Chapter 25

Of Smelling, Tast, and Touch

SMELLING is the next Sence in order; because tis at Some distance, as the other two are, whereas the two latter, tast, and touch, are by Immediate Contact: and besides the matter, or Species in Smelling is more tenuious, and fine, than that of tast, and touch.1

Tis defin’d an outward Sense perceiving Scent or Odours by the help of the Mamillary procosses or duggs of the brain; for towards Each nostrill is a protuberance of the brain like a dugg, or teate, before which Stands a part of the Scull perforated with many little holes, and therefore is Call’d Os Cribrosum, or the Seive bone.

The Object is any body that hath Effluviums, or Steams perceptible by this Sence, and herewith Some little moisture are those of the first Quallityes that Cheifly Contribute to Odours; for when a body is perfectly dry, there wants a Contrary to Cause fermentation which is necessary to the Exhalation of Steams. Chymists ascribe odours to the volatile Sulphur carrying with it Some volatile pungent Salts. The Effect[s], or Affections of it are pleasing, and profiting, or offence, [and] hurt to the brain. [And hence ariseth the Dignity of this Sense, in that tis So much concerned about the Cheif Seat of the Soul.

1. Pleasing and profiting, when the Steams are agreable to the Animall Spirits of the brain,] whereby they Seam to contribute to them a Recreation and nourishment. Yea I have read of one that was many dayes Sustained with the Smell of bread Sopt in Wine, and So the Steams became an Immediate kind of food; of this Kind are Amulets, Nodels, etc: Hitherto also referr the prelibation or foretast at a distance of Such foods as are agreable to their Stomacks, much used by brutes, either to try or find their food.

1. To find their food by hunting after it, Hence that homly proverb, (A Poor mans Sow needs a Good nose.) Thus hounds hunt hares, and Spaniells, Partriges, which they will eat while raw; but when altered by dressing from their Sutableness, by Smell they discern, and refuse their bones. As for the hunting of foxes, Wolves, etc: which they will not eat, it Seams a Kind of Gallantry in [a] pursuit of an Enemy, or a Naturall delight in Exercising their Sagacious faculty.

2. To try or distinguish their food, this is observed especially in such brutes as have the roughest tongues; for that draws their food inwards, So as they cannot (Like a man) Spit it out if it dos not please their palate.

Brutes taught by Instinct Smell to find their food

and when they have it try if it be good. [81]

Besides this there are some Smells that irritate, and are a kind of Physick, they are not hurtfull yet not altogather agreable, and therefore cause Such a Small convulsion of the Coates of the brain as only Stirs them to Exclude that which is Excrementitious, and might be hurtfull if it were retained (much like the Galls pungency in the Guts which dos promote Excretion) of this nature are all Scents that provoke Sneezing (Said to be the Good Effect of a bad Cause) for hereby the Muddy Steams that occasion Sleepyness are dispelled. A Usfull consideration for Such as are apt to Sleep at Sermons.

To Please, and Profit are Scents best accord

which food, or Physick to the brain afford.

2. Hurtfull Scents are either pleasing or Offensive.

1. Pleasing Such as Poysonous perfumes, [and] the Miasmata or Infectious Steams, in Contagious deseases, these are Said to Slide in with a Sweetish Scent; and thereby insinuate themselves among the Spirits of the brain, and are pernicious to the animall. Besides Some Women Subje[c]t to fits of the Mother, or Uterine furours are Greatly hurt by Sweet, though wholsome Savours; for these affecting the Meninges (or Coates of the brain) move them so violently that they also affect the Womb (a Membranous part too) as to Cause it [to] rise out of its proper place, Now in this Cace the Cure is by Contraries, for all filthy Stinks Such as Assafœtida, bur[n]t feathers, etc: will set it right, and Quiet it again.

2. Offensive, and So most immediately, and Directly do Scent[s] hurt; as the Smell of Carrions, Ditches, fenns, and other Putrid matters which Cause hed-aches, Sickness of the Stomack, etc: Hitherto also may be referred the percellence, or Excess of Odours, [which] is very offensive; As the [Civet] Cat’s room, Sassafras wood in Jamaica Rosmary in Spaine, or any too Strong perfumes for there is a certain measure of Scent Sutable to every animall; as Sweet herbs, and Some flowers to man which Swine or Neats regard not, yea horses refuse to feed on them; whence we may Gather that Everything hath its proper texture of parts, and therefore its conveniencyes with the like varyety.

Hurt Comes by treach’rous Steams Stinks that offend,

and Sweets that do beyond the mean extend.

There is no Science concerning Smell nor of the two Senses that follow as there are of the foregoing two (namly opticks, and Musick) yet there are [arts] belonging to them all, to prepare things Sutable to Each. to this in particular of [Smell] is the Art of perfuming which Consists in Apt mixtures of Odoriferous bodyes; as of flowers, Herbs [certain] Woods, and their Extracts, the Most notable purfume is Musk and Zibet, ([or] Civet) mingled togather in due proportion for togather they do [well] but neither of them alone; the Reason is Said to be that one Volatilizes the other, and Causes it to diffuse its Odour which otherwise it would not doe

Perfuming’s th’ art of Smell, of which th’ Intent,

Is by apt mixtures, to give pleasing scent.

And So much for Smell.

