Francis Bacon.

The works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 1) online

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from it. The plaistei* alone would pen the humour
already contained in the part, and so exasperate it, as
well as forbid new humour. Therefore they must be
all taken in order, as is said. The poultis is to be laid
to for two or three hours : the fomentation for a quar-
ter of an hour, or somewhat better, being used hot, and
seven or eight times repeated : the plaister to continue
on still, till the part be well contirmed.

Experiment solitary toncliing cure by custom.

61. There is a secret way of cure, unpractised, by
assuetude of tliat whicli in itself luu'teth. Poisons
have been made, by some, familiar, as hath been said.
Ordinary keepers of the sick of the plague arc seldom
infected. Enduring of tortures, by custom, hath been
made more easy : the brooking of enormous quantity
of meats, and so of wine or strong drink, hath been, by
custom, made to be without surfeit or drunkenness.


And generally, diseases tliat arc clironical, as coughs,
phthisics, some kinds of ]ialsics, lunacies, etc. are most
dangerous at the first : therefore a wise physician will
consider whether a disease be incurable ; or whether
the just cure of it be not full of peril ; and if he find
it to be such, let him resort to palliation ; and allevi-
ate the symptom, without busying himself too nmch
with the perfect cure : and many times, if the patient
be indeed patient, that course will exceed all expecta-
tion. Likewise the patient himself may strive, by lit-
tle and little, to overcome the symptom in the exacer-
bation, and so, by time, turn suffering into nature.

Experiment solitary touching cure by excess.

62. Divers diseases, especially chronical, such as
quartan agues, are sometimes cured by surfeit and ex-
cesses : as excess of meat, excess of drink, extraordi-
nary fasting, extraordinary stirring or lassitude, and the
like. The cause is, for that diseases of continuance get
an adventitious strength from custom, besides their ma-
terial cause from the humours ; so that the breaking
of the custom doth leave them only to their first cause :
which if it be any thing weak will fall off. Besides,
such excesses do excite and spur nature, which there-
upon rises more forcibly against the disease.

Experiment solitary touching cure by motion of consent.

63. There is in the body of man a great consent in
the motion of the several parts. We see, it is childrens
sport, to prove whether they can rub upon their breast
with one hand, and pat upon their forehead with an-
other ; and straightways they shall sometimes rub with
both hands, or pat with both hands. We see, that
when the spirits that come to the nostrils expel a bad
scent, the stomach is ready to expel by vomit. We
find that in consumptions of the lungs, when nature
cannot expel by cough, men fall into fluxes of the belly,
and then they die. So in pestilent diseases, if they
cannot be expelled by sweat, they fall likewise into
looseness ; and that is commonly mortal. Therefore
physicians should ingeniously contrive, how by mo-
tions that are in their power, they may excite inward


motions that are not in their power, by consent : as by
the stench of feathers, or the like, they cure the rising
of the mother.

Experiment solitary toiiching aire of diseases which are con-
trary to predisposition.

64. Hippocrates' aphorism, " in morbis minus," is a
good profound aphorism. It importeth, that diseases
contrary to the complexion, age, sex, season of the year,
diet, etc. are more dangerous than those that are con-
current. A man would think it should be otherwise;
for that, when the accident of sickness, and the natu-
ral disposition, do second the one the other, the disease
should be more forcible : and so, no doubt, it is, if you
suppose like quantity of matter. But that which
maketh good the aphorism is, because such diseases do
shew a greater collection of matter, by that they are
able to overcome those natural inclinations to the con-
trary. And therefore in diseases of that kind, let the
physician apply himself more to purgation than to al-
teration ; because the offence is in the quantity ; and
the qualities are rectified of themselves.

Experiment solitary touching preparations before purging^
and settling of the body afterwards.

