Experiments and Considerations Touching Colours (1664)
by Robert Boyle
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The third and last Experiment I shall now mention to shew, how prone Bodies abounding in Sulphureous parts are to afford a Red Colour, is one, wherein by the Operation of a Saline Spirit upon a White or Whitish Body, which according to the Chymists should be altogether Sulphureous, a Redness may be produc'd, not (as in the former Experiments) slowly, but in the twinkling of an Eye. We took then of the Essential Oyl of Anniseeds, which has this Peculiarity, that in Cold weather it loses its Fluidity and the greatest part of its Transparency, and looks like a White or Whitish Oyntment, and near at hand seems to consist of a Multitude of little soft Scales: Of this Coagulated Stuff we spread a little with a Knife upon a piece of White Paper, and letting fall on it, and mixing with it a drop or two of Oyl of Vitriol, immediately (as we fore-saw) there emerg'd together with some Heat and Smoak, a Blood-Red Colour, which therefore was in a trice produc'd by two Bodies, whereof the one had but a Whitish Colour, and the other (if carefully rectify'd) had no Colour at all.


But on this Occasion (Pyrophilus) we must add once for all, that in many of the above-recited Experiments, though the changes of Colour happen'd as we have mention'd them: yet the emergent or produc'd Colour is oft times very subject to Degenerate, both quickly and much. Notwithstanding which, since the Changes, we have set down, do happen presently upon the Operation of the Bodies upon each other, or at the times by us specify'd; that is sufficient both to justifie our Veracity, and to shew what we Intend; it not being Essential to the Genuineness of a Colour to be Durable. For a fading Leaf, that is ready to Rot, and moulder into Dust, may have as true a Yellow, as a Wedge of Gold, which so obstinately resists both Time and Fire. And the reason, why I take occasion from the former Experiment to subjoyn this general Advertisement, is, that I have several times observ'd, that the Mixture resulting from the Oyls of Vitriol, and of Anniseeds, though it acquire a thicker consistence than either of the Ingredients had, has quickly lost its Colour, turning in a very short time into a dirty Gray, at least in the Superficial parts, where 'tis expos'd to the Air; which last Circumstance I therefore mention, because that, though it seem probable, that this Degeneration of Colours may oft times and in divers cases proceed from the further Action of the Saline Corpuscles, and the other Ingredients upon one another, yet in many cases much of the Quick change of Colours seems ascribeable to the Air, as may be made probable by several reasons: The first whereof may be fetcht from the newly recited Example of the two Oyls; The next may be, that we have sometimes observ'd long Window-Curtains of light Colours, to have that part of them, which was expos'd to the Air, when the Window was open, of one Colour, and the lower part, that was sheltred from the Air by the Wall, of another Colour: And the third Argument may be fetch'd from divers Observations, both of others, and our own; For of that Pigment so well known in Painters Shops, by the name of Turnsol, our Industrious Parkinson, in the particular account he gives of the Plant that bears it, tells us also, That the Berries when they are at their full Maturity, have within them between the outer Skin and the inward Kirnel or Seed, a certain Juice or Moisture, which being rubb'd upon Paper or Cloath, at the first appears of a fresh and lovely Green Colour, but presently changeth into a kind of Blewish Purple, upon the Cloath or Paper, and the same Cloath afterwards wet in Water, and wrung forth, will Colour the Water into a Claret Wine Colour, and these (concludes he) are those Raggs of Cloath, which are usually call'd Turnsol in the Druggists or Grocers Shops[21]. And to this Observation of our Botanist we will add an Experiment of our own, (made before we met with That) which, though in many Circumstances, very differing, serves to prove the same thing; for having taken of the deeply Red Juice of Buckthorn Berries, which I bought of the Man that uses to sell it to the Apothecaries, to make their Syrrup de Spina Cervina, I let some of it drop upon a piece of White Paper, and having left it there for many hours, till the Paper was grown dry again, I found what I was inclin'd to suspect, namely, That this Juice was degenerated from a deep Red to a dirty kind of Greyish Colour, which, in a great part of the stain'd Paper seem'd not to have so much as an Eye of Red: Though a little Spirit of Salt or dissolv'd Alcaly would turn this unpleasant Colour (as formerly I told you it would change the not yet alter'd Juice) into a Red or Green. And to satisfie my self, that this Degeneration of Colour did not proceed from the Paper, I drop'd some of the deep Red or Crimson Juice upon a White glaz'd Tile, and suffering it to dry on there, I found that ev'n in that Body, on which it could not Soak, and by which it could not be Wrought, it nevertheless lost its Colour. And these Instances (Pyrophilus) I am the more carefull to mention to you, that you may not be much Surpris'd or Discourag'd, if you should sometimes miss of performing punctually what I affirm my self to have done in point of changing Colours; since in these Experiments the over-sight or neglect of such little Circumstances, as in many others would not be perhaps considerable, may occasion the mis-carrying of a Trial. And I was willing also to take this occasion of Advertising you in the repeating of the Experiments mention'd in this Treatise, to make use of the Juices of Vegetables, and other things prepar'd for your Trials, as soon as ever they are ready, lest one or other of them grow less fit, if not quite unfit by delay; and to estimate the Event of the Trials by the Change, that is produc'd presently upon the due and sufficient Application of Actives to Passives, (as they speak) because in many cases the effects of such Mixtures may not be lasting, and the newly produc'd Colour may in a little time degenerate. But, (Pyrophilus) I forgot to add to the two former Observations lately made about Vegetables, a third of the same Import, made in Mineral substances, by telling you, That the better to satisfie a Friend or two in this particular, I sometimes made, according to some Conjectures of mine, this Experiment; That having dissolv'd good Silver in Aqua-fortis, and Precipitated it with Spirit of Salt, upon the first Decanting of the Liquor, the remaining Matter would be purely White; but after it had lain a while uncover'd, that part of it, that was Contiguous to the Air, would not only lose its Whiteness, but appear of a very Dark and almost Blackish Colour, I say that part that was Contiguous to the Air, because if that were gently taken off, the Subjacent part of the same Mass would appear very White, till that also, having continu'd a while expos'd to the Air, would likewise Degenerate. Now whether the Air perform these things by the means of a Subtile Salt, which we elsewhere show it not to be destitute of, or by a peircing Moisture, that is apt easily to insinuate it self into the Pores of some Bodies, and thereby change their Texture, and so their Colour; Or by solliciting the Avolation of certain parts of the Bodies, to which 'tis Contiguous; or by some other way, (which possibly I may elsewhere propose and consider) I have not now the leisure to discourse. And for the same reason, though I could add many other Instances, of what I formerly noted touching the emergency of Redness upon the Digestion of many Bodies, insomuch that I have often seen upon the Borders of France (and probably we may have the like in England) a sort of Pears, which digested for some time with a little Wine, in a Vessel exactly clos'd, will in not many hours appear throughout of a deep Red Colour, (as also that of the Juice, wherein they are Stew'd, becomes) but ev'n on pure and white Salt of Tartar, pure Spirit of Wine, as clear as Rock-water, will (as we elsewhere declare) by long Digestion acquire a Redness; Though I say such Instances might be Multiply'd, and though there be some other Obvious changes of Colours, which happen so frequently, that they cannot but be as well Considerable as Notorious; such as is the Blackness of almost all Bodies burn'd in the open Air: yet our haste invites us to resign you the Exercise of enquiring into the Causes of these Changes. And certainly, the reason both why the Soots of such differing Bodies are almost all of them all Black, why so much the greater part of Vegetables should be rather Green than of any other Colour, and particularly (which more directly concerns this place) why gentle Heats do so frequently in Chymical Operations produce rather a Redness than another Colour in digested Menstruums, not only Sulphureous, as Spirit of Wine, but Saline, as Spirit of Vinegar, may be very well worth a serious Inquiry; which I shall therefore recommend to Pyrophilus and his Ingenious Friends.

[21] Parkinson, Thea. Bot. Trib. 4 cap. 12.


It may seem somewhat strange, that if you take the Crimson Solution of Cochineel, or the Juice of Black Cherries, and of some other Vegetables that afford the like Colour, (which because many take but for a deep Red, we do with them sometimes call it so) and let some of it fall upon a piece of Paper, a drop or two of an Acid Spirit, such as Spirit of Salt, or Aqua-fortis, will immediately turn it into a fair Red. Whereas if you make an Infusion of Brazil in fair Water, and drop a little Spirit of Salt or Aqua-fortis into it, that will destroy its Redness, and leave the Liquor of a Yellow, (sometimes Pale) I might perhaps plausibly enough say on this occasion, that if we consider the case a little more attentively, we may take notice, that the action of the Acid Spirit seems in both cases, but to weaken the Colour of the Liquor on which it falls. And so though it destroy Redness in the Tincture of Brazil, as well as produce Red in the Tincture of Chochineel, its Operations may be Uniform enough, since as Crimson seems to be little else than a very deep Red, with (perhaps) an Eye of Blew, so some kinds of Red seem (as I have lately noted) to be little else than heightned Yellow. And consequently in such Bodies, the Yellow seems to be but a diluted Red. And accordingly Alcalizate Solutions and Urinous Spirits, which seem dispos'd to Deepen the Colours of the Juices and Liquors of most Vegetables, will not only restore the Solution of Cochineel and the Infusion of Brazil to the Crimson, whence the Spirit of Salt had chang'd them into a truer Red; but will also (as I lately told you) not only heighthen the Yellow Juice of Madder into Red, but advance the Red Infusion of Brazil to a Crimson. But I know not whether it will not be much safer to derive these Changes from vary'd Textures, than certain kinds of Bodies; and you will perhaps think it worth while, that I should add on this occasion, That it may deserve some Speculation, why, notwithstanding what we have been observing, though Blew and Purple seem to be deeper Colours than Red, and therefore the Juices of Plants of either of the two former Colours may (congruously enough to what has been just now noted) be turn'd Red by Spirit of Salt or Aqua-fortis, yet Blew Syrrup of Violets and some Purples should both by Oyl of Tartar and Spirit of Urine be chang'd into Green, which seems to be not a deeper but a more diluted Colour than Blew, if not also than Purple.


