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_Carneades_.)

What You have been Newly Discoursing (replies _Eleutherius_) tells us,
that You cannot but know that this bold and Acute Spagyrist scruples
not to Assert that all mixt Bodies spring from one Element; and that
Vegetables, Animals, Marchasites, Stones, Metalls, &c. are Materially
but simple Water disguis'd into these Various Formes, by the plastick
or Formative Virtue of their seeds. And as for his Reasons you may
find divers of them scatter'd up and down his writings; the
considerabl'st of which seem to be these three; The Ultimate Reduction
of mixt Bodies into Insipid Water, the Vicissitude of the supposed
Elements, and the production of perfectly mixt Bodies out of simple
Water. And first he affirmes that the _Sal circulatus Paracelsi_, or
his Liquor _Alkahest_, does adequately resolve Plants, Animals, and
Mineralls into one Liquor or more, according to their several
internall Disparities of Parts (without _Caput Mortuum_, or the
Destruction of their seminal Virtues;) and that the _Alkahest_ being
abstracted from these Liquors in the same weight and Virtue wherewith
it Dissolv'd them, the Liquors may by frequent Cohobations from chalke
or some other idoneous matter, be Totally depriv'd of their seminal
Endowments, and return at last to their first matter, Insipid Water;
some other wayes he proposes here and there, to divest some particular
Bodies of their borrow'd shapes, and make them remigrate to their
first Simplicity. The second Topick whence _Helmont_ drawes his
Arguments, to prove Water to be the Material cause of Mixt Bodies, I
told You was this, that the other suppos'd Elements may be transmuted
into one another. But the Experiments by him here and there produc'd
on this Occasion, are so uneasie to be made and to be judg'd of, that
I shall not insist on them; not to mention, that if they were granted
to be true, his Inference from them is somewhat disputable; and
therefore I shall pass on to tell You, That as, in his First Argument,
our Paradoxical Author endeavours to prove Water the Sole Element of
Mixt Bodies, by their Ultimate Resolution, when by his _Alkahest_, or
some other conquering Agent, the Seeds have been Destroy'd, which
Disguis'd them, or when by time those seeds are Weari'd or Exantlated
or unable to Act their Parts upon the Stage of the Universe any
Longer: So in His Third Argument he Endeavours to evince the same
Conclusion, by the constitution of Bodies which he asserts to be
nothing but Water Subdu'd by Seminal Virtues. Of this he gives here
and there in his Writings several Instances, as to Plants and Animals;
but divers of them being Difficult either to be try'd or to be
Understood, and others of them being not altogether Unobnoxious to
Exceptions, I think you have singl'd out the Principal and less
Questionable Experiment when you lately mention'd that of the Willow
Tree. And having thus, Continues _Eleutherius_, to Answer your
Question, given you a Summary Account of what I am Confident You know
better then I do, I shall be very glad to receive Your Sence of it, if
the giving it me will not too much Divert You from the Prosecution of
your Discourse.

That _If_ (replies _Carneades_) was not needlessly annex'd: for
thorowly to examine such an Hypothesis and such Arguments would
require so many Considerations, and Consequently so much time, that I
should not now have the Liesure [Errata: leasure] to perfect such a
Digression, and much less to finish my Principle [Errata: principal]
Discourse. Yet thus much I shall tell You at present, that you need
not fear my rejecting this Opinion for its Novelty; since, however the
_Helmontians_ may in complement to their Master pretend it to be a new
Discovery, Yet though the Arguments be for the most part his, the
Opinion it self is very Antient: For _Diogenes Laertius_ and divers
other Authors speak of _Thales_, as the first among the _Græcians_
that made disquisitions upon nature. And of this _Thales_, I Remember,
_Tully_[5] informes us, that he taught all things were at first made
of Water. And it seems by _Plutarch_ and _Justin Martyr_, that the
Opinion was Ancienter then he: For they tell us that he us'd to defend
his Tenet by the Testimony of _Homer_. And a Greek Author, (the
_Scholiast_ of _Apollonius_) upon these Words

