Experiments and Considerations Touching Colours (1664)
by Robert Boyle
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We took a Leaf of Such Foliated Gold as Apothecaries are wont to Gild their Pills with; and with the Edge of a Knife, (lightly moysten'd by drawing it over the Surface of the Tongue, and afterwards) laid upon the edge of the Gold Leaf; we so fasten'd it to the Knife, that being held against the light, it conctinu'd extended like a little Flagg. This Leaf being held very near the Eye, and obverted to the Light, appear'd so full of Pores, that it seem'd to have such a kind of Transparency as that of a Sive, or a piece of Cyprus, or a Love-Hood; but the Light that pass'd by these Pores was in its Passages So Temper'd with Shadow, and Modify'd, that the Eye discern'd no more a Golden Colour, but a Greenish Blew. And for other's satisfaction, we did in the Night look upon a Candle through such a Leaf of Gold; and by trying the Effect of Several Proportions of Distance betwixt the Leaf, the Eye and the Light, we quickly hit upon such a Position for the Leaf of Gold, as that the flame, look'd on through it, appear'd of a Greenish Blew, as we have seen in the Day time. The like Experiment try'd with a Leaf of Silver succeeded not well.

* * * * *


We have sometimes found in the Shops of our Druggists, a certain Wood, which is there called Lignum Nephriticum, because the Inhabitants of the Country where it grows, are wont to use the Infusion of it made in fair Water against the Stone of the Kidneys, and indeed an Eminent Physician of our Acquaintance, who has very Particularly enquir'd into that Disease, assures me, that he has found such an Infusion one of the most effectual Remedyes, which he has ever tried against that formidable Disease. The ancientest Account I have met with of this Simple, is given us by the Experienc'd Monardes in these Words. Nobis, says he,[16] Nova Hispania mittit quoddam ligni genus crassum & enode, cujus usus jam diu receptus fuit in his Regionibus ad Renum vitia & urinae difficultates ac arenulas pellendas. Fit autem hac ratione, Lignum assulatim & minutim concisum in limpidissima aqua fontana maceratur, inque ea relinquitur, donec aqua a bibentibus absumpta sit, dimidia hora post injectum lignum aqua caeruleum colorem contrabit, qui sensim intenditur pro temporis diuturnitate, tametsi lignum candidum fit. This Wood, Pyrophilus, may afford us an Experiment, which besides the singularity of it, may give no small assistance to an attentive Considerer towards the detection of the Nature of Colours. The Experiment as we made it is this. Take Lignum Nephriticum, and with a Knife cut it into thin Slices, put about a handfull of these Slices into two three or four pound of the purest Spring-water, let them infuse there a night, but if you be in hast, a much shorter time may suffice; decant this Impregnated Water into a clear Glass Vial, and if you hold it directly between the Light and your Eye, you shall see it wholly Tincted (excepting the very top of the Liquor, wherein you will some times discern a Sky-colour'd Circle) with an almost Golden Colour, unless your Infusion have been made too Strong of the Wood, for in that case it will against the Light appear somewhat Dark and Reddish, and requires to be diluted by the addition of a convenient quantity of fair Water. But if you hold this Vial from the Light, so that your Eye be plac'd betwixt the Window and the Vial, the Liquor will appear of a deep and lovely Caeruleous Colour, of which also the drops, if any be lying on the outside of the Glass, will seem to be very perfectly; And thus far we have try'd the Experiment, and found it to Succeed even by the Light of Candles of the larger size. If you so hold the Vial over against your Eyes, that it may have a Window on one side of it, and a Dark part of the Room both before it and on the other side, you shall see the Liquor partly of a Blewish and partly of a Golden Colour. If turning your back to the Window, you powr out some of the Liquor towards the Light and towards your Eyes, it will seem at the comming out of the Glass to be perfectly Caeruleous, but when it is fallen down a little way, the drops may seem Particolour'd, according as the Beams of Light do more or less fully Penetrate and Illustrate them. If you take a Bason about half full of Water, and having plac'd it so in the Sun-beams Shining into a Room, that one part of the Water may be freely illustrated by the Beams of Light, and the other part of it Darkned by the shadow of the Brim of the Bason, if then I say you drop of our Tincture, made somewhat strong, both into the Shaded and Illuminated parts of the Water, you may by looking upon it from several places, and by a little Agitation of the water, observe divers pleasing Phaenomena which were tedious to particularize. If you powr a little of this Tincture upon a sheet of White Paper, so as the Liquor may remain of some depth upon it, you may perceive the Neighbouring drops to be partly of one Colour, and partly of the other, according to the position of your Eye in reference to the Light when it looks upon them, but if you powr off all the Liquor, the Paper will seem Dy'd of an almost Yellow Colour. And if a sheet of Paper with some of this Liquor in it be plac'd in a window where the Sunbeams may shine freely on it, then if you turn your back to the Sun and take a Pen or some such slender Body, and hold it over-thwart betwixt the Sun and the Liquor, you may perceive that the Shadow projected by the Pen upon the Liquor, will not all of it be a vulgar and Dark, but in part a curiously Colour'd shadow, that edge of it, which is next the Body that makes it, being almost of a lively Golden Colour, and the remoter verge of a Caeruleous one.

[16] Nicolaus Monardes lib simplic. ex India allatis, cap. 27.

These and other Phaenomena, which I have observ'd in this delightfull Experiment, divers of my friends have look'd upon not without some wonder, and I remember an excellent Oculist finding by accident in a friends Chamber a fine Vial full of this Liquor, which I had given that friend, and having never heard any thing of the Experiment, nor having any Body near him that could tell him what this strange Liquor might be, was a great while apprehensive, as he presently after told me, that some strange new distemper was invading his Eyes. And I confess that the unusualness of the Phaenomena made me very sollicitous to find out the Cause of this Experiment, and though I am far from pretending to have found it, yet my enquiries have, I suppose, enabled me to give such hints, as may lead your greater sagacity to the discovery of the Cause of this wonder. And first finding that this Tincture, if it were too copious in the water, Kept the Colours from being so lively, and their Change from being so discernable, and finding also that the Impregnating Virtue of this Wood did by its being frequently Infus'd in New Water by degrees Decay, I Conjectur'd that the Tincture afforded by the Wood must proceed from some Subtiler parts of it drawn forth by the Water, which swimming too and fro in it did so Modifie the Light, as to exhibit such and such Colours; and because these Subtile parts were so easily Soluble even in Cold water, I concluded that they must abound with Salts, and perhaps contain much of the Essential Salt, as the Chymists call it, of the Wood. And to try whether these Subtile parts were Volatile enough to be Distill'd, without the Dissolution of their Texture, I carefully Distill'd some of the Tincted Liquor in very low Vessels, and the gentle heat of a Lamp Furnace; but found all that came over to be as Limpid and Colourless as Rock-water, and the Liquor remaining in the Vessel to be so deeply Caeruleous, that it requir'd to be oppos'd to a very strong Light to appear of any other Colour. I took likewise a Vial with Spirit of Wine, and a little Salt of Harts-horn, and found that there was a certain proportion to be met with betwixt the Liquor and the Salt, which made the Mixture fit to exhibit some little Variety of Colours not Observable in ordinary Liquors, as it was variously directed in reference to the Light and the Eye, but this Change of Colour was very far short from that which we had admir'd in our Tincture. But however, I suspected that the Tinging Particles did abound with such Salts, whose Texture, and the Colour springing from it, would probably be alter'd by peircing Acid Salts, which would in likelihood either make some Dissipation of their Parts, or Associate themselves to the like Bodies, and either way alter the Colour exhibited by them; whereupon Pouring into a small Vial full of Impregnated Water, a very little Spirit of Vinegar, I found that according to my Expectation, the Caeruleous Colour immediately vanish'd, but was deceiv'd in the Expectation I had, that the Golden Colour would do so too; for, which way soever I turned the Vial, either to or from the Light, I found the Liquor to appear always of a Yellowish Colour and no other: Upon this I imagin'd that the Acid Salts of the Vinegar having been able to deprive the Liquor of its Caeruleous Colour, a Sulphureous Salt being of a contrary Nature, would be able to Mortifie the Saline Particles of Vinegar, and Destroy their Effects; And accordingly having plac'd my Self betwixt the Window, and the Vial, and into the Same Liquor dropt a few drops of Oyl of Tartar per Deliquium, (as Chymists call it) I observ'd with pleasure, that immediately upon the Diffusion of this Liquor, the Impregnated Water was restor'd to its former Caeruleous Colour; And this Liquor of Tartar being very Ponderous, and falling at first to the Bottom of the Vial, it was easie to observe that for a little while the Lower part of the Liquor appear'd deeply Caeruleous; whilst all the Upper part retain'd its former Yellowness, which it immediately lost as soon as either Agitation or Time had made a competent Diffusion of the Liquor of Tartar through the Body of the former Tincture; and this restored Liquor did, as it was Look'd upon against or from the Light, exhibit the Same Phaenomena as the Tincted Water did, before either of the Adventitious Liquors was pour'd into it.

Having made, Pyrophilus, divers Tryals upon this Nephritick Wood, we found mention made of it by the Industrious Jesuit Kircherus, who having received a Cup Turned of it from the Mexican Procurator of his Society, has probably receiv'd also from him the Information he gives us concerning that Exotick Plant, and therefore partly for that Reason, and partly because what he Writes concerning it, does not perfectly agree with what we have deliver'd, we shall not Scruple to acquaint you in his own Words, with as much of what he writes concerning our Wood, as is requisite to our present purpose. Hoc loco (says he)[17] neutiquam omittendum duximus quoddam ligni candidi Mexicani genus, quod Indigenae Coalle & Tlapazatli vocant, quod etsi experientia hucusque non nisi Caeruleo aquam colore tingere docuerit, nos tamen continua experientia invenimus id aquam in omne Colorum genus transformare, quod merito cuipiam Paradoxum videri posset; Ligni frutex grandis, ut aiunt, non raro in molem arboris excrescit, truncus illius eft crassus, enodis, instar piri arboris, folia ciceris foliis, aut rutae haud absimilia, flores exigui, oblongi, lutei & spicatim digesti; est frigida & humida planta, licet parum recedat a medio temperamento. Hujus itaque descriptae arboris lignum in poculum efformatum, aquam eidem infusam primo in aquam intense Caeruleam, colore floris Buglossae; tingit, & quo diutius in eo steterit, tanto intensiorem colorem acquirit. Hanc igitur aquam si Vitreae Sphaerae infuderis, lucique exposueris, ne ullum quidem Caerulei coloris vestigium apparebit, sed instar aquae purae putae fontanae limpidam claramque aspicientibus se praebebit. Porro si hanc phialam vitream versus locum magis umbrosum direxeris, totus humor gratissimum virorem referet; si adhuc umbrosioribus locis, subrubrum, & sic pro rerum objectarum conditione, mirum dictu, colorem mutabit; in tenebris vero vel in vase opaco posita, Caeruleum colorem suum resumet.

