« AnteriorContinuar »
PHYSIOLOGICAL AND MEDICAL REMAINS.
THE following pieces were first published by Tenison in 1679, in a single volume entitled "Baconiana, or certain genuine Remains of Sir Francis Bacon Baron of Verulam and Viscount of St. Alban's; in arguments Civil, Moral, Natural, Medical, Theological, and Bibliographical; now for the first time faithfully published;" with an introduction professing to give "an account of all the Lord Bacon's works."
Tenison was intimate at college with William Rawley the Doctor's son, and afterwards with John Rawley his executor. Through them he had access to the Bacon manuscripts which had been left in the Doctor's hands, and may therefore be considered as an original authority in the matter. He was not a man of much sagacity or intellectual vigour; and there is reason to believe that he sometimes took leave to alter the text a little, when it contained expressions which he thought undignified. But he was a great venerator of Bacon, and upon the whole a careful, conscientious, and scholar-like editor. He assures us that he has printed nothing as Bacon's which he did not find either written in his own hand or transcribed by Dr. Rawley; and though some of the manuscripts appear to have been in a condition which required more judgment in the decipherer than he could perhaps be trusted for (for he compares his labour in extracting the sense to that of reducing mercury to its proper form after its divers shapes and transmutations), yet, with some little allowance on that account, they may be all accepted as authentic.
Those which he has collected under the respective titles of Physiological and Medical Remains (the Abecedarium Naturæ excepted, which has been printed already) may be considered
as loose notes or memoranda connected with the collection ca Natural History; and as there are no means of guessing whe they were written, this seems the fittest place for them. Being merely the remains of the collection from which Rawley ha already selected all that he thought worth publishing, they a of little value, and little need be said about them.
They are all in Bacon's own English; except the latter portion of the catalogue of bodies attractive and non-attractive which appears to have been written by him in Latin. Of the second-articles of questions touching minerals—a Latin translation by Rawley had been published in the Opuscula Philosophica, which I have not thought it necessary to reprint. The English original from which Tenison took it was one of three (he tells us); and the words "This is the clean copy" were written on the back of it in Bacon's own hand. These ques tions are not, I think, to be classed among the Topica inquisitionis which Bacon speaks of at the end of the Parasceve; they are not directions for the collection of a natural history of minerals quæ sit in ordine ad condendam philosophiam, but merely questions with a view to obtain better and cheaper manufactures. They were referred to one Dr. Meverel, a chemist of that day, whose answers Tenison has printed along with them. These answers, as they may perhaps throw some light upon the state of chemical science in Bacon's time, I have appended
The experiments about weight in air and water have some interest in connexion with Bacon's method of determining specific gravities, as explained in the Historia Densi et Rari; concerning which Mr. Ellis has contributed a valuable note.
Among the Physiological Remains, Tenison has inserted a speech touching the recovering of drowned mineral works, fathered upon Bacon by Edward Bushel, a great projector of such things, who in his early youth had been in Bacon's service. His story is that this speech was prepared by Bacon for the Parliament of 1621. But Tenison evidently did not believe it to be genuine; and it is in fact so manifest a fabrication that I have not admitted it at all into this edition. It is obviously a mere puff of some project of Bushel's own.
The other pieces sufficiently explain themselves.
THE COMPOUNDING OF METALS,
SIR FRANCIS BACON, BARON OF VERULAM.1
To make proof of the incorporation of iron with flint, or other stone. For if it can be incorporated without over-great charge, or other incommodity, the cheapness of the flint or stone doth make the compound stuff profitable for divers uses. The doubts may be three in number.
First; Whether they will incorporate at all, otherwise than to a body that will not hold well together, but become brittle 1 and uneven?
Secondly; Although it should incorporate well, yet whether the stuff will not be so stubborn as it will not work well with a hammer, whereby the charge in working will overthrow the cheapness of the material?
Thirdly; Whether they will incorporate, except the iron and stone be first calcined into powder? And if not, Whether the charge of the calcination will not eat out the cheapness of the material?
