Chapter 17

Of Perfectly mixt bodyes, and first of Stone

A PERFECTLY mixt body is defin’d by the Antients, that which is constituted of a proper, Solid, and more durable temper of the Element.1 That is when the site and figure of the particles, do contribute to their better adhæsion (as latter men explain it) its either Inanimate or Animate.

1. Inanimate is 3 fold, Stone, Metal, and Middle Mineral. These are distinguished by fusibility (or Me[l]tableness) or ductillity, (or Hammerableness) into shape; for mettall is fusile, and Ductile, Mineral fucile not ductile; but Stone is neither one, nor other, for fire burns it to Ashes; and a hammer brusses it to powder; and therefore ’tis the Opposite to mettal [in its Essentiall Qualities].

1. Stone may be defin’d Earthy parts firmly adhering togather, the Antients defined it a mixt body, Generated of dry Earthy Exhalation mixt with a Watry Clammyness, not dissolveable by heat or moisture. But this is lame of 2 legs; for 1st the matter seams to be more Solid than an Exhalation; and the Clamminess of water is but a weak Cement for so firm a body. Again the Water dissolves it not because its coldness contributes rather to the fixation of its parts; yet the heat of fire we see will do it; yea the Very fire-stones (so called because of their ability to [bear] fire long) will not alwayes hold out, as we see by the nead such furnaces have of repair; as in steell-mills, Glass-houses, etc: The Generation of Stone may therefore be thus better conceived; We will therefore Supose the first matter to be some fluor or Moisture in which is dissolved some Nitre of the Earth; This Solution by Quiet, Cold, and the [fixing] nature of Salt becomes hard; as we see salt doth Christallize in brine; or as Vitriol in its liquor; This Coagulation begun in one small place Chills the Adjoyning Earth already moistened with the like disposed fluor, and So that also accresces, and Sticks to the former, which (according to the naturall Inclination of all things) assimulates it to its self; and in the Work of Accresion, and assimulation it proceeds untill it finds no more such Imbibed Earth. In process of time the Saline and Earthy parts being well fixed the Watrey doth evaporate, and so the stone gets a sufficient hardness. But then the fixation, and Indurescence drawing the parts closer togather; in some place or Other the parts must Seperate; as in a floor Green laid, the boards being fastened must in their drying have their parts shrink togather, leaving Clefts, and Crannyes: so it is in this affair. And thus are made those clefts of the rocks, which are the Alembecks of fountains, (as is before noted) This Hypothisis (or Supposition) seams to be favoured by the Experience of some men; who carve, and Grave in stone; for these find the moist stones will cut, and shape better in the Quarry (while they are more soft and tough) than when they are hardened and made brittle, by being removed into the open air.

Stones Generation may be thus express’d

Fluor, Coagulate, and Earth accresc’d.

The Kinds of Stone, are precious, and Vulgar

1. Precious stones are such as are not common, but for their Vertues or beauty are far fetched, and dear bought.

1. Their Virtues Such as the magnet (of which before) the hematite or bloud stone, which stenches bloud not by Effluviums or steams (for then the Stone would wast) but by the passage of our bodyes steams through the pores of the stone, and returning again to the pores of the body whereby they bring with them either some peculiar degrees of motion or a certain stiptical or fixed tinge which cause the spirits to be sedate, and retire the bloud to coole, and coagulate or thicken, in the Orifice of its Issue, and So its flux to stop. The Viper stone from the Indies is said to cleave fast to the bitten place, till it Sucks out all its venome; and then falling off it must be laid in milk to draw the Venom again out of the stone or else the stone will break and be Spoilled. Irish slate good against bruises and clotted bloud. The Amythist [(says Pliny)]2 has its name from its power to prevent drunken-[53]ness; and diverse other stones have Virtues ascribed to them rather (I doubt) from fancy, than experience.

2. Their beauty which consists in transparency or Colour or hardness, or fineness of Gritt rendering them apt to polish. A Glossy pollish with good transparency gives the water of a Stone so much talked [of] by the Lapidaries

Stone price in Vertue and its beauty placed,

When with transparence, Colour, Gloss, tis graced

These Precious Stones are either, Smaller or Larger.

