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spungy. This last circumstance renders it a matter not worthy of much wonder, that the one root should always sink and the other swim, though this too has been considered marvellous, and has added weight to the reputed virtues of the plant.
IX. There now remain certain useful accessories to natural history, for the purpose of bending and adapting it more readily to the labour of the interpreter which is to follow. They are five in number.
In the first place queries are to be subjoined (not of causes but of facts), in order to challenge and court further inquiry. As, for instance, in the history of the earth and sea, whether the Caspian has any tide and the period of it? whether there is any southern continent or only islands? and the like.
Secondly, in relating any new and delicate experiment, the method adopted in making it should be added, in order to allow free scope to the reader's judgment upon the soundness or fallacy of the information derived from it, and also to spur on men's industry in searching for more accurate methods, if such there be.
Thirdly, if there be any particle of doubt or hesitation as to the matter related, we would by no means have it suppressed or passed over, but it should be plainly and clearly set out, by way of note or warning. For we would have our first history written with the most religious particularity, and as though upon oath as to the truth of every syllable, for it is a volume of God's works, and (as far as the majesty of things divine can brook comparison with the lowliness of earthly objects) is, as it were, a second scripture.
Fourthly, it will be proper to intersperse some observations, as Pliny has done. Thus, in the history of the earth and sea, we may observe, that the figure of the earth (as far as it is known to us), when compared with that of the sea, is narrow and pointed towards the south, broad and expanded towards the north, the contrary to that of the sea and that vast oceans divide the continents with channels extended from north to south, not from east to west, except perhaps near the poles. Canons also (which are only general and universal observations) are very properly introduced; as in the history of the heavens, that Venus is never more than forty-six degrees distant from the sun, nor Mercury more than twenty-three; and that the planets, which are placed above the sun, move most slowly when farthest
from the earth, those beneath the sun most quickly. Another kind of observation also is to be adopted, which has not hitherto been introduced, although of no small importance; namely, that to a list of things which exist, should be subjoined one of those which do not exist, as in the history of the heavens, that no oblong or triangular star has been discovered, but all are globular, either simply, as the moon, or angular to the sight, but globular in the centre, as the other stars; or bearded to the sight, and globular in the centre, as the sun : or that the stars are not arranged in any order, that there is no quincunx, square, or other perfect figure (notwithstanding the names of the delta, crown, cross, wain, &c.), scarcely in a right line, excepting, perhaps, the belt and sword of Orion.
Fifthly, it will, perhaps, assist the inquirer, though pernicious and destructive to the believer, to review all received opinions, their varieties and sects, briefly and currently as he proceeds, just to waken the intellect, and nothing further.
x. These will form a sufficient store of general precepts; and if they be diligently adhered to, the labour of this our history will both be directed immediately to its object and confined within proper limits. But if, even thus circumscribed and limited, it may perhaps appear vast to the feeble-minded, let him cast his eyes upon our libraries, and observe the codes of civil and canon law on the one hand, and the commentaries of doctors and practitioners on the other, and see what a difference there is in the bulk and number of volumes. For we, who as faithful scribes, do but receive and copy the very laws of nature, not only can, but must by necessity be brief; but opinions, dogmatism, and theory, are innumerable and endless.
In the distribution of our work we made mention of the cardinal virtues of nature, and observed that a history of them must be completed before we come to the work of interpretation. This we have by no means forgotten, but we reserve it to ourselves, not daring to augur much from the industry of others in the attempt, until men have begun to be a little more acquainted with nature. We next proceed, therefore, to the designation of particular histories.
Pressed, however, by business, we have only leisure sufficient to subjoin a catalogue of particular histories, arranged under their proper heads. As soon as time permits, it is our intention to instruct, as it were, by interrogation in each, Q
NATURAL AND EXPERIMENTAL HISTORY.
namely, as to the points to be investigated and committed to writing in every history, on account of their conducing to the end in view, and forming particular topics, or rather (to borrow a metaphor from the civilians) in this great action or cause, which has been conceded and instituted by special favour and divine providence, and by which mankind are contending for the recovery of their dominion over nature, let us examine nature and the arts themselves upon interrogatives.
CATALOGUE OF PARTICULAR HISTORIES,
ARRANGED UNDER HEADS.
1. A History of the Heavenly Bodies; or, an Astronomical History.
2. A History of the Configuration of Heaven and its parts as it lies towards the Earth and its parts; or, a Cosmographical History.
3. A History of Comets.
4. A History of Igneous Meteors.
5. A History of Thunderbolts, Flashes of Lightning, Thunders, and Coruscations.
6. A History of Winds, Sudden Blasts, and Undulations of the Air.
7. A History of Rainbows.
8. A History of Clouds as they are seen in the Air above. 9. A History of the Azure Expanse, of Twilight, of two or more Suns or Moons visible at once, of Halos, of the different Colours of the Sun and Moon, and of all that diversity of the Heavenly Bodies to the eye which results from the medium of vision.
10. A History of Rains, common, tempestuous, and extraordinary; also of Cataracts of Heaven, as they are called, and the like.
11. A History of Hail, Snow, Ice, Hoar-frost, Fog, Dew, and the like.
12. A History of all other Substances which fall or are precipitated from on high, and are generated in upper
13. A History of Noises heard on high, if there be any, besides Thunder.
14. A History of the Air as a whole, or relatively to the Structure of the World.
15. A History of Weathers or of the State of Temperature throughout the Year, with reference to variety of clime, and the Accidents of particular Seasons and the periods of the Year; of Floods, Heats, Droughts, and the like.
16. A History of the Earth and Sea, of their Figure and Outline, their Configuration relatively to one another, the manner in which they stretch into one another in broad Tracts or narrow Indentations, the History of the Islands in the Sea, of the Bays of the Sea, of salt inland Lakes, of Isthmuses, and Promontories.
17. The History of the Motions, if there be such, of the Globe of Earth and Sea, and from what Experiments they may be inferred.
18. The History of the greater Motions and Agitations of the Earth and Sea, that is of Earthquakes, Tremblings of the Earth, and Chasms; of new Islands, of floating Islands, of Divulsions of the parts of the Land by inroads of the Sea, of its Encroachments and Influxes, and on the other hand, its Recessions; of the Eruption of Fires from the Earth, of sudden Eruptions of Water from the Earth, and the like.
19. A Geographical Natural History, of Mountains, Valleys, Woods, Plains, Sands, Marshes, Lakes, Rivers, Torrents, Fountains, and all their diversities of irrigation, and the like: Leaving out of view Nations, Provinces, Cities, and other parts of Civil Society.
20. A History of the Ebbs and Flows of the Sea, of Undulations, and other Motions of the Sea.
21. A History of the other Accidents of the Sea, its Saltness, diversity of Colours, Depth, of Submarine Rocks, Mountains and Valleys, and the like.
The following are Histories of the Larger Masses in Nature.
22. A History of Flame and Ignited Bodies.
23. A History of the Air in its Substance, not its Configuration.
24. A History of Water in its Substance, not its Configuration.
25. A History of the Earth, and its Varieties in its Substance, not its Configuration.
The following are Histories of Species.
26. A History of the perfect Metals, of Gold, Silver; of Mines, Veins, and Marcasites of the same, also the Chymical Actions of Minerals in their natural state.
27 The History of Quicksilver.
28. A History of Fossils; as Vitriol, Sulphur, &c. 29. A History of Gems; as the Diamond, Ruby, &c.