It would much contribute to the History of Colours, if Chymists would in their Laboratories take a heedfull notice, and give us a faithfull account of the Colours observ'd in the Steams of Bodies either Sublim'd or Distill'd, and of the Colours of those Productions of the Fire, that are made up by the Coalition of those Steams. As (for Instance) we observe in the Distilling of pure Salt peter, that at a certain season of the Operation, the Body, though it seem either Crystalline, or White, affords very Red Fumes: whereas though Vitriol be Green or Blew, the Spirit of it is observ'd to come over in Whitish Fumes. The like Colour I have taken notice of in the Fumes of several other Concretes of differing Colours, and Natures, especially when Distill'd with strong Fires. And we elsewhere note, that ev'n Soot, as Black as it is, has fill'd our Receivers with such copious White Fumes, that they seem'd to have had their In-sides wash'd with Milk. And no less observable may be, the Distill'd Liqours, into which such Fumes convene, (for though we will not deny, that by skill and care a Reddish Liqour may be obtain'd from Nitre) yet the common Spirit of it, in the making ev'n of which store of these Red Fumes are wont to pass over into the Receiver, appears not to be at all Red. And besides, that neither the Spirit of Vitriol, nor that of Soot is any thing White; And, besides also, that as far as I have observ'd, most (for I say not all) of the Empyreumatical Oyls of Woods, and other Concretes, are either of a deep Red, or of a Colour between Red and Black; besides this, I say, 'tis very remarkable that notwithstanding that great Variety of Colours to be met with in the Herbs, Flowers, and other Bodies wont to be Distill'd in Balneo: yet (as far at least as our common Distillers Experience reacheth) all the Waters and Spirits that first come over by that way of Distillation, leave the Colours of their Concretes behind them, though indeed there be one or two Vegetables not commonly taken notice of, whose Distill'd Liqours I elsewhere observe to carry over the Tincture of the Concrete with them. And as in Distillations, so in Sublimations, it were worth while to take notice of what comes up, in reference to our present scope, by purposely performing them (as I have in some cafes done) in conveniently shap'd Glasses, that the Colour of the ascending Fumes may be discern'd; For it may afford a Naturalist good Information to observe the Congruities or the Differences betwixt the Colours of the ascending Fumes, and those of the Flowers, they compose by their Convention. For it is evident, that these Flowers, do many of them in point of Colour, much differ, not only from one another, but oft times from the Concretes that afforded them. Thus, (not here to repeat what I formerly noted of the Black Soots of very differingly Colour'd Bodies) though Camphire and Brimstone afford Flowers much of their own Colour, save that those of Brimstone are wont to be a little Paler, than the Lumps that yielded them; yet ev'n of Red Benzoin, that sublim'd Substance, which Chymists call its Flowers, is wont to be White or Whitish. And to omit other Instances, ev'n one and the same Black Mineral, Antimony, may be made to afford Flowers, some of them Red, and some Grey, and, which is more strange, some of them purely White. And 'tis the Prescription of some Glass-men by exquisitely mingling a convenient proportion of Brimstone, Sal-Armoniack, and Quicksilver, and Subliming them, together, to make a Sublimate of an excellent Blew; and though having caus'd the Experiment to be made, we found the produc'd Sublimate to be far from being of a lovely Colour, (as was promis'd) that there and there, it seem'd Blewish, and at least was of a Colour differing enough from either of the Ingredients, which is sufficient for our present purpose. But a much finer Colour is promis'd by some of the Empiricks, that pretend to Secrets, who tell us, that Orpiment, being Sublim'd, will afford among the Parts of it that fly Upward, some little Masses, which, though the Mineral it self be of a good Yellow, will be Red enough to emulate Rubies, both in Colour and Translucency. And this Experiment may, for ought I know, sometimes succeed; for I remember, that having in a small Bolt-head purposely sublim'd some powder'd Orpiment, we could in the Lower part of the Sublimate discern here and there some Reddish Lines, though much of the Upper part of the Sublimate consisted of a matter, which was not alone purely Yellow, but transparent almost like a Powder. And we have also this way obtain'd a Sublimate, the Lower part whereof though it consisted not of Rubies, yet the small pieces of it, which were Numerous enough, were of a pleasant Reddish Colour, and Glitter'd very prettily. But to insist on such kind of Trials and Observations (where the ascending Fumes of Bodies differ in Colour from the Bodies themselves) though it might indeed Inrich the History of Colours, would Robb me of too much of the little time I have to dispatch what I have further to tell you concerning them.


Take the dry'd Buds (or Blossoms) of the Pomegranate Tree, (which are commonly call'd in the Shops Balaustiums) pull off the Reddish Leaves, and by a gentle Ebullition of them in fair Water, or by a competent Infusion of them in like Water well heated, extract a faint Reddish Tincture, which if the Liquor be turbid, you may Clarifie it by Filtrating it Into this, if you pour a little good Spirit of Urine, or some other Spirit abounding in the like sort of Volatile Salts, the Mixture will presently turn of a dark Greenish Colour, but if instead of the fore-mention'd Liquor, you drop into the simple Infusion a little rectify'd Spirit of Sea-Salt, the Pale and almost Colourless Liquor will immediately not only grow more Transparent, but acquire a high Redness, like that of Rich Claret Wine, which so suddenly acquir'd Colour, may as quickly be Destroy'd and turn'd into a dirty Blewish Green, by the affusion of a competent quantity of the above-mention'd Spirit of Urine.


This Experiment may bring some Light to, and receive some from a couple of other Experiments, that I remember I have met with in the ingenious Gassendus's Animadversions upon Epicurus's Philosophy, whilst I was turning over the Leaves of those Learned Commentaries; (my Eyes being too weak to let me read such Voluminous Books quite thorough) And I the less scruple (notwithstanding my contrary Custom in this Treatise) to set down these Experiments of another, because I shall a little improve the latter of them, and because by comparing there with that which I have last recited, we may be assisted to Conjecture upon what account it is, that Oyl of Vitriol heightens the Tincture of Red-rose Leaves, since Spirit of Salt, which is a highly Acid Menstruum, but otherwise differing enough from Oyl of Vitriol, does the same thing. Our Authors Experiments then, as we made them, are these; We took about a Glass-full of luke-warm Water, and in it immerg'd a quantity of the Leaves of Senna, and presently upon the Immersion there did not appear any Redness in the Water, but dropping into it a little Oyl of Tartar, the Liquor soon discover'd a Redness to the watchfull Eye, whereas by a little of that Acid Liquor of Vitriol, which is like the former, undeservedly called Oyl, such a Colour would not be extracted from the infused Senna. On the other side we took some Red-rose Leaves dry'd, and having shaken them into a Glass of fair Water, they imparted to it no Redness, but upon the affusion of a little Oyl of Vitriol the Water was immediately turn'd Red, which it would not have been, if instead of Oyl of Vitriol, we had imployed Oyl of Tartar to produce that Colour: That these were Gassendus his Experiments, I partly remember, and was assur'd by a Friend, who lately Transcribed them out of Gassendus his Book, which I therefore add, because I have not now that Book at hand. And the design of Gassendus in these Experiments our Friend affirms to be, to prove, that of things not Red a Redness may be made only by Mixture, and the Varied position of parts, wherein the Doctrine of that Subtil Philosopher doth not a little Authorize, what we have formerly delivered concerning the Emergency and Change of Colours. But the instances, that we have out of him set down, seem not to be the most Eminent, that may be produced of this truth: For our next Experiment will shew the production of several Colours out of Liquors, which have not any of them any such Colour, nor indeed any discernable one at all; and whereas though our Author tells us, that there was no Redness either in the Water, or the Leaves of Senna, or the Oyl of Tartar; And though it be true, that the Predominant Colour of the Leaves of Senna be another than Red, yet we have try'd, that by steeping that Plant a Night even in Cold water, it would afford a very deep Yellow or Reddish Tincture without the help of the Oyl of Tartar, which seems to do little more than assist the Water to extract more nimbly a plenty of that Red Tincture, wherewith the Leaves of Senna do of themselves abound, and having taken off the Tincture of Senna, made only with fair Water, before it grew to be Reddish, and Decanted it from the Leaves, we could not perceive, that by dropping some Oyl of Tartar into it, that Colour was considerable, though it were a little heightned into a Redness; which might have been expected, if the particles of the Oyl did eminently Co-operate, otherwise than we have expressed, to the production of this Redness.

And as for the Experiment with Red-rose Leaves, the same thing may be alleged, for we found that such Leaves by bare Infusion for a Night and Day in fair Water, did afford us a Tincture bordering at least upon Redness, and that Colour being conspicuous in the Leaves themselves, would not by some seem so much to be produc'd as to be extracted by the affusion of Oyl of Vitriol. And the Experiment try'd with the dry'd Leaves of Damask-roses succeeded but imperfectly, but that is indeed observable to our Authors purpose, that Oyl of Tartar will not perform in this Experiment what Oyl of Vitriol doth; but because this last named Liquor is not so easily to be had, give me leave to Advertise you, that the Experiment will succeed, if instead of it you imploy Aqua-fortis. And though some Trials of our own formerly made, and others easily deducible from what we have already deliver'd, about the different Families and Operations of Salt, might enable us to present you an Experiment upon Red-rose Leaves, more accommodated to our Authors purpose, than that which he hath given us; yet our Reverence to so Candid a Philosopher, invites us rather to improve his Experiment, than substitute another in its place. Take therefore of the Tincture of Red-rose Leaves, (for with Damask-rose Leaves the Experiment succeedeth not well) made as before hath been taught with a little Oyl of Vitriol, and a good quantity of fair Water, pour off this Liquor into a clear Vial, half fill'd with Limpid water; till the Water held against the Light have acquir'd a competent Redness, without losing its Transparency, into this Tincture drop leisurely a little good Spirit of Urine, and shaking the Vial, which you must still hold against the Light, you shall see the Red Liquor immediately turn'd into a fine Greenish Blew, which Colour was not to be found in any of the Bodies, upon whose Mixture it emerg'd, and this Change is the more observable, because in many Bodies the Degenerating of Blew into Red is usual enough, but the turning of Red into Blew is very unfrequent. If at every drop of Spirit of Urine you shake the Vial containing the Red Tincture, you may delightfully observe a pretty variety of Colours in the passage of that Tincture from a Red to a Blew, and sometimes we have this way hit upon such a Liquor, as being look't upon against and from the Light, did seem faintly to emulate the above-mention'd Tincture of Lignum Nephriticum. And if you make the Tincture of Red-roses very high, and without Diluting it with fair Water, pour on the Spirit of Urine, you may have a Blew so deep, as to make the Liquor Opacous, but being dropt upon White Paper the Colour will soon disclose it self. Also having made the Red, and consequently the Blew Tincture very Transparent, and suffer'd it to rest in a small open Vial for a Day or two, we found according to our Conjecture, that not only the Blew but the Red Colour also was Vanish'd; the clear Liquor being of a bright Amber Colour, at the bottom of which subsided a Light, but Copious feculency of almost the same Colour, which seems to be nothing but the Tincted parts of the Rose Leaves drawn out by the Acid Spirits of the Oyl of Vitriol, and Precipitated by the Volatile Salt of the Spirit of Urine, which makes it the more probable, that the Redness drawn by the Oyl of Vitriol, was at least as well an extraction of the Tinging parts of the Roses, as a production of Redness; and lastly, if you be destitute of Spirit of Urine, you may change the Colour of the Tincture of Roses with many other Sulphureous Salts, as a strong Solution of Pot-ashes, Oyl of Tartar, &c. which yet are seldome so free from Feculency, as the Spirituous parts of Urine becomes by repeated Distillation.


