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though the Directions for Practice are but obscurely intimated; yet I
have some reason not to Dis-believe the Process, without affirming or
denying any thing about the vertues of the remedy to be made by it.
_Quando_ (sayes he) _oleum cinnamomi &c. suo sali alkali miscetur
absque omni aqua, trium mensium artificiosa occultaque circulatione,
totum in salem volatilem commutatum est, vere essentiam sui simplicis
in nobis exprimit, & usque in prima nostri constitutivasese ingerit._
A not unlike Processe he delivers in another place; from whence, if we
suppose him to say true, I may argue, that since by the Fire there may
be produc'd a substance that is as well Saline and volatile as the
Salt of Harts-horn, blood, &c. which pass for Elementary; and since
that this Volatile Salt is really compounded of a Chymical Oyle and a
fixt Salt, the one made Volatile by the other, and both associated by
the fire, it may well be suspected that other Substances, emerging
upon the Dissipation of Bodies by the Fire, may be new sorts of Mixts,
and consist of Substances of differing natures; and particularly, I
have sometimes suspected, that since the Volatile Salts of Blood,
Harts-horn, &c. are figitive [Errata: fugitive] and endow'd with an
exceeding strong smell, either that Chymists do Erroneously ascribe
all odours to sulphurs, or that such Salts consist of some oyly parts
well incorporated with the Saline ones. And the like conjecture I have
also made concerning Spirit of Vinager, which, though the Chymists
think one of the Principles of that Body, and though being an Acid
Spirit it seems to be much less of kin then Volatile Salts to
sulphurs; yet, not to mention its piercing smell; which I know not
with what congruity the Chymist will deduce from Salt, I wonder they
have not taken notice of what their own _Tyrocinium Chymicum_ teach us
concerning the Destillation of _Saccharum Saturni_; out of which
_Beguinus_[16] assures Us, that he distill'd, besides a very fine
spirit, no lesse then two Oyles, the one blood-red and ponderous, but
the other swimming upon the top of the Spirit, and of a yellow colour;
of which he sayes that he kept then some by him, to verify what he
delivers. And though I remember not that I have had two distinct Oyles
from Sugar of Lead, yet that it will though distill'd without addition
yield some Oyle, disagrees not with my Experience. I know the Chymists
will be apt to pretend, that these Oyls are but the volatiliz'd
sulphur of the lead; and will perhaps argue it from what _Beguinus_
relates, that when the Distillation is ended, you'l find a _Caput
Mortuum_ extreamly black, and (as he speaks) _nullius momenti_, as if
the Body, or at least the chief part of the Metal it self were by the
distillation carried over the Helme. But since you know as well as I
that _Saccharum Saturni_ is a kind of Magistery, made only by
calcining of Lead _per se_, dissolving it in distill'd Vinager, and
crystalizing the solution; if I had leasure to tell You how Differing
a thing I did upon examination find the _Caput Mortuum_, so sleighted
by _Beguinus_, to be from what he represents it, I believe you would
think the conjecture propos'd less probable then one or other of these
three; either that this Oyle did formerly concur to constitute the
Spirit of Vinager, and so that what passes for a Chymical Principle
may yet be further resoluble into distinct substances; or that some
parts of the Spirit together with some parts of the Lead may
constitute a Chymical Oyle, which therefore though it pass for
Homogeneous, may be a very compounded Body: or at least that by the
action of the Distill'd Vinager and the Saturnine Calx one upon
another, part of the Liquor may be so alter'd as to be transmuted from
an Acid Spirit into an Oyle. And though the truth of either of the two
former conjectures would make the example I have reflected on more
pertinent to my present argument; yet you'l easily discern, the Third
and last Conjecture cannot be unserviceable to confirm some other
passages of my discourse.

[Footnote 15: Helmont pag. 412.]

[Footnote 16: Tyroc. Chym. L. 1. C. 4.]

