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John Joachim BECHER
Magnalia Naturae :
Lately exposed to publick Sight and Sale.
A true and exact Account of the Manner
The late Famous Projection-maker, at the Emperours Court,
At Vienna, came by, and made away with a very great Quantity
Of Pouder of Projection, by projecting with it before the
Emperor, and a great many Witnesses, selling it, &c, for some years past.
Published at the Request, and for the Satisfaction of several Curious, especially of Mr. Boyl, &c.
John Joachim Becher, One of the Council of the Emperor,
And a Commissioner for the EXAMEN of this Affair.
Quid igitur ingrati sumus? Cur invidemus: si veritas divinatis (quae per ea qua fiunt sat intelligi potes, Rom. 1.20) nostri temporis aetate maturuit.
LONDON, Printed by Tho. Dawks, His Majesties British Printer, living in Black-fryers. Sold also by La. Curtiss, in Goat Court on Ludgate hill. 1680.
To the READER.
There is no ingenious man that is no acquainted with the Curiosities to be met with in the World, who hath not either seen some Transmutation of Metals, or at least heard so many witnesses that they have seen it; as to be perswaded that there is such Thing as the Philosophers-Stone, or Powder of Projection. Only there be some great men (as his Highness Prince Rupert, who hath seen the Projection at Frankfort, in Germany) who seem to question whether such Pouder or Tincture is prepared with Profit. But this Doubt is hereby now fully cleared and resolved, from the great quantity of this Tincture left buried by the Abbot Founder of the Church it was found in: (as this Relation informs you) for it is not credible that the Abbot was Master, before he had done the Work, of such an immense Treasure, as he must needs have had to draw so much Tincture from: which could not be extracted (if the Preparation thereof is without profit) from a lesser quantity of Gold than it gives or yield again in the Projection: so that the same quantity of Gold as it yields again must have bin spoiled to make it; which it is not credible an Abbot of Germany was Master of, as is said. And, for the Truth of this Relation, besides that, it is attested by many men of great Quality, good parts, Probity, and Modesty, by the Emperor himself; by Count Wallestein who was Resident here a year ago; and by Dr. Becher at present in this City. It is so publickly known through all parts of Germany, chiefly about Vienna where this was transacted, that to doubt, or deny it, were as absurd, as if one denyed that the West-Indies have been found out of late years, or that there be ships at Sea, because he has seen neither.
But among the many remarkable Passages in this Relation, one thing is most worthy of Observation, viz. the Honesty of F. Fra. Preyhausen, who deserves to be chronicled for his Faithfulness & Truth to F. Wenceslaus the Finder of this Pouder: for he wanted neither frequent Opportunities nor specious Pretences to effect what some Princes could not forbear to attempt (i.e., To rob Wenceslaus of his Powder) tho without a certainty of Success, for he was thrice, for a good while each time, entrusted with the Box, & might find Excuses enough for it; yet he not only did not succomb to the Temptation of getting All, as they did; but did not so much as deny, purloin, or withhold the least part of the Pouder from F. Wenceslaus, even when (seeing how he squandered it away) he had a good pretence to keep back some for his use: and might justly have claimed and reserv’d some for his own use also, not only for his Services, but for the great Dangers he had exposed himself to for his sake; thus keeping True to the End, even against his own Right & so great a Temptation. A faithful man who can find? Pro. 20.6. But here such one is found, and that among the Fryers! Whence I am glad to Observe, That all the Fryers are not quite so black as some make them; and to see that among them, as well as among other Sects some good men are to be found who make Conscience of an Oath, and keep it tho to their loss. Thanks be to F. Francis’s Honesty for so much as we know of this whole Concern. I am sure that if he had what his Honesty deserv’s, what the Emperor hath done for Wenceslaus had been bestowed upon him; and that Wenceslaus himself, whilst in the Dungeon, would have been said with all his heart, that if he would do for him what he hath done, he would deserve what he hath not had, I mean the whole Pouder: But Honesty meets seldom with what it deserves.
Magnalia Naturae :
Being exposed to Publick Sight and Sale in our Daies.
The place where Wenceslaus Seilerus (who is the main Subject of this following Discourse) was born, I am not certain whether it was at Vienna, yea or no; But sure I am He was of the Austrian Country: and his brother did wait upon the Count of Weissenwolf, the younger. After, Seilerus himself, when he was about the 20th year of his Age, he was cast into a Monastery of the Augustine Fryers at Bruna in Moravia: where, after his year of Probation, he took the Habit upon him, and was admitted into the Number of Fryers, though it were against his Will, as he afterwards confessed, and as the Event did make appear: For having once made Profession of the Order, he did continually strive and study how he might free himself from the Monastery, and seeing that could not be done without Money, and Money, in his Circumstances, could not be lawfully obtained: He began to study an indirect way for the obtaining thereof, for his fellow Fryers having often muttered to him of some great Treasure hid in their Monastery. He had a great desire to find it out.
And in order thereunto, he did not scruple to learn the Magick Art, if any one had been ready to inform him therein: wherein Fortune seemed to favour his desires, for there was an old Woman, a Cow-keepers wife, living before the Gate of the Town, and Fortress, who was skilful therein, and he came to be acquainted with her upon this Occasion.
The yonger Monks and Students, as they were called, are allowed some set daies, every week, to walk out of the Gates of the City to enjoy the open Air and to refresh their minds, supposed to be wearied with study; In these Relaxations one Company dispersed itself here, another there, as they think fit for their Divertiment. But Fryer Wenceslaus (for so I shall hereafter call him) made use of this Occasion, always to visit the said old woman, and upon the pretence of drinking New milk, to interrogate her concerning her Art. And in a short time he got so much into her Favour as to obtain from her a small Wax ball marked with certain Figures or Characters, which was of that Virtue, that, if it was laid upon the Ground, it would presently run to the place where any treasure was hid: (This ball I afterwards saw often in his Custody, and handled it with my hands.)
It happened afterwards, That, as the Custom is for the old Fathers when they grow weak, to have some young Fryers to assist them; so, Fryer Wenceslaus was assigned to attend an ancient Father, who was a Cabalist, and a lover of Magick, in which studies, at any Vacancies, he spent his time. He often told Fryer Wenceslaus, That there was a Vast Treasure hid in the Church of their Monastery; to whom Wenceslaus replyed. That he had got a Ball which, he was assured, had the Virtue to discover hidden Treasures: And, thereupon he shewed him the Ball, and the Characters impressed thereon, which the old Father hid seriously consider, and much valued them.
