« ElőzőTovább »
never believing the odd aspersions with which his insolent nephews, Charles and Bernard, endeavoured to brand me.
I know, said Viteli, that many waters cannot quench love, but it must break forth after some manner or other; and, methinks, the divine providence has conducted me hither in a good season; there. fore, seeing that I am persuaded, that, according to the course of nature, Fadrick cannot live fifteen days, madam, if you be pleased, I shall in the mean time contrive and carry on matters so dexterously, that, by your husband's last will, and without the least opposition, you may enjoy your beloved Placidus, instead of his father. I have heard Fadrick, replied the lady, at sundry times, in a most pathetical and passionate manner expressing sorrow and grief for the death of his great and real friend Placidus, as he called him; for, said he, if my son were alive, I would dispose of my substance to him and you; ordering, withal, your cohabitation, under the notion of husband and wife. But, supposing Placidus be yet alive, our union will meet with great opposition from Fadrick's insolent nephews. Nay, madam, said he, leave that to me; for I am willing to lose the reputa. tion of a gentleman, yea, and life itself, if I do not carry on the mat. ter so wittily, that, in great peace, without the least shadow of fear or danger, you shall enjoy Placidus for your loving husband. Thus Agnes went to her closet with great joy. Placidus could not easily be persuaded of the possibility of the matter, yet his companion's pregnant wit and knowledge added some confidence to him: for Viteli had undertaken, not only to remove Fadrick’s present distem. per, but also to renew his youth and strength, chiefly that, by such means (a sophism indeed!) Placidus might attain to the enjoyment of his longed for Agnes: for which cause, said the ingeni. ous Viteli, in the presence of learned physicians, you shall, in a very short time, perceive Fadrick brisk and vigorous, with teeth, hair, and colour suitable to the age of thirty or forty years. Those learned men laughed him to scorn, and the lady doubted of the matter greatly; but, to put an end to doubting and mocking, he spoke to the physicians, in the presence of Agnes, Charles, and Bernard, after this manner:
I must confess, the opposition of such judicious men might terrify Galen, Hippocrates, and Æsculapius, of whom it is reported, that he raised himself from the dead: How much, then, may a novice (such as I am) tremble, when I consider, that I have undertaken, in your presence, to demonstrate how the radical moisture
be restored, insomuch that decrepid old age shall be constrained to clothe itself with the colour, vigour, and other qualities of brisk youth ! Nevertheless, the strength, which attends truth reduced to practice, revives my fainting spirits ; so that with confidence I affirm the certainty, as well as the possibility of my demonstration; which I shall endeavour to evince in the Spanish tongue, though with the greater difficulty, for the satisfaction of Agnes, Charles, and Ber
the surest foundations, by which any truth can be supported; from all which my proposition shall be made evident.
The learned Arnoldus, Villa Nova, Tully, Paracelsus, Cardanus, and others, whom we need not mention, favour us in this point; as also the alchymists arbor vitæ ; so that authorities abound with us.
In the next place, Blaicus de Taranto affirms, that in Saguntum, in the kingdom of Valencia, there was a nun of sixty years, whose age was renewed, having teeth, hair, colour, and vigour, as if she had been but thirty years old.
And Antonius Torquemada, in his dialogues, gives us an acó count of an old man, who was restored to strength, being one-hun. dred years old; after which wonderful change he lived fifty years. From which author, and common tradition, we hear of such an instance in Toledo. All learned men know that passage related by Ferdinandus de Castaneda, lib. viii. and by Petrus Malfeus, lib. iii. Hist. Ind. how that a nobleman of India lived three hundred and forty years; in which time his age was renewed thrice.
