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OF THE INSTAURATIO.
NATURAL AND EXPERIMENTAL HISTORY,
TO SERVE AS A FOUNDATION FOR PHILOSOPHY:
PHENOMENA OF THE UNIVERSE;
BEING THE THIRD PART OF THE INSTAURATIO MAGNA.
THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS AND EXCELLENT PRINCE
SON AND HEIR TO THE HIGH AND MIGHTY KING JAMES.
I HUMBLY present unto your highness the first-fruits of our Natural History; a thing exceeding little in quantity, like a grain of mustard seed, but yet a pledge of those things which, God willing, shall ensue. For we have bound ourselves, as by a vow, every month that God shall of his goodness please (whose glory it sets forth, as it were in a new canticle or song) to prolong our life, to set out one or more parts of it, according as their length and difficulty shall prove more or less. Others may peradventure (moved by our example) be moved to the like industry; especially when they shall clearly perceive what is in hand. For in a natural history which is good and well set out, are the keys both of sciences and works. God preserve your highness long in safety. Your highness's humble and devoted servant,
FRAN. ST. ALBAN.
THE TITLES OF THE HISTORIES AND INQUISITIONS DESTINED FOR THE
THE HISTORY OF WINDS.
FIRST SIX MONTHS.
THE HISTORY OF DENSITY AND RARITY, AS
THE HISTORY OF HEAVY AND LIGHT.
THE HISTORY OF THE SYMPATHY AND ANTIPA-
THE HISTORY OF SULPHUR, MERCURY, AND
THE HISTORY OF LIFE AND DEATH.
NATURAL AND EXPERIMENTAL HISTORY,
FOR THE MAKING UP OF PHILOSOPHY:
EXPERIMENTS OF THE UNIVERSE:
WHICH IS THE THIRD PART OF THE INSTAURATIO MAGNA.
MEN are to be entreated, advised, and adjured, even by their fortunes, to submit their minds and seek for knowledge in the greater world; and likewise to cast away so much as the thought of philosophy, or at least to hope but for slender and small fruits thereof, until a diligent and approved natural and experimental history be acquired and made up. For what would these shallow brains of men, and these potent trifles have? There were among the ancients numerous opinions of philosophers, as of Pythagoras, Philolaus, Xenophanes, Heraclitus, Empedocles, Parmenides, Anaxagoras, Leucippus, Democritus, Plato, Aristotle, Theophrastus, Zeno, and others. All these made up arguments of worlds, as of fables, according to their own fancies, and recited and published those fables; whereof some indeed were more handsome and probable, and some again most harsh. But in our ages, by means of colleges and schools' disciplines, wits are somewhat more restrained; yet have they not quite ceased: Patricius, Telesius, Brunus, Severine, the Dane, Gilbertus, an Englishman, and Campanella, did set foot upon the stage, and acted new fables, neither much applauded, nor of any elegant argument or subject. But do we wonder at these things, as though such sects and opinions might not in an infinite number arise in all ages? For neither is there, nor ever will be any end or limit for these things. One snatches at one thing, another is pleased with another; there is no dry nor clear sight of any thing; every one plays the philosopher out of the small treasures of his own fancy, as it were out of Plato's cave; the more sublime wits more acutely, and with better success; the duller with less success, but equal obstinacy: and not long since, by the discipline of some learned (and, as things go now, excellent) men, sciences are bounded within the limits of some certain authors which they have set down, imposing them upon old men, and instilling them into young. So that now (as Tully cavilled upon Cæsar's consulship)
the star Lyra or Harpe riseth by an edict, and authority is taken for truth, not truth for authority; which kind of order and discipline is very convenient for our present use, but banisheth those which are better. For we both suffer for and emulate our first parents' sin; they desired to be like unto God, and their posterity much more; for we create new worlds, go before nature and command it. We must have all things to be so as may agree with our folly, not to divine wisdom, nor as they are found to be in themselves; neither can I say which we rest most, our wits or the things themselves: but certainly we set the stamps and seals of our own images upon God's creatures and works, and never carefully look upon and acknowledge the Creator's stamps. Therefore, we do not, without cause, again strive for the domination over the creatures. For, whereas, even after the fall of man, he had some kind of domination left him over reluctant creatures, that he might tame and subdue them by true and solid arts; we have, for the most part, lost that, also, through our own insolence, because we will be like unto God, and follow the dictates of our own reason. Wherefore, if there be any humility towards the Creator, any reverence and magnifying of his works, any charity in men, or care to release them out of their necessities and miseries, if there be any love of truth in natural things, hatred of darkness, and a desire of purifying the understanding, men are to be again and again desired that, casting off, or, at least, laying aside for a while the flying and preposterous philosophies, which have set the theses before the hypotheses, or suppositions before solid grounds, have captivated experience, and triumphed over the works of God, they would humbly, and with a certain reverence, draw near and turn over the great volume of the creatures, stop and meditate upon it; and, being cleansed, and free from opinions, handle them choicely and entirely. This is the speech and language that went out into all the ends of the world, and suf
