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Natural Magick 

Book 5

Natural Magick
(Magiae naturalis)
BY
John Baptista Porta
(Giambattista della Porta)
(1535-1615)
The Fifth Book of Natural Magick
"Which treateth of Alchemy, showing how metals may be altered and
transformed, one into another"

The Proeme
Chapter I - "Of Tin, and how it may be converted into a more excellent
Metal"
Chapter II - "Of Lead, and how it may be converted into another Metal"
Chapter III - "Of Brass, and how to transform it into a worthier Metal"
Chapter IV - "Of Iron, and how to transform it into a more worthy metal"
Chapter V - "Quicksilver, its effects and operations"
Chapter VI - "Of Silver"
Chapter VII - "Operations necessary for Use"
Chapter VIII - "To make a metal more weighty"
Chapter IX - "To part metals without Aquafortis"
Chapter X - "To part Gold, or Silver, from other Metals with Aquafortis"

The Proeme
We are now come (according to that order which we proposed unto ourselves in
the beginning) to those experiments which are commonly called by the name of
Alchemy matters, wherein not only a great part of the world is conversant,
but also every one is very desirous to be a practitioner in them, and does
thirst after them with an unquenchable lust. Wherefore we are constrained to
speak something concerning this subject the rather, because many rude and
unskillful men, being drawn on, partly by the hope of gain, which they
looked for by it, and partly by the pleasure and delight which they did take
in it, have bestowed themselves in these experiments to the great slander
both of the art itself, and also of the professors thereof. So that
currently, a man cannot handle it without the scorn and obloquy of the
world, because of the disgrace and contempt, which those idiots have brought
upon it. For while they, being altogether ignorant of the principles of
these things, have labored to make sophisticated and Counterfeit Gold, they
have utterly miscarried in their endeavors, and wasted all their substance,
and quite undone themselves, and so were deluded by that vain hope of Gold,
which set them on work. Demetrius Phalereus said very well of these men,
that which they should have gotten, says he, they did not get, and that
which they had in their own possession, they lost, and so whereas they hoped
to work a metamorphosis or alteration in the metals, the alteration and
change has lighted heavily upon themselves, in respect of their own estate.
And when they have thus overthrown themselves, they have no other comfort
left them only this, to broach many lies and Counterfeit devices, whereby
they may likewise deceive others, and draw them into the very same lurches
which themselves have before fallen into. And surely the desire partly of
the same lurches which themselves have before fallen into. And surely the
desire partly of the art itself, and partly of the great gain which many men
hoped after by the same, has filled the world with so many books, and such a
infinite number of lies, that there is scarce any other matter in the like
request. So that it was very well done of Dioclesian the Emperor, and it was
high time for him so to do, to establish a decree, that all such lying books
that were written concerning that matter, should be cast into the fire and
burnt to ashes. Thus was an excellent good art discredited and disgraced by
reason they abused it, which falls out also in many other better things then
this is. The art of itself is not to be set at naught, but rather to be
embraced and much to be sought after, especially by such as apply their
minds to philosophy, and to the searching out of the secrecy's of nature.
For they shall find in it many things which they will wonder at, and such as
are exceeding necessary for the use of men. And when they shall behold the
experience of many kinds of transmutations and sundry effects, it will be no
small delight unto them, and besides, it will show them the way to more
profound and worthier matters, such as the best and soundest philosophers
have not been ashamed to search into, and to handle in their writings. I do
not here promise any golden mountains, as they say, nor yet that
Philosophers Stone, which the would has so great an opinion of, and has been
bragged of in many ages, and happily attained unto by some. Neither yet do I
promise here that golden Liquor, whereof if any man do drink, it is supposed
that it will make him to be immortal, but it is a mere dream, for seeing
that the world itself is variable and subject to alteration. Therefore it
cannot be but that whatsoever the world yields, should likewise be subject
to destruction. Sot that to promise or to undertake any such matters as
these are, it were but rashness and pure foolishness. But the things which
we purpose to discourse of and to deliver, are these which hereafter follow.
And I would request the readers to take them in good part, and to content
themselves with these. Left if they attempt to proceed to further
experiments herein, they prove themselves as foolish and as mad as those
which we have spoken of before. These things which here you shall find, I
myself have seen, and proved by experience, and therefore I am the bolder to
set them abroach to the view of the whole world. ...

Chapter I
"Of Tin, and how it may be converted into a more excellent Metal"
TIn does Counterfeit and resemble Silver. And there is great amity and
agreement between these two metals in respect of their color. The nature and
the color of Tin is such, that it will whiten all other metals. But it makes
them brittle and easier to be snap asunder. Only lead is free from this
power of Tin. But he that can skillfully make a medley of this metal with
others, may thereby attain to many pretty secrecy's. Wherefore, we will
endeavor to Counterfeit Silver as near as we can. A matter which may be
easily effected, if we can tell how to abolish and utterly destroy those
imperfections, which are found in Tin, whereby it is to be discerned from
Silver. The imperfections are these: First, it is found to make a creaking
noise, and crashes more then Silver does, Secondly, it does not ring so
pleasantly as Silver, but has a duller sound, Thirdly, it is of a more pale
and wane color, And lastly, it is more soft and tender, for it be put into
the fire, it is not first red hot before it be melted, as Silver will be,
but it cling fast to the fire, and is soon overcome and molten by the heat
thereof. These are the qualities that are observed to be in Tin, not the
essential properties of the nature thereof, but only accidental qualities,
and therefore they may be more easily expelled out of their subject. Let us
see therefore how we may rid away these extrinsecal accidents, and first,
"How to remedy the softness of Tin, and the creaking noise that it makes"
You must first beat it into small powder, as you shall hereafter be
instructed in the manner how to do it; and when you have so done, you must
reduce it into the whole body again. And if it does not lose its softness at
the first time as you deal so by it, use the same course the second time,
and so likewise the third time rather then fail, and by this means you shall
at length obtain your purpose: for by so doing, the Tin will wax so hard,
that it will endure the fire till it be red hot, before ever it will melt.
By the like practice we may also harden all other soft bodies, to make them
red hot before they shall be melted. But the experience hereof is more clear
in Tin then in any other metals whatsoever. We may also take away the
creaking noise of Tin, if we melt it seven times, and quench it every time
in the Urine of children, or else in the Oil of Walnuts. For this is the
only means to expel that quality and imperfection out of it. Thus then we
have declared the manner how to extract these accidents from it. But all
this while we have not shown how it may be transformed into Silver. Which
now we are to speak of, as ever we have shown the manner of...
"How to bring Tin into Powder."
Which we promised to teach. Let your Tin boil in the fire, and when it is
very liquid, pour it forth into a great Mortar, and when it begins to wax
cold, and to be congealed together again, you must stir it round about with
a wooden Pestle, and let it not stand still in any case, thus shall you
cause it congealed into very small crumbs as little as dust, And when you
have so done, put it into a very fine ranging Sieve, and sift out the
smallest of it, and that which is left behind in your Sieve, because it is
to great and not broken well enough, you must put it into the fire again,
and use the very same course with it to break it into smaller parts, as you
used before, for unless it be thoroughly broken into powder, it is not
serviceable, nor fit for your purpose. Having therefore shown you how to
break your Tin into small crumbs, as also how to expel out of it those
imperfections whereby is it most manifestly discerned from Silver, both
which things are very necessary preparative as it were to the main matter
which we have in hand, let us now come to the principal experiment itself,
namely,.....
"How to alter and transform Tin, that it may become Silver"
You must take an earthen vessel somewhat wide-mouthed, but is must be very
strong and firmly made, that it be thoroughly able to ensure the vehemence
of the fire, even to be red hot. Into this vessel put your Tin broken into
such small crumbs as have been spoken of, and therein you must with an Iron
ladle stir it up and down continually without ceasing, till it be all on a
light fire, an yet none of the metal to be melted. When you have so done,
that you have given it over, and it gathers together in one body or lump
again, you must bestow the very same labor upon it a second time, so long as
it may stand in small crumbs all on a fire for the space of six hours
together, without melting. But if some part of the metal be melted by the
vehement heat of the fire, and some other parts of it remain not melted,
then you must take away that which is melted, and when it is congealed, you
must break it into small powder once again, and you must run over your whole
labor again , even in the same vessel and with the same instrument as
before. After this, when you have brought all your metal to that perfection
that it will endure the fire without melting, then you must put it into a
glass-furnace where Glass is found to be made, or else into some oven that
is made of purpose to reflex the heat of the fire to the best advantage, and
there let it be tormented and applied with a very great fire for the space
of three or four days together. Until such time as it is made perfectly
white as snow. For the smaller that it is broken and beaten into powder, the
more perfectly it will take white, and be the fitter for your purpose, and
more exactly satisfies your expectation. After all this, you must , put it
into a vessel that shall be almost full of Vinegar, and the Vinegar must
cover all the Tin and swim about three or four inches above it. There you
must Distill it , and let the Vinegar boil with it so long, till the Tin has
colored it, and made it of his own hue, and thickened it into a more gross
substance. Then let is stand a while; and when it is thoroughly settled,
pour out that Vinegar and put in new, and temper it well with those ashes or
crumbs of Tin. And this must you do again and again, till all your Tin be
dissolved into Vinegar. If by this often repetition of this labor, you
cannot effect such a dissolution, then you must put it once again to the
fire in such a furnace, or else into such an oven as we spoke of before,
that so it may be reduced into white ashes more exactly and perfectly,
whereby it may be the more easily dissolved into Vinegar. After this, you
must let the vapor of the Vinegar be exhaled and strained out, and the Tin
that is left behind must be put into a certain vessel where the ashes have
been found to be put. And then melt some Lead and put amongst it. And
because the Lead that is put in will bear up the Tin aloft therefore you
must make certain little balls or pills compounded of Soap and Lime, or else
Saltpeter and Brimstone, or some other like fat earthy stuff, and cast them
in among the Lead and Tin, and they will cause the Tin to drench itself
within the Lead.  And by this means, all your Tin that does take the Lead,
and is incorporated into it by a just proportion and equal temperature, does
become very excellent good Silver. But this is marvelous hard labor, and not
to be achieved without very great difficulty. You may likewise alter and
transform...
"Tin into Lead"
An easy matter for any man to effect, by reducing Tin into ashes or powder
often times. For the often burning of it will cause the creaking noise which
it is found to make, to be voided from it, and so to become Lead without any
more ado. Especially, if you use a convenient fire, when you go about to
reduce it into powder.

