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note infinite repetitions of the same thing, diversified in words, arrangement, examples, and illustrations, yet in the sum and weight and real effect of things all anticipated, and manifestly only repetitions, so as there is at once poverty and parade, arrogance and miserable jejuneness. And if I may be allowed a colloquial ease and pleasantry on this subject, this learning of yours very much resembles the well known supper of the host of Chalcis, who being asked whence he had such store of different hunter's fare: answered that all his dishes were of the flesh of a tame boar. For you will not deny that the whole of that seeming copiousness is nothing but fragments of the philosophy of the Greeks, and that not reared, to continue the metaphor, in the woods and wilds of nature, but styed up in the schools and scholastic cells like the domesticated animal. For, if you give up the Greeks, and a few Greeks too,

what (I pray you) have the Romans or Arabs,
which doth not emanate from, and fall back into,
the systems of Aristotle, Plato, Hippocrates,
Galen, Euclid, and Ptolemy?
Thus you see
your entire hopes and fortunes wrapt up in the
weak brains and limited souls of about half-a-dozen
mortals. Yet it was not for this that God im-
planted in you reasonable souls, that you should
obsequiously give up to human beings that part
of you which he vindicates for himself,-implicit
faith due only to the things of God. Nor hath he
allotted to you the firm and vivid informations of
the senses, to contemplate the works of a few men,
but his own works, his heaven and earth, cele-
brating the while his glory in your hearts, and
while you lift up a hymn to your Great Author,
admitting, if you will, these mortals (and where-
fore should you refuse) to a place besides you in
the worshipping choir."
W. G. G.

THE PHENOMENA OF THE UNIVERSE;

OR,

NATURAL HISTORY.

FOR THE BASIS OF NATURAL PHILOSOPHY.

PREFACE.

and empirics, if they conducted their observations and philosophy with more boldness, being accusUPON my taking into consideration the errors tomed to an accurate nicety in some things, bend that prevail with respect to the true grounds of all others by the most singular methods to them; forming theories and conducting experiments, I and give out opinions the most monstrous and felt it my duty myself to remedy these evils, to unnatural. For the one class, out of many things the best of my ability. There cannot indeed be take but little, the other out of but little take much any thing more meritorious than to lead men to into the body of their philosophy; and, to speak throw off the masks of authorities and their blind the truth, the method of either class is unsound, admiration of experiments, and to enter into a and will not hold. But the knowledge of nature nearer communion with things themselves, and a which has been hitherto collected, however copithorough investigation of them. For so our know- ous it may at first sight appear, is really meagre ledge of them will be at once deep and secure, and unprofitable. Neither is it of that kind for and will be moreover at hand, and the sources of which we are inquiring. Nor is it yet cleared of utility will be multiplied. But the first princi- fable and absurdity, but runs out into antiquity ples of this design must be derived from the and philology, and relations of things unconknowledge of nature. For all the philosophy of nected with it, neglecting and rejecting what is the Greeks, with all their different sects, and, solid, but laboriously curious upon trifles. But indeed, whatever other philosophy may be men- the worst of this kind of copiousness is this, that tioned, appears to have been built upon too narrow it embraces the investigation of natural objects, a basis, and on an insufficient acquaintance with and yet for the most part declines the study of nature. For, taking up some few things from things mechanical. And these are the very things experience, and from tradition, and that sometimes which by far excel the others in the searching out without accurate examination, they placed the the secrets of nature, for, nature being of itself rest in meditation and in the exercise of their vast and diffuse, dissipates the mind and con ingenuity; relying too much upon dialectics: but founds it by its variety. But in mechanical opethe chymists and the whole class of mechanics rations the judgment is collected, and the designs

