Experiments and Considerations Touching Colours (1664)
by Robert Boyle
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First occasionally Written, among some other Essays, to a Friend; and now suffer'd to come abroad as

THE BEGINNING Of An Experimental History OF COLOURS.

By the Honourable ROBERT BOYLE, Fellow of the ROYAL SOCIETY.

Non fingendum, aut excogitandum, sed inveniendum, quid Natura faciat, aut ferat. Bacon.


Printed for Henry Herringman at the Anchor on the Lower walk of the New Exchange. MDCLXIV.

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Having in convenient places of the following Treatise, mention'd the Motives, that induc'd me to write it, and the Scope I propos'd to my self in it; I think it superfluous to entertain the Reader now, with what he will meet with hereafter. And I should judge it needless, to trouble others, or my self, with any thing of Preface: were it not that I can scarce doubt, but this Book will fall into the hands of some Readers, who being unacquainted with the difficulty of attempts of this nature, will think itn strange that I should publish any thing about Colours, without a particular Theory of them. But I dare expect that Intelligent and Equitable Readers will consider on my behalf: That the professed Design of this Treatise is to deliver things rather Historical than Dogmatical, and consequently if I have added divers new speculative Considerations and hints, which perhaps may afford no despicable Assistance, towards the framing of a solid and comprehensive Hypothesis, I have done at least as much as I promis'd, or as the nature of my undertaking exacted. But another thing there is, which if it should be objected, I fear I should not be able so easily to answer it, and that is; That in the following treatise (especially in the Third part of it) the Experiments might have been better Marshall'd, and some of them deliver'd in fewer words. For I must confess that this Essay was written to a private Friend, and that too, by snatches, at several times, and places, and (after my manner) in loose sheets, of which I oftentimes had not all by me that I had already written, when I was writing more, so that it needs be no wonder if all the Experiments be not rang'd to the best Advantage, and if some connections and consecutions of them might easily have been mended. Especially since having carelessly laid by the loose Papers, for several years after they were written, when I came to put them together to dispatch them to the Press, I found some of those I reckon'd upon, to be very unseasonably wanting. And to make any great change in the order of the rest, was more than the Printers importunity, and that, of my own avocations (and perhaps also considerabler solicitations) would permit. But though some few preambles of the particular Experiments might have (perchance) been spar'd, or shorten'd, if I had had all my Papers under my View at once; Yet in the most of those Introductory passages, the Reader will (I hope) find hints, or Advertisements, as well as Transitions. If I sometimes seem to insist long upon the circumstances of a Tryall, I hope I shall be easily excused by those that both know, how nice divers experiments of Colours are, and consider that I was not barely to relate them, but so as to teach a young Gentleman to make them. And if I was not sollicitous, to make a nicer division of the whole Treatise, than into three parts, whereof the One contains some Considerations about Colours in general. The Other exhibits a specimen of an Account of particular Colours, Exemplifi'd in Whiteness and Blackness. And the Third promiscuous Experiments about the remaining Colours (especially Red) in order to a Theory of them. If, I say, I contented my self with this easie Division of my Discourse, it was perhaps because I did not think it so necessary to be Curious about the Method or Contrivance of a Treatise, wherein I do not pretend to present my Reader with a compleat Fabrick, or so much as Modell; but only to bring in Materials proper for the Building; And if I did not well know how Ingenious the Curiosity and Civility of Friends makes them, to perswade Men by specious allegations, to gratifie their desires; I should have been made to believe by persons very well qualify'd to judge of matters of this nature, that the following Experiments will not need the addition of accurate Method and speculative Notions to procure Acceptance for the Treatise that contains them: For it hath been represented, That in most of them, as the Novelty will make them surprizing, and the Quickness of performance, keep them from being tedious; so the sensible changes, that are effected by them, are so manifest, so great, and so sudden, that scarce any will be displeased to see them, and those that are any thing Curious will scarce be able to see them, without finding themselves excited, to make Reflexions upon Them. But though with me, who love to measure Physical things by their use, not their strangeness, or prettiness, the partiality of others prevails not to make me over value these, or look upon them in themselves as other than Trifles: Yet I confess, that ever since I did divers years ago shew some of them to a Learned Company of Virtuosi: so many persons of differing Conditions, and ev'n Sexes, have been Curious to see them, and pleas'd not to Dislike them, that I cannot Despair, but that by complying with those that urge the Publication of them, I may both gratifie and excite the Curious, and lay perhaps a Foundation whereon either others or my self may in time superstruct a substantial theory of Colours. And if Aristotle, after his Master Plato, have rightly observ'd Admiration to be the Parent of Philosophy, the wonder, some of these Trifles have been wont to produce in all sorts of Beholders, and the access they have sometimes gain'd ev'n to the Closets of Ladies, seem to promise, that since the subject is so pleasing, that the Speculation appears as Delightful! as Difficult, such easie and recreative Experiments, which require but little time, or charge, or trouble in the making, and when made are sensible and surprizing enough, may contribute more than others, (far more important but as much more difficult) to recommend those parts of Learning (Chymistry and Corpuscular Philosophy) by which they have been produc'd, and to which they give Testimony ev'n to such kind of persons, as value a pretty Trick more than a true Notion, and would scarce admit Philosophy, if it approach'd them in another Dress: without the strangeness or endearments of pleasantness to recommend it. I know that I do but ill consult my own Advantage in the consenting to the Publication of the following Treatise: For those things, which, whilst men knew not how they were perform'd, appear'd so strange, will, when the way of making them, and the Grounds on which I devis'd them, shall be Publick, quickly lose all that their being Rarityes, and their being thought Mysteries, contributed to recommend them. But 'tis fitter for Mountebancks than Naturalis to desire to have their discoverys rather admir'd than understood, and for my part I had much rather deserve the thanks of the Ingenious, than enjoy the Applause of the Ignorant. And if I can so farr contribute to the discovery of the nature of Colours, as to help the Curious to it, I shall have reach'd my End, and sav'd my self some Labour which else I may chance be tempted to undergo in prosecuting that subect, and Adding to this Treatise, which I therefore call a History, because it chiefly contains matters of fact, and which History the Title declares me to look upon but as Begun: Because though that above a hundred, not to say a hundred and fifty Experiments, (some loose, and others interwoven amongst the discourses themselves) may suffice to give a Beginning to a History not hitherto, that I know, begun, by any; yet the subject is so fruitfull, and so worthy, that those that are Curious of these Matters will be farr more wanting to themselves than I can suspect, if what I now publish prove any more than a Beginning. For, as I hope my Endeavours may afford them some assistance towards this work, so those Endeavours are much too Vnfinish'd to give them any discouragement, as if there were little left for others to do towards the History of Colours.

For (first) I have been willing to leave unmention'd the most part of those Phaenomena of Colours, that Nature presents us of her own accord, (that is, without being guided or over-ruld by man) such as the different Colours that several sorts of Fruites pass through before they are perfectly ripe, and those that appear upon the fading of flowers and leaves, and the putrifaction (and its several degrees) of fruits, &c. together with a thousand other obvious Instances of the changes of colours. Nor have I much medled with those familiar Phaenomena wherein man is not an Idle spectator; such as the Greenness produc'd by salt in Beef much powder'd, and the Redness produc'd in the shells of Lobsters upon the boyling of those fishes; For I was willing to leave the gathering of Observations to those that have not the Opportunity to make Experiments. And for the same Reasons, among others, I did purposly omit the Lucriferous practise of Trades-men about colours; as the ways of making Pigments, of Bleanching wax, of dying Scarlet, &c. though to divers of them I be not a stranger, and of some I have myself made Tryall.

Next; I did purposely pass by divers Experiments of other Writers that I had made Tryall of (and that not without registring some of their Events) unless I could some way or other improve them, because I wanted leasure to insert them, and had thoughts of prosecuting the work once begun of laying together those I had examin'd by themselves in case of my not being prevented by others diligence. So that there remains not a little, among the things that are already published, to imploy those that have a mind to exercise themselves in repeating and examining them. And I will not undertake, that none of the things deliver'd, ev'n in this Treatise, though never so faithfully set down, may not prove to be thus farr of this Sort, as to afford the Curious somewhat to add about them. For I remember that I have somewhere in the Book it self acknowledged, that having written it by snatches, partly in the Counntrey, and partly at unseasonable times of the year, when the want of fit Instruments, and of a competent variety of flowers, salts, Pigments, and other materials made me leave some of the following Experiments, (especialy those about Emphatical Colours) far more unfinish'd than they should have been, if it had been as easie for me to supply what was wanting to compleat them, as to discern. Thirdly to avoyd discouraging the young Gentleman I call Pyrophilus, whom the less Familiar, and more Laborious operations of Chymistry would probably have frighted, I purposely declin'd in what I writ to him, the setting down any Number of such Chymicall Experiments, as, by being very elaborate or tedious, would either require much skill, or exercise his patience. And yet that this sort of Experiments is exceedingly Numerous, and might more than a little inrich the History of Colours, those that are vers'd in Chymical processes, will, I presume, easily allow me.

And (Lastly) for as much as I have occasion more than once in my several Writings to treat either porposely or incidentally of matters relating to Colours; I did not, perhaps, conceive my self oblig'd, to deliver in one Treatise all that I would say concerning that subject.

But to conclude, by summing up what I would say concerning what I have and what I have not done, in the following Papers; I shall not (on the one side) deny, that considering that I pretended not to write an accurate Treatise of Colours, but an Occasional Essay to acquaint a private friend with what then occurrd to me of the things I had thought or try'd concerning them; I might presume I did enough for once, if I did clearly and faithfully set down, though not all the Experiments I could, yet at least such a variety of them, that an attentive Reader that shall consider the Grounds on which they have been made, and the hints that are purposely (though dispersedly) couched in them, may easily compound them, and otherwise vary them, so as very much to increase their Number. And yet (on the other side) I am so sensible both of how much I have, either out of necessity or choice, left undone, and of the fruitfullness of the subject I have begun to handle; that though I had performed far more then 'tis like many Readers will judge I have, I should yet be very free to let them apply to my Attempts that of Seneca, where having spoken of the Study of Natures Mysteries, and Particularly of the Cause of Earth-Quakes, he subjoins.[1] Nulla res consummata est dum incipit. Nec in hac tantum re omnium maxima ac involutissima, in qua etiam cum multum actum erit, omnis aetas, quod agat inveniet; sed in omni alio Negotio, longe semper a perfecto fuere Principia.

[1] L. Annae Senecae Natur. Quest. l. 6. c. 5.

