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undertakings; notwithstanding all which, (sayes _Themistius_ smiling)
I scarce know any thing they have performed worth wondering at, save
that they have been able to draw _Philoponus_ to their Party, and to
engage him to the Defence of an unintelligible _Hypothesis_, who
knowes so well as he does, that Principles ought to be like Diamonds,
as well very clear, as perfectly solid.

_Themistius_ having after these last words declared by his silence,
that he had finished his Discourse, _Carneades_ addressing himself, as
his Adversary had done, to _Eleutherius_, returned this Answer to it,
I hop'd for [Errata: for a] Demonstration, but I perceive _Themistius_
hopes to put me off with a Harangue, wherein he cannot have given me a
greater Opinion of his Parts, then he has given me Distrust for his
_Hypothesis_, since for it even a Man of such Learning can bring no
better Arguments. The Rhetorical part of his Discourse, though it make
not the least part of it, I shall say nothing to, designing to examine
only the Argumentative part, and leaving it to _Philoponus_ to answer
those passages wherein either _Paracelsus_ or _Chymists_ are
concern'd: I shall observe to You, that in what he has said besides,
he makes it his Business to do these two things. The one to propose
and make out an Experiment to demonstrate the common Opinion about the
four Elements; And the other, to insinuate divers things which he
thinks may repair the weakness of his Argument, from Experience, and
upon other Accounts bring some credit to the otherwise defenceless
Doctrine he maintains.

To begin then with his Experiment of the burning Wood, it seems to me
to be obnoxious to not a few considerable Exceptions.

And first, if I would now deal rigidly with my Adversary, I might here
make a great Question of the very way of Probation which he and others
employ, without the least scruple, to evince, that the Bodies commonly
call'd mixt, are made up of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire, which they
are pleas'd also to call Elements; namely that upon the suppos'd
_Analysis_ made by the fire, of the former sort of _Concretes_, there
are wont to emerge Bodies resembling those which they take for the
Elements. For not to Anticipate here what I foresee I shall have
occasion to insist on, when I come to discourse with _Philoponus_
concerning the right that fire has to pass for the proper and
Universal Instrument of Analysing mixt Bodies, not to Anticipate that,
I say, if I were dispos'd to wrangle, I might alledge, that by
_Themistius_ his Experiment it would appear rather that those he calls
Elements, are made of those he calls mixt Bodies, then mix'd Bodies of
the Elements. For in _Themistius's_ Analyz'd Wood, and in other Bodies
dissipated and alter'd by the fire, it appears, and he confesses, that
which he takes for Elementary Fire and Water, are made out of the
Concrete; but it appears not that the Concrete was made up of Fire and
Water. Nor has either He, or any Man, for ought I know, of his
perswasion, yet prov'd that nothing can be obtained from a Body by the
fire that was not _Pre-existent_ in it.

At this unexpected objection, not only _Themistius_, but the rest of
the company appear'd not a little surpriz'd; but after a while
_Philoponus_ conceiving his opinion, as well as that of _Aristotle_,
concern'd in that Objection, You cannot sure (sayes he to
_Carneades_) propose this Difficulty; not to call it Cavill, otherwise
then as an Exercise of wit, and not as laying any weight upon it. For
how can that be separated from a thing that was not existent in it.
When, for instance, a Refiner mingles Gold and Lead, and exposing this
Mixture upon a Cuppell to the violence of the fire, thereby separates
it into pure and refulgent Gold and Lead (which driven off together
with the Dross of the Gold is thence call'd _Lithargyrium Auri_) can
any man doubt that sees these two so differing substances separated
from the Mass, that they were existent in it before it was committed
to the fire.

