An history of the wonderful things of nature set forth in ten severall classes wherein are contained I. The wonders of the heavens, II. Of the elements, III. Of meteors, IV. Of minerals, V. Of plants, VI. Of birds, VII. Of four-footed beasts, VIII. Of insects, and things wanting blood, IX. Of fishes, X. Of man
Jonstonus, Joannes, 1603-1675., Libavius, Andreas, d. 1616., Rowland, John, M.D.

CHAP. II. Of the Ayr.

Artic. 1. Of the three Regions of the Ayr.

PHilosophers make 3. Regions. The Region in the middle is so cold, that it is almost ready to freeze the Kite, which is wont to live there in the dog dayes from Noon till Night, or his limbs should grow stiff by staying there too long.

And in the Alps there is alwaies so much snow, that in Summer the passage is dangerous. They that have crept up to the tops of the Mountaines of Baldus, in the Country of Verona, feel no lesse cold in July and August, than in the coldest Winter. Aldrov••••, Ornith, l. . Page  40 c. 15. Some think the aire to be so thin there, that a man can hardly live. Augustin. de Genes. ad liter, l. 13. c. 2. reports from other men, that such as go to the top of Olympus, either to sacrifice, or to view the Starrs, carry sponges with them wet in water, to breathe with. But from the History of the flood, and others, we may observe that some Mountaines are so high, that they are above the Clouds, and yet a man may live in that ayre▪ Libav. de orig. rer. l. 6.

There is in the Island Zelainum, a very high Mountain, and most pleasant on the top. In Arabia Faelix there is an extreame high Moun∣tain, and there is a Town on the top of it. If we observe the force of the aire, it is notable: Philosophers speak much of it. Cardan saith that if it be shut up, it corrupts living Creatures, and preserves dead things, but the open Ayre is contrary. But examples will hardly make that good. In the Navigations of the Portugalls, some Marriners under the Equinoctiall had allmost breathed their last, though it were in the middle of the Sea, and a in a most open ayre. And when we were present, saith Scaliger, Exercit 31. some Italians of Lipsia in the Stoves were like to swound; and you may remember from Histories concerning the death of King Cocal. Wheat in Syria laid close in Mows corrupts not, but is spoild shut up in Barnes; if the Windows be open, it takes no harme.

Artic. 2. Of the Infection of the Ayre.

The Ayre doth not allwaies retain its own qualities, it is infected somtimes with hurtful things. They that go out of the Province of Peru, into Chila thorow the Mountains meet with a deadly ayr, and before the passengers perceive it, their limbs fall from their bodies, as Apples fall from Trees without any corruptions, Liburius de Origine rerum. In the Mount of Peru Pariacacca, the ayr being singular, brings them that go up, in despair of their lives. It causeth vomit so violent that the blood follows, it afflicts them most that ascend from the Sea, and not only Man but Beasts are exposed to the danger. It is held to be the highest, and most full of Snow in the World, and in three or four houres a man may passe over it. In the Mountains of Chilium, a Boy sustained himself three dayes, lying behind a multitude of Carcases, so that at last he escaped safe from the Venomous blasts. In a Book concerning the proper causes of the Elements, it is written that a wind killed the people in Hadramot. The same Authour reports that the same thing hapned in the time of King Philip of Macedo, that in a cer∣tain way between two Mountaines at a set hour, what horseman soe∣ver past, he fell down ready to die. The cause was not known. The foot were in the same condition, untill one Socrates by setting on high, a steel Looking-Glasse, beheld in both Mountains two Dra∣gons casting their venomous breath one at the other; and whatsoever this hit upon, died, Liban. l. cit. But the true cause of this mischief was a mineral ayr, stuft with nitrous and other metallick Spirits. Such a one is found in some Caves of Hungary and Sweden, and we Page  41 know that the Common Saltpeter is full of Spirits; it is moved dan∣gerously and forcibly if fire be put to it, and cast into water, it cools them much. But that bodies corrupt not, that we ascribe to cold, but it may be attributed to the Spirits of cold by mixture, such as are in some Thunder-bolts, for the bodies of living Creatures killed by them do not easily corrupt, and they last long, unlesse some more power∣full cause coming, drive it out.