Chapter II
"Of Lead, and how it may be converted into another Metal"
The ancient writers that have been conversant in the nature of metals, are
found to call Tin by the name of White Lead, and Lead, by the name of Black
Tin. Insinuating thereby the affinity of the natures of these two metals,
that they are very like each another, and therefore may very easily be one
of them transformed into the other. It is no hard matter therefore, as to
change Tin into Lead, which we have spoken of in the former chapter. See
also...
"To change Lead into Tin"
It may be effected only by bare washing of it. For if you bath or wash Lead
often times, that is, if you often melt it, so that the dull and earthy
substance of it be abolished, it will become Tin very easily. For the same
Quicksilver, whereby the Lead was first made a subtle and pure substance,
before it contracted that soil and earthiness which makes it so heavy, does
still remain in the Lead, as Gebrus has observed, and this is it which
causes that creaking and gnashing found, which Tin is found to yield, and
whereby it is especially discerned from Lead. So that when the Lead has lost
its own earthy lumpiness, which is expelled by often melting, and when it is
endured with the sound of Tin, which the Quicksilver does easily work into
it, there can be no difference put between them, but that the Lead is become
Tin. It is also possible to transform...
" Antimony into Lead"
For, that kind of Antimony which the Alchemists are found to call by the
name of Regulus, if it be often burned in the fire, and be first thoroughly
boiled, it turns into Lead. This experiment is observed by Dioscorides, who
says, that if you take Antimony and burn it exceedingly in the fire, it is
converted into Lead, Galen shows another experiment concerning Lead,
namely...
"How to procure Lead to become heavier, then of itself it is..."
For, whereas he had found by his experience, that Lead has in itself an
ethereal or airy substance, he brings this experiment. Of all the metals,
says he, that I been acquainted with, only Lead is increased in both in size
and weight. For, it you lay it up in cellars or such other places of receipt
that are under the ground, wherein there is a turbulent and gross foggy air,
so that whatsoever is laid up in such rooms shall straight-aways gather
filth and soil, it will be greater and heavier the before it was. Yes, even
the very clamps of Lead which have become fastened into carved images to
knit their parts more strongly together, especially those that have been
fastened about their feet, have been divers times found to have waxed
bigger. And some of those clamps have been seen to swell so much, that
whereas in the making of such images the Lead plates and pins were made
level with the images themselves, yet afterwards they have been so swollen,
as that they have stood forth like hillocks and knobs very unevenly, out of
the Crystal stones whereof the images were made. This Lead, is a metal that
has in it great store of Quicksilver , as may appear by this, because it is
a very easy mastery,
"To extract Quicksilver out of Lead"
Let your Lead be filed into very small dust, and to every two pound of Lead
thus beaten into powder, you must put one ounce of Saltpeter, and one ounce
of ordinary common Salt, and one ounce of Antimony . Let all these be well
beaten and pounded together, and put into a Sieve. And when they are well
sifted, put them into a vessel made of Glass, and you must fence and plaster
the Glass round about on the outward side with thick Loam tempered with
chopped Straw, and it must be laid on very fast. And that it may stick up
the vessel the better, your Glass must not be smooth but full of Rigoles, as
if it were wrested or writhed. When your vessel is thus prepared, you must
settle and apply it to a reflexed fire, that is, to a fire made in such a
place, as will reflect and beat back the heat of it with great vehemence to
the best advantage. And underneath your vessels neck, you must place a large
pan, or some other such vessel of great capacity and receipt, which must be
half full of cold water. Then close up all very fast and secure, and let
your fire burn but a little, and give but a small heat for the space of two
hours. Afterward it will make it greater, so that the vessel may be
thoroughly heated by it, even to be red hot. Then set a blower to work, and
let him not leave off to blow for the space of four whole hours together,
and you shall see the Quicksilver drop down into the vessel that is half
full of water, being sighted as it were, out of the metal by the vehement
force of the fire. Commonly the Quicksilver will stick to the sides of the
vessels neck, and therefore you must give the neck of the vessel a little
jolt or blow with your hand, so that the Quicksilver will fall down into the
water vessel. By this practice I have often extracted from every pound of
metal almost a whole once of Quicksilver . Yes, sometimes more than an
ounce, when I have been very diligent and laborious in performing the work.
Another experiment I have seen, which drew me into great admiration,
"Lead Converted into Quicksilver "
A Counterfeiting practice, which is the chief cause that all the Quicksilver
almost which is usually to be had, is but bastard stuff, and merely
Counterfeit. Yet it is bought and sold for current, by reason of the near
likeness it has with the best. Let there be one pound of Lead melted in an
earthen vessel, and then put into it one ounce of that tinny metal by the
name of Marchasite. And when they are both melted together you must stir
them up and down, and temper them to a perfect medley with a wooden ladle.
In the mean space you must have four pounds of Quicksilver warmed in another
vessel standing by, to cast in upon that compounded metal, for unless your
Quicksilver be warm, it will not close nor agree well with your metals. Then
temper your Quicksilver and metal together for a while and presently after,
cast into cold water, so shall it not congeal into any hard lump, but float
on the top of the water, and be very quick and lively. The only blemish it
has, and that which only may be excepted against it, is this, that it is
somewhat pale and wan, and not all things so nimble and lively as the true
Quicksilver is, but is more slow and slimy, drawing as it were a tail after
it, as other viscous and slimy things are found to do. But put into a vessel
of Glass, and lay it up for a while, for the longer you keep it, the quicker
and nimbler it will be.

