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to be but a mixture of Phlegme and Salt; the Oyle or Sulphur of
Vegetables or Animals is, according to him, reducible by the help of
Lixiviate Salts into Sope; as that Sope is by the help of repeated
Distillations from a _Caput Mortuum_ of Chalk into insipid Water. And
as for the saline substance that seems separable from mixt bodies; the
same _Helmonts_ tryals[33] give us cause to think, That it may be a
production of the Fire, which by transporting and otherwise altering
the particles of the matter, does bring it to a Saline nature.

[Footnote 33: _Omne autem Alcali addita pinguedine in aqueum liquorem,
qui tandem mera & simplex aqua fit, reducitur, (ut videre est in
Sapone, Lazurio lapide, &c.) quoties per adjuncta fixa semen
Pinguedinis deponit._ Helmont.]

For I know (sayes he, in the place formerly alledg'd to another
purpose) a way to reduce all stones into a meer Salt of equal weight
with the stone whence it was produc'd, and that without any of the
least either Sulphur or Mercury; which asseveration of my Author would
perhaps seem less incredible to You, if I durst acquaint You with all
I could say upon that subject. And hence by the way you may also
conclude that the Sulphur and Mercury, as they call them, that
Chymists are wont to obtain from compound Bodies by the Fire, may
possibly in many Cases be the productions of it; since if the same
bodies had been wrought upon by the Agents employ'd by _Helmont_, they
would have yielded neither Sulphur nor Mercury; and those portions of
them which the Fire would have presented Us in the forme of
Sulphureous and Mercurial Bodies would have, by _Helmonts_ method,
been exhibited to us in the form of Salt.

But though (sayes _Eleutherius_) You have alledg'd very plausible
Arguments against the _tria Prima_, yet I see not how it will be
possible for you to avoid acknowledging that Earth and Water are
Elementary Ingredients, though not of Mineral Concretes, yet of all
Animal and Vegetable Bodies; Since if any of these of what sort soever
be committed to Distillation, there is regularly and constantly
separated from it a phlegme or aqueous part and a _Caput Mortuum_ or
Earth.

I readily acknowledged (answers _Carneades_) it is not so easy to
reject Water and Earth (and especially the former) as 'tis to reject
the _Tria Prima_, from being the Elements of mixt Bodies; but 'tis not
every difficult thing that is impossible.

