Alchemical texts sorted by date

Newton’s alchemical works are being transcribed by our sister project, The Chymistry of Isaac Newton at the University of Indiana. Links to the material already available on the Chymistry site are provided below. A full listing of the source material it will make available can be found in the Alchemical Papers section of the Newton Project’s online catalogue.

1.

Notebook containing notes and experimental reports

Author: Isaac Newton

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

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00110

2.

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

3.

'Verses at the end of B[asil] Valentine's mystery of the Microcosm'

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 63, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00052

4.

Two incomplete treatises on the vegetative growth of metals and minerals

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: NMAHRB Ms. 1031 B, Dibner Library, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00081

5.

Notes evidently on Newton's own laboratory experiments

Author: Isaac Newton

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

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00109

6.

Twelve small bundles of alchemical notes and extracts from a very wide range of sources.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Ms. Var. 259, National Library of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00063

7.

'Index Chemicus'

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 30, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00019

8.

Three lists of alchemical writers and works, partly on the reverse of Mint-related material

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 13, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00002

9.

'Of ye first Gate'

Author: Isaac Newton

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

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00042

10.

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

Author: Isaac Newton

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

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00048

11.

Notes on the preparation of 'philosophical mercury' by fermentation and 'ye mediation of Diana's Doves', on the preparation of 'menstrua', etc.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 34, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00023

12.

Miscellaneous alchemical notes and recipes

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: QD14.N498, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00202

13.

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

14.

Three related sets of notes (late 1680s-90s).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: NMAHRB Ms. 1032 B, Dibner Library, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00082

15.

Notebook containing little but headings ('De Sale'; 'Solutio'; 'Conjunctio et Liquefactio'; 'Imbibitio & Calcinatio', etc.), with gaps for entries left blank apart from a few perfunctory notes in Latin.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Ms. Var. 260, National Library of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00064

16.

'Thesaurus Thesaurorum sive Medicina Aurea'.

Author: Isaac Newton

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

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00050

17.

Two unrelated tracts in the same hand (not Newton's)

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 91, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00057

18.

Notebook containing abstracts and notes drawn from various alchemical works.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: NMAHRB Ms. 1023 B, Dibner Library, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00078

19.

Translation and transcription of the Tabula Smaragdina of 'Hermes Trismegistus', with notes (early 1680s-1690s).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 28, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00017

20.

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

21.

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

22.

'The Seven Chapters' (late 1680s-1690s) plus notes and an unrelated draft letter.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 27, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00016

23.

'The Epitome of the treasure of health written by Edwardus Generosus Anglicus innominatus who lived Anno Domini 1562'.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 22, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00011

24.

Transcripts from two published alchemical tracts.

Author: Isaac Newton

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

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00032

25.

Two accounts of alchemical operations (1690s?).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: NMAHRB Ms. 1041 B, Dibner Library, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00083

[1]

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.

[2]

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.

[3] 283 pp. + 4 pp. starting from the back.

[4]

mostly in English with some Latin and Greek

[5]

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.

[6]

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'.

[7] 17 pp. on 9 ff.

[8]

in English with some Latin and Greek

[9]

Several extracts from verses on various chemicals, on the 'planets' that symbolise the metals, and on 'the first Matter'. On f. 10r, a small pen-and-ink drawing of an alchemical emblem (dogs chasing hares in a circle) illustrating one of the verses.

[10] 569 lines, 20 pp. on 10 ff.

[11]

in English

[12]

Both texts are related to the 'Hypothesis explaining the Properties of Light' Newton sent to the Royal Society in December 1675.

Reproduced in facsimile as an appendix to B.J.T. Dobbs, Alchemical Death. The English portion is described and transcribed in Dobbs, Janus Faces, 256-70 (Dobbs treats the first of the twelve subjects for enquiry as the title of the entire document). See also her 'Newton Manuscripts at the Smithsonian', 107, and P.M. Rattansi, 'Newton's Alchemical Studies'.

