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An accompt of some books.
II. Joh. Joachimi Becheri. Spirensis Med. Doct. Experimentum Chymicum Novum, quo artificialis & instantanea metallorum generation & transmutation ad oculum demonttratur. Francofurti, A.1671 in 8o.
Philosophical Transactions Roy Soc 6 (74) 14 Aug 1671, 2232-2235.
Transcribed by Alan Pritchard.

The tract was written by the authour as a supplement to his Physica Subterranea, likewise printed at Frankford, about two years since, though yet but in part, there being hitherto extant only the first book of the two, of which it is to consist: which first part (to give some accompt of it on this occasion) undertaketh to explain both the abstruse generation of subterraneous things, and the admirable fabric of the super-terraneous and subterraneous complex globe of earth, air and water: promising to deliver hereafter in the second book, the particular nature of under-ground bodies, and withal to teach the resolution of them into parts and the proprieties of those parts; together with an Appendix that shall contain a great number of chymical mixtures, never seen before, and grounded upon numerous experiments. We cannot forbear giving the reader, of that great variety of matter and trials, contain'd in the said first book, one very considerable experiment, said to have been actually made by the authour himself, and which seems worth repeating for further observations and improvement. It is in short this, as it may be found p.170, 171 Physicae Subterraneae.

Having a mind, for a certain end, to melt a Jasper, he saith, he put it into a crucible, and actually melted it by an intense fire, and some other requisites necessary to the operation. But to the end that no coals might fall into the past[e], he cover'd and luted the crucible, which was about half fill'd with Jasper-stone: which being now melted, he open'd the crucible when cool, and, to his great wonder, found at the bottom the Jasper melted together into one mass, as hard as before, but milk-white and half opaque, resembling a natural white Agat; but the cover, and the upper parts of the crucible, that were un-fill'd, and could not be touched by the Jasper in the melting, were tinged with the natural colour of the Jasper; insomuch that if there had been the hardness of a Jasper and the colour not superficial only, the fragments of the crucible might have been sold for the best and most polish'd Jasper, having here and there greenish streaks and specks, the rest being red and yellowish; all so beautiful, that a good painter would scarce have been able to imitate those various colours. Of this, the author saith, he keepeth still the peices [sic!] in his laboratory at Munchen in Bavaria, as a very extraordinary treasure; esteeming that those upper parts were tinged by the anima of the Jasper, driven up by the force of the fire from its inferiour part, and adhering to the body of the crucible.

Having thus related this uncommon experiment, we shall proceed to say something of the contents of this supp[l]ement, which occasion'd that relation. It seems then, that the learn'd Dr. Rolsink, Professor of Physick in the University of Jena in Upper Saxony, in his book, entitled, Chymia in Artis formam redacta, affirms, that the current Mercury of bodies is a non-Ens: which our author looking upon as an ungrounded and precarious assertion, labours in this tract to confute it, from authority, reason and experiment, as may be seen pag. 81, &c. That which we shall take here particular notice of, is that chymical experiment, which giveth the title to the book, and is called New, alledged to prove the real and sudden generation and transmutation of metals. You may take it thus, if you please;

He took common brick-earth, dry'd it in the air that it might be sifted; then poured so much linseed-oyl upon it as that he might role it into little balls, of the size of the retort's neck, which they were to be put into, to the end, that the distillation being made, he needed not to break his retort for the taking out of the Caput mortuum, but might reserve it for other use. That the fire might the more forcible penetrate those globules, than if the matter were in one mass, he filled the retort with them, and by degrees distill'd them with an open fire, during an hour or two. This distillation being finish'd, he found in the recipient an oyl almost like that, which he saith is improperly call'd Oleum Philosophorum; then the retort being cool'd, he took the little balls out of it, which not being found red, by so strong a fire, but very black, he suspected that blackness proceeded from the oyl, some terrestrial parts of which, being fix'd and sever'd by vertue of the brick-earth, might there have assumed a body; which of what kind it was, was now further to be examin'd by trial. Having therefore beaten small these black globuls, and sifted them, he put them into a dish, and having powr'd some common water upon it, he stirr'd it; then being grown turbid, he gently powred it off, and powred on fresh clear water, still stirring the matter: which he so often repeated and continued, till the water came clear away and there remain'd at the bottome of the dish a ponderous black sediment, which from its weight and sudden subsidence, as also from its dark colour he suspected to be of a metallick, and indeed of an iron nature; which being dry'd upon paper, upon an application of a load-stone, was thereby attracted in several grains, which by all proofs he found to be very good iron.

Esteeming hence, that sulphureous spirits may be fixed by a certain earth as their matrix' he siath, that he employ'd the same method with all minerals, sulphurs, and mercury it self, and accordingly melted various minerals with various earths and clays; whereby he discovered many truths and transformations. And to convince his readers of the reality of this experiment, he spends a whole chapter to prove the truth of the matter of fact, and of the genuiness of the iron produced; examining withal, whether that iron thus produced had not been latent either in the earth, or in the oyl, and so might have impos'd upon him; and having found, it had not, he inquireth, what may be the metallick cause in general in this experiment; and in particular, what the ferrisick (if we may be allow'd to frame such a word) or the iron-making principle, &c.

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