Chapter 18

Of Mettals, and Minerals

METTAL (they say) is a perfect Mixt body generated in the Veins of the Earth out of Sulphur (🜍) and Mercury (☿) or Quicksilver by vertue of the heavens and Elements, of this the properties, Finding, degrees, etc:1

1. The Properties are fusile, ([or] Meltable,) and Ductile, (or Malleable) from the former it can be cast, and [by] the latter beaten into shape; and they say the more mercury in a Mettal the more fusile it is: Hence it follows that tin hath most of it, because it melts Soonest; and this is made more probable by the agreement, and Suddain combination of tin, and ☿ in the Artifice of the looking-Glasses.

Sulphur, and Quicksilver so Mettals make

T’will Shape by hammering, and melting take

2. The finding of Mettals is with hazard, Difficulty, and Labour.

1. With Difficulty, to Know where it is, and how to Get it.

1. Where the Mine is, For this some have minded dreams, [as] if God did hereby reveal to them where to Spead. Some talk of the Rosi-Crucian Rod, [c]ut under some Constellations, and conjunctions of the planets. Some have noted the Collour of Sheeps teath; others the Sands of Rivers. But I think it were best to mind the peculiar plants, and Sorts of Stones, and Earths near the places; where the Mettals are already found; and of them, or of the Mineral Stones, or Oar (as its caled) to reserve parcels by one, as Examples.

2. How to get [at it], when we know where [it is]; This is difficult Somtimes by the hardness of the Rock (which fire, and water, or Vinegar opens as Hannibal was said to make his way through the Rock of the Alps); Somtimes depth in the Earth, Somtimes Springs of Water rising in the bottom of the work, which must be drawn out by Pumps, (Mill-Pumps the best) or let out by adits (that is new wayes cut from the bottome of an adjoyning valley into the Roots of the hill where the Mine lyes.)

2. Labour in Digging So deep; Drawing out So much rubish; making many Shafts only for Air, piercing those Adits; and then Most of the work is wett and Dirty, So that a Man can hardly Stand to it 3 or 4 hours.

3. Hazards, and that in Estats, and Lives; Of Estates by the Vastness of the Expence, and uncertainty of profit. £9000 hath been laid out in one Adit in a tin Work which proved worth nothing when all was done. Of Lives Somtimes by Damps, and falling in of the Country, though great Expenses and labour be [placed] to the Account of Security, [by] Sinking many Shafts or Airholes, and framing in much timber to support the Earth where it is any way loose or suspicious.

Mr Bushell (once servant to my Lord Bacon, and a Projecting man) offered to dig through the root of a mountain (Cal’d [Hingsondown]) in Cornwall; So as the Veins of tin should be discovered the rubish whealed out, and not Cleaned up, the Springs also dreined by the Same passage; and Supply the Want of Shaft[s] for Air in So high a Mountain by Great Bellowes wrought with a Water Wheel the Wind conveighed in by artificiall pipes made fore the same purpose. An odd conceited proposal, Not Sufficiently understood by the Country to Encourrage them to adventure So much mony as was required to do it. Though to an Old proverb tis said.

If [Hingsondown] ware well a Wrought

t’ware worth London-town dear a bought

However the thing well considered may have Somthing material in it.2

3. The Degrees or Kinds of Mettals (for Men are not well agreed whether to call them degrees or Kinds) The Chymists say that all mettals are Speciffically the Same, only there are two great principles of constitution (🜍) which hath more of Earth, and (☿) more congenial to water, and according to the Various Combynations of these in Quantity and Quality, and their different purity, and Concretion, give the Various differences which we call the Kinds of Mettal.