[Greek: Ex iliou [Transcriber's Note: iluos] eblastêse chthôn
autê],[6]

_The Earth of Slime was made,_

Affirms (out of _Zeno_) that the _Chaos_, whereof all things were
made, was, according to _Hesiod_, Water; which, settling first, became
Slime, and then condens'd into solid Earth. And the same Opinion about
the Generation of Slime seems to have been entertain'd by _Orpheus_,
out of whom one of the Antients[7] cites this Testimony,

[Greek: Ek tou hydatos ilui katistê.]

_Of Water Slime was made._

[Footnote 5: De Natura Deorum.]

[Footnote 6: Argonaut. 4.]

[Footnote 7: Athenagoras.]

It seems also by what is delivered in _Strabo_[8] out of another
Author, concerning the _Indians_, That they likewise held that all
things had differing Beginnings, but that of which the World was made,
was Water. And the like Opinion has been by some of the Antients
ascrib'd to the _Phoenicians_, from whom _Thales_ himself is
conceiv'd to have borrow'd it; as probably the Greeks did much of
their Theologie, and, as I am apt to think, of their Philosophy too;
since the Devising of the Atomical _Hypothesis_ commonly ascrib'd to
_Lucippus_ and his Disciple _Democritus_, is by Learned Men attributed
to one _Moschus_ a _Phoenician_. And possibly the Opinion is yet
antienter than so; For 'tis known that the _Phoenicians_ borrow'd
most of their Learning from the _Hebrews_. And among those that
acknowledge the Books of _Moses_, many have been inclin'd to think
Water to have been the Primitive and Universal Matter, by perusing the
Beginning of _Genesis_, where the Waters seem to be mention'd as the
Material Cause, not only of Sublunary Compounded Bodies, but of all
those that make up the Universe; whose Component Parts did orderly,
as it were, emerge out of that vast Abysse, by the Operation of the
Spirit of God, who is said to have been moving Himself as hatching
Females do (as the Original [Hebrew: merachephet], _Meracephet_[9] is
said to Import, and as it seems to signifie in one of the two other
places, wherein alone I have met with it in the Hebrew Bible)[10] upon
the Face of the Waters; which being, as may be suppos'd, Divinely
Impregnated with the seeds of all things, were by that productive
Incubation qualify'd to produce them. But you, I presume, Expect that
I should Discourse of this Matter like a Naturalist, not a Philologer.
Wherefore I shall add, to Countenance _Helmont's_ Opinion, That
whereas he gives not, that I remember, any Instance of any Mineral
Body, nor scarce of any Animal, generated of Water, a French Chymist,
_Monsieur de Rochas_, has presented his Readers an Experiment, which
if it were punctually such as he has deliver'd it, is very Notable. He
then, Discoursing of the Generation of things according to certain
Chymical and Metaphorical Notions (which I confess are not to me
Intelligible) sets down, among divers Speculations not pertinent to
our Subject, the following Narrative, which I shall repeat to you the
sence of in English, with as little variation from the Literal sence
of the French words, as my memory will enable me. _Having_ (sayes he)
_discern'd such great Wonders by the Natural Operation of Water, I
would know what may be done with it by Art Imitating Nature. Wherefore
I took Water which I well knew not to be compounded, nor to be mix'd
with any other thing than that Spirit of Life_ (whereof he had spoken
before;) _and with a Heat Artificial, Continual and Proportionate, I
prepar'd and dispos'd it by the above mention'd Graduations of
Coagulation, Congelation, and Fixation, untill it was turn'd into
Earth, which Earth produc'd Animals, Vegetables and Minerals. I tell
not what Animals, Vegetables and Minerals, for that is reserv'd for
another Occasion: but the Animals did Move of themselves, Eat,
&c. - and by the true Anatomie I made of them, I found that they were
compos'd of much Sulphur, little Mercury, and less Salt. - The Minerals
began to grow and encrease by converting into their own Nature one
part of the Earth thereunto dispos'd; they were solid and heavy. And
by this truly Demonstrative Science, namely Chymistry, I found that
they were compos'd of much Salt, little Sulphur, and less Mercury._

[Footnote 8: Universarum rerum primordia diverta esse, faciendi autem
mundi initium aquam. Strabo. Geograp. lib. 15. circa medium.]