On this, occasion, I call to mind, that I found, a way of producing, though not the same kind of Blew, as I have been mentioning, yet a Colour near of Kin to it, namely, a fair Purple, by imploying a Liquor not made Red by Art, instead of the Tincture of Red-roses, made with an Acid Spirit; And my way was only to take Log-wood, (a Wood very well known to Dyers) having by Infusion the Powder of it a while in fair Water made that Liquor Red, I dropt into it a Tantillum of an Urinous Spirit, as that of Sal-Armoniack, (and I have done the same thing with an Alcali) by which the Colour was in a moment turn'd into a Rich, and lovely Purple. But care must be had, that you let not fall into a Spoonfull above two or three Drops, lest the Colour become so deep, as to make the Liquor too Opacous. And (to answer the other part of Gassendus his Experiment) if instead of fair Water, I infus'd the Log-wood in Water made somewhat sowr by the Acid Spirit of Salt, I should obtain neither a Purple Liquor, nor a Red, but only a Yellow one.


The Experiment I am now to mention to you, Pyrophilus, is that which both you, and all the other Virtuosi that have seen it, have been pleas'd to think very strange; and indeed of all the Experiments of Colours, I have yet met with, it seems to be the fittest to recommend the Doctrine propos'd in this Treatise, and to shew that we need not suppose, that all Colours must necessarily be Inherent Qualities, flowing from the Substantial Forms of the Bodies they are said to belong to, since by a bare Mechanical change of Texture in the Minute parts of Bodies; two Colours may in a moment be Generated quite De novo, and utterly Destroy'd. For there is this difference betwixt the following Experiment, and most of the others deliver'd in these Papers, that in this, the Colour that a Body already had, is not chang'd into another, but betwixt two Bodies, each of them apart devoid of Colour, there is in a moment generated a very deep Colour, and which if it were let alone, would be permanent; and yet by a very small Parcel of a third Body, that has no Colour of its own, (lest some may pretend I know not what Antipathy betwixt Colours) this otherwise permanent Colour will be in another trice so quite Destroy'd, that there will remain no foot-stepts either of it or of any other Colour in the whole Mixture.

The Experiment is very easie, and it is thus perform'd: Take good common Sublimate, and fully satiate with it what quantity of Water you please, Filtre the Solution carefully through clean and close Paper, that it may drop down as Clear and Colourless as Fountain water. Then when you'l shew the Experiment, put of it about a Spoonfull into a small Wine-glass, or any other convenient Vessel made of clear Glass, and droping in three or four drops of good Oyl of Tartar, per Deliquium; well Filtred that it may likewise be without Colour, these two Limpid Liquors will in the twinkling of an Eye turn into an Opacous mixture of a deep Orange Colour, which by keeping the Glass continually shaking in your hand, you must preserve from setling too soon to the Bottom; And when the Spectators have a little beheld this first Change, then you must presently drop in about four or five drops of Oyl of Vitriol, and continuing to shake the Glass pretty strongly, that it may the Nimbler diffuse it self, the whole Colour, if you have gone Skilfully to work, will immediately disappear, and all the Liquor in the Glass will be Clear and Colourless as before, without so much as a Sediment at the Bottom. But for the more gracefull Trial of this Experiment, 'twill not be amiss to observe, First, That there should not be taken too much of the Solution of Sublimate, nor too much of the Oyl of Tartar drop'd in, to avoid the necessity of putting in so much Oyl of Vitriol as may make an Ebullition, and perhaps run over the Glass. Secondly, That 'tis convenient to keep the Glass always a little shaking, both for the better mixing of the Liquors, and to keep the Yellow Substance from Subsiding, which else it would in a short time do, though when 'tis subsided it will retain its Colour, and also be capable of being depriv'd of it by the Oyl newly mention'd. Thirdly, That if any Yellow matter stick at the sides of the Glass, 'tis but inclining the Glass, till the clarify'd Liquor can wash alongst it, and the Liquor will presently imbibe it, and deprive it of its Colour.

Many have somewhat wondred, how I came to light upon this Experiment, but the Notions or Conjectures I have about the differing Natures of the Several Tribes of Salts, having led me to devise the Experiment, it will not be difficult for me to give you the Chymical Reason, if I may so speak, of the Phaenomenon. Having then observ'd, that Mercury being dissolv'd in Some Menstruums, would yield a dark Yellow Precipitate, and supposing that, as to this, common Water, and the Salts that stick to the Mercury would be equivalent to those Acid Menstruums, which work upon the Quick-silver, upon the account of their Saline particles, I substituted a Solution of Sublimate in fair Water, instead of a Solution of Mercury in Aqua-fortis, or Spirit of Nitre, that simple Solution being both clearer and free from that very offensive Smell, which accompanies the Solutions of Mercury made with those other corrosive Liquors; then I consider'd, that That, which makes the Yellow Colour, is indeed but a Precipitate made by the means of the Oyl of Tartar, which we drop in, and which, as Chymists know, does generally precipitate Metalline Bodies corroded by Acid Salts; so that the Colour in our case results from the Coalition of the Mercurial particles with the Saline ones, wherewith they were formerly associated, and with the Alcalizate particles of the Salt of Tartar that swim up and down in the Oyl. Wherefore considering also, that very many of the effects of Lixiviate Liquors, upon the Solutions of other Bodies, may be destroy'd by Acid Menstruums, as I elsewhere more particularly declare, I concluded, that if I chose a very potently Acid Liquor, which by its Incisive power might undo the work of the Oyl of Tartar, and disperse again those Particles, which the other had by Precipitation associated, into such minute Corpuscles as were before singly Inconspicuous, they would become Inconspicuous again, and consequently leave the Liquor as Colourless as before the Precipitation was made.

This, as I said, Pyrophilus, seems to be the Chymical reason of this Experiment, that is such a reason, as, supposing the truth of those Chymical Notions I have elsewhere I hope evinc'd, may give such an account of the Phaenomena as Chymical Notions can supply us with; but I both here and elsewhere make use of this way of speaking, to intimate that I am sufficiently aware of the difference betwixt a Chymical Explication of a Phaenomenon, and one that is truly Philosophical or Mechanical; as in our present case, I tell you something, when I tell you that the Yellowness of the Mercurial Solution and the Oyl of Tartar is produc'd by the Precipitation occasion'd by the affusion of the latter of those Liquors, and that the destruction of the Colour proceeds from the Dissipation of that Curdl'd matter, whose Texture is destroy'd, and which is dissolv'd into Minute and Invisible particles by the potently Acid Menstruum, which is the reason, why there remains no Sediment in the Bottom, because the infused Oyl takes it up, and resolves it into hidden or invisible Parts, as Water does Salt or Sugar. But when I have told you all this, I am far from thinking I have told all that such an Inquisitive Person as your self would know, for I presume you would desire as well as I to learn (at least) why the Particles of the Mercury, of the Tartar, and of the Acid Salts convening together, should make rather an Orange Colour than a Red, or a Blew, or a Green, for 'tis not enough to say what I related a little before, that divers Mercurial Solutions, though otherwise made, would yield a Yellow precipitate, because the Question will recurr concerning them; and to give it a satisfactory answer, is, I freely acknowledge, more than I dare as yet pretend to.

But to confirm my conjecture about the Chymical reason of our Experiment, I may add, that as I have (viz. pag. 34th. of this Treatise) elsewhere (on another occasion) told you, with Saline Liquors of another kind and nature than Salt of Tartar, (namely, with Spirit of Urine, and Liquors of kin to that) I can make the Mercury precipitate out of the first simple Solution quite of another Colour than that hitherto mention'd; Nay, if instead of altering the Precipitating liquor, I alter'd the Texture of the Sublimate in such a way as my Notions about Salt requir'd, I could produce the same Phaenomenon. For having purposely Sublim'd together Equal parts (or thereabout) of Sal-Armoniack and Sublimate, first diligently Mix'd, the ascending Flowers being diffolv'd in fair Water, and Filtred, gave a Solution Limpid and Colourless, like that of the other Sublimates, and yet an Akaly drop'd into this Liquor did not turn it Yellow but White. And upon the same Grounds we may with Quick-silver, without the help of common Sublimate, prepare another sort of Flowers dissoluble in Water without Discolouring it, with which I could likewise do what I newly mention'd; to which I shall add, (what possibly you'l somewhat wonder at) That so much does the Colour depend upon the Texture resulting from the Convention of the several sorts of Corpuscles, that though in out Experiment, Oyl of Vitriol destroys the Yellow Colour, yet with Quick-silver and fair Water, by the help of Oyl of Vitriol alone, we may easily make a kind of Precipitate of a fair and permanent Yellow, as you will e're long (in the forty second Expement of this third Part) be taught. And I may further add, that I chose Oyl of Vitriol, not so much for any other or peculiar Quality, as for its being, when 'tis well rectify'd, (which 'tis somewhat hazardous to bring it to be) not only devoid of Colour and in Smells, but extremely Strong and Incisive; For though common and undephlegmated Aqua-fortis will not perform the same thing well, yet that which is made exceeding Strong by being carefully Dephlegm'd, will do it pretty well, though not so well as Oyl of Vitriol which is so Strong, that even without Rectification it may for a need be made use of. I will not here tell you what I have try'd, that I may be able to deprive at pleasure the Precipitate that one of the Sulphureous Liquors had made, by the copious Affusion of the other: Because I found, though this Experiment is too ticklish to let me give a full account of it in few words, I shall therefore tell you, that it is not only for once, that the other above-mention'd Experiment may be made, the same Numerical parcels of Liquor being still imploy'd in it; for after I have Clarify'd the Orange Colour'd Liquor, by the addition of as little of the Oyl of Viriol as will suffice to perform the effect, I can again at pleasure re-produce the Opacous Colour, by the dropping in of fresh Oyl of Tartar, and destroy it again by the Re-affusion of more of the Acid Menstruum; and yet oftner if I please, can I with these two contrariant Liquors recall and disperse the Colour, though by reason of the addition of so much new Liquor, in reference to the Mercurial particles, the Colour will at length appear more dilute and faint.

An improvement of the fortieth Experiment.