If we consult reason, we shall find her no less favourable, than authority or experience; for, what is youth, but an equality or pro. portion of natural heat and radical moisture ? yea, according to Galen, and all other learned physicians, the difference of the ages is deduced from the different operations of the natural heat. And Aristotle affirms, that the nature of old age consists in frigidity and siccity ; from whose explication, Lib. de Long. et Brev. Vitæ, we learn, that such men wax old soonest, whose lives have been ata tended with greatest labours and cares, which cause a dispendium of natural heat. Therefore, if this be true, it seems that humid me. dicaments, with hot potions and applications, may restore decaying age, by reducing the radical moisture, and natural heat, to such a proportion as they enjoy in youth. And it is observed, that the
. Divine Providence has furnished divers stones, herbs, and waters, with qualities which, if known, would silence all cavillings in this matter. It is reported by Cardanus, Langius, and Petrus Chieza, thàt in Bonica and Lucaya, wells are extant, those waters are more delicious than the choicest wines, having in them virtue to renew a man's age: This is testified by Aristotle, lib. iii. Hist. Anima). cap. 12. and other authors of good note. Homer also mentioneth the like of herbs. And, methinks, although the simples, requisite for producing such strange effects, be not commonly known, yet it is a male sequitur to infer, therefore no man knows them: Yea, no ‘man in sober reason can deny, that spirits are contained in herbs, waters, and stones; which being once granted, it necessarily follows, that these, when well extracted and applied, may serve to carry on such a rare work, as I now mention, and am about to demonstrate. Further, it is observable, that I have been travelling many years: by which I had occasion to discourse with Mahomet's physicians, as also with Arabians, Persians, and Phænicians; upon which cons
sideration it may be suspected, that I know things not discovered, as yet, in this place: Wherefore I shall, with God's grace, restore Fadrick to strength and health, seeing I perfectly understand his malady and complexion. But you may ask, if, in such a case, he may be called young? I answer, not at all; but that he is in a better disposition for life, according to his nature. Now, if this theory suffice not to stop the mouths of wranglers, the matter shall be put beyond all doubt by practice. Thus ended Viteli his pertinent discourse; who, after the dying old man had been committed to him, made a paction, that none should disturb him, by coming into the room, where he was, to tarry with the sick person, except such as he called; and that apothecaries should grant him what simples he pleased to ask. All persons consented to those demands, but none more cordially and chearfully than Agnes, who was privy to Viteli's design. The next day was appointed for the work. Viteli, having repaired to his lodging, discovered to Placidus how much he was applauded by the physicians; and also that Agnes was exceeding glad, the young men, Charles and Bernard, being much dejected; and he persisted in the former confidence, that all things would suc. ceed aright, and be brought to an happy issue. He strictly charged Placidus to eschew all society, considering, that the non-observance of that rule had a necessary tendency to mar the curious contrivance. Then he returned to the patient, to whom he gave a potion, which, being mingled with a little poison, set the old man's tongue at work, giving vigour and agility to his body in a short time, to the admiration of all beholders.
After which, Viteli spoke privately to Agries, saying: Madam, Fadrick will not, in all probability, live nine days; therefore it is convenient to call Placidus, seeing the old man, in his last will, has made you his heir, appointing a thousand pounds for each of his ne. phews, to either of which if you be married, the possessions set a-part for you are lost; but, if you chuse Placidus for your husband, he must in all reason receive the half of his father's substance. Now you see how nearly you are concerned to hearken to my pro. positions, seeing matters shall be so dexterously carried on, that all persons will conclude Fadrick yet alive. This, I hope, will prove acceptable and comfortable to you and Placidus, whom I ought to serve, according to my capacity, while I live.
The old man will go down to the grave with joy, by this course, which will create afiliction to his insolent nephews. Not long after, Fadrick dieth, and is buried after a most clandestine manner; in whose place they substitute Placidus, whom all persons affirmed to have been Fadrick restored to health and vigour: which business being fully concluded, to the satisfaction of the parties mostly con. cerned, Viteli prosecuted his design of travelling. This relation discovers much of the world's deceitfulness, which is frequently defended by great authorities improved with disingenuity.
Sir, I shall add no more concerning the solemnity at Madrid, and the history of Placidus, wishing that your pleasure in reading may correspond to the desire I entertained to satisfy your curiosity in STRANGE NEWS FROM PLYMOUTH :
A WONDERFUL AND TRAGICAL RELATION
VOYAGE FROM THE INDIES;
Where, by extraordinary hardships, and extremities of the late
great Frosts, several of the seamen, and others, miserably perished; and, for want of Provision, cast lots for their Lives, and were forced to eat one another; and how a Dutch Merchant eat part of his own Children, and then murdered himself because he would not kill his Wife: With the miraculous preservation of George Carpinger, an English Seaman, and the Dutch Merchant's wife, now a shore at Plymouth. In a letter to Mr. D. B. of London, Merchant. Quarto, containing eight pages, printed at London for J. Conyers, at the Black Raven in Duck-Lane, 1681.
