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THE LORD BACON'S QUESTIONS,
DR. MEVEREL'S SOLUTIONS.
Concerning the compounding, incorporating, or union of metals or minerals. Which subject is the first letter of his Lordship's Alphabet.
WITH what metals gold will incorporate by simple colliquefaction, and with what not? And in what quantity it will incorporate; and what kind of body the compound makes ?
Gold with silver, which was the ancient electrum: gold with quicksilver: gold with lead: gold with copper: gold with brass: gold with iron: gold with tin.
So likewise of silver: silver with quicksilver silver with lead: silver with copper: silver with brass: silver with iron: Plinius secund. lib. xxxiii. 9. Miscuit denario triumvir Antonius ferrum, silver with tin.
So likewise of quicksilver: quicksilver with lead: quicksilver with copper: quicksilver with brass : quicksilver with iron: quicksilver with tin.
So of lead lead with copper: lead with brass : lead with iron: lead with tin. Plin. xxxiv. 9.
So of copper copper with brass: copper with iron copper with tin.
So of brass brass with iron: brass with tin.
So of iron: iron with tin.
What be the compound metals that are common and known? And what are the proportions of their mixtures?
Latten of brass, and the calaminar stone.
Pewter of tin and lead.
Bell-metal of etc. and the counterfeit plate, which they call alchemy.
The decomposites of three metals or more, are too long to inquire of, except there be some compositions of them already observed.
It is also to be observed, whether any two metals, which will not mingle of themselves, will mingle with the help of another; and what.
What compounds will be made of metal with stone and other fossils; as latten is made with brass and the calaminar stone; as all the metals incorporate with vitriol; all with iron powdered; all with flint, etc.
Some few of these would be inquired of, to disclose the nature of the rest.
Whether metals or other fossils will incorporate with molten glass, and what body it makes?
The quantity in the mixture would be well considered; for some small quantity perhaps will incorporate, as in the allays of gold and silver coin.
Upon the compound body, three things are chiefly to be observed: the colour; the fragility or pliantness; the volatility or fixation, compared with the simple bodies.
For present use or profit, this is the rule: consider the price of the two simple bodies; consider again the dignity of the one above the other in use; then see if you can make a compound, that will save more in price, than it will lose in dignity of the use.
As for example; consider the price of brass ordnance; consider again the price of iron ordnance, and then consider wherein the brass ordnance doth excel the iron ordnance in use; then if you can make a compound of brass and iron that will be near as good in use, and much cheaper in price, then there is profit both to the private and the commonwealth. So of gold and silver, the price is double of twelve: the dignity of gold above silver is not much, the splendour is alike, and more pleasing to some eyes, as in cloth of silver, silvered rapiers, etc. The main dignity is, that gold bears the fire, which silver doth not: but that is
an excellency in nature, but it is nothing at all in use; for any dignity in use I know none, but that silvering will sully and canker more than gilding; which if it might be corrected with a little mixture of gold, there is profit and I do somewhat marvel that the latter ages have lost the ancient electrum, which was a mixture of silver with gold: whereof I conceive there may be much use, both in coin, plate, and gilding.
It is to be noted, that there is in the version of metals impossibility, or at least great difficulty, as in making of gold, silver, copper. On the other side, in the adulterating or counterfeiting of metals, there is deceit and villany. But it should seem there is a middle way, and that is by new compounds, if the ways of incorporating were well known.
What incorporation or imbibition metals will receive from vegetables, without being dissolved in their substance as when the armourers make their steel more tough and pliant, by aspersion of water or juice of herbs; when gold being grown somewhat churlish by recovering, is made more pliant by throwing in shreds of tanned leather, or by leather oiled.