(o5. Physicians do wisely prescribe, that there be
preparatives used before just purgations ; for certain
it is, that purgers do many times great hurt, if the
body be not accommodated both before and after the
purging. The hurt that they do, for want of prepa-
ration before purging, is by the sticking of the hu-
mours, and their not coming fair away ; which causetJi
in the body great perturbations and ill accidents dur-
ing the purging ; and also the diminishing and dul-
ling of the working of the medicine itself, that it purg-
eth not sufficiently : therefore the work of preparation
is double ; to make the humours fluid and mature, and
to make the passages more open : for both those help
to make the humours pass readily. And for the former
of these, syrups are most profitable ; and for the latter,
apozemes, or preparing broths ; clysters also help, lest
the medicine stop in the guts, and work gripingly.
But it is true, that bodies abounding with humours,


and fat bodies, and open weather, are preparatives in
themselves ; because they make the humours more
fluid. But let a physician beware, how he purge after
hard frosty weather, and in a lean body, without pre-
paration. For the hurt that they may do after purg-
ing, it is caused by the lodging of some humours in ill
places : for it is certain, that tliere be humours, which
somewhere placed in the body, are quiet, and do little
hurt ; in other places, especially passages, do much
mischief. Therefore it is good, after purging, to use
apozemes and broths, not so much opening as those
used before purging ; but abstersive and mundifying
clysters also are good to conclude with, to draw away
the reliqucs of the humours, that may have descended
to the lower region of the body.

Experlmeui solitary touching stanching of blood.

66. Blood is stanch etl divers ways. First, by astrhi-
gents, and repercussive medicines. Secondly, by draw-
ing of the s})irits and blood inwards ; which is done
by cold ; as iron or a stone laid to the neck doth stanch
the bleeding at the nose ; also it hath been tried, that
the testicles being ])ut into sharp vinegar, hath made
a sudden recess of the spirits, and stanched blood.
Thirdly, by the recess of the blood by sympathy. So
it hath been tried, that the part that bleedeth, being
thrust into the body of a capon or sheep, new ript and
bleeding, hath stanched blood ; the blood, as it seem-
cth, sucking and drawing up, by similitude of sub-
stance, the blood it meeteth with, and so itself going
back. Fourthly, by custom and time ; so the Prince
of Orange, in his first hurt by the Spanish boy, could
find no means to stanch the blood, either by medicine
or ligament ; but was fain to have the orifice of the
wound stopped by mens thumbs, succeeding one an-
other, for the space at the least of two days ; and at the
last the blood by custom only retired. There is a fifth
way also in use, to let blood in an adverse part, for a

Experiment solitary touching change of aliments and medicines.

67. It helpeth, both in medicine and aliment, to
change and not to continue the same medicine and ali-


ment still. The cause is, for that nature, by continual
use of any thing, groweth to a satiety and dulness,
either of appetite or working. And we see thatassuetude
of things hurtful doth make tlieni lose their force to
hurt ; as poison, which with use some have brought
themselves to brook. And therefore it is no marvel
though things helpful by custom lose their force to
help: I count intermission almost the same thing with
change ; for that, that Imth been intermitted, is after
a sort new.

Experiment solitary touching diets.

68. It is found by experience, that in diets of guai-
acum, sarza, and the like, especially if they be strict,
the patient is more troubled in the beginning than
after continuance ; which hath made some of the more
delicate sort of patients give them over in the midst;
supposing that if those diets trouble them so much at
first, they shall not be able to endure them to the end.
But the cause is, for that all those diets do dry up hu-
mours, rheums, and the like ; and they cannot dry up
until they have first attenuated ; and while the hu-
mour is attenuated, it is more fluid than it was before,
and troubleth the body a great deal more, until it be
dried up and consumed. And therefore patients must
expect a due time, and not keck at them at the first.

Experiments in consort touching the production of cold.

69. The producing of cold is a thing very worthy the
inquisition ; both for the use and disclosure of causes.
For heat and cold are nature's two hands, whereby she
chiefly worketh ; and heat we have in readiness, in re-
spect of the fire ; but for cold we must stay till it
cometh, or seek it in deep caves, or high mountains :
and when all is done, we cannot obtain it in any great
degree : for furnaces of fire are far hotter than a sum-
mer's sun ; but vaults or hills are not much colder than
a winter's frost.

Tlic first means of producing cold, is that which
nature prcsenteth us withal; namely, the expiring
of cold out of the inward parts of the earth in winter,
when the sun hath no power to overcome it ; the earth


being, as hath been noted by some, " primum frigi-
dum." This hath been asserted, as well by ancient
as by modern philosophers : it was the tenet of Parme-
nides. It was the opinion of the author of the discourse
in Plutarch, for I take it that book was not Plutarch's
own, " l)e primo frigido." It was the opinion of Te-
lesius, who hath renewed the philosophy of Parmeni-
des, and is the l)est of the no\'elists.