A while after, as they two were walking alone in the Church, afore day, after Mattens, they Tried the Ball, by laying it down in several Places, but found no effect; at last, placing it near a certain Pillar old and ruinous, it began to shew its Efficacy and Virtue by its often running thereto: This they interpreted for a certain Indication, That the Treasure was there hid; but how to come at it was the Question. They had neither the Leave, Means nor Opportunity to break down this stony structure, neither did they certainly know at what height or depth thereof the treasure was laid in it. So that upon these Discouragements they were forced to let it alone.
But it happened afterwards, That, a great Tempest arising, The whole Church, and especially this decayed Pillar, was so shaken and spoiled, that to prevent its falling down the Abbot was necessitated to order it to be demolished. And in regard the old Father, whom Fryer Wenceslaus attended, had in Architecture, and by reason of his Infirmities could not be otherwise serviceable to the Monastery, he was therefore appointed to oversee the Masons; which Office he and his Assistant Fryer Wenceslaus did willingly undertake and were very sedulous in their Attendance, and discharge thereof. When the Pillar was almost all pulled down, They found therein a Copper-box, of a reasonable bigness, which the old Father presently snatch’d up and carried it into his Cloyster, and immediately opened it: Where, at the Top, he found a piece of Parchment, on which there was some Inscription and Writing: I once had a Copy of it, but I lost it amongst my other Letter; But this I remember, It contained the number of the years wherein the Church was built, and the Name of the Abbot the Founder thereof, who had been an Envoye at Ratisbone; I also do remember, That amongst other Writings, was this Motto, AMICE, TIBI SOLI, which I English thus, Friend, to thy self alone. Under this Parchment there were other Letters laid, marked with Characters, which contained Directions how to multiply the Powder, as the Inscription shewed: and under them there were four Boxes full of a red Powder.
When the Boxes were opened, Fryer Wenceslaus was quite out of Heart, having lost his preconceived hope of some great Treasure therein: for he verily believed that, if there were not old pieces of Gold, yet some Diamonds, or other precious stones must have been lodged there. And finding no such thing, but four Boxes of darkish colored Powder, he was so impatient at the Disappointment, that, if he had been the sole Manager of the Business, he had thrown away Boxes, Powder and all: For at that time he was so little acquainted with Chymistry, that so much as the Name was not known to him, and he had scarce heard of the word Tincture.
But the old Father was not so Transported, but told him, That perhaps some Medicinal Virtue was contained in the Powder, and that the Characters in the annexed Papers might possibly discover its Use, and therefore he was resolved to study some Books, to find out what those Characters meant: In the mean time he would carefully keep the Box.
Not long after, The old Father sent Fryer Wenceslaus into the Kitchen of the Monastery, to see if he could find an old Peuter dish or Plate, which was no longer fit for use, and if he could, to bring it to him: which he accordingly did, who thereupon caused a Coal-fire to be made, and put a Crucible into Fryer Wenceslaus hand, to place therein; This was the first Chymical Operation that ever Fryer Wenceslaus performed in all his Life, and for which he was so unfit, that he plac’d the Crucible upside down, so that the old Father himself was forced to set it in its right Posture. They put the Pewter Plate broken and folded together into the Crucible, which being presently melted, the Father took out some of the Pouder (so much as would lay upon the point of a Knife) which was in one of the four Boxes, and wrapping it in a little wax, he cast it into the Crucible upon the Pewter, and commanded his Assistant Fryer Wenceslaus to blow up the Fire, adding these Words, Now I shall see whether I have well deciphered the Characters, and whether I have found out the use of this Pouder.
As soon as ever the Powder was cast in, the Pewter stood still, came to a suddain congelation. Then the Fire was suffered to go out. And the Crucible to wax cold, which being broken, there was found a ponderous mass of Metals, very yellow and variegated with red lines: upon which the father made Fryer Wenceslaus to go out into the Town, upon the pretence of getting a Book to be bound, and wished him to go to some Gold-smith. And shew him this Mass of Metal, alleadging to him, That he had some ancient Roman Coins of Gold, which he had melted down, but for want of a sufficient Fire and other Defects, he had not done it exactly; and therefore he desired the Gold-smith to melt it over again, and cast it in an ingot; The Gold-smith gratified him therein, and Fryer Wenceslaus at the Command of the Father took off a small piece, which he Preserved, and then asked the Gold-smith, What the rest was worth? Who, after he had weighed and tried on the Touchstone, did value it at twenty Ducats (which are worth two Crowns a piece) at which Rate Fryer Wenceslaus sold it to him, and receiving the Money, returned joyfully home. The old Father did only desire the remaining Portion of the Gold which he had reserved, but suffered Fryer Wenceslaus to injoy the Ducats, yet with this Advice, That he should discover it to none in the Monastery.
But Fryer Wenceslaus, though he had not been master of so much money a long time, was not satisfied therewith, but entertained various thoughts in his mind, whether he should by Flight free himself from that Bondage and Slavery he was in, whilest he had the Advantage of so much Cash? Or else, whether he should stay so long there, till either by Flattery or Craft, he had got the Copper Bodes from the old father. To the first of these Cogitations he was edg’d on, by the eagerness of that Desire he had to leave the Monastery: But then, the great Heap of Gold which he might make with the Powder, as he well conjectured, if he could get it into his hands, did somewhat abate his Fervor, and perswade him to stay. For, though he was yet altogether ignorant of Chymistry, yet the precedent Tryals had given him so much Light, That he was fully perswaded, The Box contained and was worth a vast Treasure, and, though at that time, the Rareness of the Powder, and the multiplication of it had very small Influence upon his Thoughts: yet, because he had a share in finding of it out, by means of his ball, he therefore thought that half of it at least did belong to him.
But there was another thing which more perplexed his mind, and that was the Fear, that the old Father, either out of a Principle of Devotion, or of Vain-Glory, should discover the whole story of the Business to the Abbot, and by that means should make away all the Pouder: and he was rather inclined to these Cogitations, because he had observed, That the Father, who before had been more remiss in hiding the Box, now of late was so solicitous to preserve it, that he kept it continuously in his Desk, and scare ever stirred from it, except when e was to go to Church with Fryer Wenceslaus.
Being moved with these Considerations, he was induced to demand boldly some Quantity of this Powder of the old man? The Answer he received, was, That he was yet too young to know how to dispose of, and to keep well this Powder: besides, he wanted no Money whilst he was in the Monastery; and, if he should procure a sum by means of this Powder, in his present Condition, it would be very prejudicial both to his Soul and body, and he might become thereby of all men most miserable: Moreover (proceeds the Father) This Powder may have many other Virtues and Operations which are yet unknown to you and me, and therefore I will farther study the Writings annexed to it, and hereafter I will be mindful of you, but at present I will not part with any of the Powder, only you shall have every week two Crowns allowed for your Divertisements: thus the Father; But this fair story sounded not well in the Fryers ears, who had a private Design (unknown to the old Father) to leave the Monastery.
