern Countries where Firr trees and Pines abound, the poorer sort of Inhabitants use Long splinters of those Resinous Woods to burne instead of Candles. And as for the rednesse wont to be met with in such solutions, I could easily shew, that 'tis not necessary it should proceed from the Sulphur of the Concrete, Dissolv'd by the Spirit of Wine; if I had leasure to manifest how much Chymists are wont to delude themselves and others by the Ignorance of those other causes upon whose account spirit of Wine and other Menstruums may acquire a red or some other high colour. But to returne to our Chymical Oyles, supposing that they were exactly pure; Yet I hope they would be, as the best spirit of Wine is, but the more inflamable and deflagrable. And therefore since an Oyle can be by the Fire alone immediately turn'd into flame, which is something of a very differing Nature from it: I shall Demand how this Oyle can be a Primogeneal and Incorruptible Body, as most Chymists would have their Principles; Since it is further resoluble into flame, which whether or no it be a portion of the Element of Fire, as an Aristotelian would conclude, is certainly something of a very differing Nature from a Chymical Oyle, since it burnes, and shines, and mounts swiftly upwards; none of which a Chymical Oyle does, whilst it continues such. And if it should be Objected, that the Dissipated Parts of this flaming Oyle may be caught and collected again into Oyl or Sulphur; I shall demand, what Chymist appears to have ever done it; and without Examining whether it may not hence be as well said that sulphur is but compacted Fire, as that Fire is but diffus'd Sulphur, I shall leave you to consider whether it may not hence be argu'd, that neither Fire nor Sulphur are primitive and indestructible Bodies; and I shall further observe that, at least it will hence appear that a portion of matter may without being Compounded with new Ingredients, by having the Texture and Motion of its small parts chang'd, be easily, by the means of the Fire, endow'd with new Qualities, more differing from them it had before, then are those which suffice to discriminate the Chymists Principles from one another.
We are next to Consider, whether in the Anatomy of mixt Bodies, that which Chymists call the Mercurial part of them be un-compounded, or no. But to tell You True, though Chymists do Unanimously affirm that their Resolutions discover a Principle, which they call Mercury, yet I find them to give of it Descriptions so Differing, and so AEnigmaticall, that I, who am not asham'd to confess that I cannot understand what is not sence, must acknowledge to you that I know not what to make of them. Paracelsus himself, and therefore, as you will easily believe, many of his Followers, does somewhere call that Mercury which ascends upon the burning of Wood, as the Peripateticks are wont to take the same smoke for Air; and so seems to define Mercury by Volatility, or (if I may coyne such a Word) Effumability. But since, in this Example, both Volatile Salt and Sulphur make part of the smoke, which does indeed consist also both of Phlegmatick and Terrene Corpuscles, this Notion is not to be admitted; And I find that the more sober Chymists themselves disavow it. Yet to shew you how little of clearness we are to expect in the accounts even of latter Spagyrists, be pleas'd to take notice, that Beguinus, even in his Tyrocinium Chymicum, written for the Instruction of Novices, when he comes to tell us what are meant by the Tria Prima, which for their being Principles ought to be defin'd the more accurately and plainly, gives us this Description of Mercury; Mercurius (sayes he) est liquor ille acidus, permeabilis, penetrabilis, aethereus, ac purissimus, a quo omnis Nutricatio, Sensus, Motus, Vires, Colores, Senectutisque Praeproperae retardatio. Which words are not so much a Definition of it, as an Encomium: and yet Quercetanus in his Description of the same Principle adds to these, divers other Epithets. But both of them, to skip very many other faults that may be found with their Metaphoricall Descriptions, speak incongruously to the Chymists own Principles. For if Mercury be an Acid Liquor, either Hermetical Philosophy must err in ascribing all Tasts to Salt, or else Mercury must not be a Principle, but Compounded of a Saline Ingredient and somewhat else. Libavius, though he find great fault with the obscurity of what the Chymists write concerning their Mercurial Principle, does yet but give us such a Negative Description of it, as Sennertus, how favourable soever to the Tria Prima, is not satisfi'd with. And this Sennertus Himself, though the Learnedst Champion for the Hypostatical Principles, does almost as frequently as justly complain of the unsatisfactoriness of what the Chymists teach concerning their Mercury; and yet he himself (but with his wonted modesty) Substitutes instead of the Description of Libavius, another, which many Readers, especially if they be not Peripateticks, will not know what to make of. For scarce telling us any more, then that in all bodies that which is found besides Salt and Sulphur, and the Elements, or, as they call them, Phlegm and Dead Earth, is that Spirit which in Aristotles Language may be call'd [Greek: ousian analogon [Errata: ousia analogos] to ton astron stoichaio [Errata: astron stoicheio]]. He sayes that which I confess is not at all satisfactory to me, who do not love to seem to acquiesce in any mans Mystical Doctrines, that I may be thought to understand them.
[Footnote 20: Chm. Tyrocin. lib. 1. Cap. 2.]
If (sayes Eleutherius) I durst presume that the same thing would be thought clear by me, and those that are fond of such cloudy Expressions as You justly Tax the Chymists for, I should venture to offer to Consideration, whether or no, since the Mercurial Principle that arises from Distillation is unanimously asserted to be distinct from the salt and Sulphur of the same Concrete, that may not be call'd the Mercury of a Body, which though it ascend in Distillation, as do the Phlegme and Sulphur, is neither insipid like the former, nor inflamable like the latter. And therefore I would substitute to the too much abused Name of Mercury, the more clear and Familiar Appellation of Spirit, which is also now very much made use of even by the Chymists themselves, of our times, though they have not given us so Distinct an Explication, as were fit, of what may be call'd the Spirit of a mixt Body.
I should not perhaps (sayes Carneades) much quarrel with your Notion of Mercury. But as for the Chymists, what they can mean, with congruity to their own Principles, by the Mercury of Animals and Vegetables, 'twill not be so easie to find out; for they ascribe Tasts only to the Saline Principle, and consequently would be much put to it to shew what Liquor it is, in the Resolution of Bodies, that not being insipid, for that they call Phlegme, neither is inflamable as Oyle or Sulphur, nor has any Tast; which according to them must proceed from a Mixture, at least, of Salt. And if we should take Spirit in the sence of the Word receiv'd among Modern Chymists and Physitians, for any Distill'd Liquor that is neither Phlegme nor oyle, the Appellation would yet appear Ambiguous enough. For, plainly, that which first ascends in the Distillation of Wine and Fermented Liquors, is generally as well by Chymists as others reputed a Spirit. And yet pure Spirit of Wine being wholly inflamable ought according to them to be reckon'd to the Sulphureous, not the Mercurial Principle. And among the other Liquors that go under the name of Spirits, there are divers which seem to belong to the family of Salts, such as are the Spirits of Nitre, Vitriol, Sea-Salt and others, and even the Spirit of Harts-horn, being, as I have try'd, in great part, if not totally reducible into Salt and Phlegme, may be suspected to be but a Volatile Salt disguis'd by the Phlegme mingl'd with it into the forme of a Liquor. However if this be a Spirit, it manifestly differs very much from that of Vinager, the Tast of the one being Acid, and the other Salt, and their Mixture in case they be very pure, sometimes occasioning an Effervescence like that of those Liquors the Chymists count most contrary to one another. And even among those Liquors that seem to have a better title then those hitherto mention'd, to the name of Spirits, there appears a sensible Diversity; For spirit of Oak, for instance, differs from that of Tartar, and this from that of Box, or of Guaiacum. And in short, even these spirits as well as other Distill'd Liquors manifest a great Disparity betwixt themselves, either in their Actions on our senses, or in their other operations.