I should (replies _Carneades_) allow your Argument to prove something,
if, as Men see the Refiners commonly take before hand both Lead and
Gold to make the Mass you speak of, so we did see Nature pull down a
parcell of the Element of Fire, that is fancy'd to be plac'd I know
not how many thousand Leagues off, contiguous to the Orb of the Moon,
and to blend it with a quantity of each of the three other Elements,
to compose every mixt Body, upon whose Resolution the Fire presents
us with Fire, and Earth, and the rest. And let me add, _Philoponus_,
that to make your Reasoning cogent, it must be first prov'd, that the
fire do's only take the Elementary Ingredients asunder, without
otherwise altering them. For else 'tis obvious, that Bodies may afford
substances which were not pre-existent in them; as Flesh too long kept
produces Magots, and old Cheese Mites, which I suppose you will not
affirm to be Ingredients of those Bodies. Now that fire do's not
alwayes barely separate the Elementary parts, but sometimes at least
alter also the Ingredients of Bodies, if I did not expect ere long a
better occasion to prove it, I might make probable out of your very
Instance, wherein there is nothing Elementary separated by the great
violence of the Refiners fire: the Gold and Lead which are the two
Ingredients separated upon the _Analysis_ being confessedly yet
perfectly mixt Bodies, and the Litharge being Lead indeed; but such
Lead as is differing in consistence and other Qualities from what it
was before. To which I must add that I have sometimes seen, and so
questionlesse have you much oftener, some parcells of Glasse adhering
to the Test or Cuppel, and this Glass though Emergent as well as the
Gold or Litharge upon your Analysis, you will not I hope allow to have
been a third Ingredient of the Mass out of which the fire produc'd it.

Both _Philoponus_ and _Themistius_ were about to reply, when
_Eleutherius_ apprehending that the Prosecution of this Dispute would
take up time, which might be better employ'd, thought fit to prevent
them by saying to _Carneades_: You made at least half a Promise, when
you first propos'd this Objection, that you would not (now at least)
insist on it, nor indeed does it seem to be of absolute necessity to
your cause, that you should. For though you should grant that there
are Elements, it would not follow that there must be precisely four.
And therefore I hope you will proceed to acquaint us with your other
and more considerable Objections against _Themistius's_ Opinion,
especially since there is so great a Disproportion in Bulke betwixt
the Earth, Water and Air, on the one part, and those little parcells
of resembling substances, that the fire separates from _Concretes_ on
the other part, that I can scarce think that you are serious, when to
lose no advantage against your Adversary, you seem to deny it to be
rational, to conclude these great simple Bodies to be the Elements,
and not the Products of compounded ones.

What you alledge (replies _Carneades_) of the Vastness of the Earth
and Water, has long since made me willing to allow them to be the
greatest and chief Masses of Matter to be met with here below: But I
think I could shew You, if You would give me leave, that this will
prove only that the Elements, as You call them, are the chief Bodies
that make up the neighbouring part of the World, but not that they are
such Ingredients as every mixt Body must consist of. But since You
challenge me of something of a Promise, though it be not an entire
one, Yet I shall willingly perform it. And indeed I intended not when
I first mention'd this Objection, to insist on it at present against
_Themistius_, (as I plainly intimated in my way of proposing it:)
being only desirous to let you see, that though I discern'd my
Advantages, yet I was willing to forego some of them, rather then
appear a rigid Adversary of a Cause so weak, that it may with safety
be favourably dealt with. But I must here profess, and desire You to
take Notice of it, that though I pass on to another Argument, it is
not because I think this first invalid. For You will find in the
Progress of our Dispute, that I had some reason to question the very
way of Probation imploy'd both by Peripateticks and Chymists, to
evince the being and number of the Elements. For that there are such,
and that they are wont to be separated by the Analysis made by Fire,
is indeed taken for granted by both Parties, but has not (for ought I
know) been so much as plausibly attempted to be proved by either.
Hoping then that when we come to that part of our Debate, wherein
Considerations relating to this Matter are to be treated of, you will
remember what I have now said, and that I do rather for a while
suppose, then absolutely grant the truth of what I have question'd, I
will proceed to another Objection.

And hereupon _Eleutherius_ having promis'd him not to be unmindfull,
when time should serve, of what he had declar'd.

I consider then (sayes _Carneades_) in the next place, that there are
divers Bodies out of which _Themistius_ will not prove in haste, that
there can be so many Elements as four extracted by the Fire. And I
should perchance trouble him if I should ask him what Peripatetick can
shew us, (I say not, all the four Elements, for that would be too
rigid a Question, but) any one of them extracted out of Gold by any
degree of Fire whatsoever. Nor is Gold the only Bodie in Nature that
would puzzle an _Aristotelian_, that is no more [Errata: (that is no
more)] to analyze by the Fire into Elementary Bodies, since, for ought
I have yet observ'd, both Silver and calcin'd _Venetian_ Talck, and
some other Concretes, not necessary here to be nam'd, are so fixt,
that to reduce any of them into four Heterogeneous Substances has
hitherto prov'd a Task much too hard, not only for the Disciples of
_Aristotle_, but those of _Vulcan_, at least, whilst the latter have
employ'd only Fire to make the _Analysis_.