In the Interim it happen’d, That as they two were returning from Mattens, early in the Morning, the old Father complain’d of a Cold he had got, & a great Rheum in his head, and desired Fryer Wenceslaus to go to the Cellar and fetch him a Cup of Sack, he did so, and upon his Return he found the Father taken with a Fit of an Apoplexy, and Speechless: whereupon, the first thing he did was to find out the Key of his Desk, and taking from thence the Copper Box, he carried it to his own Cell, and hid it there. This being done, he rang the Bell in the Fathers Cell to call up the Monks, who came flying with all Diligence to bring him some Remedies, but they were all too late the Father being quite dead. Hereupon his Desk was presently sealed up, and solemn Ceremonyes according to the occasion were performed over his dead Body. But who more inwardly joyful than Fryer Wenceslaus, from whom Death had removed his Rival, and made him to be Master of all the whole Treasure.
Hereupon he began to deliberate with himself how he might make his Escape out of the Monastery with most Safety and least Suspicion. But herein many Difficulties did accrew: He was grown a little deboist and prodigal by the Opportunity of the 20 Ducats abovementioned, which he had to spend; and by that means he had incurred the Emulation of his Fellow Fryers, who did urge the Pryor and Superior, That, the old Father being now dead, and so Fryer Wenceslaus discharged from his Attendance on him, he should for the Future be bound to a stricter Discipline, both in reference to his Studies, as also to his frequenting the Church. Moreover his Ducats were all spent, and no opportunity offerd to make another Tryal, or if he had, he could not have sold the Product of it.
In this Anxiety he resolved to open his mind to another Monk, a Comrade of his, one Fryer Francis Preyhausen, That so they might mutually consult together what was best to be done: for you must know this Fryer was intimate with Fryer Wenceslaus, as having entered into the Colledge at the same time; and, being also a young man, was weary of the Monastical life, as well as he.
Whilest these things were in Consult, there happened a Solemn Disputation in the School of the Monastery; Where among other Theses, Fryer Francis, under a Moderator, was obliged to maintain, That Mettals can be transmuted: And it chanced to be the turn of Fryer Wenceslaus to be the then Opponent: But as he had made no great Proficiency in his Studies, so Fryer Francis easily baffled him, and exposed him to the laughter of the Auditory; so that in a great Passion he broke out into these Words, Why do you laugh? I can practically demonstrate the thing to be true? To whom the Moderator with great Indignation, answer’d; Hold thy peace, thou Ass, wilt thou also be an Alchymist? I shall sooner be able to turn thee into an Ox, than thou to transmute the Metals. Herewith Fryer Wenceslaus’s mouth was stop’d.
When the Disputation was over, Fryer Wenceslaus took the occasion to confer with Fryer Francis; when the two were alone together in the Garden belonging to the Monastery, Fr. Francis this accosted him, You have this day publickly affirmed in the Disputation, That you were able to transmute Metals; ‘Twas unadvisedly spoken of you, whether it be true or false; if it be true, and it come to the Abbots ear, you will not enjoy your Liberty very long: Besides, there is a great muttering in the Monastery, That the old Father and your self, found a Treasure in the Church, and That the masons saw a Copper box, and that a Monk of the Augustine Order sold some Gold to a Goldsmith, and that you did take from the Kitchin a Pewter plate; Moreover, the suddain Death of the old Father is not without some Suspicion; and although you may alleg’d, That the money was sent you by your Friends, and it were true, that they did send you some, yet it being probable that some came another way, for which and other reflections, you would never scape Scot-free out of the Monastery, ‘twas well the Moderator took you for a Buffle-head. But, if what you have affirmed be false, you do ill again that way, by asserting that which you are not able to demonstrate. I do therefore earnestly desire you to declare unto me, as to your intimate Friend, the whole truth of this Matter.
Whereupon Fr. Wenceslaus fell at his Feet, humbly beseeching him to swear not to discover what he should reveal to him, but to afford him his help and assistance, and then he would disclose that to him, which, upon their stealing away from the Monastery, would procure great wealth to them both, and advance them to high Dignities; and that they would equally share the Happiness between them, and run alike hazard in all things. In a word, the Bargain was soon made, and they without loss of time, went into F. Francis’s Cell, where they took their mutual Oaths one to another. And then F. Wenceslaus declared the whole Intregue and the procedure thereof to F. Francis, withal desiring him upon the first occasion to go into the City to buy there a pound of lead, which being brought to him, he chang’d it into Gold, observing the Method the old Father had observed before: The transmuted Gold was carried back by F. Francis into the City, and there sold to a Jew, for an 100 Ducats, though it were worth more, his pretence was as the former, that it was melted down out of ancient Coin and medals. Having receiv’d this Money, and thus made a strict League and Friendship with F. Francis, and the Art being now found true for the second time, they were more intent upon their Design of Escaping out of the Monastery.
But that which retarded their Resolution was the Season of the year, it being then Winter; and a very hard one too, for they well understood, that they could not then safely take so long a Journey as they were to undergo, if they would by their Flight elude the search (which would be made without doubt with all diligence possible after them) and avoid the punishment usually inflicted upon such an occasion. Hereupon they thought it more convenient to defer their intended flight till the Spring following, and they were the rather induced thereunto because they had found means to pass that time merrily, by getting now and then a Cup of Wine, and a couple of roasted Pullets, which F. Francis (who was well verst in that trade) knew well how to get, and to convey into their Chamber. But because F. Wenceslaus had as great a mind to taste of Womens Flesh as that of Poultry: and had lighted on a certain Austrian Drab fit for his purpose, he caused therefore some mans Apparel, with a Periwig, and suitable Accoutrments to be made ready for here.
Having thus disguised her Sex, they gave her the name of Seignior Anastasio, & she came often to the Monastery, on pretence, That she came from Vienna, to visit her Cosin F. Wenceslaus, pretending he was her Kinsman; this lasted a while, but the Visits of this Seignior Anastasio was so frequent, that at last, he was observed to come into the Monastery sometimes, and no go out again, by reason of his staying all night in the cell of F. Wenceslaus, who did thus live for some weeks in dishonest Love with him: and, when he went either to the School or to the Church, he always carefully carried his Key with him.
But a matter of that Nature could be kept close no longer; some Rumour of it came to the ear of the Abbot or Prior, so that one Morning as F. Wenceslaus was at Mattens before day, The Abbot demanded of him the Key of his Cell, which he was forc’d to deliver, (but how willingly, any one may guess.) The Abbot immediately, with the Pryor, and some other Monks went to his Cell and there found Seignior Anastasio naked in the Bed.