[13]

The first treatise (11 pp., in English) begins with a list of 12 numbered subjects for discussion, forming a putative draft outline of the work (though the text itself frequently departs from the sequence of subjects listed): e.g. '1 Of natures obvious laws & processes in vegetation', '2 That metalls vegetate after the same laws', etc. The very heavy reworking of the main text and absence of reference to other sources strongly suggest Newton's own composition, making this a centrally important document indicating the nature of his 'chymical' views in the mid-1670s. It is quite without accounts of specific laboratory processes and quite devoid of allegorical or symbolic terminology, and seems to represent the beginnings of an attempt to formulate a coherent and comprehensive theory of chemistry.

The second, shorter treatise is in Latin and written from the back of the document, beginning on f. 6v and continuing onto f. 6r. This is a distinct but closely related work also shedding important light on Newton's chymical and natural philosophical views, though until recently it has been almost wholly neglected by Newton scholars.

[14] 12 pp.

[15]

in English and Latin

[16]

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.

[17]

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.

[18] 51 ff. several of which blank.

[19]

mostly in English but two sets in Latin

[20]

Bundle 1 is attributed to 'Jodocus a Rhe', i.e. Johannes Rhenanus, in the Sotheby catalogue, but the ascription is queried (though not categorically rejected) by Figala and Petzold, 'Alchemy in the Newtonian circle', 177, n. 1.

The defective anagram of 'Ioannes Spagnetus' in bundle 5 is as it appears in the printed edition of the Enchiridion but is perhaps a printer's error for 'Spes una est in Agno', which works.

[21]

1 'Le Procede Vniverselle [sic] pour faire la Pierre Philosophiale laquelle l'auteur dit davoir faict quatre fois' [by Johannes Rhenanus?], in French, incomplete, c. 1,500 words, 6 pp.

2 'Artephij antiquissimi Philosophi de arte occulta & lap. Philos. Liber secretus', in Latin, c. 3,500 words, 8 pp. See H1309-10.

3 'The Hyeroglyphicall figures of Nicholas Flammel explained, anno 1399', in English, with a pen-and-ink drawing of some of the hieroglyphs, c. 3,000 words, 7 pp.

4 'Novum Lumen Chymicum Sendivogij. Divi Leschi genus amo [anagram of 'Michael Sendivogius']', in Latin, c. 4,000 words, 8 pp. See H445 and 1485.

5 'Enchiridion Physicæ Ioh. Spagneti. Spes mea est in Agno [defective anagram of 'Ioannes Spagnetus', i.e. Jean d'Espagnet]', though apart from two thirds of the first page, most of this section consists of notes on d'Espagnet's Arcanum hermeticæ philosophiæ opus, which was published together with the Enchiridion (1623), in Latin, c. 3,500 words, 8 pp.

6 A bundle of English notes and extracts: 'Nortons Ordinall', 'Dastins dreame', 'The black monkes Earth of Earth', 'The hunting of ye Green Lyon', 'Riplys Epistle to K. Edward ye 4th', 'Riplys 12 Gates', c. 4,000 words in all, 8 pp. [These are all based on Elias Ashmole's Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum (1652: H93): the 'Epistle' and 'Twelve Gates' are sub-sections of Ripley's 'Compound of Alchemie' (107-93), and 'Pearce the Black Monke upon the Elixir' (269-74) begins 'Take Erth of Erth, Erth's Moder'.]

7 'Ex Augurelli Chrysopœia', in Latin, 2 pp., followed by 'The Marrow of Alchymy' [by 'Eirenæus Philalethes': see H1034], in English, 6 pp.; in all c. 3,000 words.

8 A bundle of Latin notes and extracts: 'Riplæi Tractatus tertius', notes on the Tabula Smaragdina, 'Ex Authore Anonymo De Tincturis', 'Praxis fæmina'; in all c. 1,800 words, 5 pp.

9 A bundle of Latin notes and extracts: 'Observanda', 'Instructio de Arbori solari', 'Lucerna Salis Philosophorum'; in all c. 1,500 words, 12 pp.