The next Argument (continues _Carneades_) that I shall urge against
_Themistius's_ Opinion shall be this, That as there are divers Bodies
whose _Analysis_ by Fire cannot reduce them into so many Heterogeneous
Substances or Ingregredients [Transcriber's Note: Ingredients] as
four, so there are others which may be reduc'd into more, as the Blood
(and divers other parts) of Men and other Animals, which yield when
analyz'd five distinct Substances, Phlegme, Spirit, Oyle, Salt and
Earth, as Experience has shewn us in distilling Mans Blood,
Harts-Horns, and divers other Bodies that belonging to the
Animal-Kingdom abound with not uneasily sequestrable Salt.




THE

SCEPTICAL CHYMIST:

OR

CHYMICO-PHYSICAL

Doubts & Paradoxes,

Touching the

EXPERIMENTS

WHEREBY

VULGAR SPAGYRISTS

Are wont to Endeavour to Evince their

SALT, SULPHUR

AND

MERCURY,

TO BE

The True Principles of Things.


_Utinam jam tenerentur omnia, & inoperta ac confessa Veritas esset!
Nihil ex Decretis mutaremus. Nunc Veritatem cum eis qui docent,
quærimus._ Sen.


_LONDON,_

Printed for _J. Crooke_, and are to be sold at the Ship in St. _Pauls_
Church-Yard. 1661.




THE

SCEPTICAL CHYMIST.

_The First Part._


I am (sayes _Carneades_) so unwilling to deny _Eleutherius_ any thing,
that though, before the rest of the Company I am resolv'd to make good
the part I have undertaken of a Sceptick; yet I shall readily, since
you will have it so, lay aside for a while the Person of an Adversary
to the Peripateticks and Chymists; and before I acquaint you with my
Objections against their Opinions, acknowledge to you what may be
(whether truly or not) tollerably enough added, in favour of a certain
number of Principles of mixt Bodies, to that grand and known Argument
from the _Analysis_ of compound Bodies, which I may possibly
hereafter be able to confute.

And that you may the more easily Examine, and the better Judge of what
I have to say, I shall cast it into a pretty number of distinct
Propositions, to which I shall not premise any thing; because I take
it for granted, that you need not be advertis'd, that much of what I
am to deliver, whether for or against a determinate number of
Ingredients of mix'd Bodies, may be indifferently apply'd to the four
Peripatetick Elements, and the three Chymical Principles, though
divers of my Objections will more peculiarly belong to these last
nam'd, because the Chymical _Hypothesis_ seeming to be much more
countenanc'd by Experience then the other, it will be expedient to
insist chiefly upon the disproving of that; especially since most of
the Arguments that are imploy'd against it, may, by a little
variation, be made to conclude, at least as strongly against the less
plausible, _Aristotelian_ Doctrine.

To proceed then to my Propositions, I shall begin with this. That

[Sidenote: Propos. I.]

_It seems not absurd to conceive that at the first Production of mixt
Bodies, the Universal Matter whereof they among other Parts of the
Universe consisted, was actually divided into little Particles of
several sizes and shapes variously mov'd._

This (sayes _Carneades_) I suppose you will easily enough allow. For
besides that which happens in the Generation, Corruption, Nutrition,
and wasting of Bodies, that which we discover partly by our
_Microscopes_ of the extream littlenesse of even the scarce sensible
parts of Concretes; and partly by the Chymical Resolutions of mixt
Bodies, and by divers other Operations of Spagyrical Fires upon them,
seems sufficiently to manifest their consisting of parts very minute
and of differing Figures. And that there does also intervene a various
local Motion of such small Bodies, will scarce be denied; whether we
chuse to grant the Origine of Concretions assign'd by _Epicurus_, or
that related by _Moses_. For the first, as you well know, supposes not
only all mixt Bodies, but all others to be produc'd by the various
and casual occursions of Atomes, moving themselves to and fro by an
internal Principle in the Immense or rather Infinite _Vacuum_. And as
for the inspir'd Historian, He, informing us that the great and Wise
Author of Things did not immediately create Plants, Beasts, Birds, &c.
but produc'd them out of those portions of the pre-existent, though
created, Matter, that he calls Water and Earth, allows us to conceive,
that the constituent Particles whereof these new Concretes were to
consist, were variously moved in order to their being connected into
the Bodies they were, by their various Coalitions and Textures, to
compose.

