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one, and endeavoureth to allege a reason of that which is more than occult, that is, not existent.

Now herein, omitting the authority of others, as the doctrine of experiment hath informed us, we first affirm, that amber attracts not basil is wholly repugnant unto truth. For if the leaves thereof or dried stalks be stripped into small straws, they arise unto amber, wax, and other electricks, no otherwise than those of wheat and rye; nor is there any peculiar fatness or singular viscosity in that plant that might cause adhesion, and so prevent its ascension. But that jet and amber attract not straws oiled, is in part true and false ; for, if the straws be much wet or drenched in oil, true it is that amber draweth them not, for then the oil makes the straw to adhere unto the part whereon they are placed, so that they cannot rise unto the attractor; and this is true, not only if they be soaked in oil, but spirits of wine or water. But if we speak of straws or festucous divisions lightly drawn over with oil, and so that it causeth no adhesion, or if we conceive an antipathy between oil and amber, the doctrine is not true; for amber will attract straws thus oiled, it will convert the needles of dials made either of brass or iron, although they be much oiled ; for in these needles consisting free upon their centre, there can be no adhesion. It will likewise attract oil itself, and if it approacheth unto a drop thereof, it becometh4 conical, and ariseth up unto it, for oil taketh not away his attraction, although it be rubbed over it. For if you touch a piece of wax, already excitated, with common oil, it will, notwithstanding, attract, though, not so vigorously as before; but if you moisten the same with any chemical oil, water, or spirits of wine, or only breathe upon it, it quite amits its attraction, for either its effluences cannot get through, or will not mingle with those substances.

It is likewise probable the ancients were mistaken concerning its substance and generation : they conceiving it a vegetable concretion made of the gums of trees, especially pine and poplar, falling into the water, and after, indurated or hardened, whereunto accordeth the fable of Phaeton's sisters. But surely the concretion is mineral, according as is delivered by Boëtius. For either it is found in mountains

4 it becometh.] i, e. the oyle becometh.-Wr. ·

and mediterraneous parts, and so it is a fat and unctuous sublimation in the earth, concreted and fixed by salt and nitrous spirits wherewith it meeteth. Or else, which is most usual, it is collected upon the sea shore, and so it is a fat and bituminous juice coagulated by the saltness of the sea.5

5 It is likewise probable, &c.] The whole progress of subsequent, and especially of recent observations and experiments on amber, has tended to show that the older was the more correct opinion ; and that Sir Thomas concluded too hastily from its being found on the sea-shore, and even in deep mines, that its origin could not be vegetable. Brongniart and Leman (distinguished French mineralogists), both consider it a vegetable juice concreted-partly by the lapse of time--and modified by its subterraneous locality. It is found in the greatest abundance in beds of fossilized timber, at considerable depth, and beneath several other strata, near the coast of Prussia : it occurs there in the very midst of the timber—which appears to have produced it. Leman remarks, that a crust of dirt and other foreign substances, is often found on the surface of amber, like that which is contracted by vegetable gum in flowing over the bark of the tree, or falling on the ground. Specimens found on the sea-shore, or (occasionally) in alluvial deposits, are usually free from the crust. It is to be supposed that amber may have been the gum of a now extinct tree. This implied antiquity has been argued from the class of formations in which it is most copiously met with, and from the fact that the insects, &c. inclosed in it, are not the recent species, nor even analogous to those now existing in the same spot, tropical genera being found in the amber of northern latitudes. It may be admitted as probable, that we possess the ambers of several different trees : for very distinct varieties of it are known; one of which is noticed by Brongniart as destitute of the succinic acid, which he considers the chief criterion by which amber is distinguishable from mellite, and the fossilized resins, and from gum copal. Its original fluidity is unquestionable, from the delicacy of many species found in it.

The author of the article AMBER, in the Encyc. Brit. considers it rather likely to have been softened by the action of the sun than to have been ever liquid. One of the reasons adduced, seems to oppose rather than to support this opinion. “Drops of clear water are sometimes preserved in amber. These have doubtless been received into it while soft, &c.” More probably when fluid. The same writer mentions an assertion of Girtanner, that amber is an animal product-a sort of honey or wax formed by the red ant, formica rufa." But after detailing some of Girtanner's observations, he represents his opinion as being that “amber is nothing but a vegetable oil, rendered concrete by the acid of ants." The article contains other incorrect statements ;that amber is the basis of all varnishes ; and that "it seems generally agreed upon, that amber is a true bitumen of a fossil origin.” This might be more generally the opinion when the article was first written -but is not so now ; and therefore it ought not to have remained unaltered in the edition now publishing of the Enc. Brit., in which the

Now, that salt spirits have a power to congeal and coagulate unctuous bodies, is evident in chymical operations; in the distillations of arsenick, sublimate, and antimony; in themixture of oil of juniper with the salt and acid spirit of sulphur; for thereupon ensueth a concretion unto the consistence of birdlime; as also in spirits of salt, or aqua fortis poured upon oil of olive, or more plainly in the manufacture of soap. And many bodies will coagulate upon commixture, whose separated natures promise no concretion. Thus, upon a solution of tin by aqua fortis, there will ensue a coagulation, like that of whites of eggs. Thus, the volatile salt of urine will coagulate aqua vitæ, or spirits of wine; and thus, perhaps, as Helmont excellently declareth, the stones or calculous concretions in kidney or bladder may be produced, the spirits or volatile salt of urine conjoining with the aqua

article appears nearly in its former state ;—some paragraphs omitted, but no addition-no correction—no remodelling.