At this sight there was a general Consternation on all sides, none knew what course to take, F. Wenceslaus his mind was more in his Chamber than in the Chappel canting out his Mattens; as for Seignior Anastasio, she was doubtless as much at a loss; for, to run without her Cloaths out of the bed before such venerable Company, was no wayes thought convenient, and, as for the good Prelates, they were also uncertain how to steer; some advised to declare the matter to the Magistrate, that so Anastasio might be thrust out of the house by the Secular Power; others feared, That if they took that course, they should derogate from their Rights and Privileges; and, if Seignior Anastasio should chance to be whipt, and to be put into the Stocks for dissembling her sex, the noise of such a thing would affix an indelible Character of Infamy upon their Monastery.
After some Deliberation, they concluded, That presently Anastasio should put on her Clothes, and, after a severe Reprehension, should be ejected out of the house, in the Morning before day. And, as for Fryer Wenceslaus he was called from Mattens, and shut up in his Cell, the doors being well bolted and barr’d on the outside, until four Walls were prepared to enclose him, which were already built, only something was defective in the Door, which was supplied the next day.
Whilst this was a doing, Fr. Wenceslaus found Opportunity to secure his Copper Box, and to gather together the Pouder, and by means of a Rope to let them both down at a window to Fr. Francis, who staid there on purpose to receive them; and withal he conveyed down a Letter to him, the Contents whereof was, To desire the said Fryer Francis not to forsake him in his Distress, but to use his utmost Endeavor to contrive a way for his Deliverance, withal reminding him not to violate his Oath about the POWDER, but to keep it safe, for as yet, to his great Comfort, it was intire.
The next day, Fr. Wenceslaus was kept Fasting, and in the evening his Back was scourged with many cruel lashes, and afterwards he was shut up close within four walls, and for a Month fed with nothing but bread and water, during which time, the Severity of the Stripes he underwent, the Disaster of Seignior Anastasio, and the hazard of the loss of his Powder did so afflict him, that he was even ready to despair; but this did somewhat relieve him, that he carried a string with him into the Dungeon, and casting it out at the hole, received sometimes both Letter and Victuals from his Comrade F. Francis: and indeed the desperate Condition of Fr. Wenceslaus did so affect his heart, that he bent all his Endeavor to excogitate ways how to free him; at last an happy opportunity offered it self upon this occasion.
Prince Charles of Lichtenstein was a great Favourer of Chymistry, and he had a Steward of his house at Bruna, to whose Friendship F. Francis had insinuated himself, and by him sent a Letter and some of the foresaid Pouder to the Prince, in which he related the lamentable Condition of Fr. Wenceslaus, and implored his Aid for his Deliverance.
The Steward having sent the Letter, and going to Felisbourg the Princes seat, was scarce arrived but that the Prince bestowed upon him a more profitable office than that which he had before, and this Message concerning Fr. Wenceslaus was so favorably received, That he strictly injoyned him to return speedily to Bruna and to assist Fr. Francis to the utmost in order to the Deliverance of Fryer Wenceslaus. And to that purpose, he Committed his own Seal to his Custody, to be made use of for that End, if there were occasion.
Thus the Steward returning home, did presently Consult with F. Francis to deliver F. Wenceslaus; and being delivered from his Prison and Cloyster, to hide and shelter him a while in the house of his Master the said Prince of Lichtenstein: until some convenient opportunity could be found for his passage out of the Town, and for his conveyance to the Prince of Felisburgh. In order whereto Fr. Francis took Care to provide a false Key, fit to open the Dungeon, which more easily did, because the Padlock was on the outside of the Door: and on a certain day, when Mattens were ended, he brought his Project to its desired Effect, for he opened the Door, and took out Fr. Wenceslaus, locking the Door again; and disguising him with a Cloak, Coat, and Periwig which he had prepared for that Purpose, he conveyed him through a bygate in the Garden of the Monastery, to Lichtenstein’s House, where he shut him up in a Chamber, locked the door, and Sealed it up in two places with the Princes own Seal and a Labell appendant.
The next day when Monasterys Porter, according to his Custom, was carrying his Bread and Water, about noon, to F. Wenceslaus, Lo, he was not to be found! Whereupon a great Tumult was raised in the Monastery, and from thence the News flew to the Count de Collebrat, Governour of that Precinct, who presently commanded the Gates to be shut, and search to be made in all houses, not excepting Lichtenstein’s it self. When they had diligently searched every corner of this latter house, at last they came to the Chamber that was sealed up: Here the Steward of the House interposed and told them, That that Room was the Closet of the Prince, which he had sealed up himself with his own Seal, and therefore, it could not be opened without great danger and hazard of incurring his high Displeasure.
Whereupon they desisted; and F. Wenceslaus remained hid there for some weeks, untill at length he found means, in a disguise to escape out of the Town in the morning early, at the very first opening of the gates, and so was conveyed, with other officers, in the Princes own Coach, to Felisburgh. Being arrived there, he was courteously received and well treated by the Prince, before whom he made a notable demonstration of his Art.
But the Prince soon found that a man in his Circumstances and of his Abilities, could not be long concealed in his Court, because the Abbot of Bruna having sent Spies after him, would certainly find him out, and would also obtain a Mandate from the supream Consistory at Vienna concerning him. Whereupon (though, as some think, the Princes Intent was to gain the whole Tincture from him) he advised him to go to Rome, and there obtain a full Discharge from his Monastical life, and to secure himself from the Abbot, which favour he preferred to obtain for him by means of his Agent there: And to accommodate him for his Journey, he gave him a Bill of Exchange for 1000 Ducats, and withal provided an Italian, his Chamberlain, to bear him Company on his way.
But you must know Fr. Wenceslaus had sent away his Comrade Fr. Francis (who privately had made an Escape) to Vienna with the Tincture, enjoyning him to get a private Lodging there, to abscond himself for a while, till he could commodiously contrive his Journey to Rome.
Soon after the Italian Chamberlain and he began their Journey, and when they were about half a Daies Journey from Vienna, the Chamberlain on a suddain pick’d a Quarrel with him, and holding a Pistol to his Breast, threatened to kill him, unless he would deliver him the Tincture.
F. Wenceslaus being thus unexpectedly assaulted, was much abashed, and calling God to Witness, protested, That the Tincture was not, for the present, in his hands, but that he had sent it before by his Companion F. Francis to Vienna whom said Chamberlain had himself seen to undertake that Journey a few daies before.
The Chamberlain was the rather induced to believe his asseveration, because upon Search both of him and his Portmantle, he found nothing at all of the tincture therein. Hereupon, They came to Terms between them, F. Wenceslaus was to give the Chamberlain 100 Ducats, and an Amnesty to be for their suddain falling out, and so they agree and bid one another, Farewell.