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The Publisher to the READER.

Friendly Reader,

Here is presented to thy view one of the Abstrusest as well as the Gentilest Subjects of Natural Philosophy, the Experimentall History of Colours; which though the Noble Author be pleased to think but Begun, yet I must take leave to say, that I think it so well begun, that the work is more than half dispatcht. Concerning which I cannot but give this advertisement to the Reader, that I have heard the Author express himself, that it would not surprise him, if it should happen to be objected, that some of these Experiments have been already published, partly by Chymists, and partly by two or three very fresh Writers upon other Subjects. And though the number of these Experiments be but very small, and though they be none of the considerablest, yet it may on this occasion be further represented, that it is easie for our Author to name several men, (of whose number I can truly name my self) who remember either their having seen him make, or their having read, his Accounts of the Experiments delivered in the following Tract several years since, and long before the publication of the Books, wherein they are mentioned. Nay in divers passages (where he could do it without any great inconvenience) he hath struck out Experiments, which he had tryed many years ago, because he since found them divulged by persons from whom he had not the least hint of them; which yet is not touched, with design to reflect upon any Ingenious Man, as if he were a Plagiary: For, though our Generous Author were not reserved enough in showing his Experiments to those that expressed a Curiosity to see them (amongst whom a very Learned Man hath been pleased publickly to acknowledge it several years ago[2]; yet the same thing may be well enough lighted on by persons that know nothing of one another. And especially Chymical Laboratories may many times afford the same Phaenomenon about Colours to several persons at the same or differing times. And as for the few Phaenomena mentioned in the same Chymical writers, as well as in the following Treatise, our Author hath given an account, why he did not decline rejecting them, in the Anotations upon the 47th Experiment of the third part. Not here to mention, what he elsewhere saith, to shew what use may be Justifiably made of Experiments not of his own devising by a writer of Natural History, if, what he employes of others mens, be well examined or verified by himself.

[2] He that desires more instances of this kind and matter, that according to this doctrine may much help the Theory of colours, and particularly the force both of Sulphureous and volatile, is likewise of Alcalizate and Acid Salts, and in what particulars, Colours likely depend not in the causation from any Salt at all, may beg his information from M. Boyle who hath some while since honoured me with the sight of his papers concerning this subject, containing many excellent experiments, made by him for the Elucidation of this doctrine, &c Dr. R. Sharrock in his ingenious and usefull History of the Propagation and Improvement of Vegetables, published in the yeare 1660.

In the mean time, this Treatise is such, that there needs no other invitation to peruse it, but that tis composed by one of the Deepest & Most indefatigable searchers of Nature, which, I think the World, as far as I know it, affords. For mine own part, I feel a Secret Joy within me, to see such beginings upon such Themes, it being demonstratively true, Mota facilius moveri, which causeth me to entertain strong hopes, that this Illustrious Virtuoso and Restless Inquirer into Nature's Secrets will not stop here, but go on and prosper in the Disquisition or the other principal Colours, Green, Red, and Yellow. The Reasoning faculty set once afloat, will be carried on, and that with ease, especially, when the productions thereof meet, as they do here, with so greedy an Entertainment at home and abroad. I am confident, that the ROYAL SOCIETY, lately constituted by his MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY for improving Natural knowledge, will Judge it their interest to exhort our Author to the prosecution of this Argument, considering, how much it is their design and business to accumulate a good stock of such accurate Observations and Experiments, as may afford them and their Offpring genuine Matter to raise a Masculine Philosophy upon, whereby the Mind of Man may be enobled with the Knowledge of solid Truths, and the Life of Man benefited with ampler accommodations, than it hath been hitherto.

Our Great Author, one of the Pillars of that Illustrious Corporation, is constantly furnishing large Symbola's to this work, and is now falln, as you see, upon so comprehensive and important a theme, as will, if insisted on and compleated, prove one of the considerablest peeces of that structure. To which, if he shall please to add his Treatise of Heat and Flame, as he is ready to publish his Experimental Accounts of Cold, I esteem, the World will be obliged to Him for having shewed them both the Right and Left Hand of Nature, and the Operations thereof.

The considering Reader will by this very Treatise see abundant cause to sollicit the Author for more; sure I am, that of whatever of the Productions of his Ingeny comes into Forein parts (where I am happy in the acquaintance of many intelligent friends) is highly valued; And to my knowledge, there are those among the French, that have lately begun to learn English, on purpose to enable themselves to read his Books, being impatient of their Traduction into Latin. If I durst say all, I know of the Elogies received by me from abroad concerning Him, I should perhaps make this Preamble too prolix, and certainly offend the modesty of our Author.

Wherefore I shall leave this, and conclude with desiring the Reader, that if he meet with other faults besides those, that the Errata take notice of (as I believe he may) he will please to consider both the weakness of the Authors eyes, for not reviewing, and the manifold Avocations of the Publisher for not doing his part; who taketh his leave with inviting those, that have also considered this Nice subject experimentally, to follow the Example of our Noble Author, and impart such and the like performances to the now very inquisitive world. Farewell.

H. O.

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The Author shews the Reason, first of his Writing on this Subject (1.) Next of his present manner of Handling it, and why he partly declines a Methodical way (2.) and why he has partly made use of it in the History of Whiteness and Blackness. (3.)

Chap. 2. Some general Considerations are premis'd, first of the Insignificancy of the Observasion of Colours in many Bodies (4, 5.) and the Importance of it in others (5.) as particularly in the Tempering of Steel (6, 7, 8.) The reason why other particular Instances are in that place omitted (9) A necessary distinction about Colour premis'd (10, 11.) That Colour is not Inherent in the Object (11.) prov'd first by the Phantasms of Colours to Dreaming men, and Lunaticks; Secondly by the sensation or apparition of Light upon a Blow given the Eye or the Distemper of the Brain from internal Vapours (12.) The Author recites a particular Instance in himself; another that hapn'd to an Excellent Person related to him (13.) and a third told him by an Ingenious Physician (14, 15.) Thirdly, from the change of Colours made by the Sensory Disaffected (15, 16.) Some Instances of this are related by the Author, observ'd in himself (16, 17.) others told him by a Lady of known Veracity (18.) And others told him by a very Eminent Man (19.) But the strange Instances afforded by such as are Bit by the Tarantula are omitted, as more properly deliver'd in another place. (20.)

Chap. 3. That the Colour of Bodies depends chiefly on the disposition of the Superficial parts, and partly upon the Variety of the Texture of the Object (21.) The former of these are confirm'd by several Persons (22.) and two Instances, the first of the Steel mention'd before, the second of melted Lead (23, 24.) of which last several Observables are noted (25.) A third Instance is added of the Porousness of the appearing smooth Surface of Cork (26, 27.) And that the same kind of Porousness may be also in the other Colour'd Bodies; And of what kind of Figures, the Superficial reflecting Particles of them may be (28.) and of what Bulks, and closeness of Position (29.) How much these may conduce to the Generation of Colour instanc'd in the Whiteness of Froth, and in the mixtures of Dry colour'd Powders (30.) A further explication of the Variety that may be in the Superficial parts of Colour'd Bodies, that may cause that Effect, by an example drawn from the Surface of the Earth (31.) An Apology for that gross Comparison (32.) That the appearances of the Superficial asperities may be Varied from the position of the Eye, and several Instances given of such appearances (33, 34, 35.) That the appearance of the Superficial particles may be Varied also by their Motion, confirm'd by an Instance of the smoaking Liquor (35.) especially if the Superficial parts be of such a Nature as to appear divers in several Postures, explain'd by the variety of Colours exhibited by the shaken Leaves of some Plants (36.) and by changeable Taffities (37, 38, 39.) The Authors wish that the Variety of Colours in Mother of Pearl were examin'd with a Microscope (40.) And his Conjectures, that possibly good Microscopes might discover those Superficial inequalities to be Real, which we now only imagine with his reasons drawn partly from the Discoveries of the Telescope, and Microscope (41.) And partly also from the Prodigiously strange example of a Blind man that could feel Colours (42.) whose History is Related (43, 44, 45.) The Authors conjecture and thoughts of it (46, 47, 48, 49.) and several Conclusions and Corollaries drawn from it about the Nature of Blackness and Black Bodies (50, 51, 52.) and about the Asperities of several other Colour'd Bodies (53.) And from these, and some premis'd Considerations, are propos'd some Conjectures; That the reason of the several Phaenomena of Colours, afterwards to be met with, depends upon the Disposition of the Seen parts of the Object (54.) That Liquors may alter the Colours of each other, and of other Bodies, first by their Insinuating themselves into the Pores, and filling them, whence the Asperity of the Surface of a Body becomes alter'd, explicated with some Instances (55, 56.) Next by removing those Bodies, which before hindred the appearance of the Genuine Colour, confirm'd by several examples (57) Thirdly, by making a Fissure or Separation either in the Contiguous or Continued Particles of a Body (58.) Fourthly, by a Union or Conjunction of the formerly separated Particles; Illustrated with divers Instances of precipitated Bodies (59.) Fifthly, by Dislocating the parts, and putting them both into other Orders and Postures, which is Illustrated with Instances (60, 61.) Sixthly, by Motion, which is explain'd (62.) And lastly, and chiefly, by the Union of the Saline Bodies, with the Superficial parts of another Body, whereby both their Bigness and Shape must necessarily be alter'd (63, 64.) Explain'd by Experiments (65, 66.) That the Colour of Bodies may be Chang'd by the concurrence of two or more of these ways (67.) And besides all these, Eight Reflective causes of Colours, there may be in Transparent Bodies several Refractive (68, 69) Why the Author thinks the Nature of Colours deserves yet a further Inquiry (69.) First for that the little Motes of Dust exhibited very lovely Colours in a darkned Room, whilst in a convenient posture to the Eye, which in other Postures and Lights they did not (70.) And that though the smaller Parts of some Colour'd Bodies are Transparent, yet of others they are not, so that the first Doubt's, whether the Superficial parts create those Colours, and the second, whether there be any Refraction at all in the later (71, 72, 73.) A famous Controversie among Philosophers, about the Nature of Colour decided. (74. 75.)