Primary Mettals are accounted Six; Gold, Silver, tin Lead, Copper, Iron. [55]

1. Gold whose Chymical name is Sol, and Mark (☉) is Said to be of most pure, and best prepared Materials, hence it hath many Attributes, that transcend other Mettals, as Value, Weight, Duration, Ductility, Attraction, Medicinall Use, etc:

1. Value, £3 Sterling per oz; More If Perfectly fine. The finess is Estimated by Carrets; a Carret is 1/24 of one oz. [If Gold in the refiners fire lose nothing of] its Weight tis said to be 24 carrets fine (or Pure Gold) but if it be alleyed with baser mettal, (such as Silver, Copper, etc:) it looseth in Such fire some of its weight, by burning off Such baser mettal; Hence alleyed Gold, is 23, [22, 21], carrets fine according to the Loss in refining [of] 1, 2, or 3 Carrets; [the Allowed Alloy for Sterling Gold is ½ gr. so that the Metall is Reduced to the] finess of 23 Carrets 3 Gr. ½ ere it be accounted Sterling (or Standard) and therefore ere it be coyned for Mony, (Namly Angel-Gold, for Crown-Gold hath more alloy i.e. 22 Carrets fine will serve)3 or Ere it be tower touched, for Sale in vessels, that is marked with a stamp of Authorized to Judge of the true value.

2. Weight, the Greatest (for the bulk) of any Mettals for being compared to water the difference will [appear]

Gold is as 18½ to 1.

Mercury 14 to 1.

Lead 13⅗ to 1.

10,000 Sterling is Cal’d a tun of Gold.

3. Duration is supposed perpetual, when in Scripture tis cal’d Corruptible ([as] 1 Corinthians. [9], 25. 1 Peter. 1, 18.) tis not Said in respect of its nature, but our possession thereof. It never rusts, nor consumes with often melting (7 times a definite number put for an Indefinite, Psalms: 12, 6,) tis only purified, but not consumed; tis indeed dissolveable by Aqua-regis (🜇) and that only; but then tis only broke into small parts; for this dust precipitated (i.e. cast to the bottome of the Liquor) and collected may be again melted into a mass of the same weight, and vallue, ☿ will Change its colour and make it brittle, but that is soon recovered again by the fire.

4. Ductility or Extendableness beyond all, It may be beaten or stretched admirably thin; one Grain of Gold, beaten into leaves, will cover (as I remember) a yard square. And a Silver Ingett of 3 Inches gilt, will stretch in [wire many hundred yards,] and be all over gilt all the way. An Inch of [the] Wire may be divided into an 100 sensible parts (as is shewn in Geometry) and If the Wire be Superfine (as they call it) that is as small as a mans hair; one such hundredth part of the silver must be a verry small Quantity, but how much less must be the Gold that covers it

5. Attraction of Mercuriall, and Arsenick steams in a Wonderful manner for If one holds Gold in his mouth, and touch mercury with his finger or Toe the Gold (tis Said) will be seen [turned] white (but I would [in no wise] wish any body to be too bold in such Experiments least by drawing the mercuriall steams through the body they Get a Palsey.) I have seen a Gold ring tinged and broken (upon a fall to the Ground) by holding it a few minutes over a bladder of Mercury. Also I Know one that dayly Swallowed Pellets of Gold, (as Pills) to Extract the Mischeif done by Mercurial Medicines which dayly tinged the pellets even 5 years (and how much longer I Know not) after the mercury had been taken. Add to this what was Said of Dr Butler that he convinced Dr Moiheron that Prince Henry had been poisoned by putting a peice of gold in the corps mouth, and after a while taking it out tinged white,4 and hence perhaps ’tis said to have

6. Medicinal Virtue as a cordial; Pills are Guilt (not only to take off the [druggie] tast, but) to draw venemous steams from the principle parts to the bowels, where mingled with the Medicine [they] are carryed off therewith; I Know not how else it should be cordial, for Certainly no heat of mans stomack can digest it. besides this of attraction there is another way it helps by repercussion as of Scrop[h]ulus Tumours commonly called the Kings Evill (from the [fancy] that his touch doth Good) for it repells, and Dissipates the humours or Checks them from flowing faster than nature can subdue them, but this is no such Excellency, but lead partakes of the same

7. The place of Gold is where it is found; In Barbary tis found in the Sand washed off from the Mountains into the Rivers, but in the S.W. Parts of America tis Digged out of mines by the Spaniards Slaves. The Alchymists will tell you [that] tis the Soul of every mettall found where ever any mettall is, and that [it] is Extractable in small Quantity from each of them, they call [it] the Soul, and life of the Mettall, because when this is Seperated all the rest of the Mettal is brittle and drossy, and Good for nothing. [56]

