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26.

Notebook (early 1690s), containing alchemical notes from a wide range of sources.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 38, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00027

27.

'Observations of ye matter in ye Glass. Authore Anonymo' (mid-1670s).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 39, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00028

28.

Incomplete draft treatise on the sequence of operations to be effected in transmutation.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 40, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00029

29.

A similar composition to Keynes Ms. 40, covering the first six 'operations' (but the fourth is missing). In Latin apart from some citations from George Ripley in English verse in the last two sections.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 41, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00030

30.

'Pearce the black Monck upon ye Elixir': an alchemical verse allegory, 226 lines.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 42, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00031

31.

Transcripts from two published alchemical tracts.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 43, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00032

32.

'Several Questions concerning the Ph[ilosoph]ers St[one]'.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 44, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00033

33.

'Practica Mariæ Prophetissæ in Artem Alchemicam' (early 1690s).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 45, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00034

34.

'The Three Fires'.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 46, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00035

35.

'Experimenta Raymundi', 6 pp.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 47, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00036

36.

Two alchemical treatises (one incomplete; after 1686) and a collection of short extracts from various alchemical sources.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 48, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00037

37.

'The Regimen' (early 1680s).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 49, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00038

38.

Excerpts from Jodocus a Rhe [Johannes Rhenanus], with transcripts of letters to Dr. John Twysden [Twisden] from 'A.C. [leg. A.O.?] Faber' and notes on a work by Faber. In Latin.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 50, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00039

39.

Notes on the works of George Ripley [from a manuscript version of 'Eirenæus Philalethes'' Ripley Reviv'd (1678)] (late 1660s/ early 1670s).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 51, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00040

40.

Transcript of 'Sr George Ripley His Epistle to K Edward unfolded'

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 52, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00041

41.

'Of ye first Gate'

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 53, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00042

42.

'Ripley expounded', 12 pp.; and 'Notes upon Ripley,' in English, c. 1,500 words, 7 pp.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 54, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00043

43.

Notes on Sendivogius (c. 1685-90).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 55, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00044

44.

'Sententiæ luciferæ et Conclusiones notabiles' (1696-8?).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 56, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00045

45.

Notes on various (al)chemical processes (separations, processions, sublimations, distillations, etc.).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 57, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00046

46.

Three apparently unrelated fragments (early-mid 1670s).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 58, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00047

47.

'De secreto solu[tionum? (MS torn)]'.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 59, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00048

48.

'Tabula Smaragdina' and 'Hieroglyphica Planetarum'.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 60, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00049

49.

'Thesaurus Thesaurorum sive Medicina Aurea'.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 61, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00050

50.

'The Work of an old Priest, viz: B.' and other alchemical recipes (late 1660s).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 62, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00051

[1]

'Sententiæ notabiles' published with notes and a brief commentary in Sherwood Taylor, 'Alchemical work'.

[2]

Arranged under the headings 'Notanda Chemica' (in Latin, 3 pp.) and 'Sententiæ notabiles' (in Latin and English, 22 pp.). Preceded by the heading 'Index Chemicus', under which is a single entry ('Ablutio') in Latin, and followed by 76 blank leaves.

[3]

in English and Latin

[4]

An account of an alchemical experiment, and directions for undertaking another (the latter beginning f. 2r under the heading 'Emanuel'). Presumably transcribed or translated from an unpublished manuscript, and thoroughly non-'mystical' in tone except for the specification (f. 2r) of a prayer for success to be offered before undertaking the experiment and another of thanks to be offered on its successful completion.

[5] 6 pp. on 3 ff.

[6]

in English

[7]

Cf. Keynes Ms. 41, Babson Ms. 417 and Dibner Institute NMAHRB Mss. 1070 A.