Chapter III
"Of Brass, and how to transform it into a worthier Metal"
We will now allege certain experiments concerning Brass. Which though they
are but slight and trivial, yet we will not omit to speak of them, because
we would fain satisfy the humor of those, who have a great desire to read of
and be acquainted with such matters. And here we are to speak of such things
that are good to stain the bodies of metals with some other color they are
naturally endued with. Yet I must confess that these are but fained and
Counterfeit colorings, such as will not last and stick by their bodies
forever. Neither yet are they able to abide by any trial, but as soon as
ever they come to the touchstone, they may easily be discerned to be but
Counterfeits. However, as they are not greatly to be desired, because they
are but deceivable, yet notwithstanding they are not utterly to be rejected
as things of no value. And because there are very few books extant which
treat of any argument of like kind as this is, but they are full of such
experiments and sleights as here offer themselves to be handled by us (for
they are very common things, and in every man's mouth) therefore we will in
this place speak only of those things which are easily to be obtained, and
carry with them a very goodly show, inasmuch that the best and sharpest
censure may be deluded and mistaken by the beautiful gloss that is cast upon
them. And it may gravel the quickest and skillful judgment, to define upon
the thing whether they are true or Counterfeit. Yet let them be esteemed no
better then they deserve. But this you must know, that as slight and trivial
as they are, yet they require the handling of a very skillful artificer. And
whoever you are who goes about to practice these experiments, if you are not
a skillful and well experienced workman yourself, be sure to take the advice
and counsel of those that are very good artists in this kind. For otherwise
you will certainly miscarry in them and be defeated in your purpose. The
chief and essential things that are of force to endue Brass with a whiter
color, are these. Arsenic or Oker, that kind of Quicksilver that is
sublimated, as the Alchemists call it, the foam or froth of Silver, which is
called by the Greeks, Lithargyron. The Marchasite or Fire-stone, the Lees of
wine, that kind of Salt which is found in Africa under the sand, when the
Moon is full, which is commonly called by the name of Al-hali, Saltpeter,
and lastly Alome. If you extract the Liquor out of any of these, or out of
all of these, and when it is dissolved, put your Brass, being red hot, into
it to be quenched, your Brass will become white. Or else if you melt your
Brass, and as soon as it is molten, put it into such Liquor, your Brass will
become white. Or else, if you draw forth into very small and thin plates,
and pound those bodies we now speak of, into small powder, and then cast
both the Brass that is to be colored, and the bodies that must collar it,
into a melting or casting vessel, and there temper them together to good
media, and keep them a great while in the fire, that it may be thoroughly
melted, the Brass will become white. Or else, if you melt your Brass, and
then cast upon it some of that coloring in small lumps, (for if you cast it
in powder and dust, it is a doubt that the force and rage of the fire will
utterly consume it, so that it shall not be able to infect or stain the
metal) but if you cast good store of such coloring upon the molten Brass, it
will endure your Brass with a strange and wonderful whiteness, inasmuch that
it will seem to be very Silver looking indeed. But that you may learn the
better, how to work such experiments, and besides, that you may by occasion
of those things which are here set down, learn how to compound and work
other matters, we will now set forth unto you certain examples, how we may
make...
"Brass to Counterfeit Silver..."
For when once you are trained up a little in the practice of these matters,
then they will sink more easily into your understanding, then by all your
reading they can do. Therefore as we have spoken of such things as will do
this feat, so also we will teach you to work artificially. Take an earthen
pot, and set it upon the fire with very hot coals heaped round about it, put
Lead into it, and when you see that Lead is molten by the force of the fire,
take the third part of so much Silver as there was Lead, and pound it into
small powder, and put it to the Lead into the pot. But you must sprinkle it
in only by little and little, that it may be scorched, and even burned as it
were by the heat of the fire, and may float like as it were oil on the top
and surface of the Lead, and some of it may be so wasted by the vehemence of
the heat, that it will vanish away into the smoke. Then let them rest a
while, so long as there be any remainders of the coals left. After you have
so done, break the vessel into pieces, and take away the scum and Dross of
the metal. And whereas there will stand on the top of the metal a certain
oil as it were, or kind of jelly, you must take that, and break it in a
Mortar, and cast it into a vessel by little and little where there is Brass
melted, though the Brass be three times so much in weight as that jelly is,
yet the jelly will endue all that Brass with a white Silver color. Nay, if
there be more then three times so much melted Brass put into that metal, it
will make it all like unto Silver. But if you would have your Brass endued
with a perfect white color, and not discernible from Silver, you must melt
some Silver and some Brass together, and then throw them into the fire, and
so take them out again after some short time. For the longer you suffer them
in the fire, the worse will your experiment succeed. Which is a matter most
worthy to be observed in these cases. For if your work continue any longer
in the fire then need requires, it will fade in color, and the violence of
the fire will countermand the effect of your skill and labor in tempering
the metals together, and so the Brass will recover his former cover in his
first estate. Wherefore let your metals be kept in the fire as little while
as you can, that you may make your Brass the whiter, and in time will wax
blackish and dim again. For the Arsenic that is naturally incorporated into
the Brass, will always strive to restore it to the former duskish and dim
color which it is by nature endued withal. We will now also teach you
another way how to make...
"Brass to Counterfeit Silver II..."
And this is a more excellent and notable experiment then the former. Take
six ounces of the Lees of wine, eight ounces of crystal Arsenic , half an
ounce of Quicksilver that has been sublimated, two ounces of Saltpeter, one
ounce and an half of Glass. Beat all these together in a mortar, and see
that they be broken into the smallest powder and dust that may be. After
this, take three pounds of Copper, that which is commonly called Banda
Mediolanensis. This you must have to be drawn out into small thin and
slender plates. And when you have thus prepared your metals and ingredients,
you must take of that powder, and sprinkle it into an earthen pot by little
and little, and withal put into the same pot your slender plates of Copper.
And these things you must do by course, first putting in some of your
powder, and then some of your Copper, and afterward some powder again, and
afterward some of your little plates again, and so by turns one after
another, till the pot be brim full. Then set a cover upon your pot, and
plaster it all over singularly well with good stiff Mortar that is tempered
with chopped Straw, then bind it round about with bands and clamps of Iron,
and truss it up very hard and stiff together, and then cover it over again
with such Mortar as before. Afterward let the pot be made hot with a great
fire round about it. The manner of the heating of your pot must be this, set
the pot in a center as it were, that the fire may lie in a circumference
round about it, to the distance of one foot from the center. A little after
this, move your fire nearer to the pot, that there may not be above the
distance of half a foot between them, then within a while lay the fire a
little nearer, and so by little and little let the fire be brought close to
the pot, yes and let the pot be covered all over with hot burning coals,
within the space of one hour, and so let it stand hidden in the fire for the
space of six whole hours. After the six hours, you must not take away the
coals, but let them go out and die of themselves, and let the pot so stand
under them until it be stark cold. And when it is thoroughly cold, break it
into pieces, and there you shall find your little thin plates so brittle,
that if you do but touch them some what hard with your fingers, they will
soon be crumbled into dust. When you have taken them out of the pot, you
must afterward put them into some casting vessel that is very hard, and
durable, and there within half an hour it will be melted. Then put into it
some of your powder by little and little, till all of is be molten together.
Then cast it all forth into some hollow place, into some form or mold, that
it may run along into rods, and the metal will be as brittle and as easy to
be broken into small crumbs, as any ice can be. After all this, you must
melt two pounds of Brass, but you must first purify it and cleanse it a
little, by casting upon it some broken Glass, and Lees of wine, and Salt
Ammoniac, and Saltpeter, every one of them by turns, and by little and
little. When you have thus cleansed it, you must put unto it one pound of
that metal which you made of the Copper and powder before spoken of, and you
must still sprinkle upon them some of that powder, and after all this, you
must take half so much of the best Silver that may be gotten, and melt it
among the metals before spoken of and cast them all together into some
hollow place like a mold, and so you shall obtain your purpose. But that the
surface and the utmost outsides of the metal may appear white, you must
throw it into the fire, that it may be burning hot, and then take it forth,
and cast it into that water wherein the Lees of wine and ordinary Salt have
been liquefied and dissolved, and there let it boil for a certain time, and
so shall you make it very white, and moreover so pliant and so easy to be
framed and wrought to any fashion, that you may draw it through any little
hole, yea even through the eye of a needle. Furthermore, this is not to be
omitted nor buried in silence, for it is a matter of great use, and special
force in the coloring of metals, that they be inwardly cleansed and purged
of their Dross, that they may be thoroughly washed and rid of all such scum
and Offal's, as are incident unto them. For being thus handled, they will be
more serviceable and operative for all experiments. As for example, let
Brass be molten, and then quenched in Vinegar, and then reduced into powder
with Salt, so that the more gross and infectious parts thereof be extracted
from it. And let it be so handled oftentimes, till there be nothing of its
natural uncleanness remaining with it, and so shall it receive a deeper dye,
and be changed into a more lively color. Let the vessel wherein you melt
your metals to prepare and them and make fit for your turn, be bored through
the bottom with sundry holes, that the metal being melted may strain
through, but the Dross and scum, and Offal's of it may be left behind, that
there be nothing but pure metal to be used in your experiments. For the less
Dross and Offal's that your metal have, they are so much the more
serviceable for your use in working. Let this therefore be a general rule
always to be remembered and observed, that your metals be thoroughly purged
and rid from their Dross as much as may possibly be, before ever you
entertain any of them into your service for these intendments. There is yet
also another way whereby we may bring to pass that...
"Brass should resemble Silver"
And this by Arsenic Opine, which is an effectual means to accomplish this
matter. And whereas in tract of time the metal will somewhat recover itself
to its own former paleness and dim color, we will seek to remedy it and
prevent it. The best Arsenic Opine that may be gotten, such as Yaws and
gapes as though it had scales upon it, it must be of a very orient golden
color, and must meddle this Arsenic Opine with the dust of Brass that has
been filed from it, and put into them some Lees of wine, but they must be
each of them of an equal weight and quantity when you drench them together
within the Liquor, and so shall it bear a continual orient color, and
glitter very bright without ever fading at all. After this, take you some
Silver, and dissolve with that kind of water which is called Aquafortis but
it must be such as has in it very little store of moisture, for the most
waterish humor that is in it, must be evaporated in some scalding pot or
other such vessel, which you must fill up to the brim six or seven times,
with the same water, after the vapors of it have been extracted by the heat
of the fire that is under the vessel. When you have thus done, you must
mingle your Silver that is so dissolved, with the Brass filings, and the
Arsenic Opine which we spoke of before, and then you must plain it and
smooth it all over with the red marble-stone, that the clefts or scales
before spoken of, may be closed up, and withal, you must water it by little
and little, as it were drop after drop with the oil that has been expressed
or extracted out of the Lees of Wine, or else out of the most firm Salt
Ammoniac  that may be had. And when the sun is gotten up to any strength,
that it shows forth itself in very hot gleams, you must bring forth this
confection, and let the force of the heat work upon it, even till it be
thoroughly dry. Afterward you must supple it with more of the same oil
again, and then let it be dried up again so long, till that which is
remaining does weigh just so much as the Silver weighted before it was
dissolved. Then close up the vessel of Glass, and lay it under some dunghill
till it be dissolved again, and after the dissolution be gathered together
into a jelly, then cast into it ten or eight pieces of Brass, and it will
color them all, into the most lively Counterfeit Silver. But if you desire..
"To make Brass show itself of a Silver color, by rubbing it between your
hands..."
As boys and cozening companions are often found to do, that if they do but
handle any vessels of Brass, they will make them straight-aways to glitter
like Silver, you may use this method. Take Salt Ammoniac, and Alome, and
Saltpeter, of each of them an equal weight, and mingle them together, and
put into them a small quantity of Silver-dust, that has been filed off. Then
set them all to the fire, that they may be thoroughly hot, and when the fume
or vapor is exhaled from them, that they have left reeking, make a powder of
them, and whatsoever Brass you cast the powder upon, if you do withal,
either wet it with your own spittle, or else by little and little rub it
over with your fingers, you shall find that they will seem to be of a Silver
color. But if you would whiten such Brass more handsomely and neatly, you
must take another course. You must dissolve a little Silver with
Aqua-fortis, and put unto it so much Lees of wine, and as much Salt
Ammoniac, let them so lie together till they be about the thickness of the
filth that is rubbed off from a mans body after his sweating. Then roll it
up in some small round balls, and so let them wax dry. When they are dry, if
you rub them with your fingers upon any Brass or other like metal, and still
as you rub them moisten them with a little spittle, you shall make that
which you rub upon to be very like unto Silver. The very like experiment may
be wrought by Quicksilver , for this has a wonderful force in making any
metal to become white. Now, whereas we promised before, to teach you, not
only how to endue Brass of such other metal with a Silver color, but also
how to preserve and keep the bodies so colored from returning to their
former hew again, you must beware that these bodies which are endued with
such a Silver color, do not take hurt by any sharp or sour Liquor, for
either Urine, or Vinegar, or juice of Lemons, or any such tart and sour
Liquor, will cause this color soon to fade away, and so discredit your work,
and declare the color to those metals to be false and Counterfeit.

