God bless you, my son. I will give you the most precious gem I possess: I will reveal to you, for the love of God and men, the true organization of the House of Solomon. And to let you know it, my son, I will follow this order: in the first place I will reveal to you the purpose of our institution; secondly, the means and tools we have for our work; thirdly, the different jobs and functions assigned to each of our brothers; fourthly, finally, the rules and rites that we observe.
«The end of our institution is the knowledge of the causes and the secret movements of things to widen the boundaries of human power towards the realization of every possible goal.
«The means and tools are as follows: we have large caverns more or less deep, the deepest in which they penetrate the earth up to six hundred cubits. […] We call these caverns “lower regions” and we use them for experiences of coagulation, hardening, refrigeration and preservation of bodies. We also use it, in imitation of natural mines, for the production of new artificial metals through the combination of various materials lying there for many years. But you will be very surprised to know that we sometimes use these caves also for the treatment of certain diseases and for experiences on the prolongation of the life that we have on some hermits who have chosen to live there. […]
“We also have tall towers, the tallest of which measures half a mile. Some of them rise on high mountains so that, by adding the height of the tower to that of the mountain, the highest tower reaches a height of three miles. We call these places “upper regions”, considering the air between the upper and lower regions as an “intermediate region”. We use these towers, in relation to their different heights and positions, for experiments in insolation, refrigeration and conservation and for the observation of atmospheric phenomena such as winds, rains, snow, hail and igneous meteorites. Even on some of these towers live hermits that we visit from time to time instructing them on the observations they must make. […]
We also have large and spacious houses, where we imitate and reproduce meteorological phenomena, such as snow, hail, rain, artificial rains of non-watery bodies, thunder and lightning. In these houses we also experience the aerial generation of animals such as frogs, flies and many others.
“We also have some rooms that we call health rooms where we condition the air to make it healthy and suitable for treating various diseases and maintaining health. […]
“We then built large orchards and gardens with different crops, in which we do not look so much to the beauty as to the variety of the soil and its suitability for the cultivation of different plants and herbs: in some of them, very spacious, they grow, in addition to the vineyards, fruit trees and shrubs with which we prepare different types of drinks. Here we practice a series of grafting and inoculation experiments, both on wild plants and on fruit plants, and we obtain important results. In these same orchards and gardens we artificially give birth to plants and flowers earlier or later than the season in which they would naturally arise and make them bloom and bear fruit faster than normal. We are also able to obtain much larger plants than normal, and the fruits of these plants are larger, sweeter and different in taste, scent, color and shape from others of the original species. And many of these fruits thus treated acquire medicinal virtues.
“We also know of systems for giving birth, through combinations of soils, to various seedless plants, to produce new species of plants other than the common ones and finally to transform one plant into another.
“We also have parks and enclosures for animals and birds of all kinds, which serve us not so much as a curious spectacle, but for dissection experiments, through which we shed light on studies around the human body. In this field we have achieved extraordinary results, such as the continuation of life when several organs, which you consider vital, are dead and removed, the resurrection of bodies that appear to be dead and so on. We also experiment with poisons and medicines on them and subject them to medical treatment and surgical experiments. We can artificially make them larger or taller than other members of their species, or vice versa smaller, stopping their development. We make them more fruitful and prolific than normal or sterile and barren. We can vary the color, the shape, the activities. We are able to make different crossings and matings that generate new species and are not infertile as common opinion believes. We obtain numerous species of snakes, worms, insects and fish from rotting substances, and some of these animals have come to be as perfect creatures as animals and birds: sexed and capable of propagation. And none of this happens by chance since we know in advance which species of creature will be born from a particular matter or crossing. […]
“We also treat the water in a way that makes it nutritious and so enjoyable that many don’t use any other drink. We have bread made with various kinds of wheat, roots and acorns and even with meat and dried fish, with various types of yeasts and seasonings in order to make it as appetizing as possible; some of these breads are so nutritious that many live on them alone without the need for any other food and reach very advanced ages. […]
“We also know several mechanical arts unknown to you and, with them we obtain products such as paper, canvas, silk, fabrics, elegant works made with shiny feathers, excellent dyes and many other products. […]
We are able to color the light and to perform all sorts of deceptions and optical illusions in the figures, sizes, movements and colors and to project all kinds of shadows. We have systems, still unknown to you, to produce an original source of light from different bodies. We have acquired means to see distant objects in the sky and in the most remote places and to make nearby things appear distant and vice versa, as by constructing fictitious distances. We also have vision aids far better than your lenses and glasses. We have lenses and tools to see perfectly and distinctly the smallest bodies, such as the shapes and colors of small insects or worms, the grain or veins in gems, the composition of urine and blood, otherwise invisible. […]
«We have also built ‘Houses of sounds’ where we experiment on all sounds and their generation. We know harmonies unknown to you of quarter tones and even minor passages. […] We imitate and reproduce all the articulated sounds, letters, voices and notes of animals and birds. We have instruments that, when applied to the ear, strengthen the hearing, and also various strange and artificial echoes that repeat the voices several times as if by repercussions. Some of these echoes reject the loudest and most acute voices; others deeper; while still others refer to them different in tone and timbre. Finally, we can transmit sounds at a distance by means of pipes and ducts that run straight or tortuously. […]
«Then we have the“ Perfume Houses ”in which we carry out experiments on taste and where we are able (very strange to believe) to multiply the smells. We are able to imitate perfumes by drawing them from mixtures different from those that usually produce them. We can mimic flavors so perfectly that we can fool any man’s taste. […]
“We also have mechanical workshops where we manufacture machines and tools for all kinds of movements: here we carry out experiments to make motions faster than those you have made both with your guns and with any of your other machines and to make the movement and multiply it , using weak forces, by means of gears and other systems, and finally to make these motions stronger and more powerful than yours. […]
“We imitate the flight of birds and within certain limits we manage to hover in the air. We have ships and boats to navigate underwater and to withstand sea storms, and safety belts and devices to stay afloat. We have several strange clocks, instruments that move recurrently, and others capable of perpetual motion. […]
“We have a” House of mathematics “where all the perfectly constructed instruments necessary for geometry and astronomy are kept.
“Finally, we have the“ Houses for the deceptions of the senses ”where we perform all kinds of sleight of hand, false apparitions, illusions, impostures with the relative deceptions. You will certainly be able to easily understand how we, who possess so many things which, although perfectly natural, generate astonishment, could in many particular cases deceive the senses, if we wanted to mask these things and make them appear miraculous ».
The organization of the research reflects the project that Bacon had theorized in his works and tried to concretely implement, through appeals to James I for the establishment of a scientific academy. Research must not be able to rely on exceptional individuals but on a common method and a division of tasks that allow collaboration within the scientific community.
In the House of Solomon, there are various figures of scientists, each with their own tasks and their own specialization, for the development of an overall unitary project. The research is divided into different moments and tasks, from data collection to their processing, from technological application to discoveries, to the formulation of general principles. Each of these tasks is entrusted to a different category of scholars.