I consider then, as to Water, that the chief Qualities which make men
give that name to any visible Substance, are, that it is Fluid or
Liquid, and that it is insipid and inodorous. Now as for the tast of
these qualities, I think you have never seen any of those separated
substances that the Chymists call Phlegme which was perfectly devoyd
both of Tast and Smell: and if you object, that yet it may be
reasonably suppos'd, that since the whole Body is Liquid, the mass is
nothing but Elementary Water faintly imbu'd with some of the Saline or
Sulphureous parts of the same Concrete, which it retain'd with it
upon its Separation from the Other Ingredients. To this I answer, That
this Objection would not appear so stong [Transcriber's Note: strong]
as it is plausible, if Chymists understood the Nature of Fluidity and
Compactnesse; and that, as I formerly observ'd, to a Bodies being
Fluid there is nothing necessary, but that it be divided into parts
small enough; and that these parts be put into such a motion among
themselves as to glide some this way and some that way, along each
others Surfaces. So that, although a Concrete were never so dry, and
had not any Water or other Liquor in-existent in it, yet such a
Comminution of its parts may be made, by the fire or other Agents, as
to turn a great portion of them into Liquor. Of this Truth I will give
an instance, employ'd by our friend here present as one of the most
conducive of his experiments to Illustrate the nature of Salts. If you
Take, then, sea salt and melt it in the Fire to free it from the
aqueous parts, and afterward distill it with a vehement Fire from
burnt Clay, or any other, as dry a _Caput mortuum_ as you please, you
will, as Chymists confess, [Errata: confesse (delete comma)] by
teaching it drive over a good part of the Salt in the form of a
Liquor. And to satisfy some ingenious men, That a great part of this
Liquor was still true sea salt brought by the Operation of the Fire
into Corpuscles so small, and perhaps so advantageously shap'd, as to
be capable of the forme of a Fluid Body, He did in my presence poure
to such spiritual salts a due proportion of the spirit (or salt and
Phlegme) of Urine, whereby having evaporated the superfluous moisture,
he soon obtain'd such another Concrete, both as to tast and smell, and
easie sublimableness as common Salt _Armoniack_, which you know is
made up of grosse and undistill'd sea salt united with the salts of
Urine and of Soot, which two are very neer of kin to each other. And
further, to manifest that the Corpuscles of sea salt and the Saline
ones of Urine retain their several Natures in this Concrete, He mixt
it with a convenient quantity of Salt of Tartar, and committing it to
Distillation soon regain'd his spirit of Urine in a liquid form by its
self, the Sea salt staying behind with the Salt of Tartar. Wherefore
it is very possible that dry Bodies may by the Fire be reduc'd to
Liquors without any separation of Elements, but barely by a certain
kind of Dissipation and Comminution of the matter, whereby its parts
are brought into a new state. And if it be still objected, that the
Phlegme of mixt Bodies must be reputed water, because so weak a tast
needs but a very small proportion of Salt to impart it; It may be
reply'd, that for ought appears, common Salt and divers other bodies,
though they be distill'd never so dry, and in never so close Vessels,
will yield each of them pretty store of a Liquor, wherein though (as I
lately noted) Saline Corpuscles abound, Yet there is besides a large
proportion of Phlegme, as may easily be discovered by coagulating the
Saline Corpuscles with any convenient Body; as I lately told you, our
Friend coagulated part of the Spirit of Salt with Spirit of Urine: and
as I have divers times separated a salt from Oyle of Vitriol it self
(though a very ponderous Liquor and drawn from a saline body) by
boyling it with a just quantity of Mercury, and then washing the newly
coagulated salt from the Precipitate with fair Water. Now to what can
we more probably ascribe this plenty of aqueous Substance afforded us
by the Distillation of such bodies, than unto this, That among the
various operations of the Fire upon the matter of a Concrete, divers
particles of that matter are reduc'd to such a shape and bignesse as
is requisite to compose such a Liquor as Chymists are wont to call
Phlegme or Water. How I conjecture this change may be effected, 'tis
neither necessary for me to tell you, nor possible to do so without a
much longer discourse then were now seasonable. But I desire you would
with me reflect upon what I formerly told you concerning the change of
Quicksilver into Water; For that Water having but a very faint tast,
if any whit more than divers of those liquors that Chymists referr to
Phlegme; By that experiment it seems evident, that even a metalline
body, and therefore much more such as are but Vegetable or Animal, may
by a simple operation of the Fire be turn'd in great part into Water.
And since those I dispute with are not yet able out of Gold, or
Silver, or divers other Concretes to separate any thing like Water; I
hope I may be allow'd to conclude against Them, that water it self is
not an Universal and pre-existent Ingredient of Mixt Bodies.

But as for those Chymists that, Supposing with me the Truth of what
_Helmont_ relates of the _Alkahest's_ wonderful Effects, have a right
to press me with his Authority concerning them, and to alledge that he
could Transmute all reputedly mixt Bodies into insipid and meer Water;
To those I shall represent, That though his Affirmations conclude
strongly against the Vulgar Chymists (against whom I have not
therefore scrupl'd to Employ Them) since they Evince that the Commonly
reputed Principles or Ingredients of Things are not Permanent and
indestructible, since they may be further reduc'd into Insipid Phlegme
differing from them all; Yet till we can be allow'd to examine this
Liquor, I think it not unreasonable to doubt whether it be not
something else then meer Water. For I find not any other reason given
by _Helmont_ of his Pronouncing it so, then that it is insipid. Now
Sapour being an Accident or an Affection of matter that relates to our
Tongue, Palate, and other Organs of Tast, it may very possibly be,
that the small Parts of a Body may be of such a Size and Shape, as
either by their extream Littleness, or by their slenderness, or by
their Figure, to be unable to pierce into and make a perceptible
Impression upon the Nerves or Membranous parts of the Organs of Tast,
and what [Errata: yet] may be fit to work otherwise upon divers other
Bodies than meer Water can, and consequently to Disclose it self to be
of a Nature farr enough from Elementary. In Silke dyed Red or of any
other Colour, whilst many Contiguous Threads makes up a skein, the
Colour of the Silke is conspicuous; but if only a very few of them be
lookt upon, the Colour will appear much fainter then before. But if
You take out one simple Thread, you shall not easily be able to
discern any Colour at all; So subtile an Object having not the Force
to make upon the Optick Nerve an Impression great enough to be taken
Notice of. It is also observ'd, that the best sort of Oyl-Olive is
almost tastless, and yet I need not tell you how exceedingly distant
in Nature Oyle is from Water. The Liquor into which I told you, upon
the Relation of _Lully_, and [Errata: an] Eye-witness that Mercury
might be Transmuted, has sometimes but a very Languid, if any Tast,
and yet its Operations even upon some Mineral Bodies are very
peculiar. Quicksilver it self also, though the Corpuscles it consists
of be so very small as to get into the Pores of that Closest and
compactest of Bodies, Gold, is yet (you know) altogether Tastless. And
our _Helmont_ several times tells us, that fair Water wherein a little
Quantity f [Errata: of] Quicksilver has lain for some time, though it
acquire no certain Tast or other sensible Quality from the
Quicksilver; Yet it has a power to destroy wormes in humane Bodies;
which he does much, but not causelessly extoll. And I remember, a
great Lady, that had been Eminent for her Beauty in Divers Courts,
confess'd to me, that this insipid Liquor was of all innocent washes
for the Face the best that she ever met with.