Chap. 4. The controversie stated about Real and Emphatical Colours (75, 76.) That the great Disparity between them seems to be, partly their Duration in the same state, and partly, that Genuine Colours are produc'd in Opacous Bodies by Reflection, and Emphatical in Transparent by Refraction (78.) but that this is not to be taken in too large a Sense, the Cautionary instance of Froth is alleged and insisted on (78, 79.) That the Duration is not a sufficient Characteristick, exemplify'd by the duration of Froth, and other Emphatical Colours, and the suddain fading of Flowers, and other Bodies of Real ones (80.) That the position of the Eye is not necessary to the discerning Emphatical Colours, shew'd by the seeing white Froth, or an Iris cast on the Wall by a Prism, in what place of the Room soever the Eye be (81.) which proceeds from the specular Reflection of the Wall (82.) that Emphatical Colours may be Compounded, and that the present Discourse is not much concern'd, whether there be, or be not made a distinction between Real and Emphatical Colours. (83.)

Chap. 5. Six Hypotheses about Colour recited (84, 85) Why the Author cannot more fully Speak of any of these (86.) nor Acquiesce in them (87, 88.) What Pyrophilus is to expect in this Treatise (88, 89.) What Hypothesis of Light and Colour the Author most inclines too (90.) Why he thinks neither that nor any other sufficient; and what his Difficulties are, that make him decline all Hypotheses, and to think it very difficult to stick to any. (91, 92.)

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Part the Second.

Of the Nature of Whiteness and Blackness,


The reason why the Author chose the Explication of Whiteness and Blackness (93.) Wherein Democritus thought amiss of these (94.) Gassendus his Opinion about them (95.) What the Author approves, and a more full Explication of White, makinig it a Multiplicity of Light or Reflections (96, 97.) Confirm'd first by the Whiteness of the Meridian Sun, observ'd in Water (98.) and of a piece of Iron glowing Hot (99.) Secondly, by the Offensiveness of Snow to the Travellers eyes, confirm'd by an example of a Person that has Travell'd much in Russia (100.) and by an Observation out of Olaus Magnus (100.) and that the Snow does inlighten and clear the Air in the Night, confirm'd by the Mosco Physician, and Captain James (101.) But that Snow has no inherent Light, prov'd by Experience (102.) Thirdly, by the great store of Reflections, from white Bodies observ'd in a darkned Room, and by their unaptness to be Kindled by a Burning-glass (103.) Fourthly, the Specularness of White Bodies is confirm'd by the Reflections in a dark Room from other Bodies (104.) and by the appearance of a River, which both to the Eye and in a darkned Room appear'd White (105, 106.) Fifthly, by the Whiteness of distill'd Mercury, and that of the Galaxie (107, 108.) and by the Whiteness of Froth, rais'd from whites of Eggs beaten; that this Whiteness comes not from the Air, shew'd by Experiments (109, 110.) where occasionally the Whiteness of Distill'd Oyls, Hot water, &c. are shew'd (111.) That it seems not necessary the Reflecting Surfaces should be Sphaerical, confirm'd by Experiments (112, 113.) Sixthly, by the Whiteness of the Powders of transparent Bodies (114.) Seventhly, by the Experiment of Whitening and Burnishing Silver. (115, 116.)

Chap. 2. A Recital of some Opinions about Blackness, and which the Author inclines to (117.) which he further insists on and explicates (118, 119.) and shews for what reasons he imbrac'd that Hypothesis (120.) First, from the contrary Nature of Whiteness and Blackness, White reflecting most Beams outwards, Black should reflect most inward (120.) Next, from the Black appearance of all Bodies, when Shadow'd; And the manner how this paucity of Reflection outwards is caus'd, is further explicated, by shewing that the Superficial parts may be Conical and Pyramical (121.) This and other Considerations formerly deliver'd, Illustrated by Experiments with black and white Marble (122, 123.) Thirdly, from the Black appearance of Holes in white Linnen, and from the appearance of Velvet stroak'd several ways, and from an Observation of Carrots (124, 125.) Fourthly, from the small Reflection from Black in a darkned Room (125, 126.) Fifthly, from the Experiment of a Checker'd Tile expos'd to the Sun-beams (127.) which is to be preferr'd before a Similar Experiment try'd in Italy, with black and white Marble (128.) Some other congruous Observations (129.) Sixthly, from the Roasting black'd Eggs in the Sun (130.) Seventhly, by the Observation of the Blind man lately mention'd, and of another mention'd by Bartholine (130.) That notwithstanding all these Reasons, the Author is not absolutely Positive, but remains yet a Seeker after the true Nature of Whiteness and Blackness. (131, 132.)

Experiments in Consort, touching Whiteness and Blackness.

The first Experiment, with a Solution of Sublimate, made White with Spirit of Urine, &c. (133, 134.)

The second Experiment, with an Infusion of Galls, made Black with Vitriol, &c. (135, 136.) further Discours'd of (137.)

The third Experiment, of the Blacking of Hartshorn, and Ivory, and Tartar, and by a further Calcination making them White (138, 139.)

The fourth Experiment, limiting the Chymist's principle, Adusta nigra sed perusta alba, by several Instances of Calcin'd Alabaster, Lead, Antimony, Vitriol, and by the Testimony of Bellonius, about the white Charcoles of Oxy-caedar, and by that of Camphire. (140, 141, 142.) That which follows about Inks was misplac'd by an Errour of the Printer, for it belongs to what has been formerly said of Galls (142, 143.)

The fifth Experiment, of the black Smoak of Camphire (144.)

The sixth Experiment, of a black Caput Mortuum, of Oyl of Vitriol, with Oyl of Worm-word, and also with Oyl of Winter-Savory (145.)

The seventh Experiment, of whitening Wax (146.)

The eighth Experiment, with Tin-glass, and Sublimate (147, 148.)

The ninth Experiment, of a Black powder of Gold in the bottom of Aqua-fortis, and of the Blacking of Refin'd Gold and Silver (148, 149.)

The tenth Experiment, of the staining Hair, Skin, Ivory, &c. Black, with Crystals of Silver (150, 151.)

The eleventh Experiment, about the Blackness of the Skin, and Hair of Negroes, and Inhabitants of Hot Climates. Several Objections are made, and the whole Matter more fully discours'd and stated from several notable Histories and Observations (from the 151 to the 167.)

The twelfth Experiment, of the white Powders, afforded by Precipitating several Bodies, as Crabs Eyes, Minium, Coral, Silver, Lead, Tin, Quick-silver, Tin-glass, Antimony, Benzoin, and Resinous Gumms out of Spirit of Wine, &c. but this is not Universal, since other Bodies, as Gold, Antimony, Quick-silver, &c. may be Precipitated of other Colours (168, 169, 170.)

The thirteenth Experiment, of Changing the Blackness of some Bodies into other Colours (171, 172.) and of Whitening what would be Minium, and Copper, with Tin, and of Copper with Arsnick, which with Coppilling again Vanishes; of covering the Colour of that of 1/3 of Gold with 2/3 of Silver melted in a Mass together (173, 174)

The fourteenth Experiment, of turning the black Body of Horn into a White immediately with Scraping, without changing the Substantial form, or without the Intervention of Salt, Sulphur, or Mercury (176.)

The fifteenth Experiment, contains several Instances against the Opinion of the Chymists that Sulphur Adust is the cause of Blackness, and the whole Matter is fully discuss'd and stated (from 176 to 184)

Part the Third.

Concerning Promiscuous Experiments about Colours.

Experiment the First.

IN confirmation of a former Conjecture about the Generation of Colours from diversity of Reflections are set down several Observations made in a Darkned room (186, 187.)

Experiment the second, That white Linnen seem'd Ting'd with the Red of Silk plac'd near it in a light Room (188,189.)

Experiment the third, Of the Trajection of Light through Colour'd Papers (189, 190.)

Experiment the fourth, Observations of a Prism in a dark Room (191, 192.)

Experiment the fifth, Of the Refracting and Reflecting Prismatical Colours in a light Room (193.)

Experiment the sixth, On the Vanishing of the Iris of the Prism, upon the access of a greater adventitious Light (194.)

Experiment the seventh, Of the appearances of the same Colour'd Papers by Candle-light (195, 196).

Experiment the eighth, Of the Yellowness of the Flame of a Candle (197).

Experiment the ninth, Of the Greenish Blew transparency of Leaf Gold (198).

Experiment the tenth, Of the curious Tinctures afforded by Lignum Nephriticum (from 199 to 203). Several trials for the Investigation of the Nature of it (from 204 to 206.) Kircher's relation of this Wood set down, and examin'd (from 206 to 212). A Corollary on this tenth Experiment, shewing how it may be applicable for the Discovering, whether any Salt be of an Acid, or a Sulphureous, and Alcalizate Nature (from 213 to 216).

The eleventh Experiment, Of certain pieces of Glass that afforded this Variety of Colours; And of the way of so Tinging any Plate of Glass with Silver (from 216 to 219).

The twelfth Experiment, Of the Mixing and Tempering of Painters Pigments (219, 220, 221).

The thirteenth Experiment, Of compounding several Colours by Trajecting the Sun-beams through Ting'd Glasses (from 221 to 224).

The fourteenth Experiment, Of the Compounding of Real and Phantastical Colours, and the Results (224, 225, 226.) as also the same of Phantastical Colours (226, 227.)

The fifteenth Experiment, Of Varying the Trajected Iris by a Colour'd Prism (228, 229.)

The sixteenth Experiment, Of the Red fumes of Spirit of Nitre, and, the resembling Redness of the Horizontal Sun-beams (230, 231.)

The seventeenth Experiment, Of making a Green by nine Kinds of Compositions (from 231 to 236.) And some Deductions from them against the necessity of recurring to Substantial forms and Hypostatical principles for the production of Colours (from 237 to 240.)

The eighteenth Experiment, Of several Compositions of Blew and Yellow which produce not a Green, and of the production of a Green by other Colours (241, 242.)

The nineteenth Experiment, contains several instances of producing Colours, without the alteration of any Hypostatical principle, by the Prism, Bubbles, and Feathers ( from 242 to 245.)

The twentieth Experiment Of turning the Blew of Violets into a Red by Acid Salts, and to a Green by Alcalizate (245, 246.) and the use of it for Investigating the Nature of Salts (247, 248.)

The one and twentieth Experiment, of the same Changes effected by the same means on the Blew Tinctures of Corn-flowers (249, 250.) And some Restrictions to shew it not to be so general a propriety as one might imagine (251.)

The twenty second Experiment, of turning a Solution of Verdigrease into a Blew, with Alcalizate and Urinous Salts (252, 253, 254.)

The twenty third Experiment, of taking away the Colour of Roses with the Steams of Sulphur, and heightning them with the Steams Condens'd into Oyl of Sulphur per Campanam (254, 255.)

