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Spirit of Wine being wholly inflamable ought according to them to be
reckon'd to the Sulphureous, not the Mercurial Principle. And among
the other Liquors that go under the name of Spirits, there are divers
which seem to belong to the family of Salts, such as are the Spirits
of Nitre, Vitriol, Sea-Salt and others, and even the Spirit of
Harts-horn, being, as I have try'd, in great part, if not totally
reducible into Salt and Phlegme, may be suspected to be but a Volatile
Salt disguis'd by the Phlegme mingl'd with it into the forme of a
Liquor. However if this be a Spirit, it manifestly differs very much
from that of Vinager, the Tast of the one being Acid, and the other
Salt, and their Mixture in case they be very pure, sometimes
occasioning an Effervescence like that of those Liquors the Chymists
count most contrary to one another. And even among those Liquors that
seem to have a better title then those hitherto mention'd, to the name
of Spirits, there appears a sensible Diversity; For spirit of Oak, for
instance, differs from that of Tartar, and this from that of Box, or
of _Guaiacum_. And in short, even these spirits as well as other
Distill'd Liquors manifest a great Disparity betwixt themselves,
either in their Actions on our senses, or in their other operations.

And (continues _Carneades_) besides this Disparity that is to be met
with among those Liquors that the Modernes call spirits, & take for
similar bodies, what I have formerly told you concerning the Spirit of
Box-wood may let you see that some of those Liquors not only have
qualities very differing from others, but may be further resolved into
substances differing from one another.

And since many moderne Chymists and other Naturalists are pleased to
take the Mercurial spirit of Bodies for the same Principle, under
differing names, I must invite you to observe, with me, the great
difference that is conspicuous betwixt all the Vegetable and Animal
spirits I have mention'd and running Mercury. I speak not of that
which is commonly sold in shops that many of themselves will confesse
to be a mixt Body; but of that which is separated from Metals, which
by some Chymists that seem more Philosophers then the rest, and
especially by the above mentioned _Claveus_, is (for distinction sake)
called _Mercurius Corporum_. Now this Metalline Liquor being one of
those three Principles of which Mineral Bodies are by _Spagyrists_
affirmed to be compos'd and to be resoluble into them, the many
notorious Differences betwixt them and the Mercuries, as They call
Them, of Vegetables and Animals will allow me to inferr, either that
Minerals and the other two sorts of Mixt Bodies consist not of the
same Elements, or that those Principles whereinto Minerals are
immediately resolved, which Chymists with great ostentation shew us as
the true principles, of them, are but Secundary Principles, or Mixts
of a peculiar sort, which must be themselves reduc'd to a very
differing forme, to be of the same kind with Vegetable and Animal

But this is not all; for although I formerly told You how Little
Credit there is to be given to the Chymical Processes commonly to be
met with, of Extracting the Mercuries of Metals, Yet I will now add,
that supposing that the more Judicious of Them do not untruly affirme
that they have really drawn true and running Mercury from several
Metals (which I wish they had cleerly taught Us how to do also,) yet
it may be still doubted whether such extracted Mercuries do not as
well differ from common Quicksilver, and from one another, as from the
Mercuries of Vegetables and Animalls. _Claveus_,[21] in his Apology,
speaking of some _experiments_ whereby Metalline Mercuries may be fixt
into the nobler metals, adds, that he spake of the Mercuries drawn
from metals; because common Quicksilver by reason of its excessive
coldnesse and moisture is unfit for that particular kind of operation;
for which though a few lines before he prescribes in general the
Mercuries of Metalline Bodies, yet he chiefly commends that drawn by
art from silver. And elsewhere, in the same Book, he tells us, that
he himself tryed, that by bare coction the quicksilver of Tin or
Pewter (_argentum vivum ex stanno prolicitum_) may by an efficient
cause, as he speaks, be turn'd into pure Gold. And the Experienc'd
_Alexander van Suchten_, somewhere tells us, that by a way he
intimates may be made a Mercury of Copper, not of the Silver colour of
other Mercuries, but green; to which I shall add, that an eminent
person, whose name his travells and learned writings have made famous,
lately assur'd me that he had more then once seen the Mercury of Lead
(which whatever Authors promise, you will find it very difficult to
make, at least in any considerable quantity) fixt into perfect Gold.
And being by me demanded whether or no any other Mercury would not as
well have been changed by the same Operations, he assured me of the