And, Pyrophilus, to confirm yet further the Notions that led me to think on the propos'd Experiment, I shall acquaint you with another, which when I had conveniency I have sometimes added to it, and which has to the Spectators appear'd little less Odd than the first; And though because the Liquor, requisite to make the Trial succeed well, must be on purpose prepar'd anew a while before, because it will not long retain its fitness for this work, I do but seldome annex this Experiment to the other, yet I shall tell you how I devis'd it, and how I make it. If you boyl Crude Antimony in a strong and clear Lixivium, you shall separate a Substance from it, which some Modern Chymists are pleas'd to call its Sulphur, but how deservedly I shall not here examine, having elsewhere done it in an Opportune place; wherefore I shall now but need to take notice, that when this suppos'd Sulphur (not now to call it rather a kind of Crocus) is let fall by the Liquor upon its Refrigeration, it often settles in Flakes, or such like parcels of a Yellow Substance, (which being by the precedent dissolution reduc'd into Minute parts, may peradventure be made to take Fire much more easily than the Grosser Powder of unprepar'd Antimony would have done.) Considering therefore, that common Sulphur boyl'd in a Lixivium may be Precipitated out of it by Rhenish-wine or White-wine, which are Sowrish Liquors, and have in them, as I elsewhere shew, an Acid Salt; and having found also by Trial, that with other Acid Liquors I could Precipitate out of Lixiviate Solvents some other Mineral concretions abounding with Sulphureous parts, of which sort is crude Antimony, I concluded it to be easie to Precipitate the Antimony dissolv'd, as was lately mention'd, with the Acid Oyl of Vitriol; and though common Sulphur yields a White Precipitate, which the Chymists call Lac Sulphuris, yet I suppos'd the Precipitated Antimony would be of a deep Yellow Colour, as well, if made with Oyl of Vitriol, as if made only by Refrigeration and length of Time. From this 'twas easie to deduce this Experiment, that if you put into one Glass some of the freshly Impregnated and Filtrated Solution of Antimony, and into another some of the Orange-Colour'd Mixture, (which I formerly shew'd you how to make with a Mercurial Solution and Oyl of Tartar) a few drops of Oyl of Vitriol dropp'd into the last mention'd Glass, would, as I told you before, turn the Deep Yellow mixture into a Cleer Liquor; whereas a little of the same Oyl dropp'd out of the same Viol into the other Glass would presently (but not without some ill sent) turn the moderately cleer Solution into a Deep Yellow Substance, But this, as I Said, succeeds not well, unless you employ a Lixivium that has but newly dissolv'd Antimony, and has not yet let it fall. But yet in Summer time, if your Lixivium have been duly Impregnated and well Filtred after it is quite cold, it will for some dayes (perhaps much longer than I had occasion to try) retain Antimony enough to exhibit, upon the Affusion of the Corrosive Oyl, as much of a good Yellow Substance as is necessary to satisfie the Beholders of the Possibility of the Experiment.

Reflections upon the XL. Experiment Compared with the X. and XX.

The Knowledge of the Distinction of Salts which we have propos'd, whereby they are discriminated into Acid, Volatile, or Salfuginous (if I may for Distinction sake so call the Fugitive Salts of Animal Substances) and fix'd or Alcalizate, may possibly (by that little part which we have already deliver'd, of what we could say of its Applicableness) appear of so much Use in Natural Philosophy (especially in the Practick part of it) that I doubt not but it will be no Unwelcome Corollary of the Preceding Experiment, if by the help of it I teach you to distinguish, which of those Salts is Predominant in Chymical Liquors, as well as whether any of them be so or not. For though in our Notes upon the X. and XX. Experiments I have shown you a way by means of the Tincture of Lignum Nephriticum, or of Syrrup of Violets, to discover whether a propounded Salt be Acid or not, yet you can thereby only find in general that such and such Salts belong not to the Tribe of Acids, but cannot determine whether they belong to the Tribe of Urinous Salts (under which for distinction sake I comprehend all those Volatile Salts of Animal or other Substances that are contrary to Acids) or to that of Alcalies. For as well the one as the other of these Salino-Sulphurous Salts will restore the Caeruleous Colour to the Tincture of Lignum Nephriticum, and turn that of Syrrup of Violets into Green. Wherefore this XL. Experiment does opportunely supply the deficiency of those. For being sollicitous to find out some ready wayes of discriminating the Tribes of Chymical Salts, I found that all those I thought fit to make Tryal of, would, if they were of a Lixiviate Nature, make with Sublimate dissolv'd in Fair Water an Orange Tawny Precipitate; whereas if they were of an Urinous Nature the Precipitate would be White and Milky. So that having alwayes by me some Syrrup of Violets and some Solution of Sublimate, I can by the help of the first of those Liquors discover in a trice, whether the propounded Salt or Saline Body be of an Acid Nature or no, if it be I need (you know) inquire no further; but if it be not, I can very easily, and as readily distinguish between the other two kinds of Salts, by the White or Orange-Colour that is immediately produc'd, by letting fall a few Drops or Grains of the Salt to be examin'd, into a spoonfull of the cleer Solution of Sublimate. For Example, it has been suppos'd by some eminently Learned, That when Sal Armoniack being mingled with an Alcaly is forc'd from it by the Fire in close Vessels, the Volatile Salt that will thereby be obtain'd (if the Operation be skilfully perform'd,) is but a more fine and subtile sort of Sal Armoniack, which, 'tis presum'd, this Operation do's but more exquisitely purifie, than common Solutions, Filtrations, and Coagulations. But this Opinion may be easily shown to be Erroneous, as by other Arguments, so particularly by the lately deliver'd Method of distinguishing the Tribes of Salts. For the Saline Spirit of Sal Armoniack, as it is in many other manifest Qualities very like the Spirit of Urine, so like, that it will in a trice make Syrrup of Violets of a Lovely Green, turn a Solution of good Verdigrease into an Excellent Azure, and make the Solution of a Sublimate yield a White Precipitate, insomuch that in most (for I say not all of the Experiments) where I Aim onely at producing a sudden change of Colour, I scruple not to use Spirit of Sal Armoniack when it is at hand, instead of Spirit of Urine, as indeed it seems chiefly to consist (besides the flegm that helps to make it fluid) of the Volatile Urinous Salt (yet not excluding that of Soot) that abounds in the Sal Armoniack and is set at liberty from the Sea Salt wherewith it was formerly associated, and clogg'd, by the Operation of the Alcaly, that divides the Ingredients of Sal Armoniack, and retains that Sea Salt with it self. What use may be made of the like way of exploration in that inquiry which puzzles so many Modern Naturalists, whether the Rich Pigment (which we have often had occasion to mention) belongs to the Vegetable or Animal Kingdome, you may find in another place where I give you some account of what I try'd about Cocheneel. But I think it needless to exemplifie here our Method by any other Instances, many such being to be met with in divers parts of this Treatise; but I will rather advertise you, that, by this way of examining Chymical Liquors, you may not onely in most Cases conclude Affirmatively, but in some Cases Negatively. As since Spirit of Wine, and as far as I have try'd, those Chymical Oyles which Artists call Essential, did not (when I us'd them as I had us'd the several Families of Salts upon that Syrrup) turn Syrrup of Violets Red or Green, nor the Solution of Sublimate White or Yellow, I inferr'd it may thence be probably argued, that either they are destitute of Salt, or have such as belongs not to either of the three Grand families already often mention'd. When I went to examine the Spirit of Oak or of such like Concretes forced over through a Retort, I found by this means amongst others, that (as I elsewhere show) these Chymists are much mistaken in it, that account it a simple Liquor, and one of their Hypostatical Principles: for not to mention what flegm it may have, I found that with a few drops of one of this sort of Spirits mix'd with a good proportion of Syrrup of Violets, I could change the Colour and make it Purplish, by the affinity of which Colour to Redness, I conjectur'd that this Spirit had some Acid Corpuscles in it, and accordingly I found that as it would destroy the Blewness of a Tincture of Lignum Nephriticum, so being put upon Corals it would Corrode them, as common Spirit of Vinegar, and other Acid Liquors are wont to do. And farther to examine whether there were not a great part of the Liquor that was not of an Acid nature, having separated the Sour or Vinegar-like part from the rest, which (if I mistake not) is far the more Copious, we concluded as we had conjectured, the other or remaining part, though it had a strong taste as well as smell, to be of a nature differing from that of either of the three sorts of Salts above mention'd, since it did as little as Spirit of Wine, and Chymical Oyls, alter the Colour either of Syrrup of Violets or Solution of Sublimate, whence we also inferr'd that the change that had been made of that Syrrup into a Purple Colour, was effected by the Vinegar, that was one of the two Ingredients of the Liquor, which was wont to pass for a Simple or Uncompounded Spirit. And, upon this account, 'twas of the Spirit of Oak (and the like Concretes) freed from it's Vinegar that I elsewhere told you, that I had not then observ'd it, (and I have repeated the Tryal but very lately) to destroy the Caeruleous Tincture of Lignum Nephriticum. But this onely, en passant; for the Chief thing I had to add was this, That by the same way may be examin'd and discover'd, divers changes that are produc'd in Bodies either by Nature only, or by Art; either of them being able by changing the Texture of some Concretes I could name, to qualifie them to Operate after a New manner upon the above mention'd Syrrup, or Solution, or both. And by this means, to tell you that upon the by, I have been able to discover, that there may be made Bodies, which though they run per Deliquium, as readily as Salt of Tartar, belong in other respects, not to the family of Alcaliz, much less to that of Salfuginous, or that of Acid Salts. Perhaps too, I may know a way of making a highly operative Saline Body that shall neither change the Colour of Syrrup of Violets, nor Precipitate the Solution of Sublimate; And, I can likewise if I please conceal by what Liquors I perform such changes of Colour, as I have been mentioning to you, by quite altering the Texture of some ordinary Chymical productions, the Exploration of which is the main use of the fortieth Experiment, which I think teaches not a little, if it teach us to discover the nature of those things (in reference to Salt) that are obtain'd by the ordinary Chymical Analysis of mix'd Bodyes, though perhaps there may be other Bodyes prepar'd by Chymistry which may have the same Effects in the change of Colours; and yet be produc'd not from what Chymists call the Resolution of Bodies, but from their Composition. But the discoursing of things of this nature is more proper for another place. I shall now onely add, what might perhaps have been more seasonably told you before; That the Reason why the way of Exploration of Salts hitherto deliver'd, succeeds in the Solution of Sublimate, depends upon the particular Texture of that Solution, as well as upon the differing Natures of the Saline Liquors imploy'd to Precipitate it. For Gold dissolv'd in Aqua Regia, whether you Precipitate it with Oyl of Tartar which is an Alcaly, or with Spirit of Urine, or Sal Armoniack which belongs to the family of Volatile Salts, will either way afford a Yellow substance: though with such an Acid Liquor, as, I say not Spirit of Salt, the Body that yields it, being upon the matter an Ingredient of Aqua Regis, but Oyl of Vitriol it self, I did not find that I could Precipitate the Metall out of the Solution, or destroy the Colour of it, though the same Oyl of Vitriol would readily Precipitate Silver dissolv'd in Aqua-fortis. And if you dissolve pure Silver in Aqua-fortis, and suffer it to shoot into Crystals, the cleer Solution of these made in fair Water, will afford a very White Precipitate, whether it be made with an Alcaly, or an Acid Spirit, as that of Salt, whereas, which may seem somewhat strange, with Spirit of Sal Armoniack (that I us'd was made of Quicklime) I could obtain no such White Precipitate; that Volatile Spirit, nor (as I remember) that of Urine, scarce doing any more than striking down a very small quantity of Matter, which was neither White nor Whitish, so that the remaining Liquor being suffer'd to evaporate till the superfluous Moisture was gone, the greatest part of the Metalline Corpuscles with the Saline ones that had imbib'd them, concoagulated into Salt, as is usual in such Solutions, wherein the Metall has not been Precipitated.