[Footnote 9: Deuter. 32. 11.]

[Footnote 10: Jerem. 23. 9.]

But (sayes _Carneades_) I have some Suspitions concerning this strange
Relation, which make me unwilling to Declare an Opinion of it, unless
I were satisfied concerning divers Material Circumstances that our
Author has left unmentioned; though as for the Generation of Living
Creatures, both Vegetable and Sensitive, it needs not seem Incredible,
since we finde that our common water (which indeed is often
Impregnated with Variety of Seminal Principles and Rudiments) being
long kept in a quiet place will putrifie and stink, and then perhaps
too produce Moss and little Worms, or other Insects, according to the
nature of the Seeds that were lurking in it. I must likewise desire
you to take Notice, that as _Helmont_ gives us no Instance of the
Production of Minerals out of Water, so the main Argument that he
employ's to prove that they and other Bodies may be resolv'd into
water, is drawn from the Operations of his _Alkahest_, and
consequently cannot be satisfactorily Examin'd by You and Me.

Yet certainly (sayes _Eleutherius_) You cannot but have somewhat
wonder'd as well as I, to observe how great a share of Water goes to
the making up of Divers Bodies, whose Disguises promise nothing neere
so much. The Distillation of Eeles, though it yielded me some Oyle,
and Spirit, and Volatile Salt, besides the _Caput mortuum_, yet were
all these so disproportionate to the Phlegm that came from them (and
in which at first they boyl'd as in a Pot of Water) that they seem'd
to have bin nothing but coagulated Phlegm, which does likewise
strangely abound in Vipers, though they are esteem'd very hot in
Operation, and will in a Convenient Aire survive some dayes the loss
of their Heads and Hearts, so vigorous is their Vivacity. Mans Bloud
it self as Spirituous, and as Elaborate a Liquor as 'tis reputed, does
so abound in Phlegm, that, the other Day, Distilling some of it on
purpose to try the Experiment (as I had formerly done in Deers Bloud)
out of about seven Ounces and a half of pure Bloud we drew neere six
Ounces of Phlegm, before any of the more operative Principles began
to arise, and Invite us to change the Receiver. And to satisfie my
self that some of these Animall Phlegms were void enough of Spirit to
deserve that Name, I would not content my self to taste them only, but
fruitlesly pour'd on them acid Liquors, to try if they contain'd any
Volatile Salt or Spirit, which (had there been any there) would
probably have discover'd it self by making an Ebullition with the
affused Liquor. And now I mention Corrosive Spirits, I am minded to
Informe you, That though they seem to be nothing else but Fluid Salts,
yet they abound in Water, as you may Observe, if either you Entangle,
and so Fix their Saline Part, by making them Corrode some idoneous
Body, or else if you mortifie it with a contrary Salt; as I have very
manifestly Observ'd in the making a Medecine somewhat like _Helmont's
Balsamus Samech_, with Distill'd Vinager instead of Spirit of Wine,
wherewith he prepares it: For you would scarce Beleeve (what I have
lately Observ'd) that of that acid Spirit, the Salt of Tartar, from
which it is Distill'd, will by mortifying and retaining the acid Salt
turn into worthless Phlegm neere twenty times its weight, before it be
so fully Impregnated as to rob no more Distill'd Vinager of its Salt.
And though Spirit of Wine Exquisitely rectify'd seem of all Liquors to
be the most free from Water, it being so Igneous that it will Flame
all away without leaving the least Drop behinde it, yet even this
Fiery Liquor is by _Helmont_ not improbably affirm'd, in case what he
relates be True, to be Materially Water, under a Sulphureous Disguise:
For, according to him, in the making that excellent Medecine,
_Paracelsus_ his _Balsamus Samech_, (which is nothing but _Sal
Tartari_ dulcify'd by Distilling from it Spirit of Wine till the Salt
be sufficiently glutted with its Sulphur, and suffer [Errata: and till
it suffer] the Liquor to be drawn off, as strong as it was pour'd on)
when the Salt of Tartar from which it is Distill'd hath retain'd, or
depriv'd it of the Sulphureous parts of the Spirit of Wine, the rest,
which is incomparably the greater part of the Liquor, will remigrate
into Phlegm. I added that Clause [_In case what he Relates be True_]
because I have not as yet sufficiently try'd it my self. But not only
something of Experiment keeps me from thinking it, as many Chymists
do, absurd, (though I have, as well as they, in vain try'd it with
ordinary Salt of Tartar;) but besides that _Helmont_ often Relates it,
and draws Consequences from it; A Person noted for his Sobernesse and
Skill in Spagyrical Preparations, having been askt by me, Whether the
Experiment might not be made to succeed, if the Salt and Spirit were
prepar'd according to a way suitable to my Principles, he affirm'd to
me, that he had that way I propos'd made _Helmont's_ Experiment
succeed very well, without adding any thing to the Salt and Spirit.
But our way is neither short nor Easie.

