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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or the motion of perspiration is stayed, further putre-
faction ; as we partly touched a little before.

345. The fifth is the breathing forth of the adven-
titious moisture in bodies ; for as wetting doth hasten
putrefaction, so convenient drying, whereby the more
radical moisture is only kept in, putteth back putre-
faction ; so we see that herbs and flowers, if they be
dried in the shade, or dried in the hot sun for a small
time, keep best. For the emission of the loose and

2 A 2


adventitious moisture doth betray the radical mois-
ture ; and carrieth it out for company.

346. The sixth is the strengthening of the spirits of
bodies ; for as a great heat keepeth bodies from putre-
faction, but a tepid heat inclineth them to putrefac-
tion ; so a strong spirit likewise preserveth, and a weak
or faint spirit disposeth to corruption. So we find that
salt water corrupteth not so soon as fresh : and salt-
ing of oysters, and powdering of meat, keepeth them
from putrefaction. It would be tried also, whether
chalk put into water, or drink, doth not preserve it
from putrifying or speedy souring. So we see that
strong beer will last longer than small ; and all things
that are hot and aromatical, do help to preserve li-
quors, or powders, etc. which they do as well by
strengthening the spirits, as by soaking out the loose

347. The seventh is separation of the cruder parts,
and thereby making the body more equal ; for all im-
perfect mixture is apt to putrify ; and watery substances
are more apt to putrify than oily. So we see distilled
waters will last longer than raw waters ; and things
that have passed the fire do last longer than those that
have not passed the fire ; as dried pears, etc.

348. The eighth is the drawing forth continually
of that part where the putrefaction beginneth ; which
is, commonly, the loose and watery moisture ; not only
for the reason before given, that it provoketh the radical
moisture to come forth with it ; but because being de-
tained in the body, the putrefaction taking hold of it,
infecteth the rest : as we see in the embalming of dead
bodies ; and the same reason is of preserving herbs, or
fruits, or flowers, in bran or meal.

349. The ninth is the commixture of any thing that
is more oily or sweet : for such bodies are least apt to
putrify, the air working little upon them ; and they not
putrifying, preserve the rest. And therefore we see sy-
rups and ointments will last longer than juices.

350. The tenth is the commixture of somewhat that
is dry ; for putrefaction beginneth first from the spirits;
and then from the moisture ; and that that is dry is


unapt topiitrify: and therefore smoke preservcth Hesh;
as we see in bacon and neats tongues, and Martle-
mas beef, etc.

351. The opinion of some of the ancients, that
blown airs do preserve bodies longer tlian other airs,
secnieth to me probable ; for that the blown airs, be-
ing overcharged and compressed, will hardly receive the
exhaling of any tiling, but rather repulse it. It was
tried in a blown bhidder, wherein to flesh was put, and
likewise a flower, and it sorted not : for dry bladders
will not blow ; and new bladders rather furtJier putre-
faction : the way were therefore to blow strongly with
a pair of bellows into a hogslicad, putting into the
hogshead, before, that which you would have pre-
served ; and in the instant that you withdraw the
bellows, stop the hole close.

Experiment solitary touching ivood shining in the dark.

352. The experiment of wood that shineth in the
dark, we have diligently driven and pursued : the ra-
ther, for that of all things that give light here be-
low, it is the most durable, and hath least apparent
motion. Fire and flame are in continual expence ;
sugar shineth only while it is in scraping ; and salt-
water while it is in dashing ; glow-worms have their
shining while they live, or a little after ; only scales
of fishes putrified seem to be of the same nature with
shining wood : and it is true, that all putrifaction hath
with it an inward motion, as well as fire or light. The
trial sorted thus : 1 . The shining is in some pieces
more bright, in some more dim ; but the most bright
of all doth not attain to the liglit of a glow-worm.
2, The woods that have been tried to shine, are chiefly
sallow and willow ; also the ash and hazle ; it may be
it holdeth in others. 3. Both roots and bodies do
shine, but the roots better. 4. The colour of the
shining part, by day-light, is in some pieces white, in
some pieces inclining to red ; which in the country
they call the white and red garret. 5. The part that
shineth is, for the most part, somewhat soft, and moist
to feel to ; but some was found to be firm and hard,


