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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same beer set by. Take also lime both quenched and
unquenchcd, and set the bottles in them, ut supra.
This instance is referred both to the even distribution,
and also to the refining of the spirits by heat.

310. Take bottles, and swing them, or carry them
in a wheel-barrow upon rough ground twice in a day ;
but then you may not fill the bottles full, but leave
some air ; for if the liquor come close to the stopple,
it cannot play nor flower : and when you have shaken
them well either way, pour the drink into another
bottle stopped close after the usual manner ; for if it
stay with much air in it, the drink will pall ; neither
will it settle so perfectly in all the parts. Let it stand
some twenty four hours : then take it, and put it again
into a bottle with air, ut supra : and tlience into a
bottle stopped, ut supra : and so repeat the same ope-
ration for seven days. Note, that in the emptying of
one bottle into another, you must do it swiftly lest the
drink pall. It were good also to try it in a bottle with
a little air below the neck, without emptying. This
instance is referred to the even distribution and re-
fining of the spirits by motion.

311. As for percolation inward and outward, which
belongcth to separation, trial would be made of clari-
fying by adhesion, with milk put into new beer, and
stirred witli it : for it may be that the grosser part of
the beer will cleave to the milk : the doubt is, whether


the milk will sever well again ; which is soon tried.
And it is usual in clarifying liippocras to put in milk ;
which after sevcreth and carrieth with it the grosser
parts of the hippocras, as hath been said elsewhere.
Also for the better clarification by percolation, when
they tun new beer, they use to let it pass through a
strainer ; and it is like the liner the strainer is, the
clearer it will be.

Experiments in co?i.sort touching maturatioit, and the accele-
rating thereof. And first ^ touching the tnaiuration and
quickening of drinks, ^nd next, touching the maturation
of fruits.

The accelerating of maturation we will now inquire
of. And of maturation itself. It is of three natures.
The maturation of fruits ; the maturation of drinks :
and the maturation of impostumes and ulcers. This
last we refer to another place, where we shall handle
experiments medicinal. There be also other matu-
rations, as of metals, etc. whereof we will speak as
occasion serveth. But we will begin with that of
drinks, because it hath such affinity with the clarifica-
tion of liquors.

312. For the maturation of drinks, it is wrought
by the congregation of the spirits together, whereby
they digest more perfectly the grosser parts : and it is
effected partly by the same means that clarification is,
whereof we spake before ; but then note, that an
extreme clarification doth spread the spirits so smooth,
as they become dull, and the drink dead, w hich ought
to have a little flowering. And therefore all your clear
amber drink is flat.

313. We see the degrees of maturation of drinks ;
in muste, in wine, as it is drunk, and in vinegar.
Whereof muste hath not the spirits well congregated ;
wine hath them well united, so as they make the parts
somewhat more oily ; vinegar hath them congregated,
but more jejune, and in smaller quantity, the greatest
and finest spirit and part being exhaled : for we see
vinegar is made by setting the vessel of wine against the
hot sun ; and therefore vinegar will not burn ; for that
much of tlie finer parts is exhaled.


314. The refreshing and quickening of drink pal-
led or dead, is by enforcing the motion of the spirit :
so we see that open weather relaxeth the spirit, and
maketh it more lively in motion. We see also bot-
tling of beer or ale, while it is new and full of spirit,
so that it spirteth when the stopple is taken forth,
maketh the drink more quick and windy. A pan of
coals in the cellar doth likewise good, and maketh the
drink work again. New drink put to drink that is
dead provoketh it to work again : nay, which is more,
as some affirm, a brewing of new beer set by old beer,
maketh it work again. It were good also to enforce
the spirits by some mixtures, that may excite and
quicken them ; as by putting into the bottles, nitre,
chalk, lime, etc. We see cream is matured, and made
to rise more speedily ])y putting in cold water ; which
as it seemeth, getteth down the whey.

315. It is tried, that the burying of bottles of drink
well stopped, either in dry earth a good depth ; or in
the bottom of a well within water ; and best of all,
the hanging of them in a deep well somewhat above
the water for some fortnight's space, is an excellent
means of making drink fresh and quick ; for the cold
doth not cause any exhaling of the spirits at all, as
heat doth, though it rarifieth the rest that remain :
but cold maketh the spirits vigorous, and irritateth
them, whereby they incorporate the parts of the liquor

316. As for the maturation of fruits ; it is wrought
by the calling forth of the spirits of the body outward,
and so spreading them more smoothly : and likewise
by digesting in some degree the grosser parts ; and
this is effected by heat, motion, attraction ; and by a
rudiment of putrefaction : for the inception of putre-
faction hath in it a maturation.

