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'Notes out of Philalethes'.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: M132/2/6, Stanford University Library, Stanford, California, USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00102


Notes from Ramón Lull.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: M132/2/8, Stanford University Library, Stanford, California, USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00103


'Theatrum Astronomiæ Terrestris': copy of a treatise on the Philosophers' Stone and transmutation, with 2 astronomico-alchemical diagrams.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: M132/2/9, Stanford University Library, Stanford, California, USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00104


Fragmentary notes on the astrological characters of the planets and on the gods and metals associated with them, beginning missing. Not in Newton's hand.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: M132/2/12, Stanford University Library, Stanford, California, USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00105


Newton's copy of Geber's Chimia (Latin translation by Caspar Horn, 1668), with Latin notes in his hand on both flyleaves elucidating some of Geber's terminology.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Barchas Collection QD 25 G367, Stanford University Library, Stanford, California, USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00106


Transcript of Johann de Monte Snyders' The Metamorphosis of the Planets, with notes.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00107


'Index Chemicus'.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00108


Notes evidently on Newton's own laboratory experiments

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MS Add. 3973, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00109


Notebook containing notes and experimental reports

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MS Add. 3975, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00110


Six sets of notes on Newton's alchemical reading (c. late 1690s).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Mellon Alchemical Mss Mellon Ms. 78, Beinecke Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00111


Notes on the mining, preparation and properties of 'Saturn' [i.e. lead] (mid-1670s).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Mellon Alchemical Mss Mellon Ms. 79, Beinecke Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00112


Notes on the construction of portable furnaces.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Joseph Halle Schaffner Collection, University of Chicago Library, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00113


Variant version of the memorandum in Keynes Ms. 26 (SL45), in English, 1 p.; on reverse, the draft of a short letter.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Joseph Halle Schaffner Collection, University of Chicago Library, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00114


Technical notes.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Joseph Halle Schaffner Collection, University of Chicago Library, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00115


Miscellaneous alchemical notes

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Location Unknown

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00116


Extracts from 'Faber' (Pierre Jean Fabré) and other alchemical writers

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MM/6/5, Royal Society Library, London, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00117


'Ex Hercule Piochymico'

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Location Unknown

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00118


Notes 'Ex Codicillo R. Lullii, impress. Coloniæ 1563'.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Location Unknown

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00119


Notes on mercury and its purification.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Location Unknown

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00120


Verse extracts from Hadrian Mynsicht, 'Aureum sæculum redivivum' and 'Testamentum Hadrianeum de aureo Phorem [according to the Sotheby catalogue, though 'Ph[ilosoph]orum is surely intended] lapide', with a diagram, c. 300 lines in all.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Location Unknown

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00121


'Notanda chemica'

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Location Unknown

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00122


'Ex Turba Philosophorum'

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Location Unknown

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00123


'Loca difficilia in Novo Lumine Chymico explicata' (c. 1668).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Ms. 925, The Babson College Grace K. Babson Collection of the Works of Sir Isaac Newton, Huntington Library, San Marino, California, USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00124


'Opus Galli Anonymi'

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Location Unknown

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00125


'Preparatio mercurii ad lapidem per regulam et lunam, ex MSS. Phil[oponi] Phi[lalethis] Americani'

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Location Unknown

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00126


Notes on the preparation of mercury for fusion with gold, on the nature of the Philosophers' Stone, and exposition of alchemical symbolic language, with page references to various sections of Ripley Reviv'd [1678: H1407].

[2] 3 pp. on 2 ff.


in English


See H995-6 and 998.


First page headed: 'Ex Raymundi \libro secretorum/, seu de Quintessentijs', followed by an incomplete set of notes on the separation of elements. p. 13 does not follow from p. 12 and is not mentioned in the Sotheby catalogue: presumably it was added to the lot later. It contains a paragraph of notes (beginning missing) and the beginning of an alchemical recipe, headed 'Ex Raymundi Lulli Libro Mercuriorum', which breaks off in mid-sentence.

[6] 13 pp.


in Latin

[8] 4 pp.


English introduction and Latin text

[10] 2 pp.


in English


Chimia, sive Traditio summæ perfectionis et investigatio magisterii, innumeris locis emendata à C. Hornio.

See H657.