To return then to what I was saying just before I mention'd
_Helmont's_ Experiment, I shall subjoyne, That Chymists must confess
also that in the perfectly Dephlegm'd spirit of Wine, or other
Fermented Liquors, that which they call the Sulphur of the Concrete
loses, by the Fermentation, the Property of Oyle, (which the Chymists
likewise take to be the true Sulphur of the Mixt) of being unminglable
with the Water. And if You will credit _Helmont_,[17] all [Errata: a
pound] of the purest Spirit of Wine may barely by the help of pure
Salt of Tartar (which is but the fixed Salt of Wine) be resolv'd or
Transmuted into scarce half an ounce of Salt, and as much Elementary
Water as amounts to the remaining part of the mention'd weight. And it
may (as I think I formerly also noted) be doubted, whether that Fixt
and Alcalizate Salt, which is so unanimously agreed on to be the
Saline Principle of incinerated Bodies, be not, as 'tis Alcalizate, a
Production of the Fire? For though the tast of Tartar, for Example,
seem to argue that it contains a Salt before it be burn'd, yet that
Salt being very Acid is of a quite Differing Tast from the Lixiviate
Salt of Calcin'd Tartar. And though it be not truly Objected against
the Chymists, that they obtain all Salts they make, by reducing the
Body they work on into Ashes with Violent Fires, (since Hartshorn,
Amber, Blood, and divers other Mixts yield a copious Salt before they
be burn'd to Ashes) yet this Volatile Salt Differs much, as we shall
see anon, from the Fixt Alcalizate Salt I speak of; which for ought I
remember is not producible by any known Way, without Incineration.
'Tis not unknown to Chymists, that Quicksilver may be Precipitated,
without Addition, into a dry Powder, that remains so in Water. And
some eminent _Spagyrists_, and even _Raimund Lully_ himself, teach,
that meerly by the Fire Quicksilver may in convenient Vessels be
reduc'd (at least in great part) into a thin Liquor like Water, and
minglable with it. So that by the bare Action of the Fire, 'tis
possible, that the parts of a mixt Body should be so dispos'd after
new and differing manners, that it may be sometimes of one
consistence, sometimes of another; And may in one State be dispos'd to
be mingl'd with Water, and in another not. I could also shew you, that
Bodies from which apart Chymists cannot obtain any thing that is
Combustible, may by being associated together, and by the help of the
Fire, afford an inflamable Substance. And that on the other side, 'tis
possible for a Body to be inflamable, from which it would very much
puzzle any ordinary Chymist; and perhaps any other, to separate an
inflamable Principle or Ingredient. Wherefore, since the Principles of
Chymists may receive their Denominations from Qualities, which it
often exceeds not the power of Art, nor alwayes that of the Fire to
produce; And since such Qualities may be found in Bodies that differ
so much in other Qualities from one another, that they need not be
allow'd to agree in that pure and simple Nature, which Principles, to
be so indeed, must have; it may justly be suspected, that many
Productions of the Fire that are shew'd us by Chymists, as the
Principles of the Concrete that afforded them, may be but a new kind
of Mixts. And to annex, on this Occasion, to these arguments taken
from the Nature of the thing, one of those which _Logicians_ call _ad
Hominem_, I shall desire You to take Notice, that though _Paracelsus_
Himself, and some that are so mistaken as to think he could not be so,
have ventur'd to teach, that not only the bodies here below, but the
Elements themselves, and all the other Parts of the Universe, are
compos'd of Salt, Sulphur and Mercury; yet the learned _Sennertus_,
and all the more wary Chymists, have rejected that conceit, and do
many of them confess, that the _Tria Prima_ are each of them made up
of the four Elements; and others of them make Earth and Water concur
with Salt, Sulphur and Mercury, to the Constitution of Mixt bodies. So
that one sort of these _Spagyrists_, notwithstanding the specious
Titles they give to the productions of the Fire, do in effect grant
what I contend for. And, of the other sort I may well demand, to what
Kind of Bodies the Phlegme and dead Earth, to be met with in Chymical
Resolutions, are to be referr'd? For either they must say, with
_Paracelsus_, but against their own Concessions as well as against
Experience, that these are also compos'd of the _Tria Prima_, whereof
they cannot separate any one from either of them; or else they must
confess that two of the vastest Bodies here below, Earth, and Water,
are neither of them compos'd of the _Tria Prima_; and that
consequently those three are not the Universal, and Adequate
Ingredients, neither of all Sublunary Bodies, nor even of all mixt
Bodies.