And here let me conclude my Discourse, concerning such waters or
Liquors as I have hitherto been examining, with these two
Considerations. Whereof the first is, That by reason of our being wont
to drink nothing but Wine, Bear, Cyder, or other strongly tasted
Liquors, there may be in several of these Liquors, that are wont to
pass for insipid Phlegme, very peculiar and Distinct, Tasts [Errata:
distinct Tasts] though unheeded (and perhaps not to be perceiv'd) by
Us. For to omit what Naturalists affirm of Apes, (and which probably
may be true of divers other Animals) that they have a more exquisite
palate than Men: among Men themselves, those that are wont to drink
nothing but water may (as I have try'd in my self) Discern very
sensibly a great Difference of Tasts in several waters, which one
un-accustomed to drink water would take to be all alike insipid. And
this is the _first_ of my two Considerations; the _Other_ is, That it
is not impossible that the Corpuscles into which a body is dissipated
by the Fire may by the Operation of the same fire have their figures
so altered, or may be by associations with one another brought into
little Masses of such a Size and Shape, as not to be fit to make
sensible Impressions on the Tongue. And that you may not think such
alterations impossible, be pleased to consider with me, that not only
the sharpest Spirit of Vinager having dissolved as much Corall as it
can, will Coagulate with it into a Substance, which though soluble in
water, like salt, is incomparably less strongly Tasted then the
Vinager was before; but (what is more considerable) though the Acid
salts that are carried up with Quicksilver in the preparation of
common sublimate are so sharp, that being moistened with water it will
Corrode some of the Metals themselves; yet this Corrosive Sublimate
being twice or thrice re-sublim'd with a full proportion of insipid
Quicksilver, Constitutes (as you know) that Factitious Concrete, which
the Chymists call _Mercurius dulcis_; not because it is sweet, but
because the sharpness of the Corrosive Salts is so taken away by their
Combination with the Mercurial Corpuscles, that the whole mixture when
it is prepar'd is judg'd to be insipid.

And thus (continues _Carneades_) having given you some Reasons why I
refuse to admit Elementary water for a constant Ingredient of Mixt
Bodies, It will be easie for me to give you an Account why I also
reject Earth.

