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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 tunney; 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 pocks 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 transmutation 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 made by the version of air into water, holpen by the rest which the air hath in those parts; whereby it cannot dissipate 2; and by the coldness of rocks; for there springs are chiefly generated. We see it also in the effects of the cold of the middle region (as they call it) of the air; which produceth dews and rains. And the experiment of turning water into ice, by snow, nitre, and salt (whereof we shall speak hereafter) would be transferred to the turning of air into water. The second way is by compression; as in stillatories, where the vapour is turned 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

This story is told in Sandys's Travels, p. 186. (7th edition). Monardes, quoted by Kapmannis, ascribes the disease to the bad food to which the army was reduced; but does not mention the use of human flesh. See Kapmannis, Ensayos.

2 Arist. Meteor. i. 13.

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 the stillatory a large sponge; 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 sponge. 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 the 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.3 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 featured than otherwise

1 Namely by Aristotle, Problem. x. 14. Hippocrates, De Aere Aquis et Locis. American tribes.


Straightened in the original.-J. S. The same practice existed among many

they would be, by the forming and shaping of them in their infancy as by stroking up the calves of the legs, to keep them from falling down too low; and by stroking up the forehead, to keep them from being low-foreheaded. And it is a common practice to swathe infants, that they may grow more straight and better shaped and we see young women, by wearing straight bodies, keep themselves from being gross and corpulent.

Experiment solitary touching the condensing of air, in such sort as it may put on weight and yield nourishment.

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 a wall. We see it likewise, more especially, in the greater semper-vive, 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.2 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 be 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 leese in some other part: but if they gather weight, then it is magnale nature; for it showeth 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

1 Sedum Telephium. The greater Sempervive, mentioned a little further on, is the great house-leek, or perhaps tree house-leek. See Gerard's Herbal. p. 510. (1636.) 2 Pliny, xxi. 13.

3 Bacon has here in a remarkable manner anticipated a celebrated experiment of Decandolle's, who showed that the cactus, which exhibits the phenomenon in question, actually loses in weight after severance from its root, though it will put out shoots of very considerable length. Compare Aristot. Prob. sect. xx. 21. and 26.

extenuate and turn things to be more pneumatical and rare; and not to be retrograde, from pneumatical to that which is dense. It sheweth 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.1

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 spirits 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 2 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 mine. But these are crude and ignorant speculations. For flame, if there were nothing else, except it were in a very great quantity, will be suffocate with any hard body, such as a pellet is, or the barrel of a gun; so as the flame would not expel the hard body, but the hard body would kill the flame, and not suffer it to kindle or spread. But the cause of this so potent a motion is the nitre (which we call otherwise saltpetre) which having in it a notable crude and windy spirit, first by the heat of the fire suddenly dilateth itself; (and we know that simple air, being preternaturally attenuated by heat, will make itself room, and break and blow up that which resisteth it); and secondly, when the nitre hath dilated itself, it bloweth abroad the flame, as an inward bellows. And therefore we see that brimstone, pitch, camphire, wild-fire, and divers other inflammable matters, though they burn cruelly and are hard to quench, yet they make no such fiery wind as gunpowder doth: and on the other side, we see that quicksilver (which is a most crude and watery body) heated and pent in, hath the like force with gunpowder. As for living creatures,

The suggestions contained in this paragraph touching the nutrition of plants are exceedingly curious. In reality however the plant, though it loses by exhalation more in point of weight than it receives from the air, does actually assimilate the carbon existing in the carbonic acid of the latter; so that the test proposed is inconclusive. 2 The word is used in its scholastic sense.

it is certain their vital spirits are a substance compounded of an airy and flamy matter; and though air and flame being free will not well mingle; yet bound in by a body that hath some fixing, they will. For that you may best see in those two bodies (which are their aliments) water and oil; for they likewise will not well mingle of themselves, but in the bodies of plants and living creatures they will. It is no marvel therefore, that a small quantity of spirits, in the cells of the brain and canals of the sinews, are able to move the whole body (which is of so great mass), both with so great force, as in wrestling, leaping, and with so great swiftness, as in playing division upon the lute. Such is the force of these two natures, air and flame, when they incorporate.

Experiment solitary touching the secret nature of flame.1

31. Take a small wax candle, and put it in a socket of brass or iron; then set it upright in a porringer full of spirit of wine heated; then set both the candle and spirit of wine on fire, and you shall see the flame of the candle open itself, and become four or five times bigger than otherwise it would have been; and appear in figure globular, and not in pyramis. You shall see also, that the inward flame of the candle keepeth colour, and doth not wax any whit blue towards the colour of the outward flame of the spirit of wine. This is a noble instance; wherein two things are most remarkable: the one, that one flame within another quencheth not; but is a fixed body, and continueth as air or water do. And therefore flame would still ascend upwards in one greatness, if it were not quenched on the sides and the greater the flame is at the bottom, the higher is the rise. The other, that flame doth not mingle with flame, as air doth with air, or water with water, but only remaineth contiguous; as it cometh to pass betwixt consisting bodies. It appeareth also that the form of a pyramis in flame, which we usually see, is merely by accident, and that the air about, by quenching the sides of the flame, crusheth it, and extenuateth it into that form; for of itself it would be round; and therefore smoke is in the figure of a pyramis reversed; for the air quencheth the flame and receiveth the smoke. Note


The explanation of this experiment is simply that in impure air flames increase in size because the heated vapour of which they are composed diffuses itself before it meets with sufficient oxygen for complete combustion.

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