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to mention, when I discours'd to you about the Production of things
out of Water. This Diligent Writer then in his instructive book of
fishes,[35] affirmes That his Wife kept a fish in a Glass of water
without any other Food for three years; in which space it was
constantly augmented, till at last it could not come out of the Place
at which it was put in, and at length was too big for the glass it
self though that were of a large capacity. And because there is no
just reason to doubt, that this Fish, if Distill'd, would have yielded
the like differing substances with other Animals: And However, because
the Mint which I had out of water afforded me upon Distillation a good
quantity of Charcoal, I think I may from thence inferr, that Earth it
self may be produc'd out of Water; or if you please, that water may be
transmuted into Earth; and consequently, that though it could be
prov'd that Earth is an Ingredient actually in-existent in the
Vegetable and Animal Bodies whence it may be obtain'd by Fire: yet it
would not necessarily follow, that Earth as a pre-existent Element
Does with other Principles convene to make up those Bodies whence it
seems to have been separated.

[Footnote 35: _Lib. 1. cap. 2._]

After all is said (sayes _Eleutherius_) I have yet something to
Object, that I cannot but think considerable, since _Carneades_
Himself alledg'd it as such; for, (continues _Eleutherius_ smiling) I
must make bold to try whether you can as luckily answer your own
Arguments, as those of your Antagonists, I mean (pursues he) that part
of your Concessions, wherein you cannot but remember that you supply'd
your Adversaries with an Example to prove that there may be Elementary
Bodies, by taking Notice that Gold may be an Ingredient in a multitude
of differing Mixtures, and yet retain its Nature, notwithstanding all
that the Chymists by their Fires and Corrosive Waters are able to do
to Destroy it.

I sufficiently intimated to you at that time (replies _Carneades_)
that I propos'd this Example, chiefly to shew you how Nature may be
Conceived to have made Elements, not to prove that she actually has
made any; And you know, that _a posse ad esse_ the Inference will not
hold. But (continues _Carneades_) to answer more directly to the
Objection drawn from Gold, I must tell You, that though I know very
well that divers of the more sober Chymists have complain'd of the
Vulgar Chymists, as of Mountebanks or Cheats, for pretending so
vainly, as hitherto they have done, to Destroy Gold; Yet I know a
certain _Menstruum_ (which our Friend has made, and intends shortly to
communicate to the Ingenious) of so piercing and powerfull a Quality,
That if notwithstanding much care, and some skill, I did not much
deceive myself, I have with it really destroy'd even refin'd Gold, and
brought it into a Metalline Body of another colour and Nature, as I
found by Tryals purposely made. And if some just Considerations did
not for the present Forbid it, I could Perchance here shew you by
another Experiment or Two of my own Trying, that such _Menstruums_ may
be made as to entice away and retain divers parts, from Bodies, which
even the more Judicious and Experienc'd _Spagyrists_ have pronounc'd
irresoluble by the Fire. Though (which I Desire you would mark) in
neither of these Instances, the Gold or Precious Stones be Analys'd
into any of the _Tria Prima_, but only Reduc'd to new Concretes. And
indeed there is a great Disparity betwixt the Operations of the
several Agents whereby the Parts of a Body come to be Dissipated. As
if (for Instance) you dissolve the purer sort of Vitriol in common
Water, the Liquor will swallow up the Mineral, and so Dissociate its
Corpuscles, that they will seem to make up but one Liquor with those
of the water; and yet each of these Corpuscles retains its Nature and
Texture, and remains a Vitriolate and Compounded Body. But if the same
Vitriol be exposed to a strong Fire, it will then be divided not only,
as before, into smaller parts, but into Heterogeneous Substances, each
of the Vitriolate Corpuscles that remain'd entire in the water, being
it self upon the Destruction of its former Texture dissipated or
divided into new Particles of differing Qualities. But Instances more
fitly applicable to this purpose, I have already given you. Wherefore
to return to what I told you about the Destruction of Gold, that
Experiment Invites me to Represent to you, that Though there were
either Saline, or Sulphureous, or Terrestrial Portions of Matter,
whose parts were so small, so firmly united together, or of a figure
so fit to make them cohere to one another, (as we see that in
quicksilver broken into little Globes, the Parts brought to touch one
another do immediately re-imbody) that neither the Fire, nor the usual
Agents employ'd by Chymists, are pierceing enough to divide their
Parts, so as to destroy the Texture of the single Corpuscles; yet it
would not necessarily follow, That such Permanent Bodies were
Elementary, since tis possible there may be Agents found in Nature,
some of whose parts may be of such a Size and Figure as to take better
Hold of some parts of these seemingly Elementary Corpuscles than these
parts do of the rest, and Consequently may carry away such parts with
them, and so dissolve the Texture of the Corpuscle by pulling its
parts asunder. And if it be said, that at least we may this way
discover the Elementary Ingredients of Things, by observing into what
Substances these Corpuscles that were reputed pure are divided; I
answer, that it is not necessary that such a Discovery should be
practicable. For if the Particles of the Dissolvent do take such firme
hold of those of the Dissolved Body, they must constitute together new
Bodies, as well as Destroy the Old; and the strickt Union, which
according to this _Hypothesis_ may well be suppos'd betwixt the Parts
of the Emergent Body, will make it as Little to be Expected that they
should be pull'd asunder, but by little Parts of matter, that to
Divide them Associate Themselves and stick extreamly close to those of
them which they sever from their Former Adherents. Besides that it is
not impossible, that a Corpuscle suppos'd to be Elementary may have
its Nature changed, without suffering a Divorce of its parts, barely
by a new Texture Effected by some powerfull Agent; as I formerly told
you, the same portion of matter may easily by the Operation of the
Fire be turn'd at pleasure into the form of a Brittle and Transparent,
or an Opacous and Malleable Body.