[17] Kircher. Art. Mag. lucis & umbrae, lib. 1. part. 3.

In this passage we may take notice of the following Particulars. And first, he calls it a White Mexican Wood, whereas (not to mention that Mornardes informs us that it is brought out of Nova Hispania) the Wood that we have met with in several places, and employ'd as Lignum Nephriticum, was not White, but for the most part of a much Darker Colour, not unlike that of the Sadder Colour'd Wood of Juniper. 'Tis true, that Monardes himself also says, that the Wood is White; and it is affirm'd, that the Wood which is of a Sadder Colour is Adulterated by being Imbu'd with the Tincture of a Vegetable, in whose Decoction it is steep'd. But having purposely enquir'd of the Eminentest of our English Druggists, he peremptorily deny'd it. And indeed, having consider'd some of the fairest Round pieces of this Wood that I could meet with in these Parts, I had Opportunity to take notice that in one or two of them it was the External part of the Wood that was White, and the more Inward part that was of the other Colour, the contrary of which would probably have appear'd, if the Wood had been Adulterated after the afore-mention'd manner. And I have at present by me a piece of such Wood, which for about an Inch next the Bark is White, and then as it were abruptly passes to the above-mention'd Colour, and yet this Wood by the Tincture, it afforded us in Water, appears to have its Colour'd part Genuine enough; for as for the White part, it appears upon tryal of both at once, much less enrich'd with the tingent Property.

Next, whereas our Author tells us, that the Infusion of this Wood expos'd in a Vial to the Light, looks like Spring-water, in which he afterwards adds, that there is no Tincture to be seen in it, our Observation and his agree not, for the Liquor, which opposed to the Darker part of a Room exhibits a Sky-colour, did constantly, when held against the Light, appear Yellowish or Reddish, according as its Tincture was more Dilute or Deep; and then, whereas it has been already said, that the Caeruleous Colour was by Acid Salts abolished, this Yellowish one surviv'd without any considerable Alteration, so that unless our Author's Words be taken in a very Limited Sense, we must conclude, that either his Memory mis-inform'd him, or that his White Nephritick Wood, and the Sadder Colour'd one which we employ'd, were not altogether of the same Nature: What he mentions of the Cup made of Lignum Nephriticum, we have not had Opportunity to try, not having been able to procure pieces of that Wood great enough, and otherwise fit to be turned into Cups; but as for what he says in the Title of his Experiment, that this Wood tinges the Water with all Sorts of Colours, that is much more than any of those pieces of Nephritick Wood that we have hitherto employ'd, was able to make good; The change of Colours discernable in a Vial full of Water, Impregnated by any of them, as it is directed towards a place more Lightsome or Obscure, being far from affording a Variety answerable to so promising a Title. And as for what he tells us, that in the Dark the Infusion of our Wood will resume a Caeruleous Colour, I wish he had Inform'd us how he Try'd it.

But this brings into my mind, that having sometimes for Curiosity sake, brought a round Vial with a long Neck fill'd with the Tincture of Lignum Nephriticum into the Darken'd Room already often mention'd, and holding it sometimes in, sometimes near the Sun-beams that enter'd at the hole, and sometimes partly in them, and partly out of them, the Glass being held in several postures, and look'd upon from several Neighbouring parts of the Room, disclos'd a much greater Variety of Colours than in ordinary inlightn'd Rooms it is wont to do; exhibiting, besides the usual Colours, a Red in some parts, and a Green in others, besides Intermediate Colours produc'd by the differing Degrees, and odd mixtures of Light and Shade.

By all this You may see, Pyrophilus, the reasonableness of what we elsewhere had occasion to mention, when we have divers times told you, that it is usefull to have New Experiments try'd over again, though they were, at first, made by Knowing and Candid Men, such Reiterations of Experiments commonly exhibiting some New Phaenomena, detecting some Mistake or hinting some Truth, in reference to them, that was not formerly taken notice of. And some of our friends have been pleas'd to think, that we have made no unusefull addition to this Experiment, by shewing a way, how in a moment our Liquor may be depriv'd of its Blewness, and restor'd to it again by the affusion of a very few drops of Liquors, which have neither of them any Colour at all of their own. And that which deserves some particular wonder, is, that the Caeruleous Tincture of our Wood is subject by the former Method to be Destroy'd or Restor'd, the Yellowish or Reddish Tincture continuing what it was. And that you may see, that Salts are of a considerable use in the striking of Colours, let me add to the many Experiments which may be afforded us to this purpose by the Dyers Trade, this Observation; That as far as we have hitherto try'd, those Liquors in general that are strong of Acid Salts have the Power of Destroying the Blewness of the Infusion of our Wood, and those Liquors indiscriminatly that abound with Sulphureous Salts, (under which I comprehend the Urinous and Volatile Salts of Animal Substances, and the Alcalisate or fixed Salts that are made by Incineration) have the vertue of Restoring it.

A Corollary of the Tenth Experiment.

That this Experiment, Pyrophilus, may be as well Usefull as Delightfull to You, I must mind You, Pyrophilus, that in the newly mention'd Observation, I have hinted to You a New and Easie way of Discovering in many Liquors (for I dare not say in all) whether it be an Acid or Sulphureous Salt, that is Predominant; and that such a Discovery is oftentimes of great Difficulty, and may frequently be of great Use, he that is not a Stranger to the various Properties and Effects of Salts, and of how great moment it is to be able to distinguish their Tribes, may readily conceive. But to proceed to the way of trying other Liquors by an Infusion of our Wood, take it briefly thus. Suppose I have a mind to try whether I conjecture aright, when I imagine that Allom, though it be plainly a Mixt Body, does abound rather with Acid than Sulphureous Salt. To satisfie my self herein, I turn my back to the Light, and holding a small Vial full of the Tincture of Lignum Nephriticum, which look'd upon in that Position, appears Caeruleous, I drop into it a little of a strong Solution of Allom made in Fair Water, and finding upon the Affusion and shaking of this New liquor, that the Blewness formerly conspicuous in our Tincture does presently vanish, I am thereby incited to suppose, that the Salt Praedominant in Allom belongs to the Family of Sour Salts; but if on the other side I have a mind to examine whether or no I rightly conceive that Salt of Urine, or of Harts-horn is rather of a Saline Sulphureous (if I may so speak) than of an Acid Nature, I drop a little of the Saline Spirit of either into the Nephritick Tincture, and finding that the Caeruleous Colour is rather thereby Deepned than Destroy'd, I collect that the Salts, which constitute these Spirits, are rather Sulphureous than Acid. And to satisfie my self yet farther in this particular, I take a small Vial of fresh Tincture, and placing both it and my self in reference to the Light as formerly, I drop into the Infusion just as much Distill'd Vinegar, or other Acid liquor as will serve to Deprive it of its Blewness (which a few drops, if the Sour Liquor be strong, and the Vial small will suffice to do) then without changing my Posture, I drop and shake into the same Vial a small proportion of Spirit of Hartshorn or Urine, and finding that upon this affusion, the Tincture immediately recovers its Caeruleous Colour, I am thereby confirm'd firm'd in my former Opinion, of the Sulphureous Nature of these Salts. And so, whereas it is much doubted by Some Modern Chymists to what sort of Salt, that which is Praedominant in Quick-lime belongs, we have been perswaded to referr it rather to Lixiviate than Acid Salts, by having observ'd, that though an Evaporated Infusion of it will scarce yield such a Salt, as Ashes and other Alcalizate Bodyes are wont to do, yet if we deprive our Nephritick Tincture of its Blewness by just so much Distill'd Vinegar as is requisite to make that Colour Vanish, the Lixivium of Quick-lime will immediately upon its Affusion recall the Banished Colour; but not so Powerfully as either of the Sulphureous Liquors formerly mention'd. And therefore I allow my self to guess at the Strength of the Liquors examin'd by this Experiment, by the Quantity of them which is sufficient to Destroy or Restore the Caeruleous Colour of our Tincture. But whether concerning Liquors, wherein neither Acid nor Alcalisate Salts are Eminently Praedominant, our Tincture will enable us to conjecture any thing more than that such Salts are not Praedominant in them, I take not upon me to determine here, but leave to further Tryal; For I find not that Spirit of Wine, Spirit of Tartar freed from Acidity, or Chymical Oyl of Turpentine, (although Liquors which must be conceiv'd very Saline, if Chymists have, which is here no place to Dispute, rightly ascrib'd tasts to the Saline Principle of Bodyes,) have any Remarkable Power either to deprive our Tincture of its Caeruleous Colour, or restore it, when upon the Affusion of Spirit of Vinegar it has disappear'd.