I have indeed (sayes _Carneades_) sometimes wonder'd to see how much
Phlegme may be obtain'd from Bodies by the Fire. But concerning that
Phlegme I may anon have Occasion to note something, which I therefore
shall not now anticipate. But to return to the Opinion of _Thales_,
and of _Helmont_, I consider, that supposing the _Alkahest_ could
reduce all Bodies into water, yet whether that water, because insipid,
must be Elementary, may not groundlesly be doubted; For I remember
the Candid and Eloquent _Petrus Laurembergius_ in his Notes upon
_Sala's_ Aphorismes affirmes, that he saw an insipid _Menstruum_ that
was a powerfull Dissolvent, and (if my Memory do not much mis-informe
me) could dissolve Gold. And the water which may be Drawn from
Quicksilver without Addition, though it be almost Tastless, You will I
believe think of a differing Nature from simple Water, especially if
you Digest in it Appropriated Mineralls. To which I shall add but
this, that this Consideration may be further extended. For I see no
Necessity to conceive that the Water mention'd in the Beginning of
_Genesis_, as the Universal Matter, was simple and Elementary Water;
since though we should Suppose it to have been an Agitated Congeries
or Heap consisting of a great Variety of Seminal Principles and
Rudiments, and of other Corpuscles fit to be subdu'd and Fashion'd by
them, it might yet be a Body Fluid like Water, in case the Corpuscles
it was made up of, were by their Creator made small enough, and put
into such an actuall Motion as might make them Glide along one
another. And as we now say, the Sea consists of Water, notwithstanding
[Errata: (notwithstanding] the Saline, Terrestrial, and other Bodies
mingl'd with it,) such a Liquor may well enough be called Water,
because that was the greatest of the known Bodies whereunto it was
like; Though, that a Body may be Fluid enough to appear a Liquor, and
yet contain Corpuscles of a very differing Nature, You will easily
believe, if You but expose a good Quantity of Vitriol in a strong
Vessel to a Competent Fire. For although it contains both Aqueous,
Earthy, Saline, Sulphureous, and Metalline Corpuscles, yet the whole
Mass will at first be Fluid like water, and boyle like a seething pot.