Cf. Keynes Ms. 58 and the notes on Snyders in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, and see Brewster (1855), 2: 371 and Dobbs, Foundations, 168-9, esp. n. 87. The work had been published in 1663 (second ed. 1700), but only in German, which Newton did not understand (he says so himself in MINT00206 (II.180-81)). Presumably this translation was copied from a manuscript (or, just possibly, translated by Newton from a Latin or French manuscript translation). See also H1378 for Newton's copy of Snyders' Commentatio de pharmaco catholico.


Title reads in full: 'The Metamorphosis of the Planets, That is A wonderfull Transmutation of the Planets and Metalliq[ue] formes into their first Essence, (with an annexed Process,) being a discovery of the three Keys pertinent to the obteining of ye three Principles. Likewise in what manner the most generall universall is to be obteined is in many places of this treatise described by Iohn de Monte Snyders'.

A complete transcript of the book (an elaborate alchemical allegory) in Newton's hand (c. 22,000 words on 62 pp. plus title page and a hand-drawn frontispiece showing Jupiter (personified as a bearded man) enthroned on an orb with the sun and moon in his hands). Also 3 pp. of notes 'On ye Metamorphosis of ye Planets' and a further 2 pp. of 'Notes on ye Metamorphosis of ye Planets', c. 1,500 words.

[15] 69 pp.


in English


See Westfall, 'Newton's Index Chemicus', 177-8, esp. n. 13.


The beginnings of a draft version of Keynes Ms. 30, but the alphabetical headings run only from 'Ablutio' to 'Aqua fœtida', each followed by extensive page references to a range of alchemical literature.

[19] 5 pp.


in Latin


Extracts in A.R. and M.B. Hall, 'Newton's chemical experiments'. Section 8 printed in Dobbs, Janus Faces, 288-92. Section 11 printed in Brewster (1855), 2: 535-6.


The numbers preceding each set of experiments (except the tenth, which is not numbered on the manuscript) seem to have been added by a later hand.

1. (f. 1r) 'Experiments' dated 10 Dec. 1678 to 15 Jan. [1678/9?]. On subliming antimony with sal ammoniac and alloying antimony with lead, iron and other metals. In English, 3 pp.

2. (f. 5r) 'Experimts' dated Jan. 1679/80. On subliming antimonial sublimate with lead antimoniate. 22 Jan. Action of nitric acid and sal ammoniac on antimony sulphide, and further sublimations. In English, 8 pp.

3. (f. 9r) 'Experiments Feb. 1679/80.' On fusing antimony with vitriol and other substances. Sublimation of various metals with antimony and sal ammoniac. Action of oil of vitriol on galena, of nitric acid on sublimate of antimony, and others in the same vein In English, 6 pp.

4. (f. 13r) 'Experiments Aug. 1682.' Similar experiments; some on lead ore, others on an alloy of tin and bismuth referred to as 'Diana' (cf. references to the 'Doves of Diana' in Keynes Mss. 34 and 59). In English, 4 pp.

5. (f. 17r) 'Expts. Iuly 10 [no year]'. Sublimations of calx albus with [sal ammoniac?]. [The symbol used is a six-armed asterisk, which is not a conventional symbol for anything. Most (al)chemical writers at the period, including Newton, normally use an eight-armed asterisk for 'sal ammoniac', though Newton sometimes uses the eight-armed asterisk for 'star regulus of antimony': see Dobbs, Janus Faces, 296.] Includes the striking if enigmatic claim 'Iuly 10. Vidi [salammoniacum?] philosophicum. [...] Digestus cum tinctura Veneris [uncia] 5 gr 20 dabat Leonem vir[idem] gr 10. & [vitriolem] gr 180 vel 200 sed [vitriolus] istud per destillationem nullum emittebit [salammoniacum?] ph[ilosoph]icum' ['I saw the philosophical [sal ammoniac?]. 20 grains digested with 5 ounces of tincture of Venus [i.e. copper] gave 10 grains of the green Lion and 180 or 200 grains of vitriol, but upon distillation this vitriol yielded no philosophical [sal ammoniac?]']. In Latin, 1 p.