and workings of nature are discerned, and not the | two admonitions which I would give on this head, effects only. And, besides, all the subtlety of as at other times, so especially now, in proceedmechanics stops short of the object which we ing to this very thing: first, that we should disseek. For the person thus employed being intent miss that motion, which, though so thoroughly upon his work and object, neither raises his mind false and destructive, easily takes possession of nor stretches forth his hand to other things, and the mind, that the investigation of particular which perchance avail more to the investigation objects is an infinite and endless task: when the of nature. There is need, therefore, of greater truth rather is, that there is no bound to mere care and choice kinds of examination and even of opinions and disputes, but that those fantasies are expense, and moreover of the greatest patience. condemned to perpetual error and endless uncerFor this hath rendered every thing in the depart-tainty: but that those particular objects and the ment of experiment useless, that men have from informations of sense (taking out individuals and the beginning sought out experiments for the degrees of things, which suffices for the investisake of gain and not of knowledge, and have gation of truth) certainly admit of comprehension, been intent upon bringing out something magnifi-and that neither too wide and extensive, nor too cent, not upon revealing the oracles of nature, difficult and adventurous. And, secondly, that which is the work of works, and comprehends all men frequently bear the object in mind, and that power in itself. And this evil hath been occa- when they fall upon the consideration of very sioned by the fastidious curiosity of men, in many of the most ordinary, small, and apparently generally turning their attention to the secrets trivial and even low subjects, and which, as Arisand rarities of nature, and in expending all their totle says, seem to require a previous apology, research upon these, passing over experiments they will not think that I am trifling, or taking and ordinary observations with contempt. And down the dignity of the human mind. For these they seem to have been determined to this choice things are not sought out or described for their either from the pursuit of applause, or from having own sakes, but no other way is open to the human fallen into this error, that the office of philosophy understanding, nor any other method left of puris as much to trace the cause of ordinary occur-suing this work; since we are attempting an rences and the remoter causes of those causes, as object of unrivalled importance, and most worthy it is to harmonize extraordinary with ordinary of the human mind, to kindle in this our age, events. But the cause of this universal complaint through means offered and applied by the Deity respecting natural history is chiefly this, that men himself, the pure light of nature, the name indeed have not merely erred in their mode of proceed- the boast of men, the thing itself entirely uning, but in their design. For that natural history known. Nor do I dissemble my opinion that which now exists seems to have been composed that preposterous subtlety of arguments and imaeither on account of the profitableness of experi- ginations in the time of which the subtlety and ments or the pleasure of details, and to have been truth of the first information or true induction was made for its own sake, and not to serve as the either passed over or ill set on foot, can never elements, and as it were to be the nurse of phi- effect a restoration, though all the genius of past losophy and the sciences. It is therefore my ages should unite in the design; but that nature design, as far as lies in my power, to supply this like fortune has her hair only upon her forehead. deficiency. For I have long since made up my It remains, therefore, that the work be entirely opinion as to the province of abstract philoso-recommenced, and that, with greater helps, and phies: it is my intention also to adhere to the laying aside the heats of opinion, an entrance be methods of true and good induction, in which are contained all things; and, as it were, by the help of instruments, or, by a clue to a labyrinth, to assist as much as possible the power of the human understanding, of itself inadequate and very unequal to the attainment of the sciences. And I am at the same time aware that if I would include in that restoration of the sciences, which I have in contemplation, any greater scope, I might indeed reap the greater honour.

But since it has pleased God to give me a mind that can learn to yield to circumstances, and out of a sense of real desert and confidence of success to reject with readiness what is only plausible, I have taken upon myself that part of the work which would probably have been passed over by others altogether, or would not have been treated in accordance with my design. And there are

opened into the kingdom of philosophy and of the sciences, (in which all the wealth of man is stored, for nature is overcome only by yielding,) in the same manner as into the kingdom of heaven, into which we cannot enter but as little children. But the profit of this work, that plebeian and promiscuous advantage derived from experiments themselves, we do not altogether condemn, since it can doubtless marry desirable suggestions to the observation and invention of men according to their various arts and talents. But we deem it extremely small in comparison of that entrance into human knowledge and power, which, through the divine mercy, we look for. And of that mercy we again desire, that it may see fit to enrich anew the human family through our hands.

The nature of things is either free, as in species, or confused, as in monsters, or straightened, as in

the experiments of the arts; but it acts in whatever class are worthy of commemoration. But the history of species which at present exists, as of animals, metals, and fossils, is tumid and impertinent; the history of prodigies vain and grounded upon slight reports; the history of experiments imperfect, tried by parts, treated negligently, and made entirely with a view to action and not philosophy. It is, therefore, my design to contract the history of species, to examine and revise the history of prodigies, and to put forth my principal labours upon experiments mechanical and artificial, and upon the subjection of nature to the hand of man. For what are the sports and wantonings, as it were, of nature to us? that is, those trifling differences of species according to their forms, which are of no service to our pursuits, and with which natural history, nevertheless, teems. The knowledge of things wonderful is, indeed, pleasant to us, if freed from the fabulous, but on what account does it afford us pleasure? not from any delight that is in admiration itself, but because it frequently intimates to art its office, that from the knowledge of nature it may lead it whither it sometimes preceded it by its own unassisted power. To artificial experiments we entirely attribute the first place in kindling the light of nature, not so much because they are highly useful of themselves, but because they are the most faithful interpreters of natural Occurrences. Would any one, for instance, have so clearly explained the nature of lightning or of the rainbow, before the reason of both was demonstrated, of the one through the instruments of war, of the other through the artificial resemblances of the rainbow on the wall. But if they are faithful interpreters of causes, they will also be certain and successful signs of their effects and operations. And I shall not depart from this threefold division of my history to treat each subject separately, but shall mix the kinds themselves, natural with artificial, ordinary with extraordinary, and keeping close to every subject in proportion to its utility.