Chapter IV
"Of Iron, and how to transform it into a more worthy metal"
Now the order of my proceedings requires, that I should speak somewhat also
concerning Iron, for this is a metal which the Wizards of India did highly
esteem, as having in it much goodness, and being of such a temperature, that
it may easily be transformed into a more worthy and excellent metal then
itself is.  Notwithstanding, some there are, which reject this metal as
altogether unprofitable, because it is so full of gross earthly substance,
and can hardly be melted in the fire, by reason of that firm and settled
Brimstone which is found in it.  But if any man would,
"Change Iron into Brass,"
So that no part of the gross and earthly substance shall remain in it, he
may easily obtain his purpose by Coppresse or Vitriol.  It is reported that
in the mountain Carpatus a Hill of Pannonia, at a certain town called
Smolinitium, there is a lake, in which there are three channels full of
water.  And whatever Iron is put into those channels, it is converted into
Brass.  And if the Iron which you cast into them is in small pieces or
little clumps, presently they are converted into mud or dirt.  But if that
mud be baked and hardened in the fire, it will be turned into perfectly good
Brass.  But there is an artificial means whereby this also may be affected.
It is to be done this way.  Take Iron, and put  it into a casting vessel,
and when it is red hot with the vehement heat of the fire, and that it
begins to melt, you must cast upon it by little and little some sprinkling
of Brimstone.  Then you must pour it forth, and cast into small rods, and
beat it with hammers. It is very brittle, and will easily be broken.  Then
dissolve it with Aquafortis.  Such as is compounded of Vitriol and Alome
tempered together.  Set it upon hot cinders until boiling, and is dissolved
into vapors, and to quite vanish away. And the substance thereof, or the
rubbish that remains behind, if it is reduced into one solid body again,
will become good brass.  If you would,
"Make Iron to become white,"
You may effect it by diverse and sundry sleights.  Yet let this only device
content you in this matter.  First, you must cleanse and purge your Iron of
the Dross and refuse that is in it.  And of that poisoned corruption of Rust
that it is generally infected with.  For it has more earthly substance and
parts in it then any other metal has.  So much that if you boil it and purge
it never so often, it will still of itself yield some new excrements.  To
cleanse and purge it, this is the best way.  Take some small thin plates of
Iron, and make them red hot.  Then quench them in strong Lye and Vinegar
which have been boiled with ordinary Salt and Alome.  And this you must use
to do with them often, until they are somewhat whitened.  The fragments or
scrapings also of Iron, you must pound in a Mortar, after they have been
steeped in Salt.  And you must bray them together till the Salt is quite
changed, so that there is no blackness left in the Liquor of it.  And until
the Iron is cleansed and purged from the Dross that is in it.  When you have
thus prepared your Iron, you must whiten it in this manner.  Make a plaster
as it were, of Quicksilver and Lead tempered together.  Then pound them into
powder, and put that powder into an earthen vessel among your plates of Iron
that you have prepared to be whitened.  Close up the vessel fast, and
plaster it all over with Mortar, so that there may be no breathing place for
any air either to get in or out.  Then put it into the fire, and there let
it stay for one whole day together, and at length increase your fire, that
it may be so vehement hot as to melt the Iron.  For the plaster or
confection which was made of Lead and Quicksilver , will work in the Iron
two effects.  First, it will dispose it to melting, that it shall soon be
dissolved.  And secondly, it will dispose it to whitening, that it shall the
sooner receive a glittering color.  After all this, draw forth your Iron
into small thin plates again, and proceed the second time in the same course
as before, till you find that it has taken so much whiteness as your purpose
was to endue to it.  In like manner, if you melt in a vessel that has holes
in the bottom of it, and melt with it Lead, and the Marchasite or
Fire-stone, and Arsenic and such other things we spoke of before in our
experiments of Brass, you may make Iron also to become white.  If you put
among it some Silver, though not much, it will soon resemble the color of
Silver.  For Iron does easily suffer itself to be melted with Gold or
Silver.  And they may be so thoroughly incorporated into each other, that by
all the rules of separation that can be used, you cannot without great
labor, and very much ado separate the one of them form the other.