The twenty fourth Experiment, of Tinging a great quantity of Liquor with a very little Ting'd Substance, Instanced in Cochineel (from 255 to 257.)

The twenty fifth Experiment, of the more general use of Alcalizate and Sulphureous Salts in the Tinctures of Vegetables, further Instanced in the Tincture of Privet Berries, and of the Flowers of Mesereon and Pease (from 257 to 259.) An Annotation, shewing that of the three Hypostatical principles, Salt according to Paracelsus is the most active about Colours (from 259 to 261.) Some things Precursory premis'd to three several Instances next following, against the fore-mention'd Operations of Salts (261, 262.)

The twenty sixth Experiment, containing Trials with Acid and Sulphureous Salts on the Red Tinctures of Clove-july-flowers, Buckthorn Berries, Red-Roses, Brasil, &c. (262, 263.)

The twenty seventh Experiment, of the changes of the Colour of Jasmin flowers, and Snow drops, by Alcalizate and Sulphureous Salts (263, 264.)

The twenty eighth Experiment, of other differing Effects on Mary-golds, Prim-roses, and fresh Madder (265.) with an Admonition, that these Salts may have differing Effects in the changing of the tinctures of divers other Vegetables (266, 267.)

The twenty ninth Experiment, of the differing Effects of these Salts on Ripe and Unripe Juices, instanced in Black-berries, and the Juices of Roses (from 267 to 270.) Two reasons, why the Author added this twenty ninth Experiment, the last of which is confirm'd by an Instance of Mr. Parkinson, consonant to the Confession of the Makers of such Colours (272.)

The thirtieth Experiment, of several changes in Colours by Digestion, exemplify'd by an Amalgam of Gold and Mercury and by Spirit of Harts-horn. And (to such as believe it) by the changes of the Elixir.

The thirty first Experiment, shewing that most Tinctures drawn by Digestion Incline to a Red, instanc'd in Jalap, Guaicum, Amber, Benzoin, Sulphur, Antimony, &c. (276, 277.)

The thirty second Experiment, That some Reds with Diluting turn Yellow, others not, exemplify'd by the Tincture of Cochineel, and by Balsam of Sulphur, Tinctures of Amber, &c. (277, 278, 279.)

The thirty third Experiment, of a Red Tincture of Saccarum Saturni and Oyl of Turpentine made by Digestion (279.)

The thirty fourth Experiment, of drawing a Volatile red Tincture of Mercury, whose Steams were white, but it would Tinge the Skin black (279, 280.)

The thirty fifth Experiment, of a suddain way of making a Blood red Colour with Oyl of Vitriol, and Oyl of Anniseeds, two transparent Liquors (280, 281.)

The thirty sixth Experiment, of the Degenerating of several Colours exemplify'd in the last mention'd Blood red, and by Mr. Parkinsons relation of Turnsol, by some Trials with the Juice of Buck-thorn Berries, and other Vegetables, to which several notable Considerations and Advertisements back'd with Experiments are adjoyn'd (from 281 to 288.)

The thirty seventh Experiment, Of Varying the Colour of the Tinctures of Cochineel, Red-cherries, and Brasil, with Acid and Sulphureous Salts, and divers Considerations thereon (from 288 to 290.)

The thirty eighth Experiment, About the Red fumes of some, and White of other distill'd Bodies, and of their Coalition for the most part into a transparent Liquor (290, 291.) And of the various Colours of dry Sublimations, exemplify'd with several Experiments (292, 293, 294.)

The thirty ninth Experiment, Of Varying the Decoction of Balaustiums with Acid and Urinous Salts (294, 295.) Some Annotations wherein two Experiments of Gassendus are Related, Examined, and Improv'd (from 295 to 302.)

The fortieth Experiment, Of the no less Strange than Pleasant changes made with a Solution of Sublimate (from 301 to 306.) The difference between a Chymical axd Philosophical Solution of a Phaenomenon (307, 308.) The Authors Chymical Explication of the Phaenomena, confirm d by several Experiments made on Mercury, with several Saline Liquors (from 308 to 310.) An Improvement of the fortieth Experiment, by a fresh Decoction of Antimony in a Lixivium (311, 312, 313.) Reflections on the tenth, twentieth, and fortieth Experiments, compar'd together, shewing a way with this Tincture of Sublimate to distinguish whether any Saline Body to be examin'd be of a Urinous or Alcalizate Nature (from 314 to 317.) The Examination of Spirit of Sal-armoniack, and Spirit of Oak by these Principles (from 316 to 319.) That the Author knows ways of making highly Operative Saline bodies, that produce none of the before mention'd effects (319, 320.) Some notable Experiments about Solutions and Precipitations of Gold and Silver (320, 321.)

The one and fortieth Experiment, Of Depriving a deep Blew Solution of Copper of its Colour (322.) to which is adjoyn'd the Discolouring or making Transparent a Solution of Verdigrease, &c. and another of Restoring or Increasing it (322, 323.)

The forty second Experiment, Of changing a Milk white Precipitate of Mercury into a Yellow, by Affusion of fair Water, with several Considerations thereon (from 323 to 326.)

The forty third Experiment, Of Extracting a Green Solution with fair Water out of imperfectly Calcin'd Vitriol (327.)

The forty fourth Experiment, Of the Deepning and Diluting of several Tinctures, by the Affusions of Liquors, and by Conical Glasses that contain'd them, Exemplify'd in the Tinctures of Cochineel, Brasil, Verdigrease, Glass, Litmus, of which last on this occasion several pleasant Phaenomena are related (from 328 to 335.) To which are adjoyn'd certain Cautional Corollaries (335, 336.) The Waterdrinker and some of his Legerdemain tricks related.(337.)

The forty fifth Experiment, Of the turning Rhenish and White Wine into a lovely Green, with a preparation of Steel (338, 339.) Some further Trial made about these Tinctures, and a Similar Experiment of Olaus Wormius (340.)

The forty sixth Experiment, Of the Internal Colour of Metalls exhibited by Calcination (341, 342, 343.) Annotation the first, That several degrees of Fire may disclose a differing Colour (343.) Annotation the second, That the Glasses of Metalls may exhibit also other Kinds of Colours (344.) Annotation the third, That Minerals by several degrees of Fire may disclose several Colours(345).

Experiment the forty seventh, Of the Internal Colours of Metalls disclos'd by their Dissolutions in several Menstruums (from 345 to 350.) Annotation the first, The Authors Apology for Recording some already known Experiments, without mentioning their Authors (from 350 to 352.) Annotation the second, That some Minerals also by Dissolutions in Menstruums may exhibit divers Colours. Annotation the third, That Metalls disclose other Colours by Precipitations, instanc'd in Mercury (from 353 to 355.)

The forty eighth Experiment, Of Tinging Glass Blew with Leaf Silver, and with Calcin'd Copper, and White with Putty (from 355 to 358.) Annotation the first, That this white Glass is the Basis of Ammels (358.) Annotion the second, That Colour'd Glasses may be Compounded like Colour'd Liquors in Dying Fats (359.) Annotation the third, Of Tinging Glass with Minerel Substances, and of trying what Metalls they contain by this means (from 360 to 362.) Annotation the fourth, That Metalls may be Ting'd by Mineralls (362, 363.) Annotation the fifth, Of making several Kinds of Amauses or Counterfeit Stones (from 363 to 365.) Annotation the sixth, Of the Scarlet Dye, of the Stains of dissolv'd Gold and Silver (366, 367) Of the Greenness of Salt Beef, and Redness of Neats Tongues from Salts; of Gilding Silver with Bathe Water (368, 369.) And Tinging the Nails and Skin with Alcanna (369)

The forty ninth Experiment, Of making Lakes (369.) A particular example in Turmerick (370, 371.) Annotation the first, That in Precipitations wherein Allum is a Coefficient, a great part of them may consist of the Stony particles of that Compound Body (from 372 to 375.) Annotation the second, That Lakes may be made of other Substances, as Madder, Rue, &c. but that Alcalizate Salts do not Always Extract the same Colour of which the Vegetable appears (from 376 to 378.) Annotation the third, That the Experiments related may Hint divers others (378) Annotation the fourth, That Alum is usefull for the preparing other than Vegetable Pigments (379.)

The fiftieth Experiment, Of the Similar effects of Saccarum Saturni and Alkalies, of Precipitating with Oyl of Vitriol out of Aqua-fortis, and Spirit of Vinegar; and of divers Varyings of the Colours, with these Compounded (from 380 to 384.) Another very pretty Experiment, with a Solution of Minium (384, 385.) That these Experiments Skilfully digested may hint divers matters about Colours (386.) The Authors Apologetick conclusion, in which is Cursorily hinted the Bow or Scarlet Dye (387.) The Authors Letter to Sir Robert Moray, concerning his Observations on the Shining Diamond (391. &c.) And the Observations themselves.

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Pag. 142. l. 20. These words, And to manifest, with the rest of what is by a mistake further printed in this fourth Experiment, belongeth, and is to be referred to the end of the second Eperiment, p.137. pag. 145. l. 1. leg. matter. 146. l. 4. leg. Bolts-head. pag 161. in the marginal note l. 2. dele de ib. l. 3. lege lib 1. p 163. l. ult. insert where between the words places and the. p. 164 l. 1. dele that. ibid, l. 8. leg Epidermis. ibid. l. 19 leg. 300. for 200. p. 169. l. 22. leg. into it. p. 170. l. 23. & 24. leg. Some Solutions hereafter to be mentioned, for the Solutions of Potashes, and other Lixiviate Salts. p. 171. l. 6. insert part of between the words most and dissolved p. 176. l. ult. insert the participle it between the words Judged and not p. 234. l. 4. leg. Woud-wax or Wood-wax. p. 320 l. 29. leg. urine for urne.

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1 I have seen you so passionately addicted, Pyrophilus to the delightful Art of Limning and Painting, that I cannot but think my self obliged to acquaint you with some of those things that have occurred to mee concerning the changes of Colours. And I may expect that I shall as well serve the Virtuosi in general, as gratifie you in particular, by furnishing a person, who, I hope, will both improve my Communications, and communicate his Improvements, with such Experiments and Observations as may both invite you to enquire seriously into the Nature of Colours, and assist you in the Investigation of it. This being the principal scope of the following Tract, I should do that which might prevent my own design, if I should here attempt to deliver you an accurate and particular Theory of Colours; for that were to present you with what I desire to receive from you; and, as farr as in mee lay, to make that study needless, to which I would engage you.