10 'Commentatio de Pharmaco Catholico per Iohn de Monte Snyder Latinitate donata per Authorem Chymicæ Vannus', in Latin, c. 5,000 words, 13 pp. See H1378.

11 'F[ather] B. Valentine's 12 Keys', 2 pp., followed by 'References to B Valentines works', 11 pp., in English; in all c. 5,000 words. See H127-130, esp. 128.

12 Miscellaneous notes in Latin, c. 4,000 words, 8 pp.

[22] 100 pp. enclosed in a wrapper bearing a list of contents.

[23]

in French, Latin and English

[24]

Followed by related drafts and supplementary material, also in Latin, c. 5,000 words. Erroneously described in the Sotheby catalogue as 113 pp. + 49 pp.

[25]

Detailed account in Westfall, 'Newton's Index Chemicus'; see also his Never at Rest, 358-9.

[26]

The main text of the 'Index' appears on the rectos, with supplementary notes on the facing versos.

An elaborate alphabetical subject-index to the literature of alchemy, giving page references to over 144 different works, with several earlier and less elaborate drafts. In the most finished (though evidently incomplete) version (Ms. 30 a), the references are frequently supplemented by definitions of terms and processes or even short essays on the topic in question.

Ms. 30 a)

f. 1 An unrelated title page and table of contents which appears to have come astray (before the Sotheby sale) from Keynes Ms. 35: many though not all of the headings listed occur also in that manuscript.

f. 2 Title: 'Index Chemicus'. On the following folios (3-94), most head-words are followed by a definition and references, others merely by references, and a few by gaps to be filled in at a later date.

Ms. 30 b)

f. 1r 'Index Chymicus': alphabetical draft list of subject headings for the index, followed (ff. 2-5) by another index, much less developed than that in a) above.

Ms. 30 c)

Another draft 'Index Chemicus' on 12 ff.

Ms. 30 d)

'Supplementum Indicis Chemici' on 8 ff.

[27] 123 pp. on 94 ff.

[28]

in Latin

[29] Index Chemicus (part a) Index Chemicus (part b)

[30]

The Mint material is obviously no earlier than 1696 (when Newton joined the Mint) and some of the rest of the manuscript is written in an identical hand; other sections appear to be earlier, and the last internal date is 1684.

[31]

See Figala et al., 'De Scriptoribus', passim, and Dobbs, Foundations, 174, n.100.

[32]

pp. 1-3 A list of writers and works on alchemy, variously classified according to antiquity, nationality and degree of usefulness.

p. 4 Draft of 'An account of Gold & Silver moneys coyned since Christmas'.

pp. 5-6 Another list of writers, with their dates, signed 'Ieova sanctvs vnvs' [an anagram of Isaacvs Nevvtonvs].

p. 7 'Authores optimi': another list.

p. 8 Extract from 'An Act for encouraging Coynage' (18 Charles II cap. 5).

[33] 8 pp.

[34]

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

[35]

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

[36]

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).

[37] 9 pp. on 5 ff.

[38]

in English with some Latin and Greek

[39]

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

[40] 3 pp. on 2 ff.

[41]

in English and Latin

[42]

Abstracted (with copious page references) from various works of 'Eirenæus Philalethes'.

[43] 6 pp. on 3 ff.

[44]

in English

[45]

f. 1 originally belonged to SL18 and ff. 2 and 3 to SL88. The whereabouts of the rest of these lots remains unknown.

[46]

f. 1r: Notes in English under the headings 'Ruth Mallor's work' and 'The 3d period', c. 300 words.

f. 1v: Recipes in English for 'a menstruum wch will dissolve gold' and 'a menstruum for resolving bodies like ye Alkahest but not so potent', c. 80 words.

f. 2r: Notes headed 'Experimentum Bellinj', in Latin in an unidentified hand, c. 80 words.

f. 3v: Notes headed 'Aqua fortis' and 'Refining silver', in English in John Conduitt's hand, c. 250 words, with a sketch of the apparatus used for refining silver.

