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true philosophy, for the illumination of the understanding, the extracting of axioms, and the producing of many noble works and effects. For he hopeth by this means to acquit himself of that for which he taketh himself in a sort bound, and that is, the advancement of all learning and sciences. For, having in this present work collected the materials for the building, and in his "Novum Organum," of which his lordship is yet to publish a second part, set down the instruments and directions for the work; men shall now be wanting to themselves, if they raise not knowledge to that perfection whereof the nature of mortal men is capablę. And in this behalf, I have heard his lordship speak complainingly, that his lordship, who thinketh he deserveth to be an architect in this building, should be forced to be a workman, and a labourer, and to dig the clay, and burn the brick; and, more than that, according to the hard condition of the israelites at the latter end, to gather the straw and stubble, over all the fields, to burn the bricks withal. For he knoweth, that except he do it, nothing will be done: men are so set to despise the means of their own good. And as for the baseness of many of the experiments; as long as they be God's works, they are honourable enough. And for the vulgarness of them, true axioms

must be drawn from plain experience, and not from doubtful; and his lordship's course is to make wonders plain, and not plain things wonders; and that experience likewise must be broken and grinded, and not whole, or as it groweth. And for use; his lordship hath often in his mouth the two kinds of experiments; experimenta fructifera, and experimenta lucifera; experiments of use, and experiments of light and he reporteth himself, whether he were not a strange man, that should think that light hath no use, because it hath no matter. Further his lordship thought good also to add unto many of the experiments themselves some gloss of the causes; that in the succeeding work of interpreting nature, and framing axioms, all things may be in more readiness. And for the causes herein by him assigned; his lordship persuadeth himself, they are far more certain than those that are rendered by others; not for any excellency of his own wit, as his lordship is wont to say, but in respect of his continual conversation with nature and experience. He did consider likewise, that by this addition of causes, men's minds, which make so much haste to find out the causes of things, would not think themselves utterly lost in a vast wood of experience, but stay upon these causes, such as they are, a little, till true axioms may be more fully discovered. I have heard his lordship say also, that one great reason, why he would not put these particulars into any exact method, though he that looketh attentively into them shall find that they have a secret order, was, because he conceived that other men would now think that they could do the like; and so go on with a farther collection: which if the method had been exact, many would have despaired to attain by imitation. As for his lordship's love of order, I can refer any man to his lordship's Latin book, " De Augmentis Scientiarum;" which, if my judgment be any thing, is written in the exactest order that I know any writing to be. I will conclude with an usual speech of his lordship's: That this work of his Natural History is the world as God made it, and not as men have made it; for that it hath nothing of imagination.


This epistle is the same, that should have been prefixed to this book, if his lordship had lived.


Experiments in consort, touching the straining and passing of bodies one through another; which they call Percolation.

DIG a pit upon the sea-shore, somewhat above the high-water mark, and sink it as deep as the low-water mark; and as the tide cometh in, it will fill with water, fresh and potable. This is commonly practised upon the coast of Barbary, where other fresh water is wanting. And Cæsar knew this well when he was besieged in Alexandria: for by digging of pits in the sea-shore, he did frustrate the laborious works of the enemies, which had turned the sea-water upon the wells of Alexandria; and so saved his army being then in desperation. But Cæsar mistook the cause, for he thought that all sea-sands had natural springs of fresh water: but it is plain, that it is the sea-water: because the pit filleth according to the measure of the tide; and

the sea-water passing or straining through the sands, leaveth the saltness.