317. There were taken apples, and laid in straw ;
in hay ; in flour ; in chalk ; in lime ; covered over
with onions ; covered over with crabs ; closed up in
wax ; sliut in a box, etc. There was also an apple
hanged up in smoke ; of all which the experiment
sorted in this manner.


318. After a montli's space, tlie apple inclosed in
wax was as green and fresh as at the first putting in,
and the kernels continued white. The cause is, for
that all exclusion of open air, which is ever predatory,
maintaineth the body in its first freshness and mois-
ture : but the inconvenience is, that it tasteth a little
of the wax ; which, I suppose, in a pomegranate, or
some such thick- coated fruit, it would not do.

319. The apple hanged in the smoke, turned like
an old mellow apple wiinkled, dry, soft, sweet, yellow
within. The cause is, for that such a degree of heat,
which doth neither melt nor scorch, (for we see that
in a great heat, a roast apple softeneth and melteth ;
and pigs feet, made of quarters of wardens, scorch and
have a skin of cole,) doth mellow, and not adure : the
smoke also maketh the apple, as it were, sprinkled
with soot, which helpeth to mature. We see that in
drying of pears and prunes in the oven, and removing
of them often as they begin to sweat, there is a like ope-
ration; but that is with a far more intense degree of

320. The apples covered in the lime and ashes were
well matured ; as appeared both in their yellowness
and sweetness. The cause is, for that that degree of
heat which is in lime and ashes, being a smothering
heat, is of all the rest most proper, for it doth neither
liquefy nor arefy ; and that is true maturation. Note,
that the taste of those apples was good ; and therefore
it is the experiment fitted for use.

321. The apples covered with crabs and onions were
likewise well matured. The cause is, not any heat ;
but for that the crabs and the onions draw fortli the
spirits of the apple, and spread tliem equally through-
out the body ; which taketh away hardness. So we
sec one apple ripcneth against another. And there-
fore in making of cyder they turn the apples first upon
a heap. So one cluster of grapes that toucheth another
whilst it groweth, ripeneth faster ; " botrus contra
botrum citius maturescit."

322. The apples in hay and the straw ripened ap-
parently, though not so much as tlic other ; but the .


apple in the straw more. The cause is, for that the
hay and straw have a very low degree of heat, but yet
close and smothering, and which drieth not.

323. The apple in the close box was ripened also :
the cause is, for that all air kept close hath a degree
of warmth : as we see in wool, fur, plush, etc. Note,
that all these were compared with another apple of the
same kind, that lay of itself : and in comparison of that
were more sweet and more yellow, and so appeared to
be more ripe.

324. Take an apple, or pear, or other like fruit, and
roll it upon a table hard : we see in common experi-
ence, that the rolling doth soften and sweeten the fruit
presently ; which is nothing but the smooth distribu-
tion of the spirits into the parts : for the unequal dis-
tribution of the spirits maketh the harshness : but this
hard rolling is between concoction, and a simple ma-
turation ; therefore, if you should roll them but gently,
perhaps twice a day ; and continue it some seven days,
it is like they would mature more finely, and like un-
to the natural maturation.

325. Take an apple, and cut out a piece of the top,
and cover it, to see whether that solution of conti-
nuity will not hasten a maturation : we see that where
a wasp, or a fly, or a worm hath bitten, in a grape, or
any fruit, it will sweeten hastily.

326. Take an apple, etc. and prick it with a pin
full of holes, not deep, and smear it a little with sack,
or cinnamon water, or spirit of wine, every day for ten
days, to see if the virtual heat of the wine or strong
waters will not mature it.

In these trials also, as was used in the first, set an-
other of the same fruits by, to compare them ; and try
them by their yellowness and by their sweetness.