And (continues Carneades) besides this Disparity that is to be met with among those Liquors that the Modernes call spirits, & take for similar bodies, what I have formerly told you concerning the Spirit of Box-wood may let you see that some of those Liquors not only have qualities very differing from others, but may be further resolved into substances differing from one another.
And since many moderne Chymists and other Naturalists are pleased to take the Mercurial spirit of Bodies for the same Principle, under differing names, I must invite you to observe, with me, the great difference that is conspicuous betwixt all the Vegetable and Animal spirits I have mention'd and running Mercury. I speak not of that which is commonly sold in shops that many of themselves will confesse to be a mixt Body; but of that which is separated from Metals, which by some Chymists that seem more Philosophers then the rest, and especially by the above mentioned Claveus, is (for distinction sake) called Mercurius Corporum. Now this Metalline Liquor being one of those three Principles of which Mineral Bodies are by Spagyrists affirmed to be compos'd and to be resoluble into them, the many notorious Differences betwixt them and the Mercuries, as They call Them, of Vegetables and Animals will allow me to inferr, either that Minerals and the other two sorts of Mixt Bodies consist not of the same Elements, or that those Principles whereinto Minerals are immediately resolved, which Chymists with great ostentation shew us as the true principles, of them, are but Secundary Principles, or Mixts of a peculiar sort, which must be themselves reduc'd to a very differing forme, to be of the same kind with Vegetable and Animal Liquors.
But this is not all; for although I formerly told You how Little Credit there is to be given to the Chymical Processes commonly to be met with, of Extracting the Mercuries of Metals, Yet I will now add, that supposing that the more Judicious of Them do not untruly affirme that they have really drawn true and running Mercury from several Metals (which I wish they had cleerly taught Us how to do also,) yet it may be still doubted whether such extracted Mercuries do not as well differ from common Quicksilver, and from one another, as from the Mercuries of Vegetables and Animalls. Claveus, in his Apology, speaking of some experiments whereby Metalline Mercuries may be fixt into the nobler metals, adds, that he spake of the Mercuries drawn from metals; because common Quicksilver by reason of its excessive coldnesse and moisture is unfit for that particular kind of operation; for which though a few lines before he prescribes in general the Mercuries of Metalline Bodies, yet he chiefly commends that drawn by art from silver. And elsewhere, in the same Book, he tells us, that he himself tryed, that by bare coction the quicksilver of Tin or Pewter (argentum vivum ex stanno prolicitum) may by an efficient cause, as he speaks, be turn'd into pure Gold. And the Experienc'd Alexander van Suchten, somewhere tells us, that by a way he intimates may be made a Mercury of Copper, not of the Silver colour of other Mercuries, but green; to which I shall add, that an eminent person, whose name his travells and learned writings have made famous, lately assur'd me that he had more then once seen the Mercury of Lead (which whatever Authors promise, you will find it very difficult to make, at least in any considerable quantity) fixt into perfect Gold. And being by me demanded whether or no any other Mercury would not as well have been changed by the same Operations, he assured me of the Negative.
[Footnote 21: Dixi autem de argento vivo a metallis prolicito, quod vulgare ob nimiam frigiditatem & humiditatem nimium concoctioni est contumax, nec ab auro solum alterato coerceri potest. Gast. Clave. in Apoll.]
And since I am fallen upon the mention of the Mercuries of metals, you will perhaps expect (Eleutherius!) that I should say something of their two other principles; but must freely confess to you, that what Disparity there may be between the salts and sulphurs of Metals and other Menerals [Transcriber's Note: Minerals], I am not my self experienced enough in the separations and examens of them, to venture to determine: (for as for the salts of Metals, I formerly represented it as a thing much to be question'd, whether they have any at all:) And for the processes of separation I find in Authors, if they were (what many of them are not) successfully practicable, as I noted above, yet they are to be performed by the assistance of other bodies, so hardly, if upon any termes at all, separable from them, that it is very difficult to give the separated principles all their due, and no more. But the Sulphur of Antimony which is vehemently vomitive, and the strongly scented Anodyne Sulphur of Vitriol inclines me to think that not only Mineral Sulphurs differ from Vegetable ones, but also from one another, retaining much of the nature of their Concretes. The salts of metals, and of some sort of minerals, You will easily guesse by [Errata: (by] the Doubts I formerly express'd, whether metals have any salt at all [Errata: all)], that I have not been so happy as yet to see, perhaps not for want of curiosity. But if Paracelsus did alwaies write so consentaneously to himself that his opinion were confidently to be collected from every place of his writings where he seems to expresse it, I might safely take upon me to tell you, that he both countenances in general what I have delivered in my Fourth main consideration, and in particular warrants me to suspect that there may be a difference in metalline and mineral Salts, as well as we find it in those of other bodies. For, Sulphur (sayes he) aliud in auro, aliud in argento, aliud in ferro, aliud in plumbo, stanno, &c. sic aliud in Saphiro, aliud in Smaragdo, aliud in rubino, chrysolito, amethisto, magnete, &c. Item aliud in lapidibus, silice, salibus, fontibus, &c. nec vero tot sulphura tantum, sed & totidem salia; sal aliud in metallis, aliud in gemmis, aliud in lapidibus, aliud in salibus, aliud in vitriolo, aliud in alumine: similis etiam Mercurii est ratio. Alius in Metallis, alius in Gemmis, &c. Ita ut unicuique speciei suus peculiaris Mercurius sit. Et tamen res saltem tres sunt; una essentia est sulphur; una est sal; una est Mercurius. Addo quod & specialius adhuc singula dividantur; aurum enim non unum, sed multiplex, ut et non unum pyrum, pomum, sed idem multiplex; totidem etiam sulphura auri, salia auri, mercurii auri; idem competit etiam metallis & gemmis; ut quot saphyri praestantiores, laevioris, &c. tot etiam saphyrica sulphura, saphyrica salia, saphyrici Mercurii, &c. Idem verum etiam est de turconibus & gemmis aliis universis. From which passage (Eleutherius) I suppose you will think I might without rashness conclude, either that my opinion is favoured by that of Paracelsus, or that Paracelsus his opinion was not alwaies the same. But because in divers other places of his writings he seems to talk at a differing rate of the three Principles and the four Elements, I shall content my self to inferr from the alledg'd passage, that if his doctrine be not consistent with that Part of mine which it is brought to countenance, it is very difficult to know what his opinion concerning salt, sulphur and mercury, was; and that consequently we had reason about the beginning of our conferences, to decline taking upon us, either to examine or oppose it.
[Footnote 22: Paracel. de Mineral. Tract. 1. pag. 141.]
I know not whether I should on this occasion add, that those very bodies the Chymists call Phlegme and Earth do yet recede from an Elementary simplicity. That common Earth and Water frequently do so, notwithstanding the received contrary opinion, is not deny'd by the more wary of the moderne Peripateticks themselves: and certainly, most Earths are much lesse simple bodies then is commonly imagined even by Chymists, who do not so consideratly to prescribe and employ Earths Promiscuously in those distillations that require the mixture of some caput mortuum, to hinder the flowing together of the matter, and to retain its grosser parts. For I have found some Earths to yield by distillation a Liquor very far from being inodorous or insipid; and 'tis a known observation, that most kinds of fat Earth kept cover'd from the rain, and hindred from spending themselves in the production of vegetables, will in time become impregnated with Salt-Petre.