2. I remember to have read, that trial hath been made of salt-water passed through earth, through ten vessels, one within another; and yet it hath not lost its saltness, as to become potable: but the same man saith, that by the relation of another, salt-water drained through twenty vessels hath become fresh. This experiment seemeth to cross that other of pits made by the sea-side; and yet but in part, if it be true that twenty repetitions do the effect. But it is worth the note, how poor the imitations of nature are in common course of experiments, except they be led by great judgment, and some good light of axioms. For first, there is no small difference between a passage of water through twenty small vessels, and through such a distance, as between the low-water and high-water mark. Secondly, there is a great difference between earth and sand;

when water is crystalline. It is effected by casting in and placing pebbles at the head of the current, that the water may strain through them.

for all earth hath in it a kind of nitrous salt, from | tending to health; besides the pleasure of the eye, which sand is more free; and besides, earth doth not strain the water so finely as sand doth. But there is a third point, that I suspect as much or more than the other two; and that is, that in the experiment of transmission of the sea-water into the pits, the water riseth; but in the experiment of transmission of the water through the vessels, it falleth. Now certain it is that the salter part of water, once salted throughout, goeth to the bottom. And therefore no marvel, if the draining of water by descent doth not make it fresh: besides, I do somewhat doubt, that the very dashing of water, that cometh from the sea, is more proper to strike off the salt part, than where the water slideth of its

own motion.

3. It seemeth percolation, or transmission, which is commonly called straining, is a good kind of separation, not only of thick from thin, and gross from fine, but of more subtile natures; and varieth according to the body through which the transmission is made as if through a woollen bag, the liquor leaveth the fatness; if through sand, the saltness, &c. They speak of severing wine from water, passing it through ivy wood, or through other the like porous body; but non constat.


4. The gum of trees, which we see to be commonly shining and clear, is but a fine passage or straining of the juice of the tree through the wood and bark. And in like manner, Cornish diamonds, and rock rubies, which are yet more resplendent than gums, are the fine exudations of stone.

5. Aristotle giveth the cause, vainly, why the feathers of birds are of more lively colours than the hairs of beasts; for no beast hath any fine azure, or carnation, or green hair. He saith, it is because birds are more in the beams of the sun than beasts; but that is manifestly untrue; for cattle are more in the sun than birds, that live commonly in the woods, or in some covert. The true cause is, that the excrementitious moisture of living creatures, which maketh as well the feathers in birds, as the hair in beasts, passeth in birds through a finer and more delicate strainer than it doth in beasts: for feathers pass through quills; and hair through skin.

6. The clarifying of liquors by adhesion, is an inward percolation; and is effected, when some cleaving body is mixed and agitated with the liquors: whereby the grosser part of the liquor sticks to that cleaving body; and so the finer parts are freed from the grosser. So the apothecaries clarify their syrups by whites of eggs, beaten with the juices which they would clarify; which whites of eggs gather all the dregs and grosser parts of the juice to them; and after the syrup being set on the fire, the whites of eggs themselves harden, and are taken forth. So hippocras is clarified by mixing with milk, and stirring it about, and then passing it through a woollen bag, which they call Hippocrates's Sleeve, and the cleaving nature of the milk draweth the powder of the spices, and grosser parts of the liquor to it; and in the passage they stick upon the woollen bag.

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8. It may be, percolation doth not only cause clearness and splendour, but sweetness of savour; for that also followeth as well as clearness, when the finer parts are severed from the grosser. So it is found, that the sweats of men, that have much heat, and exercise much, and have clean bodies, and fine skins, do smell sweet; as was said of Alexander; and we see commonly that gums have sweet odours.

Experiments in consort, touching motion of bodies upon their pressure.


9. Take a glass, and put water into it, and wet your finger, and draw it round about the lip of the glass, pressing it somewhat hard; and after you have drawn it some few times about, it will make the water frisk and sprinkle up in a fine dew. This instance doth excellently demonstrate the force of compression in a solid body for whensoever a solid body, as wood, stone, metal, &c. is pressed, there is an inward tumult in the parts thereof seeking to deliver themselves from the compression: and this is the cause of all violent motion. Wherein it is strange, in the highest degree, that this motion hath never been observed, nor inquired; it being of all motions the most common, and the chief root of all mechanical operations. This motion worketh in round at first, by way of proof and search which way to deliver itself: and then worketh in progress, where it findeth the deliverance easiest. In liquors this motion is visible; for all liquors strucken make round circles, and withal dash; but in solids, which break not, it is so subtile, as it is invisible; but nevertheless bewrayeth itself by many effects; as in this instance whereof we speak. For the pressure of the finger, furthered by the wetting, because it sticketh so much the better unto the lip of the glass, after some continuance, putteth all the small parts of the glass into work; that they strike the water sharply; from which percussion that sprinkling cometh.