It is usual to begin with the phenomena of the air. But in strict adherence to my object, I should prefer those phenomena which constitute and produce a more common nature of which both globes partake. We will begin, therefore with the history of bodies according to that distinction which appears the simplest, that is, the quantity or paucity of matter contained and extended within the same space or the same boundaries. For as no axiom in nature is more certain than that twofold one, that out of nothing, nothing comes, and that there is not any thing which can be reduced to nothing, but that the quantum itself of nature, or the universal sum of matter, is ever the same, admitting neither of increase nor of diminution; so it is not less certain, although it has not been so clearly

remarked or asserted, (whatever men may pretend respecting the power of matter being equally proportioned to its forms,) that out of that quantum of matter more or less is contained under the same dimensions of space, according to the difference of the bodies by which they are occupied, of which some are very evidently found to be more compact, others more extended or diffused. For a vessel or a cavity filled with water and air cannot receive the same portion of matter, but the one more and the other less. If, therefore, any one were to assert that from an equal quantity of air an equal quantity of water could be produced, it would be the same with asserting that something could be produced out of nothing. For that must, of course, be supplied out of nothing which is supposed to be wanting in matter. Again, if it were asserted that an equal quantity of water could be turned into the same quantity of air, it would be the same with asserting that something could be reduced to nothing. For the superfluous matter must, of course, have vanished into nothing. And I do not doubt that this will admit of calculation imperceptible in some respects, but definite and certain, and known to nature. As, if one were to say, that a body of gold compared with a body of spirit of wine were a collection of matter exceeding in a ratio of twenty to one, or thereabout, he would speak the truth. In setting forth, therefore, that history which I have spoken of respecting the quantity and paucity of matter, and the union and expansion of matter, from which those notions of density and rarity (if rightly considered) have their rise, I shall preserve this order; in the first place, to give an account of the relative proportions of different bodies, (as of gold, water, oil, fire,) and having examined the ratios of different bodies, I will afterwards treat of the retirings and excursions of the same body, with calculations or proportions. For the same body, without accession or subtraction, or with the smallest possible degree of either, from various impulses both external and internal is able to gather itself into a greater and lesser sphere. For sometimes the body endeavours to return to its former sphere, and sometimes evidently exceeds it. In the first place, then, I will enumerate the courses, differences, and proportions of any natural body, (in relation to its extent,) comparing them with its interstices or pores, that is, its pulverizations, calcinations, vitrifications, dissolutions, distillations, vapours, exhalations, and inflammations. In the next place, I shall lay down the actions and motions themselves, the extent and bounds of the contraction and dilatation, and when the bodies return to themselves, and when they exceed according to the measure of their extent; but I shall note particularly the efficients and means through which this kind of contractions and dilatations of bodies follow, and, in the mean

time, shall subjoin by the way, the powers and actions which accrue to bodies from such compressions and dilatations.

And as I well know how difficult it is in the present state of the mind to acquire a familiarity with nature now from the very elements, I shall add my own observations, in order to excite the attention and raise the thoughts of others. But with respect to demonstration, whether as to the discovery of the density and rarity of bodies, I have no doubt that, with respect to thick and palpable bodies, the motion of gravity, as it is called, can be assumed as the best as well as readiest proof; for the gravity of a body will be in proportion to its compactness. But after we have come to the class of ethereal and spiritual substances, then indeed we have no measure or rule whereby to go, and shall need another method of investigation. But we will begin with gold, the heaviest of all bodies within our knowledge, (for philosophy is not yet so matured as that we ought to venture an opinion respecting the bowels of the earth,) and embraces the greatest quantity of matter in the smallest space; and we shall apply the ratios of other bodies to the sphere of this; intimating, however, that here we scarcely touch upon the history of weights, except as far as it may throw light upon the demonstrating of the dimensions of bodies. But as our design is not to publish conjectures, but to discover and gain knowledge, and this appears to lie in the examination and proof of the first experiments, I have determined in every very subtile experiment to subjoin the mode of experiment I have made use of, that after it is clearly ascertained how each thing by itself appears to me, men may see how far they may rest satisfied, and what further remains to be done, whether in the correction of errors which may still cleave to the work, or in the calling forth and employing of more accurate modes of proof. And I will for my own part diligently and sincerely intimate those subjects which appear to me to be less satisfactorily explored, and to lie, as it were, nearer and more open to error. Lastly, I will add my own observations, as I before said, so that whilst every part of philosophy is preserved entire, I may yet even by the way turn the face itself of natural history toward philosophy. It will be my care also to remark whatever those things are, whether experiments or observations, which occur and intervene beside the scope of inquiry, and pertain to other denominations, that the investigation may be kept distinct.

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The Mode of Experiment upon the above Table.