4. Tast this Sence is by Liquors as the [other] was by fume, tis an outward Sense perceiving Tasts, and Savours by the help of a Gustitory nerve, whose branches Spread in the tongue and Palate of the mouth. The Object of tast is tastable Quality (Say the Antients) or rather Some Saline parts mixed with moysture, which least it should [want] the tongue and mouth make a Supply from the Grandules or repositoryes of Spittle. Its Cheif use is to distinguish meats, and drinks, whether they will prove agreable to the Stomack which being a Membrane Continued with the Inside of the mouth by the throat or Swallow pipe is hereby moved, and affected So as by naturall appetite it inclines either to receive or reject according as the mouth is affected.

Dissolved Salt the tast in mouth perceives

Stomack forewarn’d by this apt [food] receives.

This and the Next are accounted but Mean Senses because their objects are more Gross and must be immediatly applyed to the organ, whereas all the former do admitt a distance: therefore to these is especially applyed the name of Sensuallity, in an Evill Sense as delighting in things, and after a manner common with brutes, yet has it this Excellency that it seams to conduce more to the life of the Animall than any of the rest; because its Subservient to the Stomack that must maintain all the members.

Tast is but mean its Object must be nigh,

Yet th’ Animall preserves his life thereby.

Tasts [or] Sapours Distinctions are in respect [to the] Qualities or to the Sense.

1. In respect to the first Qualities, and So they are either hot, or Cold, or Moderate.

1. Hot, [as] Sharp; (Such as Pepper, and Ginger, etc:) Salt and bitter.

2. Cold, [as] Acid, (or Sowre) and austere, (or harsh as that of Green fruit.)

3. Moderate as Sweet. [82]

2. In Respect of the [Sense] of tast, and So tis either Extream or mean.

1. Extream which produce in the Sensory most contrary passions, as bitter and Sweet.

2. Mean or Mixt as all the rest.

Tast, hot, Cold, Mean, as to first Qualityes,

to tast Extream, and what between them lyes.

About this Sense is the Art of Cookery which Consists in Making wholsome Meats palatable; an honest Comfort as Conducing to the health of [man] but is abused by intemperance (of which in Ethicks.)

Cookery renders pleasing, wholsome food,

Intemperance abuses what is Good.

5. Touch this is the Meanest of all, because its object is [most] materiall. Tis an Exterior sence perceiving touchable Qualityes by the help of nerves diffused all over the body.

The Objects are tactile Qualityes, as the four first, Hot, Dry, Cold, Moist, and Some Seconds as Hard, Dense, heavy, figure, etc:

The Mean or Medium is the Upper Scarf-Skin to which the tops of the nerves do reach. Therefore the Degrees of this Sensation, is according to the finess of [that] Skin, and its Softness, thinness, and nearness to the nerves, hence Some parts perceive better than others, and not only feall but distinguish, and So this Sense becomes a Substitute for Sight in blindness, or darkness; the Parts Especially distinguishing are the tops of the fore fingers, which are So perhaps (besides the above Said Circumstances) for that the nerves proceed thence to the brain in a Streighter Line than in other parts.

Touch Qualityes 4 first, and diverss [Second],

Perceives through outer Skin its medium [reckond]

The Manner of this Sense Seams to be by a pressure or Vibration of the Nervous Spirits which they receive without in the Extremity, and Carry back through the whole Course of the nerve. The Pleasures of this Sense we have else where shewn to be from a Sutable warmth, Softness, Moisture, friction, Titillation, etc: as in the Doctrine of delights. The adverse to it is pain, and that either [punction] or tension.

1. Punction (or Pricking) tis when the Dolorifique matter, (Such as Some Sharp humour, (or Salt) within or Externally Some Sharp pointed instrument) in a Small part of the body attemts or performs a [Solution] of Continuity or undue Seperation of parts, Cuting Seams to be but this multiplyed, or Extended to more minute parts, for that a multitude of Physicall points will make a Physicall line, which is the Only difference between a Sharp point and an Edge.

2. Tension (or Stretching) is when Some humour, or Vapour, by [the] Expatiating itself in a Membraneous Cavity, threattens, and attempts the like Solution (or tearing assunder) which if it can Effect (where it may be done) the Sharpness of the pain Ends as in the breaking of a boyle or Impostumation, Such pains are Chollick, Hed-ache, Stopping of Urin, etc:

Pressure of nerves is pleasing when tis mean,

but otherwise bring[s] priking, Stretching, pain.

The Privation of touch is numbness the Usuall Symptome of a palsey. Which because Somtimes its without hurting the motion, gives occasion for Some late anatomists to assert that the nerves of Sense are different from those of motion but others Say tis [Still] the Same nerve, though otherwise affected namly by the beginning of Vibration, for in motion it proceeds from the Root to the branches, whereas in sense tis from the branches to the rootes.

Motion, and Sence from Several nerves do flow

or the Vibration Severall wayes do goe.

The Sense of touch though it be sed to be the meanest, yet has it Some peculiar dignityes: for whereas all other Senses principally serve the Individuall this hath no Small Concurrance to the Conservation of the Species.

Hence old Sarahs womb was Said to be in deadness when it was in many degrees deprived of this Sense. The Necessity of it in Nature is seen in that it is rarely, (if ever) wholly wanting in an Animall. Whereas any of the other Senses often are. This can be a Substitute for Some of them, but none of them can supply the place of this. Lastly the Extension of it is to all the Parts of the body in Generall, others are confined to their particular organs; and this hath given occasion to latter men to pronounce that all Sensation is by touch, and that the other particular Senses are but the Species of this, and So much for the Exterior Senses.

Touch Serves the Senses; Never wholly is

Depriv’d; Supplyes for others: all have this [83]