[47] 4pp. on 3 ff.

[48]

in English and Latin

[49]

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).

[50]

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).

[51] 14 pp. on 8 ff.

[52]

in English

[53]

See Dobbs, 'Newton Manuscripts at the Smithsonian', 106-7 and 'Newton's Copy of "Secrets Reveal'd"', 159.

[54]

Entitled 'The Regimen' (7 pp.), 'The Regimen', (8 pp.) and 'Of ye Regimen' (2 pp., incomplete). Describe a sequence of (al)chemical operations largely drawn from the works of 'Philalethes', though other authors including Pontanus, Maier and Roger Bacon are cited, especially in the second set of notes. On the loose scrap (which is not mentioned in the Sotheby catalogue, though the manuscript is described as 18 pp. and the catalogue does not normally count blank pages), various alchemical references, with mention of John Day and of Roger Bacon's Elementorum and Michael Maier's Arcana arcanissima, written over and on the reverse of a receipt dated 11 September 1689.

[55] 8 pp. badly discoloured and barely legible.

[56]

in English

[57] 15 ff.

[58]

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.

[59] 5 pp. on 3 ff.

[60]

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

[61]

The second tract is identified by Figala and Petzold ('Alchemy in the Newtonian circle', 180, 187-8) as a variant fragment of the 'Processus mysterii magni philosophicus' of William Yworth: cf. Keynes Mss. 65 and 66, Yale Mellon Ms. 80, and Hampshire Record Office Ms. NC17.

[62]

The first tract, which has three lines added by Newton, begins 'The Pondus in Dissecting the Subject Matter'. The second and more substantial, entitled 'Experim[ent] the 4th. Being the Coralary of all ye former, Containing a true Process of the whole Worke', concerns how to 'Continue ye Hunting of ye Green Lyon'.

[63] in total,1 p. + 8 pp.

[64]

in English

[65]

See Dobbs, 'Newton Manuscripts at the Smithsonian', 107. This manuscript (minus the putative index) is also reproduced on R19 of the Chadwyck-Healey microfilm, between Keynes Mss. 64 and 65 (this has perhaps come from a photostat of the notebook held at Keynes Ms. 221). This would appear to be a mistake, since there is no reference to its presence there in the Chadwyck-Healey catalogue.

[66]

On the flyleaf in Thomas Pellet's hand: 'Sep. 25 1727/ Not fit to be printed/ Tho. Pellet'. Main text preceded by 5 unnumbered pages prepared as an index but containing only columns of alphabetical headings (eg. 'Suo/ Suu/ Ta/ Taa/ Tae') and one blank page. The main text has the following sub-headings, though besides the sources given by these there are references on pp. 48-9 to 'Laurent. Ventura' and Ramón Lull's 'Theorica', and on pp. 50-51 to 'Anonym[us] de Arte Chim[ica] in Arte Aurif[era]'.

p. 1 'Ex Rosarij abbreviati tract. quinq[ue]' [This is not, as stated in the Sotheby catalogue, taken from the Rosarius Philosophorum of Arnoldus de Villanova, but from an anonymous tract entitled 'Rosarium Abbreviatum', which appeared in vol. 3 of Zetzner's Theatrum Chemicum as part of 'Justus a Balbian. Tractatus septem de Lapide Philosophico' (first pub.1599, though Newton is extremely unlikely to have seen that edition), Balbian being the editor rather than the author of the collection: see Ferguson, Bibliotheca Chemica, 2: 287 and 437.]

p. 15 'Ex Petri Boni Lombardi Ferrariensis Margarita Pretiosa'

p. 24 'Ex Dionysij Zacharij Opusculo'

p. 31 'Out of Philaletha's works concerning the extraction of [sulphur] out of [mercury]', in Latin and English

p. 51 'Ex Clangore Buccinæ'

[67] 61 pp. + 208 pp. blank.

