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mercury, which can be separated from any perfect metals. For every part so separated, may easily be reduced into perfect metal without substitution of that, or those principles which chemists imagine to be wanting. As suppose you take the salt of lead; this salt, or as some name it, sulphur, may be turned into perfect lead, by melting it with the like quantity of lead which contains principles only for itself.
I acknowledge that there is quicksilver and brimstone found in the imperfect minerals: but those are nature's remote materials, and not the chemist's principles. As if you dissolve antimony by aqua regia, there will be real brimstone swimming upon the water: as appears by the colour of the fire when it is burnt, and by the smell.
The third letter of the cross-row, touching the variation of metals into several shapes, bodies, or natures, the particulars whereof follow.
TINCTURE: turning to rust: calcination: sublimation precipitation: amalgamatizing, or turning into a soft body: vitrification: opening or dissolving into liquor: sproutings, or branchings, or arborescents: induration and mollification: making tough or brittle: volatility and fixation: transmutation, or version.
For tincture it is to be inquired how metal may be tinged through and through, and with what, and into what colours; as tinging silver yellow, tinging copper white, and tinging red, green, blue; especially with keeping the lustre.
Item, tincture of glasses.
Item, tincture of marble, flint, or other stone.
For turning into rust, two things are chiefly to be inquired; by what corrosives it is done, and into what colours it turns; as lead into white, which they call ceruss; iron into yellow, which they call crocus martis; quicksilver into vermilion; brass into green, which they call verdegrease.
For calcination; how every metal is calcined, and into what kind of body, and what is the exquisitest way of calcination.
For sublimation; to inquire the manner of subliming, and what metals endure subliming, and what body the sublimate makes.
For precipitation likewise; by what strong water every metal will precipitate, and with what additaments, and in what time, and into what body.
So for amalgama; what metals will endure it, what are the means to do it, and what is the manner of the body.
For vitrification likewise; what metals will endure it, what are the means to do it, into what colour it turns; and farther, where the whole metal is turned into glass, and where the metal doth but hang in the glassy parts; also what weight the vitrified body bears, compared with the crude body; also because vitrification is accounted a kind of death of metals, what vitrification will admit of turning back again, and what not.
For dissolution into liquor, we are to inquire what is the proper menstruum to dissolve any metal, and in the negative, what will touch upon the one and not upon the other, and what several menstrua will dissolve any metal, and which most exactly. Item, the process or motion of the dissolution, the manner of rising, boiling, vapouring more violent, or more gentle, causing much heat or less. Item, the quantity or charge that the strong water will bear, and then give over. Item, the colour into which the liquor will turn. Above all, it is to be inquired, whether there be any menstruum to dissolve any metal that is not fretting, or corroding; and openeth the body by sympathy, and not by mordacity or violent penetration.
For sprouting or branching, though it be a thing but transitory, and a kind of toy or pleasure, yet there is a more serious use of it; for that it discovereth the delicate motions of spirits, when they put forth and cannot get forth, like unto that which is in vegetables.
For induration, or mollification; it is to be inquired what will make metals harder and harder, and what
will make them softer and softer. And this inquiry tendeth to two ends: first, for use; as to make iron soft by the fire makes it malleable. Secondly, because induration is a degree towards fixation, and mollification towards volatility; and therefore the inquiry of them will give light towards the other.
For tough and brittle, they are much of the same kind, but yet worthy of an inquiry apart, especially to join hardness with toughness, as making glass malleable, etc. and making blades strong to resist and pierce, and yet not easy to break.
For volatility and fixation. It is a principal branch to be inquired: the utmost degree of fixation is that whereon no fire will work, nor strong water joined with fire, if there be any such fixation possible. The next is, when fire simply will not work without strong waters. The next is by the test. The next is when it will endure fire not blown, or such a strength of fire. The next is when it will not endure, but yet is malleable. The next is when it is not malleable, but yet is not fluent, but stupified. So of volatility, the utmost degree is when it will fly away without returning. The next is when it will fly up, but with ease return. The next is when it will fly upwards over the helm by a kind of exsufflation without vapouring. The next is when it will melt though not rise. The next is when it will soften though not melt. Of all these diligent inquiry is to be made in several metals, especially of the more extreme degrees.