Note, that in these and the like shews of imbibition, it were good to try by the weights, whether the weight be increased, or no; for if it be not, it is to be doubted that there is no imbibition of substance, but only that the application of that other body doth dispose and invite the metal to another posture of parts, than of itself it would have taken
After the incorporation of metals by simple colliquefaction, for the better discovery of the nature and consents and dissents of metals, it would be likewise tried by incorporating of their dissolutions. What metals being dissolved in strong waters will incorporate well together, and what not? Which is to be inquired particularly, as it was in colliquefactions.
There is to be observed in those dissolutions which will not easily incorporate, what the effects are: as the bullition; the precipitation to the bottom; the ejaculation towards the top; the suspension in the midst and the like.
Note, that the dissents of the menstrual or strong waters may hinder the incorporation, as well as the dissents of the metals themselves; therefore where the menstrua are the same, and yet the incorporation followeth not, you may conclude the dissent is in the metals; but where the menstrua are several, not so certain.
Dr. Meverel's answers to the foregoing questions, concerning the compounding, incorporating, or union of metals and minerals.
GOLD will incorporate with silver in any proportion. Plin. lib. xxxiii. cap. 4.-Omni auro inest argentum vario pondere; alibi dena, alibi nona, alibi octava parte-Ubicunque quinta argenti portio invenitur, electrum vocatur. The body remains fixt, solid, and coloured, according to the proportion of the two metals.
Gold with quicksilver easily mixeth, but the product is imperfectly fixed; and so are all other metals incorporate with mercury.
Gold incorporates with lead in any proportion. Gold incorporates with copper in any proportion, the common allay.
Gold incorporates with brass in any proportion. And what is said of copper is true of brass, in the union of other metals.
Gold will not incorporate with iron.
Gold incorporates with tin, the ancient allay, Isa. i. 25. What was said of gold and quicksilver, may be said of quicksilver and the rest of metals.
Silver with lead in any proportion.
Silver incorporates with copper. Pliny mentions such a mixture for triumphales statuæ, lib. xxxiii. 9. Miscentur argento, tertia pars æris Cyprii tenuissimi, quod coronarium vocant, et sulphuris vivi quantum argenti. The same is true of brass.
Silver incorporates not with iron. Wherefore I wonder at that which Pliny hath, lib. xxxiii. 9. Miscuit denario triumvir Antonius ferrum. And what is said of this is true in the rest; for iron incorporateth with none of them.
Silver mixes with tin.
Lead incorporates with copper. Such a mixture was the pot-metal whereof Pliny speaks, lib. xxxiv. 9. Ternis aut quaternis libris plumbi argentarii in centenas æris additis.
Lead incorporates with tin. The mixture of these two in equal proportions, is that which was anciently called plumbum argentarium, Plin. lib. xxxiv. 17.
Copper incorporates with tin. Of such a mixture were the mirrors of the Romans. Plin. Atque ut omnia de speculis peragantur hoc loco, optima apud majores erant Brundusina, stanno et ære mistis. Lib.xxxiii. 9.
Compound metals now in use.
1. Fine tin. The mixture is thus; pure tin a thousand pounds, temper fifty pounds, glass of tin three pounds.
2. Coarse pewter is made of fine tin and lead. Temper is thus made: the dross of pure tin, four pounds and a half; copper, half a pound.
3. Brass is made of copper and calaminaris.
4. Bell-metal. Copper, a thousand pounds; tin, from three hundred to two hundred pounds; brass, a hundred and fifty pounds.
5. Pot-metal, copper and lead.
6. White alchemy is made of pan-brass one pound, and arsenicum three ounces.
7. Red alchemy is made of copper and auripig
There be divers imperfect minerals, which will incorporate with the metals: being indeed metals inwardly, but clothed with earths and stones: as pyritis, calaminaris, misy, chalcitis, sory, vitriolum.
Metals incorporate not with glass, except they be brought into the form of glass.
Metals dissolved. The dissolution of gold and silver disagree, so that in their mixture there is great ebullition, darkness, and in the end a precipitation of a black powder.
The mixture of gold and mercury agree,
Gold agrees with iron. In a word, the dissolution of mercury and iron agree with all the rest.