6. (f. 19r) 'Experimts April 26t 1686.' On a volatile salt of zinc [apparently the chloride], and on an alloy derived from ores of iron, antimony, tin , lead, and bismuth. 16 May. On subliming 'Ve. vo.' [probably 'Venus volans' or 'volatisata', i.e. volatilised copper] with precipitates of antimony and iron, and with mercury. In English, 2 pp.

7. (f. 21r) 'Experiments' dated 5 and 16 March 1690/1. On some bismuth compounds and the action of aqua fortis on alloys of tin, bismuth and zinc. In English, 5 pp. Followed by a page headed 'Experiments of Refining Gold by Antimony made by Dr Ionathan Goddard' but with no text (cf. Babson Ms. 725).

8. (f. 25r) 'Experiments & observations Dec. 1692 & Ian. 1692/3.' On the action of barm in brewing and distilling. Other experiments on the salts of metals and various sublimations. Comparison of the fusibility of alloys of lead, tin, and bismuth in various proportions. Further observations dated April and June 1693 on vitrification of reguluses and the fermentation of 'The two serpents' with the salts of various metals. In English, 7 pp.

9. (f. 29r) 'Experiments April 1695.' Experiments with antimony and ores of iron, copper, and tin, and sublimations with sal ammoniac. (f. 30v) 'Experiments Feb. 1695/6' Sublimations of antimony with iron ore. In English, 5 pp.

[10.] (f. 32r) Undated notes on miscellaneous experiments, including studies of the action of aqua fortis on antimony sulphide; sublimation of an alloy of antimony and lead with sal ammoniac; experiments on lead ore and other substances. In English, 29 pp.

11. (f. 51r) 'De metallo ad conficiendum speculum componendo & fundendo': a Latin recipe, 2 pp.

[23] 51 ff. several of which blank.


mostly in English but two sets in Latin


The first, primarily optical, section of the manuscript (to p. 22) is discussed in A.R. Hall, 'Further optical experiments of Isaac Newton', Annals of Science 11 (1955), 27-43, and transcribed in McGuire and Tamny, Certain Philosophical Questions, 466-89. Article 64 (on the optic nerve) was first published (with due acknowledgment) in Joseph Harris, Treatise on Optics (1775), 108-10, with a copy of the diagram in the plate following p. 110, and again from Harris's edition by Brewster (1855), 1: 432-6. Several extracts from the following pages printed in A.R. and M.B. Hall, 'Newton's chemical experiments'. Experiments on pp. 45-6 printed in Brewster (1855), 2: 366-7. pp. 81-2 printed in Dobbs, Foundations, 249-50. See also H254-H276 for Newton's extensive Boyle collection.


Covers a range of subjects, principally optics and chemistry. A number of the chemical notes are closely related to those in Additional Ms. 3973.

On both sides of the fly-leaf: a table with notes of the value, hardness and other properties of various gems.

pp. 1-22 'Of Colours': a series of 64 'articles'. Articles 1-5: notes on experiments 9, 10 and 11 in Boyle's Experiments and Considerations Touching Colours (1664). Arts. 6-26: experiments with prisms. Arts. 27-43: on the effects of thin layers of air or water between prisms. Arts. 44-8: further experiments with prisms, including (46-8) the production of white and other colours of light by admixture. Art. 49: reflection at two contiguous glass surfaces. Art. 50: on the phenomena of colours in thin flakes of glass, soap bubbles and thin films of metal or water. Arts. 51-3: experiments on the effects of internal reflection of light in spheres of water, with several references to Descartes. Art. 54: on the effect of oblique rays on the size of the spot at contact of two glasses. Art. 55: on the diminished reflective power of a glass surface when placed in water. Arts. 56-7: on the reflective effects of powders and 'flawed' bodies with multiple reflecting surfaces. Arts. 58-62: notes on the effects of distorting the eyeball, including a diagram of Newton's experiment of putting a bodkin 'betwixt my eye & ye bone as neare to ye backside of ye eye as I could: & pressing my eye with ye end of it' (facsimile in Westfall, Never at Rest, 95). Art. 63: on the after-image of colours on the retina. Art. 64: an account of the retina and optic nerve, with a diagram.

p. 22 Calculations of the 'thicknesse of a vibration' of light passing through various media; notes from Boyle's 'Of ye determinate nature of Effluviums' [1673] on heightened sense perception during illness; notes on vegetable substances that 'turn vitriol to a black precipitate'.

p. 23 Recipe 'To make excellent Ink'.

pp. 25-41 'Of Cold, & Heate'. Notes 'On the Mechanical Origin of Heat and Cold', mainly from Boyle [Experiments, Notes, &c. about the Mechanical Origine or Production of divers particular Qualities (1675)] but including some observations either of Newton's own or from another source.

