Page images
PDF
EPUB

338. The tenth is by time, and the work and procedure of the spirits themselves, which cannot keep their station; especially if they be left to themselves, and there be not agitation or local motion. As we see in corn not stirred; and mens bodies not exercised.

339. ALL moulds are inceptions of putrefaction; as the moulds of pies and flesh; the moulds of oranges and lemons, which moulds afterwards turn into worms, or more odious putrefactions : and therefore, commonly, prove to be of ill odour. And if the body be liquid, and not apt to putrify totally, it will cast up a mother in the top, as the mothers of distilled waters.

340. Moss is a kind of mould of the earth and trees. But it may be better sorted as a rudiment of germination ; to which we refer it. Experiments in consort touching prohibiting and

preventing putrefaction. It is an inquiry of excellent use, to inquire of the means of preventing or staying putrefaction ; for therein consisteth the means of conservation of bodies : for bodies have two kinds of dissolutions; the one by consumption and desiccation; the other by putrefaction. But as for the putrefactions of the bodies of men and living creatures, as in agues, worms, consumptions of the lungs, impostumes, and ulcers both inwards and outwards, they are a great part of physic and surgery; and therefore we will reserve the inquiry of them to the proper place, where we shall handle medicinal experiments of all sorts. Of the rest we will now enter into an inquiry : wherein much light may be taken from that which hath been said of the means to induce or accelerate putrefactions : for the removing that which caused putrefaction, doth prevent and avoid putrefaction.

341. The first means of prohibiting or checking putrefaction, is cold : for so we see that meat and drink will last longer unputrified, or unsoured, in winter than in summer: and we see that flowers and So we

fruits, put in conservatories of snow, keep fresh. And this worketh by the detention of the spirits, and constipation of the tangible parts.

342. The second is astriction : for astriction prohibiteth dissolution: as we sce generally in medicines, whereof such as are astringents do inhibit putrefaction: and by the same reason of astringency, some small quantity of oil of vitriol will keep fresh water long from putrifying. And this astriction is in a substance that hath a virtual cold; and it worketh partly by the same means that cold doth.

343. The third is the excluding of the air; and again, the exposing to the air : for these contraries, as it cometh often to pass, work the same effect, according to the nature of the subject matter. see, that beer or wine, in bottles close stopped, last long; that the garners under ground keep corn longer than those above ground; and that fruit closed in wax keepeth fresh ; and likewise bodies put in honey and flour keep more fresh: and liquors, drinks, and juices, with a little oil cast on the top, keep fresh. Contrariwise, we see that cloth and apparel not aired, do breed moths and mould ; and the diversity is, that in bodies that need detention of spirits, the exclusion of the air doth good; as in drinks and corn: but in bodies that need emission of spirits to discharge some of the superfluous moisture, it doth hurt, for they require airing

344. The fourth is motion and stirring; for putrefaction asketh rest: for the subtle motion which putrefaction requireth, is disturbed by any agitation; and all local motion keepeth bodies integral, and their parts together; as we see that turning over of corn in a garner, or letting it run like an hour-glass, from an upper-room into a lower, doth keep it sweet; and running waters putrify not: and in mens bodies, exercise hindreth putrefaction; and contrariwise, rest and want of motion, or stoppings, whereby the run of humours, or the motion of perspiration is stayed, further putrefaction; as we partly touched a little before.

345. The fifth is the breathing forth of the adventitious moisture in bodies; for as wetting doth hasten putrefaction, so convenient drying, whereby the more radical moisture is only kept in, putteth back putrefaction ; so we see that herbs and flowers, if they be dried in the shade, or dried in the hot sun for a small time, keep best. For the emission of the loose and adventitious moisture doth betray the radical moisture; and carrieth it out for company.

346. The sixth is the strengthening of the spirits of bodies; for as a great heat keepeth bodies from putrefaction, but a tepid heat inclineth them to putrefaction; so a strong spirit likewise preserveth, and a weak or faint spirit disposeth to corruption. So we find that salt water corrupteth not so soon as fresh : and salting of oysters, and powdering of meat, keepeth them from putrefaction. It would be tried also, whether chalk put into water, or drink, doth not preserve it from putrifying or speedy souring. So we see that strong beer will last longer than small; and all things that are hot and aromatical, do help to preserve liquors, or powders, etc. which they do as well by strengthening the spirits, as by soaking out the loose moisture.