But (continues _Carneades_) presuming that the first Proposition needs
not be longer insisted on, I will pass on to the second, and tell you
that

[Sidenote: Propos. II.]

_Neither is it impossible that of these minute Particles divers of the
smallest and neighbouring ones were here and there associated into
minute Masses or Clusters, and did by their Coalitions constitute
great store of such little primary Concretions or Masses as were not
easily dissipable into such Particles as compos'd them._

To what may be deduc'd, in favour of this Assertion, from the Nature
of the Thing it self, I will add something out of Experience, which
though I have not known it used to such a purpose, seems to me more
fairly to make out that there May be Elementary Bodies, then the more
questionable Experiments of Peripateticks and Chymists prove that
there Are such. I consider then that Gold will mix and be colliquated
not only with Silver, Copper, Tin and Lead, but with Antimony,
_Regulus Martis_ and many other Minerals, with which it will compose
Bodies very differing both from Gold, and the other Ingredients of the
resulting Concretes. And the same Gold will also by common _Aqua
Regis_, and (I speak it knowingly) by divers other _Menstruums_ be
reduc'd into a seeming Liquor, in so much that the Corpuscles of Gold
will, with those of the _Menstruum_, pass through Cap-Paper, and with
them also coagulate into a Crystalline Salt. And I have further try'd,
that with a small quantity of a certain Saline Substance I prepar'd,
I can easily enough sublime Gold into the form of red Crystalls of a
considerable length; and many other wayes may Gold be disguis'd, and
help to constitute Bodies of very differing Natures both from It and
from one another, and neverthelesse be afterward reduc'd to the
self-same Numerical, Yellow, Fixt, Ponderous and Malleable Gold it was
before its commixture. Nor is it only the fixedst of Metals, but the
most fugitive, that I may employ in favour of our Proposition: for
Quicksilver will with divers Metals compose an _Amalgam_, with divers
_Menstruums_ it seems to be turn'd into a Liquor, with _Aqua fortis_
will be brought into either a red or white Powder or precipitate, with
Oyl of Vitriol into a pale Yellow one, with Sulphur it will compose a
blood-red and volatile Cinaber, with some Saline Bodies it will ascend
in form of a Salt which will be dissoluble in water; with _Regulus_ of
Antimony and Silver I have seen it sublim'd into a kinde of Crystals,
with another Mixture I reduc'd it into a malleable Body, into a hard
and brittle Substance by another: And some there are who affirm, that
by proper Additaments they can reduce Quicksilver into Oyl, nay into
Glass, to mention no more. And yet out of all these exotick Compounds,
we may recover the very same running Mercury that was the main
Ingredient of them, and was so disguis'd in them. Now the Reason
(proceeds _Carneades_) that I have represented these things concerning
Gold and Quicksilver, is, That it may not appear absurd to conceive,
that such little primary Masses or Clusters, as our Proposition
mentions, may remain undissipated, notwithstanding their entring into
the composition of various Concretions, since the Corpuscle of Gold
and Mercury, though they be not primary Concretions of the most minute
Particles or matter, but confessedly mixt Bodies, are able to concurre
plentifully to the composition of several very differing Bodies,
without losing their own Nature or Texture, or having their cohæsion
violated by the divorce of their associated parts or Ingredients.

Give me leave to add (sayes _Eleutherius_) on this occasion, to what
you now observ'd, that as confidently as some Chymists, and other
modern Innovators in Philosophy are wont to object against the
Peripateticks, That from the mixture of their four Elements there
could arise but an inconsiderable variety of compound Bodies; yet if
the _Aristotelians_ were but half as well vers'd in the works of
Nature as they are in the Writings of their Master, the propos'd
Objection would not so calmly triumph, as for want of Experiments they
are fain to suffer it to do. For if we assigne to the Corpuscles,
whereof each Element consists, a peculiar size and shape, it may
easily enough be manifested, That such differingly figur'd Corpuscles
may be mingled in such various Proportions, and may be connected so
many several wayes, that an almost incredible number of variously
qualified Concretes may be compos'd of them. Especially since the
Corpuscles of one Element may barely, by being associated among
themselves, make up little Masses of differing size and figure from
their constituent parts: and since also to the strict union of such
minute Bodies there seems oftentimes nothing requisite, besides the
bare Contact of a great part of their Surfaces. And how great a
variety of _Phænomena_ the same matter, without the addition of any
other, and only several ways dispos'd or contexed, is able to exhibit,
may partly appear by the multitude of differing Engins which by the
contrivances of skilful Mechanitians, and the dexterity of expert
Workmen, may be made of Iron alone. But in our present case being
allow'd to deduce compound Bodies from four very differently qualified
sorts of matter, he who shall but consider what you freshly took
notice of concerning the new Concretes resulting from the mixture of
incorporated Minerals, will scarce doubt but that the four Elements
mannag'd by Natures Skill may afford a multitude of differing
Compounds.