[Footnote 21: _Dixi autem de argento vivo a metallis prolicito, quod
vulgare ob nimiam frigiditatem & humiditatem nimium concoctioni est
contumax, nec ab auro solum alterato coerceri potest._ Gast. Clave. in

And since I am fallen upon the mention of the Mercuries of metals, you
will perhaps expect (_Eleutherius_!) that I should say something of
their two other principles; but must freely confess to you, that what
Disparity there may be between the salts and sulphurs of Metals and
other Menerals [Transcriber's Note: Minerals], I am not my self
experienced enough in the separations and examens of them, to venture
to determine: (for as for the salts of Metals, I formerly represented
it as a thing much to be question'd, whether they have any at all:)
And for the processes of separation I find in Authors, if they were
(what many of them are not) successfully practicable, as I noted
above, yet they are to be performed by the assistance of other bodies,
so hardly, if upon any termes at all, separable from them, that it is
very difficult to give the separated principles all their due, and no
more. But the Sulphur of Antimony which is vehemently vomitive, and
the strongly scented Anodyne Sulphur of Vitriol inclines me to think
that not only Mineral Sulphurs differ from Vegetable ones, but also
from one another, retaining much of the nature of their Concretes. The
salts of metals, and of some sort of minerals, You will easily guesse
by [Errata: (by] the Doubts I formerly express'd, whether metals have
any salt at all [Errata: all)], that I have not been so happy as yet
to see, perhaps not for want of curiosity. But if _Paracelsus_ did
alwaies write so consentaneously to himself that his opinion were
_confidently_ to be collected from every place of his writings where
he seems to expresse it, I might safely take upon me to tell you, that
he both countenances in general what I have delivered in my Fourth
main consideration, and in particular warrants me to suspect that
there may be a difference in metalline and mineral Salts, as well as
we find it in those of other bodies. For, _Sulphur_ (sayes he)[22]
_aliud in auro, aliud in argento, aliud in ferro, aliud in plumbo,
stanno, &c. sic aliud in Saphiro, aliud in Smaragdo, aliud in rubino,
chrysolito, amethisto, magnete, &c. Item aliud in lapidibus, silice,
salibus, fontibus, &c. nec vero tot sulphura tantum, sed & totidem
salia; sal aliud in metallis, aliud in gemmis, aliud in lapidibus,
aliud in salibus, aliud in vitriolo, aliud in alumine: similis etiam
Mercurii est ratio. Alius in Metallis, alius in Gemmis, &c. Ita ut
unicuique speciei suus peculiaris Mercurius sit. Et tamen res saltem
tres sunt; una essentia est sulphur; una est sal; una est Mercurius.
Addo quod & specialius adhuc singula dividantur; aurum enim non unum,
sed multiplex, ut et non unum pyrum, pomum, sed idem multiplex;
totidem etiam sulphura auri, salia auri, mercurii auri; idem competit
etiam metallis & gemmis; ut quot saphyri præstantiores, lævioris, &c.
tot etiam saphyrica sulphura, saphyrica salia, saphyrici Mercurii, &c.
Idem verum etiam est de turconibus & gemmis aliis universis._ From
which passage (_Eleutherius_) I suppose you will think I might without
rashness conclude, either that my opinion is favoured by that of
_Paracelsus_, or that _Paracelsus_ his opinion was not alwaies the
same. But because in divers other places of his writings he seems to
talk at a differing rate of the three Principles and the four
Elements, I shall content my self to inferr from the alledg'd passage,
that if his doctrine be not consistent with that Part of mine which it
is brought to countenance, it is very difficult to know what his
opinion concerning salt, sulphur and mercury, was; and that
consequently we had reason about the beginning of our conferences, to
decline taking upon us, either to examine or oppose it.

[Footnote 22: Paracel. de Mineral. Tract. 1. pag. 141.]

I know not whether I should on this occasion add, that those very
bodies the Chymists call Phlegme and Earth do yet recede from an
Elementary simplicity. That common Earth and Water frequently do so,
notwithstanding the received contrary opinion, is not deny'd by the
more wary of the moderne Peripateticks themselves: and certainly, most
Earths are much lesse simple bodies then is commonly imagined even by
Chymists, who do not so consideratly to prescribe and employ Earths
Promiscuously in those distillations that require the mixture of some
_caput mortuum_, to hinder the flowing together of the matter, and to
retain its grosser parts. For I have found some Earths to yield by
distillation a Liquor very far from being inodorous or insipid; and
'tis a known observation, that most kinds of fat Earth kept cover'd
from the rain, and hindred from spending themselves in the production
of vegetables, will in time become impregnated with Salt-Petre.