And indeed, if you consider how farr the bare Change of Texture,
whether made by Art or Nature (or rather by Nature with or without the
assistance of man) can go in producing such New Qualities in the same
parcel of matter, and how many inanimate Bodies (such as are all the
Chymical productions of the Fire) we know are Denominated and
Distinguish'd not so much by any Imaginary Substantial Form, as by the
aggregate of these Qualities. If you consider these Things, I say, and
that the varying of either the figure, or the Size, or the Motion, or
the Situation, or Connexion of the Corpuscles whereof any of these
Bodies is compos'd, may alter the Fabrick of it, you will possibly be
invited to suspect, with me, that there is no great need that Nature
should alwayes have Elements before hand, whereof to make such Bodies
as we call mixts. And that it is not so easie as Chymists and others
have hitherto Imagin'd, to discern, among the many differing
Substances that may without any extraordinary skill be obtain'd from
the same portion of matter, Which ought to be esteemed exclusively to
all the rest, its in-existent Elementary Ingredients; much lesse to
determine what Primogeneal and Simple Bodies convened together to
compose it. To exemplify this, I shall add to what I have already on
several occasions Represented, but this single instance.

You may remember (_Eleutherius_) that I formerly intimated to you,
that besides Mint and Pompions, I produced divers other Vegetables of
very differing Natures out of Water. Wherefore you will not, I
presume, think it incongruous to suppose, that when a slender
Vine-slip is set into the ground, and takes root, there it may
likewise receive its Nutriment from the water attracted out of the
earth by his roots, or impell'd by the warm'th of the sun, or pressure
of the ambient air into the pores of them. And this you will the more
easily believe, if you ever observ'd what a strange quantity of Water
will Drop out of a wound given to the Vine, in a convenient place, at
a seasonable time in the Spring; and how little of Tast or Smell this
_Aqua Vitis_, as Physitians call it, is endow'd with, notwithstanding
what concoction or alteration it may receive in its passage through
the Vine, to discriminate it from common Water. Supposing then this
Liquor, at its first entrance into the roots of the Vine, to be common
Water; Let Us a little consider how many various Substances may be
obtain'd from it; though to do so, I must repeat somewhat that I had a
former occasion to touch upon. And first, this Liquor being Digested
in the plant, and assimilated by the several parts of it, is turn'd
into the Wood, Bark, Pith, Leaves, &c. of the Vine; The same Liquor
may be further dry'd, and fashon'd into Vine-buds, and these a while
after are advanced unto sour Grapes, which express'd yield Verjuice, a
Liquor very differing in several qualities both from Wine and other
Liquors obtainable from the Vine: These soure Grapes being by the heat
of the Sun concocted and ripened, turne to well tasted Grapes; These
if dry'd in the Sun and Distill'd, afford a fætid Oyle and a piercing
_Empyreumatical_ Spirit, but not a Vinous Spirit; These dry'd Grapes
or Raisins boyl'd in a convenient proportion of Water make a sweet
Liquor, which being betimes distill'd afford an Oyle and Spirit much
like those of the Raisins themselves; If the juice of the Grapes be
squeez'd out and put to Ferment, it first becomes a sweet and turbid
Liquor, then grows lesse sweet and more clear, and then affords in
common Distillations not an Oyle but a Spirit, which, though
inflamable like Oyle, differs much from it, in that it is not fat, and
that it will readily mingle with Water. I have likewise without
Addition obtain'd in processe of time (and by an easie way which I am
ready to teach you) from one of the noblest sorts of Wine, pretty
store of pure and curiously figured Crystals of Salt, together with a
great proportion of a Liquor as sweet almost as Hony; and these I
obtained not from Must, but True and sprightly Wine; besides the
Vinous Liquor, the fermented Juice of Grapes is partly turned into
liquid Dregs or Leeze, and partly into that crust or dry feculancy
that is commonly called Tartar; and this Tartar may by the Fire be
easily divided into five differing substances; four of which are not
Acid, and the other not so manifestly Acid as the Tartar it self; The
same Vinous Juice after some time, especially if it be not carefully
kept, Degenerates into that very sour Liquor called Vinegar; from
which you may obtain by the Fire a Spirit and a Crystalline Salt
differing enough from the Spirit and Lixiviate Salt of Tartar. And if
you pour the Dephlegm'd Spirit of the Vinegar upon the Salt of Tartar,
there will be produc'd such a Conflict or Ebullition as if there were
scarce two more contrary Bodies in Nature; and oftentimes in this
Vinager you may observe part of the matter to be turned into an
innumerable company of swimming Animals, which our Friend having
divers years ago observed, hath in one of his Papers taught us how to
discover clearly without the help of a _Microscope_.