Chapter V
"Of Quicksilver , and of the effects and operations thereof."
In the next place it is time that we speak something concerning Quicksilver
and the manifold operations thereof.  Wherein we will first set down certain
vulgar and common congelations that it makes with other things, because many
men do desire to know them.  And secondly, we will show, how it may be
dissolved into water, that they which are desirous of such experiments, may
be satisfied herein.  First therefore we will show,
"How Quicksilver may be congealed and curdled as it were with Iron."
Put the Quicksilver into a casting vessel, and put together with it that
water, which the Blacksmith has used to quench his hot Iron in.  And put in
also among them Salt Ammoniac, and Vitriol and Verdigrease.  Twice so much
of every one of these, as there was Quicksilver .  Let all these boil
together in an exceeding great fire, and still turn them up and down with an
Iron slice or ladle.  And if at any time the water boils away, you must be
sure that you have in readiness some of the same water through hot to cast
into it, that it may supply the waste which the fire has made, and not yet
hinder the boiling.  Thus will they be congealed all together within the
space of six hours.  After this, you must take the congealed stuff when it
is cold and bind it up hard with your hands in Leather thongs, or Linen
cloth, or Osiers, that all the juice and moisture that is in it, may be
squeezed out of it.  Then let that which is squeezed and drained out, settle
itself and be congealed once again, till the whole confection is made.  Then
put it into an earthen vessel well washed, and among it some spring-water,
and take off as near as you can, all the filth and scum that is upon it and
is gone to wasted.  An in that vessel you must temper and diligently mix
together your congealed matter with spring-water, till the whole matter be
pure and clear.  Then lay it abroad in the open air three days and three
nights, and the subject which you have wrought upon will wax thick and hard
like a shell or a tile shard.  There is also another congelation to be made
with Quicksilver .
"Congealing of Quicksilver with balls of Brass."
Thus, make two Brass half circles, that they may fasten one within the
other, that nothing may exhale.  Put into them Quicksilver, with an equal
part of white Arsenic and Tartar well powdered and seirced.  Lute the joints
well without, that nothing may breath forth.  So let them dry, and cover
them with coals all over for six hours.  Then make all red hot, then take it
out and open it, and you shall see it all coagulated and to stick in the
hollow Brass ball.  Strike it with a Hammer, and it will fall off.  Melt it,
and project it, and it will give an excellent color like to Silver, and it
is hard to discern it from Silver.  If you will, you may mingle it with
three parts of melted Brass, and without Silver, it will be exceeding white,
soft and malleable.  It is also made another way.  Make a great cup of
Silver, red Arsenic and Latin, with a cover that fits close, that nothing
may exhale.  Fill this with Quicksilver, and lute the joints with the white
of an Egg, or some Pine tree Rosin, as it is commonly done.  Hang this into
a pot full of Linseed oil, and let it boil twelve hours.  Take it out, and
strain it through a skin or straw.  And if any part is not coagulated, do
the work again, and make it coagulate.  If the vessel does coagulate it
slowly, so much as you find it has lost of its weight of the Silver, Arsenic
and Alchemy make that good again, for we cannot know by the weight.  Use it,
it is wonderful that the Quicksilver will draw to itself out of the vessel,
and Quicksilver will enter in.  Now I shall show what may be sometimes
useful,
"To draw water out of Quicksilver."
Make a vessel of Potters Earth, that will endure the fire, of which
Crucibles are made six foot long, and of a foot diameter.  Glassed within
with Glass, about a foot broad at the bottom, a finger thick, narrower at
the top, bigger at the bottom.  About the neck let there be a hole as big as
one's finger, and a little pipe coming forth, by which you may fitly put in
the Quicksilver.  On the top of the mouth let there be a Glass cap, fitted
with the pipe, and let it be smeared with clammy Clay, and bind it above
that it breaths not forth.  For this work make a furnace, let it be so large
at the top, that it may be fit to receive the bottom of the vessel, a foot
broad and deep.  You must make the grate the fire is made upon, with that
art, that when need is you may draw it back on one side, and the fire may
fall beneath.  Set therefore the empty vessel into the furnace, and by
degrees kindle the fire.  Lastly, make the bottom red hot.  When you see it
to be so, which you may know by the top, you must look through the glass
cap.  Presently by the hole prepared pour in ten or fifteen pounds of
Quicksilver.  And presently with clay cast upon it stop that hole, and take
away the grate that the fire may fall to the lower parts, and forthwith
quench it with water.  Then you shall see that the water of Quicksilver will
run forth as the nose of the cap, into the receiver under it, about an ounce
in quantity.  Take the vessel from the fire, and pour forth the Quicksilver,
and so as before, and always once ounce of water will distill forth.  Keep
this for chemical operations.  I found this the best for to Smug up women
with.  This artifice was found to purify Quicksilver.  I shall not pass over
another art, no less wonderful than profitable for use,
"To make Quicksilver grow to be a Tree."
Dissolve Silver in Aquafortis, what is dissolved evaporate into thin air at
the fire, that there may remain at the bottom a thick unctious substance.
Then Distill fountain water twice or thrice, and pour it on the thick
matter, shaking it well.  Then let it stand a little, and pour into another
glass vessel the most pour water, in which the Silver is.  Add to the water
a pound of Quicksilver, in a most transparent crystalline glass that will
attract to it that Silver.  And in the space of a day there will spring up a
most beautiful tree from the bottom, and hairy, as made of most fine beards
of Corn, and it will fill the whole vessel, that the eye can behold nothing
more pleasant. The same is made of Gold with Aquaregia.