2 Wherefore my present work shall be but to divert and recreate, as well as excite you by the delivery of matters of fact, such as you may for the most part try with much ease, and possibly not without some delight: And lest you should expect any thing of Elaborate or Methodical in what you will meet with here, I must confess to you before-hand, that the seasons I was wont to chuse to devise and try Experiments about Colours, were those daies, wherein having taken Physick, and finding my self as unfit to speculate, as unwilling to be altogether idle, I chose this diversion, as a kind of Mean betwixt the one and the other. And I have the less scrupled to set down the following Experiments, as some of them came to my mind, and as the Notes wherein I had set down the rest, occurr'd to my hands, that by declining a Methodical way of delivering them, I might leave you and my self the greater liberty and convenience to add to them, and transpose them as shall appear expedient.

3 Yea, that you may not think mee too reserv'd, or look upon an Enquiry made up of meer Narratives, as somewhat jejune, am content to premise a few considerations, that now offer themselves to my thoughts, which relate in a more general way, either to the Nature of Colours, or to the study of it. And I shall insert an Essay, as well Speculative as Historical, of the Nature of Whiteness and Blackness, that you may have a Specimen of the History of Colours, I have sometimes had thoughts of; and if you dislike not the Method I have made use of, I hope, you, and some of the Virtuosi, your friends, may be thereby invited to go thorow with Red, Blew, Yellow, and the rest of the particular Colours, as I have done with White and Black, but with farr more sagacity and success. And if I can invite Ingenious men to undertake such Tasks, I doubt not but the Curious will quickly obtain a better Account of Colours, than as yet we have, since in our Method the Theorical part of the Enquiry being attended, and as it were interwoven with the Historical, whatever becomes of the disputable Conjectures, the Philosophy of Colours will be promoted by the indisputable Experiments.

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1 To come then in the first place to our more general Considerations, I shall begin with saying something as to the Importance of examining the Colours of Bodies. For there are some, especially Chymists, who think, that a considerable diversity of Colours does constantly argue an equal diversity of Nature, in the Bodies wherein it is conspicuous; but I confess I am not altogether of their mind; for not to mention changeable Taffaties, the blew and golden necks of Pidgeons, and divers Water-fowl, Rainbows Natural and Artificial, and other Bodies, whose Colours the Philosophers have been pleased to call not Real, but Apparent and Phantastical; not to insist on these, I say, (for fear of needlesly engaging in a Controversie) we see in Parrots, Goldfinches, and divers other Birds, not only that the contiguous feathers which are probably as near in properties as place, are some of them Red, and others White, some of them Blew, & others Yellow, &c. but that in the several parts of the self-same feather there may often be seen the greatest disparity of Colours; and so in the leaves of Tulips, July-flowers, and some other Vegetables the several leaves, and even the several parts of the same leaf, although no difference have been observed in their other properties, are frequently found painted with very different Colours. And such a variety we have much more admired in that lovely plant which is commonly, and not unjustly call'd the Marvayl of Peru; for of divers scores of fine Flowers, which in its season that gaudy Plant does almost daily produce, I have scarce taken notice of any two that were dyed perfectly alike. But though Pyro: such things as these, among others, keep mee from daring to affirm, that the Diversity and change of Colours does alwaies argue any great difference or alteration, betwixt, or in, the Bodies, wherein it is to be discerned, yet that oftentimes the Alteration of Colours does signifie considerable Alterations in the disposition of parts of Bodies, may appear in the Extraction of Tinctures, and divers other Chymical Operations, wherein the change of Colours is the chief, and sometimes the only thing, by which the Artist regulates his proceeding, and is taught to know when 'tis seasonable for him to leave off. Instances of this sort are more obvious in divers sorts of fruits, as Cherries, Plums, &c. wherein, according as the Vegetable sap is sweetned, or otherwise ripened, by passing from one degree to another of Maturation, the external part of the fruit passes likewise from one to another Colour. But one of the noblest Instances I have met with of this kind, is not so obvious; and that is the way of tempering Steel to make Gravers, Drills, Springs, and other Mechanical Instruments, which we have divers times both made Artificers practise in our presence, and tryed our selves, after the following manner, First, the slender Steel to be tempered is to be hardened by heating as much of it as is requisite among glowing Coals, till it be glowing hot, but it must not be quenched assoon as it is taken from the fire (for that would make it too brittle, and spoil it) but must be held over a bason of water, till it descend from a White heat to a Red one, which assoon as ever you perceive, you must immediately quench as much as you desire to harden in the cold water. The Steel thus hardened, will, if it be good, look somewhat White and must be made bright at the end, that its change of Colours may be there conspicuous; and then holding it so in the flame of a Candle, that the bright end may be, for about half an inch, or more, out of the flame, that the smoak do not stain or sully the brightness of it, you shall after a while see that clean end, which is almost contiguous to the flame, pass very nimbly from one Colour to another, as from a brighter Yellow, to a deeper and reddish Yellow, which Artificers call a sanguine, and from that to a fainter first, and then a a deeper Blew. And to bring home this Experiment to our present purpose, it is found by daily Experience, that each of these succeeding Colours argue such a change made in the texture of the Steel, that if it be taken from the flame, and immediately quenched in the tallow (whereby it is setled in whatever temper it had before) when it is Yellow, it is of such a hardness as makes it fit for Gravers Drills, and such like tools; but if it be kept a few minutes longer in the flame till it grow Blew, it becomes much softer, and unfit to make Gravers for Metalls, but fit to make Springs for Watches, and such like Instruments, which are therefore commonly of that Colour; and if the Steel be kept in the flame, after that this deep Blew hath disclosed it self, it will grow so soft, as to need to be new hardened again, before it can be brought to a temper, fit for Drills or Penknives. And I confess Pyro. I have taken much pleasure to see the Colours run along from the parts of the Steel contiguous to the flame, to the end of the Instrument, and succeed one another so fast, that if a man be not vigilant, to thrust the Steel into the tallow at the very nick of time, at which it has attain'd its due Colour, he shall miss of giving his tool the right temper. But because the flame of a Candle is offensive to my weak eyes, and because it is apt to either black or sully the contiguous part of the Steel which is held in it, and thereby hinder the change of Colours from being so long and clearly discern'd, I have sometimes made this Experiment by laying the Steel to be tempered upon a heated bar of Iron, which we finde also to be employ'd by some Artificers in the tempering of such great Instruments, as are too big to be soon heated sufficiently by the flame of a Candle. And you may easily satisfie your self Pyro: of the differing hardness and toughness, which is ascribed to Steel temper'd at different Colours, if you break but some slender wires of Steel so temper'd, and observe how they differ in brittleness, and if with a file you also make tryal of their various degrees of hardness.

2 But Pyrophilus, I must not at present any further prosecute the Consideration of the importance of Experiments about Colours, not only because you will in the following papers finde some instances, that would here be presented you out of their due place, of the use that may be made of such Experiments, in discovering in divers bodies, what kind the salt is, that is predominant in them; but also because a speculative Naturalist might justly enough allege, that as Light is so pleasing an object, as to be well worth our looking on, though it discover'd to us nothing but its self; so modifi'd Light called Colour, were worth our contemplation, though by understanding its Nature we should be taught nothing else. And however, I need not make either you or my self excuses for entertaining you on the subject I am now about to treat of, since the pleasure Pyro: takes in mixing and laying on of Colours, will I presume keep him, and will (I am sure) keep mee from thinking it troublesome to set down, especially after the tedious processes (about other matters) wherewith I fear I may have tyr'd him, some easie, and not unpleasant Experiments relating to that subject.

3 But, before we descend to the more particular considerations, we are to present you concerning Colours, I presume it will be seasonable to propose at the very entrance a Distinction; the ignorance or neglect of which, seems to mee to have frequently enough occasioned either mistakes or confusion in the Writings of divers Modern Philosophers; for Colour may be considered, either as it is a quality residing in the body that is said to be coloured, or to modifie the light after such or such a manner; or else as the Light it self, which so modifi'd, strikes upon the organ of sight, and so causes that Sensation which we call Colour; and that this latter may be look'd upon as the more proper, though not the usual acception of the word Colour, will be made probable by divers passages in the insuing part of our discourse; and indeed it is the Light it self, which after a certain manner, either mingled with shades, or some other waies troubled, strikes our eyes, that does more immediately produce that motion in the organ, upon whose account men say they see such or such a Colour in the object; yet, because there is in the body that is said to be coloured, a certain disposition of the superficial particles, whereby it sends the Light reflected, or refracted, to our eyes thus and thus alter'd, and not otherwise, it may also in some sense be said, that Colour depends upon the visible body; and therefore we shall not be against that way of speaking of Colours that is most used among the Modern Naturalists, provided we be allowed to have recourse when occasion shall require to the premis'd distinction, and to take the more immediate cause of Colour to be the modifi'd Light it self, as it affects the Sensory; though the disposition also of the colour'd body, as that modifies the Light, may be call'd by that name Metonimically (to borrow a School term) or Efficiently, that is in regard of its turning the Light, that rebounds from it, or passes thorow it, into this or that particular Colour.

4 I know not whether I may not on this occasion add, that Colour is so far from being an Inherent quality of the object in the sense that is wont to be declar'd by the Schools, or even in the sense of some Modern Atomists, that, if we consider the matter more attentively, we shall see cause to suspect, if not to conclude, that though Light do more immediately affect the organ of sight, than do the bodies that send it thither, yet Light it self produces the sensation of a Colour, but as it produces such a determinate kind of local motion in some part of the brain; which, though it happen most commonly from the motion whereinto the slender strings of the Retina are put, by the appulse of Light, yet if the like motion happen to be produc'd by any other cause, wherein the Light concurrs not at all, a man shall think he sees the same Colour. For proof of this, I might put you in mind, that 'tis usual for dreaming men to think they see the Images that appear to them in their sleep, adorn'd some with this, and some with that lively Colour, whilst yet, both the curtains of their bed, and those of their eyes are close drawn. And I might add the confidence with which distracted persons do oftentimes, when they are awake, think, they see black fiends in places, where there is no black object in sight without them. But I will rather observe, that not only when a man receives a great stroak upon his eye, or a very great one upon some other part of his head, he is wont to see, as it were, flashes of lightning, and little vivid, but vanishing flames, though perhaps his eyes be shut: But the like apparitions may happen, when the motion proceeds not from something without, but from something within the body, provided the unwonted fumes that wander up and down in the head, or the propagated concussion of any internal part in the body, do cause about the inward extremities of the Optick Nerve, such a motion as is wont to be there produc'd, when the stroak of the Light upon the Retina makes us conclude, that we see either Light, or such and such a Colour: This the most ingenious Des Cartes hath very well observ'd, but because he seems not to have exemplifi'd it by any unobvious or peculiar observation, I shall indeavour to illustrate this doctrine by a few Instances.