[8]

Drawn from the writings of a range of alchemical authorities.

f. 1r Title page reading only 'Opus primum'.

f. 3r 'Gradus primus/ Extractio et Rectificatio Spiritus'

f. 5r 'Extractio auri vivi, et conjunctio ejus'

f. 9r 'Opus Quintum/ Vivificatio et Putrefactio Terræ foliatæ.'

f. 15r 'Opus Quintum/ Vivificatio et Putrefactio Terræ foliatæ': though the title is identical to the foregoing, the text is quite different.

f. 19r 'Opus sextum./ ffixis in album et rubrum. Conjunctio viri rubri cum fœmina alba, & decoctio ad complementum' (partly in English).

f. 27r 'Opus sextum/ Præparatio Mercurij Vulgaris per Veneris Columbas.'

f. 29r 'Opus septimum/ Solutio Metallorum \primo/ in Mercurium per Mercurium, deinde in aquam [mercur]ialem et compositio mercurij nostri duplati' (partly in English).

f. 31r 'Opus Octavum/ Conjunctio Putrefactio et Regimen Decoctionis'

f. 33r 'Opus Octavum/ Conjunctio Putrefactio et Regimen Decoctionis' (variant draft).

[9] 42 pp. on 33 ff.

[10]

mainly in Latin with some English

[11]

Also features extensive interlinear notes and additions apparently inserted after the main text had been written.

f. 1r 'Opus primum. Extractio \& rectificatio/ spiritus.'

f. 2r 'Opus secundum. Extractio animæ.'

f. 3r 'Opus tertium. Terræ calcinatio'

f. 5r 'Opus quintum./ Acuatio spiritus rectificanti cum rebus calidis sui generis per sublimationes, & conversio in mercurium vegetabilem ut et in Quintessentiam quæ cælum est Philosophorum, et Liquor Alkahest, quocum fit Aurum potabile.'

f. 11r 'Opus sextum. Solutio sicca et humida metallorum vulgi \eorumq[ue] purgatio &/ multiplicatio infinita mercurij sophici et extractio auri vivi.'

[12] 39 pp. on 20 ff.

[13]

Copied from Elias Ashmole's Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum (1652: H93), 269-74 and 427-30.

[14] 7 pp. on 4 ff.

[15]

in English with the last four lines in Latin

[16]

See H1238-H1243 for Newton's Paracelsus collection, and H128 for references to Maier's emblems in Newton's annotations to his copy of Basil Valentine's Last Will and Testament.

[17]

f. 1r 'Regulæ seu canones aliquot Philosophici de Lapie [sic: leg. 'Lapide'] Philosophico Authore docto quodam Anonymo. Impress in fine Curationum Paracelsi'. List of alchemical rules in Latin, c. 2,500 words.

f. 4r 'Mayer's ffigures præfixed to Basil Valentine's Keys'. Description of ten alchemical symbols, in English, c. 500 words.

[18] 8 pp. on 4 ff.

[19]

in Latin and English

[20]

A dialogue between a novice and an adept, each 'Question' being followed by an answer. Transcript or translation of an anonymous unpublished work.

f. 1r 'Quest. 1. Of what kind is the true & only one Philosophical matter'

f. 1v 'Quest. 2. But how ought ye reduction into the first matter to be done.'

f. 2r 'Quest. 3. What is the signe of a perfect fixation and where by can it be known.'

f. 2v 'Quest. 4. But if it should ascend in the said operation what must be done.'

'Quest. 5. What is to be done when the tincture has obteined its perfection.'

f. 3r 'Quest. 6. What ought to be done wth this golden powder'

'Quest. 7. What hereafter'

f. 3v 'Quest. 8. How must the silver be proceeded with'

'Quest. 9. What fire is used in this work'

f. 4r 'Quest. 10. What do you think of the colours of Bernardus.'

'Quest. 11. Is the labour of this work troublesome'

'Quest. 12. Are there no more lyes of the Sophisters.'

[21] 7 pp. on 4 ff.

[22]

in English

[23]

See H1608, H90-H91, H221 for the works cited as Newton's sources.

[24]

A dialogue between 'Aros' and 'Maria', the sister of Moses, in which she replies to his queries about acquiring alchemical wisdom. Concludes with the note 'Extat hoc opus in Theat Chem Vol 5 & Vol 6 p 479 [i.e. Lazarus Zetzner's Theatrum Chemicum (1659-61): it is in fact only in vol. 6] & Arte Aurif. vol. 1 et in Bibliotheca Gallica' [i.e. Bibliothèque des philosophes (1672-8): it is in vol. 1].