Chapter VI

"Of Silver."
I shall teach how to give Silver a Tincture that it may show like to pure
Gold, and after that, how it may be turned to a true Gold.
"To give Silver a gold color,"
Burn burnt Brass with Stibium, and melted with half Silver.  It will have
the perfect color of Gold.  And mingle it with Gold, it will be the better
color.  We boil Brass thus.  I know not anyone that has taught it.  You
shall do it after this manner.  Melt Brass in a Crucible, with as much
Stibium.  When they are both melted, put in as much Stibium as before, and
pour it out on a plain Marble stone, that it may cool there, and be fit to
beat into plates.  Then shall you make two bricks hollow, that the plates
may be fitly laid in there.  When you have fitted them, let them be closed
fast together, and bound with Iron bands, and well luted.  When they are
dried out put them in a Glass Fornace, and let them stand within for a week,
to burn exactly.  Take them out and use them.  And,
"To Tincture Silver into Gold.,"
You must do thus.  Make first such a tart Lye, put Quicklime into a pot,
whose bottom is full of many small holes, put a piece of wood or tile shard
upon it, then by degrees pour in the powder and hot water.  And by the
narrow holes at the bottom, let it drain into a clean earthen vessel under
it.  Do this again, to make it exceedingly tart.  Power Stibium and put into
this, that it may evaporate into the thin air.  Let it boil at an easy fire.
For when it boils, the water will be of a purple color.  Then strain it
through a Linen cloth.  Again, pour on the Lye on the powders that remain,
and let it boil so long at the fire, until the water seems of a bloody color
no more.  Then boil the Lye that is colored, putting fire under, till the
water is all exhaled.  But the powder that remains being dry, with the Oil
of Tartar dried and dissolved, must be cast again upon plates made of equal
parts of Gold and Silver, with an earthen Crucible.  Cover it so long with
coals, and renew your work, till it be perfectly like to Gold.  Also I can
make the same,
"Otherwise,"
If I mingle the congealed Quicksilver that I speak of with a cap, with a
third part of Silver, you shall find the Silver to be of a golden color.
You shall melt this with the same quantity of Gold, an put it into a pot.
Pour on it very sharp Vinegar and let it boil a quarter of a day, and the
color will be augmented.  Put this to the utmost trial of Gold, that is,
with common Salt, and powder of bricks, yet adding Vitriol, and so shall you
have refined Gold.  We can also extract,
"Gold out of Silver,"
And so little but it will pay your cost, and afford you much gain.  The way
is this.  Put the fine filings of Iron into a Crucible that will endure
fire, until it grows red hot, and melts.  Then take artificial Chrysocolla,
such as Goldsmiths use to Solder with, and red Arsenic, and by degrees strew
them in.  When you have done this, cast in an equal part of Silver, and let
it be exquisitely purged by a strong vessel made of ashes.   All the dregs
of the Gold being now removed, cast it into water of separation, and the
Gold will fall to the bottom of the vessel, take it.  There is nothing of
many things that I have found more true, more gainful, or more hard.  Spare
no labor, and do it as you should, lest you lose your labor.  Or otherwise,
let the thin filings of Iron soak for a day in Sea-water, let it dry, and
let it be red hot in the fire so long in a Crucible, till it runs.  Then
cast in an equal quantity of Silver, with half Brass, let it be projected
into a hollow place. Then purge it exactly in an ash vessel.  For the Iron
being excluded and its dregs, put it into water of separation, and gather
what falls to the bottom, and it will be excellent Gold.  May be it will be
profitable to,
"Fix Cinnaber."
He that desires it, I think he must do thus.  Break the Cinnaber into pieces
as big as Walnuts.  Put them into a Glass vessel that is of the same size,
and the pieces must be mingled with thrice the weight of Silver, and laid by
courses, and the vessel must be luted, and suffer it to dry, or set it in
the Sun.  Then cover it with ashes, and let it boil so long on a gentle
fire, till it becomes of a lead color and breaks not.  Which will not be
unless you tend it constantly until you come so far.  Then purge it with a
double quantity of Lead.  And when it is purged, if it be put to an easy
fire you use, the better will the business be effected.  But so shall we try
to repair Silver, and revive it when it is spoiled.  Let Sublimate
Quicksilver boil in Distilled Vinegar, then mingle Quicksilver, and in a
Glass Retort, let the Quicksilver evaporate in a hot fire, and fall into the
Receiver.  Keep it.  If you are skillful, you shall find but little of the
weight lost.  Others do it with Regulus of Antimony.  But otherwise you
shall do it sooner and more gainfully thus.  Put the broken pieces of
Cinnaber as big as Dice, into a long Linen bag, hanging equally from the pot
sides.  Then pour on the sharpest Vinegar, with Alome and Tartar, double as
much, Quicklime in four parts, and as much Oak ash, as it is usual to be
made.  Or you must make some.  Let it boil a whole day, take it out and boil
it in oil.  Be diligent about it, and let it stay there twenty-four hours.
Take the pieces of Cinnaber out of the oil, and smear them with the white of
an Egg beaten.  And roll it with a third part of the filings of Silver.  Put
it into the bottom of a convenient vessel, and lute it well with the best
earth, as I said.  Set it to the fire three days, and at last increase the
fire, that it may almost melt and run.  Take it off, and wash it from its
faces that are left, at the last proof of Silver, and bring it to be true
and natural.  Also it will be pleasant,
"From Fixt Cinnaber to draw out a Silver beard."
If you put it into the same vessel, and make a gentle fire under, Silver
that is pure not mixed with Lead, will become hairy like a wood, that there
is nothing more pleasant to behold.

Chapter VII
"Of Operations necessary for use."