But I must remember that the Water and Earths I ought here to speak of, are such as are separated from mixt Bodies by the fire; and therefore to restrain my Discourse to such, I shall tell you, That we see the Phlegme of Vitriol (for instance) is a very effectual remedie against burnes; and I know a very Famous and experienc'd Physitian, whose unsuspected secret (himself confess'd to me) it is, for the discussing of hard and Obstinate Tumours. The Phlegme of Vinager, though drawn exceeding leasurly in a digesting Furnace, I have purposely made tryall of; and sometimes found it able to draw, though slowly, a saccharine sweetness out of Lead; and as I remember by long Digestion, I dissolv'd Corpals [Errata: Corals] in it. The Phlegme of the sugar of Saturne is said to have very peculiar properties. Divers Eminent Chymists teach, that it will dissolve Pearls, which being precipitated by the spirit of the same concrete are thereby (as they say) rendred volatile; which has been confirmed to me, upon his own observation, by a person of great veracity. The Phlegme of Wine, and indeed divers other Liquors that are indiscriminately condemnd to be cast away as phlegm, are endow'd with qualities that make them differ both from meer water, and from each other; and whereas the Chymists are pleas'd to call the caput mortuum of what they have distill'd (after they have by affusion of water drawn away its salt) terra damnata, or Earth, it may be doubted whether or no those earths are all of them perfectly alike: and it is scarce to be doubted, but that there are some of them which remain yet unreduc'd to an Elementary nature. The ashes of wood depriv'd of all the salt, and bone-Ashes, or calcin'd Harts-horn, which Refiners choose to make Tests of, as freest from Salt, seem unlike: and he that shall compare either of these insipid ashes to Lime, and much more to the calx of Talk [Transcriber's Note: Talck] (though by the affusion of water they be exquisitely dulcify'd) will perhaps see cause to think them things of a somewhat differing nature. And it is evident in Colcothar that the exactest calcination, follow'd by an exquisite dulcification, does not alwaies reduce the remaining body into elementary earth; for after the salt or Vitriol (if the Calcination have been too faint) is drawn out of the Colcothar, the residue is not earth, but a mixt body, rich in Medical vertues (as experience has inform'd me) and which Angelus Sala affirmes to be partly reducible into malleable Copper; which I judge very probable: for though when I was making Experiments upon Colcothar, I was destitute of a Furnace capable of giving a heat intense Enough to bring such a Calx to Fusion; yet having conjectur'd that if Colcothar abounded with that Metal, Aqua Fortis would find it out there, I put some dulcifi'd Colcothar into that Menstruum, and found the Liquor, according to my Expectation, presently Colour'd as Highly as if it had been an Ordinary Solution of Copper.
The Fifth Part.
Here Carneades making a pause, I must not deny (sayes his Friend to him) that I think You have sufficiently prov'd that these distinct Substances which Chymists are wont to obtain from Mixt Bodies, by their Vulgar Destillation, are not pure and simple enough to deserve, in Rigour of speaking, the Name of Elements, or Principles. But I suppose You have heard, that there are some Modern Spagyrists, who give out that they can by further and more Skilfull Purifications, so reduce the separated Ingredients of Mixt Bodies to an Elementary simplicity, That the Oyles (for Instance) extracted from all Mixts shall as perfectly resemble one another, as the Drops of Water do.
If you remember (replies Carneades) that at the Beginning of our Conference with Philoponus, I declar'd to him before the rest of the Company, that I would not engage my self at present to do any more then examine the usual proofs alledg'd by Chymists, for the Vulgar doctrine of their three Hypostatical Principles; You will easily perceive that I am not oblig'd to make answer to what you newly propos'd; and that it rather grants, then disproves what I have been contending for: Since by pretending to make so great a change in the reputed Principles that Destillation affords the common Spagyrists, 'tis plainly enough presuppos'd, that before such Artificial Depurations be made, the Substances to be made more simple were not yet simple enough to be look'd upon as Elementary; Wherefore in case the Artists you speak of could perform what they give out they can, yet I should not need to be asham'd of having question'd the Vulgar Opinion touching the tria Prima. And as to the thing it self, I shall freely acknowledge to you, that I love not to be forward in determining things to be impossible, till I know and have consider'd the means by which they are propos'd to be effected. And therefore I shall not peremptorily deny either the possibility of what these Artists promise, or my Assent to any just Inference; however destructive to my Conjectures, that may be drawn from their performances. But give me leave to tell you withall, that because such promises are wont (as Experience has more then once inform'd me) to be much more easily made, then made good by Chymists, I must withhold my Beliefe from their assertions, till their Experiments exact it; and must not be so easie as to expect before hand, an unlikely thing upon no stronger Inducements then are yet given me: Besides that I have not yet found by what I have heard of these Artists, that though they pretend to bring the several Substances into which the Fire has divided the Concrete, to an exquisite simplicity, They pretend also to be able by the Fire to divide all Concretes, Minerals, and others, into the same number of Distinct Substances. And in the mean time I must think it improbable, that they can either truly separate as many differing Bodies from Gold (for Instance) or Osteocolla, as we can do from Wine, or Vitriol; or that the Mercury (for Example) of Gold or Saturn would be perfectly of the same Nature with that of Harts-horn; and that the sulphur of Antimony would be but Numerically different from the Distill'd butter or oyle of Roses.
But suppose (sayes Eleutherius) that you should meet with Chymists, who would allow you to take in Earth and Water into the number of the principles of Mixt Bodies; and being also content to change the Ambiguous Name of Mercury for that more intelligible one of spirit, should consequently make the principles of Compound Bodies to be Five; would you not think it something hard to reject so plausible an Opinion, only because the Five substances into which the Fire divides mixt Bodies are not exactly pure, and Homogeneous? For my part (Continues Carneades) I cannot but think it somewhat strange, in case this Opinion be not true, that it should fall out so luckily, that so great a Variety of Bodies should be Analyz'd by the Fire into just five Distinct substances; which so little differing from the Bodies that bear those names, may so Plausibly be call'd Oyle, Spirit, Salt, Water, and Earth.
The Opinion You now propose (answers Carneades) being another then that I was engag'd to examine, it is not requisite for me to Debate it at present; nor should I have leisure to do it thorowly. Wherefore I shall only tell you in General, that though I think this Opinion in some respects more defensible then that of the Vulgar Chymists; yet you may easily enough learn from the past Discourse what may be thought of it: Since many of the Objections made against the Vulgar Doctrine of the Chymists seem, without much alteration, employable against this Hypothesis also. For, besides that this Doctrine does as well as the other take it for granted, (what is not easie to be prov'd) that the Fire is the true and Adequate Analyzer of Bodies, and that all the Distinct substances obtainable from a mixt Body by the Fire, were so pre-existent in it, that they were but extricated from each other by the Analysis; Besides that this Opinion, too, ascribe [Errata: ascribes] to the Productions of the Fire an Elementary simplicity, which I have shewn not to belong to them; and besides that this Doctrine is lyable to some of the other Difficulties, wherewith That of the Tria Prima is incumber'd; Besides all this, I say, this quinary number of Elements, (if you pardon the Expression) ought at least to have been restrain'd to the Generality of Animal and Vegetable Bodies, since not only among these there are some Bodies (as I formerly argu'd) which, for ought has yet been made to appear, do consist, either of fewer or more similar substances then precisely Five. But in the Mineral Kingdom, there is scarce one Concrete that has been evinc'd to be adequatly divisible into such five Principles or Elements, and neither more nor less, as this Opinion would have every mixt Body to consist of.
