An alchemist's diary
This alchemical diary records the observations and conversations of an unidentified alchemical enthusiast with various alchemists during the period 1687-89. He meticulously records details of his visits and discussions, primarily with Sir Joseph ... of Loughton Hall, but he also personally knew Weidenfeld and Robert Boyle and recorded some discussions with them. It is a key source on alchemy in Britain during the Restoration period. I am currently transcribing the entire diary and will publish it in my Magnum Opus series later in 2008 or early 2009. Here are some rough uncorrected extracts.

Sir Joseph is of the opinion that spiritus salis will extract the tincture of gold prepared as follows. Take gold strattifie it [with] mercury sublimate several times at last your gold will be spungeous and light and your spiritus salis will extract your tincture.

Dec. 4, 1687. He says that the menstruum made with sublimate and antimony being digested for a month upon the calx of silver and and gold gives an augmentation to the gold but the menstruum made with sublimate and auripigment is better than that with antimony and which does the same as the other. He says that the salt of silver, iron and antimony are the same with the salt of gold and soe is the salt of auripigment is the same with the salt of gold which maye be extracted with his menstruum made with mercury sublimate [..] and auripigment, the auripigment must be calcined untill it leaves a salt so that when his menstruum has dissolved as much of the gold, or it will then [it] a good medicine and he has given it as an aurum potabile with good success the mass he shew me had bin digested but 8 days and the glass broke and the sulphur was burned but you that mass which was about 5 ounces gave 3 ounces of pure fine gold and he tells me he knows certainely that one of those 4 ways he formerly told me to extract the tincture of gold will certainely doe if not all of them but he has greattest hopes in that which making spiritus salis Bezoarde as you doe with spirit of [ ] doe beyond all the rest...

Decem. 8, 1687. Being at his house he shew me some of his menstruum a deflegming and the sulphur by a gentle heat, in a body, head and receiver, did rise and fall downe againe in streaks and in the receiver there was a liquor came over and all appeared like flowers. He told me the higher the body the better. He has thought of a new way which he makes no question but it will doe much better than the former, that is to take 2 parts silver and 1 part gold and melt them together with [...] of antimony and then cap it upon a stone. Reduce to a fine powder and then lett the antimony evapourate in a drye [ ] and putt that powder his menstruum impregnated with the sulphur [sublimate] and in a body and head gently destill and cohobate untill no sulphur comes over then melt the bottom and all shall be fine gold and thus he is of the opinion that it will doe as well as his other way of digesting his menstruum soe long upon silver it being impregnated with the sulphur {sublimate]...

Sir Joseph tells me April 3rd 1689 that he has told me nothing but truth and the menstruum made with mercury sublimate and orpiment is best and in that you need not give above three drops at highest but that with mercury sublimate and antimony is every [white] as good only you must give of this 12 drops and and he says you must first destill your butter and then rectifie your butter on fresh sublimate and then your gold must be prepared else the menstruum will not touch it and it is to be prepared with saltpeter and common sulphur and as I found by discourse adding from salt common as you may see the way exactly in Metamorphosis Planetarum, a little book and the whole key to that book you will find in five or six lines of verse in the latter end will show you all plain. He tells me he has a menstruum that will dssolve gold as warm water does ice and at the second rectification it will dissolve lead, the third tin, the fourth copper, the fifth iron, the sixth silver and the seventh gold. So that those rectifications are the [nine eagles] mentioned by Philalethes. He tells me when he gives his aurum potabile unrectified then it turns the liquor white but when it is well rectified it then gives the liquor neither lap nor colour. I was telling him of when Mr Boyle told me of a particular made with the blueish tincture of copper upon silver to make gold. He tells me that must be by digesting it upon oil tartarii per deliquium upon the calx of silver but he will inquire particularly about it.

Sir Joseph tells me April 30 1689, that to purify the salt you must first dissolve in distilled vinegar and then distill in an alembic and then put the menstruum upon the salt which will dissolve so much as is good then distil the menstruum upon it once and no more... He was telling me one day that the green Dragon devouring the lion and in my little book you will see the lyon's blood dropping into the mouth of the dragon, gold is most pure Mercury and sulphur and no salt more than what mercury has and all metals were designed for gold but as they met with heterogeous particles they are diverted and that all the metals are monsters.

Gold from the Pyrite.
Mr Weidenfeild tells me that he has done it three times. he has extracted out of one pound of a certain mineral a dram of fine goldand that the mineral does not cost a farthing a pound which must be the marquesite i.e. copperas stones. Now perhaps Sir Joseph's menstruum made with mercury sublimate and antimony or spirit vitriolis may do for he told me that if you go [] is the impurities that are in it carries away the gold.

Mr Weidenfield tells me June 29 1688 his way of extracting gold from marquesite and also the sort he says it must be that sort which looks very yellow on the outside that sort which shines and looks like a mineral. And his way is that he beats it to powder and then puts sel vitri (i.e. sanditor which costs two pence a pound) top and bottom and gives it first an easy fire to roast it and then melts it and sulphur will [] almost burn and you will have the regulus or rather the marquesite [] all to the bottom then beat that to powder and mix with silver and melt and you will have gold, but it loses something of the silver by reason of the sulphur that still remains which may be prevented as I told him either with the mill with mercury or using gold instead of silver for the sulphur cannot prejudice the gold with whiche he seemed very well pleased. he tells me that if you use copperas at first it will not so much if any of silver as they put at the bottom sanditor and grind the stone in powder and then a stratum of copper so more stone and at top put sanditor and first roast and then melt down. Thou have silver in a top with lead and put your regulus into it by degrees and then after suppend your gold from silver per aqua fortis. The sanditor you may buy at the glasshouse for one or two pence a pound. He intends to try three ways with copper as above with gold after melting and with mercury by grinding and which of those ways proves best he will stick to...

He told me that Mr Boyle by adding silver and copper in a particular proportion makes a metal like gold and then if you add equal parts of fine gold no one shall know it from good gold i.e. standard gold which is profitable enough.

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