70. The second cause of cold is the contact of cold
bodies ; for cold is active and transiti\e into bodies
adjacent, as well as heat : which is seen in those things
that are touched with snow or cold water. And there-
fore, whosoever will be an inquirer into natm'e, let him
resort to a conservatory of snow and ice ; such as they
use for delicacy to cool wine in summer : which is a
poor and contemptible use, in respect of other uses,
that may be made of such conservatories.

71. The third cause is the primary nature of all
tangible bodies : for it is well to be noted, that all
things whatsoever, tangible, are of themselves cold ;
exce})t they have an accessory heat by fire, life, or mo-
tion : for even the spiiit of wine, or chemical oils, which
are so hot in operation, arc to tlie first touch cold; and
air itself compressed, and condensed a little by blow-
ing, is cold.

72. The fourth cause is the density of the body ;
for all dense bodies are colder than most other bodies
as metals, stone, glass ; and they are longer in heating
than softer bodies. And it is certain, that earth,
dense, tangible, hold all of the nature of cold. The
cause is, for that all matters tangible being cold, it
must needs follow, that where the matter is most con-
gregate, the cold is the greater.

7S. The fifth cause of cold, or rather of increase
and vehemency of cold, is a quick spirit inclosed in a
cold body : as will appear to any that shall attentive-
ly consider of nature in many instances. We see
nitre, which hath a quick spirit, is cold ; more cold to
the tongue than a stone ; so water is colder than oil,
because it hath a quicker spirit ; for all oil, though it
hath the tangible parts better digested than water.


yet hath it a duller spirit: so snow is colder than water,
because it hath more spirit within it ; so we see that
salt put to ice, as in the producing of the artificial ice,
increaseth the activity of cold : so some insecta which
have spirit of life, as snakes and silk-worms, are to the
touch cold : so quicksilver is the coldest of metals, be-
cause it is fullest of spirit.

74. The sixth cause of cold is the chasing and driv-
ing away of spirits, such as have some degree of heat :
for the banishing of the heat must needs leave any
body cold. This we see in the operation of opium and
stupefactives upon the spirits of living creatures : and
it were not amiss to try opium, by laying it upon the
top of a weather-glass, to see whether it will contract
the air : but I doubt it will not succeed ; for besides
that the virtue of opium will hardly penetrate through
such a body as glass, I conceive that opium, and the
like, make the spirits fly rather by malignity, than
by cold.

75. Seventhly, the same effect must follow upon the
exhaling or drawing out of the warm spirits, that doth
upon the flight of the spirits. There is an opinion,
that the moon is magnetical of heat, as the sun is of
cold and moisture : it were not amiss therefore to try
it, with warm waters ; the one exposed to the beams
of the moon, the other with some skreen betwixt the
beams of the moon and the water, as we use to the sun
for shade ; and to see whether the former will cool
sooner. And it were also good to inquire, what other
means there may be to draw forth the exile heat which
is in the air ; for that may be a secret of great power
to produce cold weather.

Experiments in consort touching the version and transmutation
of air into water.

We have formerly set down the means of turning
air into water, in the experiment 27. But because it
is magtiale naturce, and tendeth to the subduing of a
very great effect, and is also of manifold use, we will add
some instances in consort that give light thereunto.

76. It is reported by some of the ancients, that
sailors have used, every night, to hang fleeces of wool


on the sides of their ships, the wool towards the water;
and that they have crushed fresh water out of them,
in the morning for their use. And thus much we have
tried, tliat a quantity of wool tied loose together, be-
ing let down into a deep well, and hanging in the
middle, some three fathom from the water, for a night,
in the winter time ; increased in weight, as I now re-
member, to a fifth part.