fered not in the confusion of Babel. Let men learn this, and becoming children again, and infants, not scorn to take A B C thereof in hand, and in finding and searching out the interpretation of it, let them spare no labour, but let them persist and go on, and even die in the quest of it. Seeing, therefore, that in our Instauration we have placed the Natural History (such as it is, in order to our ends) in the third part of the work, we have thought fit to prevent this thing, and fall upon it immediately. For, although in our Organon there are many things of especial consequence to be finished, yet we think it fitting rather to promote or set forward the general work of instauration in many things, than to perfect it in a few; always desiring, with extreme fervency, (such as we are confident God puts in the minds of men,) to have that which was never yet attempted, not to be now attempted in vain. Likewise, there came this thought into my mind, namely, that there are questionless in Europe many capable, free, sublimed, subtile, solid, constant wits; and what if any one endued with such a wit do betake himself to the use and manner of our Organon, and approve of it? yet hath he nothing to do, nor knows not how to address himself to, or fit himself for philosophy. If it were a thing which might be effected by reading of philosophy books, disputation, or meditation, that man (whosoever it be) might sufficiently and abundantly perform it; but if we remit him, as indeed we do, to natural history, and experi
ments of arts, he is gravelled, or sticks in the mire; it is not his intention, he hath no time, nor will not be at the charge; yet we must not desire to have men cast off old things before they have gotten new. But after a copious and faithful history of nature and arts is gathered and digested, and, as it were, set and laid open before men's eyes, there is no small hope that such great wits as we have before spoken of, (such as have been in ancient philosophers, and are at this day frequent enough,) having been heretofore of such efficacy, that they could, out of cork, or a little shell, (namely, by thin and frivolous experience,) build certain little boats for philosophy, gallant enough for art and structure, how much more gallant and solid structures will they make when they have found a whole wood, and stuff enough; and that, though they had rather go on in the old way, than make use of our Organon's way, which (in our opinion) is either the only, or the best way. So that the case stands thus: our Organon (though perfect) could not profit much without the Natural History; but our Natural History, without the Organon, might much advance instauration, or renewing of sciences. Wherefore, we have thought it best and most advisedly to fall upon this before any thing else. God, the maker, preserver, and renewer of the universe, guide and protect this work, both in its ascent to his own glory, and in its descent to the good of man, through his good will towards man, by his only begotton Son, God with us!
THE RULE OF THIS PRESENT HISTORY.
abundance of experiments most convenient, or for the obscurity of the thing most difficult and noble, or, by reason of the discrepancy of titles among themselves, most open to examples. In each title, after a kind of an entrance or preface, we presently propound certain particular topics or articles of inquisition, as well to give light to the present inquisition, as to encourage a future. For we are master of questions, but not of things; yet we do not, in the history, precisely observe the order of questions, lest that which is for an aid and assistance should prove a hindrance.
THOUGH We have set down, towards the end of | which either for use was most of weight, or for that part of our Organon which is come forth, precepts concerning the Natural and Experimental History, yet we have thought good to set down more exactly and briefly the form and rule of this history which we now take in hand. To the titles comprehended in the catalogue, which belong to the concretes, we have added the titles of the abstract natures; of which, as of a reserved history, we made mention in the same place. These are the various figurations of the matter, or forms of the first class; simple motions, sums of motions, measures of motions, and some other things: of these we have made a new alphabet, and placed it at the end of this volume. We have taken titles, (being no way able to take them all,) not according to order, but by choice; those, namely, the inquisition of
The histories and experiments always hold the first place; and if they set forth any enumeration and series of particular things, they are made up in tables, or if otherwise, they are taken up severally.
Seeing that histories and experiments do oftentimes fail us, especially those which give light, and instances of the cross, by which the understanding may be informed of the true causes of things, we give precepts of new experiments, as far as we can see them fitting in our mind, for that as is to be inquired; and these precepts are designed like histories. For what other means is left to us, who are the first that come into this way? We unfold and make plain the manner of some experiments that are more quaint and subtile, that there may be no error, and that we may stir up others to find out better and more exact ways. We interweave monitions and cautions of the fallacies of things, and of such errors and scruples as may be found in the inquiry, that all fancies, and, as it were, apparitions, may be frighted away, as by an exorcism or spell.
We join thereunto our observations upon history and experiments, that the interpretation of the nature may be the readier.
We interpose some comments, or, as it were, rudiments of the interpretations of causes, sparingly, and rather supposing what may be, than positively defining what is.
ones, and, as it were, inchoated axioms which offer themselves unto us as we inquire, not as we decisorily pronounce, for they are profitable, though not altogether true.