Into all these various Schemes of matter, or differingly Qualifyed
Bodies, besides divers others that I purposely forbear to mention, may
the Water that is imbib'd by the roots of the Vine be brought, partly
by the formative power of the plant, and partly by supervenient Agents
or Causes, without the visible concurrence of any extraneous
Ingredient; but if we be allowed to add to the Productions of this
transmuted Water a few other substances, we may much encrease the
Variety of such Bodies; although in this second sort of Productions,
the Vinous parts seem scarce to retain any thing of the much more
fix'd Bodies wherewith they were mingl'd; but only to have by their
Mixture with them acquir'd such a Disposition, that in their recess
occasion'd by the Fire they came to be alter'd as to shape, or
Bigness, or both, and associated after a New manner. Thus, as I
formerly told you, I did by the Addition of a _Caput Mortuum_ of
Antimony, and some other Bodies unfit for Distillation, obtain from
crude Tartar, store of a very Volatile and Crystalline Salt, differing
very much in smell and other Qualities from the usuall salts of

But (sayes _Eleutherius_, interrupting him at these Words) if you have
no restraint upon you, I would very gladly before you go any further,
be more particularly inform'd, how you make this Volatile Salt,
because (you know) that such Multitudes of Chymists have by a scarce
imaginable Variety of wayes, attempted in Vain the Volatilization of
the Salt of Tartar, that divers learned _Spagyrists_ speak as if it
were impossible, to make any thing out of Tartar, that shall be
Volatile in a Saline Forme, or as some of them express it, _in forma
sicca_. I am very farr from thinking (answers _Carneades_) that the
Salt I have mention'd is that which _Paracelsus_ and _Helmont_ mean
when they speak of _Sal Tartari Volatile_, and ascribe such great
things to it. For the Salt I speak of falls extreamly short of those
Virtues, not seeming in its Tast, Smel, and other Obvious Qualities,
to differ very much (though something it do differ) from Salt of
Harts-horn, and other Volatile Salts drawn from the Distill'd Parts of
Animals. Nor have I yet made Tryals enough to be sure, that it is a
pure Salt of Tartar without participating any thing at all of the
Nitre, or Antimony. But because it seems more likely to proceed from
the Tartar, than from any of the other Ingredients, and because the
Experiment is in it self not Ignoble, and Luciferous enough (as
shewing a new way to produce a Volatile Salt contrary to Acid Salts
from Bodies that otherwise are Observ'd to yield no such Liquor, but
either only, or chiefly, Acid ones,) I shall, to satisfie you,
acquaint you before any of my other Friends with the way I now use
(for I have formerly us'd some others) to make it.