Experiment solitarij touching the making of Gold,

The world hath been much abused by the opinion
of making of gold : the work itself I judge to be pos-
sible ; but the means, hitherto propounded, to effect
it, are, in the practice, full of error and imposture, and
in the theory, full of unsound imaginations. For to


say, that nature hath an intention to make all metals
gold ; and that, if she were dehvered from impedi-
ments, she would perform her own work ; and that,
if the crudities, impurities, and leprosities of metals
were cured, they would hecome gold ; and that a little
quantity of the medicine, in the work of projection,
will turn a sea of the baser metal into gold by multi-
plying : all these are but dreams ; and so are many
other grounds of alchemy. And to help the matter,
the alchemists call in likewise many vanities out of . ^

astrology, natural magic, superstitious intcrpretatious
of Scriptures, auricidar traditions, feigned testimonies
of ancient authors, and the like. It is true, on the
other side, they have brought to light not a few pro-
fitable experiments, and thereby made the world some
amends. But we, when we shall come to handle the
version and transmutation of bodies, and the experi-
ments concerning metals and minerals, will lay open
the true ways and passages of nature, which may lead
to this great effect. And we commend the wit
of the Chinese, who despair of making of gold,
but are mad upon the making of silver : for certain it
is, that it is more difficult to make gold, which is the
most ponderous and materiate amongst metals, of
other metals less ponderous and less materiate, than
via versa, to make silver of lead or quicksilver ; both
which are more ponderous than silver ; so that they
need rather a farther degree of fixation, than any con-
densation. In the mean time, by occasion of hand-
ling the axioms touching maturation, we will direct
a trial touching the maturing of metals, and thereby
turning some of them into gold : for we conceive in-
deed, that a perfect good concoction, or digestion, or
maturation of some metals, will produce gold. And
here we call to mind, that we knew a Dutchman, that
had wrought himself into the belief of a great person,
by undertaking that he could make gold : whose dis-
course was, that gold might be made ; but that the
alchemists over-fired the work: for, he said, the making
of gold did require a very temperate heat, as being in
nature a subterrany work, where little heat cometli ;


but yet more to the making of gold than of any other
metal ; and therefore that he would do it with a great
lamp that should carry a temperate and equal heat :
and that it was the work of many months. The de-
vice of the lamp was folly ; but the over-tiring now
used, and the equal heat to be required, and the making
it a work of some good time, are no ill discourses.

We resort therefore to our axioms of maturation,
in effect touched before. The first is, that there be
used a temperate heat ; for they are ever temperate
heats that digest and mature : wherein we mean tem-
perate according to the nature of the subject ; for that
may be temperate to fruits and liquors, which will not
work at all upon metals. The second is, that the
spirit of the metal be quickened, and the tangible
parts opened : for without those two operations, the
spirit of the metal wrought upon will not be able to
digest the parts. The third is, that the spirits do
spread themselves even, and move not subsultorily ;
for that will make the parts close and pliant. And
this requireth a heat that doth not rise and fall, but
continue as equal as may be. The fourth is, that no
part of the spirit be emitted, but detained : for if there
be emission of spirit, the body of the metal will be
hard and churlish. And this will be performed, partly
by the temper of the fire ; and partly by the closeness
of the vessel. The fifth is, that there be choice made
of the likeliest and best prepared metal for the ver-
sion : for that will facilitate the work. The sixth is,
that you give time enough for the work : not to pro-
long hopes, as the alchemists do, but indeed to give
nature a convenient space to work in. These prin-
ciples are most certain and true ; we will now derive
a direction of trial out of them, which may, perhaps,
by farther meditation be im|)roved.

?}27- Let there be a small furnace made of a tem-
perate heat ; let tlie heat be such as may keep the
metal perpetually molten, and no more; for that above
all importeth to the work. For the material, take sil-
ver, which is the metal that in nature symbolizeth most
with gold ; put in also witli the silver, a tenth part of
quicksilver, and a twelftli ])art of nitre, by weiglit ;


both these to quicken and open the body of the metal :
and so let the work be continued by the space of six
months at the least. I wish also, that there be at
some times an injection of some oiled substance ; such
as they use in the recovering of gold, which by vexing
with separations hath been made churlish : and this
is to lay the parts more close and smooth, which is the
main work. For gold, as we see, is the closest, and
therefore the heaviest, of metals ; and is likewise the
most flexible and tensible. Note, that to think to
make gold of quicksilver, because it is the heaviest, is
a thing not to be hoped ; for quicksilver will not en-
dure the manage of the fire. Next to silver, I think
copper were fittest to be the material.