Of Kin to the last or fortieth Experiment is another which I remember I have sometimes shewn to Virtuosi that were pleas'd not to dislike it. I took Spirit of Urine made by Fermentation, and with a due proportion of Copper brought into small parts, I obtain'd a very lovely Azure Solution, and when I saw the Colour was such as was requisite, pouring into a clean Glass, about a spoonfull of this tincted Liquor, (of which I us'd to keep a Quantity by me,) I could by shaking into it some drops of Strong Oyl of Vitriol, deprive it in a trice of its Deep Colour, and make it look like Common-water.


This Experiment brings into my mind this other, which oftentimes succceds well enough, though not quite so well as the former; Namely, that if into about a small spoonfull of a Solution of good French Verdigrease made in fair Water, I drop't and shak'd some strong Spirit of Salt, or rather deflegm'd Aqua Fortis, the Greenness of the Solution would be made in a trice almost totally to disappear, & the Liquor held against the Light would scarce seeme other than Cleer or Limpid, to any but an Attentive Eye, which is therefore remarkable; because we know that Aqua-fortis corroding Copper, which is it that gives the Colour to Verdigrease, is wont to reduce it to a Green Blew Solution. But if into the other altogether or almost Colourless Liquor I was speaking of, you drop a just quantity either of Oyl of Tartar or Spirit of Urine, you shall find that after the Ebullition is ceas'd, the mixture will disclose a lively Colour, though somewhat differing from that which the Solution of Verdigrease had at first.


That the Colour (Pyrophilus) of a Body may be chang'd by a Liquor which of it self is of no Colour, provided it be Saline, we have already manifested by a multitude of instances. Nor doth it seem so strange, because Saline Particles swimming up and down in Liquors, have been by many observ'd to be very operative in the Production and change of Colours. But divers of our Friends that are not acquainted with Chymical Operations have thought it very strange that a White Body, and a Dry one too, should immediately acquire a rich new Colour upon the bare affusion of Spring-Water destitute as well of adventitious Salt as of Tincture. And yet (Pyrophilus) the way of producing such a change of Colours may be easily enough lighted on by those that are conversant in the Solutions of Mercury. For we have try'd, that though by Evaporating a Solution of Quick-Silver in Aqua-fortis, and abstracting the Liquor till the remaining matter began to be well, but not too strongly dryed, fair Water pour'd on the remaining Calx made it but somewhat Yellowish; yet when we took good Quick-Silver, and three or four times its weight of Oyl of Vitriol, in case we in a Glass Retort plac'd in Sand drew off the Saline Menstruum from the Metalline Liquor, till there remain'd a dry Calx at the bottome, though this Precipitate were a Snow White Body, yet upon pouring on it a large quantity of fair Water, we did almost in a moment perceive it to pass from a Milky Colour to one of the loveliest Light Yellows that ever we had beheld. Nor is the Turbith Mineral, that Chymists extol for its power to Salivate, and for other vertues, of a Colour much inferiour to this, though it be often made with a differing proportion of the Ingredients, a more troublesome way. For Beguinus,[22] who calls it Mercurius praecipitatus optimus, takes to one part of Quick-Silver, but two of Liquor, and that is Rectifi'd Oyl of Sulphur, which is (in England at least) far more scarce and dear than Oyl of Vitriol; he also requires a previous Digestion, two or three Cohobations, and frequent Ablutions with hot Distill'd Water, with other prescriptions, which though they may conduce to the Goodness of the Medicine, which is that he aims at, are troublesome, and, our Tryals have inform'd you unneccessary to the obtaining the Lemmon Colour which he regards not. But though we have very rarely seen either in Painters Shops, or elsewhere a finer Yellow than that which we have divers times this way produc'd (which is the more considerable, because durable and pleasant Yellows are very hard to be met with, as may appear by the great use which Painters are for its Colours sake fain to make of that pernicious and heavy Mineral, Orpiment) yet I fear our Yellow is too costly, to be like to be imploy'd by Painters, unless about Choice pieces of Work, nor do I know how well it will agree with every Pigment, especially, wich Oyl'd Colours. And whether this Experiment, though it have seem'd somewhat strange to most we have shown it to, be really of another Nature than those wherein Saline Liquors are imploy'd, may, as we formerly also hinted, be so plausibly doubted, that whether the Water pour'd on the Calx, do barely by imbibing some of its Saline parts alter its Colour by altering its Texture, or whether by dissolving the Concoagulated Salts, it does become a Saline Menstruum, and, as such, work upon the Mercury, I freely leave to you (Pyrophilus) to consider. And that I may give you some Assistance in your Enquiry, I will not only tell you, that I have several times with fair Water wash'd from this Calx, good store of strongly tasted Corpuscles, which by the abstraction of the Menstruum, I could reduce into Salt; but I will also subjoyn an Experiment, which I devis'd, to shew among other things, how much a real and permanent Colour may be as it were drawn forth by a Liquor that has neither Colour, nor so much as Saline or other Active parts, provided it can but bring the parts of the Body it imbibes to convene into clusters dispos'd after the manner requisite to the exhibiting of the emergent Colour. The Experiment was this.

[22] Beguinus, Tyr. Chy. Lib. 2. Cap. 13.


We took good common Vitriol, and having beaten it to Powder, and put it into a Crucible, we kept it melted in a gentle heat, till by the Evaporation of some parts, and the shuffling of the rest, it had quite lost its former Colour, what remain'd we took out, and found it to be a friable Calx, of a dirty Gray. On this we pour'd fair Water, which it did not Colour Green or Blew, but only seem'd to make a muddy mixture with it, then stopping the Vial wherein the Ingredients were put, we let it stand in a quiet place for some dayes, and after many hours the water having dissolv'd a good part of the imperfectly calcin'd Body, the Vitriolate Corpuscles swiming to and fro in the Liquor, had time by their opportune Occursions to constitute many little Masses of Vitriol, which gave the water they impregnated a fair Vitriolate Colour; and this Liquor being pour'd off, the remaining dirty Powder did in process of time communicate the like Colour, but not so deep, to a second parcel of cleer Water that we pour'd on it. But this Experiment Pyrophilus is, (to give you that hint by the way) of too Luciferous a Nature to be fit to be fully prosecuted, now that I am in haste, and willing to dispatch what remains. And we have already said of it, as much as is requisite to our present purpose.