I though fit to set down some operations which are generally thought fit for
out works.  And if you know them not, you will not easily obtain your
desire.  I have set them down here, that you might not be put to seek them
elsewhere.  First,
"To draw forth the life to Tin."
The filings of Tin must be put into a pot of earth, with a equal part of
Saltpeter.  You shall set on the top of this seven, as many other earthen
post with holes bored in them.  And stop the holes well with Clay.  Set
above this a Glass vessel with the mouth downwards, or with an open pipe,
with a vessel under it.  Put fire to it, and you shall hear it make a noise
when it is hot.  The life flies away in the same, and you shall find it in
the hollow pots, and in the bottom of the glazed vessel compacted together.
If you bore an earthen vessel on the side, you may do it something more
easily by degrees, and you shall stop it.  So also,
"From  Stibium."
We may extract it.  Stibium that Druggists call Antimony, is ground small in
Handmills.  Then let a new Crucible of earth be made red hot in a Coal fire.
Cast into it presently by degrees,  Stibium, twice as much as Tartar, four
parts Saltpeter, finely powdered.  When the fume rises, cover it with a
cover, lest the fume rising evaporates.   Then take it off, and cast in
more, until all the powder is burned.  Then let it stand a little at the
fire, take it off and let it cool, and skim off the dregs on the top, and
you shall find at the bottom what the Chemists call the Regulus.  It is like
Lead, and easily changed into it.  For says Dioscorides, should it burn a
little more, it turns to Lead.  Now I will show how one may draw a more
noble metal.
"To the out-side,"
As foolish Chemists say.  For they think that by their impostures they do
draw forth the parts lying in the middle, and that the internal parts are
the basest of all.  But they error much.  For they eat only the outward part
of the supersicies, that are the weakest, and a little Quicksilver is drawn
forth, which I approve not.  For they corrode all things that their
Medicament enters.  The harder parts are left, and are polished and
whitened.  Maybe they are persuaded of this by the metals of the Ancients,
that were within all Brass, but outwardly seemed like pure Silver.  But
those were Soldered together, and beaten with hammers, and then Stamped.
Yet it is very much to do it as they did, and I think it cannot be done.
But the things that polish are these, common Salt, Alom, Vitriol, quick
Brimstone.  And for Gold, only Verdigrease, and Salt Ammoniac.  When you
would go about it, you must powder part of them, and put them into a vessel
with metal.  The Crucible must be luted with Clay, and covered.  There must
be left but a very small hole for the perspiration. Then set it in a gentle
fire, and let it burn and blow not, lest the metal melt.  When the powders
are burnt they will sink down, which you shall know by the smoke, then take
off the cover and look into them.  But men make the metal red hot, and then
when it is hot they drench it in.  Or otherwise, they put it in Vinegar till
it becomes well cleansed, and when you have wrapped the work in Linen rags,
that was well luted, cast it into an earthen vessel of Vinegar, and boil it
long.  Take it out and cast it into Urine.  Let it boil in Salt and Vinegar,
till no filth almost rise, and the foul spots of the ingredients are gone.
And if you find it not exceeding white, do the same again till you come to
perfection.  Or else proceed otherwise by order.  Let your work boil in an
earthen pot of water, with Salt, Alom, and Tartar.  When the whole
supersicies is grown white, let it alone a while.  Then let them boil three
hours with equal parts of Brimstone, Saltpeter, and Salt, that it may hang
in the middle of them, and not touch the sides of the vessel.  Take it out,
and rub it with sand, till the fume of the Sulfur is removed again.  Let it
boil again as at first and so it will wax white, that it will endure the
fire, and not be rejected for Counterfeit.  You shall find it profitable it
you do it well.  And you will rejoice, if you do not abuse it to your own
ruin.

Chapter VIII
"How to make a metal more weighty."

It is question among Chemists, and such as are addicted to those studies,
how it might be that Silver might equal Gold in weight.  And how every metal
might exceed its own weight.  That may be also made of Gold, without any
detriment to the Stamp or engraving.  And Silver may increase and decrease
in its weight, if so be it made into some vessel.  I have undertaken here to
teach how to do that easily, that others do with great difficulty.  Take
this rule to do it by, that,
"The weight of a golden vessel may increase,"
Without hurting the mark, if the magnitude does not equal the weight.  You
shall rub gold with thin Silver, with your hands or fingers, until it may
drink it in, and make up the weight you would have it, sticking on the
surfaces.  Then prepare a strong Lixivium of Brimstone and Quicklime, and
cast it with the gold into an earthen pot with a wide mouth.  Put a small
fire under, and let them boil so long, till you see that they have gained
their color.  Then take it out, and you shall have it.  Or else draw forth
of the yolks of Eggs and the Litharge of Gold, water with a strong fire, and
quench red hot Gold in it, and you have it.
"Another that is excellent."
You shall bring Silver to powder, either with Aquafortis, or Calx.  The Calx
is afterwards washed in water.  To wash away the Salt, wet a golden vessel
or plate with water or Spittle, that the quantity of the powder you need may
stick on the outward surfaces.  Yet put it not on the edges, for the fraud
will be easily discovered by rubbing it on the Touch-stone.  Then powder
finely Salt, one third part, Brick as much, Vitriol made red two parts.
Take a Brick and make a hole in it as big as the vessel is.  In the bottom
then strew Alom de plume.  Then again pour on the powder with your work
until you have filled the hole.  Then cover the hole with another Brick.
Fasten it with an Iron pin and lute the joints will with Clay.  Let this
dry, and let it stand in a reverberating fire about a quarter of a day.  And
when it is cold, open it, and you shall find the Gold all of a Silver color,
and more weighty, without any hurt to the Stamp.  Now to bring it to its
former color, do thus.  Take Verdigrease four parts, Salt Ammoniac two
parts, Saltpeter a half part, as much Brick, Alom a fourth part.  Mingle
these with the waters, and wash the vessel with it.  The with Iron Tongs put
it upon burning coals that it may be red hot.  Take it off, and plunge it in
Urine, and it will regain the color.  The remedy is to wet it in Urine, and
let it stand on a plate red hot to cool.  But thus you shall make Vitriol
very red.  Put it into a vessel covered with coals, and boil it till it
changes to a most bright red.  Take it out and lay it aside, and do not use
it for an ill purpose.  We may with the fragments of Brass,
"Do this business otherwise."
That shall supply the place of Silver, and it shall become too weighty.  Or
otherwise, melt two parts of Brass with Silver, then make it into small thin
plates.  In the mean while, make a powder of the dregs of Aquafortis, namely
of Saltpeter and Vitriol, and in a strong melting vessel, put the plate and
the powder to augment Gold.  Fill the vessel in a preposterous order.  Then
lute the mouth of it, and set it in a gentle fire half a day.  Take it off,
always renewing the same until it comes to the desired weight.  We have
taught how to increase the weight, and not hurt the fashion or Stamp.  Now I
shall show how without loss of weight, not yet the Stamp being hurt.
"Gold and Silver may be diminished."
Some use to do it with Aquafortis, but it makes the work rough with knots
and holes.  You shall do it therefore thus.  Strew powder of Brimstone upon
the work, and put a candle to it round about.  Or burn it under your work,
by degrees it will consume by burning.  Strike it with a Hammer on the
opposite side, and the surfaces will fall off.  As much in quantity as you
please, as you use the Brimstone.  No shall I show how,
"To separate Gold form Silver cups that are gilded."
For it is often a custom of Goldsmiths to melt the vessels and cast them
away, and to make new ones again.  Not knowing how without great trouble, to
part the Gold from the Silver, and therefore melt both together.  To part
them, do thus.  Take Salt Ammoniac, Brimstone half a part.  Powder them, and
anoint the gilded part of the vessel with oil.  Then strew on the powder,
and the vessel in a pair of Tongs, and put it into the fire.  When it is
very hot, strike it with an iron, and the powder shaken will fall into the
water, in a platter under it, and the vessel will remain unaltered.
"Another Way."
 Put Quicksilver into an earthen vessel with a very wide mouth, and let it
heat so long at the fire, that you can endure the heat of it with your
finger put into it.  Put the Gilt plate of Silver into it, and when the
Quicksilver sticks to the Gold, take it out and put it into a Charger, into
which the Gold, when it is cold, will fall with the Quicksilver.  Going over
this work again, until no more Gold appears in the vessel.  The put the Gold
with the Quicksilver that was shaken into the Charger, into a Linen clout,
and press it out with your hands.  And let the Quicksilver fall into some
other Receiver.  The Gold will stay behind in the rag.  Take it and put it
into a coal made with a hole in it.  Blow till it melts.  Make it into a
lump and boil it in an earthen vessel with a little Stibium.  Pour it forth
into another vessel, that the Gold may fall to the bottom, and the Stibium
stays on top.  But if you will,
"Part Gold from a vessel of Brass."
Wet the vessel in cold water, and set it in the fire.  When it is red hot,
quench it in cold water.  Then scrape off the Gold with Latin wire bound
together.