Never forgetting the profit of mankind, (though the light be more worthy than those things which be shown by it,) we offer to man's attention and practice certain essays of practice, knowing that men's stupidity is such, and so unhappy, that sometimes they see not and pass over things which lie just in their way.
We set down works and things impossible, or at least which are not yet found out, as they fall under each title; and withal those which are already found out, and are in men's power; and we add to those impossible, and not yet found out things, such as are next to them, and have most affinity with them, that we may stir up and withal encourage human industry.
It appears by the aforesaid things that this present history doth not only supply the place of the third part of the instauration, but also is not a despicable preparation to the fourth, by reason of the titles out of the alphabet and topics, and to the sixth, by reason of the larger observations, com
We prescribe and set down rules, but movable mentations, and rules.
ENTRY INTO THE HISTORY OF WINDS.
THE winds gave wings to men; for by their | assistance men are carried up through the air and fly; not through the air, indeed, but upon the sea; and a wide door is laid open to commerce, and the world is made pervious. They are the besoms which sweep and make clean the earth, which is the seat and habitation of mankind, and they cleanse both it and the air; but they make the sea hurtful, which otherwise is harmless, neither are they some other ways also free from doing hurt. They are, without help of man, able to stir up
great and vehement motions, and like hirelings, serve both to sail and grind, and would be useful for many other things, if human care were not wanting. Their natures are reckoned amongst secret and hidden things. Neither is that to be wondered at, seeing the nature and power of the air is unknown, whom the winds do serve and flatter, as Eolus doth Juno in the Poets. They are not primary creatures, nor any of the six days' works, no more than the rest of the meteors actually, but afterborn, by the order of the creation.
ARTICLES OF INQUISITION CONCERNING THE WINDS.
The names of winds.
DESCRIBE or set down the winds according to the seaman's industry; and give them names either new or old, so that you keep yourself constant to them.
Winds are either general or precise, either peculiar or free. I call them general which always blow; precise, those which blow at certain times; attendants or peculiar, those which blow most commonly; free winds, those which blow indifferently or at any time.
2. Whether there be any general winds, which are the very self-motion of the air; and if there be any such, in order to what motion, and in what places they blow?
Precise or fixed winds.
3. What winds are anniversary or yearly winds, returning by turns; and in what countries? Whe ther there be any wind so precisely fixed, that it returns regularly at certain days and hours, like unto the flowing of the sea?
Attending or peculiar winds.
4. What winds are peculiar and ordinary in countries, which observe a certain time in the same countries; which are spring winds, and which are summer winds; which autumnal, which brumal, which equinoctial, which solstitial; which are belonging to the morning, which to noon, which to the evening, and which to the night.
5. What winds are sea winds, and what winds blow from the continent? and mark and set down the differences of the sea and land winds carefully, as well of those which blow at land and sea, as of those which blow from land and sea.
and peradventure stormy; some disperse the clouds, and are clear.
Divers qualities of winds.
7. Inquire, and give account, which are the winds of all the forenamed sorts or kinds, and how they vary, according to the regions and places.
There are three local beginnings of winds: either they are thrown and cast down from above, or they spring out of the earth, or they are made up of the very body of the air.
Local beginnings of winds.
8. According to these three beginnings inquire concerning winds; namely, which are thrown down, out of that which they call the middle region of the air; which breathe out of the concavities of the earth, whether they break out together; or whether they breathe out of the earth imperceivably, and scattering, and afterwards gather together, like rivulets into a river. Finally, which are scatteringly engendered from the swellings and dilatations of the neighbouring air?
Neither are the generations of the winds original only, for some there are also accidental, namely, by the compression or restraints of the air, and by the percussions and repercussions of it.
Accidental generations and productions of winds.
9. Inquire concerning these accidental generations of winds; they are not properly generations of winds; for they rather increase and strengthen winds, than produce and excite them.
Hitherto of the community of winds. There are also certain rare and prodigious winds, such as are called tempests, whirlwinds, and storms. These are above ground. There are likewise some that are subterraneal and under ground, whereof some are vaporous and mercurial, they are perceivable in mines; some are sulphurous, they
3. Whether winds do not blow from all parts are sent out, getting an issue by earthquakes, or of heaven?
Winds do not vary much more in the parts of heaven from which they blow, than in their own qualities. Some are vehement, some mild, some constant, some mutable; some hot, some cold, some moistening and dissolving; some drying and astringent; some gather clouds and are rainy,
do flame out of fiery mountains.
Extraordinary winds and sudden blasts.
10. Inquire concerning such rare and prodigious winds, and of all miraculous and wonderful things done by winds.
From the several sorts of winds, let the inqui