But I must remember that the Water and Earths I ought here to speak
of, are such as are separated from mixt Bodies by the fire; and
therefore to restrain my Discourse to such, I shall tell you, That we
see the Phlegme of Vitriol (for instance) is a very effectual remedie
against burnes; and I know a very Famous and experienc'd _Physitian_,
whose unsuspected secret (himself confess'd to me) it is, for the
discussing of hard and Obstinate Tumours. The Phlegme of Vinager,
though drawn exceeding leasurly in a digesting Furnace, I have
purposely made tryall of; and sometimes found it able to draw, though
slowly, a saccharine sweetness out of Lead; and as I remember by long
Digestion, I dissolv'd Corpals [Errata: Corals] in it. The Phlegme of
the sugar of Saturne is said to have very peculiar properties. Divers
Eminent Chymists teach, that it will dissolve Pearls, which being
precipitated by the spirit of the same concrete are thereby (as they
say) rendred volatile; which has been confirmed to me, upon his own
observation, by a person of great veracity. The Phlegme of Wine, and
indeed divers other Liquors that are indiscriminately condemnd to be
cast away as phlegm, are endow'd with qualities that make them differ
both from meer water, and from each other; and whereas the Chymists
are pleas'd to call the _caput mortuum_ of what they have distill'd
(after they have by affusion of water drawn away its salt) _terra
damnata_, or Earth, it may be doubted whether or no those earths are
all of them perfectly alike: and it is scarce to be doubted, but that
there are some of them which remain yet unreduc'd to an Elementary
nature. The ashes of wood depriv'd of all the salt, and bone-Ashes, or
calcin'd Harts-horn, which Refiners choose to make Tests of, as freest
from Salt, seem unlike: and he that shall compare either of these
insipid ashes to Lime, and much more to the _calx_ of Talk
[Transcriber's Note: Talck] (though by the affusion of water they be
exquisitely dulcify'd) will perhaps see cause to think them things of
a somewhat differing nature. And it is evident in Colcothar that the
exactest calcination, follow'd by an exquisite dulcification, does not
alwaies reduce the remaining body into elementary earth; for after the
salt or Vitriol (if the Calcination have been too faint) is drawn out
of the Colcothar, the residue is not earth, but a mixt body, rich in
Medical vertues (as experience has inform'd me) and which _Angelus
Sala_ affirmes to be partly reducible into malleable Copper; which I
judge very probable: for though when I was making Experiments upon
Colcothar, I was destitute of a Furnace capable of giving a heat
intense Enough to bring such a Calx to Fusion; yet having conjectur'd
that if Colcothar abounded with that Metal, Aqua Fortis would find it
out there, I put some dulcifi'd Colcothar into that _Menstruum_, and
found the Liquor, according to my Expectation, presently Colour'd as
Highly as if it had been an Ordinary Solution of Copper.



_The Fifth Part._

Here _Carneades_ making a pause, I must not deny (sayes his Friend to
him) that I think You have sufficiently prov'd that these distinct
Substances which Chymists are wont to obtain from Mixt Bodies, by
their Vulgar Destillation, are not pure and simple enough to deserve,
in Rigour of speaking, the Name of Elements, or Principles. But I
suppose You have heard, that there are some Modern _Spagyrists_, who
give out that they can by further and more Skilfull Purifications, so
reduce the separated Ingredients of Mixt Bodies to an Elementary
simplicity, That the Oyles (for Instance) extracted from all Mixts
shall as perfectly resemble one another, as the Drops of Water do.