There [is] a Story of a Dutch Skipper who Walking with Mr Godolphin5 to see his blowing house for tin, and Seeing a Goodly Quantity [melted] in the trough [having] its Glorious Golden surface (as is Usuall) Asked the Workmen merryly what he should Give them for so much tin as he could take out Sticking to his rod? They answered him what he pleased: He therefore bathing his rod several times in the fluid tin, alwayes wip’t off, and put into his pocket the little thin scales that Stuck to it; and So departed; After 5 Years he again visited Mr Godolphin, and gave him a Gold-ring with Mr Godolphin, arms upon it affirming that it was the same mettal that he had taken up with his rod. Upon this was cal’d to Mind that the same block of tin was Spoiled, and brake all to peices when it came to the Coynage, and that the tinners had Said that the Dutchman had Conjured, or poisoned it with [his] rod.

8. The Artifice of Gold by Alchymy came from the last consideration, [for] hence they took a Great Confidence of a transmutation of all mettals into Gold, by curing the Leprosities of them (as they Speak). This opperation is cal’d the finding of the Phylosophers stone; and tis affirm’d, that Some have done it, such are cal’d the Adepti; Sons of Art, Sons of Hermes, etc: Of this Number are Eminent Raimundus Lulius, who in the Dayes of our Henry 7th made (tis said) that Excellent Gold of which Rose-nobles ar[e] coyned. Yea Some say that afterward he Communicated the [noble] art to the Senate of Venice, and that they Exersise the Art (at this day) in their St. Marks Tower from whence come forth Continually unaccountable Quantityes of Gold, besides Lullius ware famous Paracelsus, Vanhelmont, and others of whom we shall not farther Insist.

9. The tests (or trials) whereby the reallity and [fineness] of Gold is discovered (Differing it from what is counterfeit, and Debased) are the [Load]-stone moved over or near the Gold; Sand Sold in Barbary by the Jews for thereby is seen if any fillings of Iron are Mingled amongst it. Also when melted down the refiners fire the touchstone weighing against brass in Water, and especially the Aqua Regis (🜇)

Pure Golds Weight worth, lasting Ductility

Attraction, Cordial, Place, art, what will try

2. Silver is the Second Mettal, and next in degree to Gold; This hath its name in Chymistry, (Luna,) and Mark (☽.) It has many Qualities like Gold in an Inferior degree. As its alley for Sterlin[g], by penny weights, (one penny weight is in value 3d [and then it is worth 5s per oz.]) Its weight in the same bulk is much less than that of Gold; twill beat thin but not as Gold, and Stretch its Wire beyond any Mettal, even in smallness beyond a Mans hair; which wire they call super fine (as is before noted) It rusts not but Cankers a little into a Pale blew, Consumes Somthing (but not much) in Melting; because its parts are of less compactness and weight, and so may Volatize away.

’Tis Dissolvable (as all [other] Mettals Except Gold) in Aqua fortis (🜅.) and a thin plate of it (as a [Groat], or thinner) rubed with brimstone, and held over a Candle, splits, and Moulders, because tis calcined; the powder of which paints Glass Yellow. It Cheifly comes from the West Indies, and high Germany diged out of Mines in an Oar not much unlike that of lead, or Antimony, and tis said that richer veines of lead have much of Silver in them. When the Oar lyes open to the Air it Somtimes sends fort[h] branches (like White Moss) of pure Silver, cal’d the Silver tree which is said to be Immitated by Some Chymists; who also pretend [to make factitious] real Silver by a Lower preparation of their phylosophers stone. Besides [which] there is a Counterfeit of it by blanching (i.e. by Whittning) Copper too well known by the knaves [who] Cheat by false Plate, or Mony. Its common tests, are the touchstone, and the fire, a vessell of it in Common Use is long [in] heating but then it holds heat long.

Golds Quallities are silvers in degree

Peculiar[s] are it[s] Wire, and Silver tree.