[Footnote 17: _Ostendi alias, quomodo lib. una aquæ vitæ combibita in
sale Tartari siccato, vix fiat semuncia salis, cæterum totum corpus
fiat aqua Elementalis. Helmont. in Aura vitali._]

I know that the chief of these Chymists represent, that though the
Distinct Substances into which they divide mixt bodies by the Fire,
are not pure and Homogeneous; yet since the four Elements into which
the _Aristotelians_ pretend to resolve the like bodies by the same
Agent, are not simple neither, as themselves acknowledge, 'tis as
allowable for the Chymists to call the one Principles, as for the
Peripateticks to call the other Elements; since in both cases the
Imposition of the name is grounded only upon the Predominancy of that
Element whose name is ascrib'd to it. Nor shall I deny, that this
Argument of the Chymists is no ill one against the _Aristotelians_.
But what Answer can it prove to me, who you know am disputing against
the _Aristotelian_ Elements, as the Chymicall Principles, and must not
look upon any body as a true Principle or Element, but as yet
compounded, which is not perfectly Homogeneous, but is further
Resoluble into any number of Distinct Substances how small soever. And
as for the Chymists calling a body Salt, or Sulphur, or Mercury, upon
pretence that the Principle of the same name is predominant in it,
That it self is an Acknowledgment of what I contend for; namely that
these productions of the Fire, are yet compounded bodies. And yet
whilst this is granted, it is affirm'd, but not prov'd, that the
reputed Salt, or Sulphur, or Mercury, consists mainly of one body that
deserves the name of a principle of the same Denomination. For how do
Chymists make it appear that there are any such primitive and simple
bodies in those we are speaking of; since 'tis upon the matter
confess'd by the answer lately made, that these are not such? And if
they pretend by Reason to evince what they affirm, what becomes of
their confident boasts, that the Chymists [Errata: Chymist] (whom they
therefore, after _Beguinus_, call a _Philosophus_ or _Opifex
Sensatus_) can convince our Eyes, by manifestly shewing in any mixt
body those simple substances he teaches them to be compos'd of? And
indeed, for the Chymists to have recourse in this case to other proofs
then Experiments, as it is to wave the grand Argument that has all
this while been given out for a Demonstrative One; so it releases me
from the obligation to prosecute a Dispute wherein I am not engag'd to
Examine any but Experimentall proofs. I know it may plausibly Enough
be Represented, in favour of the Chymists, that it being evident that
much the greater part of any thing they call Salt, or Sulphur, or
Mercury, is really such; it would be very rigid to deny those
Substances the names ascribed them, only because of some sleight
mixture of another Body; since not only the Peripateticks call
particular parcels of matter Elementary, though they acknowledge that
Elements are not to be anywhere found pure, at least here below; And
since especially there is a manifest Analogie and Resemblance betwixt
the bodies obtainable by Chymical Anatomies and the principles whose
names are given them; I have, I say, consider'd that these things may
be represented: But as for what is drawn from the Custome of the
Peripateticks, I have already told You, that though it may be employ'd
against Them, Yet it is not available against me who allow nothing to
be an Element that is not perfectly Homogeneous. And whereas it is
alledg'd, that the Predominant Principle ought to give a name to the
substance wherein it abounds; I answer, that that might much more
reasonably be said, if either we or the Chymists had seen Nature take
pure Salt, pure Sulphur, and pure Mercury, and compound of them every
sort of Mixt Bodies. But, since 'tis to experience that they appeal,
we must not take it for granted, that the Distill'd Oyle (for
instance) of a plant is mainly compos'd of the pure principle call'd
Sulphur, till they have given us an ocular proof, that there is in
that sort of Plants such an Homogeneous Sulphur. For as for the
specious argument, which is drawn from the Resemblance betwixt the
Productions of the Fire, and the Respective, either _Aristotelian_
Elements, or _Chymical_ Principles, by whose names they are call'd; it
will appear more plausible then cogent, if You will but recall to mind
the state of the controversie; which is not, whether or no there be
obtain'd from mixt Bodies certain substances that agree in outward
appearance, or in some Qualities with Quicksilver or Brimstone, or
some such obvious or copious Body; But whether or no all Bodies
confess'd to be perfectly mixt were compos'd of, and are resoluble
into a determinate number of primary unmixt Bodies. For, if you keep