For first, it may well be suspected that many Substances pass among
Chymists under the name of Earth, because, like it, they are Dry, and
Heavy, and Fixt, which yet are very farr from an Elementary Nature.
This you will not think improbable, If you recall to mind what I
formerly told you concerning what Chymists call the Dead Earth of
things, and especially touching the copper to be drawn from the _Caput
Mortuum_ of Vitriol; And if also you allow me to subjoyn a casual but
memorable Experiment made by _Johannes Agricola_ upon the _Terra
Damnata_ of Brimstone. Our Author then tells us (in his notes upon
_Popius_ [Transcriber's Note: Poppius],) that in the year 1621 he made
an Oyle of Sulphur; the remaining _Fæces_ he reverberated in a
moderate Fire fourteen dayes; afterwards he put them well luted up in
a Wind Oven, and gave them a strong Fire for six hours, purposing to
calcine the _Fæces_ to a perfect Whiteness, that he might make
someting [Transcriber's Note: something] else out of them. But coming
to break the pot, he found above but very little _Fæces_, and those
Grey and not White; but beneath there lay a fine Red _Regulus_ which
he first marvell'd at and knew not what to make of, being well assured
that not the least thing, besides the _Fæces_ of the Sulphur, came
into the pot; and that the Sulphur it self had only been dissolv'd in
Linseed Oyle; this _Regulus_ he found heavy and malleable almost as
Lead; having caus'd a Goldsmith to draw him a Wire of it, he found it
to be of the Fairest copper, and so rightly colour'd, that a Jew of
_Prague_ offer'd him a great price for it. And of this Metal he sayes
he had 12 _loth_ (or six ounces) out of one pound of Ashes or _Fæces_.
And this Story may well incline us to suspect that since the _Caput
Mortuum_ of the Sulphur was kept so long in the fire before it was
found to be any thing else then a _Terra damnata_, there may be divers
other Residences of Bodies which are wont to pass only for the
Terrestrial _Fæces_ of things, and therefore to be thrown away as soon
as the Distillation or Calcination of the Body that yielded them is
ended; which yet if they were long and Skilfully examin'd by the fire
would appear to be differing from Elementary Earth. And I have taken
notice of the unwarrantable forwardness of common Chymists to
pronounce things useless _Fæces_, by observing how often they reject
the _Caput Mortuum_ of Verdegrease; which is yet so farr from
deserving that Name, that not only by strong fires and convenient
Additaments it may in some hours be reduc'd into copper, but with a
certain Flux Powder I sometimes make for Recreation, I have in two or
three minutes obtain'd that Metal from it. To which I may add, that
having for tryall sake kept Venetian Taclk [Errata: Talck] in no less
a heat than that of a glass Furnace, I found after all the Brunt of
the fire it had indur'd, the remaining Body though brittle and
discolour'd, had not lost very much of its former Bulke, and seem'd
still to be nearer of kin to Talck than to meer Earth. And I remember
too, that a candid Mineralist, famous for his Skill in trying of Oars,
requesting me one day to procure him a certain _American_ Mineral
Earth of a _Virtuoso_, who he thought would not refuse me; I enquir'd
of him why he seem'd so greedy of it: he confess'd to me that this
Gentleman having brought that Earth to the publick Say-Masters; and
they upon their being unable by any means to bring it to fusion or
make it fly away, he (the Relator) had procur'd a little of it; and
having try'd it with a peculiar Flux separated from it neer a third
part of pure Gold; so great mistakes may be committed in hastily
concluding things to be Uselesse Earth.

Next, it may be suppos'd, That as in the Resolution of Bodies by the
Fire some of the dissipated Parts may, by their various occursion
occasion'd by the heat, be brought to stick together so closely as to
constitute Corpuscles too heavy for the Fire to carry away; the
aggregate of which Corpuscles is wont to be call'd Ashes or Earrh
[Errata: Earth]; So other Agents may resolve the Concrete into Minute
Parts, after so differing a manner as not to produce any _Caput
mortuum_, or dry and heavy Body. As you may remember _Helmont_ above
inform'd us, that with his great Dissolvent he divided a Coal into two
liquid and volatile Bodies, æquiponderant to the Coal, without any dry
or fixt Residence at all.