3. Tin its Chymical name is Jupiter marked thus (♃) is a fine Wite Mettal near the Colour of Silver. Tis the lightest of all mettals, and Soonest apt to Melt, (therefore fit for Solder) and of its self more brittle than any, and therefore tis mixed with lead, and Somtimes brass in Making of Pewter, but a greater Mixture, or brass, and Antimony Makes bell-mettal. It alone overlayes Iron plates to make lattin (or laid tin) which plates are hence called Vulgarly by its name tin. It foliates well, and the leafe thereof spread on the [glass] plate, and concorporated with (☿) cast upon them (which it presently doth) by pressing them close togather are made looking Glasses. Tis found Cheifly in Cornwall, and before Queen Mary’s dayes only [there] in the known parts of the world, but then persecution driving away tinners, they found it aliso in Bohemia. However it is yet a con-[57]siderable Staple to the [County] of Cornwall, and indeed to all England whose Merchants conveigh it away in Great Quantities, Especially to the Streights For Turkey. The Antient Phœnitians were wont to fetch it from hence yea, and to digg it with brazen Instruments some of which are found somtimes in our old tin works, and Some hence derive the name of Brittain which (say they) was given to this Island by the Phœnicians, in whose, and the Hebrew language, brittanack (the Name that they called us by) signifies the Land of tin. Its Value is various, and hath fallen in less than 20 years, from 6[£] to less than 3[£] per cwt: Yet the Præemption (or first buying) is accounted worth to the King £12000 per Annum. There is a Kind of tin in the East Indies called Tutenag, but wether it be natural, or factious of Silver, and tin, is a Quære.

[Cornish Tinn Brittains name did give, it passes

For Solder, Lattin, pewter, looking Glasses.]

4. Lead, Chymists call it Saturn Marked (♄) a common Mettal in many parts here in England; tis Especially found in Darbyshere, and [at Mendip in] Somersetshere; tis more heavy than any other Mettal, or Minerall except (☉) and (☿); and therefore its Used in bullets; Tis tough, and flexible above others yet not Extendible into Wire, as Silver, steal, and brass; It is allso Medicinally Used (as Gold) to repell humours, Beaten into thin plates, and [I] suppose a little Mercuriated on the one side; and because of this agreement with Gold in Weight, and Medicinall Use; tis supposed by some the fittest mettall for transmutation. The Canker of lead by Vinegar, is called Coruse; the flower, or Calcination is Wite-lead; this hig[h]er burnt makes red-lead, or Minium and these are Much used in plaisters, boiled up with Oil, bees-wax, Turpentine, etc: the price is small, about 6, or 7d per lb: It is therefore applyed to many common Uses, as Cisterns, and Pipes for Water, Covering of roofs of Houses, and of late Sheathing of Ships, for long Southern voyages; mixing [with] tin [in] Pewter, and that [many times too much] because of its Cheapness

Lead is a Common thing, to health conduces

for Pewter, Roofs, Pipes, Cisterns, other Uses.

5. Copper its Chymical name is venus, Marked thus (♀) its a very Usfull mettal, next in Value to Silver, about 1s 2d per lb: tis Cheifly found in the NE. Parts of Europe, about the Sound, (or baltick sea) where being plentifull tis Used (as we Use lead) for Pipes, and for Covering of houses, but in remoter parts for Vessels, Great boylers, furnaces, Kettles, Cups, Boxes, etc: yea tis coyned for small mony, in most parts of Europe, and because Silver, and Gold are more scarce in No[r]thern Countryes where Copper is plentifull, there Copper plates are the Computation of their riches, and pass in bartar instead of Monyes So that a bargain is satisfyed therewith, and a Maids portion is carryed home in Carts; Copper being blanched (as they Call it) immitates Silver; and being artificially Mingled with Caliminary stones makes brass; hence the Nautious tasts, and Vomitive power of Liquors that stand in that compounded Mettall. Its Canker or Verdigreace is of Good Cleansing power in outward applications to putrid Sores. Brass also is of a beautifull Golden colour, Makes Usefull and Comly [houshold] stuff; and Works Smooth Close, and Clean, for Stopcocks, Mathematical instruments, yea, and the finest Engines, [such as] Clocks, [and Watches. Compositions of Brass, Tinn, Iron and Antimony, make] Belmettall. Lastly Copper though its Colour be a reddish [y]ellow yet its tincture is blew, as is seen in the Chymicall opperations thereof. In its vitriol, (Caled the Roman Vitrioll,) the Great Material of the hopliatricum (i.e. Weapon Salve [or Sympathetick powder]) and in its Calx Used in the painting of Glass.