Chapter IX
"To part metals without Aquafortis"
Because waters are drawn from salts with difficulty, with loss of time and
great charges.  I shall show you how to part Gold from Silver and Brass, and
Silver from Brass, without Aquafortis.  But by some easy operations, will
little cost or loss of time.  And first I shall show how,
"To part Gold from Silver ."
Cast a lump of Gold mixed with Silver into an earthen vessel, That will hold
fire, with the same weight of Antimony, thus.  When the vessel is red hot,
and the lump is melted, and turned about with the force of the fire.  Cast a
little Stibium in, and in a little time it will melt also.  And when you see
it, cast in the rest of the Stibium in, and in a cover the vessel with a
cover.  Let the mixture boil, as long as one may repeat the Lords prayer.
Take away the vessel with a pair of Tongs, and cast it into another Iron
pyramidal vessel red hot, called a Crucible, that has in the bottom of it
Ram's fat.  Shaking it gently, so that the heavier part of Gold separated
from the Silver, may fall to the bottom.  When the vessel is cold it is
shaken off, and the part next the bottom will be Gold , the upper part
Silver.  And if it be not well parted, refuse not to go over the same work
again, but take a less quantity of Stibium.  Let therefore the Gold be
purged again, and let the Stibium be boiled, and there will be always at the
bottom a little piece of Gold.  And as the dregs remain, after the same
manner purge them again in the Coppel, and you shall have your Silver,
without any loss of the weight, because they are both perfect bodies.  But
the Silver only will lose a little.  But would you have your Silver to lose
less, do thus.  Add to two pounds and a half of Stibium, Wine Lees two
pounds.  And boil them together in an earthen vessel, adding pieces of Lead
to it.  Purge it in a Coppel.  Wherein the other things being consumed by
the fire, the Silver only will remain.  But if you do not boil your Stibium
in Wine Lees, as I said, part of the Silver will be lost, and the Coppel
will draw the Silver to it.  The same may be done,
"Another Way."
Take three ounces of Brimstone, powder them, and mingle them with one ounce
of common oil, and set them to the fire in a glazed dish of earth.  Let the
fire be first gentle, then augment it, till it runs, and seems to run over.
Take it back from the fire, and let it cool, then cast it into sharp
Vinegar, so the oil will swim above the Vinegar.  The Brimstone will fall
down to the bottom.  Cast away the Vinegar, and let the Brimstone boil in
strong Vinegar, and you shall see the Vinegar colored.  You shall strain the
Vinegar through a Wisp into a glass vessel.  To which add more Brimstone.
Boil it again, and again strain out the lye into the vessel.  Doing this so
often, till the Lixivium comes forth muddy, or of a black color.  Let the
Lixivium settle one night.  Again strain it through a Wisp, and you shall
find the Brimstone almost white at the bottom of the vessel.  Add that to
what you had before, and set it again to boil with three parts as much
distilled Vinegar.  Until the Vinegar all evaporates and the Brimstone is
dry.  Take heed not to let it burn.  When it is dry, put it again into
distilled Vinegar, working the same way so often, until putting a little of
it upon a red hot plate of iron, it will melt without flame or smoke.  Then
cast it on a lump of Gold and Silver, and the Gold will sink to the bottom
presently.  But the Silver will remain on the top.  For if Brimstone is
boiled in Lixivium so strong, that it will bear an Egg, until it will not
smoke, and will melt on a fire coal.  If it is projected on a mass of Gold
and Silver mingled, when they are melted, it will part the Gold from the
Silver.  Also there is an ingenious and admirable way,
"To part Silver from Brass,"
With certain powders.  The best are those are made of powdered Lead, half so
much quick Brimstone, Arsenic, and common Salt, Saltpeter one half.  Powder
those fine each by themselves, the mingle them.  The mixed metal, with half
so much more of the powder, and in a vessel that will endure fire.  Strew it
in by turns, and set the vessel filled at a strong fire, till all melt.
Take it out and cast it into another vessel, that is broad on top, narrow at
the bottom, and hot, as we said, and smeared with Ram or Sow's grease
clarified.  Let it cool, for you shall find the Silver at the bottom, and
the Brass on the top.  Part one from the other with an Iron Rasp or file.
If you will, you may purge your Silver again in a Coppel.  But the Silver
must be made into thin plates, that when it is strewn interchangeably with
powders, they may come at it on all sides.  Then cover the vessel with its
cover, and lute it well.  But the Salt must be decrepitated that it leap not
out, and the Brimstone prepared and fixed.  But we may thus,
"Part Gold from Brass."
Make Salt of these things that follow, namely, Vitriol, Alom, Saltpeter,
quick Brimstone, of each a pound, Salt Ammoniac half a pound.  Powder them
all, and boil them in a Lye made of ashes, one part, as much Quicklime, four
parts of Beech ashes.  Melt them at the fire, and decant them, and boil them
until the Lixivium be gone.  Then dry it, and keep it in a place not moist,
let it melt.  And mingle with it one pound of powder of Lead, and strew on
of this powder six ounces for every pound of Brass made hot in a melting
vessel.  And let them be shaken, and stirred vehemently with an Iron thing
to stir it with.  When the vessel is cold, break it, you shall find a lump
of Gold in the bottom.  Do the rest as I said.

Chapter X

"A compendious way to part Gold or Silver from other metals with
Aquafortis."

We shall teach thus compendiously to part Gold from Silver, and Silver from
other metals.  And it is no small gain to be got by it, if a man well
understood what I write.  For I have known some by this art that have
obtained great wealth.  For example, take a mixture of Brass and Silver.
Dissolve it in common Aquafortis.  When it is consumed, cast fountain-water
into it.  To remove the sharpness of the water, and that it can no more
corrode the metal.  Put the water into a great mouthed earthen vessel, and
plunge plates of Brass therein.  For the Silver will stick to them like a
cloud.  The Brass is best in the water.  Put the water into a glass Retort
with a large belly, an you know that the whole quantity of fountain water is
distilled out.  Or the belly of the Retort looks of a yellow color.  And the
sent of the salts pierces your nostrils.  Take away the Receiver, and put
another that is empty to it, and lute it well that nothing breaks forth.
Augment the fire, and you shall draw off you Aquafortis as strong as before,
and the Brass will be at the bottom of the Retort.  The Aquafortis will be
as good as it was, and you may use it often.

The End of the Fifth Book of Natural Magick






 

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