And indeed, I see not why it should be necessary that all Agents that
resolve Bodies into portions of differingly qualifi'd matter must
work on them the same way, and divide them into just such parts, both
for nature and Number, as the Fire dissipates them into. For since, as
I noted before, the Bulk and shape of the small Parts of bodies,
together with their Fitness and Unfitness to be easily put into
Motion, may make the liquors or other substances such Corpuscles
compose, as much to differ from each other as do some of the Chymical
principles: Why may not something happen in this case, not unlike what
is usuall in the grosser divisions of bodies by Mechanical
Instruments? Where we see that some Tools reduce Wood, for Instance,
into darts [Errata: parts] of several shapes, bignesse, and other
qualities, as Hatchets and Wedges divide it into grosser parts; some
more long and slender, as splinters; and some more thick and
irregular, as chips; but all of considerable bulk; but Files and Saws
makes a Comminution of it into Dust; which, as all the others, is of
the more solid sort of parts; whereas others divide it into long and
broad, but thin and flexible parts, as do _Planes_: And of this kind
of parts it self there is also a variety according to the Difference
of the Tools employ'd to work on the Wood; the shavings made by the
_plane_ being in some things differing from those shives or thin and
flexible pieces of wood that are obtain'd by _Borers_, and these from
some others obtainable by other Tools. Some Chymical Examples
applicable to this purpose I have elsewhere given you. To which I may
add, that whereas in a mixture of Sulphur and Salt of Tartar well
melted and incorporated together, the action of pure spirit of wine
digested on it is to separate the sulphureous from the Alcalizate
Parts, by dissolving the former and leaving the latter, the action of
Wine (probably upon the score of its copious Phlegme) upon the same
mixture is to divide it into Corpuscles consisting of both Alcalizate
and Sulphureous Parts united. And if it be objected, that this is but
a Factitious Concrete; I answer, that however the instance may serve
to illustrate what I propos'd, if not to prove it; and that Nature her
self doth in the bowels of the Earth make Decompounded Bodies, as we
see in Vitriol, Cinnaber, and even in Sulphur it self; I will not urge
that the Fire divides new Milk into five differing Substances; but
Runnet and Acid Liquors divide it into a Coagulated matter and a thin
Whey: And on the other side churning divides it into Butter and
Butter-milk, which may either of them be yet reduc'd to other
substances differing from the former. I will not presse this, I say,
nor other instances of this Nature, because I cannot in few words
answer what may be objected, that these Concretes sequestred without
the help of the Fire may by it be further divided into Hypostatical
Principles. But I will rather represent, That whereas the same spirit
of Wine will dissociare [Transcriber's Note: dissociate] the Parts of
Camphire, and make them one Liquor with it self; _Aqua Fortis_ will
also disjoyn them, and put them into motion; but so as to keep them
together, and yet alter their Texture into the form of an Oyle. I know
also an uncompounded Liquor, that an extraordinary Chymist would not
allow to be so much as Saline, which doth (as I have try'd) from Coral
it self (as fixt as divers judicious writers assert that Concrete to
be) not only obtain a noble Tincture, Without the Intervention of
Nitre or other Salts; but will carry over the Tincture in
Distillation. And if some reasons did not forbid me, I could now tell
you of a _Menstruum_ I make my self, that doth more odly dissociate
the parts of Minerals very fixt in the fire. So that it seems not
incredible, that there may be some Agent or way of Operation found,
whereby this or that Concrete, if not all Firme Bodies, may be
resolv'd into parts so very minute and so unapt to stick close to one
another, that none of them may be fixt enough to stay behind in a
strong Fire, and to be incapable of Distillation; nor consequently to
be look'd upon as Earth. But to return to _Helmont_, the same Authour
somewhere supply's me with another Argument against the Earth's being
such an Element as my Adversaries would have it. For he somewhere
affirms, that he can reduce all the Terrestrial parts of mixt bodies
into insipid water; whence we may argue against the Earths being one
of their Elements, even from that Notion of Elements which you may
remember _Philoponus_ recited out of _Aristotle_ himself, when he
lately disputed for his Chymists against _Themistius_. And here we
may on this occasion consider, that since a Body from which the Fire
hath driven away its looser parts is wont to be look'd upon as Earth,
upon the Account of its being endow'd with both these qualities,
Tastlessenesse and Fixtnesse, (for Salt of Tartar though Fixt passes
not among the Chymists for Earth, because 'tis strongly Tasted) if it
be in the power of Natural Agents to deprive the _Caput Mortuum_ of a
body of either of those two Qualities, or to give them both to a
portion of matter that had them not both before, the Chymists will not
easily define what part of a resolv'd Concrete is earth, and make out,
that that Earth is a primary, simple, and indestructible Body. Now
there are some cases wherein the more skilful of the Vulgar Chymists
themselves pretend to be able, by repeated Cohobations and other fit
Operations, to make the Distilled parts of a Concrete bring its own
_Caput Mortuum_ over the Helme, in the forme of a Liquor; in which
state being both Fluid and Volatile, you will easily believe it would
not be taken for Earth. And indeed by a skilful, but not Vulgar, way
of managing some Concretes, there may be more effected in this kind,
then you perhaps would easily think. And on the other side, that
either Earth may be Generated, or at least Bodies that did not before
appear to be neer Totally Earth, may be so alter'd as to pass for it,
seems very possible, if _Helmont_[34] have done that by Art which he
mentions in several places; especially where He sayes that he knowes
wayes whereby Sulphur once dissolv'd is all of it fix'd into a
Terrestrial Powder; and the whole Bodie of Salt-Petre may be turn'd
into Earth: Which last he elsewhere sayes is Done by the Odour only of
a certain Sulphureous Fire. And in another place He mentions one way
of doing this, which I cannot give you an Account of; because the
Materialls I had prepar'd for Trying it, were by a Servants mistake
unhappily thrown away.

[Footnote 34: _Novi item modos quibus totum Salpetiæ [Errata:
sal-petræ] in terram convertitur, totumque Sulphur semel dissolutum
fixetur in Pulvearem terreum. Helmont in Compl. atque Mist. Elementor.
Sect. 24._]

And these Last Arguments may be confirm'd by the Experiment I have
often had occasion to mention concerning the Mint I produc'd out of
Water. And partly by an Observation of _Rondeletius_ concerning the
Growth of Animals also, Nourish'd but by Water, which I remember'd not


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