Observations upon experimental philosophy to which is added The description of a new blazing world
Newcastle, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of, 1624?-1674.

3. Of Natural Matter and Motion.

IAm of that Learned Authors mind, who counts those but narrow souls, and not worthy the name of Page  8 Philosophers, that think any body can be too great, or too vast, as also too little in its natural dimensions, and that Nature is stinted at an atome, and brought to a non∣plus of her sub-divisions; for truly, if there cannot be Extreams in Infinite, there can also be none in Na∣ture, and consequently there can neither be smallest nor biggest, strongest nor weakest, hardest nor soft∣est, swiftest nor slowest, &c. in Nature, by reason Nature is Infinite in her actions, as well as in her parts, and hath no set bounds or limits; and therefore the Corpuscularian or Atomical Writers, which do reduce the parts of Nature to one certain and propor∣tioned Atome, beyond which they imagine Nature cannot go, because their brain or particular finite rea∣son cannot reach further, are much deceived in their arguments, and commit a fallacy in concluding the finiteness and limitation of Nature from the narrow∣ness of their rational Conceptions. Nevertheless, al∣though Natures actions and parts are Infinite, consi∣dered in general, yet my opinion is, that Nature ne∣ver doth actually run into Infinite in her particular a∣ctions and parts; for as there are infinite divisions, so there are also infinite compositions in Nature; and as there are infinite degrees of hardness, slowness and thickness, so there are also infinite degrees of softness, swiftness, thinness, &c. so that every particular mo∣tion or action of Nature is ballanced and poised by its opposite, which hinders a running into infinite in na∣tures Page  9 particulars, and causes a variety of natural figures; for although Infinite Matter in it self and its own es∣sence is simple and homogeneous, as the learned call it, or of the same kind and nature, and consequently is at peace with it self, yet there is a perpetual opposition and war between the parts of nature, where one sometimes gets the better of the other, and overpowers it either by force or slight, and is the occasion of its dissolution into some other figure; but there's no part so powerful as to reduce any thing into nothing, or to destroy it to∣tally from being Matter; nay, not Nature her self has such a power, but God alone, who as he has made Nature, so he may destroy her; for although Nature has an Infinite power, yet she is not omnipotent, but her power is a natural infinite power, when as Omni∣potency is an attribute onely belonging to God; nei∣ther hath she a divine, but a natural infinite knowledg; by which it is evident, that I do not ascribe divine at∣tributes to Nature, which were to make her a God, nor detract from Nature that which properly belongs to her; for Nature being infinite in body and parts, it would be absurd to confine her to a finite power and knowledg. By parts, I understand not onely the in∣finite figures and fizes, but also the infinite actions of Nature: and I am of Des Cartes opinion, that the parts of Matter may be made bigger or less by addition or subtraction of other parts; but I cannot yield to him when he says, that Motion may be swifter and slower Page  10 by addition given to the movent by other contiguous bodies more swiftly moving, or by subduction of it by bodies slower moved, and that Motion may be trans∣ferred out of one body into another; for Motion can∣not be conceived, much less subsist without Matter; and if Motion should be transferred or added to some other body, Matter must be added or transferred also: Neither doth the addition of some parts of Matter add always exterior local motion to the body it is joyned to, but they retain the motion proper to their own figure and nature; as for example, if a stone be added to an animal, it will rather hinder then help its exterior mo∣tions. But I must refer the Reader to my other Phi∣losophical Works, in which I have discoursed more of this subject.