5 And first, I remember, that having, through Gods goodness, been free for several years, from troublesome Coughs, being afterwards, by an accident, suddenly cast into a violent one, I did often, when I was awaked in the night by my distempers, observe, that upon coughing strongly, it would seem to mee, that I saw very vivid, but immediately disappearing flames, which I took particular notice of, because of the conjecture I am now mentioning.

6 An excellent and very discreet person, very near ally'd both to you and mee, was relating to mee, that some time since, whilst she was talking with some other Ladies, upon a sudden, all the objects, she looked upon, appeared to her dyed with unusual Colours, some of one kind, and some of another, but all so bright and vivid, that she should have been as much delighted, as surpriz'd with them, but that finding the apparition to continue, she fear'd it portended some very great alteration as to her health: As indeed the day after she was assaulted with such violence by Hysterical and Hypocondrical Distempers, as both made her rave for some daies, and gave her, during that time, a Bastard Palsey.

7 Being a while since in a Town, where the Plague had made great havock, and inquiring of an ingenious man, that was so bold, as without much scruple to visit those that were sick of it, about the odd symptomes of a Disease that had swept away so many there; he told mee, among other things, that he was able to tell divers Patients, to whom he was called, before they took their beds, or had any evident symptomes of the Plague, that they were indeed infected upon peculiar observations, that being asked, they would tell him that the neighbouring objects, and particularly his cloths, appear'd to them beautifi'd with most glorious Colours, like those of the Rainbow, oftentimes succeeding one another; and this he affirm'd to be one of the most usual, as well as the most early symptomes, by which this odd Pestilence disclos'd it self: And when I asked how long the Patients were wont to be thus affected, he answered, that it was most commonly for about a day; and when I further inquired whether or no Vomits, which in that Pestilence were usually given, did not remove this symptome (For some used the taking of a Vomit, when they came ashore, to cure themselves of the obstinate and troublesome giddiness caus'd by the motion of the ship) reply'd, that generally, upon the evacuation made by the Vomit, that strange apparition of Colours ceased, though the other symptomes were not so soon abated, yet he added (to take notice of that upon the by, because the observation may perchance do good) that an excellent Physician, in whose company he was wont to visit the sick, did give to almost all those to whom he was called, in the beginning before Nature was much weakened, a pretty odd Vomit consisting of eight or ten dramms of Infusion of Crocus Metallorum, and about half a dramm, or much more, of White Vitriol, with such success, that scarce one of ten to whom it was seasonably administred, miscarried.

8 But to return to the consideration of Colours: As an apparition of them may be produced by motions from within, without the assistance of an outward object, so I have observed, that 'tis sometimes possible that the Colour that would otherwise be produced by an outward object, may be chang'd by some motion, or new texture already produced in the Sensory, as long as that unusual motion, or new disposition lasts; for I have divers times try'd, that after I have through a Telescope look'd upon the Sun, though thorow a thick, red, or blew glass, to make its splendor supportable to the eye, the impression upon the Retina, would be not only so vivid, but so permanent, that if afterwards I turned my eye towards a flame, it would appear to mee of a Colour very differing from its usual one. And if I did divers times successively shut and open the same eye, I should see the adventitious Colour, (if I may so call it) changed or impair'd by degrees, till at length (for this unusual motion of the eye would not presently cease) the flame would appear to mee, of the same hew that it did to other beholders; a not unlike effect I found by looking upon the Moon, when she was near full, thorow an excellent Telescope, without colour'd Glass to screen my eye with; But that which I desire may be taken notice of, because we may elsewhere have occasion to reflect upon it, and because it seems not agreeable to what Anatomists and Optical Writers deliver, touching the relation of the two eyes to each other, is this circumstance, that though my Right eye, with which I looked thorow the Telescope, were thus affected by the over-strong impression of the light, yet when the flame of a Candle, or some other bright object appear'd to me of a very unusual Colour, whilst look'd upon with the Discompos'd Eye, or (though not so notably) with both eyes at once; yet if I shut that Eye, and looked upon the same object with the other, it would appear with no other than its usual Colour, though if I again opened, and made use of the Dazled eye, the vivid adventitious Colour would again appear. And on this occasion I must not pretermit an Observation which may perswade us, that an over-vehement stroak upon the Sensory, especially if it be naturally of a weak constitution, may make a more lasting impression than one would imagine, which impression may in some cases, as it were, mingle with, and vitiate the action of vivid objects for a long time after.

For I know a Lady of unquestionable Veracity, who having lately, by a desperate fall, receiv'd several hurts, and particularly a considerable one upon a part of her face near her Eye, had her sight so troubl'd and disorder'd, that, as she hath more than once related to me, not only when the next morning one of her servants came to her bed side, to ask how she did, his cloaths appear'd adorn'd with such variety of dazling Colours, that she was fain presently to command him to withdraw, but the Images in her Hangings, did, for many daies after, appear to her, if the Room were not extraordinarily darken'd, embellish'd with several offensively vivid Colours, which no body else could see in them; And when I enquir'd whether or no White Objects did not appear to her adorn'd with more luminous Colours than others, and whether she saw not some which she could not now well describe to any, whose eyes had never been distemper'd, she answer'd mee, that sometimes she thought she saw Colours so new and glorious, that they were of a peculiar kind, and such as she could not describe by their likeness to any she had beheld either before or since, and that White Objects did so much disorder her sight, that if several daies after her fall, she look'd upon the inside of a Book, she fanci'd she saw there Colours like those of the Rain-bow, and even when she thought her self pretty well recover'd, and made bold to leave her Chamber, the coming into a place where the Walls and Ceeling were whited over, made those Objects appear to her cloath'd with such glorious and dazling Colours, as much offended her sight, and made her repent her venturousness, and she added, that this Distemper of her Eyes lasted no less than five or six weeks, though, since that, she hath been able to read and write much without finding the least Inconvenience in doing so. I would gladly have known, whether if she had shut the Injur'd Eye, the Phaenomena would have been the same, when she employ'd only the other, but I heard not of this accident early enough to satisfie that Enquiry.

9 Wherefore, I shall now add, that some years before, a person exceedingly eminent for his profound Skil in almost all kinds of Philological Learning, coming to advise with mee about a Distemper in his Eyes, told me, among other Circumstances of it, that, having upon a time looked too fixedly upon the Sun, thorow a Telescope, without any coloured Glass, to take off from the dazling splendour of the Object, the excess of Light did so strongly affect his Eye, that ever since, when he turns it towards a Window, or any White Object, he fancies, he seeth a Globe of Light, of about the bigness the Sun then appeared of to him, to pass before his Eyes: And having Inquir'd of him, how long he had been troubled with this Indisposition, he reply'd, that it was already nine or ten years, since the Accident, that occasioned it, first befel him.

I could here subjoyn, Pyrophilus, some memorable Relations that I have met with in the Account given us by the experienc'd Epiphanius Ferdinandus, of the Symptomes he observ'd to be incident to those that are bitten with the Tarantula, by which (Relations) I could probably shew, that without any change in the Object, a change in the Instruments of Vision may for a great while make some Colours appear Charming, and make others Provoking, and both to a high degree, though neither of them produc'd any such Effects before. These things, I say, I could here subjoyn in confirmation of what I have been saying, to shew, that the Disposition of the Organ is of great Importance in the Dijudications we make of Colours, were it not that these strange Stories belonging more properly to another Discourse, I had rather, (contenting my self to have given you an Intimation of them here) that you should meet with them fully deliver'd there.

* * * * *


But, Pyrophilus, I would not by all that I have hitherto discours'd, be thought to have forgotten the Distinction (of Colour) that I mentioned to you about the beginning of the third Section of the former Chapter; and therefore, after all I have said of Colour, as it is modifi'd Light, and immediately affects the Sensory, I shall now re-mind you, that I did not deny, but that Colour might in some sense be consider'd as a Quality residing in the body that is said to be Colour'd, and indeed the greatest part of the following Experiments referr to Colour principally under that Notion, for there is in the bodyes we call Colour'd, and chiefly in their Superficial parts, a certain disposition, whereby they do so trouble the Light that comes from them to our Eye, as that it there makes that distinct Impression, upon whose Account we say, that the Seen body is either White or Black, or Red or Yellow, or of any one determinate Colour. But because we shall (God permiting) by the Experiments that are to follow some Pages hence, more fully and particularly shew, that the Changes, and consequently in divers places the Production and the appearance of Colours depends upon the continuing or alter'd Texture of the Object, we shall in this place intimate (and that too but as by the way) two or three things about this Matter.

2. And first it is not without some Reason, that I ascribe Colour (in the sense formerly explan'd) chiefly to the Superficial parts of Bodies, for not to question how much Opacous Corpuscles may abound even in those Bodies we call Diaphanous, it seems plain that of Opacous bodies we do indeed see little else than the Superficies, for if we found the beams of Light that rebound from the Object to the Eye, to peirce deep into the Colour'd body, we should not judge it Opacous, but either Translucid, or at least Semi-diaphanous, and though the Schools seem to teach us that Colour is a Penetrative Quality, that reaches to the Innermost parts of the Object, as if a piece of Sealing-wax be broken into never so many pieces, the Internal fragments will be as Red as the External surface did appear, yet that is but a Particular Example that will not overthrow the Reason lately offer'd, especially since I can alleage other Examples of a contrary Import, and two or three Negative Instances are sufficient to overthrow the Generality of a Positive Rule, especially if that be built but upon One or a Few Examples. Not (then) to mention Cherries, Plums, and I know not how many other Bodies, wherein the skin is of one Colour, and what it hides of another, I shall name a couple of Instances drawn from the Colours of Durable bodies that are thought far more Homogeneous, and have not parts that are either Organical, or of a Nature approaching thereunto.

3 To give you the first Instance, I shall need but to remind you of what I told you a little after the beginning of this Essay, touching the Blew and Red and Yellow, that may be produc'd upon a piece of temper'd Steel, for these Colours though they be very Vivid, yet if you break the Steel they adorn, they will appear to be but Superficial; not only the innermost parts of the Metall, but those that are within a hairs breadth of the Superficies, having not any of these Colours, but retaining that of the Steel it self. Besides that, we may as well confirm this Observation, as some other particulars we elsewhere deliver concerning Colours, by the following Experiment which we purposely made.