10. If you strike or pierce a solid body that is brittle, as glass, or sugar, it breaketh not only where the immediate force is; but breaketh all about into shivers and fitters; the motion, upon the pressure, searching always, and breaking where it findeth the body weakest.

11. The powder in shot, being dilated into such a flame as endureth not compression, moveth likewise in round, the flame being in the nature of a liquid body, sometimes recoiling, sometimes breaking the piece, but generally discharging the bullet, because there it findeth easiest deliverance.

12. This motion upon pressure, and the reciprocal thereof, which is motion upon tensure, we use to call, by one common name, motion of liberty; which is, when any body, being forced to a preternatural extent or dimension, delivereth and restoreth itself to the natural: as when a blown bladder, pressed, 7. The clarifying of water is an experiment riseth again; or when leather or cloth tentured,

spring back. These two motions, of which there be infinite instances, we shall handle in due place. 13. This motion upon pressure is excellently also demonstrated in sounds; as when one chimeth upon a bell, it soundeth; but as soon as he layeth his hand upon it, the sound ceaseth; and so the sound of a virginal string, as soon as the quill of the jack falleth from it, stoppeth. For these sounds are produced by the subtle percussion of the minute parts of the bell or string upon the air; all one, as the water is caused to leap by the subtile percussion of the minute parts of the glass upon the water, whereof we spake a little before in the ninth experiment. For you must not take it to be the local shaking of the bell, or string, that doth it: as we shall fully declare, when we come hereafter to handle sounds.

Experiments in consort touching separations of bodies by weight.

14. Take a glass with a belly and a long neb; fill the belly, in part, with water: take also another glass, whereinto put claret wine and water mingled; reverse the first glass, with the belly upwards, stopping the neb with your finger; then dip the mouth of it within the second glass, and remove your finger: continue it in that posture for a time; and it will unmingle the wine from the water: the wine ascending and settling in the top of the upper glass; and the water descending and settling in the bottom of the lower glass. The passage is apparent to the eye; for you shall see the wine, as it were, in a small vein, rising through the water. For handsomeness sake, because the working requireth some small time, it were good you hang the upper glass upon a nail. But as soon as there is gathered so much pure and unmixed water in the bottom of the lower glass, as that the mouth of the upper glass dippeth into it, the motion ceaseth.

15. Let the upper glass be wine, and the lower water; there followeth no motion at all. Let the upper glass be water pure, the lower water coloured, or contrariwise, there followeth no motion at all. But it hath been tried, that though the mixture of wine and water, in the lower glass, be three parts water, and but one wine, yet it doth not dead the motion. This separation of water and wine appeareth to be made by weight; for it must be of bodies of unequal weight, or else it worketh not; and the heavier body must ever be in the upper glass. But then note withal, that the water being made pensile, and there being a great weight of water in the belly of the glass, sustained by a small pillar of water in the neck of the glass, it is that which setteth the motion on work for water and wine in one glass, with long standing, will hardly


16. This experiment would be extended from mixtures of several liquors, to simple bodies which consist of several similar parts: try it therefore with brine or salt-water, and fresh water; placing the saltwater, which is the heavier, in the upper glass; and see whether the fresh will come above. Try it also with water thick sugared, and pure water;

and see whether the water, which cometh above, will lose its sweetness: for which purpose it were good there were a little cock made in the belly of the upper glass.

Experiments in consort, touching judicious and

accurate infusions, both in liquors and air.