I am thus far of your minde (sayes _Carneades_) that the
_Aristotelians_ might with probability deduce a much greater number of
compound Bodies from the mixture of their four Elements, than
according to their present _Hypothesis_ they can, if instead of vainly
attempting to deduce the variety and properties of all mixt Bodies
from the Combinations and Temperaments of the four Elements, as they
are (among them) endowd with the four first Qualities, they had
endeavoured to do it by the Bulk and Figure of the smallest parts of
those supposed Elements. For from these more Catholick and Fruitfull
Accidents of the Elementary matter may spring a great variety of
Textures, upon whose Account a multitude of compound Bodies may very
much differ from one another. And what I now observe touching the four
Peripatetick Elements, may be also applyed, _mutatis mutandis_, (as
they speak) to the Chymical Principles. But (to take notice of that by
the by) both the one and the other, must, I fear, call in to their
assistance something that is not Elementary, to excite or regulate the
motion of the parts of the matter, and dispose them after the manner
requisite to the Constitution of particular Concretes. For that
otherwise they are like to give us but a very imperfect account of the
Origine of very many mixt Bodies, It would, I think, be no hard matter
to perswade you, if it would not spend time, and were no Digression,
to examine, what they are wont to alledge of the Origine of the
Textures and Qualities of mixt Bodies, from a certain substantial
Form, whose Origination they leave more obscure than what it is
assum'd to explicate.

But to proceed to a new Proposition.

[Sidenote: Propos. III.]

_I shall not peremptorily deny, that from most of such mixt Bodies as
partake either of Animal or Vegetable Nature, there may by the Help of
the Fire, be actually obtain'd a determinate number (whether Three,
Four or Five, or fewer or more) of Substances, worthy of differing
Denominations._

Of the Experiments that induce me to make this Concession, I am like
to have occasion enough to mention several in the prosecution of my
Discourse. And therefore, that I may not hereafter be oblig'd to
trouble You and my self with needless Repetitions, I shall now only
desire you to take notice of such Experiments, when they shall be
mention'd, and in your thoughts referre them hither.

To these three Concessions I have but this Fourth to add, That

[Sidenote: Propos. IV.]

_It may likewise be granted, that those distinct Substances, which
Concretes generally either afford or are made up of, may without very
much Inconvenience be call'd the Elements or Principles of them._

When I said, _without very much Inconvenience_, I had in my Thoughts
that sober Admonition of _Galen_, _Cum de re constat, de verbis non
est Litigandum_. And therefore also I scruple not to say _Elements_ or
_Principles_, partly because the Chymists are wont to call the
Ingredients of mixt Bodies, _Principles_, as the _Aristotelians_ name
them _Elements_; I would here exclude neither. And, partly, because it
seems doubtfull whether the same Ingredients may not be call'd
_Principles_? as not being compounded of any more primary Bodies: and
_Elements_, in regard that all mix'd Bodies are compounded of them.
But I thought it requisite to limit my Concession by premising the
words, _very much_, to the word _Inconvenience_, because that though
the Inconvenience of calling the distinct Substances, mention'd in the
Proposition _Elements_ or _Principles_, be not very great, yet that
it is an Impropriety of Speech, and consequently in a matter of this
moment not to be altogether overlook'd, You will perhaps think, as
well as I, by that time you shall have heard the following part of my
Discourse, by which you will best discern what Construction to put
upon the former Propositions, and how far they may be look'd upon, as
things that I concede as true, and how far as things I only represent
as specious enough to be fit to be consider'd.

And now _Eleutherius_ (continues _Carneades_) I must resume the person
of a Sceptick, and as such, propose some part of what may be either
dislik't, or at least doubted of in the common _Hypothesis_ of the
Chymists: which if I examine with a little the more freedom, I hope I
need not desire you (a Person to whom I have the Happinesse of being
so well known) to look upon it as something more suitable to the
Employment whereto the Company has, for this Meeting, doom'd me; then


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