77. It is reported by one of the ancients, that in
Lydia, near Pergamus, there were certain workmen in
time of wars fled into caves ; and the mouth of the
caves being stopped by the enemies, they were famished.
But long time after the dead bones were found ; and
some vessels which they had carried with them ; and
the vessels full of water ; and that water thicker, and
more towards ice, than common water : which is a no-
table instance of condensation and induration by biu-ial
under earth, in caves, for a long time ; and of version
also, as it should seem, of air into water; if any of
those vessels were empty. Try therefore a small blad-
der hung in snow, and the like in nitre, and the like
in quicksilver : and if you find the bladders fallen or
shrunk, you maybe sure the air is condensed by the cold
of those bodies, as it would be in a cave under earth.

?8. It is reported of very good credit, that in the
East Indies, if you set a tub of water open in a room
where cloves are kept, it will be drawn dry in twenty-
four hours ; though it stand at some distance from the s
cloves. In the country, they use many times, in deceit,
when their wool is new shorn, to set some pails of water
by in the same room, to increase the weight of the wool.
But it may be, that the heat of the wool, remaining
from the body of the sheep, or the heat gathered by
the lying close of the wool, helpeth to draw the wa-
tery vapour : but that is nothing to the Acrsion.

79. It is reported also credibly, that wool new shorn,
being laid casually upon a vessel of verjuice, after some
time had drunk up a great part of the verjuice, though
the vessel were whole without any flaw, and had not
the bimg-hole open. In this instance, there is, upon
the by, to be noted, the percolation or suing of the


verjuice througli the wood ; for verjuice of itself would
never have passed through the wood : so as, it seemeth,
it must be first in a kind of vapour, before it pass.

80. It is especially to be noted, that the cause that
doth facilitate the version of air into water, when the
air is not in gross, but subtilly mingled with tangible
bodies, is, as hath been partly touched before, for that
tangible bodies have an antipathy with air ; and if
they find any liquid body that is more dense near them,
they will draw it: and after they have drawn it, tlicy will
condense it more, and in effect incorporate it ; for we
see that a spunge, or wool, or sugar, or a woollen cloth,
being put but in part in water or wine, will draw the
liquor higher, and beyond the place where the water
or wine cometh. We see also, that wood, lute strings,
and the like, do swell in moist seasons ; as appearelh
by the breaking of the strings, the hard turning of
the pegs, and the hard drawing forth of boxes, and
opening of wainscot doors : which is a kind of infusion :
and is much like to an infusion in water, which will
make wood to swell ; as we see in the filling of the
chops of bowls, by laying them in water. But for that
part of these experiments which concerneth attraction,
we will reserve it to the proper title of attraction.

81. There is also a version of air into water seen
in the sweating of marbles and other stones ; and of
wainscot before and in moist weather. This must be,
either by some moisture the body yieldeth, or else by
the moist air thickened against the hard body. But it
is plain, that it is the latter ; for that we see wood
painted with oil colour, will sooner gather drops in a
moist night, than wood alone ; which is caused by the
smoothness and closeness ; which letteth in no part
of the vapour, and so turneth it back, and thickeneth
it into dew. We see also, that breathing upon a glass,
or smooth body, giveth a dew ; and in frosty mornings,
such as we call rime frosts, you shall find drops of dew
upon the inside of glass windows ; and the frost itself
upon the ground is but a version or condensation of
the moist vapours of the night, into a watery substance:
dews likewise, and rain, are but the returns of moist


vapours condensed ; the dew, by the cold only of the
sun's departure, which is the gentler cold; rains, by
the cold of that which they call the middle region of
the air ; which is the more violent cold.

82. It is very probable, as hath been touched, that
that which will turn w ater into ice, will likewise turn
air some degree nearer unto water. Therefore try the
experiment of the artificial turning water into ice,
whereof we shall speak in another place, with air in
place of water, and the ice about it. And although
it be a greater alteration to turn air into water, than
water into ice ; yet there is this hope, that by conti-
nuing the air longer time, the effect will follow : for
that artificial conversion of water into ice, is the work
of a few hours ; and this of air may be tried by a
month's space or the like.

Experiments in consort touching induration of bodies.