It may (Pyrophilus) somewhat contribute towards the shewing how much some Colours depend upon the less or greater mixture, and (as it were,) Contemperation of the Light with shades, to observe, how that sometimes the number of Particles, of the same Colour, receiv'd into the Pores of a Liquor, or swiming up and down in it, do seem much to vary the Colour of it. I could here present you with particular instances to show, how in many (if not most) consistent Bodyes, if the Colour be not a Light one, as White, Yellow, or the like, the closeness of parts in the Pigments makes it look Blackish, though when it is display'd and laid on thinly, it will perhaps appear to be either Blew, or Green, or Red. But the Colours of consistent Pigments, not being those which the Preamble of this Experiment has lead you to expect Examples in, I shall take the instances I am now to give you, rather from Liquors than Dry Bodyes. If then you put a little fair Water into a cleer and slender Vial, (or rather into one of those pipes of Glass, which we shall by and by mention;) and let fall into it a few drops of a strong Decoction or Infusion of Cochineel, or (for want of that) of Brazil; you may see the tincted drops descend like little Clouds into the Liquor; through which, if, by shaking the Vial, you diffuse them, they will turn the water either of a Pinck Colour, or like that which is wont to be made by the washing of raw flesh in fair Water; by dropping a little more of the Decoction, you may heighten the Colour into a fine Red, almost like that which ennobles Rubies; by continuing the affusion, you may bring the Liquor to a kind of a Crimson, and afterwards to a Dark and Opacous Redness, somewhat like that of Clotted Blood. And in the passage of the Liquor from one of these Colours to the other, you may observe, if you consider it attentively, divers other less noted Colours belonging to Red, to which it is not easie to give Names; especially considering how much the proportion of the Decoction to the fair Water, and the strength of that Decoction, together with that of the trajected Light and other Circumstances, may vary the Phaenomena of this Experiment. For the convenienter making whereof, we use instead of a Vial, any slender Pipe of Glass of about a foot or more in length, and about the thickness of a mans little finger; For, if leaving one end of this Pipe open, you Seal up the other Hermetically, (or at least stop it exquisitely with a Cork well fitted to it, and over-laid with hard Sealing Wax melted, and rubb'd upon it;) you shall have a Glass, wherein may be observ'd the Variations of the Colours of Liquors much better than in large Vials, and wherein Experiments of this Nature may be well made with very small quantities of Liquor. And if you please, you may in this Pipe produce variety of Colours in the various parts of the Liquor, and keep them swimming upon one another unmix'd for a good while. And some have marveil'd to see, what variety of Colours we have sometimes (but I confess rather by chance than skill) produc'd in those Glasses, by the bare infusion of Brazil, variously diluted with fair Water, and alter'd by the Infusion of several Chymical Spirits and other Saline Liquors devoid themselves of Colour, and when the whole Liquor is reduc'd to an Uniform degree of Colour, I have taken pleasure to make that very Liquor seem to be of Colours gradually differing, by filling with it Glasses of a Conical figure, (whether the Glass have its basis in the ordinary position, or turn'd upwards.) And yet you need not Glasses of an extraordinary shape to see an instance of what the vari'd mixture of Light and Shadow can do in the diversifying of the Colour. For if you take but a large round Vial, with a somewhat long and slender Neck, and filling it with our Red Infusion of Brazil, hold it against the Light, you will discern a notable Disparity betwixt the Colour of that part of the Liquor which is in the Body of the Vial, and that which is more pervious to the Light in the Neck. Nay, I remember, that I once had a Glass and a Blew Liquor (consisting chiefly (or only, if my memory deceive me not,) of a certain Solution of Verdigrease) so fitted for my purpose, that though in other Glasses the Experiment would not succeed, yet when that particular Glass was fill'd with that Solution, in the Body of the Vial it appear'd of a Lovely Blew, and in the neck, (where the Light did more dilute the Colour,) of a manifest Green; and though I suspected there might be some latent Yellowness in the substance of the neck of the Glass, which might with the Blew compose that Green, yet was I not satisfi'd my self with my Conjecture, but the thing seem'd odd to me, as well as to divers curious persons to whom it was shown. And I lately had a Broad piece of Glass, which being look'd on against the Light seem'd clear enough, and held from the Light appear'd very lightly discolour'd, and yet it was a piece knock'd off from a great lump of Glass, to which if we rejoyn'd it, where it had been broken off, the whole Mass was as green as Grass. And I have several times us'd Bottles and stopples that were both made (as those, I had them from assur'd me) of the very same Metall, and yet whilst the bottle appear'd but inclining towards a Green, the Stopple (by reason of its great thickness) was of so deep a Colour that you would hardly believe they could possibly be made of the same materials. But to satisfie some Ingenious Men, on another occasion, I provided my self of a flat Glass (which I yet have by me,) with which if I look against the Light with the Broad side obverted to the Eye, it appeares like a good ordinary window Glass; but if I turn the Edge of it to my Eye, and place my Eye in a convenient posture in reference to the Light, it may contend for deepness of Colour with an Emerald. And this Greeness puts me in mind of a certain thickish, but not consistent Pigment I have sometimes made, and can show you when you please, which being dropp'd on a piece of White Paper appears, where any quantity of it is fallen, of a somewhat Crimson Colour, but being with ones finger spread thinly on the Paper does presently exhibit a fair Green, which seems to proceed only from its disclosing its Colour upon the Extenuation of its Depth into Superficies, if the change be not somewhat help'd by the Colours degenerating upon one or other of the Accounts formerly mention'd. Let me add, that having made divers Tryals with that Blew substance, which in Painters shops is call'd Litmase, we have sometimes taken Pleasure to observe, that being dissolv'd in a due proportion of fair Water, the Solution either oppos'd to the Light, or dropp'd upon White paper, did appear of a deep Colour betwixt Crimson and Purple; and yet that being spread very thin on the Paper and suffer'd to dry on there, the Paper was wont to appear Stain'd of a Fine Blew. And to satisfie my selfe, that the diversity came not from the Paper, which one might suspect capable of inbibing the Liquor, and altering the Colour, I made the Tryal upon a flat piece of purely White Glass'd Earth, (which I sometimes make use of about Experiments of Colours) with an Event not unlike the former.

And now I speak of Litmass, I will add, that having this very day taken a piece of it, that I had kept by me these several years, to make Tryals about Colours, and having let fall a few drops of the strong Infusion of it in fair water, into a fine Crystal Glass, shap'd like an inverted Cone, and almost full of fair Water, I had now (as formerly) the pleasure to see, and to show others, how these few tincted drops variously dispersing themselves through the Limpid Water, exhibited divers Colours, or varieties of Purple and Crimson. And when the Corpuscles of the Pigment seem'd to have equally diffus'd themselves through the whole Liquor, I then by putting two or three drops of Spirit of Salt, first made an odd change in the Colour of the Liquor, as well as a visible commotion among its small parts, and in a short time chang'd it wholly into a very Glorious Yellow, like that of a Topaz. After which if I let fall a few drops of the strong and heavy Solution of Pot-ashes, whose weight would quickly carry it to the sharp bottome of the Glass, there would soon appear four very pleasant and distinct Colours; Namely, a Bright, but Dilute Colour at the picked bottome of the Glass; a Purple, a little higher; a deep and glorious Crimson, (which Crimson seem'd to terminate the operation of the Salt upward) in the confines betwixt the Purple and the Yellow; and an Excellent Yellow, the same that before enobled the whole Liquor, reaching from thence to the top of the Glass. And if I pleas'd to pour very gently a little Spirit of Sal Armoniack, upon the upper part of this Yellow, there would also be a Purple or a Crimson, or both, generated there, so that the unalter'd part of the Yellow Liquor appear'd intercepted betwixt the two Neighbouring Colours.

My scope in this 3d. Experiment (Pyrophilus) is manifold, as first to invite you to be wary in judging of the Colour of Liquors in such Glasses as are therein recommended to you, and consequently as much, if not more, when you imploy other Glasses. Secondly, That you may not think it strange, that I often content my self to rub upon a piece of White paper, the Juice of Bodies I would examine, since not onely I could not easily procure a sufficient Quantity of the juices of divers of them; but in several Cases the Tryals of the quantities of such Juices in Glasses would make us more lyable to mistakes, than the way that in those cases I have made use of. Thirdly, I hope you will by these and divers other particulars deliver'd in this Treatise, be easily induc'd to think that I may have set down many Phaenomena very faithfully, and just as they appear'd to me, and yet by reason of some unheeded circumstance in the conditions of the matter, and in the degree of Light, or the manner of trying the Experiment, you may find some things to vary from the Relations I make of them. Lastly, I design'd to give you an opportunity to free your self from the amazement which possesses most Men, at the Tricks of those Mountebancks that are commonly call'd Water-drinkers. For though not only the vulgar, but ev'n many persons that are far above that Rank, have so much admir'd to see, a man after having drunk a great deal of fair water, to spurt it out again in the form of Claret Wine, Sack, and Milk, that they have suspected the intervening of Magick, or some forbidden means to effect what they conceived above the power of Art; yet having once by chance had occasion to oblige a Wanderer that made profession of that and other Jugling Tricks, I was easily confirm'd by his Ingenious confession to me, That this so much Admir'd Art, indeed consisted rather in a few Tricks, than in any great Skill, in altering the Nature and Colours of things. And I am easy to be perswaded; that there may be a great deal of Truth in a little Pamphlet Printed divers years ago in English, wherein the Author undertakes to discover, and that (if I mistake not) by the confession of some of the Complices themselves, That a famous Water-drinker then much Admir'd in England, perform'd his pretended Transmutations of Liquors by the help of two or three inconsiderable preparations and mixtures of not unobvious Liquors, and chiefly of an Infusion of Brazil variously diluted and made Pale or Yellowish, (and otherwise alter'd) with Vinegar, the rest of their work being perform'd by the shape of the Glasses, by Craft and Legerdemane. And for my part, that which I marvel at in this business, is, the Drinkers being able to take down so much Water, and spout it out with that violence; though Custome and a Vomit seasonably taken before hand, may in some of them much facilitate the work. But as for the changes made in the Liquors, they were but few and slight in comparison of those, that the being conversant in Chymical Experiments, and dextrous in applying them to the Transmuting of Colours, may easily enough enable a man to make, as ev'n what has been newly deliver'd in this, and the foregoing Experiment; especially if we add to it the things contained in the XX, the XXXIX and the XL. Experiments, may perhaps have already perswaded You.


You may I presume (Pyrophilus) have taken notice, that in this whole Treatise, I purposely decline (as far as I well can) the mentioning of Elaborate Chymical Experiments, for fear of frighting you by their tediousness and difficulty; but yet in confirmation of what I have been newly telling you about the possibility of Varying the Colours of Liquors, better than the Water-drinkers are wont to do, I shall add, that Helmont used to make a preparation of Steel, which a very Ingenious Chymist, his Sons Friend, whom you know, sometimes employes for a succedaneum to the Spaw-waters, by Diluting this Essentia Martis Liquida (as he calls it) with a due proportion of Water. Now that for which I mention to you this preparation, (which as he communicated to me, I know he will not refuse to Pyrophilus) is this, that though the Liquor (as I can shew you when you please) be almost of the Colour of a German (not an Oriental) Amethyst, and consequently remote enough from Green, yet a very few drops being let fall into a Large proportion of good Rhenish, or (in want of that) White Wine (which yet do's not quite so well) immediately turn'd the Liquor into a lovely Green, as I have not without delight shown several curious Persons. By which Phaenomenon you may learn, among other things, how requisite it is in Experiments about the changes of Colours heedfully to mind the Circumstances of them; for Water will not, as I have purposely try'd, concurr to the production of any such Green, nor did it give that Colour to moderate Spirit of Wine, wherein I purposely dissolv'd it, and Wine it self is a Liquor that few would suspect of being able to work suddenly any such change in a Metalline preparation of this Nature; and to satisfie my self that this new Colour proceeds rather from the peculiar Texture of the Wine, than from any greater Acidity, that Rhenish or White-wine (for that may not absurdly be suspected) has in comparison of Water; I purposely sharpen'd the Solution of this Essence in fair Water, with a good quantity of Spirit of Salt, notwithstanding which, the mixture acquir'd no Greenness. And to vary the Experiment a little, I try'd, that if into a Glass of Rhenish Wine made Green by this Essence, I dropp'd an Alcalizate Solution, or Urinous Spirit, the Wine would presently grow Turbid, and of an odd Dirty Colour; But if instead of dissolving the Essence in Wine, I dissolv'd it in fair Water sharpen'd perhaps with a little Spirit of Salt, then either the Urinous Spirit of Sal Armoniack, or the solution of the fix'd Salt of Pot-ashes would immediately turn it of a Yellowish Colour, the fix'd or Urinous Salt Precipitating the Vitriolate substance contain'd in the Essence. But here I must not forget to take notice of a circumstance that deserves to be compar'd with some part of the foregoing Experiment, for whereas our Essence imparts a Greenness to Wine, but not to Water, the Industrious Olaus Wormius[23] in his late Musaeum tells us of a rare kind of Turn-Sole which he calls Bezetta Rubra given him by an Apothecary that knew not how it was made, whose lovely Redness would be easily communicated to Water, if it were immers'd in it; but scarce to Wine, and not at all to Spirit of Wine, in which last circumstance it agrees with what I lately told you of our Essence, notwithstanding their disagreement in other particulars.

[23] Libr. 2do Cap. 34.