[25] 4 pp. on 3 ff. of which one blank.

[26]

in Latin

[27]

See Dobbs, Janus Faces, 124, and cf. SL78 (whereabouts unknown).

[28]

Notes interpreting various pieces of alchemical symbolism. This appears to be Newton's own work, though as usual in his alchemical writing he leans heavily on a range of authorities.

[29] 3 pp. on 2 ff.

[30]

in English

[31]

See H994-1001 for Newton's Lull collection.

[32]

Descriptions of and notes on 24 experiments, interspersed with alchemical recipes, drawn from the works of (or supposedly of) Ramón Lull [Raimundus Lullius].

[33]

in Latin

[34]

See H554, 838, 1034, 1296, 1407, 1478, 1553 and 1644 (Newton's 'Philalethes' collection), H168-9 (Trevisanus), H1044-1052 (Maier), H127-130 (Basil Valentine). See also Dobbs, 'Newton's Copy of "Secrets Reveal'd"', 158-9.

[35]

Foliation is continuous through the three sections.

a) Begins with two pages of rough notes in Latin and English. Then comes an incomplete tract in Latin, consisting largely of extracts from other writers but woven into a continuous text, with the following sub-headings:

f. 2r 'Lapidis Compositio'

f. 6r 'Elementorum Conversio Conjunctio et Decoctio in Opere secundo vel utroq[ue]'

f. 10r 'Regimen Ignis'

b) Excerpts, mostly in Latin but with some English:

f. 15v 'Ex Tractatus quinto Rosarij abbreviati'

f. 16r Main heading: 'Materia'. Followed by extracts on the subject 'Ex Philalethi' (f. 16r), 'Ex Trevisano' (f. 18r), 'Ex Grassæ' (f. 19r), 'Ex Epistolo Anonymi in Th. Ch. vol 6 p. 474' (f. 21v), 'Ex Maiero' (also f. 21v), 'Ex Basilio Valentino' (f. 22v), 'Ex Snydero' (f. 23v), 'Iterum ex Basilio Valentino' (f. 24r), 'Ex Rosario Magno' (f. 24v).

c) 'Decoctio': a self-contained treatise or chapter on the 'regimens', in English with some Latin, consisting like a) of interwoven extracts from a huge range of sources. The headings are drawn (in order) from chapters 24-30 of 'Philalethes'' Secrets Reveal'd, as follows:

f. 26r 'Regimen Mercurij'

f. 32r 'Regimen Saturni'

f. 37r 'Regimen Iovis'

f. 45r 'Regimen Lunæ'

f. 51r 'Regimen Veneris Martis et Solis'

Followed (f. 54r to the end) by an earlier partial draft also headed 'Decoctio'.

The whole is enclosed in a wrapper covered with notes and rough drawings of stills, retorts, etc., on which Thomas Pellet has written 'No 13'.

[36] 76 pp. on 62 ff.

[37]

in Latin and English

[38]

The seven 'aphorisms' are printed in Dobbs, 'Newton's Copy of "Secrets Reveal'd"', 158 and Westfall, Never at Rest, 357-8.

[39]

A series of seven 'aphorisms', in English, relating to the stages of transmutation, followed by supporting 'Annotations upon ye foregoing Aphorisms', mostly in Latin but with some English and consisting mainly of notes from various authors. It seems likely that the 'aphorisms' are Newton's own summation of his alchemical reading: he notes, 'This Process I take to be ye work of the best Authors, Hermes, Turba, Morien, Artephius, Abraham ye Iew & Flammel, Scala, Ripley, Maier, the great Rosary, Charnock, Trevisan. Philaletha. Despagnet'.

[40] 7 pp. on 4 ff.