Experiment solitary touching the nature of gold.

328. Gold hath these natures ; greatness of weight ;
closeness of parts ; fixation ; pliantness, or softness ;
immunity from rust ; colour or tincture of yellow.
Therefore the sure way, though most about, to make
gold, is to know the causes of the several natures be-
fore rehearsed, and the axioms concerning the same.
For if a man can make a metal that hath all these
properties, let men dispute whether it be gold or no.

Experiments in consort touching the inducing and
accelerating of putrefaction.

The inducing and accelerating of putrefaction, is a
subject of a very universal inquiry : for corruption is
a reciprocal to generation : and they two are as nature's
two terms or boundaries ; and the guides to life and
death. Putrefaction is the work of the spirits of bo-
dies, which ever are unquiet to get forth and con-
gregate with the air, and to enjoy the sun-beams. The
getting forth, or spreading of the spirits, which is a
degree of getting forth, hath five differing operations.
If the spirits be detained within the body, and move
more violently, there foUoweth colliquation, as in
metals, etc. If more mildly, there followeth digestion,
or maturation ; as in drinks and fruits. If the
spirits be not merely detained, but protrude a little,
and that motion be confused and inordinate, there fol-


loweth putrefaction ; which ever dissolveth the con-
sistence of the body into much inequality ; as in
flesh, rotten fruits, shining wood, etc. and also in the
rust of metals. But if that motion be in a certain
order, there followeth vivification and figuration ; as
both in living creatures bred of putrefaction, and in
living creatures perfect. But if the spirits issue
out of the body, there followeth desiccation, in-
dui'ation, consumption, etc. as in brick, evaporation of
bodies liquid, etc.

329. The means to induce and accelerate putre-
faction, are, first, by adding some crude or watery
moisture ; as in wetting of any flesh, fruit, wood, with
water, etc. for contrariwise unctuous and oily sub-
stances preserve.

330. The second is by invitation or excitation ; as
when a rotten apple lieth close to another apple that
is sound : or when dung, which is a substance already
putrified, is added to other bodies. And this is also
notably seen in church-yards where they bury much,
where the earth will consume the corpse in far shorter
time than other earth will.

331. The third is by closeness and stopping, which
detaineth the spirits in prison more than they would ;
and thereby irritateth them to seek issue ; as in corn
and clothes which wax musty ; and therefore open air,
which they call aer perflabilis, doth preserve : and
this doth appear more evidently in agues, which come,
most of them, of obstructions, and penning the hu-
mours, which thereupon putrify.

332. The fourth is by solution of continuity ; as we
see an apple will rot sooner if it be cut or pierced ;
and so will wood, etc. And so the flesh of creatures
alive, where they have received any wound.

233. The fifth is either by the exhaling or by the
driving back of the principal spirits wliich preserve
the consistence of the body ; so that when their gov-
ernment is dissolved, every part rcturneth to his na-
ture or homogeny. And tliis appeareth in urine and
blood when they cool, and thereby break : it appeareth
also in the gangrene, or mortification of flesh, either by


opiates or by intense colds. I conceive also the same
effect is in pestilences ; for that the malignity of the
infecting vapour danceth the principal spirits, and
maketh them fly and leave their regiment ; and then
the humours, flesh, and secondary spirits, do dissolve
and break, as in an anarchy.

334. The sixth is when a foreign spirit, stronger
and more eager than the spirit of the body, entereth
the body ; as in the stinging of serpents. And this
is the cause, generally, that upon all poisons foUoweth
swelling : and we see swelling followeth also when
the spirits of the body itself congregate too much, as
upon blows and bruises ; or when they are pent in too
mucli, as in swelling upon cold. And we see also, that
the spirits coming of putrefaction of humours in agues,
etc. which may be counted as foreign spirits, though
they be bred within the body, do extinguish and suf-
focate the natural spirits and heat.

335. The seventh is by sucli a weak degree of heat,
as setteth the spirits in a little motion, but is not able
either to digest the parts, or to issue the spirits ; as is
seen in flesh kept in a room, that is not cool : whereas
in a cool and wet larder it will keep longer. And we
see that vivification, whereof putrefaction is the bastard
brother, is effected by such soft heats ; as the hatching
of eggs, the heat of the womb, etc.