If you remember (replies _Carneades_) that at the Beginning of our
Conference with _Philoponus_, I declar'd to him before the rest of the
Company, that I would not _engage_ my self at present to do any more
then examine the usual proofs alledg'd by Chymists, for the Vulgar
doctrine of their three Hypostatical Principles; You will easily
perceive that I am not oblig'd to make answer to what you newly
propos'd; and that it rather grants, then disproves what I have been
contending for: Since by pretending to make so great a change in the
reputed Principles that Destillation affords the common _Spagyrists_,
'tis plainly enough presuppos'd, that before such Artificial
Depurations be made, the Substances to be made more simple were not
yet simple enough to be look'd upon as Elementary; Wherefore in case
the _Artists_ you speak of could perform what they give out they can,
yet I should not need to be asham'd of having question'd the Vulgar
Opinion touching the _tria Prima_. And as to the thing it self, I
shall freely acknowledge to you, that I love not to be forward in
determining things to be impossible, till I know and have consider'd
the means by which they are propos'd to be effected. And therefore I
shall not peremptorily deny either the possibility of what these
_Artists_ promise, or my Assent to any just Inference; however
destructive to my Conjectures, that may be drawn from their
performances. But give me leave to tell you withall, that because such
promises are wont (as Experience has more then once inform'd me) to be
much more easily made, then made good by Chymists, I must withhold my
Beliefe from their assertions, till their Experiments exact it; and
must not be so easie as to expect before hand, an unlikely thing upon
no stronger Inducements then are yet given me: Besides that I have not
yet found by what I have heard of these Artists, that though they
pretend to bring the several Substances into which the Fire has
divided the Concrete, to an exquisite simplicity, They pretend also to
be able by the Fire to divide all Concretes, Minerals, and others,
into the same number of Distinct Substances. And in the mean time I
must think it improbable, that they can either truly separate as many
differing Bodies from Gold (for Instance) or _Osteocolla_, as we can
do from Wine, or Vitriol; or that the Mercury (for Example) of Gold or
Saturn would be perfectly of the same Nature with that of Harts-horn;
and that the sulphur of Antimony would be but Numerically different
from the Distill'd butter or oyle of Roses.

But suppose (sayes _Eleutherius_) that you should meet with Chymists,
who would allow you to take in Earth and Water into the number of the
principles of Mixt Bodies; and being also content to change the
Ambiguous Name of Mercury for that more intelligible one of spirit,
should consequently make the principles of Compound Bodies to be Five;
would you not think it something hard to reject so plausible an
Opinion, only because the Five substances into which the Fire divides
mixt Bodies are not exactly pure, and Homogeneous? For my part
(Continues _Carneades_) I cannot but think it somewhat strange, in
case this Opinion be not true, that it should fall out so luckily,
that so great a Variety of Bodies should be Analyz'd by the Fire into
just five Distinct substances; which so little differing from the
Bodies that bear those names, may so Plausibly be call'd Oyle, Spirit,
Salt, Water, and Earth.

The Opinion You now propose (answers _Carneades_) being another then
that I was engag'd to examine, it is not requisite for me to Debate it
at present; nor should I have leisure to do it thorowly. Wherefore I
shall only tell you in General, that though I think this Opinion in
some respects more defensible then that of the Vulgar Chymists; yet
you may easily enough learn from the past Discourse what may be
thought of it: Since many of the Objections made against the Vulgar
Doctrine of the Chymists seem, without much alteration, employable
against this _Hypothesis_ also. For, besides that this Doctrine does
as well as the other take it for granted, (what is not easie to be
prov'd) that the Fire is the true and Adequate Analyzer of Bodies,
and that all the Distinct substances obtainable from a mixt Body by
the Fire, were so pre-existent in it, that they were but extricated
from each other by the _Analysis_; Besides that this Opinion, too,
ascribe [Errata: ascribes] to the Productions of the Fire an
Elementary simplicity, which I have shewn not to belong to them; and
besides that this Doctrine is lyable to some of the other
Difficulties, wherewith That of the _Tria Prima_ is incumber'd;
Besides all this, I say, this quinary number of Elements, (if you
pardon the Expression) ought at least to have been restrain'd to the
Generality of Animal and Vegetable Bodies, since not only among these
there are some Bodies (as I formerly argu'd) which, for ought has yet
been made to appear, do consist, either of fewer or more similar
substances then precisely Five. But in the Mineral Kingdom, there is
scarce one Concrete that has been evinc'd to be adequatly divisible
into such five Principles or Elements, and neither more nor less, as
this Opinion would have every mixt Body to consist of.