the state of the question in your Eye, you'l easily discerne that
there is much of what should be Demonstrated, left unprov'd by those
Chymical Experiments we are Examining. But (not to repeat what I have
already discover'd more at large) I shall now take notice, that it
will not presently follow, that because a Production of the Fire has
some affinity with some of the greater Masses of matter here below,
that therefore they are both of the same Nature, and deserve the same
Name; for the Chymists are not content, that flame should be look't
upon as a parcel of the Element of Fire, though it be hot, dry, and
active, because it wants some other Qualities belonging to the nature
of Elementary fire. Nor will they let the Peripateticks call Ashes, or
Quicklime, Earth, notwithstanding the many likenesses between them;
because they are not tastlesse, as Elementary Earth ought to be: But
if you should ask me, what then it is, that all the Chymical Anatomies
of Bodies do prove, if they prove not that they consist of the three
Principles into which the fire resolves them? I answer, that their
Dissections may be granted to prove, that some mixt bodies (for in
many it will not hold) are by the fire, when they are included in
close Vessels, (for that Condition also is often requisite) dissolube
[Transcriber's Note: dissoluble] into several Substances differing in
some Qualities, but principally in Consistence. So that out of most of
them may be obtain'd a fixt substance partly saline, and partly
insipid, an unctuous Liquor, and another Liquor or more that without
being unctuous have a manifest taste. Now if Chymists will agree to
call the dry and sapid substance salt, the Unctous liquor Sulphur, and
the other Mercury, I shall not much quarrel with them for so doing:
But if they will tell me that Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury, are simple
and primary bodies whereof each mixt body was actually compounded, and
which was really in it antecedently to the operation of the fire, they
must give me leave to doubt whether (whatever their other arguments
may do) their Experiments prove all this. And if they will also tell
me that the Substances their Anatomies are wont to afford them, are
pure and similar, as Principles ought to be, they must give me leave
to believe my own senses; and their own confessions, before their bare
Assertions. And that you may not (_Eleutherius_) think I deal so
rigidly with them, because I scruple to Take these Productions of the
Fire for such as the Chymists would have them pass for, upon the
account of their having some affinity with them; consider a little
with me, that in regard an Element or Principle ought to be perfectly
Similar and Homogeneous, there is no just cause why I should rather
give the body propos'd the Name of this or that Element or Principle,
because it has a resemblance to it in some obvious Quality, rather
then deny it that name upon the account of divers other Qualities,
wherein the propos'd Bodies are unlike; and if you do but consider
what sleight and easily producible qualities they are that suffice, as
I have already more then once observ'd, to Denominate a Chymical
Principle or an Element, you'l not, I hope, think my wariness to be
destitute either of Example, or else of Reason. For we see that the
Chymists will not allow the _Aristotelians_ that the Salt in Ashes
ought to be called Earth, though the Saline and Terrestrial part
symbolize in weight, in dryness, in fixness and fusibility, only
because the one is sapid and dissoluble in Water, and the other not:
Besides, we see that sapidness and volatility are wont to denominate
the Chymists Mercury or Spirit; and yet how many Bodies, think you,
may agree in those Qualities which may yet be of very differing
natures, and disagree in qualities either more numerous, or more
considerable, or both. For not only Spirit of Nitre, Aqua Fortis,
Spirit of Salt, Spirit of Oyle of Vitriol, Spirit of Allome, Spirit of
Vinager, and all Saline Liquors Distill'd from Animal Bodies, but all
the Acetous Spirits of Woods freed from their Vinager; All these, I
say, and many others must belong to the Chymists Mercury, though it
appear not why some of them should more be comprehended under one
denomination then the Chymists Sulphur, or Oyle should likewise be;
for their Distill'd Oyles are also Fluid, Volatile, and Tastable, as
well as their Mercury; Nor is it Necessary, that their Sulphur should
be Unctuous or Dissoluble in Water, since they generally referr Spirit
of Wine to Sulphurs, although that Spirit be not Unctuous, and will
freely mingle with Water. So that bare Inflamability must constitute
the Essence of the Chymists Sulphur; as uninflamablenesse joyned with
any taste is enough to intitle a Distill'd Liquor to be their Mercury.