336. The eighth is by the releasing of the spirits,
which before were close kept by the solidness of their
coverture, and thereby their appetite of issuing check-
ed ; as in the artificial rusts induced by strong waters
in iron, lead, etc. and therefore wetting hastcneth rust
or putrefaction of any thing, because it softeneth the
crust for the spirits to come forth.

337. The ninth is by the interchange of heat and
cold, or wet and dry ; as we see in the mouldering of
earth in frosts and sun ; and in the more hasty rotting
of wood, that is sometimes wet, sometimes dry.

338. The tenth is by time, and the work and pro-
cedure of the spirits themselves, which cannot keep
their station ; especially if they be left to themselves,
and there be not agitation or local motion. As we

VOL. I. 2 a


see in corn not stirred ; and mens bodies not exer-

339. AH moulds are inceptions of putrefaction ; as
the moulds of pies and flesh ; the moulds of oranges
and lemons, which moulds afterwards turn into worms,
or more odious putrefactions : and therefore, common-
ly, prove to be of ill odour. And if the body be liquid,
and not apt to putrify totally, it will cast up^a mother
in the top, as the mothers of distilled waters.

340. Moss is a kind of mould of the earth and trees.
But it may be better sorted as a rudiment of germi-
nation ; to which we refer it.

Experiments in consort touching prohibiting and preventing

It is an enquiry of excellent use, to inquire of the
means of preventing or staying putrefaction ; for
therein consisteth the means of conservation of bodies :
for bodies have two kinds of dissolutions ; the one by
consumption and desiccation ; the other by putrefac-
tion. But as for the putrefactions of the bodies of
men and living creatures, as in agues, worms, con-
sumptions of the lungs, impostumes, and ulcers both
inwards and outwards, they are a great part of physic
and surgery ; and therefore we will reserve the in-
quiry of them to the proper place, where we shall
handle medical experiments of all sorts. Of the rest
we will now enter into an inquiry : wherein much
light may be taken from that which hath been said of
the means to induce or accelerate putrefactions ; for
the removing that which caused putrefaction, doth
prevent and avoid putrefaction.

341. The first means of prohibiting or checking
putrefaction, is cold : for so we see that meat and
drink will last longer unputrified or unsourcd, in win-
ter than in summer: and we see that flowers and
fruits, put in conservatories of snow, keep fresh. And
this worketh by the detention of the spirits, and con-
stipation of the tangible parts.

342. The second is astriction : for astriction pro-
hibiteth dissolution : as we sec generally in medicines.


whereof such as are astringents do inhibit putrefaction:
and by the same reason of astringency, some small
quantity of oil of vitriol will keep fresh water long
from putrifying. And this astriction is in a substance
that hath a virtual cold : and it worketh partly by
the same means that cold doth.

343. The third is the excluding of the air ; and
again, the exposing to the air : for these contraries,
as it cometh often to pass, work the same effect, ac-
cording to the nature of the subject matter. So we
see, that beer or wine, in bottles close stopped, last
long ; that the garners under ground keep corn longer
than those above ground ; and that fruit closed in wax
keepeth fresh ; and likewise bodies put in honey and
flour keep more fresh : and liquors, drinks, and juices,
with a little oil cast on the top, keep fresh. Contrari-
wise, we see that cloth and apparel not aired do breed
moths and mould ; and the diversity is, that in bodies
that need detention of spirits, the exclusion of the air
doth good ; as in drinks and corn : but in bodies that
need emission of spirits to discharge some of the super-
fluous moisture, it doth hurt, for they require airing.

344. The fourth is motion and stirring ; for putre-
faction asketh rest : for the subtle motion which putre-
faction requireth, is disturbed by any agitation ; and
all local motion keepeth bodies integral, and their jiarts
together ; as we see that turning over of corn in
a garner, or letting it run like an hour-glass, from an
upiicr-room into a lower, doth keep it sweet ; and run-
ning waters putrify not : and in mens bodies, exercise
hindereth putrefaction ; and contrariwise, rest and want
of motion, or stoppings, whereby the run of humours,

Online LibraryFrancis BaconThe works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 1) → online text (page 38 of 52)