And this very thing (continues Carneades) may serve to take away or lessen your Wonder, that just so many Bodies as five should be found upon the Resolution of Concretes. For since we find not that the fire can make any such Analysis (into five Elements) of Metals and other Mineral Bodies, whose Texture is more strong and permanent, it remains that the Five Substances under consideration be Obtain'd from Vegetable and Animal Bodies, which (probably by reason of their looser Contexture) are capable of being Distill'd. And as to such Bodies, 'tis natural enough, that, whether we suppose that there are, or are not, precisely five Elements, there should ordinarily occurr in the Dissipated parts a five Fold Diversity of Scheme (if I may so speak.) For if the Parts do not remain all fix'd, as in Gold, Calcin'd Talck, &c. nor all ascend, as in the Sublimation of Brimstone, Camphire, &c. but after their Dissipation do associate themselves into new Schemes of Matter; it is very likely, that they will by the Fire be divided into fix'd and Volatile (I mean, in Reference to that degree of heat by which they are destill'd) and those Volatile parts will, for the most part, ascend either in a dry forme, which Chymists are pleas'd to call, if they be Tastless, Flowers; if Sapid, Volatile Salt; or in a Liquid Forme. And this Liquor must be either inflamable, and so pass for oyl, or not inflamable, and yet subtile and pungent, which may be call'd Spirit; or else strengthless or insipid, which may be nam'd Phlegme, or Water. And as for the fixt part, or Caput Mortuum, it will most commonly consist of Corpuscles, partly Soluble in Water, or Sapid, (especially if the Saline parts were not so Volatile, as to fly away before) which make up its fixt salt; and partly insoluble and insipid, which therefore seems to challenge the name of Earth. But although upon this ground one might easily enough have foretold, that the differing substances obtain'd from a perfectly mixt Body by the Fire would for the most part be reducible to the five newly mentioned States of Matter; yet it will not presently follow, that these five Distinct substances were simple and primogeneal bodies, so pre-existent in the Concrete that the fire does but take them asunder. Besides that it does not appear, that all Mixt Bodies, (witness, Gold, Silver, Mercury, &c.) Nay nor perhaps all Vegetables, which may appear by what we said above of Camphire, Benzoin, &c. are resoluble by Fire into just such differing Schemes of Matter. Nor will the Experiments formerly alledg'd permit us to look upon these separated Substances as Elementary, or uncompounded. Neither will it be a sufficient Argument of their being Bodies that deserve the Names which Chymists are pleas'd to give them, that they have an Analogy in point of Consistence, or either Volatility or Fixtness, or else some other obvious Quality, with the suppos'd Principles, whose names are ascrib'd to them. For, as I told you above, notwithstanding this Resemblance in some one Quality, there may be such a Disparity in others, as may be more fit to give them Differing Appellations, then the Resemblance is to give them one and the same. And indeed it seems but somewhat a gross Way of judging of the Nature of Bodies, to conclude without Scruple, that those must be of the same Nature that agree in some such General Quality, as Fluidity, Dryness, Volatility, and the like: since each of those Qualities, or States of Matter, may Comprehend a great Variety of Bodies, otherwise of a very differing Nature; as we may see in the Calxes of Gold, of Vitriol, and of Venetian Talck, compar'd with common Ashes, which yet are very dry, and fix'd by the vehemence of the Fire, as well as they. And as we may likewise gather from what I have formerly Observ'd, touching the Spirit of Box-Wood, which though a Volatile, Sapid, and not inflamable Liquor, as well as the Spirits of Harts-horn, of Blood and others, (and therefore has been hitherto call'd, the Spirit, and esteem'd for one of the Principles of the Wood that affords it;) may yet, as I told You, be subdivided into two Liquors, differing from one another, and one of them at least, from the Generality of other Chymical Spirits.
But you may your self, if you please, (pursues Carneades) accommodate to the Hypothesis you propos'd what other particulars you shall think applicable to it, in the foregoing Discourse. For I think it unseasonable for me to meddle now any further with a Controversie, which since it does not now belong to me, Leaves me at Liberty to Take my Own time to Declare my Self about it.
Eleutherius perceiving that Carneades was somewhat unwilling to spend any more time upon the debate of this Opinion, and having perhaps some thoughts of taking hence a Rise to make him Discourse it more fully another time, thought not fit as then to make any further mention to him of the propos'd opinion, but told him;
I presume I need not mind you, Carneades, That both the Patrons of the ternary number of Principles, and those that would have five Elements, endeavour to back their experiments with a specious Reason or two; and especially some of those Embracers of the Opinion last nam'd (whom I have convers'd with, and found them Learned men) assigne this Reason of the necessity of five distinct Elements; that otherwise mixt Bodies could not be so compounded and temper'd as to obtain a due consistence and competent Duration. For Salt (say they) is the Basis of Solidity; and Permanency in Compound Bodies, without which the other four Elements might indeed be variously and loosly blended together, but would remain incompacted; but that Salt might be dissolv'd into minute Parts, and convey'd to the other Substances to be compacted by it, and with it, there is a Necessity of Water. And that the mixture may not be too hard and brittle, a Sulphureous or Oyly Principle must intervene to make the mass more tenacious; to this a Mercurial spirit must be superadded; which by its activity may for a while premeate [Transcriber's Note: permeate], and as it were leaven the whole Mass, and thereby promote the more exquisite mixture and incorporation of the Ingredients. To all which (lastly) a portion of Earth must be added, which by its drinesse and poracity [Errata: porosity] may soak up part of that water wherein the Salt was dissolv'd, and eminently concurr with the other ingredients to give the whole body the requisite consistence.
I perceive (sayes Carneades smiling) that if it be true, as 'twas lately rooted [Errata: noted] from the Proverb, That good Wits have bad Memories, You have that Title, as well as a better, to a place among the good Wits. For you have already more then once forgot, that I declar'd to you that I would at this Conference Examine only the Experiments of my Adversaries, not their Speculative Reasons. Yet 'tis not (Subjoynes Carneades) for fear of medling with the Argument you have propos'd, that I decline the examining it at present. For if when we are more at leasure, you shall have a mind that we may Solemnly consider of it together; I am confident we shall scarce find it insoluble. And in the mean time we may observe, that such a way of Arguing may, it seems, be speciously accommodated to differing Hypotheses. For I find that Beguinus, and other Assertors of the Tria Prima, pretend to make out by such a way, the requisiteness of their Salt, Sulphur and Mercury, to constitute mixt Bodies, without taking notice of any necessity of an Addition of Water and Earth.