Now since I can further observe to You, that Spirit of Nitre and
Spirit of Harts-horne being pour'd together will boile and hisse and
tosse up one another into the air, which the Chymists make signes of
great Antipathy in the Natures of Bodies (as indeed these Spirits
differ much both in Taste, Smell, and Operations;) Since I elsewhere
tell you of my having made two sorts of Oyle out of the same mans
blood, that would not mingle with one another; And since I might tell
You Divers Examples I have met with, of the Contrariety of Bodies
which according to the Chymists must be huddl'd up together under one
Denomination; I leave you to Judge whether such a multitude of
Substances as may agree in these sleight Qualities, and yet Disagree
in Others more Considerable, are more worthy to be call'd by the Name
of a Principle (which ought to be pure and homogeneous,) than to have
appellations given them that may make them differ, in name too, from
the bodies from which they so wildly differ in Nature. And hence also,
by the bye, you may perceive that 'tis not unreasonable to distrust
the Chymists way of Argumentation, when being unable to shew us that
such a Liquor is (for Example) purely saline, they prove, that at
least salt is much the predominant principle, because that the
propos'd substance is strongly tasted, and all Tast proceeds from
salt; whereas those Spirits, such as spirit of Tartar, spirit of
Harts-horn, and the like, which are reckoned to be the Mercuries of
the Bodies that afford them, have manifestly a strong and piercing
tast, and so has (according to what I formerly noted) the spirit of
Box &c. even after the acid Liquor that concurr'd to compose it has
been separated from it. And indeed, if sapidness belong not to the
spirit or Mercurial Principle of Vegitables and Animals: I scarce know
how it will be discriminated from their phlegm, since by the absence
of Inflamability it must be distinguish'd from their sulphur, which
affords me another Example, to prove how unacurate the Chymical
Doctrine is in our present Case; since not only the spirits of
Vegitables and Animals, but their Oyles are very strongly tasted, as
he that shall but wet his tongue with Chymical Oyle of Cinnamon, or of
Cloves, or even of Turpentine, may quickly find, to his smart. And not
only I never try'd any Chymical Oyles whose tast was not very
manifest and strong; but a skilful and inquisitive person who made it
his business by elaborate operations to depurate Chymical Oyles, and
reduce them to an Elementary simplicity, Informes us, that he never
was able to make them at all Tastless; whence I might inferr, that the
proof Chymists confidently give us of a bodies being saline, is so far
from demonstrating the Predominancy, that it does not clearly Evince
so much as the presence of the saline Principle in it. But I will not
(pursues _Carneades_) remind you, that the Volatile salt of
Harts-horn, Amber, Blood, &c. are exceeding strongly scented,
notwithstanding that most Chymists deduce Odours from Sulphur, and
from them argue the Predominancy of that Principle in the Odorous
body, because I must not so much as add any new Examples of the
incompetency of this sort of Chymical arguments; since having already
detain'd You but too long in those generals that appertain to my
fourth consideration, 'tis time that I proceed to the particulars
themselves, to which I thought fit they should be previous:

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


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