SO as it might be figured into a cross, or into beads,
etc. But you must not look to have an image, or the
like, in any thing that is lightsome ; for even a face
in iron red-hot will not be seen, the light confounding
the small differences of lightsome and darksome, which
shew the figure. 6. There was the shining part pared
off, till you came to that that did not shine; but
within two days the part contiguous began also to
shine, being laid abroad in the dew ; so as it seemeth
the putrefaction spreadeth. 7. There was other dead
wood of like kind that was laid abroad, which shined
not at first ; but after a night's lying abroad began to
shine. 8. There was other wood that did first shine ;
and being laid dry in the house, within five or six days
lost the shining ; and laid abroad again, recovered the
shining. 9- Shining woods being laid in a dry room,
within a seven-night lost their shining ; but being laid
in a cellar, or dark room, kept tlie shining. 10. The
boring of holes in that kind of wood, and then laying-
it abroad, seemeth to conduce to make it shine : the
cause is, for that all solution of continuity doth help
on putrefaction, as was touched before. 11. No wood
hath been yet tried to shine, that was cut down alive,
but such as was rotted both in stock and root while it
grew. 12. Part of the wood that shined was steeped
in oil, and retained the shining a fortnight. 13. The
like succeeded in some steeped in water, and much
better. 14. How long the shining will continue, if
the wood be laid abroad every night, and taken in and
sprinkled with water in the day, is not yet tried. 15.
Trial was made of laying it abroad in frosty weather,
which hurt it not. 16. There was a great piece of a
root which did sliine, and the shining part was cut off
till no more shined ; yet after two nights, though it
were kept in a dry room, it got a shining.

Experiment solitary touching the acceleration of birth.

353. The bringing forth of living creatures may
be accelerated in two respects : the one, if the embryo
ripencth and perfecteth sooner : the other, if there
be some cause from the mother's body, of expulsion or


putting it down : whereof the former is good, and ar-
gueth strength ; the latter is ill, and cometh by acci-
dent or disease. And therefore the ancient observa-
tion is true, that the child born in the seventh month
doth commonly \vell ; but born in the eighth month,
doth for the most part die. But the cause assigned
is fabulous ; which is, that in the eighth month should
be the return of the reign of the planet Satuni, which,
as they say, is a planet malign ; whereas in the se-
venth is the reign of the moon, which is a planet pro-
pitious. But the true cause is, for that where there
is so great a prevention of the ordinary time, it is the
histiness of the child ; but when it is less, it is some
indisposition of the mother.

Experiment solitary touching the acceleration of growth
and stature.

354. To accelerate growth or stature, it must jiro-
ceed either from the plenty of the nourishment ; or
from the nature of the nourishment; or from the
quickening and exciting of the natural heat. For
the first, excess of nourishment is hurtful; for it
maketh the child corpulent ; and growing in breadth
rather than in height. And you may take an expe-
riment from plants, which if they spread much are
seldom tall. As for the nature of the nourishment ;
first, it may not be too dry, and therefore children in
dairy countries do wax more tall, than where they
feed more upon bread and flesh. There is also a
received tale ; that boiling of daisy roots in milk,
which it is certain are great driers, will make dogs
little. But so much is true, that an over-dry nourish-
ment in childhood putteth back stature. Secondly,
the nourishment must be of an opening nature ; for .
that attenuateth the juice, and furthereth the motion
of the spirits upwards. Neither is it without cause,
that Xenophon, in the nurture of the Persian chil-
dren, doth so much commend their feeding upon car-
damon ; which, he saith, made them grow better,
and be of a more active habit. ( 'ardamon is in Latin
nasturtium ; and with us water-cresses ; which, it is


certain, is an herb, that whilst it is young, is friendly
to life. As for the quickening of natural heat, it
must be done chiefly with exercise ; and therefore no
doubt much going to school, where they sit so much,
hindereth the growth of children ; whereas country
people that go not to school, are commonly of better
stature. And again men must beware how they
give children any thing that is cold in operation ; for
even long sucking doth hinder both wit and stature.
This hath been tried, tliat a whelp that hath been
fed with nitre in milk, hath become very little, but
extreme lively : for the spirit of nitre is cold. And
though it be an excellent medicine in strength of
years for prolongation of life ; yet it is in children
and young creatures an enemy to growth ; and all for
the same reason ; for heat is requisite to growth ; but
after a man is come to his middle age, heat consumeth
the spirits ; which the coldness of the spirit of nitre
doth help to condense and correct.