And here I must not omit, Pyrophilus, to inform You, that we can shew You even in a Mineral Body something that may seem very near of Kin to the Changeable Quality of the Tincture of Lignum Nephriticum, for we have several flat pieces of Glass, of the thickness of ordinary Panes for Windows one of which being interposed betwixt the Eye and a clear Light, appears of a Golden Colour, not much unlike that of the moderate Tincture of our Wood, but being so look'd upon as that the Beams of light are not so much Trajected thorough it as Reflected from it to the Eye, that Yellow seems to degenerate into a pale Blew, somewhat like that of a Turquoise. And what which may also appear strange, is this, that if in a certain posture you hold one of these Plates Perpendicular to the Horizon, so that the Sun-beams shine upon half of it, the other half being Shaded, You may see that the part Shin'd upon will be of a much Diluter Yellow than the Shaded part which will appear much more Richly Colour'd; and if You alter the Posture of the Glass, so that it be not held Perpendicular, but Parallel in reference to the Horizon, You may see, (which perhaps you will admire) the Shaded part look of a Golden Colour, but the other that the Sun shines freely on, will appear considerably Blew, and as you remove any part of the Glass thus held Horizontally into the Sun-beams or Shade, it will in the twinkling of an Eye seem to pass from one of the above mention'd Colours to the other, the Sun-beams Trajected through it upon a sheet of White Paper held near it, do colour it with a Yellow, somewhat bordering upon a Red, but yet the Glass may be so oppos'd to the Sun, that it may upon Paper project a mix'd Colour here and there more inclin'd to Yellow, and here and there more to Blew. The other Phaenomena of this odd Glass, I fear it would be scarce worth while to Record, and therefore I shall rather advertise You, First that in the trying of these Experiments with it, you must take notice that one of the sides has either alone, or at least principally its Superficial parts dispos'd to the Reflection of the Blew Colour above nam'd, and that therefore you must have a care to keep that side nearest to the Eye. And next, that we have our selves made Glasses not unfit to exhibit an Experiment not unlike that I have been speaking of, by laying upon pieces of Glass some very finely foliated Silver, and giving it by degrees a much stronger Fire than is requisite or usual for the Tinging of Glasses of other Colours. And this Experiment, not to mention that it was made without a Furnace in which Artificers that Paint Glass are wont to be very Curious, is the more considerable, because, that though a Skilfull Painter could not deny to me that 'twas with Silver he Colour'd his Glasses Yellow; yet he told me, that when to Burn them (as they speak) he layes on the plates of Glass nothing but a Calx of Silver Calcin'd without Corrosive Liquors, and Temper'd with Fair Water, the Plates are Ting'd of a fine Yellow that looks of a Golden Colour, which part soever of it you turn to or from the Light; whereas (whether it be what an Artificer would call Over-doing, or Burning, or else the imploying the Silver Crude that makes the Difference,) we have found more than once, that some Pieces of Glass prepar'd as we have related, though held against the Light they appear'd of a Transparent Yellow, yet look'd on with ones back turn'd to the Light they exhibited an Untransparent Blew.


If you will allow me, Pyrophilus, for the avoiding of Ambiguity, to imploy the Word Pigments, to signifie such prepared materials (as Cochinele, Vermilion, Orpiment,) as Painters, Dyers and other Artificers make use of to impart or imitate particular Colours, I shall be the better understood in divers passages of the following papers, and particularly when I tell you, That the mixing of Pigments being no inconsiderable part of the Painters Art, it may seem an Incroachment in me to meddle with it. But I think I may easily be excus'd (though I do not altogether pass it by) if I restrain my self to the making of a Transient mention of some few of their Practices about this matter; and that only so far forth, as may warrant me to observe to you, that there are but few Simple and Primary Colours (if I may so call them) from whose Various Compositions all the rest do as it were Result. For though Painters can imitate the Hues (though not always the Splendor) of those almost Numberless differing Colours that are to be met with in the Works of Nature, and of Art, I have not yet found, that to exhibit this strange Variety they need imploy any more than White, and Black, and Red, and Blew, and Yellow; these five, Variously Compounded, and (if I may so speak) Decompounded, being sufficient to exhibit a Variety and Number of Colours, such, as those that are altogether Strangers to the Painters Pallets, can hardly imagine.

Thus (for Instance) Black and White differingly mix'd, make a Vast company of Lighter and Darker Grays.

Blew and Yellow make a huge Variety of Greens.

Red and Yellow make Orange Tawny.

Red with a little White makes a Carnation.

Red with an Eye of Blew, makes a Purple; and by these simple Compositions again Compounded among themselves, the Skilfull Painter can produce what kind of Colour he pleases, and a great many more than we have yet Names for. But, as I intimated above, 'tis not my Design to prosecute this Subject, though I thought it not unfit to take some Notice of it, because we may hereafter have occasion to make use of what has been now deliver'd, to illustrate the Generation of Intermediate Colours; concerning which we must yet subjoyn this Caution, that to make the Rules about the Emergency of Colours, fit to be Relied upon, the Corpuscles whereof the Pigments consist must be such as do not Destroy one anothers Texture, for in case they do, the produced Colour may be very Different from that which would Result from the Mixture of other harmless Pigments of the same Colours, as I shall have Occasion to shew ere long.


It may also give much light to an Enquirer into the Nature of Colours, to know that not only in Green, but in many (if not all) other Colours, the Light of the Sun passing through Diaphanous Bodies of differing Hues may be tinged of the same Compound Colour, as if it came from some Painters Colours of the same Denomination, though this later be exhibited by Reflection, and be (as the former Experiment declares) manifestly Compounded of material Pigments. Wherefore to try the Composition of Colours by Trajection, we provided several Plates of Tinged Glass, which being laid two at a time one on the top of another, the Object look'd upon through them both, appear'd of a Compounded Colour, which agrees well with what we have observ'd in the second Experiment, of Looking against the Light through differingly Colour'd Papers. But we thought the Experiment would be more Satisfactory, if we procur'd the Sun-beams to be so Ting'd in their passage through Plates of Glass, as to exhibit the Compounded Colour upon a Sheet of White Paper. And though by reason of the Thickness of the Glasses, the Effect was but Faint, even when the Sun was High and Shin'd forth clear, yet, we easily remedied that by Contracting the Beams we cast on them by means of a Convex Burning-glass, which where it made the Beams much converge Increas'd the Light enough to make the Compounded Colour very manifest upon the Paper. By this means we observ'd, that the Beams trajected through Blew and Yellow compos'd a Green, that an intense and moderate Red did with Yellow make differing degrees of Saffron, and Orange Tawny Colours, that Green and Blew made a Colour partaking of both, such as that which some Latin Writers call Pavonaceus, that Red and Blew made a Purple, to which we might add other Colours, that we produc'd by the Combinations of Glasses differingly Ting'd, but that I want proper Words to express them in our Language, and had not when we made the Tryals, the Opportunity of consulting with a Painter, who perchance might have Suppli'd me with some of the terms I wanted.

I know not whether it will be requisite to subjoyn on this Occasion, what I tried concerning Reflections from Colour'd Glasses, and other Transparent Bodies, namely, that having expos'd four or five sorts of them to the Sun, and cast the Reflected Beams upon White Paper held near at hand, the Light appear'd not manifestly Ting'd, but as if it had been Reflected from the Impervious parts of a Colourless Glass, only that Reflected from the Yellow was here and there stain'd with the same Colour, as if those Beams were not all Reflected from the Superficial, but some from the Internal parts of the Glass; upon which Occasion you may take notice, that a Skilfull Tradesman, who makes such Colour'd Glass told me, that where as the Red Pigment was but Superficial, the Yellow penetrated to the very midst of the Plate. But for further Satisfaction, not having the Opportunity to Foliate those Plates, and so turn them into Looking-glasses, we Foliated a Plate of Muscovy Glass, and then laying on it a little Transparent Varnish of a Gold Colour, we expos'd it to the Sun-beams, so as to cast them upon a Body fit to receive them, on which the Reflected Light, appearing, as we expected, Yellow, manifested that Rebounding from the Specular part of the Selenitis, it was Ting'd in its return with the Colour of the Transparent Varnish through which it pass'd.


After what we have said of the Composition of Colours, it will now be seasonable to annex some Experiments that we made in favour of those Colours, that are taught in the Schools not to be Real, but only Apparent and Phantastical; For we found by Tryals, that these Colours might be Compounded, both with True and Stable Colours, and with one another, as well as unquestionably Genuine and Lasting Colours, and that the Colours resulting from such Compositions, would respectively deserve the same Denominations.

For first, having by the Trajection of the Sun-beams through a Glass-prism thrown an Iris on the Floor, I found that by placing a Blew Glass at a convenient distance betwixt the Prism and the Iris, that part of the Iris that was before Yellow, might be made to appear Green, though not of a Grass Green, but of one more Dilute and Yellowish. And it seems not improbable, that the narrow Greenish List (if I may so call it) that is wont to be seen between the Yellow and Blew parts of the Iris, is made by the Confusion of those two Bordering Colours.

Next, I found, that though the want of a sufficient Liveliness in either of the Compounding Colours, or a light Error in the manner of making the following Tryals, was enough to render some of them Unsuccessfull, yet when all necessary Circumstances were duely observ'd, the Event was answerable to our Expectation and Desire.

And (as I formerly Noted) that Red and Blew compound a Purple, so I could produce this last nam'd Colour, by casting at some Distance from the Glass the Blew part of the Prismatical Iris (as I think it may be call'd for Distinction sake) upon a Lively Red, (for else the Experiment succeeds not so well.) And I remember, that sometimes when I try'd this upon a piece of Red Cloath, that part of the Iris which would have been Blew, (as I try'd by covering that part of the Cloath with a piece of White Paper) and Compounded with the Red, wherewith the Cloath was Imbued before, appear'd of a fair Purple, did, when I came to View it near at hand, look very Odly, as if there were some strange Reflection or Refraction or both made in the Hairs of which that Cloath was composed.

Calling likewise the Prismatical Iris upon a very Vivid Blew, I found that part of it, which would else have been the Yellow, appear Green. (Another somewhat differing Tryal, and yet fit to confirm this, you will find in the fifteenth Experiment.)

But it may seem somewhat more strange, that though the Prismatical Iris being made by the Refraction of Light through a Body that has no Colour at all, must according to the Doctrine of the Schools consist of as purely Emphatical Colours, as may be, yet even these may be Compounded with one another, as well as Real Colours in the Grossest Pigments. For I took at once two Triangular Glasses, and one of them being kept fixt in the same Posture, that the Iris it projected on the Floor might not Waver, I cast on the same Floor another Iris with the other Prism, and Moving it too and fro to bring what part of the second Iris I pleas'd, to fall upon what part of the first I thought fit, we did sometimes (for a small Errour suffices to hinder the Success) obtain by this means a Green Colour in that part of the more Stable Iris, that before was Yellow, or Blew, and frequently by casting those Beams that in one of the Iris's made the Blew upon the Red parts of the other Iris, we were able to produce a lovely Purple, which we can Destroy or Recompose at pleasure, by Severing and Reapproaching the Edges of the two Iris's.