Take then of good Antimony, Salt-Petre and Tartar, of each an equal
weight, and of Quicklime Halfe the Weight of any one of them; let
these be powder'd and well mingl'd; this done, you must have in
readiness a long neck or Retort of Earth, which must be plac'd in a
Furnace for a naked Fire, and have at the top of it a hole of a
convenient Bigness, at which you may cast in the Mixture, and
presently stop it up again; this Vessel being fitted with a large
Receiver must have Fire made under it, till the bottom of the sides be
red hot, and then you must cast in the above prepar'd Mixture, by
about halfe a spoonfull (more or less) at a time, at the hole made for
that purpose; which being nimbly stopt, the Fumes will pass into the
Receiver and condense there into a Liquor, that being rectifi'd will
be of a pure golden Colour, and carry up that colour to a great
height; this Spirit abounds in the Salt I told you of, part of which
may easily enough be separated by the way I use in such cases, which
is, to put the Liquor into a glass Egg, or bolthead with a long and
narrow Neck. For if this be plac'd a little inclining in hot sand,
there will sublime up a fine Salt, which, as I told you, I find to be
much of kin to the Volatile Salts of Animals: For like them it has a
Saltish, not an Acid Salt; it hisses upon the Affusion of Spirit of
Nitre, or Oyle of Vitriol; it precipitates Corals Dissolv'd in Spirit
of Vinager; it turnes the blew Syrup of Violets immediately green; it
presently turnes the Solution of Sublimate into a Milkie whiteness;
and in summ, has divers Operations like those that I have observ'd in
that sort of Salts to which I have resembled it: and is so Volatile,
that for Distinction sake, I call it _Tartari Fugitivus_ [Errata: Sal
Tartari Fugitivus]. What virtues it may have in Physick I have not yet
had the opportunity to Try; but I am apt to think they will not be
despicable. And besides that a very Ingenious Friend of mine tells me
he hath done great matters against the stone, with a Preparation not
very much Differing from ours, a very Experienc'd Germane Chymist
finding that I was unacquainted with the wayes of making this salt,
told me that in a great City in his Country, a noted Chymist prizes it
so highly, that he had a while since procur'd a Priviledge from the
Magistrates, that none but He, or by his Licence, should vent a Spirit
made almost after the same Way with mine, save that he leaves out one
of the Ingredients, namely the Quick-lime. But, continues _Carneades_,
to resume my Former Discourse where your Curiosity interrupted it;

Tis also a common practice in _France_ to bury thin Plates of Copper
in the Marc (as the French call it) or Husks of Grapes, whence the
Juice has been squeez'd out in the Wine-press, and by this means the
more saline parts of those Husks working by little and little upon the
Copper, Coagulate Themselves with it into that Blewish Green Substance
we in English call Verdigrease. Of which I therefore take Notice,
because having Distill'd it in a Naked Fire, I found as I expected,
that by the Association of the Saline with the Metalline parts, the
former were so alter'd, that the Distill'd Liquor, even without
Rectification, seem'd by smell and Tast, strong almost like _Aqua
Fortis_, and very much surpassed the purest and most Rectifi'd Spirit
of Vinager that ever I made. And this Spirit I therefore ascribe to
the salt of the Husks alter'd by their Co-Mixture with the copper
(though the Fire afterwards Divorce and Transmute them) because I
found this later in the bottom of the Retort in the Forme of a
_Crocus_ or redish powder: And because Copper is of too sluggish a
Nature to be forc'd over in close Vessels by no stronger a heat. And
that which is also somewhat Remarkable in the Destillation of good
Verdigrease, (or at least of that sort that I us'd) is this, that I
Never could observe that it yielded me any oyl, (unless a little black
slime which was separated in Rectification may pass for Oyle) though
both Tartar and Vinager, (especially the former) will by Destillation
yield a Moderate proportion of it. If likewise you pour Spirit of
Vinager upon Calcin'd Lead, the Acid Salt of the Liquor will by its
Commixture with the Metalline parts, though Insipid, acquire in a few
hours a more than Saccharine sweetness; and these Saline parts being
by a strong Fire Destill'd from the Lead wherewith they were imbody'd,
will, as I formerly also noted to a Different purpose, leave the Metal
behind them alter'd in some qualities from what it was, and will
themselves ascend, partly in the Forme of an unctuous Body or Oyle,
partly in that of Phlegme; but for the greatest part in the Forme of a
subtile Spirit, indow'd, besides divers new Qualities which I am not
now willing to take notice of, with a strong smell very much other
than that of Vinager, and a piercing tast quite differing both from
the Sowerness of the Spirit of Vinager, and the Sweetness of the Sugar
of Lead.