17. In bodies containing fine spirits, which do easily dissipate, when you make infusions, the rule is, a short stay of the body in the liquor, receiveth the spirit; and a longer stay confoundeth it; because it draweth forth the earthy part withal, which embaseth the finer. And therefore it is an error in physicians, to rest simply upon the length of stay for increasing the virtue. But if you will have the infusion strong, in those kinds of bodies which have fine spirits, your way is not to give longer time, but to repeat the infusion of the body oftener. Take violets, and infuse a good pugil of them in a quart of vinegar; let them stay three quarters of an hour, and take them forth, and refresh the infusion with like quantity of new violets, seven times; and it will make a vinegar so fresh of the flower, as if, a twelvemonth after, it be brought you in a saucer, you shall smell it before it come at you. Note, that it smelleth more perfectly of the flower a good while after than at first.

18. This rule, which we have given, is of singular use for the preparations of medicines, and other infusions. As for example: the leaf of burrage hath an excellent spirit to repress the fuliginous vapour of dusky melancholy, and so to cure madness: but nevertheless, if the leaf be infused long, it yieldeth forth but a raw substance, of no virtue : therefore I suppose, that if in the must of wine, or wort of beer, while it worketh, before it be tunned, the burrage stay a small time, and be often changed with fresh, it will make a sovereign drink for melancholy passions. And the like I conceive of orange flowers.

19. Rhubarb hath manifestly in it parts of contrary operations; parts that purge, and parts that bind the body; and the first lie looser, and the latter lie deeper: so that if you infuse rhubarb for an hour, and crush it well, it will purge better, and bind the body less after the purging, than if it had stood twenty-four hours; this is tried: but I conceive likewise, that by repeating the infusion of rhubarb several times, as was said of violets, letting each stay in but a small time; you may make it as strong a purging medicine as scammony. And it is not a small thing won in physic, if you can make rhubarb, and other medicines that are benedict, as strong purgers as those that are not without some malignity.

20. Purging medicines, for the most part, have their purgative virtue in a fine spirit; as appeareth by that they endure not boiling without much loss of virtue. And therefore it is of good use in physic, if you can retain the purging virtue, and take away the unpleasant taste of the purger; which it is like you may do, by this course of infusing oft, with little stay. For it is probable that the horrible and odious taste is in the grosser part.

21. Generally, the working by infusions is gross

and blind, except you first try the issuing of the several parts of the body, which of them issue more speedily, and which more slowly; and so by apportioning the time, can take and leave that quality which you desire. This to know there are two ways; the one to try what long stay and what short stay worketh, as hath been said; the other to try in order the succeeding infusions of one and the same body, successively, in several liquors. As for example; take orange pills, or rosemary, or cinnamon, or what you will; and let them infuse half an hour in water: then take them out, and infuse them again in other water; and so the third time: and then taste and consider the first water, the second, and the third; and will find them differing, not only in strength and weakness, but otherwise in taste or odour; for it may be the first water will have more of the scent, as more fragrant; and the second more of the taste, as more bitter or biting, &c.


22. Infusions in air, for so we may well call odours, have the same diversities with infusions in water; in that the several odours, which are in one flower, or other body, issue at several times; some earlier, some later: so we find that violets, woodbines, strawberries, yield a pleasing scent, that cometh forth first; but soon after an ill scent quite differing from the former. Which is caused, not so much by mellowing, as by the late issuing of the grosser spirit.

also in the stillicides of water, which, if there be water enough to follow, will draw themselves into a small thread, because they will not discontinue; but if there be no remedy, then they cast themselves into round drops; which is the figure that saveth the body most from discontinuance: the same reason is of the roundness of the bubble, as well for the skin of water, as for the air within: for the air likewise avoideth discontinuance; and therefore casteth itself into a round figure. And for the stop and arrest of the air a little while, it showeth that the air of itself hath little or no appetite of ascending.

Experiment solitary touching the making of arti

ficial springs.