On this occasion, Pyrophilus, I shall add, that finding the Glass-prism to be the usefullest Instrument Men have yet imploy'd about the Contemplation of Colours, and considering that Prisms hitherto in use are made of Glass, Transparent and Colourless, I thought it would not be amiss to try, what change the Superinduction of a Colour, without the Destruction of the Diaphaneity, would produce in the Colours exhibited by the Prism. But being unable to procure one to be made of Colour'd Glass, and fearing also that if it were not carefully made, the Thickness of it would render it too Opacous, I endeavoured to substitute one made of Clarify'd Rosin, or of Turpentine brought (as I elsewhere teach) to the consistence of a Transparent Gum. But though these Endeavours were not wholly lost, yet we found it so difficult to give these Materials their true Shape, that we chose rather to Varnish over an ordinary Prism with some of these few Pigments that are to be had Transparent; as accordingly we did first with Yellow, and then with Red, or rather Crimson, made with Lake temper'd with a convenient Oyl, and the Event was, That for want of good Transparent Colours, (of which you know there are but very few) both the Yellow and the Red made the Glass so Opacous, (though the Pigment were laid on but upon two Sides of the Glass, no more being absolutely necessary) that unless I look'd upon an Inlightned Window, or the Flame of a Candle, or some other Luminous or very Vivid object, I could scarce discern any Colours at all, especially when the Glass was cover'd with Red. But when I did look on such Objects, it appear'd (as I expected) that the Colour of the Pigment had Vitiated or Drown'd some of those which the Prism would according to its wont have exhibited, and mingling with others, Alter'd them: as I remember, that both to my Eyes, and others to whom I show'd it, when the Prism was cover'd with Yellow, it made those Parts of bright Objects, where the Blew would else have been Conspicuous, appear of a light Green. But, Pyrophilus, both the Nature of the Colours, and the Degree of Transparency, or of Darkness in the Pigment, besides divers other Circumstances, did so vary the Phaenomena of these Tryals, that till I can procure small Colour'd Prisms, or Hollow ones that may be filled with Tincted Liquor, or obtain Some better Pigments than those I was reduc'd to imploy, I shall forbear to Build any thing upon what has been delivered, and shall make no other use of it, than to invite you to prosecute the Inquiry further.


And here, Pyrophilus, since we are treating of Emphatical Colours, we shall add what we think not unworthy your Observation, and not unfit to afford some Exercise to the Speculative. For there are some Liquors, which though Colourless themselves, when they come to be Elevated, and Dispers'd into Exhalations, exhibit a conspicuous Colour, which they lose again, when they come to be Reconjoyn'd into a Liquor, as good Spirit of Nitre; or upon its account strong Aqua-fortis, though devoid of all appearance of Redness whilst they continue in the form of a Liquor, if a little Heat chance to turn the Minute parts of them into Vapour, the Steam will appear of a Reddish or deep Yellow Colour, which will Vanish when those Exhalations come to resume the form of Liquor.

And not only if you look upon a Glass half full of Aqua-fortis, or Spirit of Nitre, and half full of Nitrous steams proceeding from it, you will see the Upper part of the Glass of the Colour freshly mention'd, if through it you look upon the Light. But which is much more considerable, I have tried, that putting Aqua-fortis in a long clear Glass, and adding a little Copper or some such open Metall to it, to excite Heat and Fumes, the Light trajected through those Fumes, and cast upon a sheet of White Paper, did upon that appear of the Colour that the Fumes did, when directly Look'd upon, as if the Light were as well Ting'd in its passage through these Fumes, as it would have been by passing through some Glass or Liquor in which the same Colour was Inherent.

To which I shall further add, that having sometimes had the Curiosity to observe whether the Beams of the Sun near the Horizon trajected through a very Red Sky, would not (though such rednesses are taken to be but Emphatical Colours) exhibit the like Colour, I found that the Beams falling within a Room upon a very White Object, plac'd directly opposite to the Sun, disclos'd a manifest Redness, as if they had pass'd through a Colour'd Medium.


The emergency, Pyrophilus, of Colours upon the Coalition of the Particles of such Bodies as were neither of them of the Colour of that Mixture whereof they are the Ingredients, is very well worth our attentive Observation, as being of good use both Speculative and Practical; For much of the Mechanical use of Colours among Painters and Dyers, doth depend upon the Knowledge of what Colours may be produc'd by the Mixtures of Pigments so and so Colour'd. And (as we lately intimated) 'tis of advantage to the contemplative Naturalist, to know how many and which Colours are Primitive (if I may so call them) and Simple, because it both eases his Labour by confining his most sollicitous Enquiry to a small Number of Colours upon which the rest depend, and assists him to judge of the nature of particular compounded Colours, by shewing him from the Mixture of what more Simple ones, and of what Proportions of them to one another, the particular Colour to be consider'd does result. But because to insist on the Proportions, the Manner and the Effects of such Mixtures would oblige me to consider a greater part of the Painters Art and Dyers Trade, than I am well acquainted with, I confin'd my self to make Trial of several ways to produce Green, by the composition of Blew and Yellow. And shall in this place both Recapitulate most of the things I have Dispersedly deliver'd already concerning that Subject, and Recruit them.

And first, whereas Painters (as I noted above) are wont to make Green by tempering Blew and Yellow, both of them made into a soft Consistence, with either Water or Oyl, or some Liquor of Kin to one of those two, according as the Picture is to be Drawn with those they call water Colours, or those they term Oyl Colours, I found that by choosing fit Ingredients, and mixing them in the form of Dry Powders, I could do, what I could not if the Ingredients were temper'd up with a Liquor; But the Blew and Yellow Powders must not only be finely Ground, but such as that the Corpuscles of the one may not be too unequal to those of the other, lest by their Disproportionate Minuteness the Smaller cover and hide the Greater. We us'd with good success a slight Mixture of the fine Powder of Bise, with that of Orpiment, or that of good Yellow Oker, I say a slight Mixture, because we found that an exquisite Mixture did not do so well, but by lightly mingling the two Pigments in several little Parcels, those of them in which the Proportion and Manner of Mixture was more Lucky, afforded us a good Green.

2. We also learn'd in the Dye-houses, that Cloth being Dy'd Blew with Woad, is afterwards by the Yellow Decoction of Luteola or Woud-wax or Wood-wax Dy'd into a Green Colour.

3. You may also remember what we above Related, where we intimated, that having in a Darkn'd Room taken two Bodies, a Blew and a Yellow, and cast the Light Reflected from the one upon the other, we likewise obtain'd a Green.

4. And you may remember, that we observ'd a Green to be produc'd, when in the same Darkn'd Room we look'd at the Hole at which alone the Light enter'd, through the Green and Yellow parts of a sheet of Marbl'd Paper laid over one another.

5. We found too, that the Beams of the Sun being trajected through two pieces of Glass, the one Blew and the other Yellow, laid over one another, did upon a sheet of White paper on which they were made to fall, exhibit a lovely Green.

6. I hope also, that you have not already forgot, what was so lately deliver'd, concerning the composition of a Green, with a Blew and Yellow; of which most Authors would call the one a Real, and the other an Emphatical.

7. And I presume, you may have yet fresh in your memory, what the fourteenth Experiment informs you, concerning the exhibiting of a Green, by the help of a Blew and Yellow, that were both of them Emphatical.

8. Wherefore we will proceed to take notice, that we also devis'd a way of trying whether or no Metalline Solutions though one of them at least had its Colour Adventitious, by the mixture of the Menstruum employ'd to dissolve it, might not be made to compound a Green after the manner of other Bodies. And though this seem'd not easie to be perform'd by reason of the Difficulty of finding Metalline Solutions of the Colour requisite, that would mix without Praecipitating each other; yet after a while having consider'd the matter, the first Tryal afforded me the following Experiment. I took a High Yellow Solution of good Gold in Aqua-Regis, (made of Aqua-fortis, and as I remember half its weight of Spirit of Salt) To this I put a due Proportion of a deep and lovely Blew Solution of Crude Copper, (which I have elsewhere taught to be readily Dissoluble in strong Spirit of Urine) and these two Liquors though at first they seem'd a little to Curdle one another, yet being throughly mingl'd by Shaking, they presently, as had been Conjectur'd, united into a Transparent Green Liquor, which continu'd so for divers days that I kept it in a small Glass wherein 'twas made, only letting fall a little Blackish Powder to the Bottom. The other Phaenomena of this Experiment belong not to this place, where it may suffice to take notice of the Production of a Green, and that the Experiment was more than once repeated with Success.

9. And lastly, to try whether this way of compounding Colours would hold ev'n in Ingredients actually melted by the Violence of the Fire, provided their Texture were capable of safely induring Fusion, we caus'd some Blew and Yellow Ammel to be long and well wrought together in the Flame of a Lamp, which being Strongly and Incessantly blown on them kept them in some degree of Fusion, and at length (for the Experiment requires some Patience as well as Skil) we obtain'd the expected Ammel of a Green Colour.

I know not, Pyrophilus, whether it be worth while to acquaint you with the ways that came into my Thoughts, whereby in some measure to explicate the first of the mention'd ways of making a Green; for I have sometimes Conjectur'd, that the mixture of the Bise and the Orpiment produc'd a Green by so altering the Superficial Asperity, which each of those Ingredients had apart, that the Light Incident on the mixture was Reflected with differing Shades, as to Quantity, or Order, or both, from those of either of the Ingredients, and such as the Light is wont to be Modify'd with, when it Reflects from Grass, or Leaves, or some of those other Bodies that we are wont to call Green. And sometimes too I have doubted, whether the produced Green might not be partly at least deriv'd from this, That the Beams that Rebound from the Corpuscles of the Orpiment, giving one kind of stroak upon the Retina, whose Perception we call Yellow, and the Beams Reflected from the Corpuscles of the Bise, giving another stroak upon the same Retina, like to Objects that are Blew, the Contiguity and Minuteness of these Corpuscles may make the Appulse of the Reflected Light fall upon the Retina within so narrow a Compass, that the part they Beat upon being but as it were a Physical point, they may give a Compounded stroak, which may consequently exhibit a Compounded and new Kind of Sensation, as we see that two Strings of a Musical Instrument being struck together, making two Noises that arrive at the Ear at the same time as to Sense, yield a Sound differing from either of them, and as it were Compounded of both; Insomuch that if they be Discordantly ton'd, though each of them struck apart would yield a Pleasing Sound, yet being struck together they make but a Harsh and troublesome Noise. But this not being so fit a place to prosecute Speculations, I shall not insist, neither upon these Conjectures nor any others, which the Experiment we have been mentioning may have suggested to me. And I shall leave it to you, Pyrophilus, to derive what Instruction you can from comparing together the Various ways whereby a Yellow and a Blew can be made to Compound a Green. That which I now pretend to, being only to shew that the first of those mention'd ways, (not to take at present notice of the rest) does far better agree with our Conjectures about Colours, than either with the Doctrine of the Schools, or with that of the Chymists, both which seem to be very much Disfavour'd by it.