347. The seventh is separation of the cruder parts, and thereby making the body more equal; for all imperfect mixture is apt to putrify; and watery substances are more apt to putrify than oily. So we see distilled waters will last longer than raw waters; and things that have passed the fire do last longer than those that have not passed the fire; as dried pears, etc.

348. THE eighth is the drawing forth continually of that part where the putrefaction beginneth ; which is, commonly, the loose and watery moisture; not only for the reason before given, that it provoketh the radical moisture to come forth with it, but because being detained in the body, the putrefaction taking hold of it, infecteth the rest : as we see in the enbalming dead bodies ; and the same reason is of preserving herbs, or fruits, or flowers, in bran or meal.

349. The ninth is the commixture of any thing that is more oily or sweet : for such bodies are least apt to putrify, the air working little upon them; and they not putrifying, preserve the rest. And therefore we see syrups and ointments will last longer than juices.

350. The tenth is the commixture of somewhat that is dry; for putrefaction beginneth first from the spirits; and then from the moisture: and that that is dry is unapt to putrify: and therefore smoke preserveth flesh; as we see in bacon and neats tongues, and Martlemas beef, etc.

351. The opinion of some of the ancients, that blown airs do preserve bodies longer than other airs, seemeth to me probable; for that the blown airs, being overcharged and compressed, will hardly receive the exhaling of any thing, but rather repulse it. It was tried in a blown bladder, whereinto flesh was put, and likewise a flower, and it sorted not : for dry bladders will not blow; and new bladders rather further putrefaction: the way were therefore to blow strongly with a pair of bellows into a hogshead, putting into the hogshead, before, that which you would have preserved ; and in the instant that you withdraw the bellows, stop the hole close. Experiment solitary touching wood shining in the

dark. 352. The experiment of wood that shineth in the dark, we have diligently driven and pursued: the rather, for that of all things that give light here below, it is the most durable, and hath least apparent motion. Fire and flame are in continual expence; sugar shineth only while it is in scraping; and saltwater while it is in dashing; glow-worms have their shining while they live, or a little after ; only scales of fishes putrified seem to be of the same nature with shining wood: and it is true, that all putrefaction hath with it an inward motion, as well as fire or light. The trial sorted thus : 1. The shining is in some pieces more bright, in some more dim; but the most bright of all doth not attain to the light of a glow

2. The woods that have been tried to shine, are chiefly sallow and willow; also the ash and hazle; it may be it holdeth in others. 3. Both roots and bodies do shine, but the roots better. 4. The colour of the shining part, by day-light, is in some pieces white, in some pieces inclining to red; which in the country they call the white and red garret. 5. The part that shineth is, for the most part, somewhat soft, and moist to feel to; but some was found to be firm and hard, so as it might be figured into a cross, or into beads, etc. But you must not look to have an image, or the like, in any thing that is lightsome; for even a face in iron red-hot will not be seen, the light confounding the small differences of lightsome and darksome, which shew the figure. 6. There was the shining part pared off, till you came to that that did not shine ; but within two days the part contiguous began also to shine, being laid abroad in the dew; so as it seemeth the putrefaction spreadeth. 7. There was other dead wood of like kind that was laid abroad, which shined not at the first; but after a night's lying abroad began to shine. 8. There was other wood that did first shine; and being laid dry in the house, within five or six days lost the shining; and laid abroad again, recovered the shining. 9. Shining woods being laid in a dry room, within a seven-night lost their shining; but being laid in a cellar, or dark room, kept the shining. 10. The boring of holes in that kind of wood, and then laying it abroad, seemeth to conduce to make it shine : the cause is, for that all solution of continuity doth help on putrefaction, as was touched before. 11. No wood hath been yet tried to shine, that was cut down alive, but such as was rotted both in stock and root while it grew. 12. Part of the wood that shined was steeped in oil, and retained the shining a fortnight. 13. The like succeeded in some steeped in water, and much better. 14. How long the shining will continue, if the wood be laid abroad every night, and taken in and sprinkled with water in the day, is not yet tried. 15. Trial was made of laying it abroad in frosty weather, which hurt it not. 16. There was a great piece of a root which did shine, and the shining part

worm.

« PreviousContinue »