25. The rejection, which I continually use, of experiments, though it appeareth not, is infinite; but yet if an experiment be probable in the work, and of great use, I receive it, but deliver it as doubtful. It was reported by a sober man, that an artificial spring may be made thus: Find out a hanging ground, where there is a good quick fall of rainwater. Lay a half-trough of stone, of a good length, three or four foot deep within the same ground; with one end upon the high ground, the other upon the low. Cover the trough with brakes a good thickness, and cast sand upon the top of the brakes: you shall see, saith he, that after some showers are past, the lower end of the trough will run like a spring of water: which is no marvel, if it hold while the rain-water lasteth; but he said it would continue long time after the rain is past: as if the water did multiply itself upon the air, by the help of the coldness and condensation of the earth, and the consort of the first water.

23. As we may desire to extract the finest spirits in some cases; so we may desire also to discharge them, as hurtful, in some other. So wine burnt, by reason of the evaporating of the finer spirit, inflameth less, and is best in agues: opium loseth some of its poisonous quality, if it be vapoured out, mingled with spirit of wine, or the like: sena loseth somewhat of its windiness by decocting; and, generally, Experiment solitary touching the venomous quality subtile or windy spirits are taken off by incension, or evaporation. And even in infusions in things that are of too high a spirit, you were better pour off the first infusion, after a small time, and use the latter.

Experiment solitary touching the appetite of continuation in liquids.

24. Bubbles are in the form of a hemisphere; air within, and a little skin of water without: and it seemeth somewhat strange, that the air should rise so swiftly while it is in the water; and when it cometh to the top, should be stayed by so weak a cover as that of the bubble is. But as for the swift ascent of the air, while it is under the water, that is a motion of percussion from the water; which itself descending driveth up the air; and no motion of levity in the air. And this Democritus called motus plage. In this common experiment, the cause

of the enclosure of the bubble is, for that the appe

tite to resist separation, or discontinuance, which in solid bodies is strong, is also in liquors, though fainter and weaker; as we see in this of the bubble: we see it also in little glasses of spittle that children make of rushes; and in castles of bubbles, which they make by blowing into water, having obtained a little degree of tenacity by mixture of soap: we see it

of man's flesh.

26. The French, which put off the name of the French disease unto the name of the disease of Naples, do report, that at the siege of Naples, there were certain wicked merchants that barrelled up man's flesh, of some that had been lately slain in Barbary, and sold it for tunny; and that upon that foul and high nourishment was the original of that disease. Which may well be; for that it is certain that the cannibals in the West Indies eat man's flesh; and the West Indies were full of the pox when they were first discovered: and at this day the mortalest poisons, practised by the West Indians, have some mixture of the blood, or fat, or flesh of man: and divers witches and sorceresses, as well amongst the heathen as amongst the christians, have fed upon man's flesh, to aid, as it seemeth, their imagination, with high and foul vapours. Experiment solitary touching the version and trans

mutation of air into water.

27. It seemeth that there be these ways, in likelihood, of version of vapours or air, into water and moisture. The first is cold; which doth manifestly condense; as we see in the contracting of the air in the weather-glass; whereby it is a degree nearer to water. We see it also in the generation of springs,