I might easily (Continues _Carneades_) enlarge my self on such
Considerations, if I were Now Oblig'd to give You my Judgment of the
_Thalesian_, and _Helmontian_, _Hypothesis_. But Whether or no we
conclude that all things were at first Generated of Water, I may
Deduce from what I have try'd Concerning the Growth of Vegetables,
nourish'd with water, all that I now propos'd to my Self or need at
present to prove, namely that Salt, Spirit, Earth, and ev'n Oyl
(though that be thought of all Bodies the most opposite to Water) may
be produc'd out of Water; and consequently that a Chymical Principle
as well as a Peripatetick Element, may (in some cases) be Generated
anew, or obtain'd from such a parcel of Matter as was not endow'd with
the form of such a principle or Element before.

And having thus, _Eleutherius_, Evinc'd that 'tis possible that such
Substances as those that Chymists are wont to call their _Tria Prima_,
may be Generated, anew: I must next Endeavour to make it Probable,
that the Operation of the Fire does Actually (sometimes) not only
divide Compounded Bodies into smal Parts, but Compound those Parts
after a new Manner; whence Consequently, for ought we Know, there may
Emerge as well Saline and Sulphureous Substances, as Bodies of other
Textures. And perhaps it will assist us in our Enquiry after the
Effects of the Operations of the Fire upon other Bodies, to Consider a
little, what it does to those Mixtures which being Productions of the
Art of Man, We best know the Composition of. You may then be pleas'd
to take Notice that though Sope is made up by the Sope-Boylers of Oyle
or Grease, and Salt, and Water Diligently Incorporated together, yet
if You expose the Mass they Constitute to a Graduall Fire in a Retort,
You shall then indeed make a Separation, but not of the same
Substances that were United into Sope, but of others of a Distant and
yet not an Elementary Nature, and especially of an Oyle very sharp and
Fætid, and of a very Differing Quality from that which was Employ'd to
make the Sope: fo [Errata: so] if you Mingle in a due Proportion, _Sal
Armoniack_ with Quick-Lime, and Distill them by Degrees of Fire, You
shall not Divide the _Sal Armoniack_ from the Quick-Lime, though the
one be a Volatile, and the other a Fix'd Substance, but that which
will ascend will be a Spirit much more Fugitive, Penetrant, and
stinking, then _Sal Armoniack_; and there will remain with the
Quick-Lime all or very near all the Sea Salt that concurr'd to make up
the _Sal Armoniack_; concerning which Sea Salt I shall, to satisfie
You how well it was United to the Lime, informe You, that I have by
making the Fire at length very Vehement, caus'd both the Ingredients
to melt in the Retort it self into one Mass and such Masses are apt to
Relent in the Moist Air. If it be here Objected, that these Instances
are taken from factitious Concretes which are more Compounded then
those which Nature produces; I shall reply, that besides that I have
Mention'd them as much to Illustrate what I propos'd, as to prove it,
it will be Difficult to Evince that Nature her self does not make
Decompound Bodies, I mean mingle together such mixt Bodies as are
already Compounded of Elementary, or rather of more simple ones. For
Vitriol (for Instance) though I have sometimes taken it out of
Minerall Earths, where Nature had without any assistance of Art
prepar'd it to my Hand, is really, though Chymists are pleas'd to
reckon it among Salts, a De-compounded Body Consisting (as I shall
have occasion to declare anon) of a Terrestriall Substance, of a
Metal, and also of at least one Saline Body, of a peculiar and not
Elementary Nature. And we see also in Animals, that their blood may
be compos'd of Divers very Differing Mixt Bodies, since we find it
observ'd that divers Sea-Fowle tast rank of the Fish on which they
ordinarily feed; and _Hipocrates_ himself Observes, that a Child may
be purg'd by the Milke of the Nurse, if she have taken _Elaterium_;
which argues that the purging Corpuscles of the Medicament Concurr to
make up the Milke of the Nurse; and that white Liquor is generally by
Physitians suppos'd to be but blanch'd and alter'd Blood. And I
remember I have observ'd, not farr from the _Alps_, that at a certain
time of the Year the Butter of that Country was very Offensive to
strangers, by reason of the rank tast of a certain Herb, whereon the