[pp. 42-4 blank]

pp. 45-6 More notes from Boyle. An incomplete experiment on the height of the thermometer in various substances. Others on the expansion of air and linseed oil when heated.

pp. 49-51 'Of fire, flame, ye heate & ebullition of ye heart & divers mixed liquors & Respiration': notes from Boyle's New Experiments Physico-mechanicall, Touching the Spring of the Air (1660). An account of experiments on flame, with the conclusion 'yt flame & vapour differ onely as bodys red hot & not red hot' (pp. 49-50), and that heat is 'made by division of parts: for when two particles are parted it makes ye æther rush in betwixt ym and so vibrate' (p. 51).

p. 51 'The Phosphorus': a recipe for making it from urine and sand.

[pp. 53-60 blank]

pp. 61-5 'Of fformes & Transmutations wrought in them': notes from Boyle [The Origine of Formes and Qualities (1666)] with page references.

p. 65 Excerpts from Starkey's Pyrotechny Asserted [1658].

p. 66 Note on a petrifying spring in Peru, from a Spanish treatise on 'The Art of metals' translated by the Earl of Sandwich.

[pp. 57-70 blank]

pp. 71-80 'Of Salts, & Sulphureous bodys, & Mercury & Mettalls': extracts from Boyle [The Origine of Formes and Qualities (1666)].

p. 80 Recipe for the extraction of mercury from the nitrate and from corrosive sublimate by various other metals.

pp. 81-2 Recipes for making regulus of antimony by different metals.

pp. 83-4 Notes of alloys which fuse at low temperatures, and others which give a crystalline mass from fusion. Notes on the reaction of various chemicals with salt, including that of tartarum vitriolatum ('it makes a great effervescence, and an earthy sediment is precipitated out of the salt of Tartar [...] This precipitate some \fools/ call Magisterium Tartari Vitriolati' (p. 84)): reference to David Vonder Becke as an authority for this.

pp. 85-92 Notes and extracts mainly from various works of Boyle.

pp. 93-100 Various recipes and extracts on chemical reactions, chiefly from Boyle.

p. 101 Recipes for various preparations of antimony. Note of the action of corrosive sublimate on various ores.

p. 102-4 Notes of experiments on the preparation of regulus of antimony and the action of corrosive sublimate on antimony, silver, and mercury; of the heat produced by mixing oil of vitriol with water or spirit of wine [alcohol]; of the preparation of ether and oil of wine.

pp. 104-5 Notes on the warmth emitted on mixing water with spirit of antimony, and of various chemical reactions: the last (on saturation of spirit of antimony by different substances) has blanks left for the quantities.

pp. 106-7 Further chemical experiments. Note on the composition of fusible metal.

pp. 108-12 Chemical experiments chiefly on preparations of antimony and scoria of reguluses. 'N' [presumably 'N[ota]'] marked in the margin against several of these.

p. 113 Notes on the action of distilled liquor of antimony on salts of lead, iron and copper; action of heat on tartarised antimony.

p. 114 Notes on the action of spar on distilled liquor of antimony, vinegar, and aquafortis, and of salt from the clay of lead mines on the same; action of nitre on antimony.

pp. 115-16 Notes on the action of oil of vitriol on lead ore, and of an antimonial sublimate on several substances.

pp. 117-20 Experiments with 'ven. vol.' ['venus volans' or 'volatisata'].

p. 121 Deleted note in Latin that on 10, 14 and 15 May 1681 Newton comprehended various alchemical names.

p. 122 Another deleted note in Latin that on 18 May [presumably 1681] he finished deciphering the alchemical symbol of the 'caduceus' ['rod of mercury'], followed by experiments dated 10 June on sublimation of green and blue vitriol with sal ammoniac and of the resulting sublimate with lead ore.

