Page images

« Plants (as Ivy, Moffes, Maiden-hair, Ferns, " and such Vegetables as grow in those places) « so exactly design’d and impress'd upon several “ kinds of Stones, as though some skilful Pain“ ters or Sculpters had been working upon “ them : The Doctor observeś also the wonder“ ful diversity of Shapes and Colours that Oars “ and other Fossils shoot into, resembling al“ most every thing in Nature, for which it “ seems very difficult to him to assign any « Cause or Principle ; in the Pyrites alone he cc believes he himself may have seen at home “ and abroad above a hundred Varieties, and « yet he confesles he has been but a rude Ob«c server of them. In the Diaphanous Fossils “ (as Ambers, Crystals, Agates, &c.) preserv'd “ in the Cabinets of the great Duke of Tuscany, “ Cardinal Chigi, Settali, Moscardı and other • Repositories or Musæum's of that curious

Country, he takes notice of the admirable « diversity of Bodies included and naturally '« imprison'd within them, as Flies, Spiders, “ Frogs, Locusts, Bees, Pismires, Gnats, Gras“ hoppers, drops of Liquor, Hair, Leaves, *« Rushes, Moss, Seeds, and other Herbage; “ which seem to prove them to have been once « in a state of Fluidity. The Bononia Stone “ digg’d up in the Appennines is remarkable for “ its shining quality. The Amianthus for its “ incombustibility. The Oculus Mundi for its “ Motion and Change of Colour. The Lapis Nepbriticus, Calaminaris, Ostiocolla, Ætites, “ Gc. for their Medicinal 'Ulése

I might

I might spend much time in the discoursing of the inost strange and unacountable Nature and Powers of the Loadstone, a subject which hath exercis’d the Wits and Pens of the most acute and ingenious Philosophers; and yet the Hypotheses which they have invented to give an account of its admirable Phenomena seems to mé lame and unsatisfactory. What can we say of the subtlety, activity, and penetrancy of its effluvia, which no obstacle can stop or repel, but they will make their way through all sorts of Bodies, firm and fluid, dense and rare, heavy and light, pellucid and opake ? Nay, they will pass through a vacuity or empty space, at least devoid of Air and any other sensible Body. Its attractive power of Iron was known to the Antients ; its verticity and direction to the Poles of the Earth is of later invention ; which of how infinite advantage it hath been to these two or three last Ages, the great improvement of Navigation and advancement of Trade and Com. merce by rendring the remotest Countries easily accessible, the noble discovery of a vast Continent or new World, besides a multitude of unknown Kingdoms and Islands, the resolving experimentally those antient Problems of the Spherical roundness of the Earth ; of the being of Antipodes, or the Habitableness of the Torrid Zone, and the rendring the whole Tera raqueous Globe circumnavigable, do abundante ly deinonstrate ; whereas formerly they were wont to coast it, and creep along the Shores, [carce daring to venture out of the ken of Land


when they did, having no other Guide but the Cynosura or Pole-Star, and those near it, and in cloudy weather none at all..

As for Metals, they are so many ways useful to Mankind, and thofe Uses so well known to all, that it would be lost labour to say any thing of them: Without the use of these we could have nothing of culture or civility : No Tillage or Agriculture ; no Reaping or Mow= ing ; no Plowing, or Digging ; 110 Pruning or Loping ; Grafting or Insition; no mechanical Arts or Trades; no Vessels or Útensils of Houfhold-stuff; no convenient Houses or Edifices; no Shipping or Navigation. What a kind of barbarous and sordid Life we must necessarily have liv'd, the Indians in the Northern part of America are a clear demonstration. Only it is remarkable, that thole which are of molt frequent and necessary use, as Iron, Brass and Lead, arethe most common and plentiful: Others

are they thereby qualified to be inade the common measure and standard of the value of all other Commodities, and so ferve for Coin or Money, to which use they have been imploy'd by all civil Nations in all Ages.

Now of what mighty importance the use of Money is to Mankind, the Learned and Ingenious Dr. Cockburn shews us, in the Second Part

Faith, p. 88. Whenever , faith hè, the use of Money began, it was an admirable Contrivance for rewarding and encouraging Industry,


for carring on Trade and Commerce certainly, easily, and speedily, for obliging all to imploy their various Parts and several Capacities for the Common Good, and engaging every one to communicate the Benefit of his particular Labour, without any prejudice to himself. Covetousness indeed, or an inordinate Love of Money, is vicious, and the Root of much Evil, and ought to be remedied; but the use of Money is necessary, and attended with manifold Advantages. Where Money has not yet taken place, where the use of it hath not yet been introduc'd, Arts and Sciences are not cultivated, nor any of those Exercises ply'd, which polite Men's Spi-, rits, and which abate the uneasiness of Life. Men there are brutish and fivage, none mind any thing but eating and drinking, and the , other acts of Brutal Nature; their Thoughts aspire no higher than meerly to maintain their Life and Breath : Like the Beasts they walk abroad all the day long, and range about from place to place, only to seek their Food. Whatever may be suppos’d to follow if all were acted with great Generosity and true Charity, yet according to the present Temper of Mankind it is absolutely necessary that there be some method and means of Commutation, as that of Money, for rendring all and every one mutually useful and serviceable.

Now Gold and Silver by their rarity are wonderfully fitted and accommodated for this use of Permutation for all sorts of Commodities, or making Monėy of: Whereas were they


as common and easie to come by as Straw or Stubble, Sand or Stones, they would be of no more use for Bartering and Commerce than they.

Providence of Cod, in keeping up the Value of Gold and Silver, notwithstanding the vast quantities which have been digg'd out of the Earth in all Ages, and so continuing them a fit Material to make Money of. For which I refer to the Book.

Of these, Gold is remarkable for its admirable Ductility and Ponderosity, wherein it exeels all other Bodies hitherto known. I shall only add concerning Metals, that they do pertinaciously resist all Transmutation; and tho' one would sometimes think they were turn'd into a different substance, yet do they but as it were lurk under a Larva or Vizard, and may be reduc'd again into their natural Form and Complexions, in dispite of all the Tortures of Vulcan or corrosive Waters. Note, Tbat this was written above Thirty Years fince, when I thought I bad reason to distrust whatever had then been reported or written to affirm the Transmutation of Metals one into another. .

I shall omit the confideration of other Minerals, and of Salts and Earths, because I have nothing to say of their Uses, but only such as

been the sole or priinary End of the Formation of them. Indeed, to speak in general of these Terrestrial inanimate Bodies, they having no such organization of Parts as the Bodies of Ani

« PreviousContinue »