[68]

mainly in Latin with some English

[69]

Described in the Sotheby catalogue as '4 pp.', presumably meaning 4 written leaves, since all three parts of the document are listed there.

[70]

Transcribed with notes in Dobbs, Janus Faces, 271-7. She argues, mainly on the basis of the handwriting, that the document was composed as follows: f. 6r copied from a Latin version in the early 1680s, followed immediately or not long afterwards by what she considers to be Newton's own 'Commentarium' (ff. 6r-7r); the English translation (f. 2r-v) in the late 1680s or early 1690s (from French: cf. notes to Keynes Ms. 27) and the following annotations (f. 2v) later still, possibly even post-1700. These suggestions are repeated, with some modification, from her earlier article 'Newton's Commentary on the Emerald Tablet', which also includes a transcript of the English translation (183-4). See also notes to Keynes Ms. 27.

Another copy of the Latin text in Keynes Ms. 60, f. 6r. See H84.

[71]

f. 2r-v 'Tabula Smaragdina Hermetis Trismegistri [sic] Philosophorum patris': English translation of the Tabula Smaragdina followed by references to the 'ffrench Bibliotheque' [i.e. Bibliothèque des philosophes (1672-8): see notes to the previous entry] and Zetzner's Theatrum Chemicum.

f. 6r 'Hermes Trismegisti opera Chemica./ Tabula Smaragdina': the same passage in Latin.

ff. 6v-7r 'Commentarium': Latin notes on the above.

(ff. 1r and 5r both have the heading 'Hermes' but no text: according to Dobbs these were originally cover sheets for what are now the English sections of Keynes Mss. 27 and 28; the other leaves are blank.)

[72] 5 pp. on 10 ff.

[73]

in English and Latin

[74]

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

[75]

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.

[76]

in English and Latin

[77]

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

[78]

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).

[79] 42 pp. on 33 ff.

[80]

mainly in Latin with some English

[81]

Printed with an introduction in Churchill, 1967, q.v. for a discussion of sources and the suggestion that this is Newton's own translation. Dobbs (Janus Faces, 272) considers it to be a translation from the French Bibliothèque des philosophes (1672-8), and dates the translation late 1680s/early 1690s but considers the table of contents (f. 1r) to have been added in the late 1690s if not later. The main text (ff. 4r-12r) originally belonged after f. 2v of Keynes Ms. 28 (see Dobbs, Janus Faces, 272) but had been separated from it before the Sotheby sale, possibly by Newton himself. See H84 for Newton's copy of the Latin edition of the text, and H221 for his copy of the Bibliothèque des philosophes.

[82]

Translation [by Newton?] of a treatise on transmutation by 'Hermes Trismegistus'.

f. 1r 'The contents of ye 7 Chapters'.

f. 1v Brief Latin notes from Zetzner's Theatrum Chemicum.

ff. 4r-12r The translated text.

f. 12v Partial draft letter, undated and with no indication of addressee, on mathematics.

[83] 20 pp. on 12 ff. of which two blank.

[84]

mainly in English

[85]

Copy of an unpublished treatise on the Philosophers' Stone, the 'Animal or Angelicall Stone', the 'Prospective [not 'Perspective' as stated in the Sotheby catalogue] stone or ye magical stone of Moses' and 'ye vegetable or ye growing stone'; concludes with an alchemical poem.

[86] 28 pp.

[87]

in English

[88]

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.

[89]

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.

[90] 8 pp. on 4 ff.

[91]

in Latin and English

[92]

See Dobbs, 'Newton Manuscripts at the Smithsonian', 106.

[93]

1) 'Separatio Elementorum' (2 pp.). On the distillation of elements in a 20 gallon vat, with references to 'Philalethes' and Albertus Magnus. The large number of corrections and relatively small number of references to other writers may indicate that this is at least partly Newton's own composition.

2) 'Reductio et Sublimatio' (5 pp.). Excerpts and abstracts, principally from Lull, on an imperfect transmutation of white sulphur into silver and red sulphur into gold.

[94] 7 pp.

[95]

in Latin

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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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