4 We took a good quantity of clean Lead, and melted it with a strong Fire, and then immediately pouring it out into a clean Vessel of a convenient shape and matter, (we us'd one of Iron, that the great and sudden Heat might not injure it) and then carefully and nimbly taking off the Scum that floated on the top, we perceiv'd, as we expected, the smooth and glossie Surface of the melted matter, to be adorn'd with a very glorious Colour, which being as Transitory as Delightfull, did almost immediately give place to another vivid Colour, and that was as quickly succeeded by a third, and this as it were chas'd away by a fourth, and so these wonderfully vivid Colours successively appear'd and vanish'd, (yet the same now and then appearing the second time) till the Metall ceasing to be hot enough to afford any longer this pleasing Spectacle, the Colours that chanc'd to adorn the Surface, when the Lead thus began to cool, remain'd upon it; but were so Superficial, that how little soever we scrap'd off the Surface of the Lead, we did in such places scrape off all the Colour, and discover only that which is natural to the Metall it self, which receiving its adventitious Colours, only when the heat was very Intense, and in that part which was expos'd to the comparatively very cold Air, (which by other Experiments seems to abound with subtil Saline parts, perhaps not uncapable of working upon Lead so dispos'd:) These things I say, together with my observing that whatever parts of the so strongly melted Lead were expos'd a while to the Air, turn'd into a kind of Scum or Litharge, how bright and clean soever they appear'd before, suggested to me some Thoughts or Ravings, which I have not now time to acquaint You with. One that did not know me, Pyrophilus, would perchance think I endeavour'd to impose upon You by relating this Experiment, which I have several times try'd, but the Reason why the Phaenomena mention'd have not been taken notice of, may be, that unless Lead be brought to a much higher degree of Fusion or Fluidity than is usual, or than is indeed requisite to make it melt, the Phaenomena I mention'd will scarce at all disclose themselves; And we have also observ'd that this successive appearing and vanishing of vivid Colours, was wont to be impair'd or determin'd whilst the Metal expos'd to the Air remain'd yet hotter than one would readily suspect. And one thing I must further Note, of which I leave You to search after the Reason, namely, that the same Colours did not always and regularly succeed one another, as is usually in Steel, but in the diversify'd Order mention'd in this following Note, which I was scarce able to write down, the succession of the Colours was so very quick, whether that proceeded from the differing degrees of Heat in the Lead expos'd to the cool Air, or from some other Reason, I leave you to examine.

[Blew, Yellow, Purple, Blew; Green, Purple, Blew, Yellow, Red; Purple, Blew, Yellow and Blew, Yellow, Blew, Purple, Green mixt, Yellow, Red, Blew, Green, Yellow, Red, Purple, Green.]

5. The Atomists of Old, and some Learned men of late, have attempted to explicate the variety of Colours in Opacous bodies from the various Figures of their Superficial parts; the attempt is Ingenious, and the Doctrine seems partly True, but I confess I think there are divers other things that must be taken in as concurrent to produce those differing forms of Asperity, whereon the Colours of Opacous bodies seem to depend. To declare this a little, we must assume, that the Surfaces of all such Bodies how Smooth or polite soever they may appear to our Dull Sight and Touch, are exactly smooth only in a popular, or at most in a Physical sense, but not in a strict and rigid sense.

6. This, excellent Microscopes shew us in many Bodies, that seem Smooth to our naked Eyes; and this not only as to the little Hillocks or Protuberancies that swell above that which may be conceiv'd to be the Plain or Level of the consider'd Surface, for it is obvious enough to those that are any thing conversant with such Glasses, but as to numerous Depressions beneath that Level, of which sort of Cavities by the help of a Microscope, which the greatest Artificer that makes them, judges to be the greatest Magnifying Glass in Europe, except one that equals it, we have on the Surface of a thin piece of Cork that appear'd smooth to the Eye, observ'd about sixty in a Row, within the length of less then an 31 and 32 part of an Inch, (for the Glass takes in no longer a space at one view) and these Cavities (which made that little piece of Cork look almost like an empty Honey-comb) were not only very distinct, and figur'd like one another, but of a considerable bigness, and a scarce credible depth; insomuch that their distinct shadows as well as sides were plainly discern'd and easiy to be reckon'd, and might have been well distinguish'd, though they had been ten times lesser than they were; which I thought it not amiss to mention to you Pyrophilus upon the by, that you may thence make some Estimate, what a strange Inequality, and what a multitude of little Shades, there may really be, in a scarce sensible part of the Physical superficies, though the naked Eye sees no such matter. And as Excellent Microscopes shew us this Ruggedness in many Bodies that pass for Smooth, so there are divers Experiments, though we must not now stay to urge them, which seem to perswade us of the same thing as to the rest of such Bodies as we are now treating off; So, that there is no sensible part of an Opacous body, that may not be conceiv'd to be made up of a multitude of singly insensible Corpuscles, but in the giving these surfaces that disposition, which makes them alter the Light that reflects thence to the Eye after the manner requisite to make the Object appear Green, Blew, &c. the Figures of these Particles have a great, but not the only stroak. 'Tis true indeed that the protuberant Particles may be of very great variety of Figures, Sphaerical, Elliptical, Conical, Cylindrical, Polyedrical, and some very irregular, and that according to the Nature of these, and the situation of the Lucid body, the Light must be variously affected, after one manner from Surfaces (I now speak of Physical Surfaces) consisting of Sphaerical, and in another from those that are made up of Conical or Cylindrical Corpuscles; some being fitted to reflect more of the incident Beams of Light, others less, and some towards one part, others towards another. But besides this difference of Shape, there may be divers other things that may eminently concurr to vary the forms of Asperity that Colours so much depend on. For, willingly allowing the Figure of the Particles in the first place, I consider secondly, that the superficial Corpuscles, if I may so call them, may be bigger in one Body, and less in another, and consequently fitted to allay the Light falling on them with greater shades. Next, the protuberant Particles may be set more or less close together, that is, there may be a greater or a smaller number of them within the compass of one, than within the compass of another small part of the Surface of the same Extent, and how much these Qualities may serve to produce Colour may be somewhat guess'd at, by that which happens in the Agitation of Water; for if the Bubbles that are thereby made be Great, and but Few, the Water will scarce acquire a sensible Colour, but if it be reduc'd to a Froth, consisting of Bubbles, which being very Minute and Contiguous to each other, are a multitude of them crowded into a narrow Room, the Water (turned to Froth) does then exhibit a very manifest White Colour,[3] (to which these last nam'd Conditions of the Bubbles do as well as their Convex figure contribute) and that for Reasons to be mention'd anon. Besides, it is not necessary that the Superficial particles that exhibit one Colour, should be all of them Round, or all Conical, or all of any one Shape, but Corpuscles of differing Figures may be mingled on the Surface of the Opacous Body, as when the Corpuscles that make a Blew colour, and those that make a Yellow, come to be Accurately and Skilfully mix'd, they make up a Green, which though it seem one simple Colour, yet in this case appears to be made by Corpuscles of very differing Kinds, duely commix'd. Moreover the Figure and Bigness of the little Depressions, Cavities, Furrows or Pores intercepted betwixt these protuberant Corpuscles, are as well to be consider'd as the Sizes and Shapes of the Corpuscles themselves: For we may conceive the Physical superficies of a Body, where (as we said) its Colour does as it were reside, to be cut Transversly by a Mathematical plain, which you know is conceiv'd to be without any Depth or Thickness at all, and then as some parts of the Physical Superficies will be Protuberant; or swell above this last plain, so others may be depress'd beneath it; as (to explane my self by a gross Comparison) in divers places of the Surface of the Earth, there are not only Neighbouring Hills, Trees, &c. that are rais'd above the Horizontal Level of the Valley, but Rivers, Wells, Pits and other Cavities that are depress'd beneath it, and that such Protuberant and Concave parts of a Surface may remit the Light so differingly, as much to vary a Colour, some examples and other things, that we shall hereafter have occasion to take notice off in this Tract, will sufficiently declare, till when, it may suffice to put you in mind, that of two Flat-sides of the same piece of, for example, red Marble, the one being diligently Polished, and the other left to its former Roughness, the differing degrees or sorts of Asperity, for the side that is smooth to the Touch wants not its Roughness, will so diversifie the Light reflected from the several Plains to the Eye, that a Painter would employ two differing Colours to represent them.

[3] See the Discourse of the Nature of Whiteness and Blackness.

7. And I hope, Pyrophilus, you will not think it strange or impertinent, that I employ in divers passages of these Papers, examples drawn from Bodies and Shadows far more Gross, than those minute Protuberances and shady Pores on which in most cases the Colour of a Body as 'tis an Inherent Quality or Disposition of its Surface, seems to depend. For sometimes I employ such Examples, rather to declare my Meaning, than prove my Conjecture; things, whom their Smallness makes Insensible, being better represented to the Imagination by such familiar Objects, as being like them enough in other respects, are of a Visible bulk. And next, though the Beams of Light are such subtil Bodies, that in respect of them, even Surfaces that are sensibly Smooth, are not exactly so, but have their own degree of Roughness, consisting of little Protuberances and Depressions; and though consequently such Inequalities may suffice to give Bodies differing Colours, as we see in Marble that appears White or Black, or Red or Blew, even when the most carefully Polish'd, yet 'tis plain by the late Instance of Red Marble, and many others, that even bigger Protuberances and greater Shades may likewise so Diversifie the Roughness of a Bodies Superficies, as manifestly to concurr to the varying of its Colour, whereby such Examples appear to be proper enough to be employ'd in such a Subject as we have now in hand. And having hinted thus much on this Occasion, I now proceed.

