Page images

mals, nor any so intricate variety of Texture, but that their Production may plausibly be accounted for by an Hypothesis of Matter divided into minute Particles or Atoms naturally indivisible, of various but a determinate number of Figures, and perhaps also differing in Magnitude, and these inov’d, and continually kept in motion according to certain establish'd Laws or Rules ; we cannot so clearly discover the Uses for which they were created, but may probably conclude, that among other Ends they were. made for those for which they serve us and osler Animals; as I shall more fully make out hereafter. - It is here to be noted, That according to our Hypothesis, the number of the Atoms of each several Kind that is of the fame Figure and Magnitude is not nearly equal, but there be infinitely mora of fome Species than of others, as of those that compound those vast Aggregates of Air, Water, and Earth, more abundantly than of such as make up Metals and Minerals : The reason whereof may probably be, because those are necessary to the Life and Being of Man and all other Animals, and therefore must be always at hand; these only useful to Man, and serving rather' his Conveniences than Neceflities. The reason why I affirm the minute component Particles of Bodies to be 112turally indivisible by any Agent we can imploy, (even Fire it self) which is the only Cathelick Disolvent, other Men[ritims being rather Instruments than Eficients in all Solutions, apt by reafun of the Figure and Smalness of their H2


Parts to cut and divide other Bodies (as Wedges cleave Wood) when actuated by Fire or its Heat, which else would have no Efficacy at all (as Wedges have not, unless driven by a Beetle :) -The reason, I say, I have already given ; I shall now Instance in a Body whose minute parts appear to be indissoluble by the Force of Fire, and that is common Water, which distil, boil, circulate; work upon how you will by Fire, you can only dissolve it into Vapour, which when the Motion ceases, easily returns into Water again ; Vapour being nothing else but the minute parts thereof, by heat agitated and de parated one from another. For another instance, some of the most learn'd and experienc'd Claymists do affirın Quick-silver to be intranfmutable, and therefore call it Liquor æternus. And I am of opinion, that the same holds of all simple Bodies, that their component Particles are indissoluble, by any natural Agent.

We may here note the Order and Method that Metals and Minerals observe in their growth, how regularly they shoot, ferment, and as it were vegetate and regenerate ; Salts in their proper and constant Figures, as our ingenious Country-man Dr. Jordan observes at large in his Discourse of Baths and Mineral Waters.

of Vegetables or Plants. I have now done with inanimate Bodies both fimple and mix’d. The Animate are. First, Such as are endued only with a Ve


getative Soul, and therefore commonly called Vegetables or Plants ; of which if we consider either their Itature and shape, or their age and duration, we shall find it wonderful; For why should somé Plants rise up to a great height, others creep upon the ground, which perhaps may have equal Seeds, nay, the lesser Plant many times the greater Seed? Why should each particular so observe its kind, as constantly to produce the same Leaf for consistency, figure, division, and edging; and bring forth the same kind of Flower, and Fruit, and Seed, and that tho’ you translate it into a Soil which naturally puts forth no such kind of Plant, so that it is some * so owegratinos, which fest this or rather foine intel * Seminal

Formor Vir ligent plastick Nature; as we have cuc. before intimated : For what account can be given of the determination of the growth and magnitude of Plants from Mechanical Prin, ciples, of Matter mov'd without the Presidency and Guidance of some superior Agent? Why may not Trees grow up as high as the Clouds or Vapours ascend, or if you say the Cold of the superiour Air checks them, why may they not spread and extend their lateral Branches lo far 'till their distance from the Center of Gravity depress them to the Earth, be the Tree never fo high ? How comes it to pass that tho? by Culture

and Manure they may be highly improv'd, and augmented to a double, treble, nay some a much greater proportion in magnitude of all their Parts; yet is this advance restrain’d within certain li;


H 3

mits? There is a maximum quod sic which they
cannot exceed. You can by no Culture or Art
extend a Fennel Stalk to the stature and bigness
of an Oak: Then why should some be very
long-lived, others only Annual or Biennial?
How can we imagine that any Laws of Motion
can determine the Situation of tlie Leaves, to
come forth by pairs, or alternately, or circling
the Stalk, the Flowers to grow singly, or in
company and tufts, to come forth the bofoms of
the Leaves and Branches, or on the tops of Bran-
ches and Stalks; the Figure of the Leaves, that
they should be divided into so many Jags or E-
fcallops, and curiously indented round the Ed..
ges; as also of the Flower-leaves, their num-
ber and site, the Figure and number of the sta-
mina and their apices, the figure of the Stile and
Sced-veslel, and the number of Cells into which
it is divided. That all this be done, and all
these parts duly proportiond one to another,
there seems to be necessary foine intelligent
plastick Nature, which may understand and re
gul tz the whole Oeconomy of the Plant: For
this cannot be the Vegetative Soul, because
that is material and divisible together with the Bo-
dy: Which' appears in that a Branch cut off of a
Plant will take root, and grow, and become a
perfect Plant it felf, as we have already observido
I had almost forgotten the complication of the
Seed-leaves of fome Plants in the Seed, which
is so strange, that one cannot believe it to be
done by Matter, however nov'd by any Laws

[ocr errors]





: :



clofe plaited, and straitly folded up and thrust together within the Membranes of the Seed, that it would puzzle a Man to imitate, it, and yet none of the Folds sticking or growing together; so that they may easily be taken out of their Cases, and spread and extended even with ones Fingers.

Secondly, if we consider each particular part of a Plant, we shall find it not without its End or Ule : The Roots for its stability and drawing Nourishment from the Earth. The Fibres to contain and convey the Sap. Besides which there is a large fort of Veflèls to contain the proper and specifick Juice of the Plant : and others to carry Air for such a kind of Refpiration as it needeth ; of which we have already spoken. The outer and inner Bark in Trees ferve to defend the Trunk and Boughs from the excesses of Heat and Cold and Drought, and to convey the Sap for the Annual augmentation of the Tree. For in truth every Tree may in some sense be said to be an Annual Plant, both Leaf, Flower and Fruit, proceeding from the Coat that was superinduc'd over the Wood the last Year, which Coat also never heareth any more, but together with the old Wood serves as a Forin or Block to sustain.' the succeeding annual Coat. The Leaves before the Gemma or Bud be explicated to embrace and defend, the Flower and Fruit, which is even then perfectly furin'd; afterwards to preserve the Branches, Flowers and Fruit from the Injuries of the Suinmer Sun, which would


:: too

« PreviousContinue »