1. Smaller fit for Gems, (as Diamond, Rubie, Topas, Jacinth, [Turcois] of the old, and New rock, Chrisolite etc:) The Origen of Gems (saith Mister Boile, as I remember on that Subject)3 is a coagulation of a fluor in which is no mixture of [Gross] Earth, but only of Salts; first dissolved in water, and afterwards fixed again, and he thinks this may be suddainly done; as in the Christallization of Salt vitrioll, etc: (before mentioned) this I know that in Cornish tinworks lumps of pure Christal are found in the Caverns of the Rock, with which they have not the least Affinity; and in the Clefts also are found multitudes of Cornish Diamonds which are all Sex-angular, and pointed after one fassion, Shooting forth from a Stone of Quite another nature as if they had roots, and grew thereon. The Vallue of Gems (supposing their figures, waters, Colours, and Cleaness alike) is according to their magnitude or weight increasing still in Duplicate proportion: So that their weights are but the foots of their prises. This is asserted by Dr. Petty,4 and is corrispondent enough with the practice of Jewellers; So that in their Estimation a Diamond of decuple weight is of Centuple vallue more than another; as if one Carret (a carret in stones is 3 Gold Graines) be worth 10s then a Stone of ten carrets is (not only worth 10 times 10s that is £[5] but) worth 100 times 10s that is £50 [yea, they say (as I remember) that after 10 carrets every carret is worth £5] as far as 15 carrets, thence onwards to 20 Carrets. One Carret is worth £10, and So onwards increasing the Value to 20, 30, 40, £50, etc: for one Carret added to a Great stone from whence we may see how a stone arises to such a prodigious value as £100000 which if it ware broken into 3, or 4, peices might not be valued at £20, and that the addition of one carrel to a Great Stone may add to its value a £100 whereas the same addition to a small stone may not be worth 20s.

2. Larger precious Stones fit for use in buildings, as for Chimney peices, tables, etc: Such are marbles of diverse Colours, Agats, Alablaster, of which also is made plaister of Paris, the Italian stone, which represents Landscaps of trees, buildings, etc:

Of precious stones the worth you may conclude

From Water, Colour, Shape, and Magnitude.

2. Vulgar Stones such as are most common, and least valued, are Exotick, and Homebred.

1. Exotick, forreign, or remote procured for speciall uses such as the canestone for mils; the Norweigh-stone for Whetting, and Grinding tools, the hone from Italy, the Poliphant from Cornwall, the firestone, etc:

2. Domestick Hombred, or more common in many places which may be ranked into 2 Classes slates and lumps.

1. Slates that Split into thin plates, or lamines, or at least into even Surfaces; of these are two sorts in Cornwall, the blew and the Gray.

1. The fine blew Used for covering of houses, (not only at home but) sent abroad as far as London, France, Holland, etc: The best is denebouls[t]one of a Greenish blew, rings like Glass, and lyes on an house hundreds of years without rotting or mouldering. Those that are taken out of Clefts near the sea in some other places, (though they look as well to colour, yet they) prove very ill for use, for that they alwayes Sweat in [moyst] weather and soon rot the Laths.

2. The Gray slate that splits not so thin, and therefore is Used for building walls, the best is that which hath Good head, and bed, and not too many veines or Joynts in which they will be apt to crack. Besides these there is a rough [slate] of freet stone body Commonly Used for Covering about Oxford, and the Middle of England, where the sea doth not favour them with conveyance of better.

2. Lump stones that Split not thin but break any way; such are the Sparr, flint, freet stone, of all kinds the hard pebble, the Dunstone, some kinds of Marie, and Chalk, these 3 last are said to improve land and make it Good for Corn:5 The Dunstone I know is a sign of Good land, and about bath many plowed lands are all covered with them; which sorts of lands they Call stone brash, light, that which hath small stones, and heavy that which hath Greater. In the tin country are two sorts of very hard [54] stone the one a dark and Blewish Rock; which as a Wall in many places incloses the tin. The other a Gray Spangled Stone, Called Mores[t]one Wonderfully Strong for building, and is Shaped handsomly by the peck: as freet stone by the Chyzall.

Stones Vulgar have their Use in all mens hands,

For Edging, building, fencing, bettering lands.