Patrin supposes it to be honey, gradually bitumenized by the action of certain mineral acids.

One of the most celebrated modern experimental philosophers, Sir David Brewster, from a series of experiments on the optical properties of amber, has arrived at a conclusion precisely in accordance with the opinion of the ancients, viz. that it is “ beyond a doubt an indurated vegetable juice ;" and he observes, “ that the traces of a regular structure, indicated by its action upon polarised light, are not the effect of the ordinary laws of crystallisation by which mellite has been formed, but are produced by the same causes which influence the mechanical condition of gum arabic, and other gums which are known to be formed by the successive deposition and induration of vegetable fluids.”

An interesting addition to the above authorities, in support of the vegetable origin of amber, occurs in a paper of Dr. Mac Culloch’s, in the Quarterly Journal of Science, &c. vol. xvi. p. 41. His leading object is to point out the readiest mode of distinguishing those speci. mens of gum copal, animi, and perhaps other resins enclosing insects, which are sometimes offered for sale as amber. On the fact of insects being often found in amber, Dr. M. mainly insists, as the proof of its vegetable origin, especially when viewed in connection with similar enclosures in unfossilized resins. He proceeds to a chemical examination and comparison of amber with similar bodies, and ends by saying, “ from these analogies we may, perhaps, safely conclude, that amber has been a vegetable resin converted to its present state during the same time and by the same causes which have converted common vegetable matter into jet, and, perhaps, ultimately into coal.”

aqua vitæ.] Some March beere or very stale wil turne aqua vitæ into the shape of whey.--Wr.


vite potentially lying therein ; as he illustrateth from the distillation of fermented urine; from whence ariseth an aqua vitæ or spirit, which the volatile salt of the same urine will congeal, and finding an earthy concurrence, strike into a lapideous substance.

Lastly, we will not omit what Bellabonus, upon his own • experiment, writ from Dantzick, unto Mellichius, as he hath left recorded in his chapter De Succino, that the bodies of flies, pismires, and the like, which are said ofttimes to be included in amber, are not real, but representative, as he discovered in several pieces broke for that purpose. If so, the two famous epigrams hereof in Martial are but poetical, the pismire of Brassavolus, imaginary, and Cardan's mausoleum for a fly, a mere fancy. But hereunto we know not how to assent, as having met with some whose reals make good their representments.

representments.] Avicen affirms that ambar appeares plentifully in hot countries (as the south parts of Arabia Felix, neare the sea), especially after great earthquakes, which makes good the assertion (that itt is most usually collected on the sea shore). Whence itt is most probable that at the eruption thereof, itt might involve and consequently intumulate Martial's viper and Cardan's flye.—Wr.

The dean's fancy seems to have been running upon a mineral rendered fluid by heat ; it might have occurred to him, that “Messrs. the viper and flye,” would, in such a bath, have been more than intumulated ;they would have suffered incineration! There is, however, no accounting for the fables of antiquity, or the fancy of poets. The fabulous origin of amber, from the tears of the sister of Phaeton, lamenting his fate on the banks of Eridanus, is celebrated in Martial's Epigram on the bee in amber. But unfortunately for the poet, no authentic instance is said to have occurred of that insect having been found in amber. Sir Thomas, however, is quite correct in asserting the reality of man specimens of insects, &c. which have been found in it

CHAPTER V. Compendiously of sundry other common tenets concerning minerals and

terreous bodies, which, examined, prove either false or dubious.That a diamond is softened or broken by the blood of a goat ; that glass is poison, and that it is malleable ; of the cordial quality of gold ; that a pot full of ashes will contain as much water as it would without them ; of white powder that kills without report ; that coral is soft under water, but hardeneth in the air ; that porcelain lies under the earth an hundred years in preparation ; that a carbuncle gives a light in the dark; of the eagle stone ; of fairy stones ; with some others.

1. And, first, we hear it in every mouth, and in many good authors read it, that a diamond, which is the hardest of stones, not yielding unto steel, emery, or any thing but its own powder, is yet made soft, or broke by the blood of a goat. Thus much is affirmed by Pliny, Solinus, Albertus, Cyprian, Austin, Isidore, and many christian writers: alluding herein unto the heart of man, and the precious blood of our Saviour, who was typified by the goat that was slain, and the scapegoat in the wilderness : and at the effusion of whose blood, not only the hard hearts of his enemies relented, but the stony rocks and vail of the temple were shattered. But this, I perceive, is easier affirmed than proved. For lapidaries, and such as profess the art of cutting this stone, do generally deny it; and they that seem to countenance it have in their deliveries so qualified it, that little from thence of moment can be inferred for it. For first, the holy fathers, without a further enquiry, did take it for granted, and rested upon the authority of the first deliverers. As for Albertus, he promiseth this effect, but conditionally, not except the goat drink wine, and be fed with siler montanum, petroselinum, and such herbs as are conceived of power to break the stone in the bladder. But the words of Pliny, from whom most likely the rest at first derived it, if strictly considered, do rather overthrow, than any way advantage this effect. His words are these : Hircino rumpitur sanguine, nec aliter quàm recenti, calidoque macerata, et sic quoque multis ictibus, tunc etiam præterquam eximias incudes malleosque ferreos frangens. That is, it is broken with goat's blood, but not except it be fresh and


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