Experiments in consort touching sulphur and mercury, tivo of
Paracelsus's principles.

There be two great families of things ; you may
term them by several names ; sulphureous and mer-
curial, which are the chemists words : for as for their
sal, which is their third principle, it is a compound
of the other two; inflammable and not inflammable;
mature and crude ; oily and watery. For we see that
in subterranics there arc, as the fathers of their tribes,
brimstone and mercury ; in vegetables and living
creatures there is water and oil : in the inferior order
of pneumaticals there is air and flame ; and in the
superior there is the body of the star and the pure sky.
And these pairs, though they be unlike in the primi-
tive differences of matter, yet they seem to have many
consents : for mercury and sulphur arc principal ma-
terials of metals ; water and oil are principal materials
of vegetables and animals ; and seem to differ but in
maturation or concoction : flame, in vulgar opinion,
is but air incensed ; and tliey both have quickness of
motion, and facility of cession, nuicli alike: and the


interstellar sky, though the opinion be vain, that the
star is the denser part of his orb, hath notwithstand-
ing so miicli affinity with the star, that there is a ro-
tation of that, as well as of the star. Tlierefore it is
one of the greatest magncdia naturcE^ to turn water
or watery juice into oil or oily juice : greater in nature,
than to turn silver or quicksilver into gold.

355. The instances we have wherein crude and
watery substance turneth into fat and oily, are of four
kinds. First in the mixture of earth and water ; which
mingled by the help of the sun gather a nitrous fatness,
more than either of them have severally ; as we see
in tliat they put forth plants, which need both juices.

356. The second is in the assimilation of nourish-
ment, made in the bodies of plants and living crea-
tures ; whereof plants turn the juice of mere water
and earth into a great deal of oily matter : living
creatures, though much of their fat and flesh are out
of oily aliments, as meat and bread, yet they assimi-
late also in a measure their drink of water, etc. But
these two ways of version of water and oil, namely, by
mixture and by assimilation, are by many passages and
percolations, and by long continuance of soft heats,
and by circuits of time.

357. The third is in the inception of putrefaction :
as in water corrupted : and the mothers of waters
distilled ; both which have a kind of fatness or oil.

358. The fourth is in the dulcoration of some
metals : as saccharum Satiirni, etc.

359. The intention of version of water into a more
oily substance is by digestion ; for oil is almost no-
thing else but water digested ; and this digestion is
principally by heat ; which heat must be either out-
ward or inward : again, it may be by provocation or
excitation ; which is caused by the mingling of bodies
already oily or digested ; for they will somewhat com-
municate their nature with the rest. Digestion also
is strongly efiPected by direct assimilation of bodies
crude into bodies digested; as in plants and Hving crea-
tures, whose nourishment is far more crude than their
bodies : but this digestion is by a great compass, as


hath been said. As for the more full haiidlmg of these
two principles, whereof this is but a taste, the inquiry
of which is one of the profoundest inquiries of nature,
we leave it to the title of version of bodies ; and like-
wise to the title of the first congregations of matter ;
which, like a general assembly of estates, doth give
law to all bodies.

Experiment solitary touching chameleons.

360. A chameleon is a creature about the bigness
of an ordinary lizard : his head unproportionably big :
his eyes great : he moveth his head \\ithout the writh-
ing of his neck, which is inflexible, as a hog doth : his
back crooked; his skin spotted with little tumours,
less eminent nearer the bellv : his tail slender and
long : on each foot lie hath five fingers ; three on the
outside, and two on the inside ; his tongue of a mar-
vellous length in respect of his body, and hollow at
the end ; which he will launch out to prey upon flies.
Of colour green, and of a dusky yellow, brighter and
whiter towards the belly ; yet spotted with blue, white,
and red. If he be laid upon green, the green prcdo-
minateth ; if upon yellow, the yellow ; not so if he be
laid upon blue, or red, or white ; only the green spots
receive a more orient lustre ; laid upon black, he look-
eth all black, though not without a mixture of green.
He feedeth not only upon air, though that be his prin-
cipal sustenance, for sometimes he taketli flies, as was
said ; yet some that have kept chameleons a whole year
together, could never ])erceive that ever they fed upon
any thing else but air ; and might observe their bel-
lies to swell after they had exhausted the air and
closed their jaws ; which they open commonly against
the rays of the sun. They have a foolish tradition in
magic, that if a chameleon be burnt upon the top of an
house, it will raise a tempest ; supposing, according
to their vain dreams of sympathies, because he nou-
risheth with air, his body should have great virtue to
make impression upon the air.