And this very thing (continues _Carneades_) may serve to take away or
lessen your Wonder, that just so many Bodies as five should be found
upon the Resolution of Concretes. For since we find not that the fire
can make any such _Analysis_ (into five Elements) of Metals and other
Mineral Bodies, whose Texture is more strong and permanent, it remains
that the Five Substances under consideration be Obtain'd from
Vegetable and Animal Bodies, which (probably by reason of their looser
Contexture) are capable of being Distill'd. And as to such Bodies,
'tis natural enough, that, whether we suppose that there are, or are
not, precisely five Elements, there should ordinarily occurr in the
Dissipated parts a five Fold Diversity of Scheme (if I may so speak.)
For if the Parts do not remain all fix'd, as in Gold, Calcin'd Talck,
&c. nor all ascend, as in the Sublimation of Brimstone, Camphire, &c.
but after their Dissipation do associate themselves into new Schemes
of Matter; it is very likely, that they will by the Fire be divided
into fix'd and Volatile (I mean, in Reference to that degree of heat
by which they are destill'd) and those Volatile parts will, for the
most part, ascend either in a dry forme, which Chymists are pleas'd to
call, if they be Tastless, Flowers; if Sapid, Volatile Salt; or in a
Liquid Forme. And this Liquor must be either inflamable, and so pass
for oyl, or not inflamable, and yet subtile and pungent, which may be
call'd Spirit; or else strengthless or insipid, which may be nam'd
Phlegme, or Water. And as for the fixt part, or _Caput Mortuum_, it
will most commonly consist of Corpuscles, partly Soluble in Water, or
Sapid, (especially if the Saline parts were not so Volatile, as to fly
away before) which make up its fixt salt; and partly insoluble and
insipid, which therefore seems to challenge the name of Earth. But
although upon this ground one might easily enough have foretold, that
the differing substances obtain'd from a perfectly mixt Body by the
Fire would for the most part be reducible to the five newly mentioned
States of Matter; yet it will not presently follow, that these five
Distinct substances were simple and primogeneal bodies, so
pre-existent in the Concrete that the fire does but take them asunder.
Besides that it does not appear, that all Mixt Bodies, (witness,
Gold, Silver, Mercury, &c.) Nay nor perhaps all Vegetables, which may
appear by what we said above of _Camphire_, _Benzoin_, &c. are
resoluble by Fire into just such differing Schemes of Matter. Nor will
the Experiments formerly alledg'd permit us to look upon these
separated Substances as Elementary, or uncompounded. Neither will it
be a sufficient Argument of their being Bodies that deserve the Names
which Chymists are pleas'd to give them, that they have an Analogy in
point of Consistence, or either Volatility or Fixtness, or else some
other obvious Quality, with the suppos'd Principles, whose names are
ascrib'd to them. For, as I told you above, notwithstanding this
Resemblance in some one Quality, there may be such a Disparity in
others, as may be more fit to give them Differing Appellations, then
the Resemblance is to give them one and the same. And indeed it seems
but somewhat a gross Way of judging of the Nature of Bodies, to
conclude without Scruple, that those must be of the same Nature that
agree in some such General Quality, as Fluidity, Dryness, Volatility,
and the like: since each of those Qualities, or States of Matter, may
Comprehend a great Variety of Bodies, otherwise of a very differing
Nature; as we may see in the Calxes of Gold, of Vitriol, and of
Venetian Talck, compar'd with common Ashes, which yet are very dry,
and fix'd by the vehemence of the Fire, as well as they. And as we may
likewise gather from what I have formerly Observ'd, touching the
Spirit of Box-Wood, which though a Volatile, Sapid, and not inflamable
Liquor, as well as the Spirits of Harts-horn, of Blood and others,
(and therefore has been hitherto call'd, the Spirit, and esteem'd for
one of the Principles of the Wood that affords it;) may yet, as I told
You, be subdivided into two Liquors, differing from one another, and
one of them at least, from the Generality of other Chymical Spirits.

But you may your self, if you please, (pursues _Carneades_)
accommodate to the _Hypothesis_ you propos'd what other particulars
you shall think applicable to it, in the foregoing Discourse. For I
think it unseasonable for me to meddle now any further with a
Controversie, which since it does not now belong to me, Leaves me at
Liberty to Take my Own time to Declare my Self about it.

_Eleutherius_ perceiving that _Carneades_ was somewhat unwilling to
spend any more time upon the debate of this Opinion, and having
perhaps some thoughts of taking hence a Rise to make him Discourse it
more fully another time, thought not fit as then to make any further
mention to him of the propos'd opinion, but told him;

I presume I need not mind you, _Carneades_, That both the Patrons of
the ternary number of Principles, and those that would have five
Elements, endeavour to back their experiments with a specious Reason
or two; and especially some of those Embracers of the Opinion last
nam'd (whom I have convers'd with, and found them Learned men) assigne
this Reason of the necessity of five distinct Elements; that otherwise
mixt Bodies could not be so compounded and temper'd as to obtain a due
consistence and competent Duration. For Salt (say they) is the
_Basis_ of Solidity; and Permanency in Compound Bodies, without which
the other four Elements might indeed be variously and loosly blended
together, but would remain incompacted; but that Salt might be
dissolv'd into minute Parts, and convey'd to the other Substances to

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