The Chamberlain, being a Covetous Italian, was glad of the Money, and F. Wenceslaus was glad to be rid of him, having escaped such a hazard, and being now likely to attain Vienna, where he arrived in the Evening of the same day, and told his Companion F. Francis what had hapned to him in every Circumstance, upon the way. He being a subtle man, did easily perceive by his relation, what was the Mystery of his designed Journey to Rome, and that his Bill of Exchange was but a meer Collusion, whereupon they both resolved to take another course for their safety, in order whereto, by means of a Saxon whose name was Gorits, a crafty fellow, and a Clerk in the Chancery of Bohemia, they came acquainted with one Count Schtick, a person of great sagacity, then living at Vienna, a great Favourer of Chymistry, but had lately received some affronts from the Court, he was very glad of their acquaintance, and presently took F. Wenceslaus into his Protection, and brought him to his House, where he made some Tryals, and withal gave him some of the Tincture, that he himself might make one.
But as for F. Francis, he always lodged abroad. After some Weeks, Count Schtick told F. Wenceslaus, that he could no longer secure him after that rate at Vienna, for both the Clergy and also the Prince of Lichtenstein, had an ill Eye upon him, for his sake; and being already disfavoured at Court, he should run a further hazard, by concealing of him, nevertheless he would shew him what courtesy he could, and if he pleased, he would send him to one of his own Country-Houses and Castles in Bohemia, where he might remain in greater security, and accordingly he prepared all things for the Journey. F. Wenceslaus did easily perceive the intention of the Count, for before he had observed, that the Counts Footmen did observe him as narrowly as the Monks had done in the Monastery, and therefore perceiving what was to be done with him, he made his Escape through an Arch in the Wine Cellar, built after the Italian fashion, the day before he was to go to Bohemia (a place designed for his perpetual Imprisonment) and retired to the lodging of his friend F. Francis, to whom having related what had hapn’d to him again, upon deliberation they both agreed to extricate themselves out of all these hazards, and to acquaint the Emperour with the whole matter.
And to introduce them into his presence, they knew none more fit than a Spanish Count named de Paar (whose Brother named Peter, was Hereditary Post master, in the Emperours Hereditary Country) he was a great Alchymist, a Factious and Seditious man, and one much troubled with the Gout, yet he had found means to creep into the Emperours favour: therefore this gain unlookt for was no less acceptable to him, than to the others before, for he had heard a great while before of F. Wenceslaus, and had an extream passion to be acquainted with him, and fancied that he should see strange things in him, as King Herod did of Christ, whose first, he acted the part cunningly enough, as you shall presently hear. They agreed together, that F. Wenceslaus should abide Incognito at his House, where he was as much observed as at the House of Count Schtich.
Here he made another small Tryal, whereupon Count Paar went to the Emperour, and discovered to him the whole Business. But his Imperial Majesty who (by reason of the great and weighty concerns of the Empire, doth not only not much regard or value Learning, as his Father did, except what contributes to his Recreation, as Plays, Musick and the like, but also had a particular aversness from Alchymy, holding that for a meer Imposter, which did cost his Royal Father and his Uncle the Arch-Duke Leopold, so much expence, both of Mony and Time) gave no great heed to the Proposition made by Count Paar, especially it having been related to him, that this F. Wenceslaus was a fugitive Monk, and had led a dissolute life; and moreover by Report was accused of Magick.
The Spanish Count Peter having heard this Repartee of the Emperour, being a subtil man, and easily foreseeing those Objections would be made, had armed himself against them: upon which he thus replyed to his Imperial Majesty; That he did confess, that there was a great weight in all the Objections made by his majesty, yet without presuming, being so mean a person, to Impose upon his Imperial Majesty, it seemed to him, that though the Case were extraordinary, yet nevertheless the Dictates of common Reason were to be obeyed, which doth advise sometimes to consider of things, abstracted from the persons they concern, it being evident, that some men though ill in themselves yet have been the Authors of Useful Inventions, of which Truth, Instances might be given near at hand, in regard his Imperial Majesty had may notable Inventions in his Archives, which owed their Originalas to bad men, yea (some of them accused of the same miscarriages as F. Wenceslaus, and since it is true, that some good things are done by some bad men; it being no less true, that all men are Sinners, must we therefore reject all their laudable Inventions and all the good Works they do. A notable Example whereof (proceeded he) lyes as yet fresh before your Majesty, Joseph Burrhi was accused of Heresy, and being taken at Vienna, was sent to Rome, but after Pennance, he was pardoned upon the score of his knowledge rather than of his person, and the Germans his Accusers were by this means deceived; of which I my self (says he) at that time being Burrhus his Commissary at Vienna, did forewarn them, but in vain. Your Majesty (said he farther) is a person, with whom God seems to deal after a peculiar manner, having wonderfully delivered you from many imminent dangers, and now in these necessitous and indigent times, cruel Warrs being also in prospect, your Hereditary Countries being also exhausted, the Divine Bounty seems to offer you a mean and way how you may most pitty and spare your Subjects: It is the Devils Policy to cast suspicion upon all extraordinary Assistances, that so he may make them useless; but (says he) it is as great a Sin not to accept of things when offered, as to abuse them when they are accepted. As for my self (saith he) I have no great reason to be a Friend to Chymistry, having suffered so much loss by it, as your Imperial Majesty well knows, neither did I ever find any truth in the Art, save only in this Pouder of F. Wenceslaus, and the transmutation made thereby. But as in reference to that Tryal, he dared pawn his Credit it would succeed; and if his Majesty would not believe his word, yet he might depute some persons to see a Tryal made; for his part, he thought he was bound in Conscience to discover the whole business to his Majesty, referring ot wholly to him, whether he would graciously accept the Proposal and protect the person that made it, or else discard them both; still hoping nevertheless, that his majesty would not take his good Intention in ill part, nor exclude him from his Favour; wishing for a Conclusion, That he would cause one Trial to be made under the Inspection of some persons; unprejudiced, that so his Imperial majesty might be satisfied, at least in this one thing, that he had not made the Proposition to him without sufficient reason: Thus he conclude his Harangue. The Emperor, as he is gratious to all Suitors, so he gave favourable attention to the Counts discourse, and commended him for it; Only (saies he to the Count) “Alchymy is a subtil Imposture, and though you yourself may mean honestly, yet perhaps you also may be deceived thereby, otherwise I do not (adds he) at all despise the wonderful Works of God, but do highly value them, and accept of his Gift with all hearty thankfulness, and I do well know how long my Father took very great pains in that Art; and how highly he prized that little which was shewed him by the Baron Chaos, and rewarded him for it; besides, I know full well how to make a distinction between the Art and the life of its Professors”. Only least he should expose himself, and shew himself too easy, he gave the Count order to make another Tryal. And to procure the Presence of other skillful Persons both of the Clergy and Laity: That so he might make him a more exact Relation of the Matter with all the Circumstance, and receive further order of his Majesty concerning it.