For first, since in the Mixture of the two mention'd Powders I could by the help of a very excellent Microscope (for ordinary ones will scarce serve the turn) discover that which seem'd to the naked Eye a Green Body, to be but a heap of Distinct, though very small Grains of Yellow Orpiment and Blew Bise confusedly enough Blended together, it appears that the Colour'd Corpuscles of either kind did each retain its own Nature and Colour; By which it may be guess'd, what meer Transposition and Juxtaposition of Minute and Singly unchang'd Particles of Matter can do to produce a new Colour; For that this Local Motion and new Disposition of the small parts of the Orpiment did Intervene is much more manifest than it is easie to Explicate how they should produce this new Green otherwise than by the new Manner of their being put together, and consequently by their new Disposition to Modifie the Incident Light by Reflecting it otherwise than they did before they were Mingl'd together.

Secondly, The Green thus made being (if I may so speak) Mechanically produc'd, there is no pretence to derive it from I know not what incomprehensible Substantial Form, from which yet many would have us believe that Colours must flow; Nor does this Green, though a Real and Permanent, not a Phantastical and Vanid Colour, seem to be such an Inherent Quality as they would have it, since not only each part of the Mixture remains unalter'd in Colour, and consequently of a differing Colour from the Heap they Compose, but if the Eye be assisted by a Microscope to discern things better and more distinctly than before it could, it sees not a Green Body, but a Heap of Blew and Yellow Corpuscles.

And in the third place, I demand what either Sulphur, or Salt, or Mercury has to do in the Production of this Green; For neither the Bise nor the Orpiment were indu'd with that Colour before, and the bare Juxtaposition of the Corpuscles of the two Powders that work not upon each other, but might if we had convenient Instruments be separated, unalter'd, cannot with any probability be imagin'd either to Increase or Diminish any of the three Hypostatical Principles, (to which of them soever the Chymists are pleas'd to ascribe Colours) nor does there here Intervene so much as Heat to afford them any colour to pretend, that at least there is made an Extraversion (as the Helmontians speak) of the Sulphur or of any of the two other supposed Principles; But upon this Experiment we have already Reflected enough, if not more than enough for once.


But here, Pyrophilus, I must advertise you, that 'tis not every Yellow and every Blew that being mingl'd will afford a Green; For in case one of the Ingredients do not Act only as endow'd with such a Colour, but as having a power to alter the Texture of the Corpuscles of the other, so as to Indispose them to Reflect the Light, as Corpuscles that exhibit a Blew or a Yellow are wont to Reflect it, the emergent Colour may be not Green, but such as the change of Texture in the Corpuscles of one or both of the Ingredients qualifies them to shew forth; as for instance, if you let fall a few Drops of Syrrup of Violets upon a piece of White Paper, though the Syrrup being spread will appear Blew, yet mingling with it two or three Drops of the lately mention'd Solution of Gold, I obtain'd not a Green but a Reddish mixture, which I expected from the remaining Power of the Acid Salts abounding in the Solution, such Salts or Saline Spirits being wont, as we shall see anon, though weakn'd, so to work upon that Syrrup as to change it into a Red or Reddish Colour. And to confirm that for which I allege the former Experiment, I shall add this other, that having made a very strong and high-colour'd Solution of Filings of Copper with Spirit of Urine, though the Menstruum seem'd Glutted with the Metall, because I put in so much Filings that many of them remain'd for divers days Undissolv'd at the Bottom, yet having put three or four Drops of Syrrup of Violets upon White Paper, I found that the deep Blew Solution proportionably mingl'd with this other Blew Liquor did not make a Blew mixture, but, as I expected, a fair Green, upon the account of the Urinous Salt that was in the Menstruum.


To shew the Chymists, that Colours may be made to Appear or Vanish, where there intervenes no Accession or Change either of the Sulphureous, or the Saline, or the Mercurial principle (as they speak) of Bodies: I shall not make use of the Iris afforded by the Glass-prism, nor of the Colours to be seen in a fair Morning in those drops of Dew that do in a convenient manner Reflect and Refract the Beams of Light to the Eye; But I will rather mind them of what they may observe in their own Laboratories, namely, that divers, if not all, Chymical Essential Oyls, as also good Spirit of Wine, being shaken till they have good store of Bubbles, those Bubbles will (if attentively consider'd) appear adorn'd with various and lovely Colours, which all immediately Vanish, upon the relapsing of the Liquor that affords those Bubbles their Skins, into the rest of the Oyl, or Spirit of Wine, so that a Colourless Liquor may be made in a trice to exhibit variety of Colours, and may lose them in a moment without the Accession or Diminution of any of its Hypostatical Principles. And, by the way, 'tis not unworthy our notice, that some Bodies, as well Colourless, as Colour'd, by being brought to a great Thinness of parts, acquire Colours though they had none before, or Colours differing from them they were before endued with: For, not to insist on the Variety of Colours, that Water, made somewhat Glutinous by Sope, acquires, when 'tis blown into such Sphaerical Bubbles as Boys are wont to make and play with; Turpentine (though it have a Colour deep enough of its own) may (by being blown into after a certain manner) be brought to afford Bubbles adorn'd with variety of Orient Colours, which though they Vanish after some while upon the breaking of the Bubbles, yet they would in likelihood always exhibit Colours upon their Superfices, (though not always the same in the same Parts of them, but Vary'd according to the Incidence of the Sight, and the Position of the Eye) if their Texture were durable enough: For I have seen one that was Skill'd at fashioning Glasses by the help of a Lamp, blowing some of them so strongly as to burst them, whereupon it was found, that the Tenacity of the Metall was such, that before it broke it suffer'd it self to be reduc'd into Films so extremely thin, that being kept clean they constantly shew'd on their Surfaces (but after the manner newly mention'd) the varying Colours of the Rain-bow, which were exceedingly Vivid, as I had often opportunity to observe in some, that I caus'd purposely to be made, to keep by me.

But lest it should be objected, that the above mentioned Instances are drawn from Transparent Liquors, it may possibly appear, not impertinent to add, what I have sometimes thought upon, and several times tried, when I was considering the Opinions of the Chymists about Colours, I took then a Feather of a convenient Bigness and Shape, and holding it at a fit distance betwixt my Eye and the Sun when he was near the Horizon, me thought there appear'd to me a Variety of little Rain-bows, with differing and very vivid Colours, of which none was constantly to be seen in the Feather; the like Phaenomenon I have at other times (though not with altogether so good success) produc'd, by interposing at a due distance a piece of Black Ribband betwixt the almost setting Sun and my Eye, not to mention the Trials I have made to the same purpose, with other Bodies.


Take good Syrrup of Violets, Impraegnated with the Tincture of the flowers, drop a little of it upon a White Paper (for by that means the Change of Colour will be more conspicuous, and the Experiment may be practis'd in smaller Quantities) and on this Liquor let fall two or three drops of Spirit either of Salt or Vinegar, or almost any other eminently Acid Liquor, and upon the Mixture of these you shall find the Syrrup immediatly turn'd Red, and the way of Effecting such a Change has not been unknown to divers Persons who have produc'd the like, by Spirit of Vitriol, or juice of Limmons, but have Groundlessly ascrib'd the Effect to some Peculiar Quality of those two Liquors, whereas, (as we have already intimated) almost any Acid Salt will turn Syrrup of Violets Red. But to improve the Experiment, let me add what has not (that I know of) been hitherto observ'd, and has, when we first shew'd it them, appear'd something strange, even to those that have been inquisitive into the Nature of Colours; namely, that if instead of Spirit of Salt, or that of Vinegar, you drop upon the Syrrup of Violets a little Oyl of Tartar per Deliquium, or the like quantity of Solution of Potashes, and rubb them together with your finger, you shall find the Blew Colour of the Syrrup turn'd in a moment into a perfect Green, and the like may be perform'd by divers other Liquors, as we may have occasion elsewhere to Inform you.

Annotation upon the twentieth Experiment.

The use of what we lately deliver'd concerning the way of turning Syrrup of Violets, Red or Green, may be this; That, though it be a far more common and procurable Liquor than the Infusion of Lignum Nephriticum, it may yet be easily substituted in its Room, when we have a mind to examine, whether or no the Salt predominant in a Liquor or other Body, wherein 'tis Loose and Abundant, belong to the Tribe of Acid Salts or not. For if such a Body turn the Syrrup of a Red or Reddish Purple Colour, it does for the most part argue the Body (especially if it be a distill'd Liquor) to abound with Acid Salt. But if the Syrrup be made Green, that argues the Predominant Salt to be of a Nature repugnant to that of the Tribe of Acids. For, as I find that either Spirit of Salt, or Oyl of Vitriol, or Aqua-fortis, or Spirit of Vinegar, or Juice of Lemmons, or any of the Acid Liquors I have yet had occasion to try, will turn Syrrup of Violets, of a Red, (or at least, of a Reddish Colour, so I have found, that not only the Volatile Salts of all Animal Substances I have us'd, as Spirit of Harts-horn, of Urine, of Sal-Armoniack, of Blood, &c. but also all the Alcalizate Salts I have imploy'd, as the Solution of Salt of Tartar, of Pot-ashes, of common Wood-ashes, Lime-water, &c. will immediately change the Blew Syrrup, into a perfect Green. And by the same way (to hint that upon the by) I elsewhere show you, both the changes that Nature and Time produce, in the more Saline parts of some Bodies, may be discover'd, and also how ev'n such Chymically prepar'd Bodies, as belong not either to the Animal Kingdome, or to the Tribe of Alcali's, may have their new and superinduc'd Nature successfully Examin'd. In this place I shall only add, that not alone the Changing the Colour of the Syrrup, requires, that the Changing Body be more strong, of the Acid, or other sort of Salt that is Predominant in it, than is requisite for the working upon the Tincture of Lignum Nephriticum; but that in this is also, the Operation of the formerly mention'd Salts upon our Syrrup, differs from their Operation upon our Tinctures, that in this Liquor, if the Caeruleous Colour be Destroy'd by an Acid Salt, it may be Restor'd by one that is either Volatile, or Lixiviate; whereas in Syrrup of Violets, though one of these contrary Salts will destroy the Action of the other, yet neither of them will restore the Syrrup to its native Blew; but each of them will Change it into the Colour which it self doth (if I may so speak) affect, as we shall have Occasion to show in the Notes on the twenty fifth Experiment.