Experiment solitary touching subterrany fires.

861. It is reported by one of the ancients, that in
part of JMedia there are eruptions of flames out of
plains ; and that those flames arc clear, and cast not
forth such smoke, and ashes, and pumice, as mountain
flames do. The reason, no doubt, is, because the flame
is not pent as it is in mountains and earthquakes which
cast flame. There be also some blind fires under stone,
which flame not out, but oil being poured upon them
they flame out. The cause whereof is, for that it
seemeth that the fire is so choked, as not able to re-
move the stone, it is heat rather than flame ; which
nevertheless is sufficient to inflame the oil.

Experiment solitary touching nitre.

362. It is reported, that in some lakes the water
is so nitrous, as, if foul clothes be put into it, it scour-
eth them of itself: and if they stay any whit long,
they moulder away. And the scouring virtue of nitre
is the more to be noted, because it is a body cold ; and
we see wann water scoureth better than cold. But
the cause is, for that it hath a subtle spirit, which
severeth and dividcth any thing that is foul and vis-
cous, and sticketh upon a body.

Experiment solitary touching congealing of air.

363. Take a bladder, the greatest you can get : fill
it full of wind, and tie it about the neck with a silk
thread waxed ; and upon that put likewise wax very
close ; so that when the neck of the bladder drieth,
no air may possibly get in or out. Then bury it
three or four foot under the earth in a vaidt, or in a
conservatory of snow, the snow being made hollow
about the bladder ; and after some fortnight's distance,
see whether the bladder be slirunk ; for if it be, then
it is plain that the coldness of the earth or snow hath
condensed the air, and brought it a degree nearer to
water : which is an experiment of great consequence.


Experiment solitary touching congealing of water into crystaL

364. It is a report of some good credit, that in
deep caves there are pensile crystals, and degrees of
crystal that drop from above ; and in some other,
though more rarely, that rise from below : Which
though it be chiefly the work of cold, yet it may be
that water that passeth through the earth, gathereth
a nature more clammy and fitter to congeal and be-
come solid than water of itself. Therefore trial would
be made, to lay a heap of earth, in great frosts, upon
a hollow vessel, putting a canvas between, that it
falleth not in : and pour water upon it, in such quan-
tity as will be sure to soak through ; and see whether
it will not make an harder ice in the bottom of the
vessel, and less apt to dissolve than ordinarily. I sup-
pose also, that if you make the earth narrower at the
bottom than at the top, in fashion of a sugar-loaf re-
versed, it will help the experiment. For it will make
the ice, where it issueth, less in bulk ; and evermore
smallness of quantity is a help to version.

Experime?it solitary touching preserving of rose-leaves both in
colour and smell.

365. Take damask roses, and pull them ; then
dry them upon the top of an house, upon a lead or
terras, in the hot sim, in a clear day, between the
hours only of twelve and two, or thereabouts. Then
put tliem into a sweet dry earthen bottle, or a glass,
with narrow mouths, stuffing them close together, but
without bruising : stop the bottle or glass close, and
these roses will retain not only their smell perfect, but
tlieir colour fresh, for a year at least. Note, that no-
thing doth so much destroy any plant, or other body,
cither by putrefaction or arcfaction, as the adventitious
moisture whicli hangcth loose in the body, if it be not
drawn out. For it bctrayeth and tolleth fortli the
innate and radical moisture along with it, when itself
gocth forth. And therefore in living creatures, mo-
derate s\vcat do til preserve the juice of the body.
Note, that these roses, when you take them from the


drying, have little or no smell ; so that the smell is a
second smell, that issueth out of the flower afterwards.

Experiments in consort touching the continuance of flame.