which the ancients thought, very probably, to be | featured than otherwise they would be, by the made by the version of air into water, holpen by the forming and shaping of them in their infancy: as rest, which the air hath in those parts; whereby by stroking up the calves of the legs, to keep them it cannot dissipate. And by the coldness of rocks: from falling down too low; and by stroking up the for there springs are chiefly generated. We see it forehead, to keep them from being low-foreheaded. also in the effects of the cold of the middle region, And it is a common practice to swathe infants, that as they call it, of the air; which produceth dews they may grow more straight and better shaped : and rains. And the experiment of turning water and we see young women, by wearing strait bodice, into ice, by snow, nitre, and salt, whereof we shall keep themselves from being gross and corpulent. speak hereafter, would be transferred to the turning of air into water. The second way is by compresExperiment solitary touching the condensing of air sion; as in stillatories, where the vapour is turned in such sort as it may put on weight, and yield nourishment. back upon itself, by the encounter of the sides of the stillatory; and in the dew upon the covers of boiling pots; and in the dew towards rain, upon marble and wainscot. But this is like to do no great effect; except it be upon vapours, and gross air, that are already very near in degree to water. The third is that, which may be searched into, but doth not yet appear; which is, by mingling of moist vapours with air; and trying if they will not bring a return of more water, than the water was at first: for if so, that increase is a version of the air: therefore put water into the bottom of a stillatory, with the neb❘ stopped; weigh the water first; hang in the middle of a stillatory a large spunge; and see what quantity of water you can crush out of it; and what it is more, or less, compared with the water spent ; for you must understand, that if any version can be wrought, it will be easiliest done in small pores: and that is the reason why we prescribe a spunge. The fourth way is probable also, though not appearing; which is, by receiving the air into the small pores of bodies: for, as hath been said, every thing in small quantity is more easy for version; and tangible bodies have no pleasure in the consort of air, but endeavour to subact it into a more dense body; but in entire bodies it is checked; because if the air should condense, there is nothing to succeed: therefore it must be in loose bodies, as sand, and powder; which, we see, if they lie close, of themselves gather moisture.

Experiment solitary touching helps towards the

beauty and good features of persons.

28. It is reported by some of the ancients; that whelps, or other creatures, if they be put young into such a cage or box, as they cannot rise to their stature, but may increase in breadth or length, will grow accordingly as they can get room: which if it be true and feasible, and that the young creature so pressed and straitened, doth not thereupon die; it is a means to produce dwarf creatures, and in a very strange figure. This is certain, and noted long since, that the pressure or forming of parts of creatures, when they are very young, doth alter the shape not a little; as the stroking of the heads of infants, between the hands, was noted of old to make Macrocephali; which shape of the head, at that time, was esteemed. And the raising gently of the bridge of the nose, doth prevent the deformity of a saddle nose. Which observation well weighed, may teach a means to make the persons of men and women, in many kinds, more comely and better

29. Onions, as they hang, will many of them shoot forth; and so will penny-royal; and so will an herb called orpin; with which they use in the country to trim their houses, binding it to a lath or stick, and setting it against the wall. We see it likewise, more especially, in the greater sempervive, which will put out branches two or three years: but it is true, that commonly they wrap the root in a cloth besmeared with oil, and renew it once in half a year. The like is reported by some of the ancients, of the stalks of lilies. The cause is; for that these plants have a strong, dense, and succulent moisture, which is not apt to exhale; and so is able, from the old store, without drawing help from the earth, to suffice the sprouting of the plant: and this sprouting is chiefly in the late spring, or early summer; which are the times of putting forth. We see also, that stumps of trees, lying out of the ground, will put forth sprouts for a time. But it is a noble trial, and of very great consequence, to try whether these things, in the sprouting, do increase weight; which must be tried, by weighing them before they are hanged up, and afterwards again when they are sprouted. For if they increase not in weight, then it is no more but this; that what they send forth in the sprout, they lose in some other part: but if they gather weight, then it is magnale naturæ; for it shows that air may be made so to be condensed, as to be converted into a dense body; whereas the race and period of all things, here above the earth, is to extenuate and turn things to be more pneumatical and rare; and not to be retrograde, from pneumatical to that which is dense. It showeth also that air can nourish; which is another great matter of consequence. Note, that to try this, the experiment of the semper-vive must be made without oiling the cloth; for else, it may be, the plant receiveth nourishment from the oil.

Experiment solitary touching the commixture of

flame and air, and the great force thereof 30. Flame and air do not mingle, except it be in an instant; or in the vital spirit of vegetables and living creatures. In gunpowder, the force of it hath been ascribed to rarefaction of the earthy substance into flame; and thus far it is true: and then, forsooth, it is become another element; the form whereof occupieth more place; and so, of necessity, followeth a dilatation: and therefore, lest two bodies should be in one place, there must needs also follow an expulsion of the pellet; or blowing up of the

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