And indeed neither sort of Chymists seem to have duly consider'd how great Variety there is in the Textures and Consistences of Compound Bodie; sand [Errata: Bodies; and] how little the consistence and Duration of many of them seem to accommodate and be explicable by the propos'd Notion. And not to mention those almost incorruptible Substances obtainable by the Fire, which I have prov'd to be somewhat compounded, and which the Chymists will readily grant not to be perfectly mixt Bodies: (Not to mention these, I say) If you will but recall to mind some of those Experiments, whereby I shew'd You that out of common Water only mixt Bodies (and even living ones) of very differing consistences, and resoluble by Fire into as many Principles as other bodies acknowledg'd to be perfectly mixt; if you do this, I say, you will not, I suppose, be averse from beleeving, that Nature by a convenient disposition of the minute parts of a portion of matter may contrive bodies durable enough, and of this, or that, or the other Consistence, without being oblig'd to make use of all, much less of any Determinate quantity of each of the five Elements, or of the three Principles to compound such bodies of. And I have (pursues Carneades) something wonder'd, Chymists should not consider, that there is scarce any body in Nature so permanent and indissoluble as Glass; which yet themselves teach us may be made of bare Ashes, brought to fusion by the meer Violence of the Fire; so that, since Ashes are granted to consist but of pure Salt and simple Earth, sequestred from all the other Principles or Elements, they must acknowledge, That even Art it self can of two Elements only, or, if you please, one Principle and one Element, compound a Body more durable then almost any in the World. Which being undeniable, how will they prove that Nature cannot compound Mixt Bodies, and even durable Ones, under all the five Elements or material Principles.
But to insist any longer on this Occasional Disquisition, Touching their Opinion that would Establish five Elements, were to remember as little as You did before, that the Debate of this matter is no part of my first undertaking; and consequently, that I have already spent time enough in what I look back upon but as a digression, or at best an Excursion.
And thus, Eleutherius, (sayes Carneades) having at length gone through the four Considerations I propos'd to Discourse unto you, I hold it not unfit, for fear my having insisted so long on each of them may have made you forget their Series, briefly to repeat them by telling you, that
Since, in the first place, it may justly be doubted whether or no the Fire be, as Chymists suppose it, the genuine and Universal Resolver of mixt Bodies;
Since we may doubt, in the next place, whether or no all the Distinct Substances that may be obtain'd from a mixt body by the Fire were pre-existent there in the formes in which they were separated from it;
Since also, though we should grant the Substances separable from mixt Bodies by the fire to have been their component Ingredients, yet the Number of such substances does not appear the same in all mixt Bodies; some of them being Resoluble into more differing substances than three, and Others not being Resoluble into so many as three.
And Since, Lastly, those very substances that are thus separated are not for the most part pure and Elementary bodies, but new kinds of mixts;
Since, I say, these things are so, I hope you will allow me to inferr, that the Vulgar Experiments (I might perchance have Added, the Arguments too) wont to be Alledg'd by Chymists to prove, that their three Hypostatical Principles do adequately compose all mixt Bodies, are not so demonstrative as to reduce a wary Person to acquiesce in their Doctrine, which, till they Explain and prove it better, will by its perplexing darkness be more apt to puzzle then satisfy considering men, and will to them appear incumbred with no small Difficulties.
And from what has been hitherto deduc'd (continues Carneades) we may Learn, what to Judge of the common Practice of those Chymists, who because they have found that Diverse compound Bodies (for it will not hold in All) can be resolv'd into, or rather can be brought to afford two or three differing Substances more then the Soot and Ashes, whereinto the naked fire commonly divides them in our Chymnies, cry up their own Sect for the Invention of a New Philosophy, some of them, as Helmont, &c. styling themselves Philosophers by the Fire; and the most part not only ascribing, but as far as in them lies, engrossing to those of their Sect the Title of PHILOSOPHERS.
But alas, how narrow is this Philosophy, that reaches but to some of those compound Bodies, which we find but upon, or in the crust or outside of our terrestrial Globe, which is it self but a point in comparison of the vast extended Universe, of whose other and greater parts the Doctrine of the Tria Prima does not give us an Account! For what does it teach us, either of the Nature of the Sun, which Astronomers affirme to be eight-score and odd times bigger then the whole Earth? or of that of those numerous fixt Starrs, which, for ought we know, would very few, if any of them, appear inferiour in bulke and brightness to the Sun, if they were as neer us as He? What does the knowing that Salt, sulphur and Mercury, are the Principles of Mixt Bodies, informe us of the Nature of that vast, fluid, and AEtherial Substance, that seemes to make up the interstellar, and consequently much the greatest part of the World? for as for the opinion commonly ascrib'd to Paracelsus, as if he would have not only the four Peripatetick Elements, but even the Celestial parts of the Universe to consist of his three Principles, since the modern Chymists themselves have not thought so groundless a conceit worth their owning, I shall not think it Worth my confuting.
But I should perchance forgive the Hypothesis I have been all this while examining, if, though it reaches but to a very little part of the World, it did at least give us a satisfactory account of those things to which 'tis said to reach. But I find not, that it gives us any other then a very imperfect information even about mixt Bodies themselves: For how will the knowledge of the Tria Prima discover to us the Reason, why the Loadstone drawes a Needle and disposes it to respect the Poles, and yet seldom precisely points at them? how will this Hypothesis teach Us how a Chick is formed in the Egge, or how the Seminal Principles of Mint, Pompions, and other Vegitables, that I mention'd to You above, can fashion Water into Various Plants, each of them endow'd with its peculiar and determinate shape, and with divers specifick and discriminating Qualities? How does this Hypothesis shew us, how much Salt, how much Sulphur, and how much Mercury must be taken to make a Chick or a Pompion? and if We know that, what Principle is it, that manages these Ingredients, and contrives (for instance) such Liquors as the White and Yelk of an Egge into such a variety of Textures as is requisite to fashion the Bones, Veines, Arteries, Nerves, Tendons, Feathers, Blood, and other parts of a Chick; and not only to fashion each Limbe, but to connect them altogether, after that manner that is most congruous to the perfection of the Animal which is to Consist of Them? For to say, that some more fine and subtile part of either or all the Hypostatical Principles is the Director in all this business, and the Architect of all this Elaborate structure, is to give one occasion to demand again, what proportion and way of mixture of the Tria Prima afforded this Architectonick Spirit, and what Agent made so skilful and happy a mixture? And the Answer to this Question, if the Chymists will keep themselves within their three Principles, will be lyable to the same Inconvenience, that the Answer to the former was. And if it were not to intrench upon the Theame of a Friend of ours here present, I could easily prosecute the Imperfections of the Vulgar Chymists Philosophy, and shew you, that by going about to explicate by their three Principles, I say not, all the abstruse Properties of mixt Bodies, but even such Obvious and more familiar Phaenomena as Fluidity and Firmness, The Colours and Figures of Stones, Minerals, and other compound Bodies, The Nutrition of either Plants or Animals, the Gravity of Gold or Quicksilver compar'd with Wine or Spirit of Wine; By attempting, I say, to render a reason of these (to omit a thousand others as difficult to account for) from any proportion of the three simple Ingredients, Chymists will be much more likely to discredit themselves and their Hypothesis, then satisfy an intelligent Inquirer after Truth.
But (interposes Eleutherus) [Transcriber's Note: Eleutherius] This Objection seems no more then may be made against the four Peripatetick Elements. And indeed almost against any other Hypothesis, that pretends by any Determinate Number of Material Ingredients to render a reason of the Phaenomena of Nature. And as for the use of the Chymical Doctrine of the three Principles, I suppose you need not be told by me, that The great Champion of it, The Learned Sennertus, assignes this noble use of the Tria Prima, That from Them, as the neerest and most Proper Principles, may be Deduc'd and Demonstrated the Properties which are in Mixt Bodies, and which cannot be Proximately (as They speak) deduc'd from the Elements. And This, sayes he, is chiefly Apparent, when we Inquire into the Properties and Faculties of Medecines. And I know (continues Eleutherius) That the Person You have assum'd, of an Opponent of the Hermetick Doctrine, will not so far prevaile against your Native and wonted Equity, as To keep You from acknowledging that Philosophy is much beholden to the Notions and Discoveries of Chymists.