366. The continuance of flame, according unto the
diversity of the body inflamed, and other circumstan-
ces, is worthy the inquiry ; chiefly, for that though
flame be almost of a momentany lasting, yet it recei-
veth the more, and the less : we will first therefore
speak at large of bodies inflamed wholly and imme-
diately, without any wick to help the inflammation.
A spoonful of spirit of wine, a little heated, was taken,
and it burnt as long as came to a hundred and sixteen
pulses. The same quantity of spirit of wine, mixed
with the sixth part of a spoonful of nitre, burnt but
to tlie space of ninety four pulses. IMixed with the
like quantity of bay-salt, eighty three pulses. Mixed
with the like quantity of gunpowder, which dissolved
into a black water, one hundred and ten pulses. A
cube or pellet of yellow wax was taken, as much as
half the spirit of wine, and set in the midst, and it
burnt only to the space of eighty seven pulses. JNIixed
with the sixth part of a spoonful of milk, it burnt to
the space of one hundred pulses ; and the milk was
curdled. Mixed with the sixth part of a spoonful of
water, it biu-nt to the space of eighty six pulses ; witli
an equal quantity of water, only to the space of four
pulses. A small pebble was laid in the midst, and the
spirit of wine burnt to the space of ninety four pulses.
A piece of wood of the bigness of an arrow, and about
a finger's length, was set up in the midst, and the spirit
of wine burnt to the space of ninety four pulses. So
that the spirit of wine simple endured the longest ;
and the spirit of wine with the bay-salt, and the equal
quantity of water, were the shortest.

367. Consider well, whether the more speedy going
forth of the flame be caused by the greater vigoiu* of
the flame in burning ; or by the resistance of the body
mixed, and the aversion thereof to take flame : which
will appear by the quantity of the spirit of wine that
remaineth after the going out of the flame. And it


seemeth clearly to be the latter ; for that the mixture
of things least apt to burn, is the speediest in going
out. And note, by the way, that spirit of wine burned,
till it go out of itself, will burn no more ; and tasteth
nothing so hot in the mouth as it did ; no, nor yet sour,
as if it were a degree towards vinegar, which burnt
wine doth ; but flat and dead.

368. Note, that in the experiment of wax aforesaid,
the wax dissolved in the burning, and yet did not in-
corporate itself with the spirit of wine, to produce one
flame ; but wheresoever the wax floated, the flame for-
sook it, till at last it spread all over, and put the flame
quite out.

369. The experiments of the mixtures of the spirit
of wine inflamed, are things of discovery, and not of
use : but now we will speak of the continuance of
flames, such as are used for candles, lamps, or tapers ;
consisting of inflammable matters, and of a wick that
provoketh inflammation. And this importeth not only
discovery, but also use and profit ; for it is a great
saving in all such lights, if they can be made as fair
and bright as others, and yet last longer. Wax pure
made into a candle, and wax mixed severally into
candle- stuff", with the particulars that follow ; viz.
water, afjtia vitcje, milk, bay-salt, oil, butter, nitre,
brimstone, saw-dust, every of these bearing a sixth part
to the wax ; and every of these candles mixed, being
of the same weight and wick with the wax pure, proved
thus in the burning and lasting. The swiftest in con-
suming was tliat with saw-dust ; which first burned
fair till some ])art of the candle was consumed, and
the dust gathered about the snaste ; but then it made
the snaste big and long, and to burn duskislily, and
the candle wasted in half the time of the wax pure.
The next in swiftness were the oil and butter, wliich
consumed by a fifth part swifter than the pure wax.
Then followed in swiftness the clear wax itself. Then
the bay-salt, which lasted about an eighth part longer
than tlic clear wax. Tlien followed the aqua mta:,
whicli lasted about a fiftli ])art longer than the clear
wax. Tlien followed the milk, and water, with little


difference from the aqua vitcEt but the water slowest.
And in these four last, the wick would spit forth little
sparks. For the nitre, it would not hold lighted above
some twelve pulses : but all tlie while it would spit
out portions of flame, wliich afterwards would go out
into a vapour. For the brimstone, it would hold
lighted much about the same time with the nitre ; but
then after a little while it would harden and cake about
the snaste ; so that the mixture of bay-salt with wax
will win an eighth part of the time of lasting, and
the water a fifth.

370. After the several materials were tried, trial
was likewise made of several wicks ; as of ordinary
cotton, sewing thread, rush, silk, straw, and wood. 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 39 of 52)