Artic. 3. Of the Putrefaction of the Ayr.

THe Pestilence comes from putrefaction of the ayr: which in re∣spect of divers constitutions is divers. It is observed that there never was any at Locris or Croto: Plin. l. 2.99. So in that part of Ethiopia, which is by the black Sea. In Mauritania, it ruins all. It lasted so long somtimes at Tholouse, and in that Province, that it con∣tinued seven years. It perseveres so long, and oftimes, amongst the Northern people, and rageth so cruelly, that it depopulates whole Countries; Scaliger, exercit, 32. It is observed in the Southern parts, that it goes toward the Sun setting, and scarse ever but in winter, and lasts but three months at most. In the year 1524, it so raged at Mil∣lan, that new baked bread set into the ayr but one night, was not only musty, but was full of Worms, those that were well, died in 6, or 8, hours; Cardan de rer. varietat. l. 8. c. 45. In the year 1500 it destroyed 30000 at London, somtimes 300000 at Constantinople; and as many in the Cities of the Vandalls, all the autumne thorow. In Petrarchs dayes, it was so strong in Italy, that of 1000 Men scarse ten remain∣ed. Alsted in Chronolog. But that in divers Countries it works so va∣riously on some men and severall Creatures, that proceeds from the force of the active causes, and the disposition of the passive. Forest. l. 6. observ. de Febre. If the active cause from the uncleanness of the Earth or water be not strong, it only affects those beasts that are dis∣posed for such a venome; but if it be violent, it ceazeth on Mankind; yet so that of its own nature, it would leave neither Countrey, not Cittie, nor Village, nor Town free. This layes hold on men in one place only. But if the active force be from a superiour cause, or be from the ayr, corrupted below, Mankind alone are endangered by it. But if both a superiour and an inferiour cause concur, then may all living Creatures be infected with the Plague, yet it must be according to the disposition of their bodies.

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Artic. 4. Of Attraction, cooling, and penetrating of the Ayr.

NO man almost is ignorant, but that the Ayr serves for the Life of man; for the branches of arteria venosa, drink in blood from the whole Lungs, brought to them by the arteria venosa, and it is made more pure in them. The Ayr drawn in at the mouth is mingled with the blood, and this mixture is carried to the left ventricle of the heart, to be made spirituous blood; Ludovi: du Gardin Anatom: c. 40. But be∣ing drawn in heaps it strangles, Zwinger, Physiol. l. 2. c. 23. For if you compasse a burning Candle in the open ayr, with wine from above, you put it out; because it cannot attract the Ayr prepared on each side, by reason the wine is betwixt, and it cannot from below draw the crude and unprepared Ayr. The desaphoretick force of it will appear in an Egg; when that is new, a pure spirit sweats through its shell, whilest it rosts, like unto dew. What will this do in the body of man? It will make that full of chinks, if it be touched by a small heat: otherwise it fills and penetrates all things. It pierceth thorow a brick, and there it inflates the concocted lime, so that the quantity of it is increased till it break it.

We see that the Ayr entring by the pores of a baked brick, doth swell a stone that was left there for want of diligence, and is turned into Lime; and so puts it up, till the brick breaks, Zwinger, Phys. l. 2. c. 25. Farther it is concluded by certain observation, That a wound is easie or hard to cure by reason of the Ayr. In Fenny grounds wounds of the head are soon cured, but Ulcers of the Legs are long: Hence it is, that wounds of the head are light at Bonnonia and Paris, but wounds of the Legs are deadly at Avignon and Rome. There the Ayr is of a cold constitution, and is an enemy to the brain: here it is more hot, whereby the humours being melted, run more downwards, Paaes, l. 10. Chirurg: c. 8. It may be cooled 9 wayes, by frequent ventilating of it with a fan that fresh ayr may come; if Snow and water be set about the bed; if the walls be compassed about with Willow leaves, or with linnen cloaths dipt in vinegar and Rose-wa∣ter, if the floor be sprinkled, and fountains made to run in the cham∣ber; if beds, saith Avicenna, be made over a pit of water, If beds be made of Camels hair, or of linnen, laying the skin under them: If the Bed be strewed with herbs; and lastly, if fragrant fruits be placed near the bed; Heurn: lib, 2. Medic. c. 18.