[Footnote 23: Senn. de Cons. & Dissen. p. 165.]
If the Chymists You speak of (Replyes Carneades) had been so modest, or so Discreet, as to propose their Opinion of the Tria Prima, but as a Notion useful among Others, to increase Humane knowledge, they had deserv'd more of our thanks; and less of our Opposition; but since the Thing that they pretend is not so much to contribute a Notion toward the Improvement of Philosophy, as to make this Notion attended [Errata: (attended] by a few lesse considerable ones) pass for a New Philosophy itself. Nay, since they boast so much of this phancie of theirs, that the famous Quercetanus scruples not to write, that if his most certain Doctrine of the three Principles were sufficiently Learned, Examin'd, and Cultivated, it would easily Dispel all the Darkness that benights our minds, and bring in a Clear Light, that would remove all Difficulties. This School affording Theorems and Axiomes irrefragable, and to be admitted without Dispute by impartial Judges; and so useful withal, as to exempt us from the necessity of having recourse, for want of the knowledg of causes, to that Sanctuary of the igorant [Transcriber's Note: ignorant], Occult Qualities; since, I say, this Domestick Notion of the Chymists is so much overvalued by them, I cannot think it unfit, they should be made sensible of their mistake; and be admonish'd to take in more fruitful and comprehensive Principles, if they mean to give us an account of the Phaenomena of Nature; and not confine themselves and (as far as they can) others to such narrow Principles, as I fear will scarce inable them to give an account (I mean an intelligible one) of the tenth part (I say not) of all the Phaenomena of Nature; but even of all such as by the Leucippian or some of the other sorts of Principles may be plausibly enough explicated. And though I be not unwilling to grant, that the incompetency I impute to the Chymical Hypothesis is but the same which may be Objected against that of the four Elements, and divers other Doctrines that have been maintain'd by Learned men; yet since 'tis the Chymical Hypothesis only which I am now examining, I see not why, if what I impute to it be a real inconvenience, either it should cease to be so, or I should scruple to object it, because either Theories are lyable thereunto, as well as the Hermetical. For I know not why a Truth should be thought lesse a Truth for the being fit to overthrow variety of Errors.
I am oblig'd to You (continues Carneades, a little smiling) for the favourable Opinion You are pleas'd to express of my Equity, if there be no design in it. But I need not be tempted by an Artifice, or invited by a Complement, to acknowledge the great service that the Labours of Chymists have done the Lovers of useful Learning; nor even on this occasion shall their Arrogance hinder my Gratitude. But since we are as well examining to [Errata: delete "to"] the truth of their Doctrine as the merit of their industry, I must in order to the investigation of the first, continue a reply, to talk at the rate of the part I have assum'd; And tell you, that when I acknowledg the usefulness of the Labours of Spagyrists to Natural Philosophy, I do it upon the score of their experiments, not upon that of Their Speculations; for it seems to me, that their Writings, as their Furnaces, afford as well smoke as light; and do little lesse obscure some subjects, then they illustrate others. And though I am unwilling to deny, that 'tis difficult for a man to be an Accomplisht Naturalist, that is a stranger to Chymistry, yet I look upon the common Operations and practices of Chymists, almost as I do on the Letters of the Alphabet, without whose knowledge 'tis very hard for a man to become a Philosopher; and yet that knowledge is very far from being sufficient to make him One.
But (sayes Carneades, resuming a more serious Look) to consider a little more particularly what you alledg in favour of the Chymical Doctrine of the Tria Prima, though I shall readily acknowledge it not to be unuseful, and that the Divisers [Errata: devisers] and Embracers of it have done the Common-Wealth of Learning some service, by helping to destroy that excessive esteem, or rather veneration, wherewith the Doctrine of the four Elements was almost as generally as undeservedly entertain'd; yet what has been alledg'd concerning the usefulness of the Tria Prima, seems to me liable to no contemptible Difficulties.
And first, as for the very way of Probation, which the more Learned and more Sober Champions of the Chymical cause employ to evince the Chymical Principles in Mixt Bodies, it seems to me to be farr enough from being convincing. This grand and leading Argument, your Sennertus Himself, who layes Great weight upon it, and tells us, that the most Learned Philosophers employ this way of Reasoning to prove the most important things, proposes thus: Ubicunque (sayes he) pluribus eaedem affectiones & qualitates insunt, per commune quoddam Principium insint necesse est, sicut omnia sunt Gravia propter terram, calida propter Ignem. At Colores, Odores, Sapores, esse [Greek: phlogiston] & similia alia, mineralibus, Metallis, Gemmis, Lapidibus, Plantis, Animalibus insunt. Ergo per commune aliquod principium, & subiectum, insunt. At tale principium non sunt Elementa. Nullam enim habent ad tales qualitates producendas potentiam. Ergo alia principia, unde fluant, inquirenda sunt.
In the Recital of this Argument, (sayes Carneades) I therefore thought fit to retain the Language wherein the Author proposes it, that I might also retain the propriety of some Latine Termes, to which I do not readily remember any that fully answer in English. But as for the Argumentation it self, 'tis built upon a precarious supposition, that seems to me neither Demonstrable nor true; for, how does it appear, that where the same Quality is to be met with in many Bodies, it must belong to them upon the Account of some one Body whereof they all partake? (For that the Major of our Authors Argument is to be Understood of the Material Ingredients of bodies, appears by the Instances of Earth and Fire he annexes to explain it.) For to begin with that very Example which he is pleas'd to alledge for himself; how can he prove, that the Gravity of all Bodies proceeds from what they participate of the Element of Earth? Since we see, that not only common Water, but the more pure Distill'd Rain Water is heavy; and Quicksilver is much heavier than Earth it self; though none of my Adversaries has yet prov'd, that it contains any of that Element. And I the Rather make use of this Example of Quicksilver, because I see not how the Assertors of the Elements will give any better Account of it then the Chymists. For if it be demanded how it comes to be Fluid, they will answer, that it participates much of the Nature of Water. And indeed, according to them, Water may be the Predominant Element in it, since we see, that several Bodies which by Distillation afford Liquors that weigh more then their Caput Mortuum do not yet consist of Liquor enough to be Fluid. Yet if it be demanded how Quicksilver comes to be so heavy, then 'tis reply'd, that 'tis by reason of the Earth that abounds in it; but since, according to them, it must consist also of air, and partly of Fire, which they affirm to be light Elements, how comes it that it should be so much heavier then Earth of the same bulk, though to fill up the porosities and other Cavities it be made up into a mass or paste with Water, which it self they allow to be a heavy Element. But to returne to our Spagyrists, we see that Chymical Oyles and fixt Salts, though never so exquisitely purify'd and freed from terrestrial parts, do yet remain ponderous enough. And Experience has inform'd me, that a pound, for instance, of some of the heaviest Woods, as Guajacum that will sink in Water, being burnt to Ashes will yield a much less weight of them (whereof I found but a small part to be Alcalyzate) then much lighter Vegetables: As also that the black Charcoal of it will not sink as did the wood, but swim; which argues that the Differing Gravity of Bodies proceeds chiefly from their particular Texture, as is manifest in Gold, the closest and Compactest of Bodies, which is many times heavier then we can possibly make any parcell of Earth of the same Bulk. I will not examine, what may be argu'd touching the Gravity or Quality Analagous thereunto, of even Celestial bodies, from the motion of the spots about the Sun, d [Errata: and] from the appearing equality of the suppos'd Seas in the Moon; nor consider how little those Phaemonea [Transcriber's Note: Phaenomena] would agree with what Sennertus presumes concerning Gravity. But further to invalidate his supposition, I shall demand, upon what Chymical Principle Fluidity depends? And yet Fluidity is, two or three perhaps excepted, the most diffused quality of the universe, and far more General then almost any other of those that are to be met with in any of the Chymicall Principles, or Aristotelian Elements; since not only the Air, but that vast expansion we call Heaven, in comparison of which our Terrestrial Globe (supposing it were all Solid) is but a point; and perhaps to [Errata: too] the Sun and the fixt Stars are fluid bodies. I demand also, from which of the Chymical Principles Motion flowes; which yet is an affection of matter much more General then any that can be deduc'd from any of the three Chymical Principles. I might ask the like Question concerning Light, which is not only to be found in the Kindl'd Sulphur of mixt Bodis [Transcriber's Note: Bodies], but (not to mention those sorts of rotten Woods, and rotten Fish that shine in the Dark) in the tails of living Glow-wormes, and in the Vast bodies of the Sun and Stars. I would gladly also know, in which of the three Principles the Quality, we call Sound, resides as in its proper Subject; since either Oyl falling upon Oyle, or Spirit upon Spirit, or Salt upon Salt, in a great quantity, and from a considerable height, will make a noise, or if you please, create a sound, and (that the objection may reach the Aristotelians) so will also water upon water, and Earth upon Earth. And I could name other qualities to be met within divers bodies, of which I suppose my Adversaries will not in haste assign any Subject, upon whose Account it must needs be, that the quality belongs to all the other several bodies.