Count Paar being return’d home from his Audience: The very same day he sent to Father Spies and Dr. Becher to invite them to Dine with him the next day, adding these Words in his message, That he had a Business to communicate to them from the Emperour. The next day, they all accordingly met. F. Wenceslaus being present, where after Dinner Count Paar made known his Commission, and forthwith caused an ounce of Schlachenwald Tin, and a new Crucible to be bought, which Materials being prepared and tried, and for fear of Inchantment, ex abundanti cantesa: sprinkled with Holy water: The Trial began and was finished within a quarter of an hour, one part Tinged, ten Thousand parts into Gold, which was so graduated by the Tincture, that it was almost Friable, and was striated and distinguished with red Veines interspersed, of which, likewise of the Tin before it was tinged, both the Count de Paar, and also Father Spies, and Dr. Becher, each of them took a little piece for a perpetual Memorial of the thing. The rest was sealed up with their three Seals, and the same quantity of the Powder as this projection was made with was enclosed with it, and the thing was by all three subscribed to.
The next day, Count Paar went to his Imperial Majesty, and delivered it to him, making also a full Relation of all the particular Circumstances in the Trial.
Hereupon the Emperour enjoyned him to treat Fr. Wenceslaus kindly, and to assure him of his Favour, moreover advising him to refrain his ill and scandalous life, and to satisfy the Clergy, that he would reassume the Monastical Habit, and for the rest he would take Care; and till he had enquired further into the thing, he would for his Security send him into some private place.
The Count returned home very joyful with this Commission and the very same Evening he caused F. Wenceslaus to be re-vested with his Monks Habit by two English Fathers of the Augustine Order, Father Dunell and Father Vostaller: A Letter was also writ to his Abbot at Bruna, informing him, that he might set his mind at rest concerning him, because he had laid aside his Monks habit, and cloathed himself with other Apparel, for no other Reason, but because he would free himself from the hardship of a Prison, and make a Journey to Vienna, to discover a great Secret, which he had, to his Imperial Majesty, which being now done, he had again resumed his Monks habit.
All this was done to perswade him, that they meant him nothing but good, to make him call again for all the Tincture from his Comrade, and to keep him from conversing any longer with those which before were his most intimate Aquaintance, as counting himself sufficiently secured against all Violence, by the Emperors Protection, and his Monks Habit: So that Count Paar was as a Father to him, and he, on the other side, as his adopted Son. These two new Friends, undertood a Voyage together, to a Country-house of the Counts (adjoining to a certain Lake) which he had in Hungary, distant about a dayes journey from Vienna.
Being come thither, the very same night they two being alone in a Chamber, The Count pluck’d out a Decree of the Emperor’s (as he pretended) which was sealed up, adding these words, My Son, Into what Gulf of Misery art thou cast? Here I have a Command in writing from the Emperor, to demand the Tincture of Thee, and if thou refusest to deliver it, then to my great Grief, I must execute upon Thee the Sentence contained in this Sealed Decree.
Fryer Wenceslaus desired to read the Decree; but, the Count replyed, if it be opened, it must be immediately executed! And, withal plucking a Pistol out of his Pocket, he directed it to his Breast, Sighing, and breaking forth in these Words, Into what miserys are we both cast! Yet not withstanding if thou wilt harken to my Counsel, (from whence thou maist gather my Love and Fatherly Care, and free both of us from this great Misfortune, and make our Condition very happy) I will give it to thee.
Nothing was more grateful to Fr. Wenceslaus than to hear this Condition, and having given him his hand that he would follow it:
The Count began thus, ‘Tis certain (said he) That you and I do both stand I need of the Emperours Protection, and ‘tis as certain, that we shall be forc’d to deliver the Tincture to him. My advice then is, (which I refer to you for your approbation and consent.) I will pretend, that being injoyn’d to make a stricter Examination of this Tinging Powder, that I have employed it all, in order to its multiplication, to try whether it might be augmented for the greater Benefit and Advantage of his Majesty. However, we may both be sheltred under the Continuance of the Emperors Protection, and yet we may keep the Tincture; And after the time designed for its augmentation is elapsed, we will easily devise some colorful Excuse, to evade it; as, That the Glass was broken, or some Error committed in the Operation. For, the Truth is (said he) The Emperours Court is not worthy of so great a Treasure; it will be Prostituted there and made common. But to ingage thyself to me in a greater degree of Faithfulness, Thou must not refuse to give me half the Tincture, and we will take a mutual Oath to be faithful one to the other, as long as we live, and for what now hath passed between us, it shalt be buried in perpetual oblivion. The Emperor shall never know any thing of it, neither shall he ever have any of the Tincture.
Fr. Wenceslaus was fain to make an Agreement on those Terms which were drawn up in writing, subscribed with both their hands, and confirmed by their mutual Oaths; and so the Tincture was divided betwixt them. The Count made a Tryal by himself alone the next day, with some of his proportion thereof, to try whether he had not been deceived therein: but he found it Right and good.
Having staid a while at his Country House, he was about to return to Vienna: but he was taken so grievously sick of a fit of the Gout, that out of the intolerable Torment which he felt, he drank some Aurum Potabile, which Burrhy had given him heretofore; but with this Caution, That it was not yet perfect. Having tasted a few drops thereof, he presently felt a most grievous and vehement pain in his Joynts, so that he could hardly perform his Journey with Fr. Wenceslaus to Vienna. But the first night after his coming, he was so afflicted with heat, that all his Entralls seemed to be on a Flame; as he complained himself. The Day following his Physician, the Son of Dr. Sorbat, whose Name was Kresset, who was also Physician to the Emperors Army was sent for, who considering his present Condition, applied the properest remedies he could, which availed him nothing, but bad Symptoms did so grow upon him, that the third day his Case was judged desperate.
The Count himself also being sensible of his Death approaching, caused his Brother the Master of the Post-Office to the Emperor, Count Peter de Paar, his only heir, (for the sick Brother was a Batchelour) to be sent for about night: to whom he spoke in these Words;
It was foretold to me heretofore in Italy, That I should obtain the Tincture, and, That soon after I should dye! The first part of the Prophecy is fulfilled, and the latter is near at hand and accomplished; I know, That you have bestowed as much time and Expence in this Art as my self; I have nothing more valuable to leave you, and which, nothing can be more acceptable to you, that a Notable Portion of Tincture, which I have sealed up in this Desk, and shall entrust it in the hand of my Confessor, who upon my decease, shall deliver it to you.
