absence of any support but tradition for the reality of a fifteenth-century writer under the name or pseudonym of Basil Valentine, that we are not only justified, but in justice obliged to conclude that the works in question were written at or about the period of their production; that in all probability Joh. Thölde was the author of the more important and earlier ones; that Paracelsus was not guilty of stealing his chemical knowledge from a unique copy of some unknown original, and that not Basil Valentine nor Thölde, but Paracelsus, was the first recorder, if not the first discoverer, of a considerable series of chemical facts, and the originator of some influential theories and applications, which appeared for the first time in his publications.
But the established channels of three centuries of chemical tradition are hard to divert. Despite the verdict of modern scholarship, recent text-books and manuals of the history of chemical science are slow to accept and assimilate the changes involved.
Thus, in the "History of Chemistry," by P. P. Armitage (1906), it is still assumed that Basil Valentine or some one writing under that name lived at the end of the fifteenth century, and consequently such statements occur as the following:
Accepting Valentine's philosophy of the three elements, mercury, sulphur and salt and like him reading this into all matter indiscriminately, Paracelsus was able to give a theoretic basis to his sense of pathologic phenomena.
So also Hugo Bauer (translation of P. V. Stanford, "History of Chemistry," 1907), while stating that "new life was brought into this ruinous state of affairs in the second half of the seventeenth century by Basil Valentine," yet says:
Bauer also gives much space to the chemical work of Basil Valentine and overlooks the similar work of Paracelsus.
Sir Edward Thorpe refrains from assigning any definite period to Basil Valentine, saying:
Thorpe, however, gives a summary of the more important chemical
- This may be a misprint for the fifteenth. The subsequent method and order of treatment would bear out such a supposition.
- "History of Chemistry," 1909.