And, before I proceed any further, I must here invite you to compare the supposition we are examining, with some other of the Chymical Tenents. For, first they do in effect teach that more then one quality may belong to, and be deduc'd from, one Principle. For, they ascribe to Salt Tasts, and the power of Coagulation; to sulphur, as well Odours as inflamableness; And some of them ascribe to Mercury, Colours; as all of them do effumability, as they speak. And on the other side, it is evident that Volatility belongs in common to all the three Principles, and to Water too. For 'tis manifest, that Chymical Oyles are Volatile; That also divers Salts Emerging, upon the Analysis of many Concretes, are very Volatile, is plain from the figitiveness [Errata: fugitivenesse] of Salt, of Harts-horne, flesh, &c. ascending in the Distillation of those bodies. How easily water may be made to ascend in Vapours, there is scarce any body that has not observ'd. And as for what they call the Mercuriall Principle of bodies, that is so apt to be rais'd in the form of Steam, that Paracelsus and others define it by that aptness to fly up; so that (to draw that inference by the way) it seems not that Chymists have been accurate in their Doctrine of qualities, and their respective Principles, since they both derive several qualities from the same Principle, and must ascribe the same quality to almost all their Principles and other bodies besides. And thus much for the first thing taken for granted, without sufficient proof, by your Sennertus: And to add that upon the Bye (continues Carneades) we may hence learn what to judge of the way of Argumentation, which that fierce Champion of the Aristotelians against the Chymists, Anthonius Guntherus Billichius employes, where he pretends to prove against Beguinus, that not only the four Elements do immediately concur to Constitute every mixt body, and are both present in it, and obtainable from it upon its Dissolution; but that in the Tria Prima themselves, whereinto Chymists are wont to resolve mixt Bodies, each of them clearly discovers it self to consist of four Elements. The Ratiocination it self (pursues Carneades) being somewhat unusual, I did the other Day Transcribe it, and (sayes He, pulling a Paper out of his Pocket) it is this. Ordiamur, cum Beguino, a ligno viridi, quod si concremetur, videbis in sudore Aquam, in fumo Aerem, in flamma & Prunis Ignem, Terram in cineribus: Quod si Beguino placuerit ex eo colligere humidum aquosum, cohibere humidum oleaginosum, extrahere ex cineribus salem; Ego ipsi in unoquoque horum seorsim quatuor Elementa ad oculum demonstrabo, eodem artificio quo in ligno viridi ea demonstravi. Humorem aquosum admovebo Igni. Ipse Aquam Ebullire videbit, in Vapore Aerem conspiciet, Ignem sentiet in aestu, plus minus Terrae in sedimento apparebit. Humor porro Oleaginosus aquam humiditate & fluiditate per se, accensus vero Ignem flamma prodit, fumo Aerem, fuligine, nidore & amurca terram. Salem denique ipse Beguinus siccum vocat & Terrestrem, qui tamen nec fusus Aquam, nec caustica vi ignem celare potest; ignis vero Violentia in halitus versus nec ab Aere se alienum esse demonstrat; Idem de Lacte, de Ovis, de semine Lini, de Garyophyllis, de Nitro, de sale Marino, denique de Antimonio, quod fuit de Ligno viridi Judicium; eadem de illorum partibus, quas Beguinus adducit, sententia, quae de viridis ligni humore aquoso, quae de liquore ejusdem oleoso, quae de sale fuit.
[Footnote 24: In Thessalo redivivo. Cap. 10. pag. 73. & 74.]
