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.


Notebook containing notes and experimental reports

Author: Isaac Newton

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

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00110


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


'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


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


Notes evidently on Newton's own laboratory experiments

Author: Isaac Newton

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

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00109


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


'Index Chemicus'

Author: Isaac Newton

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

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00019


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


'Of ye first Gate'

Author: Isaac Newton

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

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00042


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


Four alchemical verse allegories, in English.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 15, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00004


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


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


'Out of La Lumiere sortant des Tenebres' and 'Out of the Commentator on La Lumiere sortant de Tenebris [sic]' (c. 1687-92), incomplete.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Yahuda Ms. 30, National Library of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00061


'Anno 1656. Serenissimi Principis Frederici Ducis Holsatiæ et Sleswici &c. communicatione sequens epistola me sibi vendicat, inaudita memorans. Veni et vide'.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 24, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00013


'Thesaurus Thesaurorum sive Medicina Aurea'.

Author: Isaac Newton

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

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00050


Incomplete abstract of Yworth's 'Processus Mysterii Magni Philosophicus' condensed into five chapters (c. early 1690s).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 66, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00055


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


Miscellaneous alchemical notes and recipes

Author: Isaac Newton

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

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00202


'Collectiones ex Novo Lumine Chymico quæ ad Praxin spectant', 6 pp., and 'Arcanum Hermeticæ Philosophiæ Opus', 3 pp. (early 1669?).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 19, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00008


'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


'Notanda Chymica' (late 1660s).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: NMAHRB Ms. 1028 B, Dibner Library, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00080


Three alchemical verse extracts, in English.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 37, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00026


Notes on and excerpts from George Ripley's 'Clavis Aureæ Portæ', 'Medulla Alchimiæ', and 'Pupilla Alchemiæ'.

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 17, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00006


Notes and abstracts 'Ex Fabri Hydrographo Spagyrico' (f. 1r) and 'Ex Palladio Spagyrico' (f. 2r), with page references (1690s?).

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: NMAHRB Ms. 1024 B, Dibner Library, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00079


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.

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


mostly in English with some Latin and Greek


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.


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.


in English with some Latin and Greek


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.


in English


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'.


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.


in English and 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.

[18] 51 ff. several of which blank.


mostly in English but two sets in Latin


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.


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.


in French, Latin and English


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.


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


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.


in Latin

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


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.


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


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.


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


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


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.


in English with some Latin and Greek


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


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).

[41] 42 pp. on 33 ff.


mainly in Latin with some English


These are all taken from Elias Ashmole's Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum (1652: H93), 305-23, 393-6, 436 and 434 respectively.


'Out of Bloomfield's Blossoms' (an excerpt, beginning 'Father Time set me at ye gate'), 212 lines; 'A short work that beareth the name of Sr George Ripley', 92 lines (almost complete); and two 'Fragments', one untitled (beginning 'Let ye old man drink wine till he piss'), 8 lines, and the other headed 'The whole science', 11 lines.

[45] 8 pp.


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.


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'

[48] 61 pp. + 208 pp. blank.


mainly in Latin with some English


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.'

[51] 39 pp. on 20 ff.


The remainder of these notes had become detached before the Sotheby sale and were sold, together with a separate set of notes on the same work, as SL41, which is now Babson Ms. 414 (q.v. for further details).


The complete text, i.e. Yahuda Var. 1 Ms. 30 and Babson Ms. 414B, is transcribed with very useful introductory notes in Dobbs, Janus Faces, 278-87. H1003 is Newton's copy of the French text.


Abstracts translated [by Newton?] from La lumière sortant par soy même des tenebres (1687), itself a translation of a Latin translation of and commentary on an original text in Italian verse possibly by Otto Tachenius. The commentary begins on f. 1v. On the 'grand mercury of Philosophers' and analogies between alchemical transmutations and the original Creation. Includes occasional elucidatory notes by Newton in square brackets.

[55] 4 pp.


in English


Transcript of an anonymous alchemical manuscript, an English version of which appeared in Aurifontina chymica, published by William Cooper in 1680 (see Westfall, 'Newton's Index Chemicus', 176, n. 9).

[58] 7 pp.


in Latin


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.

[61] 5 pp. on 3 ff.


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


The Sotheby catalogue describes this as an abstract of the first five chapters of the work, but it is a five-chapter abstract of the whole work, or at least of as much of it as is preserved in the ten chapters of Keynes Ms. 65.


See Keynes Mss. 65 and 91, Hampshire Record Office Ms. NC 17 and Yale Mellon Ms. 80.

[65] 12 pp. on 7 ff.


in English


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


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.


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.)

[70] 5 pp. on 10 ff.


in English and Latin


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


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.

[74] 4pp. on 3 ff.


in English and Latin


Reproduced with German translation and commentary in Karin Figala's unpublished thesis 'Newton als Alchemist' (Munich, 1978). See Dobbs, Foundations, 152-5 and 160-62 for a fuller description and arguments for the dating; also Figala, 'Exakte Alchemie', 179. H1192 is the Sendivogius work in question: for the rest of Newton's Sendivogius collection see also H445, 1131 (the Musaeum Hermeticum reformatum, which includes tracts by Sendivogius) and 1485 (but H445, a French version, post-dates these notes if Dobbs's dating is correct). H1311 is his copy of d'Espagnet's La philosophie naturelle. Further notes on Sendivogius in Keynes Ms. 55, Yahuda Ms. Var. 259.4 and Babson Ms. 925, Dibner Institute.


Annotated extracts from Michael Sendivogius and Jean d'Espagnet respectively. The right-hand half of each page consists of exegetical notes, which in the first set are headed 'Collectionum Explicationes', and in both cases take up rather more space than the original citations. f. 3v has the column headings 'Arcanum Hermeticæ Philosophiæ Opus' and 'Explicationes'.


in Latin


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.'

[80] 7 pp. on 4 ff.


in English


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


Notes and extracts, with page references, chiefly from Michael Maier's Arcana arcanissima, though there is also reference to the 'Rosarium Philosophorum' from Zetzner's Theatrum Chemicum.

[84] 5 pp. (though there is only one word and a page reference on p. 5).


in Latin


These are all excerpted from Elias Ashmole's Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum (1652: H93), in which the works quoted from appear on pp. 1-106, 227-56, 275-7 and 257-68 respectively.


'Out of Norton's Ordinal', 200 lines; 'Out of Chaucer's Tale of ye Chanon's Yeoman', 12 lines; 'Out of ye work of Richard Carpenter', 14 lines. Followed by the heading 'Out of Dastins Dream', but this entry breaks off after only one line.

[88] 7 pp. on 4 ff


Taken from George Ripley, Opera Omnia, Chemica, quotquot hactenus visa sunt (Kassel, 1649: H1405).

[90] 8 pp.


in Latin


Both works cited are by the French alchemist Pierre Jean Fabré.


See H598 for Newton's copy of Fabré's complete works, and Dobbs, 'Newton Manuscripts at the Smithsonian', 106.

[94] 4 pp. on 2 ff.


in Latin

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