There is a Weed, more known to Plowmen than belov'd by them, whose Flowers from their Colour are commonly call'd Blew-bottles, and Corn-weed from their Growing among Corn[18]. These Flowers some Ladies do, upon the account of their Lovely Colour, think worth the being Candied, which when they are, they will long retain so fair a Colour, as makes them a very fine Sallad in the Winter. But I have try'd, that when they are freshly gather'd, they will afford a Juice, which when newly express'd, (for in some cases 'twill soon enough degenerate) affords a very deep and pleasant Blew. Now, (to draw this to our present Scope) by dropping on this fresh Juice, a little Spirit of Salt, (that being the Acid Spirit I had then at hand) it immediately turn'd (as I predicted) into a Red. And if instead of the Sowr Spirit I mingled with it a little strong Solution of an Alcalizate Salt, it did presently disclose a lovely Green; the same Changes being by those differing sorts of Saline Liquors, producible in this Natural juice, that we lately mention'd to have happen'd to that factitious Mixture, the Syrrup of Violets. And I remember, that finding this Blew Liquor, when freshly made, to be capable of serving in a Pen for an Ink of that Colour, I attempted by moistning one part of a piece of White Paper with the Spirit of Salt I have been mentioning, and another with some Alcalizate or Volatile Liquor, to draw a Line on the leisurely dry'd Paper, that should, e'vn before the Ink was dry, appear partly Blew, partly Red, and partly Green: But though the latter part of the Experiment succeeded not well, (whether because Volatile Salts are too Fugitive to be retain'd in the Paper, and Alcalizate ones are too Unctuous, or so apt to draw Moisture from the Air, that they keep the Paper from drying well) yet the former Part succeeded well enough; the Blew and Red being Conspicuous enough to afford a surprizing Spectacle to those, I acquaint not with (what I willingly allow you to call) the Trick.

[18] Herbarists are wont to call this Plant Cyanus vulgaris minor.

Annotation upon the one and twentieth Experiment.

But lest you should be tempted to think (Pyrophilus) that Volatile or Alcalizate Salts change Blews into Green, rather upon the score of the easie Transition of the former Colour into the latter, than upon the account of the Texture, wherein most Vegetables, that afford a Blew, seem, though otherwise differing, to be Allied, I will add, that when I purposely dissolv'd Blew Vitriol in fair Water, and thereby imbu'd sufficiently that Liquor with that Colour, a Lixiviate Liquor, and a Urinous Salt being Copiously pour'd upon distinct Parcels of it, did each of them, though perhaps with some Difference, turn the Liquor not Green, but of a deep Yellowish Colour, almost like that of Yellow Oker, which Colour the Precipitated Corpuscles retain'd, when they had Leisurely subsided to the Bottom. What this Precipitated Substance is, it is not needfull now to Enquire in this place, and in another, I have shown you, that notwithstanding its Colour, and its being Obtainable from an Acid Menstruum by the help of Salt of Tartar, it is yet far enough from being the true Sulphur of Vitriol.


Our next Experiment (Pyrophilus) will perhaps seem to be of a contrary Nature to the two former, made upon Syrrup of Violets, and Juice of Blew-bottles. For as in them by the Affusion of Oyl of Tartar, a Blewish Liquor is made Green, so in this, by the sole Mixture of the same Oyl, a Greenish Liquor becomes Blew. The hint of this Experiment was given us by the practice of some Italian Painters, who being wont to Counterfeit Ultra-marine Azure (as they call it) by Grinding Verdigrease with Sal-Armoniack, and some other Saline Ingredients, and letting them Rot (as they imagine) for a good while together in a Dunghill, we suppos'd, that the change of Colour wrought in the Verdigrease by this way of Preparation, must proceed from the Action of certain Volatile and Alcalizate Salts, abounding in some of the mingled Concretes, and brought to make a further Dissolution of the Copper abounding in the Verdigrease, and therefore we Conjectur'd, that if both the Verdigrease, and such Salts were dissolv'd in fair Water, the small Parts of both being therein more subdivided, and set at liberty, would have better access to each other, and thereby Incorporate much the more suddenly; And accordingly we found, that if upon a strong Solution of good French Verdigrease (for 'tis that we are wont to imploy, as the best) you pour a just quantity of Oyl of Tartar, and shake them well together, you shall immediately see a notable Change of Colour, and the Mixture will grow thick, and not transparent, but if you stay a while, till the Grosser part be Precipitated to, and setled in the Bottom, you may obtain a clear Liquor of a very lovely Colour, and exceeding delightfull to the Eye. But, you must have a care to drop in a competent Quantity of Oyl of Tartar, for else the Colour will not be so Deep, and Rich; and if instead of this Oyl you imploy a clear Lixivium of Pot-ashes, you may have an Azure somewhat Lighter or Paler than, and therefore differing from, the former. And if instead of either of these Liquors, you make use of Spirit of Urine, or of Harts-horn, you may according to the Quantity and Quality of the Spirit you pour in, obtain some further Variety (though scarce considerable) of Caeruleous Liquors. And yet lately by the help of this Urinous Spirit we made a Blew Liquor, which not a few Ingenious Persons, and among them, some, whose Profession makes them very Conversant with Colours, have looked upon with some wonder. But these Azure Colour'd Liquors should be freed from the Subsiding matter, which the Salts of Tartar or Urine precipitate out of them, rather by being Decanted, than by Filtration. For by the latter of these ways we have sometimes found, the Colour of them very much Impair'd, and little Superiour to that of the grosser Substance, that it left in the Filtre.


That Roses held over the Fume of Sulphur, may quickly by it be depriv'd of their Colour, and have as much of their Leaves, as the Fume works upon, burn'd pale, is an Experiment, that divers others have tried, as well as I. But (Pyrophilus) it may seem somewhat strange to one that has never consider'd the Compounded nature of Brimstone, That, whereas the Fume of Sulphur will, as we have said, Whiten the Leaves of Roses; That Liquor, which is commonly call'd Oyl of Sulphur per Campanam, because it is suppos'd to be made by the Condensation of these Fumes in Glasses shap't like Bells, into a Liquor, does powerfully heighten the Tincture of Red Roses, and make it more Red and Vivid, as we have easily tried by putting some Red-Rose Leaves, that had been long dried, (and so had lost much of their Colour) into a Vial of fair Water. For a while after the Affusion of a convenient Quantity of the Liquor we are speaking of, both the Leaves themselves, and the Water they were Steep'd in, discover'd a very fresh and lovely Colour.


It may (Pyrophilus) somewhat serve to Illustrate, not only the Doctrine of Pigments, and of Colours, but divers other Parts of the Corpuscular Philosophy; as that explicates Odours, and many other things, not as the Schools by Aery Qualities, but by Real, though extremely Minute Bodies; to examine, how much of a Colourless Liquor, a very small Parcel of a Pigment may Imbue with a discernable Colour. And though there be scarce any thing of Preciseness to be expected from such Trials, yet I presum'd, that (at least) I should be able to show a much further Subdivision of the Parts of Matter into Visible Particles, than I have hitherto found taken notice of, and than most men would imagine; no Body, that I know of, having yet attempted to reduce this Matter to any Measure.

The Bodies, the most promising for such a purpose, might seem to be the Metalls, especially Gold, because of the Multitude, and Minuteness of its Parts, which might be argu'd from the incomparable Closeness of its Texture: But though we tried a Solution of Gold made in Aqua Regia first, and then in fair Water; yet in regard we were to determine the Pigment we imploy'd, not by Bulk but Weight, and because also, that the Yellow Colour of Gold is but a faint one in Comparison of the deep Colour of Cochineel, we rather chose this to make our Trials with. But among divers of these it will suffice to set down one, which was carefully made in Vessels conveniently Shap'd; (and that in the presence of a Witness, and an Assistant) the Sum whereof I find among my Adversaria, Registred in the following Words. To which I shall only premise, (to lessen the wonder of so strange a diffusion of the Pigment) That Cochineel will be better Dissolv'd, and have its Colour far more heightn'd by Spirit of Urine, than (I say not by common Water, but) by Rectify'd Spirit of Wine it self.

The Note I spoke off is this. [One Grain of Cochineel dissolv'd in a pretty Quantity of Spirit of Urine, and then dissolv'd further by degrees in fair Water, imparted a discernable, though but a very faint Colour, to about six Glass-fulls of Water, each of them containing about forty three Ounces and an half, which amounts to above a hundred twenty five thousand times its own Weight.]


It may afford a considerable Hint (Pyrophilus) to him, that would improve the Art of Dying, to know what change of Colours may be produc'd by the three several sorts of Salts already often mention'd, (some or other of which may be procur'd in Quantity at reasonable Rates) in the Juices, Decoctions, Infusions, and (in a word) the more soluble parts of Vegetables. And, though the design of this Discourse be the Improvement of Knowledge, not of Trades: yet thus much I shall not scruple to intimate here, That the Blew Liquors, mention'd in the twentieth and one and twentieth Experiments, are far from being the only Vegetable Substances, upon which Acid, Urinous, and Alcalizate Salts have the like Operations to those recited in those two Experiments. For Ripe Privet Berries (for instance) being crush'd upon White Paper, though they stain it with a Purplish Colour, yet if we let fall on some part of it two or three drops of Spirit of Salt, and on the other part a little more of the Strong Solution of Pot-ashes, the former Liquor immediately turn'd that part of the Thick juice or Pulp, on which it fell, into a lovely Red, and the latter turn'd the other part of it into a delightfull Green. Though I will not undertake, that those Colours in that Substance shall not be much more Orient, than Lasting; and though (Pyrophilus) this Experiment may seem to be almost the same with those already deliver'd concerning Syrrup of Violets, and the Juice of Blew-bottles, yet I think it not amiss to take this Occasion to inform you, that this Experiment reaches much farther, than perhaps you yet imagine, and may be of good Use to those, whom it concerns to know, how Dying Stuffs may be wrought upon by Saline Liquors. For, I have found this Experiment to succeed in so many Various Berries, Flowers, Blossoms, and other finer Parts of Vegetables, that neither my Memory, nor my Leisure serves me to enumerate them. And it is somewhat surprizing to see, by how Differingly-colour'd Flowers, or Blossoms, (for example) the Paper being stain'd, will by an Acid Spirit be immediately turn'd Red, and by any Alcaly or any Urinous Spirit turn'd Green; insomuch that ev'n the crush'd Blossoms of Meserion, (which I gather'd in Winter and frosty Weather) and those of Pease, crush'd upon White Paper, how remote soever their Colours be from Green, would in a moment pass into a deep Degree of that Colour, upon the Touch of an Alcalizate Liquor. To which let us add, That either of those new Pigments (if I may so call them) may by the Affusion of enough of a contrary Liquor, be presently chang'd from Red into Green, and from Green into Red, which Observation will hold also in Syrrup of Violets, Juices of Blew-bottles, &c.