Let the weights which I have used be understood to be of the same kind and computation with those of goldsmiths', a pound being twelve ounces, and an ounce twenty pennyweights, a pennyweight twenty-four grains. I have chosen gold as a standard of the ratios of other bodies, according to the measure of its extension, not so much because it is the heaviest of bodies, as because it is the most unique. For, other bodies, which, in some degree, partake of inconstancy even after they have been tried by fire, retain a diversity of weight and dimension; but pure gold

was not equally suitable for the taking of the ratios with the strictest accuracy. For it could not well receive particles beneath a half or a quarter of a grain, and that square surface, in a small and imperceptible ascent or altitude, was capable of attracting a remarkable difference in the weight contrary to what it is in vessels rising to a point.

appears to be entirely free from this property, and to be the same in all circumstances. The experiment adopted in this case was this: I made an ounce of pure gold into the form of a cube; I then prepared a small square vessel to receive that body of gold, and to agree with it exactly, except that it was a little too high; yet, so as that there might be marked, by a distinct line, a space within the vessel in which the gold cube might 3. There is no doubt, that very many bodies ascend. I did that for the sake of fluids, that, noted in the table receive more or less within when any fluid was to be put into the same vessel, their species, according to weight and dimension. it might not flow over, but, by this method, be For, waters, wines, and the like, differ from one more conveniently preserved in an accurate mea- another in gravity. Therefore, as it respects the sure. I had, at the same time, another vessel minutest calculation, the thing itself receives made, in size and weight equal with the former, some modification; neither can the individuals, that, in a like vessel, the ratio of the contents of upon which our experiment falls, decide with the body might appear by itself. Then, I had exactness the nature of the species, nor, perhaps, made cubes of the same magnitude or dimensions agree minutely with experiments made on others. in all those materials specified in the table, which 4. I have set down in the above table those were capable of division. But, the fluids I made bodies which could conveniently fill the space or use of at the time, by filling the vessel until the measure, each with its body in the lump, and fluid ascended to the place that was marked; and could, as it were, be assimilated, and from the the powders in the same manner; but those as ratios of the weight, of which a judgment might closely pressed as possible; but this with an be formed respecting the collection of matter. especial view to their lying even and not suffer-Three kinds of bodies, therefore, could not be ing injury. The proof, therefore, was no other than that, one of the vessels being empty, should be put with an ounce in one scale, another of the vessels in another, with a body in the lump, and the ratio of the weight be taken; so that, in the proportion of its diminution would the dimensions of the same body be increased. For example, when a cube of gold gives one ounce, but one of fat a pennyweight, it is clear that the extension of the body of gold, compared with the extension of the body of fat, has a twentieth ratio. It was desirable, also, that the mode should be noted down of the measure which comprehended an ounce of gold; it was that of a pint of wine, according to English measure, a fraction a little less than two hundred and sixty-nine. The proof was this: I marked the weight of the water which was in the vessel, under the line aforesaid, and then the weight of water contained in a pint, and collected the ratios of the measures from those of the weights.

Cautions.

Observe whether, perchance, a closer contraction of the body from the united force produce a greater ratio of weight than is in proportion to the matter, whether or not this be the case, will appear from the peculiar history of the weight. If it should be so, the calculation is certainly erroneous, and the more bodies are extended, so much the more of matter they possess, than is in proportion to the calculation of weight and measure which depends upon it.

The smallness of the vessel which I made use of, and the form of it, although very convenient for the receiving of the beforementioned cubes,

brought into our computation; first, those which would not satisfy cubical dimension, such as leaves, flowers, fibres, membranes; 2dly, bodies with unequal pores and cavities, as sponges, fleeces, and cork; 3dly, pneumatic bodies are without weight.

Observations.

The collection of matter in those tangible bodies which have come under my observation, is within the ratios of twenty-one parts, or thereabout. The collection of matter is found most compact in gold, and most expanded in spirits of wine, (we speak of bodies which are whole and not porous.) For spirit of wine occupies a space twenty times, and that repeated, of the space which gold does, according to the ratios of one ounce to twenty-two grains. For, of those twenty-one parts, of which some are more compact than others; metals occupy thirteen parts, for tin, the lightest of metals, is almost eight pennyweights, thirteen, that is to say, below that of gold. For, all this kind of variety, leaving metals, is confined within those eight remaining parts, and, again, that remarkable variety which, by beginning inclusively from stones, is extended to those other subjects, is confined within three parts only, or but little more. For the touchstone, the heaviest of stones, (excepting the loadstone,) preponderates by little more than three pennyweights. But spirit of wine, the limit of levity in compact bodies, is lighter by little less than one pennyweight. A great gap presents itself from gold and quicksilver to lead, namely, from twenty pennyweights and a little under, to less than twelve. And, although great metallic bodies

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