Induration, or lapidification of substances more soft,
is likewise another degree of condensation ; and is a
great alteration in nature. The effecting and accele-
rating thereof is very worthy to be inquired. It is
effected by three means. The first is by cold ; whose
property is to condense and constipate, as hath been
said. The second is by heat ; which is not proper but
by consequence ; for the heat doth attenuate ; and
by attenuation doth send forth the spirit and moister
part of a body ; and ujion that, the more gross of the
tangible parts do contract and serre themselves toge-
ther ; both to avoid vacuum, as they call it, and also
to munite themselves against the force of the fire,
which they have suffered. And the third is by assi-
milation ; when a hard body assimilateth a soft, being
contiguous to it.

The examples of indui'ation, taking them promis-
cuously, are many : as the generation of stones within
the earth, which at the first are but rude earth or clay ;
and so of minerals, which come, no doubt, at first
of juices concrete, which afterwards indurate : and so
of porcellane, which is an artificial cement, buried in
the earth a long time ; and so the making of brick


and tile : also the making of glass of a certain sand and
brake-roots, and some other matters ; also the exuda-
tions of rock-diamonds and crystal, which harden
with time ; also the indiu-ation of bead-amber, which
at first is a soft substance ; as appcareth by the flies
and spiders which are found in it ; and many more :
but we will speak of them distinctly.

83. For indurations bv cold, there be few trials of
it ; for we have no strong or intense cold here on the
surface of the earth, so near the beams of the sun,
and the heavens. The likeliest trial is by snow and
ice ; for as snow and ice, especially being holpen and
their cold activated by nitre, or salt, will turn water
into ice, and that in a few hours ; so it may be, it will
turn wood or stiff clay into stone, in longer time. Put
therefore into a conserving pit of snow and ice, add-
ing some quantity of salt and nitre, a piece of wood, or
a piece of tough clay, and let it lie a month or more.

84. Another trial is by metalline waters, which have
virtual cold in them. Put therefore wood or clay into
smiths water, or other metalline water, and try whe-
ther it ^vill not harden in some reasonable time. But I
understand it of metalline waters that come by washing
or quenching ; and not of strong waters that come by
dissolution; for they are too corrosive to consolidate.

85. It is already found that there are some natural
spring waters, that will inlapidate wood ; so that you
shall see one piece of wood, whereof the part above the
water shall continue wood ; and the part under the
water shall be turned into a kind of gravelly stone. It
is likely those waters are of some metalline mixture ;
but there would be more particular inquiry made of
them. It is certain, that an egg was found, having
lain many years in the bottom of a moat, where the
earth had somewhat overgrown it ; and this egg was
come to the hardness of a stone, and had the colours
of the white and yolk perfect, and the shell shining
in small grains like sugar or alabaster.

86. Another experience there is of induration by
cold, which is already found ; which is, that metals
themselves are hardened by often heating and quench-


iiig in cold water : for cold ever worketh most potently
upon heat precedent.

87. For induration by heat, it must be considered,
that heat, by the exhaling of the moister parts, doth
either harden the body, as in bricks, tiles, &c. or if tlic
heat be more fierce, maketh the grosser part itself run
and melt ; as in the making of ordinary glass ; and
in the vitrification of earth, as we see in the inner parts
of furnaces, and in the vitrification of brick, and of
metals. And in the former of these, which is the
hardening by baking without melting, the heat hath
these degrees ; first, it indurateth, and then maketh
fragile ; and lastly it doth incinerate and calcinate.

88. But if you desire to make an induration with
toughness, and less fragility, a middle way would be
taken ; which is that which Aristotle hath well noted ;
but would be throughly verified. It is to decoct bodies
in water for two or three days ; but they must be such
bodies into which the water will not enter ; as stone
and metal : for if they be bodies into which the water
will enter, then long seething will rather soften than
indurate them ; as hath been tried in eggs, &c. there-
fore softer bodies must be put into bottles, and the
bottles hung into water seething, with the mouths open
above the water, that no water may get in ; for by this
means the virtual heat of the water will enter ; and
such a heat, as v/ill not make the body adust or fragile ;
but the substance of the water will be shut out. This
experiment we made ; and it sorted thus. It was tried
with a piece of free-stone, and with pewter, put into
the water at large. The free-stone we found received
in some water ; for it was softer and easier to scrape
than a piece of the same stone kept dry. But the

Online LibraryFrancis BaconThe works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 1) → online text (page 31 of 52)