To be short, As the difference of Bodies may depend meerly upon that
of the schemes whereinto their Common matter is put; So the seeds of
Things, the Fire and the other Agents are able to alter the minute
parts of a Body (either by breaking them into smaller ones of
differing shapes, or by Uniting together these Fragments with the
unbroken Corpuscles, or such Corpuscles among Themselves) and the same
Agents partly by Altering the shape or bigness of the Constituent
Corpuscles of a Body, partly by driving away some of them, partly by
blending others with them, and partly by some new manner of connecting
them, may give the whole portion of matter a new Texture of its minute
parts; and thereby make it deserve a new and Distinct name. So that
according as the small parts of matter recede from each other, or work
upon each other, or are connected together after this or that
determinate manner, a Body of this or that denomination is produced,
as some other Body happens thereby to be alter'd or destroy'd.

Since then those things which Chymists produce by the help of the Fire
are but inanimate Bodies; since such fruits of the Chymists skill
differ from one another but in so few qualities that we see plainly
that by fire and other Agents we can employ, we can easily enough work
as great alterations upon matter, as those that are requisite to
change one of these Chymical Productions into another; Since the same
portion of matter may without being Compounded with any extraneous
Body, or at least Element, be made to put on such a variety of
formes, and consequently to be (successively) turn'd into so many
differing Bodies. And since the matter cloath'd with so many differing
formes was originally but water, and that in its passage thorow so
many transformations, it was never reduc'd into any of those
substances which are reputed to be the Principles or Elements of mixt
Bodies, except by the violence of the fire, which it self divides not
Bodies into perfectly simple or Elementary substances, but into new
Compounds; Since, I say, these things are so, I see not why we must
needs believe that there are any Primogeneal and simple Bodies, of
which as of Pre-exsistent Elements Nature is obliged to compound all
others. Nor do I see why we may not conceive that she may produce the
Bodies accounted mixt out of one another by Variously altering and
contriving their minute parts, without resolving the matter into any
such simple or Homogeneous substances as are pretended. Neither, to
dispatch, do I see why it should be counted absur'd [Transcriber's
Note: absurd] to think, that when a Body is resolv'd by the Fire into
its suppos'd simple Ingredients, those substances are not true and
proper Elements, but rather were, as it were, Accidentally produc'd by
the fire, which by Dissipating a Body into minute Parts does, if those
parts be shut up in Close Vessels, for the most part necessarily bring
them to Associate Themselves after another manner than before, and so
bring Them into Bodies of such Different Consistences as the Former
Texture of the Body, and Concurrent Circumstances make such disbanded
particles apt to Constitute; as experience shews us (and I have both
noted it, and prov'd it already) that as there are some Concretes
whose parts when dissipated by fire are fitted to be put into such
Schemes of matter as we call Oyle, and Salt, and Spirit; So there are
others, such as are especially the greatest part of Minerals, whose
Corpuscles being of another Size or figure, or perhaps contriv'd
another Way, will not in the Fire yield Bodies of the like
Consistences, but rather others of differing Textures; Not to mention,
that from Gold and some other Bodies, we see not that the Fire
separates any Distinct Substances at all; nor That even those Similar
Parts of Bodies which the Chymists Obtain by the Fire, are the
Elements whose names they bear, but Compound Bodies, upon which, for
their resemblance to them in consistence, or some other obvious
Quality, Chymists have been pleas'd to bestow such Appellations.


These last Words of _Carneades_ being soon after follow'd by a noise
which seem'd to come from the place where the rest of the Company was,
he took it for a warning, that it was time for him to conclude or
break off his Discourse; and told his Friend; By this time I hope you
see, _Eleutherius_, that if _Helmonts_ Experiments be true, it is no
absurdity to question whether that Doctrine be one, that doth not
assert Any Elements in the sence before explain'd. But because that,
as divers of my Arguments suppose the marvellous power of the
_Alkahest_ in the Analyzing of Bodies, so the Effects ascrib'd to that
power are so unparallell'd and stupendious, that though I am not sure
but that there _may be_ such an Agent, yet little less than [Greek:
autopsia] seems requisite to make a man sure there _is_. And
consequently I leave it to you to judge, how farre those of my
Arguments that are built upon _Alkahestical_ Operations are weakned by
that Liquors being Matchless; and shall therefore desire you not to
think that I propose this Paradox that rejects all Elements, as an

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