The preparations and instruments are these. We have large and deep caves of several depths. The deepest are sunk 600 fathoms; and some of them are digged and made under great hills and mountains; so that if you reckon together the depth of the hill, and the depth of the cave, they are (some of them) above three miles deep. For we find, that the depth of a hill, and the depth of a cave from the fault, is the same thing; both remote alike, from the sun and heaven’s beams, and from the open air. These caves we call the lower region; and we use them for all coagulations, indurations, refrigerations, and conservations of bodies. We use them likewise for the imitation of natural mines; and the producing also of new artificial metals, by compositions and materials which we use, and lay there for many years. We use them also sometimes, (which may seem strange,) for curing of some diseases, and for prolongation of life, in some hermits that choose to live there, well accommodated of all things necessary, and indeed live very long; by whom also we learn many things.
We have also houses of deceits of the senses; where we represent all manner of feats of juggling, false apparitions, impostures, and illusions; and their fallacies. And surely you will easily believe, that we, that have so many things truly natural, which induce admiration, could in a world of particulars decieve the senses, if we woule disguise those things, and labor to make them seem more miraculous. But we do hate all impostures, and lies; insomuch as we have severely forbidden it to all our fellows, under pain of ignominy and fines, that they do not show any natural work or thing, adorned or swelling; but only pure as it is, and without all affectation of strangeness.
We have also engine houses, where are prepared engines and instruments for all sorts of motions. There we imitate and practice to make swifter motions, than any you have, either out of your muskets, or any engine that you have; and to make them, and multiply them more easily, and with small force, by wheels, and other means; and to make them stronger, and more violent, than yours are; exceeding your greatest cannons, and basilisks.
We find also diverse means yet unknown to you, of producing light, originally, from various bodies. We procure means of seeing objects afar off; as in the heaven, and remote places: and represent things near as afar off; and things afar off as near; making feigned distances. We have also helps for the sight, far above spectacles and glasses in use. We have also glasses and means, to see small and minute bodies, perfectly and distinctly; as the shapes and colors of small flies and worms, grains and flaws in gems which cannot otherwise be seen, observations in urine and blood not otherwise to be seen. We make artificial rainbows, halos, and circles about light. We represent also all manner of reflections, refractions, and multiplications of visual beams of objects.
We have also furnaces of great diversity, and that keep great diversity of heats: Fierce and quick; strong and constant; soft and mild; blown, quiet, dry, moist; and the like. But above all we have heats, in imitation of the suns and heavenly bodies’ heats that pass diverse inequalities, and (as it were) orbs, progresses, and returns whereby we produced admirable effects. Besides we have heats of dungs; and of bellies and maws of living creatures, and of their bloods, and bodies; and of hays and herbs laid up moist; of lime unquenched; and such like. Instruments also which generate heat only by motion. And further, places for strong insulations; and again places under the earth, which by nature, or art, yield heat. These diverse heats we use, as the nature of the operation, which we intend, requires.
We have drinks also brewed with several herbs, and roots, and spices; yea with several fleshes, and white meats; whereof some of the drinks are such, as they are in effect meat and drink both; so that many, especially in age, do desire to live with them, with little or no meat, or bread. And above all we strive to have drinks of extreme thin parts, to insinuate into the body, and yet without all biting, sharpness, or fretting; insomuch as some of them, put upon the back of your hand, will, with a little stay, pass through to the palm, and yet taste mild to the mouth. We have also waters, which we ripen in that fashion, as they become nourishing; so that they are indeed excellent drink; and many will use no other.
Breads we have of several grains, roots, and kernels; yea and some of flesh, and fish, dried; with diverse kinds of leavenings, and seasonings; so that some do extremely move appetites; some do nourish so, as diverse do live of them, without any other meat; who live very long. So for meats, we have some of them so beaten, and made tender, and mortified, yet without all corrupting, as a weak heat of the stomach will turn them into good chylus; as well as a strong heat would meat otherwise prepared. We have some meats also, and breads, and drinks, which taken by men, enable them to fast long after; and some other, that used make the very flesh of men’s bodies, sensibly, more hard and tough; and their strength far greater, than otherwise it would be.
We came at our day, and hour, and I was chosen by my fellows for the private access. We found him in a fair chamber, richly hanged, and carpeted under foot, without any degrees to the State. He was set upon a low throne richly adorned, and a rich cloth of State over his head, of blue satin embroidered. He was alone, save that he had two pages of honor, on either hand one, finely attired in white. His undergarments were the like that we saw him wear in the chariot; but instead of
his gown, he had on him a mantle with a cape, of the same fine black, fastened about him. When we came in, as we were taught, we bowed low at our our first entrance; and when we were come near his chair, he stood up, holding forth his hand ungloved, and in posture of blessing; and we every one of us stooped down, and kissed the hem of his Tippett. That done, the rest departed, and
remained. Then he warned the pages forth of the room, and caused me to sit down beside him, and spake to me thus in the Spanish tongue.
Sir Francis Bacon, New Atlantis, 1626
We are men cast on land, as Ionas was, out of the whale’s belly, when we were as buried in the deep: and now we are on land, we are but between death and life; for we are beyond, both the Old World, and the New; and whether ever we shall see Europe, God only knows. It is a kind of miracle has brought us hither: and it must be little less that shall bring us hence. Therefore in regard of our deliverance past, and our danger present, and to come, let us look up to God, and every man reform his own ways. Besides we are come here amongst a Christian people, full of piety and humanity; let us not bring that confusion of face upon ourselves, as to show our vices, or unworthiness before them. Yet there is more. For they have by commandment, (though in form of courtesy) cloistered us within these walls, for three days: Who knows whether it be not, to take some taste of our manners and conditions? And if they find them bad, to banish us straightaway; if good to give us further time.
We have also particular pools, where we make trials upon fishes, as we have said before of beasts, and birds. We have also places for breed and generation of those kinds of worms, and flies, which are of special use; such as are with you your silkworms, and bees. I will not hold you long with recounting of our brew-houses, bake houses, and kitchens, where are made diverse drinks, breads, and meats, rare, and of special effects. Wines we have of grapes; and drinks of other juice, of fruits, of grains, and of roots; and of mixtures with honey, sugar, manna, and fruits dried, and decocted; also of the tears or woundings of trees; and of the pulp of canes. And these drinks are of several ages, some to the age of last of forty years.