Cows were then wont plentifully to feed. But (proceeds _Carneades_) to
give you Instances of another kind, to shew that things may be
obtain'd by the Fire from a Mixt Body that were not Pre-existent in
it, let Me Remind You, that from many Vegetables there may without any
Addition be Obtain'd Glass, a Body, which I presume You will not say
was Pre-existent in it, but produc'd by the Fire. To which I shall
add but this one Example more, namely that by a certain Artificial way
of handling Quicksilver, You may without Addition separate from it at
least a 5th. or 4th. part of a clear Liquor, which with an Ordinary
Peripatetick would pass for Water, and which a Vulgar Chymist would
not scruple to call Phlegme, and which, for ought I have yet seen or
heard, is not reducible into Mercury again, and Consequently is more
then a Disguise of it. Now besides that divers Chymists will not allow
Mercury to have any or at least any Considerable Quantity of either of
the Ignoble Ingredients, Earth and Water; Besides this, I say, the
great Ponderousness of Quicksilver makes it very unlikely that it can
have so much Water in it as may be thus obtain'd from it, since
Mercury weighs 12 or 14 times as much as water of the same Bulk. Nay
for a further Confirmation of this Argument, I will add this Strange
Relation, that two Friends of mine, the one a Physitian, and the other
a Mathematician, and both of them Persons of unsuspected Credit, have
Solemnly assured me, that after many Tryals they made, to reduce
Mercury into Water, in Order to a Philosophicall Work, upon Gold
(which yet, by the way, I know prov'd Unsuccesfull) they did once by
divers Cohobations reduce a pound of Quicksilver into almost a pound
of Water, and this without the Addition of any other Substance, but
only by pressing the Mercury by a Skillfully Manag'd Fire in purposely
contriv'd Vessels. But of these Experiments our Friend (sayes
_Carneades_, pointing at the Register of this Dialogue) will perhaps
give You a more Particular Account then it is necessary for me to do:
Since what I have now said may sufficiently evince, that the Fire may
sometimes as well alter Bodies as divide them, and by it we may obtain
from a Mixt Body what was not Pre-existent in it. And how are we sure
that in no other Body what we call Phlegme is barely separated, not
Produc'd by the Action of the Fire: Since so many other Mixt Bodies
are of a much less Constant, and more alterable Nature, then Mercury,
by many Tricks it is wont to put upon Chymists, and by the Experiments
I told You of, about an hour since, Appears to be. But because I
shall ere long have Occasion to resume into Consideration the Power of
the Fire to produce new Concretes, I shall no longer insist on this
Argument at present; only I must mind You, that if You will not
dis-believe _Helmonts_ Relations, You must confess that the _Tria
Prima_ are neither ingenerable nor incorruptible Substances; since by
his _Alkahest_ some of them may be produc'd of Bodies that were before
of another Denomination; and by the same powerfull _Menstruum_ all of
them may be reduc'd into insipid Water.

Here _Carneades_ was about to pass on to his Third Consideration, when
_Eleutherius_ being desirous to hear what he could say to clear his
second General Consideration from being repugnant to what he seem'd to
think the true Theory of Mistion, prevented him by telling him, I
somewhat wonder, _Carneades_, that You, who are in so many Points
unsatisfied with the Peripatetick Opinion touching the Elements and
Mixt Bodies, should also seem averse to that Notion touching the
manner of Mistion, wherein the Chymists (though perhaps without
knowing that they do so) agree with most of the Antient Philosophers
that preceded _Aristotle_, and that for Reasons so considerable, that
divers Modern Naturalists and Physitians, in other things unfavourable
enough to the Spagyrists, do in this case side with them against the
common Opinion of the Schools. If you should ask me (continues
_Eleutherius_) what Reasons I mean? I should partly by the Writings of
_Sennertus_ and other learned Men, and partly by my own Thoughts, be
supply'd with more, then 'twere at present proper for me to Insist
largely on. And therefore I shall mention only, and that briefly,


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