This bold Discourse (resumes Carneades, putting up again his Paper,) I think it were not very difficult to confute, if his Arguments were as considerable as our time will probably prove short for the remaining and more necessary Part of my Discourse; wherefore referring You for an Answer to what was said concerning the Dissipated Parts of a burnt piece of green Wood, to what I told Themistius on the like occasion, I might easily shew You, how sleightly and superficially our Guntherus talks of the dividing the flame of Green Wood into his four Elements; When he makes that vapour to be air, which being caught in Glasses and condens'd, presently discovers it self to have been but an Aggregate of innumerable very minute drops of Liquor; and When he would prove the Phlegmes being compos'd of Fire by that Heat which is adventitious to the Liquor, and ceases upon the absence of what produc'd it (whether that be an Agitation proceeding from the motion of the External Fire, or the presence of a Multitude of igneous Atomes pervading the pores of the Vessel, and nimbly permeating the whole Body of the Water) I might, I say, urge these and divers other Weaknesses of His Discourse. But I will rather take Notice of what is more pertinent to the Occasion of this Digression, namely, that Taking it for Granted, that Fluidity (with which he unwarily seems to confound Humidity) must proceed from the Element of Water, he makes a Chymical Oyle to Consist of that Elementary Liquor; and yet in the very next Words proves, that it consists also of Fire, by its Inflamability; not remembring that exquisitely pure Spirit of Wine is both more Fluid then Water it self, and yet will Flame all away without leaving the Least Aqueous Moisture behind it; and without such an Amurca and Soot as he would Deduce the presence of Earth from. So that the same Liquor may according to his Doctrine be concluded by its great Fluidity to be almost all Water; and by its burning all away to be all disguised Fire. And by the like way of Probation our Author would shew that the fixt salt of Wood is compounded of the four Elements. For (sayes he) being turn'd by the violence of the Fire into steames, it shews it self to be of kin to Air; whereas I doubt whether he ever saw a true fixt Salt (which to become so, must have already endur'd the violence of an Incinerating Fire) brought by the Fire alone to ascend in the Forme of Exhalations; but I do not doubt that if he did, and had caught those Exhalations in convenient Vessels, he would have found them as well as the Steames of common Salt, &c. of a Saline and not an Aereal Nature. And whereas our Authour takes it also for Granted, that the Fusibility of Salt must be Deduc'd from Water, it is indeed so much the Effect of heat variously agitating the Minute Parts of a Body, without regard to Water, that Gold (which by its being the heavyest and fixtest of Bodies, should be the most Earthy) will be brought to Fusion by a strong Fire; which sure is more likely to drive away then increase its Aqueous Ingredient, if it have any; and on the other side, for want of a sufficient agitation of its minute parts, Ice is not Fluid, but Solid; though he presumes also that the Mordicant Quality of Bodies must proceed from a fiery ingredient; whereas, not to urge that the Light and inflamable parts, which are the most likely to belong to the Element of Fire, must probably be driven away by that time the violence of the Fire has reduc'd the Body to ashes; Not to urge this, I I [Transcriber's Note: extra "I" in original] say, nor that Oyle of Vitriol which quenches Fire, burnes the Tongue and flesh of those that Unwarily tast or apply it, as a caustick doth, it is precarious to prove the Presence of Fire in fixt salts from their Caustick power, unlesse it were first shewn, that all the Qualities ascribed to salts must be deduc'd from those of the Elements; which, had I Time, I could easily manifest to be no easy talk. And not to mention that our Authour makes a Body as Homogeneous as any he can produce for Elementary, belong both to Water and Fire, Though it be neither Fluid nor Insipid, like Water; nor light and Volatile, like Fire; he seems to omit in this Anatomy the Element of Earth, save That he intimates, That the salt may pass for that; But since a few lines before, he takes Ashes for Earth, I see not how he will avoid an Inconsistency either betwixt the Parts of his Discourse or betwixt some of them and his Doctrine. For since There is a manifest Difference betwixt the Saline and the insipid Parts of Ashes, I see not how substances That Disagree in such Notable Qualities can be both said to be Portions of an Element, whose Nature requires that it be Homogeneous, especially in this case where an Analysis by the Fire is suppos'd to have separated it from the admixture of other Elements, which are confess'd by most Aristotelians to be Generally found in common Earth, and to render it impure. And sure if when we have consider'd for how little a Disparities sake the Peripateticks make these Symbolizing Bodies Aire and Fire to be two Distinct Elements, we shall also consider that the Saline part of Ashes is very strongly Tasted, and easily soluble in Water; whereas the other part of the same Ashes is insipid and indissoluble in the same Liquor: Not to add, that the one substance is Opacous, and the other somewhat Diaphanous, nor that they differ in Divers other Particulars; If we consider those things, I say, we shall hardly think that both these Substances are Elementary Earth; And as to what is sometimes objected, that their Saline Tast is only an Effect of Incineration and Adustion, it has been elsewhere fully reply'd to, when propos'd by Themistius, and where it has been prov'd against him, that however insipid Earth may perhaps by Additaments be turn'd into Salt, yet 'tis not like it should be so by the Fire alone: For we see that when we refine Gold and Silver, the violentest Fires We can Employ on them give them not the least Rellish of Saltness. And I think Philoponus has rightly observ'd, that the Ashes of some Concretes contain very little salt if any at all; For Refiners suppose that bone-ashes are free from it, and therefore make use of them for Tests and Cuppels, which ought to be Destitute of Salt, lest the Violence of the Fire should bring them to Vitrification; And having purposely and heedfully tasted a Cuppel made of only bone-ashes and fair water, which I had caus'd to be expos'd to a Very Violent Fire, acuated by the Blast of a large pair of Double Bellows, I could not perceive that the force of the Fire had imparted to it the least Saltness, or so much as made it less Insipid.
But (sayes Carneades) since neither You nor I love Repetitions, I shall not now make any of what else was urg'd against Themistius but rather invite You to take notice with me that when our Authour, though a Learned Man, and one that pretends skill enough in Chymistry to reforme the whole Art, comes to make good his confident Undertaking, to give us an occular Demonstration of the immediate Presence of the four Elements in the resolution of Green Wood, He is fain to say things that agree very little with one another. For about the beginning of that passage of His lately recited to you, he makes the sweat as he calls it of the green Wood to be Water, the smoke Aire, the shining Matter Fire, and the Ashes Earth; whereas a few lines after, he will in each of these, nay (as I just now noted) in one Distinct Part of the Ashes, shew the four Elements. So that either the former Analysis must be incompetent to prove that Number of Elements, since by it the burnt Concrete is not reduc'd into Elementary Bodies, but into such as are yet each of them compounded of the four Elements; or else these Qualities from which he endeavours to deduce the presence of all the Elements, in the fixt salt, and each of the other separated substances, will be but a precarious way of probation: especially if you consider, that the extracted Alcali of Wood, being for ought appears at least as similar a Body as any that the Peripateticks can shew us, if its differing Qualities must argue the presence of Distinct Elements, it will scarce be possible for them by any way they know of employing the fire upon a Body, to shew that any Body is a Portion of a true Element: And this recals to my mind, that I am now but in an occasional excussion, which aiming only to shew that the Peripateticks as well as the Chymists take in our present Controversie something for granted which they ought to prove, I shall returne to my exceptions, where I ended the first of them, and further tell you, that neither is that the only precarious thing that I take notice of in Sennertus his Argumentation; for when he inferrs, that because the Qualities he Mentions as Colours, Smels, and the like, belong not to the Elements; they therefore must to the Chymical Principles, he takes that for granted, which will not in haste be prov'd; as I might here manifest, but that I may by and by have a fitter opportunity to take notice of it. And thus much at present may suffice to have Discours'd against the Supposition, that almost every Quality must have some [Greek: dektikon proton], as they speak, some Native receptacle, wherein as in its proper Subject of inhesion it peculiarly resides, and on whose account that quality belongs to the other Bodies, Wherein it is to be met with. Now this Fundamental supposition being once Destroy'd, whatsoever is built upon it, must fall to ruine of it self.
But I consider further, that Chymists are (for ought I have found) far from being able to explicate by any of the Tria Prima, those qualities which they pretend to belong primarily unto it, and in mixt Bodies to Deduce from it. Tis true indeed, that such qualities are not explicable by the four Elements; but it will not therefore follow, that they are so by the three hermetical Principles; and this is it that seems to have deceiv'd the Chymists, and is indeed a very common mistake amongst most Disputants, who argue as if there could be but two Opinions concerning the Difficulty about which they contend; and consequently they inferr, that if their Adversaries Opinion be Erroneous, Their's must needs be the Truth; whereas many questions, and especially in matters Physiological, may admit of so many Differing Hypotheses, that 'twill be very inconsiderate and fallacious to conclude (except where the Opinions are precisely Contradictory) the Truth of one from the falsity of another. And in our particular case 'tis no way necessary, that the Properties of mixt Bodies must be explicable either by the Hermetical, or the Aristotelian Hypothesis, there being divers other and more plausible wayes of explaining them, and especially that, which deduces qualities from the motion, figure, and contrivance of the small parts of Bodies; as I think might be shewn, if the attempt were as seasonable, as I fear it would be Tedious.