pp. 123-6 Experiments dated May and June 1682 on sublimation of various salts with sal ammoniac, and various metals and alloys with sal ammoniac and with antimony.

pp. 127-30 Experiments dated 6 June and 4 July 1682 on obtaining regulus from a mixture of lead ores, antimony and bismuth; and others similar.

p. 131 Experiments on the action of various reguluses with an unspecified spirit [of salt?].

pp. 132-4 Further experiments on sublimation, with the date Tuesday 19 July [no year] at the top of p. 133.

pp. 135-9 Experiment dated 29 Feb. 1683/4 on the preparation of chlorides of mercury.

pp. 140-49 Various experiments relating to 'the net' [an elaborate alchemical concept for discussion of which see Dobbs, Foundations, 161-3]. One experiment (p. 149) is dated 'Friday May 23' [no year].

p. 150 Experiments on the spirit of zinc, dated 'Apr. 26, 1686 Wednesday'.

pp. 151-8 Experiments on alloys of copper, antimony and iron, incomplete here but resumed on p. 267.

pp. 159-167, 169-174, 177-182 (intermediate pages blank) Extracts, chiefly from Boyle but with others from Starkey and van Helmont, on 'The medical virtues of Saline & other Præparations'.

[pp. 183-6 blank]

pp. 187-193 'Medical observations', principally drawn from Boyle.

[pp. 194-206 blank]

p. 207 'Of volatile salts of Animal & vegetable substances': further extracts from Boyle.

[p. 208 blank]

pp. 209-223 'Of Alcalia': extracts from Starkey's Pyrotechny Asserted (1658: H1553).

pp. 224-264 Largely blank, except for a series of headings (only two of which have any text attached), as follows: 'Gross Ingredients' (p. 227); 'ffirst preparation' (p. 229); '3 Principles' (p. 231); '4 Elements' (p. 233); 'Mercuries' (p. 235), 'Sulphurs' (p. 237); 'Salts' (p. 239); 'ffires' (p. 241); 'Of ye work wth common [gold]', followed by notes and excerpts from 'Philalethes'' Secrets Reveal'd and Snyders' Commentatio de pharmaco catholico, gaps being left for page references (pp. 243-4); 'Of ye work with artificial [gold]' (p. 245); 'Times' (p. 247); 'Proportions' (p. 249); 'Hieroglyphicks' (p. 251); 'Progress of ye Decoction' (p. 253); 'Vse of ye stone' (p. 257); 'Miscellanies' (p. 259) 'Of ye work with common sol.', followed by cryptic references to various works of 'Philalethes' (p. 261).

p. 265 Recipe for 'Spiritus dulcis Vitrioli' and notes on its medical uses, in Latin.

p. 266 ff. Three pages (two of which are unnumbered) of medical recipes.

pp. 267-283 Resumption of experimental reports from p. 158, with further similar experiments on regulus of antimony and various alloys, interspersed (p. 267) with an account [from an unidentified source] of a 'menstruum' for extracting the 'tinctures' of all metals).

The rest of the book is blank apart from four pages at the end, which are taken up with notes of Newton's expenses on chemicals bought in 1687 while he was in London to appear before the Ecclesiastical Commission, similar chemical expenses in 1693, and notes on the preparation of sal ammoniac.

[27] 283 pp. + 4 pp. starting from the back.


mostly in English with some Latin and Greek


Many pages of Ms. 78.6 printed in facsimile and transcript with further details in MacPhail, Alchemy and the Occult, 2: 470-78.


Ms. 78.1

Extracts from Lull's 'Theorica' [the first part of his Testamentum] on the three principles of reduction, with notes on the extraction of gold starting at the other end of the page, 1 f. Written on the cover slip of a letter addressed 'ffor Mr Issiac Nuton mathematik Profesoor in Trenity colidg cambridg'; remains of the original wax seal carry the initials 'IW'.

Ms. 78.2

Single page with a list of thirty alchemical operations, in Latin, beginning:

'Opus 1. Vvarum præparatio \prima/ manuaalis [sic]

Opus 2 Fermentatio & putrefactio

3 Extractio et rectificatio spiritus'

Ms. 78.3

Paper bifolium with forty-five brief headings from Lull, Aristotle and others, referring to alchemical operations, in Latin, on same paper as Ms. 78.6. (c. early 1690s).