We have often taken notice, as of a remarkable thing, that Metalls as they appear to the Eye, before they come to be farther alter'd by other Bodyes, do exhibit Colours very different from those which the Fire and the Menstruum, either apart, or both together, do produce in them; especially considering that these Metalline Bodyes are after all these disguises reducible not only to their former Metalline Consistence and other more radical properties, but to their Colour too, as if Nature had given divers Metalls to each of them a double Colour, an External, and an Internal; But though upon a more attentive Consideration of this difference of Colours, it seem'd probable to me, that divers (for I say not all) of those Colours which we have just now call'd Internal, are rather produc'd by the Coalition of Metalline Particles with those of the Salts, or other Bodyes employ'd to work on them, than by the bare alteration of the parts of the Metalls themselves: and though therefore we may call the obvious Colours, Natural or Common, & the others Adventitious, yet because such changes of Colours, from whatsoever cause they be resolv'd to proceed may be properly enough taken in to illustrate our present Subject, we shall not scruple to take notice of some of them, especially because there are among them such as are produc'd without the intervention of Saline Menstruums. Of the Adventitious Colours of Metalline Bodies the Chief sorts seem to be these three. The first, such Colours as are produc'd without other Additaments by the Action of the fire upon Metalls. The next such as emerge from the Coalition of Metalline Particles with those of some Menstruum imploy'd to Corrode a Metall or Precipitate it; And the last, The Colours afforded by Metalline Bodyes either Colliquated with, or otherwise Penetrating into, other Bodies, especially fusible ones. But these (Pyrophilus,) are only as I told you, the Chief sorts of the adventitious Colours of Metalls, for there may others belong to them, of which I shall hereafter have occasion to take notice of some, and of which also there possibly may be others that I never took notice of.

And to begin with the first sort of Colours, 'tis well enough known to Chymists, that Tin being Calcin'd by fire alone is wont to afford a White Calx, and Lead Calcin'd by fire alone affords that most Common Red-Powder we call Minium: Copper also Calcin'd per se, by a long or violent fire, is wont to yield (as far as I have had occasion to take notice of it) a very Dark or Blackish Powder; That Iron likewise may by the Action of Reverberated flames be turn'd into a Colour almost like that of Saffron, may be easily deduc'd from the Preparation of that Powder, which by reason of its Colour and of the Metall 'tis made of is by Chymists call'd, Crocus Martis per se. And that Mercury made by the stress of Fire, may be turn'd into a Red Powder, which Chymists call Precipitate per se, I elsewhere more particularly declare.

Annotation I.

It is not unworthy the Admonishing you, (Pyrophilus,) and it agrees very well with our Conjectures about the dependence of the change of a Body's Colour upon that of its Texture, that the same Metall may by the successive operation of the fire receive divers Adventitious Colours, as is evident in Lead, which before it come to so deep a Colour as that of Minium, may pass through divers others.

Annotation II.

Not only the Calces, but the Glasses of Metalls, Vitrify'd per se, may be of Colours differing from the Natural or Obvious Colour of the Metall; as I have observ'd in the Glass of Lead, made by long exposing Crude Lead to a violent fire, and what I have observ'd about the Glass or Slagg of Copper, (of which I can show you some of an odd kind of Texture,) may be elsewhere more conveniently related. I have likewise seen a piece of very Dark Glass, which an Ingenious Artificer that show'd it me profess'd himself to have made of Silver alone by an extreme Violence (which seems to be no more than is needfull) of the fire.

Annotation III.

Minerals also by the Action of the Fire may be brought to afford Colours very differing from their own, as I not long since noted to you about the variously Colour'd Flowers of Antimony, to which we may add the Whitish Grey-Colour of its Calx, and the Yellow or Reddish Colour of the Glass, where into that Calx may be flux'd.

And I remember, that I elsewhere told you, that Vitriol Calcin'd with a very gentle heat, and afterwards with higher and higher degrees of it, may be made to pass through several Colours before it descends to a Dark Purplish Colour, whereto a strong fire is wont at length to reduce it. But to insist on the Colours produc'd by the Operation of fire upon several Minerals would take up farr more time than I have now to spare.


The Adventitious Colours produc'd upon Metalls, or rather with them, by Saline Liquors, are many of them so well known to Chymists, that I would not here mention them, but that besides a not un-needed Testimony, I can add something of my own, to what I shall repeat about them, and divers Experiments which are familiar to Chymists, are as yet unknown to the greatest part of Ingenious Men.

That Gold dissolv'd in Aqua Regia ennobles the Menstruum with its own Colour, is a thing that you cannot (Pyrophilus,) but have often seen. The Solutions of Mercury in Aqua-fortis are not generally taken notice of, to give any notable Tincture to the Menstruum; but sometimes when the Liquor first falls upon the Quick Silver, I have observ'd a very remarkable, though not durable, Greenness, or Blewness to be produc'd, which is a Phaenomenon not unfit for you to consider, though I have not now the leisure to discourse upon it. Tin Corroded by Aqua-fortis till the Menstruum will work no farther on it, becomes exceeding White, but as we elsewhere note, does very easily of it self acquire the consistence, not of a Metalline Calx, but of a Coagulated matter, which we have observ'd with pleasure to look so like, either to curdled Milk, or curdled Whites of Eggs, that a person unacquainted with such Solutions may easily be mistaken in it. But when I purposely prepar'd a Menstruum that would dissolve it as Aqua-fortis dissolves Silver, and not barely Corrode it, and quickly let it fall again, I remember not that I took notice of any particular Colour in the Solution, as if the more Whitish Metalls did not much Tinge their Menstruums, though the conspicuously Colour'd Metalls as Gold, and Copper, do. For Lead dissolv'd in Spirit of Vinegar or Aqua-fortis gives a Solution cleer enough, and if the Menstruum be abstracted appears either Diaphanous or White. Of the Colour of Iron we have elsewhere said something: And 'tis worth noting, that though if that Metall be dissolv'd in oyl of Vitriol diluted with water, it affords a Salt or Magistery so like in colour, as well as some other Qualities, to other green Vitriol, that Chymists do not improperly call it Vitriolum Martis; yet I have purposely try'd, that, by changing the Menstruum, and pouring upon the filings of Steel, instead of oyl of Vitriol, Aqua Fortis, (whereof as I remember, I us'd 4 parts to one of the Metall) I obtain'd not a Green, but a Saffron Colour Solution; or rather a thick Liquor of a deep but yellowish Red. Common Silver, such as is to be met with in Coines, being dissolv'd in Aqua fortis, yields a Solution tincted like that of Copper, which is not to be wondred at, because in the coining of Silver, they are wont (as we elsewhere particularly inform you) to give it an Allay of Copper, and that which is sold in shops for refined silver, is not (so far as we have tryed) so perfectly free from that ignobler Metall, but that a Solution of It in Aqua fortis, will give a Venereal Tincture to the Menstruum. But we could not observe upon the solution of some Silver, which was perfectly refin'd, (such as some that we have, from which 8 or 10 times its weight of Lead has been blown off) that the Menstruum though held against the Light in a Crystal Vial did manifestly disclose any Tincture, only it seem'd sometimes not to be quite destitute of a little, but very faint Blewishness.

But here I must take notice, that of all the Metalls, there is not any which doth so easily and constantly disclose its unobvious colour as Copper doth. For not only in acid Menstruums as Aqua Fortis and Spirit of Vinegar, it gives a Blewish green solution, but if it be almost any way corroded, it appears of one of those two colours, as may be observ'd in Verdigreese made several wayes, in that odd preparation of Venus, which we elsewhere teach you to make with Sublimate, and in the common Vitriols of Venus deliver'd by Chymists; and so constant is the disposition of Copper, notwithstanding the disguise Artists put upon it, to disclose the colour we have been mentioning, that we have by forcing it up with Sal Armoniack obtain'd a Sublimate of a Blewish Colour. Nay a famous Spagyrist affirms, that the very Mercury of it is green, but till he teach us an intelligible way of making such a Mercury, we must content ourselves to inform you, that we have had a Cupreous Body, that was Praecipitated out of a distill'd Liquor, that seem'd to be the the Sulphur of Venus, and seem'd even when flaming, of a Greenish Colour. And indeed Copper is a Metall so easily wrought upon by Liquors of several kinds, that I should tell you, I know not any Mineral, that will concurr to the production of such a variety of Colours as Copper dissol'd in several Menstruums, as Spirit of Vinegar, Aqua fortis, Aqua Regis, Spirit of Nitre, of Urine, of Soot, Oyls of several kinds, and I know not how many other Liquors, if the variety of somewhat differing colours (that Copper will be made to assume, as it is wrought upon by several Liquors) were not comprehended within the Limits of Greenish Blew, or Blewish Green.

And yet I must advertise you (Pyrophilus) that being desirous to try if I could not make with crude Copper a Green Solution without the Blewishness that is wont to accompany its Vulgar Solutions, I bethought my self of using two Menstruums, which I had not known imploy'd to work on this Metall, and which I had certain Reasons to make Tryal of, as I successfully did. The one of these Liquors (if I much misremember not) was Spirit of Sugar distill'd in a Retort, which must be warily done, (if you will avoid breaking your glasses) and the other, Oyl or Spirit of Turpentine, which affords a fine Green Solution that is useful to me on several occasions. And yet to shew that the adventitious colour may result, as well from the true and permanent Copper it self, as the Salts wherewith 'tis corroded, I shall add, that if you take a piece of good Dantzick Copperis, or any other Vitriol wherein Venus is praedominant, and having moistened it in your Mouth, or with fair water, rubb it upon a whetted knife, or any other bright piece of Steel or Iron, it will (as we have formerly told you) present'y stain the Steel with a Reddish colour, like that of Copper, the reason of which, we must not now stay to inquire.

Annotation I.

I presume you may have taken notice (Pyrophilus) that I have borrowed some of the Instances mention'd in this 47th Experiment, from the Laboratories of Chymists, and because in some (though very few) other passages of this Essay, I have likewise made use of Experiments mention'd also by some Spagyrical Writers, I think it not amiss to represent to you on this Occasion once for all, some things besides those which I intimated in the praeamble of this present Experiment; For besides, that 'tis very allowable for a Writer to repeat an Experiment which he invented not, in case he improve it; And besides that many Experiments familiar to Chymists are unknown to the generality of Learned Men, who either never read Chymical processes, or never understood their meaning, or never durst believe them; besides these things, I say, I shall represent, That, as to the few Experiments I have borrowed from the Chymists, if they be very Vulgar, 'twould perhaps be difficult to ascribe each of them its own Author, and 'tis more than the generality of Chymists themselves can do: and if they be not of very known and familiar practise among them, unless the Authors wherein I found them had given me cause to believe, themselves had try'd them, I know not why I might not set them down, as a part of the Phaenomena of Colours which I present you; Many things unanimously enough deliver'd as matters of fact by (I know not how many Chymical Writers) being not to be rely'd on, upon the single Authority of such Authors: For Instance, as some Spagyrists deliver (perhaps amongst several deceitful processes) that Saccarum Saturni with Spirit of Turpentine will afford a Balsom, so Beguinus and many more tell us, that the same Concrete (Saccarum Saturni) will yield an incomparably fragrant Spirit, and a pretty Quantity of two several Oyles, and yet since many have complain'd, as well as I have done, that they could find no such odoriferous, but rather an ill-sented Liquor, and scarce any oyl in their Distillation of that sweet Vitriol, a wary person would as little build any thing on what they say of the former Experiment, as upon what they averr of the later, and therefore I scrupled not to mention this Red Balsom of which I have not seen any, (but what I made) among my other experiments about redness.