After which words, he delivered the Desk to his Confessor, who was present and heard him speak them. Count Peter not imagining his Brother was so near his End, took his leave of him for that Night, and rode home, because it was very late. And his Brother soon after departing this Life, his Confessor also took Coach, and went home to the Monastery of St. Francis, not far distant from the Emperial Post Office at Vienna. The Death of the Deceased Count being signified to his Brother, by his Footmen who had accompanied the Confessor home.
The Count immediately rose out of his Bed, being but newly enter’d thereinto, and clothing himself, galloped at two of the clock in the morning, to the Monastery of the Franciscans, and, after he had knock’d fiercely at the Gate for admittance, the drowsy Porter arose and let him in; the Count desired to be admitted to the Speech of the Confessor of his newly deceased Brother, but it was reply’d, It was an unreasonable time for such a Visit, in regard the old man was weak, and weary, and being newly returned home, was laid down to rest. The Count was not satisfi’d with this Answer, but was very earnest with the Porter to accompany him and some of his Attendants to the old Fathers Cell: he making Excuses, the Count rushed in presently himself, and awak’d him, demanding the Desk which his Brother had deposited in his hands, as now rightfully belonging to him.
The Father was much surprised at his suddain irruption and demand: which he did the more suspect, because it was made at such an unreasonable time of the night: whereupon he desir’d the Count to hold himself contented till the Morning, and then he should have the Desk delivered to him without fail, only he desired to deliver it in before the Father Guardian; and that he would then give his acquaintance for the Recept thereof. The Count, not content with this Answer, by the help of his Attendants and Servants, endeavored to get it from him by force:
Whereupon a Tumult arose; The Watch was sent for, the Monks were also gathered together, and a Spanish Bp. of the same Order, the Confessor of the Empress Margaret, then lodging in the Monastery, was also roused out of his sleep, who hearing such a tumultuous Noise in the Monastery, a privileged place, was so much concerned thereat, that yet he enquired into the occasion, whilst the Count was yet present, and understanding that it arose upon the score of a sealed Desk: he demanded it of the Father who had it in keeping: which having received from him, the next morning he carried it with him to the Emperor, and complained grievously against the Count, as being the occasion of that nights Uproar: in the mean time, as soon as it was day, the noise hereof was spread all over the City: and among the rest it reached the Ears of F. Wenceslaus, who presently hasten’d to Court, and by means of the Empress’s Confessor obtaining Audience, he related to the Emperor the whole Story how the Count has used him in Hungary, how he had extorted from him half the Tincture, how he was necessitated, by a forced Agreement, not to discover any thing hereof whilst he was living, but was now free from the Obligation of his Oath by the Counts Death, that he was very glad that the Tincture was at length come into the Hands of the right Owner his Imperial Majesty, for whom he had long before designed it; he did therefore now implore nothing more of his Imperial majesty, but that he would afford him his Protection, against the Violence of Count Peter Paar, his Postmaster, and his Adherents.
The Emperor perceiving the wonderful Series of this Affair, presently entertained F. Wenceslaus at his Court, and committed him to the Care and Inspection of Count Wallenstein, the Imperial Governor of Hatschirr.
About this time, the Post-master above-mentioned dyed also. F. Wenceslaus being thus received into the Emperours Protection, had his Lodgings assigned him by the Imperial Bowling-Green, where he made some Tryals before the Emperour and Count Austin of Wallenstein his Guardian, and in the Pallace of the Johannites in the Carinthian-street, he made one of 15 Marks, as they say, out of which Transmutations the Count Wallestein made him a Gold Chain, to keep in perpetual Memory of the thing. Moreover he did deposited some of his Tincture in the Court, for augmentation, and, as far as I can judge, by the Process delivered to me, he had a great desire to get the Mercury of Silver, how far he proceeded in it, I do not certainly know, but some affirm, that he made some progress therein.
In the mean time he both desired to be acquainted with some noted Chymists and eminent Artists, and several Imposters and Sophisters intruded themselves into his acquaintance, so that from thence resulted very frequent junketings, drinkings and merry meetings, and many foolish trifling Processes wrought by him; from whence F. Wenceslaus learned rather several cunning and subtil Impostures, than any real augmentation of his Pouder: But the noise & multitude of so many Importunate Visitants, being cumbersome at Court, where F. Wenceslaus had his Diet, under the severe inspection of Count Wallestein, he thereupon pretended, that he had occasion to make sorts of Aqua Forts and other Menstruums, which would be dangerous to the whole Court, and cause such noysom Fumes and odious Smells, that they could not safely be prepared in that place; therefore a Laboratory was built for him, in the Carinthian Fort, where the Emperors chief engineer did dwell, his name was Fischer, a great lover of Alchymy, and who shewed himself very officious to him, assisting him to build strange and most nonsensical Furnaces which can ever be seen; and besides being not a little pleased with his good fortune of the neighborhood and acquaintance of the Owner of so rich a Tincture; but this intimacy lasted not long, as the event soon made appear: for when F. Wenceslaus had scarcely fixed his habitation, and settled his things in order, the Engineer was forced to leave the splendid dwelling there assigned him by the Emperour; and to go the Javarin in Hungary, to dwell there, his Wife also, as some give out, being vitiated into the bargain; F. Wenceslaus also fell very sick, and he that waited upon him in his Chamber dyed suddenly, not without some suspicion of Poyson, and he himself also lay without any hopes of recovery, in this case F.A.C.P.C.L. de S. who before had sought some of the Tincture of him, and had paid him for it a thousand Ducats, designing to take this opportunity of his illness, and decease so apparent, and so to get and enjoy his Tincture without Money, sent to him one Biliot, a French Physician, to steal from him, under pretence of a Visit, both the said thousand Ducats, and the rest of the Tincture: Fortune did favour him as to the first part of his Design, but in the latter she did fail and disappoint him, for F. Wenceslaus had hid his Tincture more carefully than his thousand Ducats: at last, the Sick man, contrary to all mens expectation began to Recover, and F. Francis who was sent to Rome to obtain a Dispensation for him, to absolve him from his Vow, having obtained the same returned home; whereupon presently F. Wenceslaus laying aside his Monks Habit, took a Wife and was married publickly to one named Angerlee, who had maintained him in his sickness, and had otherwise been very assistant to him when he wanted her; she was a very subtil and crafty woman, yet accounted at Vienna but little better than a common Harlot, and she was the worse thought on, because her Sister ad been naught with B.D.L. and by his advice and assistance had caused her Husband to be made away, for which Fact, he the said B.D.L. was Sentenced to Death: but, though afterwards pardoned by the Emperour, yet was deprived of all his Dignities, degraded of his Nobility, and cast into perpetual Prison in the Citadel of Gratz, where he dyed Miserably; and his Whore, F. Wenceslaus’s Wives Sister, was the same day to be Beheaded in open Court, before the Judgement Hall, the Scaffold and all the rest being already prepared, but by the intercession of the Wife of Castell Rodrigo, the Spanish Embassador she was set free, yet afterward, upon the account of her lewd life, and dishonest Practices, she was kil’d with a Pistol-shot.