Ms. 78.4

Four leaves with a list of operations similar to those in Ms. 78.3. On f. 4v there is a reference to 'Centrum naturæ concentratum. Or ye salt of Nature regenerated. ffor ye most part improperly called ye Phers stone. Written in Arabic by Aliphi a Mauritanian born of Asiatick parents. Published in Low Dutch 1694 & now done in English 1696. Price bound 1s. Printed for Iohn Harris at the Harrow in little Brittain' (H25).

Ms. 78.5

Paper bifolium with notes from Bloomfield, Flammel, 'Philalethes' and Ripley's Medulla Alchimiæ on the 'Rod of Mercury', in English and Latin, 11 pp. f. 1r is headed 'De Virga [Mercurii]', with remarks in English from Bloomfield, Flammel, and 'Ayrenæus' [i.e. 'Eirenæus Philalethes']. Followed by five queries: 'What Lute for distilling O. Vitr.'; 'Whether ye Spt. in ye first degestion stink, & how soon, & with what odor'; 'How he contrives his Lamp', etc.

Ms. 78.6

Paper bifolium cut to the same size as Ms. 78.3 containing a series of 'Observationes' beginning with 'Prima operatio est in mineris vivis, secunda in [mercurio] et metallis imperfectis'.


Independently dated to mid-1670s by Dobbs (Alchemy and the Occult (1977 edition), 4: 479) and Shapiro ('Dating Game', 195). Only the 1680 edition of the Sceptical Chymist is known to have been in Newton's library (H270), but the work first appeared in 1661.


Printed in facsimile and transcript in MacPhail, Alchemy and the Occult, 2: 479-83. More Bloomfield in Keynes Ms. 15. See H1034, 1718, 20, 270, 93.


Begins with excerpts from 'Philalethes'' The Marrow of Alchemy (1654: H1034), book 3, p. 1: 'Saturn though vile & base to see, is of oe secrets all ye ground. In [Saturn] is hid an immortal soul. Untie its fetters wch do it forbid to sight for to appear then shal arise a vapour shining like pearl orient. To Saturn Mars [i.e. iron] wth bonds of love is tied who is by him devourd of mighty force whose spirit divides saturns body & from both combined flow a wondrous bright water in wch ye Sun [i.e. gold] doth set & loos its light.' Further notes on lead from Webster's Metallographia: or, An History of Metals (1671: H1718), Georg Agricola's De Re Metallica (1621: H20), Boyle's Sceptical Chymist, Norton's 'Ordinall of Alchemy' [in Ashmole's Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum (1652: H93), 1-106], and Bloomfield's 'Compendiary of Alchemy'.

[34] 8 pp.


mainly in English

[36] 2 pp., with rough sketches, 1 p.


A summary of the operations and technique of pyrotechny, analysed and arranged in tabular form, with details of various pieces of apparatus and directions for the construction and working of furnaces, illustrated by six diagrams.

[38] 2 pp.


See H751 for Newton's copy of Van Helmont's medical compendium.


a) Notes on 'Terra Lemnia & Terra Sigillata [...] sold in but one shop in London [...] for 2s. 6d. per pound', and its distillation products, c. 230 words, 1 p. At the foot, a note: 'Mr. Leibnitz is Counsellor to ye Elector of Brunswick. Mr. Fatio has no correspondence with him. This direction will find him out. Cl. viro D. G. G. Leibnitio Hannoveræ'.

b) 'De Peste' (notes from Van Helmont), c. 650 words, 2 pp.

[41] 3 pp.


This document was apparently not entered into the Royal Society's card catalogue at the time of its purchase and its whereabouts were long thought unknown. It was unearthed by the RS archivist Ross MacFarlane in December 2004 and identified as Sotheby Lot 22 by John Young of the Newton Project in March 2005.


See John T. Young, 'Isaac Newton's alchemical notes in the Royal Society', Notes and Records of the Royal Society 60 (2006), 25-34; and H598.

[44] 24 pp on 16 ff.


in Latin and English


Mistitled 'Hercula Piochymica' in the 1936 Sotheby catalogue. Fabré did not, as stated in the 2004 Sotheby catalogue and in almost all other references to him, die in 1650: he was still alive, though very ill, in early 1656: see John T. Young, 'Newton's Alchemical Notes in the Royal Society', Notes and Records of the Royal Society 60 (2006), 25-34, p. 28, n. 15.