Annot. II.

We have sometimes had the Curiosity to try what Colours Minerals, as Tinglass, Antimony, Spelter, &c. would yield in several Menstruums, nor have we forborn to try the Colours of stones, of which that famous one, (which Helmont calls Paracelsus's Ludus) though it be digg'd out of the Earth and seem a true stone, has afforded in Menstruums capable to dissolve so solid a stone, sometimes a Yellowish, sometimes a Red solution of both which I can show you. But though I have from Minerals obtain'd with several Menstruums very differing Colours, and some such as perhaps you would be surpriz'd to see drawn from such Bodies: yet I must now pass by the particulars, being desirous to put an End to this Treatise, before I put an end to your Patience and my own.

Annotation III.

And yet before I pass to the next Experiment, I must put you in mind, that the Colours of Metals may in many cases be further alter'd by imploying, either praecipitating Salts, or other convenient Substances to act upon their Solutions. Of this you may remember, that I have given you several Instances already, to which may be added such as these, That if Quicksilver be dissolv'd in Aqua fortis, and Praecipitated out of the Solution, either with water impregnated with Sea salt, or with the spirit of that Concrete, it falls to the Bottom in the form of a white powder, whereas if it be Praecipitated with an Alcaly, it will afford a Yellowish or tawny powder, and if there be no Praecipitation made, and the Menstruum be drawn off with a convenient fire, the corroded Mercury will remain in the bottom, in the form of a substance that may be made to appear of differing Colours by differing degrees of Heat; As I remember that lately having purposely abstracted Aqua fortis from some Quicksilver that we had dissolv'd in it, so that there remain'd a white Calx, exposing that to several degrees of Fire, and afterwards to a naked one, we obtain'd some new Colours, and at length the greatest part of the Calx lying at the Bottome of the Vial, and being brought partly to a Deep Yellow, and partly to a Red Colour, the rest appear'd elevated to the upper part and neck of the Vial, some in the form of a Reddish, and some of an Ash-Colour Sublimate. But of the differing Colours which by differing wayes and working of Quick Silver with Fire, and Saline Bodies, may be produc'd in Precipitates, I may elsewhere have occasion to take further notice. I also told you not long since, that if you corrode Quick-silver with Oyl of Vitriol instead of Aqua-fortis, and abstract the Menstruum, there will remain a White Calx which by the Affusion of Fair Water presently turns into a Lemmon Colour. And ev'n the Succedaneum to a Menstruum may sometimes serve the turn to change the Colours of a Metal. The lovely Red which Painters call Vermillion, is made of Mercury, which is of the Colour of Silver, and of Brimstone which is of Kin to that of Gold, Sublim'd up together in a certain proportion, as is vulgarly known to Spagyrists.


The third chief sort of the Adventitious Colours of Metals, is, that which is produc'd by associating them (especially when Calcin'd) with other fusible Bodies, and Principally Venice, and other fine Glass devoid of Colour.

I have formerly given you an Example, whereby it may appear, that a Metal may impart to Glass a Colour much differing from its own, when I told you, how with Silver, I had given Glass a lovely Golden Colour. And I shall now add, that I have Learn'd from one of the Chief Artificers that sells Painted Glass, that those of his Trade Colour it Yellow with a preparation of the Calx of Silver. Though having lately had occasion among other Tryals to mingle a few grains of Shell-silver (such as is imploy'd with the Pensil and Pen) with a convenient proportion of powder'd Crystal Glass, having kept them two or three hours in fusion, I was surpriz'd to find the Colliquated Mass to appear upon breaking the Crucible of a lovely Saphirine Blew, which made me suspect my Servant might have brought me a wrong Crucible, but he constantly affirm'd it to be the same wherein the Silver was put, and considerable Circumstances countenanc'd his Assertion, so that till I have opportunity to make farther Tryal, I cannot but suspect, either that Silver which is not (which is not very probable) brought to a perfect Fusion and Colliquation with Glass, may impart to it other Colours than when Neal'd upon it, or else (which is less unlikely) that though Silver Beaters usually chuse the finest Coyn they can get, as that which is most extensive under the Hammer, yet the Silver-leaves of which this Shel-silver was made, might retain so much Copper as to enable it to give the predominant tincture to the Glass.

For, I must proceed to tell you (Pyrophilus) as another instance of the Adventitious Colours of Metals, that which is something strange, Namely, That though Copper Calcin'd per se affords but a Dark and basely Colour'd Calx, yet the Glassmen do with it, as themselves inform me, Tinge their Glass green. And I remember, that when once we took some crude Copper, and by frequent Ignition quenching it in Water had reduc'd it to a Dark and Ill-colour'd Powder, and afterward kept it in Fusion in about a 100. times its weight of fine Glass, we had, though not a Green, yet a Blew colour'd Mass, which would perhaps have been Green, if we had hit right upon the Proportion of the Materials, and the Degree of Fire, and the Time wherein it ought to be kept in Fusion, so plentifully does that Metal abound in a Venerial Tincture, as Artists call it, and in so many wayes does it disclose that Richness. But though Copper do as we have said give somewhat near the like Colour to Glass, which it does to Aqua-fortis, yet it seems worth inquiry, whether those new Colours which Mineral Bodies disclose in melted Glass, proceed from the Coalition of the Corpuscles of the Mineral with the Particles of the Glass as such, or from the Action (excited or actuated by fire) of the Alcalizate Salt (which is a main Ingredient of Glass,) upon the Mineral Body, or from the concurrence of both these Causes, or else from any other. But to return to that which we were saying, we may observe that Putty made by calcining together a proportion of Tin and Lead, as it is it self a White Calx, so does it turn the Pitta di Crystallo (as the Glassmen call the matter of the Purer sort of Glass, wherewith it is Colliquated into a White Mass, which if it be opacous enough is employ'd, as we elsewhere declare, for White Amel. But of the Colours which the other Metals may be made to produce in Colourless Glass, and other Vitrifiable Bodies, that have native Colours of their own, I must leave you to inform your self upon Tryal, or at least must forbear to do it till another time, considering how many Annotations are to follow, upon what has in this and the two former Experiments been said already.

Annotation I.

When the Materials of Glass being melted with Calcin'd Tin, have compos'd a Mass Undiaphanous and White, this White Amel is as it were the Basis of all those fine Concretes that Goldsmiths and several Artificers imploy in the curious Art of Enamelling. For this White and Fusible substance will receive into it self, without spoyling them, the Colours of divers other Mineral substances, which like it will indure the fire.

Annotation II.

So that as by the present (XLVIII.) Experiment it appears, that divers Minerals will impart to fusible Masses, Colours differing from their own; so by the making and compounding of Amels, it may appear, that divers Bodies will both retain their Colour in the fire, and impart the same to some others wherewith they were vitrifi'd, and in such Tryals as that mention'd in the 17. Experiment, where I told you, that ev'n in Amels a Blew and Yellow will compound a Green. 'Tis pretty to behold, not only that some Colours are of so fix'd a Nature, as to be capable of mixture without receiving any detriment by the fire, that do's so easily destroy or spoyl those of other Bodies; but Mineral Pigments may be mingled by fire little less regularly and successfully, than in ordinary Dyeing Fatts, the vulgar Colours are wont to be mingled by the help of Water.

Annotation III.

'Tis not only Metalline, but other Mineral Bodies, that may be imploy'd, to give Tinctures unto Glass (and 'tis worth noting how small a quantity of some Mineral substances, will Tinge a Comparatively vast proportion of Glass, and we have sometimes attempted to Colour Glass, ev'n with Pretious Stones, and had cause to think the Experiment not cast away. And 'tis known by them that have look'd into the Art of Glass, that the Artificers use to tinge their Glass Blew, with that Dark Mineral Zaffora, (some of my Tryals on which I elsewhere acquaint you) which some would have to be a Mineral Earth, others a Stone, and others neither the one, nor the other, but which is confessedly of a Dark, but not a Blew Colour, though it be not agreed of what particular Colour it is. 'Tis likewise though a familiar yet a remarkable practise among those that Deal in the making of Glass, to imploy (as some of themselves have inform'd me) what they call Manganess, and some Authors call Magnesia (of which I make particular mention in another Treatise) to exhibit in Glass not only other Colours than its own, (which is so like in Darkness or blackishness to the Load stone, that 'tis given by Mineralists, for one of the Reasons of its Latine Name) but Colours differing from one another. For though they use it, (which is somewhat strange) to Clarifye their Glass, and free it from that Blewish Greenish Colour, which else it would too often be subject to, yet they also imploy it in certain proportions, to tinge their Glass both with a Red colour, and with a Purplish or Murry, and putting in a greater Quantity, they also make with it that deep obscure Glass which is wont to pass for Black, which agrees very well with, and may serve to confirm what we noted near the beginning of the 44th Experiment, of the seeming Blackness of those Bodies that are overcharg'd with the Corpuscles of such Colours, as Red, or Blew, or Green, &c. And as by several Metals and other Minerals we can give various Colours to Glass, so on the other side, by the differing Colours that Mineral Oars, or other Mineral Powders being melted with Glass disclose in it, a good Conjecture may be oftentimes made of the Metall or known Mineral, that the Oar propos'd, either holds, or is most of kin to. And this easie way of examining Oars, may be in some cases of good use, and is not ill deliver'd by Glauber, to whom I shall at present refer you, for a more particular account of it: unless your Curiosity command also what I have observ'd about these matters; only I must here advertise you, that great circumspection is requisite to keep this way from proving fallacious, upon the account of the variations of Colour that may be produc'd by the differing proportions that may be us'd betwixt the Oar and the Glass, by the Richness or Poorness of the Oar it self, by the Degree of Fire, and (especially) by the Length of Time, during which the matter is kept in fusion; as you will easily gather from what you will quickly meet with in the following Annotation upon this present 48th Experiment.

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