For transmutation or version. If it be real and true, it is the farthest part of art, and would be well distinguished from extraction, from restitution, and from adulteration. I hear much of turning iron into copper; I hear also of the growth of lead in weight, which cannot be without a conversion of some body into lead but whatsoever is of this kind, and well expressed, is diligently to be inquired and set down.
Dr. Meverel's answers to the foregoing questions, concerning the variation of metals and minerals.
. 1. FOR tinctures, there are none that I know, but that rich variety which springs from mixture of metals with metals, or imperfect minerals.
2. The imperfect metals are subject to rust, all of them except mercury, which is made into vermilion by solution, or calcination. The rest are rusted by any salt, sour, or acid water. Lead into a white body called cerussa. Iron into a pale red called ferrugo. Copper is turned into green, named ærugo, as viride. Tin into white: but this is not in use,. neither hath it obtained a name.
The Scriptures mention the rust of gold, but that is in regard of the allay.
3. Calcination. All metals may be calcined by strong waters, or by admixtion of salt, sulphur, and mercury. The imperfect metals may be calcined by continuance of simple fire; iron thus calcined is called crocus martis.
And this is their best way. Gold and silver are best calcined by mercury. Their colour is grey. Lead calcined is very red. Copper dusky red.
4. Metals are sublimed by joining them with mercury or salts. As silver with mercury, gold with sal armoniac, mercury with vitriol.
5. Precipitation is, when any metal being dissolved into a strong water, is beaten down into a powder by salt water. The chiefest in this kind is oil of tartar.
6. Amalgamation is the joining or mixing of mercury with any other of the metals. The manner is this in gold, the rest are answerable: take six parts of mercury, make them hot in a crucible, and pour them to one part of gold made red hot in another crucible, stir these well together that they may incorporate; which done, cast the mass into cold water and wash it. This is called the amalgama of gold.
7. For vitrification. All the imperfect metals may be turned by strong fire into glass, except mercury; iron into green; lead into yellow; brass into blue;
tin into pale yellow. For gold and silver, I have not known them vitrified, except joined with antimony. These glassy bodies may be reduced into the form of mineral bodies.
8. Dissolution. All metals without exception may be dissolved.
(1.) Iron may be dissolved by any tart, salt, or vitriolated water; yea, by common water, if it be first calcined with sulphur. It dissolves in aqua fortis, with great ebullition and heat, into a red liquor, so red as blood.
(2.) Lead is fittest dissolved in vinegar, into a pale yellow, making the vinegar very sweet.
(3.) Tin is best dissolved with distilled salt water. It retains the colour of the menstruum.
(4.) Copper dissolves as iron doth, in the same liquor, into a blue.
(5.) Silver hath its proper menstruum, which is aqua fortis. The colour is green, with great heat
(6.) Gold is dissolved with aqua regia, into a yellow liquor, with little heat or ebullition.
(7.) Mercury is dissolved with much heat and boiling, into the same liquors which gold and silver are. It alters not the colour of the menstruum.
Note. Strong waters may be charged with half their weight of fixed metals, and equal of mercury; if the workman be skilful.
9. Sprouting. This is an accident of dissolution. For if the menstruum be overcharged, then within short time the metals will shoot into certain crystals.
10. For induration, or mollification, they depend upon the quantity of fixed mercury and sulphur. I have observed little of them, neither of toughness nor brittleness.
11. The degrees of fixation and volatility I acknowledge, except the two utmost, which never were observed.
12. The question of transmutation is very doubtful. Wherefore I refer your honour to the fourth tome of Theatrum Chymicum: and there, to that tract