[41]

in English and Latin

[42]

Discussed in Westfall, Never at Rest, 288-9. Westfall rather confusingly suggests that 'A.C. Faber' is a mistake for 'A.D. Faber', personal physician to Charles II and author of a book on 'aurum potabile': this seems likely, except that the physician in question is neither A.C. nor A.D. but A[lbert] O[tto] Faber, originally of Lübeck, author of De Auro potabili medicinali (1677). John Twisden was another London physician. See H1397 for Newton's copy of Rhenanus's Opera Chymiatrica: also H740, the compilation by Rhenanus and J. Grasshoff: Harmoniæ inperscrutabilis chymico-philosophicæ, sive Philosophorum antiquorum consentientium [...] decas I(-II) (1625), extensively annotated by Newton. His interest in Rhenanus is also evident in Keynes Ms. 26 and Yahuda Ms. Var. 259.

[43]

f. 1r 'Iodoci a Rhehe Opera Chymica [properly 'Chymiatrica': Frankfurt, 1668]. Descripsi hæc ex originali Msto Mri Iohannis quod penes me habeo. Io. Tw.'

f. 9v 'Epistolæ \quædam A.C./ Fabri, qui una cum consanguineo quodam Dris Io. Twysden opus hocce aggressus est et ad usq[ue] extractionem spiritus [mercur]ij Annis 1673 & 1674, fæliciter perduxit, et autographis descriptæ'. Notes on four letters, dated 3 June and 23 December 1673, 14 January and 24 June 1674.

f. 11r 'Notæ in opus Fabrianum'

[44] 22 pp. on 11 ff.

[45]

Westfall (Never at Rest, 287-8 and 288, n. 21) points out that the notes clearly predate the publication of Ripley Reviv'd (1678). Newton cites page references which do not correspond to the printed version and presumably refer to a now lost or unidentified manuscript. Further examples of Newton's interest in Ripley and his expositors (especially 'Philalethes') in Keynes Mss. 17, 52, 53, 54; he subsequently acquired a copy of the published version of Ripley Reviv'd (H1407).

[46]

Includes sections 'On Ripley's vision', 'On Ripleys preface to his Gates', and on each of the first six 'Gates' (calcination, solution, separation, conjunction, putrefaction and congelation).

[47] 14 pp. on 8 ff.

[48]

in English

[49]

This does not correspond to any of the three published versions of the work in question and predates two of them (it appeared in Chymical, Medicinal, and Chirurgical Addresses made to Mr Samuel Hartlib Esq. (1655: H378), on its own in 1677 and in Ripley Reviv'd (1678: H1407)). It can be collated with BL Sloane 633, while the variant excerpts correspond to BL Sloane 3633. See Dobbs, Foundations, 113 and Wilkinson, 'Bibliographical puzzles', 235-44. See also Keynes Mss. 17, 51, 53, 54.

[50]

A complete transcript of this important alchemical tract [by 'Eirenæus Philalethes', i.e. George Starkey], plus excerpts from a variant version, beginning on f. 7v under the heading 'Ex chartis Mr Sloane'.

[51] 17 pp. on 9 ff.

[52]

in English with some Latin and Greek

[53]

Contains a Strasbourg lily watermark, as does Keynes Ms. 23: see Shapiro, 'Dating Game', 197-8.

[54]

Probably composed together with Keynes Ms. 21: see notes there; see also Keynes Mss. 17, 23, 51, 52, 54 and Babson Ms. 420.

[55]

A compilation, and in some cases an exposition, of other writers' comments on (or supposedly on) George Ripley's 'First Gate' (in the 'Compound of Alchemie', Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum (1652), 107-93).

[56] 9 pp. on 5 ff.

[57]

in English with some Latin and Greek

[58]

The 'Notes upon Ripley' represent, in Dobbs's words, 'Newton's study of Philalethes' comments on Ripley' (Janus Faces, 122, n. 1). See also Keynes Mss. 17, 51, 52, 53.

[59]

The first section is another commentary on Ripley's 'Gates', similar in construction to Keynes Mss. 51 and 53 but quite different in content, and this time covering all twelve 'gates': in addition to the six mentioned above under Keynes Ms. 51 there are cibation, sublimation, fermentation, exaltation, multiplication and projection.