After what I have formerly deliver'd to evince, That there are many Instances, wherein new Colours are produc'd or acquir'd by Bodies, which Chymists are wont to think destitute of Salt, or to whose change of Colours no new Accession of Saline Particles does appear to contribute, I think we may safely enough acknowledge, that we have taken notice of so many Changes made by the Intervention of Salts in the Colours of Mix'd Bodies, that it has lessen'd our Wonder, That though many Chymists are wont to ascribe the Colours of Such Bodies to their Sulphureous, and the rest to their Mercurial Principle; yet Paracelsus himself directs us in the Indagation of Colours, to have an Eye principally upon Salts, as we find in that passage of his, wherein he takes upon him to Oblige his Readers much by Instructing them, of what things they are to expect the Knowledge from each of the three distinct Principles of Bodies. Alias (says he) Colorum similis ratio est: De quibus brevem institutionem hanc attendite, quod scilicet colores omnes ex Sale prodeant. Sal enim dat colorem, dat Balsamum.[19] And a little beneath. Iam natura Ipsa colores protrathit ex sale, cuique speciei dans illum, qui ipsi competit, &c. After which he concludes; Itaque qui rerum omnium corpora cognoscere vult, huic opus est, ut ante omnia cognoscat Sulphur, Ab hoc, qui desiderat novisse Colores is scientiam istorum petat a Sale, Qui scire vult Virtutes, is scrutetur arcana Mercurii. Sic nimirum fundamentum hauserit Mysteriorum, in quolibet crescenti indagandorum, prout natura cuilibet speciei ea ingessit. But though Paracelsus ascribes to each of his belov'd Hypostatical Principles, much more than I fear will be found to belong to it; yet if we please to consider Colours, not as Philosophers, but as Dyers, the concurrence of Salts to the striking and change of Colours, and their Efficacy, will, I suppose, appear so considerable, that we shall not need to quarrel much with Paracelsus, for ascribing in this place (for I dare not affirm that he uses to be still of one Mind) the Colours of Bodies to their Salts, if by Salts he here understood, not only Elementary Salts, but such also as are commonly taken for Salts, as Allom, Crystals of Tartar, Vitriol, &c. because the Saline principle does chiefly abound in them, though indeed they be, as we elsewhere declare, mix'd Bodies, and have most of them, besides what is Saline, both Sulphureous, Aqueous, and Gross or Earthy parts.

[19] Paracelsus de Mineral. tract. 1. pag. m. 243

But though (Pyrophilus) I have observ'd a Red and Green to be produc'd, the former, by Acid Salts, the later by Salts not Acid, in the express Juices of so many differing Vegetable Substances, that the Observation, if persued, may prove (as I said) of good Use: yet to show you how much e'vn these Effects depend upon the particular Texture of Bodies, I must subjoyn some cases wherein I (who am somewhat backwards to admit Observations for Universal) had the Curiosity to discover, that the Experiments would not Uniformly succeed, and of these Exceptions, the chief that I now remember, are reducible to the following three.


And, (first) I thought fit to try the Operation of Acid Salts upon Vegetable Substances, that are already and by their own Nature Red. And accordingly I made Trial upon Syrrup of Clove-july-flowers, the clear express'd Juice of the succulent Berries of Spina Cervina, or Buckthorn (which I had long kept by me for the sake of its deep Colour) upon Red Roses, Infusion of Brazil, and divers other Vegetable Substances, on some of which crush'd (as is often mention'd) upon White Paper, (which is also to be understood in most of these Experiments, if no Circumstance of them argue otherwise) Spirit of Salt either made no considerable Change, or alter'd the Colour but from a Darker to a Lighter Red. How it will succeed in many other Vegetable Juices, and Infusions of the same Colour, I have at present so few at hand, that I must leave you to find it out your self. But as for the Operation of the other sorts of Salts upon these Red Substances, I found it not very Uniform, some Red, or Reddish Infusions, as of Roses, being turn'd thereby into a dirty Colour, but yet inclining to Green. Nor was the Syrrup of Clove-july-flowers turn'd by the solution of Pot-ashes to a much better, though somewhat a Greener, Colour. Another sort of Red Infusions was by an Alcaly not turn'd into a Green, but advanc'd into a Crimson, as I shall have occasion to note ere long. But there were other sorts, as particularly the lovely Colour'd juice of Buckthorn Berries, that readily pass'd into a lovely Green.


Among other Vegetables, which we thought likely to afford Exceptions to the General Observation about the differing Changes of Colours produc'd by Acid and Sulphureous Salts, we thought fit to make Trial upon the Flowers of Jasmin, they being both White as to Colour, and esteem'd to be of a more Oyly nature than other Flowers. Whereupon having taken the White parts only of the Flowers, and rubb'd them somewhat hard with my Finger upon a piece of clean Paper, it appear'd very little Discolour'd. Nor had Spirit of Salt, wherewith I moisten'd one part of it, any considerable Operation upon it. But Spirit of Urine, and somewhat more effectually a strong Alcalizate Solution, did immediately turn the almost Colourless Paper moisten'd by the Juice of the Jasmin, not as those Liquors are wont to do, when put upon the Juices of other Flowers, of a good Green, but of a Deep, though somewhat Greenish Yellow, which Experiment I did afterwards at several times repeat with the like success. But it seems not that a great degree of Unctuousness is necessary to the Production of the like Effects, for when we try'd the Experiment with the Leaves of those purely White Flowers that appear about the end of Winter, and are commonly call'd Snow drops, the event, was not much unlike that, which, we have been newly mentioning.


Another sort of Instances to show, how much changes of Colour effected by Salts, depend upon the particular Texture of the Colour'd Bodies, has been afforded me by several Yellow Flowers, and other Vegetables, as Mary-gold Leaves, early Prim-roses, fresh Madder, &c. For being rubb'd upon White Paper, till they imbued it with their Colour, I found not, that by the addition of Alcalizate Liquors, nor yet by that of an Urinous Spirit, they would be turn'd either Green or Red: nor did so Acid a Spirit, as that of Salt, considerably alter their Colour, save that it seem'd a little to Dilute it. Only in some early Prim-roses it destroy'd the greatest part of the Colour, and made the Paper almost White agen. And Madder also afforded some thing peculiar, and very differing from what we have newly mention'd: For having gather'd Some Roots of it, and, (whilst they were recent) express'd upon White Paper the Yellow Juice, an Alcalizate Solution drop'd upon it did not turn it either Green or White, but Red. And the bruis'd Madder it self being drench'd with the like Alcalizate Solution, exchang'd also its Yellowishness for a Redness.

An admonition touching the four preceding Experiments.

Having thus (Pyrophilus) given you divers Instances, to countenance the General observation deliver'd in the twenty fifth Experiment, and divers Exceptions whereby it ought to be Limited; I must leave the further Inquiry into these Matters to your own Industry. For not remembring at present many of those other Trials, long since made to satisfie my self about Particulars, and not having now the Opportunity to repeat them, I must content my Self to have given you the Hint, and the ways of prosecuting the search your Self; and only declare to you in general, that, As I have made many Trials, unmention'd in this Treatise, whose Events were agreeable to those mention'd in the twenty fifth Experiment, so (to name now no other Instances) what I have try'd with Acid and Sulphureous Salts upon the Pulp of Juniper Berries, rubb'd upon White Paper, inclines me to think, That among that vast Multitude, and strange Variety of Plants that adorn the face of the Earth, perhaps many other Vegetables may be found, on which such Menstruums may not have such Operations, as upon the Juice of Violets, Pease-blossoms, &c. no nor upon any of those three other sorts of Vegetables, that I have taken notice of in the three fore-going Experiments. It sufficiently appearing ev'n by these, that the effects of a Salt upon the Juices of particular Vegetables do very much depend upon their particular Textures.


It may be of some Use towards the discovery of the nature of these Changes, which the Alimental Juice receives in some Vegetables, according to the differing degrees of their Maturity, and according to the differing kinds of Plants of the same Denomination, to observe what Operation Acid, Urinous, and Alcalizate Salts will have upon the Juices of the several sorts of the Vegetable substances I have been mentioning.

To declare my meaning by an Example, I took from the same Cluster, one Blackberry full Ripe, and another that had not yet gone beyond a Redness, and rubbing apiece of white Paper, with the former, I observ'd, that the Juice adhering to it was of adark Reddish Colour, full of little Black Specks; and that this Juice by a drop of a strong Lixivium, was immediately turn'd into a Greenish Colour deep enough, by as much Urinous Spirit into a Colour much of Kin to the former, though somewhat differing, and fainter; and by a drop of Spirit of Salt into a fine and lightsome Red: where as the Red Berry being in like manner rubb'd upon Paper, left on it a Red Colour, which was very little alter'd by the Acid Spirit newly nam'd, and by the Urinous and Lixiviate Salts receiv'd changes of Colour differing from those that had been just before produc'd in the dark Juice of the Ripe Blackberry.

I remember also, that though the Infusion of Damask-Roses would as well, though not so much, as that of Red, be heightned by Acid Spirits to an intense degree of Redness, and by Lixiviate Salts be brought to a Darkish Green; yet having for Trials sake taken a Rose, whose Leaves, which were large and numerous, like those of a Province Rose, were perfectly Yellow, though in a Solution of Salt of Tartar, they afforded a Green Blewish Tincture, yet I did not by an Acid Liquor obtain a Red one; all that the Saline Spirit I imploy'd, perform'd, being (if I much misremember not) to Dilute Somewhat the Yellowness of the Leaves. I would also have tried the Tincture of Yellow Violets, but could procure none. And if I were in those Islands of Banda, which are made Famous as well as Rich, by being the almost only places, where Cloves will prosper, I should think it worth my Curiosity to try, what Operation the three differing Kinds of Salts, I have so often mention'd, would have upon the Juice of this Spice, (express'd at the several Seasons of it) as it grows upon the Tree. Since good Authors inform us, (of what is remarkable) that these whether Fruits, or Rudiments of Fruits, are at first White, afterward Green, and then Reddish, before they be beaten off the Tree, after which being Dry'd before they are put up, they grow Blackish as we see them. And one of the recentest Herbarists informs us, that the Flower grows upon the top of the Clove it self, consisting of four small Leaves, like a Cherry Blossom, but of an excellent Blew. But (Pyrophilus) to return to our own Observations, I shall add, that I the rather choose, to mention to you an Example drawn from Roses, because that though I am apt to think, as I elsewhere advertise, that something may be guess'd at about some of the Qualities of the Juices of Vegetables, by the Resemblance or Disparity that we meet with in the Changes made of their Colours, by the Operation of the same kinds of Salts; yet that those Conjectures should be very warily made, may appear among other things, by the Instance I have chosen to give in Roses. For though, (as I formerly told you) the Dry'd Leaves, both of the Damask, and of Red ones, give a Red Tincture to Water sharpen'd with Acid Salts, yet the one sort of Leaves is known to have a Purgative faculty,[20] and the other are often, and divers ways, imploy'd for Binding.