Fr. Wenceslaus being linked by Marriage into such a Family, did then fancy for a time, That all the Elements did conspire together to make him happy: for why? He was visited by Persons of the highest Rank, and withal was mightily respected by the most eminent Ladies, Countesses and Princesses: As for me, as Spectator of this Scene, I considered him in this Fools Paradise: Whilst it put me in mind of Cornelius Agrippa, who in his Book of the Vanity of Sciences, under the Title of Alchymy, sayes, That if ever he should be Master of the Tincture, he would spend it all in nothing but Whoring; for women being naturally covetous, he could thereby easily make them to prostitute themselves, and to yield unto his Lust.
And it seems that not only F. Wenceslaus was so mighty a Proficient and so stout a Souldier in the School of VENUS, That he was brought very low by the French Disease, but also that his Wife Angerlee dyed of it. After whose decease Fr. Wenceslaus exceeded all Bounds of honest Modesty, and dayly let loose the Reins to all sinful and voluptuous excesses: for from that time he had obtained the Tincture, he spent in two or three years time more than Ten Myriads of Crowns, in all manner of Luxury: and he foresaw well enough, that it could not last and subsist long at that rate: for the Tincture would not maintain him. And to turn it into Gold, or sell it for a small price would turn to no Account, as he had always hoped it would by Augmentation, and thereby to gain an inexhaustible Treasure.
But on the one hand, his Want and Necessity was such, and on the other hand, the Solicitings of those who would buy of his Powder, were so importunate that he could not resist so great Temptations: And therefore between both, he resolved upon a dishonest Shift, which was to sell for great Rates, Poudred Cinnabar, red Lead, and the Caput Mortuum of Aqua fortis boyled, and such other Ingredients in stead of the true Pouder, mixing also therewith some few Filings of Copper, that Foolish ignorant People might mistake the same for a Gold-making Pouder: to some he sold it without any such Cozening Addition as Coppar: And if they were not able to tinge with it, he would lay the Blame on their Impatience and Unskilfulness in making the Projection. To others, he pawned some of his Counterfeit Tincture for a great summ of Money, which he pretended, he had a present use for: but he was loath to spend his Tincture in projecting, because he hoped to augment it with a Thousand-fold advantage: And that they might see the Tincture was genuine and true, he took some of it and wrapt it up in a little Wax, with which he mingled a little of his right Tincture, which he called his Crocus, or Pouder of Reduction, and so tinged therewith.
By this means he got very many 1000’s of Crowns, and over and above he got P.C. de L. and C.L. to be his Assistants and Partners in these Mysteries. But the Impudent sort, among which A.C.P. and his Cosen C.B. are to be reckoned, he gave them whole Ingots which he had cast, consisting of equal parts of Gold and Silver; then filing some of them, and dissolving it into common Aqua fortis, which he brought with him, he affirmed that now his Tincture was exalted into a Menstruum, which would presently change Silver into Gold: and that as soon as ever the price or value which was to be paid for its purchase should be put thereto, it would be converted into Gold:
It hath been also further related to me, That he grew to that Degree of Impudence, as to tinge some sort of Coins after this manner into Gold, before the Empress Dowager and the Emperour himself. Yea, this fellow was so arrogant, as to cause his own Effigies to be drawn on some of those false Coins which he did attempt deceitfully to put off.
Yet this matter could not be kept so secret, but the more prudent began to smell the Cheat, and to mutter something about it; which was very ill taken in the Emperours Court. For he was in such Credit there, that it was not safe to impeach him, as being received into the Emperors Protection, both against the Clergy and the Secular Power, and even against the skilful in the same Art. For great men are loth to acknowledge their Error; but think themselves, tho under a Mistake, to be as infallible as the Pope himself.
Those who were not much concern’d in the matter, suffered it so to pass, as taking little Notice of it; but some true Philosophers were very much aggriev’d, That so infamous an Impostor, after so many Vows and Protestation made by him to the contrary, and after such evident Proofs of his former debauch’d Life, after so many villainous Crimes committed, and his base Prostitution openly of so noble an Art of Chymistry, should notwithstanding that he ranted it up and down in his Coach in Masquarades, before the Emperours Court, be maintain’d and protected by him. But others, who had been cozened by him of great Summs of Money, even to many thousand Ducats, with his adulterate Tincture, could not so rest satisfied, but brought in their Action against him at common Law: where, after some time and much Expence, they obtained Judgment against him, but it never was put in Execution, though all other means were try’d.
Now the Emperour, unless he would have left his Favorite Wenceslaus to the Jurisdiction and power of his Judges, and Rigor of the Law, must needs interpose: for the Complaints made against hem for his insolent and abusive practices were so many, and the Fame of them was spread so far abroad in the world, That his Imperial Majesty thought it more convenient to have the Noise of it altogether supprest.
To be short, The Emperour paid all his Debts, and that he might prevent his father opportunity of Cosenage, he got from him the rest of his Tincture, and then advanced him to the most Ancient Order of Barrony in Bohemia, by the Title of Baron Seyler of Seylerbugh, and afterwards made him Hereditary Master of the Mint of Bohemia: and having thus preferred him, he sent him away from his Court to Prague, where he now lives very gallantly; and hath made Fryer Francis the Steward of his House: having married a Second Wife, called Waldes Kircheriana, a handsome woman, and of a Noble Family.
In the mean time, a Rumor was spread all over Germany, That the Devil had carried him away Soul and Body. Which Report, though it might have some good grounds, yet, for this time it was not true: but he hath very great reason to fear that it may prove true, at last, if he doth not amend his Life: and the vent thereof we must expect.
I have described the Series of this Story both to vindicate the Truth, and also to satisfy so many Curious, who have despicable thoughts of Chymistry. If I have mistaken in any Passage, Fr. Wenceslaus is yet alive, and I earnestly desire him to amend and rectify my mistakes, and to vindicate himself, by giving the World a more exact Account thereof, that he may no longer lye under any unjust Reflection.
For a Conclusion, I heartily wish, That if God should bless any lover of this noble Art, with some such like Treasure, he would use it better than Wenceslaus hath done: for the Glory of God, the Benefit and advantage of his Neighbor, and the furtherance of his own everlasting Salvation.