The uses are most probable to be; First for the implements of the kitchen; as spits, ranges, cobirons, pots, &c. then for the wars, as ordnance, portcullises, grates, chains, &c.
Note; the finer works of iron are not so probable to be served with such a stuff; as locks, clocks, small chains, &c., because the stuff is not like to be tough enough.
For the better use in comparison of iron, it is like the stuff will be far lighter: for the weight of iron to flint is double and
1 Baconiana, p. 92.
a third part; and, secondly, it is like to rust not so easily, ba to be more clean.
The ways of trial are two. First, by the iron and stone of themselves, wherein it must be inquired, what are the stones that do easiliest melt. Secondly, with an additament, wherein brimstone is approved to help to the melting of iron or steel. But then it must be considered, whether the charge of the additament will not destroy the profit.
It must be known also what proportion of the stone the iron will receive to incorporate well with it, and that with once melting; for if either the proportion be too small, or that it cannot be received, but piece-meal by several meltings, the work cannot be of value.
To make proof of the incorporating of iron and brass. For the cheapness of the iron in comparison of the brass, if the uses may be served, doth promise profit. The doubt will be touching their incorporating; for that it is approved that iron will not incorporate neither with brass nor other metals of itself by simple fire: so as the inquiry must be upon the calcination, and the additament, and the charge of them.
The uses will be for such things as are now made of brass, and might be as well served by the compound stuff; wherein the doubts will be chiefly of the toughness and of the beauty.
First; therefore, if brass ordnance could be made of the compound stuff, in respect of the cheapness of the iron, it would be of great use.
The vantage which brass ordnance hath over iron, is chiefly, as I suppose, because it will hold the blow, though it be driven far thinner than the iron can be; whereby it saveth both in the quantity of the material, and in the charge and commodity of mounting and carriage, in regard by reason of the thinness it beareth much less weight: there may be also somewhat in being not so easily overheated.
Secondly; For the beauty; those things wherein the beauty or lustre are esteemed, are andirons, and all manner of images, and statues, and columns, and tombs, and the like. So as the doubt will be double for the beauty; the one, whether the colour will please so well, because it will not be so like gold as brass? the other, whether it will polish so well? Wherein for the latter it is probable it will; for steel glosses are more
resplendent than the like plates of brass would be; and so is the glittering of a blade. And besides, I take it, andiron brass, which they call white brass, hath some mixture of tin to help the lustre. And for the golden colour, it may be by some small mixture of orpiment, such as they use to brass in the yellow alchemy, it will easily recover that which the iron loseth. Of this the eye must be the judge upon proof made.
But now for pans, pots, curfews, counters, and the like; the beauty will not be so much respected, so as the compound stuff is like to pass.
For the better use of the compound stuff, it will be sweeter and cleaner than brass alone, which yieldeth a smell or soiliness, and therefore may be better for the vessels of the kitchen and brewing. It will also be harder than brass, where hardness may be required.
For the trial, the doubts will be two: First, the over-weight of brass towards iron, which will make iron float on the top in the melting. This perhaps will be holpen with the calaminar stone, which consenteth so well with brass, and, as I take it, is lighter than iron. The other doubt will be the stiffness and dryness of iron to melt; which must be holpen either by moistening the iron, or opening it. For the first, perhaps some mixture of lead will help; which is as much more liquid than brass, as iron is less liquid. The opening may be holpen by some mixture of sulphur: so as the trials would be with brass, iron, calaminar stone, and sulphur; and then again with the same composition, and an addition of some lead; and in all this the charge must be considered, whether it eat not out the profit of the cheapness of iron.
There be two proofs to be made of incorporation of metals for magnificence and delicacy. The one for the eye, and the other for the ear. Statua metal, and bell metal, and trumpet metal, and string metal; in all these, though the mixture of brass or copper should be dearer than the brass itself, yet the pleasure will advance the price to profit.
First therefore, for statua-metal, see Pliny's mixtures, which are almost forgotten, and consider the charge.
Try likewise the mixture of tin in large proportion with copper, and observe the colour and beauty, it being polished.