CCORDING to promise in my last, I have inquired into the particulars of that so tragical a relation therein mentioned, the which, without any prologue, I shall lay down in its naked truth, as I had the same from the mouth of the survivors who are now at my house, which, if you please, take as follow:-A gentleman called the Heer van Essell, native of the Low-Countries, having had the education of a merchant at home, was resolved to improve his patrimony in some foreign parts: To which end, being thereunto the more encouraged by the promise of a strict correspondence with several of his country-men, he undertook a voyage to the Indies, whither he arrived about the year 1670. And, by the industrious management of his affairs, increased his estate so considerably, that few men in those parts lived in greater splendor; being thus settled about seven years; afterwards he came acquainted with the daughter of a Dutch 'merchant of great fortune, a gentle woman of many worthy accomplishments, and exceeding beautiful. Our merchant, being much taken with her port and beauty, made his addresses to her, and, resolving to change his condition, found her not altogether averse to his happiness; which, by degrees, he raised to consent, and obtained her for his wife, with whom he lived very happily for several years, till he had increased his estate to such a portion, as made him think to return to his own country, where he first drew breath, and had left his relations; communicating which design to his lady, she readily assented to the royage, and accordingly he made preparation to gather his estate into a bottom, and take leave of the Indies, which in a short time he effected; and being supplied with a vessel that had discharged herself at the said port, he hired the same for Rotterdam, and therein imbarked himself, his wife, two children, and one servant, with all his estate, which amounted to a very considerable cargo, and, in August last, took shipping. The flattering sea, which too often beguiles us to our undoing, promised him for the first two months a very happy voyage, and filled his heart with hopes of touching the shore, the long absence of his friends rendered very desirable to him, and buoyed up with the expectation of a happiness cruel fate had designed to deprive him of, was on a sudden becalmed ; insomuch that, for several weeks, they could scarce tell whether they were forwarded a league's space; in which time, of the sixteen seamen and master that was on board, by a disease that increased amongst them, several died, and, by degrees their provision growing short, they were forced to deal the same more sparingly about, hoping, by their care, they might have enough to serve them through their voyage, and made the best way they could to their desired port; yet, such was their misfortune, that they failed of their expectation, and came to see the last of what they had spent, and for four days lived without any sustenance; and, the wind being cross, they could not make land, where they might re. vietual, but were forced to keep on their voyage. Their extremity was such, that the two children, not so well able to bear the hard. ships as others, both died, on whose bodies, notwithstanding the tears and intreaties of the merchant and his wife, they were forced to feed; which being in a short time consumed, it came to be con. sidered, having no sight nor hope of any shore, that they must either all of them submit to the fate that threatened them, or contrive some other method to save themselves, which at present they had not the least prospect of, unless, in the common calamity, they con. sented by lot, or otherwise, to destroy some one in the number to save the rest; which unwillingly they were at length inforced to, and jointly agreed, that, according to the number then on board, they should number so many lots, and on whom number one fell, he should be slain, and number two should be his executioner. But here a dispute arose, whether the merchant's wife, whose two children had to her great grief been already eaten, in favour to her sex, should not be exempted from the fatal lot: some were of opinion she ought, and particularly one George Carpinger, a stout English seaman, used his endeavours to work the company to assent thereunto; but as nothing is so voraci. ous or cruel as the jaws of hunger, on the one hand, or so estimable as life on the other, he could not effect his design; so that, the majority having over-ruled his arguments, they drew in common, and such was their misfortune, that the lot fell on the woman for death, and on her husband for executioner. Miserable was the lamentation of the husband and wife, that so fatal a mischance should for ever.part them; yet tears and intreaties were ineffectual, so that nothing but submission was left, though the merchants servant and Carpinger stood resolutely against the rest, and resolved to spare