[20] See Parkinson Th. Boran. Trib. 9. cap. 26.

And I also choose (Pyrophilus) to subjoyn this twenty ninth Experiment to those that precede it, about the change of the Colours of Vegetables by Salts, for these two reasons: The first, that you may not easily entertain Suspitions, if in the Trials of an Experiment of some of the Kinds formerly mention'd, you should meet with an Event somewhat differing from what my Relations may have made you expect. And the second, That you may hereby be invited to discern, that it may not be amiss to take notice of the particular Seasons wherein you gather the Vegetables which in Nicer Experiments you make use of. For, it I were not hindred both by haste and some justifiable Considerations, I could perhaps add considerable Instances, to those lately deliver'd, for the making out of this Observation; but for certain reasons I shall at present substitute a remarkable passage to be met with in that Laborious Herbarist Mr. Parkinson, where treating of the Virtues of the (already divers times mention'd) Buckthorn Berries, he subjoyns the following account of several Pigments that are made of them, not only according to the several ways of Handling them, but according to the differing Seasons of Maturity, at which they are Gather'd; Of these Berries, (says he) are made three several sorts of Colours as they shall be gather'd, that is, being gather'd while they are Green, and kept Dry, are call'd Sapberries, which being steep'd into some Allom-water, or fresh bruis'd into Allom-water, they give a reasonable fair Yellow Colour which Painters use for their Work, and Book-binders to Colour the edges of Books, and Leather-dressers to Colour Leather, as they use also to make a Green Colour, call'd Sap-green, taken from the Berries when they are Black, being bruis'd and put into a Brass or Copper Kettle or Pan, and there suffer'd to abide three or four Days, or a little heated upon the Fire, and some beaten Allom put unto them, and afterwards press'd forth, the Juice or Liquor is usually put in great Bladders tied with strong thred at the Head and hung up untill it be Dry, which is dissolv'd in Water or Wine, but Sack (he affirms) is the best to preserve the Colour from Starving, (as they call it) that is, from Decaying, and make it hold fresh the longer. The third Colour (where of none (says he) that I can find have made mention but only Tragus) is a Purplish Colour, which is made of the Berries suffer'd to grow upon the Bushes untill the middle or end of November, that they are ready to drop from the Trees.

And, I remember (Pyrophilus) that I try'd, with a success that pleas'd me well enough, to make such a kind of Pigment, as Painters call Sap-green, by a way not unlike that, deliver'd here by our Author, but I cannot now find any thing relating to that matter among my loose Papers. And my Trials were made so many years ago, that I dare not trust my Memory for Circumstances, but will rather tell you, that in a noted Colour-shop, I brought them by Questions to confess to me, that they made their Sap-green much after the ways by our Botanist here mention'd. And on this occasion I shall add an Observation, which though it does not strictly belong to this place, may well enough be mention'd here, namely, that I find by an account given us by the Learned Clusius, of Alaternus, that ev'n the Grosser Parts of the same Plant, are some of them one Colour, and some another; For speaking of that Plant, he tells us, that the Portugalls use the Bark to Dye their Nets into a Red Colour, and with the Chips of the Wood, which are Whitish, they Dye a Blackish Blew.


Among the Experiments that tend to shew that the change of Colours in Bodies may proceed from the Vary'd Texture of their Parts, and the consequent change of their Disposition to Reflect or Refract the Light, that sort of Experiments must not be left unmention'd, which is afforded us by Chymical Digestions. For, if Chymists will believe several famous Writers about what they call the Philosophers Stone, they must acknowledge that the same Matter, seald up Hermetically in a Philosophical Egg, will by the continuance of Digestion, or if they will have it so (for it is not Material in our case which of the two it be) of Decoction, run through a great Variety of differing Colours, before it come to that of the Noblest Elixir; whether that be Scarlet, or Purple, or what ever other Kind of Red. But without building any thing on so Obtruse and Questionable an Operation, (which yet may be pertinently represented to those that believe the thing) we may observe, that divers Bodies digested in carefully-clos'd Vessels, will in tract of time, change their Colour: As I have elsewhere mention'd my having observ'd ev'n in Rectify'd Spirit of Harts-horn, and as is evident in the Precipitations of Amalgams of Gold, and Mercury, without Addition, where by the continuance of a due Heat the Silver-Colour'd Amalgam is reduc'd into a shining Red Powder. Further Instances of this Kind you may find here and there in divers places of my other Essays. And indeed it has been a thing, that has much contributed to deceive many Chymists, that there are more Bodies than one, which by Digestion will be brought to exhibit that Variety and Succession of Colours, which they imagine to be Peculiar to what they call the True matter of the Philosophers. But concerning this, I shall referr you to what you may elsewhere find in the Discourse written touching the passive Deceptions of Chymists, and more about the Production of Colours by Digestion you will meet with presently. Wherefore I shall now make only this Observation from what has been deliver'd, That in these Operations there appears not any cause to attribute the new Colours emergent to the Action of a new Substantial form, nor to any Increase or Decrement of either the Salt, Sulphur, or Mercury of the Matter that acquires new Colours: For the Vessels are clos'd, and these Principles according to the Chymists are Ingenerable and Incorruptible; so that the Effect seems to proceed from hence, that the Heat agitating and shuffling the Corpuscles of the Body expos'd to it, does in process of time so change its Texture, as that the Transposed parts do Modifie the incident Light otherwise, than they did when the Matter appear'd of another Colour.


Among the several changes of Colour, which Bodies acquire or disclose by Digestion, it it very remarkable, that Chymists find a Redness rather than any other Colour in most of the Tinctures they Draw, and ev'n in the more Gross Solutions they make of almost all Concretes, that abound either with Mineral or Vegetable Sulphur, though the Menstruum imploy'd about these Solutions or Tinctures be never so Limpid or Colourless.

This we have observ'd in I know not how many Tinctures drawn with Spirit of Wine from Jalap, Guaicum, and several other Vegetables; and not only in the Solutions of Amber, Benzoin, and divers other Concretes made with the same Menstruum, but also in divers Mineral Tinctures. And, not to urge that familiar Instance of the Ruby of Sulphur, as Chymists upon the score of its Colour, call the Solution of Flowers of Brimstone, made with the Spirit of Turpentine, nor to take notice of other more known Examples of the aptness of Chymical Oyls, to produce a Red Colour with the Sulphur they extract, or dissolve; not to insist (I say) upon Instances of this nature, I shall further represent to you, as a thing remarkable, that, both Acid and Alcalizate Salts, though in most other cases of such contrary Operations, in reference to Colours, will with many Bodies that abound with Sulphureous, or with Oyly parts, produce a Red; as is manifest partly in the more Vulgar Instances of the Tinctures, or Solutions of Sulphur made with Lixiviums, either of Calcin'd Tartar or Pot-ashes, and other Obvious examples, partly by this, that the true Glass of Antimony extracted with some Acid Spirits, with or without Wine, will yield a Red Tincture, and that I know an Acid Liquor, which in a moment will turn Oyl of Turpentine into a deep Red. But among the many Instances I could give you of the easie Production of Redness by the Operation of Saline Spirit, as well as of Spirit of Wine; I remember two or three of those I have tried, which seem remarkable enough to deserve to be mention'd to you apart.


But before we set them down, it will not perhaps appear impertinent to premise;

That there seems to be a manifest Disparity betwixt Red Liquors, so that some of them may be said to have a Genuine Redness in comparison of others, that have a Yellowish Redness: For if you take (for example) a good Tincture of Chochineel, dilute it never so much with fair Water, you will not (as far as I can judge by what I have tried) be able to make it a Yellow Liquor. Insomuch that a Single drop of a rich Solution of Cochineel in Spirit of Urine, being Diluted with above an Ounce of fair Water, exhibited no Yellowishness at all, but a fair (though somewhat faint) Pinck or Carnation; and even when Cochineel was by degrees Diluted much beyond the newly mention'd Colour, by the way formerly related to you in the twenty fourth Experiment, I remember not, that there appear'd in the whole Trial any Yellow. But if you take Balsom of Sulphur (for Instance) though it may appear in a Glass, where it has a good Thickness, to be of a deep Red, yet if you shake the Glass, or pour a few drops on a sheet of White Paper, spreading them on it with your Finger, the Balsom that falls back along the sides of the Glass, and that which stains the Paper, will appear Yellow, not Red. And there are divers Tinctures, such as that of Amber made with Spirit of Wine, (to name now no more) that will appear either Yellow or Red, according as the Vessels that they fill, are Slender or Broad.


But to proceed to the Experiments I was about to deliver; First; Oyl or Spirit of Turpentine, though clear as fair Water, being Digested upon the purely White Sugar of Lead, has, in a short time, afforded us a high Red Tincture, that some Artists are pleas'd to call the Balsom of Saturn, which they very much (and probably not altogether without cause) extoll as an excellent Medicine in divers Outward affections.


Next, take of common Brimstone finely powdred five Ounces, of Sal-Armoniack likewise pulveriz'd an equal weight, of beaten Quick-lime six Ounces, mix these Powders exquisitely, and Distill them through a Retort plac'd in Sand by degrees of Fire, giving at length as intense a Heat as you well can in Sand, there will come over (if you have wrought well) a Volatile Tincture of Sulphur, which may probably prove an excellent Medicine, and should have been mention'd among the other Preparations of Sulphur, which we have elsewhere imparted to you, but that it is very pertinent to our present Subject, The change of Colours. For though none of the Ingredients be Red, the Distill'd Liquor will be so: and this Liquor if it be well Drawn, will upon a little Agitation of the Vial first unstop'd (especially if it be held in a Warmer hand) lend forth a copious Fume, not Red, like that of Nitre, but White; And sometimes this Liquor may be so Drawn, that I remember, not long since, I took pleasure to observe in a parcel of it, that Ingredients not Red, did not only yield by Distillation a Volatile Spirit that was Red, but though that Liquor did upon the bare opening of the Bottle it was kept in, drive us away with the plenty and sulphureous sent of a White steam which it sent forth, yet the Liquor it self being touch'd by our Fingers, did immediately Dye them Black.

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