8. The Situation also of the Superficial particles is considerable, which I distinguish into the Posture of the single Corpuscles, in respect of the Light, and of the Eye, and the Order of them in reference also to one another; for a Body may otherwise reflect the Light, when its Superficial particles are more erected upon the Plain that may be conceiv'd to pass along their Basis, and when the Points or Extremes of such Particles are Obverted to the Eye, than when those Particles are so Inclin'd, that their Sides are in great part Discernable, as the Colour of Plush or Velvet will appear Vary'd to you, if you carefully stroak part of it one way, and part of it another, the posture of the particular Thrids, in reference to the Light, or the Eye, becoming thereby different. And you may observe in a Field of ripe Corn blown upon by the Wind, that there will appear as it were Waves of a Colour (at least Gradually) differing from that of the rest of the Field, the Wind by Depressing some of the Ears, and not at the same time others, making the one Reflect more from the Lateral and Strawy parts, than do the rest. And so, when Doggs are so angry, as to Erect the Hairs upon their Necks, and upon some other parts of their Bodies, those Parts seem to acquire a Colour vary'd from that which the same Hairs made, when in their usual Posture they did farr more stoop. And that the Order wherein the Superficial Corpuscles are Rang'd is not to be neglected, we may guess by turning of Water into Froth, the beating of Glass, and the scraping of Horns, in which cases the Corpuscles that were before so marshall'd as to be Perspicuous, do by the troubling of that Order become Dispos'd to terminate and reflect more Light, and thereby to appear Whitish. And there are other ways in which the Order of the Protuberant parts, in reference to the Eye, may much contribute to the appearing of a particular Colour, for I have often observ'd, that when Pease are Planted, or Set in Parallel Lines, and are Shot up about half a Foot above the Surface of the Ground, by looking on the Field or Plot of Ground from that part towards which the Parallel Lines tended, the greater part of the Ground by farr would appear of its own dirty Colour, but if I look'd upon it Transversly, the Plot would appear very Green, the upper parts of the Pease hindering the intercepted parts of the Ground, which as I said retain'd their wonted Colour, from being discover'd by the Eye. And I know not, Pyrophilus, whether I might not add, that even the Motion of the Small Parts of a Visible Object may in some cases contribute, though it be not so easie to say how, to the Producing or the Varying of a Colour; for I have several times made a Liquor, which when it has well settled in a close Vial, is Transparent and Colourless, but as soon as the Glass is unstopp'd, begins to fly away very plentifully in a White and Opacous fume; and there are other Bodies, whose Fumes, when they fill a Receiver, would make one suspect it contains Milk, and yet when these Fumes settle into a Liquor, that Liquor is not White, but Transparent; And such White Fumes I have seen afforded by unstopping a Liquor I know, which yet is it self Diaphanous and Red; Nor are these the only Instances of this Kind, that our Tryals can supply us with. And if the Superficial Corpuscles be of the Grosser sort, and be so Framed, that their differing Sides or Faces may exhibit differing Colours, then the Motion or Rest of those Corpuscles may be considerable, as to the Colour of the Superficies they compose, upon this account, that sometimes more, sometimes fewer of the Sides dispos'd to exhibit such a Colour may by this means become or continue more Obverted to the Eye than the rest, and compose a Physical Surface, that will be more or less sensibly interrupted; As, to explane my meaning, by proposing a gross Example, I remember, that in some sorts of Leavy Plants thick set by one another, the two sides of whose Leaves were of somewhat differing Colours, there would be a notable Disparity as to Colour, if you look'd upon them both when the Leaves being at Rest had their upper and commonly expos'd sides Obverted to the Eye, and when a breath of Wind passing thorow them, made great Numbers of the usually Hidden sides of the Leaves become conspicuous. And though the Little Bodies, we were lately speaking of, may Singly and Apart seem almost Colourless, yet when Many of them are plac'd by one another, so near, that the Eye does not easily discern an Interruption, within a sensible space, they may exhibit a Colour; as we see, that though a Slenderest Thrid of Dy'd Silk do's, whilst look'd on Single, seem almost quite Devoyd of Redness, (for instance) yet when numbers of these Thrids are brought together into one Skein, their Colour becomes notorious.

9. But the same Occasion that invited me to say what I have mention'd concerning the Leaves of Trees, invites me also to give you some account of what happens in Changeable Taffities, where we see differing Colours, as it were, Emerge and Vanish upon the Ruffling of the same piece of Silk: As I have divers times with Pleasure observ'd, by the help of such a Microscope, as, though it do not very much Magnifie the Object, has in recompence this great Conveniency, that you may easily, as fast as you please, remove it from one part to another of a Large Object, of which the Glass taking a great part at once, you may thereby presently Survey the Whole. Now by the help of such a Microscope I could easily (as I began to say) discern, that in a piece of Changeable Taffity, (that appear'd, for Instance, sometimes Red, and sometimes Green) the Stuff was compos'd of Red thrids and Green, passing under and over each other, and crossing one another in almost innumerable points; and if I look'd through the Glass upon any considerable portion of the Stuff, that (for example sake) to the naked Eye appear'd to be Red, I could plainly see, that in that Position, the Red thrids were Conspicuous, and reflected a vivid Light; and though I could also perceive, that there were Green ones, yet by reason of their disadvantagious Position in the Physical Surface of the Taffity, they were in part hid by the more Protuberant Thrids of the other Colour; and for the same cause, the Reflection from as much of the Green as was discover'd, was comparatively but Dim and Faint. And if, on the contrary, I look'd through the Microscope upon any part that appear'd Green, I could plainly see that the Red thrids were less fully expos'd to the Eye, and obscur'd by the Green ones, which therefore made up the Predominant Colour. And by observing the Texture of the Silken Stuff, I could easisy so expose the Thrids either of the one Colour or of the other to my Eye, as at pleasure to exhibit an apparition of Red or Green, or make those Colours succeed one another: So that, when I observ'd their Succession by the help of the Glass, I could mark how the Predominant Colour did as it were start out, when the Thrids that exhibited it came to be advanagiously plac'd; And by making little Folds in the Stuff after a certain manner, the Sides that met and terminated in those Folds, would appear to the naked Eye, one of them Red, and the other Green. When Thrids of more than two differing Colours chance to be Interwoven, the resulting changeableness of the Taffity may be also somewhat different. But I choose to give an Instance in the Stuff I have been speaking off, because the mixture being more Simple, the way whereby the Changeableness is produc'd, may be the more easily apprehended: and though Reason alone might readily enough lead a considering Man to guess at the Explication, in case he knew how Changeable Taffities are made: yet I thought it not impertinent to mention it, because both Scholars and Gentlemen are wont to look upon the Inquiry into Manufactures, as a Mechanick imployment, and consequently below Them; and because also with such a Microscope as I have been mentioning, the discovery is as well Pleasant as Satisfactory, and may afford Hints of the Solution of other Phaenomena of Colours. And it were not amiss, that some diligent Inquiry were made, whether the Microscope would give us an account of the Variableness of Colour, that is so Conspicuous and so Delightfull in Mother of Pearl, in Opalls, and some other resembling Bodies: For though I remember I did formerly attempt something of that Kind (fruitlesly enough) upon Mother of Pearl, yet not having then the advantage of my best Microscope, nor some Conveniences that might have been wish'd, I leave it to you, who have better Eyes, to try what you can do further; since 'twill be Some discovery to find, that, in this case, the best Eyes and Microscopes themselves can make None.

10. I confess, Pyrophilus, that a great part of what I have deliver'd, (or propos'd rather) concerning the differing forms of Asperity in Bodies, by which Differences the incident Light either comes to be Reflected with more or less of Shade, and with that Shade more or less Interrupted, or else happens to be also otherwise Modify'd or Troubl'd, is but Conjectural. But I am not sure, that if it were not for the Dullness of our Senses, either these or some other Notions of Kin to them, might be better Countenanc'd; for I am apt to suspect, that if we were Sharp sighted enough, or had such perfect Microscopes, as I fear are more to be wish'd than hop'd for, our promoted Sense might discern in the Physical Surfaces of Bodies, both a great many latent Ruggidnesses, and the particular Sizes, Shapes, and Situations of the extremely little Bodies that cause them, and perhaps might perceive among other Varieties that we now can but imagine, how those little Protuberances and Cavities do Interrupt and Dilate the Light, by mingling with it a multitude of little and singly undiscernable Shades, though some of them more, and some of them less Minute, some less, and some more Numerous; according to the Nature and Degree of the particular Colour we attribute to the Visible Object; as we see, that in the Moon we can with Excellent Telescopes discern many Hills and Vallies, and as it were Pits and other Parts, whereof some are more, and some less Vividly illustrated, and others have a fainter, others a deeper Shade, though the naked Eye can discern no such matter in that Planet. And with an Excellent Microscope, where the Naked Eye did see but a Green powder, the Assisted Eye as we noted above, could discern particular Granules, some of them of a Blew, and some of them of a Yellow colour, which Corpuscles we had beforehand caus'd to be exquisitly mix'd to compound the Green.

11. And, Pyrophilus, that you may not think me altogether extravagant in what I have said of the Possibility, (for I speak of no more) of discerning the differing forms of Asperity in the Surfaces of Bodies of several Colours, I'l here set down a Memorable particular that chanc'd to come to my Knowledge, since I writ a good part of this Essay; and it is this. Meeting casually the other Day with the deservedly Famous[4] Dr. J. Finch, Extraordinary Anatomist to that Great Patron of the Virtuosi, the now Great Duke of Toscany, and enquiring of this Ingenious Person, what might be the chief Rarity he had seen in his late return out of Italy into England, he told me, it was a Man at Maestricht in the Low-Countrys, who at certain times can discern and distinguish Colours by the Touch with his Fingers. You'l easily Conclude, that this is farr more strange, than what I propos'd but as not Impossible; since the Sense of the Retina seeming to be much more Tender and quick than that of those Grosser Filaments, Nerves or Membranes of our Fingers, wherewith we use to handle Gross and Hard Bodies, it seems scarce credible, that any Accustomance, or Diet, or peculiarity of Constitution, should enable a Man to distinguish with such Gross and Unsuitable Organs, such Nice and Subtile Differences as those of the forms of Asperity, that belong to differing Colours, to receive whose Languid and Delicate Impressions by the Intervention of Light, Nature seems to have appointed and contexed into the Retina the tender and delicate Pith of the Optick Nerve. Wherefore I confess, I propos'd divers Scruples, and particularly whether the Doctor had taken care to bind a Napkin or Hankerchief over his Eyes so carefully, as to be sure he could make no use of his Sight, though he had but Counterfeited the want of it, to which I added divers other Questions, to satisfie my Self, whether there were any Likelihood of Collusion or other Tricks. But I found that the Judicious Doctor having gone farr out of his way, purposely to satisfie Himself and his Learned Prince about this Wonder, had been very Watchfull and Circumspect to keep Himself from being Impos'd upon. And that he might not through any mistake in point of Memory mis-inform Me, he did me the Favour at my Request, to look out the Notes he had Written for his Own and his Princes Information, the summ of which Memorials, as far as we shall mention them here, was this, That the Doctor having been inform'd at Utrecht, that there Lived one at some Miles distance from Maestricht, who could distinguish Colours by the Touch, when he came to the last nam'd Town, he sent a Messenger for him, and having Examin'd him, was told upon Enquiry these Particulars:

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