[60]

in English

[61]

Earlier copies (not in Newton's hand) of ff. 1-12 in BL Sloane Mss. 3630.6 (ff. 102-12) and 3778.1 (ff. 2-18). Sloane Ms. 3630 belonged to Richard Dee in 1648, so this section is undoubtedly not by Newton. Figala ('Exakte Alchemie, 183) identifies it as an extract from a lost work ascribed to 'Philalethes', though she doubts whether in this case this means George Starkey. See also Keynes Ms. 19, Yahuda Ms. Var. 259.4, Babson Ms. 925, Dibner Institute, and H1192 and 1485.

[62]

f. 1r 'Sendivogius Explained': notes on Treatises 1-7 and 9-12 [of Sendivogius's A New Light of Alchymie (English translation London, 1650)], with precise page and line numbers for each reference.

f. 13r 'The Preface to ye Philosophick Riddle'

'The Philosophick Riddle'

f. 15v Very brief notes on 'The Dialogue between Mercury the Alchymist & Nature'; 'The 3 principles of all things'; 'Of Sulphur' (ff. 15v-16r).

f. 17r-21r 'Sendivogius explained': another set of notes on Sendivogius, in Latin.

[63] 37 pp. on 21 ff.

[64]

in English and Latin

[65]

On the first page in identical handwriting is a note relating to the silver recoinage of 1696-8.

[66]

Short extracts from a wide range of alchemical authors.

[67] 18 pp.

[68]

in Latin and English

[69]

Includes references to 'Raymundus' [Ramón Lull], Ferrar, Avicenna, Sendivogius, Flamel, Zetzner's Theatrum Chemicum, 'Philalethes' and others.

[70] 17 pp. on 10 ff.

[71]

mainly in Latin with some English

[72]

Section b) is analysed in detail by Dobbs (Foundations, 167-75), who regards it as 'of extraordinary importance for a study of his [Newton's] alchemical methodology' (ibid., 168), being Newton's attempt to elucidate the symbolism of John de Monte Snyders' The Metamorphosis of the Planets (see Newton's transcript of this text, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, Yale University). See also the notes on Snyders in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University.

[73]

a) f. 1r Copy of a recipe for multiplying silver (by adding silver, antimony and lead to cinnabar).

b) ff. 2r-5r Notes on 'Aqua Sicca', 'Aquila Iovis' and 'Sceptrum Iovis', with repeatedly reworked recipes for preparing these substances, accompanied by annotations either in parallel columns or at the foot of the page.

c) ff. 6r-8v Notes and recipes derived from an unidentified source, with rough sketches of furnaces and calculations.

[74] 12 pp. on 8 ff.

[75]

in English and Latin

[76]

Mainly about strategies for identifying 'Diana's Doves', and drawn largely from various works of 'Eirenæus Philalethes'.

[77] 3 pp. on 2 ff.

[78]

in English and Latin

[79]

See also Keynes Ms. 27.

[80]

f. 1r 'Tabula Smaragdina': another copy of the Latin excerpt from 'Hermes Trismegistus' reproduced in Keynes Ms. 28, with the [correct] page reference 'Theatr. Chym. Vol. 1 pag 362', followed by other excerpts on transmutation from Zetzner's Theatrum Chemicum.

f. 2r 'Hieroglyphica Planetarum': notes, principally from Lull, Maier and Flammel, on astronomico-alchemical symbolism.

[81] 4 pp. on 3 ff. of which one blank.

[82]

in Latin

[83]

Transcribed from an unpublished manuscript (see Dobbs, Janus Faces, 123). Begins with a defence of alchemical writings which, despite their apparent obscurity, do contain real truths, and proceeds to a detailed recipe for producing a red 'elixir' to transmute all metals into gold.

[84] 5 pp. on 3 ff.

[85]

in English (apart from the title and the concluding remark 'Laus Deo')

[86]

Evidently abstracted from Keynes Ms. 67.

[87]

Includes directions 'To turne [silver] into [gold]' and for making '[silver] out of [mercury] and [iron]', a recipe for 'aurum potabile', etc., with drawings of retorts, receivers, and other chemical equipment.

[88] 8 pp. on 9 ff. of which one blank.

[89]

in 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 - newtonproject@history.ox.ac.uk

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