Copper makes Vessels doth for mony pass

Mixed makes bells, and Comly Usfull brass

The Weapon salve, and the blew Paint of Glass

6. Iron Cal’d Mars marked thus (♂) the Most common Usfull, and Necessary of all Metalls; because all tools for work conducing to the life, and Comfort of Man are [framed] hereof. Its hardness renders it fitt to make or hold, an Edge or Point: Now as line and point in Mathematicks are Apt to divide [quantities]; So these being but Solid and firm line, and point divide Physical bodyes the Subjects of Quantity. The Necessity of it further appears In those inventions of men [that] have wanted it, to supply [its] defect by a Sharp flint, a Fish-bone, etc: Amongst the Amerricans6 and Affricans unto this day [they] barter Gold for it allmost to even weight, Yea to Show their Esteem, and preferment thereof they wear it for Ornament as we do Golden Chains, about their necks and Arms. Among the Oar of Iron [is] found the Admirable Magnet, which is So Congeniall to this Metall that it draws it to its [58] self, and directs it to the North a Mystery of Nature, not only of admirable Use in Navigation, but of that subtilety, and Sublimity as deserves to be contemplated beyond any thing in Gold, or any other pretious terrene body. So [that] next to the light of the heavens, and the Alamentary Surface of the Earth we may well say blessed be God for Iron; to which the King himself is more [beholden] than to all [his] treasures Else. Iron when first Melted runs into Moulds, and makes Vessells, Guns, Chimney-backs, balconies, etc: but afterwards being hammered becomes more tough, and Elastick, or Springy; Especial[ly] Steal which is but Iron further heated, and beaten. If Iron be beaten into thin plates, and washed over with tin tis cal’d lattin, (as is before noted) and with brimstone t’will melt, and calcine for Medicine, or the Tincture of Glass black. Now to all these Excellences add that it is of small Value (1d per lb:) because of its plentifulness in most countryes. So good is God to Give most of the best things.

God gives us Iron, the most Usfull thing,

Its Edge, Point, Magnet, Calx, plate, Steal, and Spring.

And thus of Mettalls properties, Finding, degrees, or Kinds, and now at last of its

4. Composition of diverse of these Simples, either with pure mettal, (as lead, and tin [for] Pewter) or with some mineral, (as [copper with] Lapis Caliminaris for brass) Iron or Any other Mettal (Except lead) with antimony for bell metall. There may be many other Mixtures for various Uses, as mens occasions require, and the Artist please: So in Spelter, [Alchymy], Metalline Speculums, [printing] letters, etc: of [all] which Mixtures this is to be noted, that Mixture makes it hard, Stiff, brittle, and apt to Vibrate, or ring; and what is thus composed by the founders may again be analized, and resolved by the refiners.

Of Metalls, propertyes, and how to find,

Know its Degrees, or [Kinds], and how combin’d

And So Much for Metalls, after which, and Stone, follows

[3.] Middle Minerals which are neither fully Stone nor Metall but partake somthing of both, and being Generally Fusile, not Ductile, Such as Salt, Sulphur, (☿) and its Arsenick fossile, Alume, Antimony, Marcassi[t]e, or mundick, and its Vitriol extracted from it by art, Tin Glass, Calony, or Lapis Caliminaris, etc: All which are a Sort of Imperfect Metall or Mineral juyces, contributing to the constitution of Mettalls; and [where] they [are they] doe Generally Infect the Springs of Water rendering them heavy, rough, Acid purgative, etc:

Minerals imperfect Metalls, are; Earth juices

turn fountain Water into Medic-Uses.