See H598 for Newton's copy of Fabré's complete works.


Extracts from the Hercules piochymicus of Pierre Jean Fabré, a work first published Toulouse 1624. The text also includes one citation from Fabré's Myrothecium spagyricum (Toulouse, 1628) , though in both cases Newton's transcripts are taken from his own copy of Fabré's complete works (Frankfurt am Main, 1652). Fabré's works, which Newton studied intensely, are largely devoted (like those of Michael Maier, another of Newton's favourite alchemical authors) to interpreting Greek myths - in this case that of Hercules - as allegories of alchemical processes.

[49] 3¼ pp.


in Latin


Cf. Babson Ms. 747, and see H997.

[52] 6 pp.

[53] 1 p.


See H1137 for Newton's copy of another work by Mynsicht.

[55] 8 pp.


Notes on and copy extracts from 'Philalethes' (i.e. George Starkey), George Ripley, Michael Maier, Johannes Grassæus, Hadrianus a Mynsicht and other writers. One excerpt from Starkey's Marrow of Alchemy (1654) is partly in English.

[57] 4 pp.


in Latin with some English


Cf. H90 (Artis auriferæ) and H1608 (Theatrum chemicum), and the notes from the 'Turba philosophorum' on f. 4r of Keynes Ms. 25.


Excerpts from the hugely influential 'Turba philosophorum' ('Crowd of Philosophers'), an anthology of pre-medieval alchemical texts published in Latin translation (from Arabic) as Artis auriferæ, quam chemiam vocant, volumina dua (Basel, 1610), and again under the title 'Turba philosophorum' in the 1659-61 Strasbourg edition of Lazarus Zetzner's Theatrum chemicum. The excerpts made by Newton are a collation of these two editions, with some passages representing his own commentary and notes on discrepancies between his sources. This almost certainly dates the manuscript to after 1669, when Newton bought his copy of the Theatrum chemicum.

[61] 7 pp.


in Latin


Detailed analysis, including arguments for dating, in Figala, 'Exakte Alchemie', 177-9, with most of the text transcribed in the relevant notes, p. 215. Cf. Keynes Mss. 19 and 55, and Yahuda Ms. Var. 259.4.


One page of explanatory notes on Michael Sendivogius's Novum lumen chemicum (H1192). On f. 2, what appears to be a draft index, being a list of chemical terms (not in alphabetical order) followed by page numbers, and below this the same headwords written out again in alphabetical order.

[65] 2 pp. + 1 line on 2 ff.


in Latin


Extensive excerpts from an unidentified work concerning the preparation of the philosophers' stone, with detailed procedural directions. The title is given on the wrapper, along with the note 'Simile est hoc opus operi Fabri (in Palladium Spagyricum descripto, et maxime) in Libro Fabri dicto Les Secretes Chimiques' (i.e. Pierre Jean Fabré, Palladium spagyricum (Toulouse, 1624) and L'abregé des secrets chymiques (Paris, 1936).

The manuscript is divided into seven sections, of which the beginning of the first appears to be missing. The others are entitled 'De materia', 'Practica', 'De igne', 'Multiplicatio', 'Facere aurum potabile' and 'Modus alius brevior faciendi lapidem nostrum et medicinam'.

[68] 7¼ pp. + wrapper.


in Latin


The text is also extant in another version (not in Newton's hand) in Ferguson Ms. 85 at Glasgow University and is printed in the anonymous Enarratio methodum trium Gebri medicinarum (London, 1678: H554). An English translation appears on pp. 183-8 of Ripley Reviv'd (also London, 1678: H1407) by 'Eirenæus Philalethes', another pseudonym of Starkey. Since Newton states in his title that his copy was taken from a manuscript source, it presumably predates these publications, both of which Newton subsequently acquired copies of.


Notes on and excerpts from various works of 'Philoponus Philalethes', one of the pseudonyms of the American alchemist George Starkey, though Newton was almost certainly unaware of the author's true identity.

[72] 6 pp. + 2 pp. blank


in Latin with some English

© 2020 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL -

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