Roth Mallor's Work
Alchemical Manuscript by Isaac Newton
- Circa 1692
Written in Isaac Newton's hand, Roth Mallor’s Work consists of extracts from the work of Erasmus Rothmaler, a German alchemist about whom essentially nothing is known. Text found on verso is two unrelated chemical recipes for "a menstruum that will disolve gold" and "a menstruum for resolving bodies like the Alkahest but not so potent."
This manuscript sheds light on a story involving three prominent thinkers of late-17th-century England: Isaac Newton (1643-1727), John Locke (1632-1704), and Robert Boyle (1627-1691). After Boyle's death, Newton, with the help of Locke, pursued Boyle's collection of alchemical processes to uncover the secret of metallic transmutation. This manuscript, written by Newton, contains the first and third period of the transmutation process drawn from a manuscript tract sent to Boyle by Erasmus Rothmaler. It serves to prove Newton's and Locke's interest in alchemical transmutation and their collaboration. A diary entry of Locke's dated May 10, 1692 contains the third-period recipe verbatim, except in Latin rather than English, along with the recipe found on the verso of the manuscript.
|Creator of work|
A catalogue of the Portsmouth collection of books and papers written by or belonging to Sir Isaac Newton, chemistry parcel 4, item 7 (p. 16).
Catalogue of the Newton papers... sold by auction by Messrs. Sotheby and Co.... On Monday July 13, 1936, and Following Day., lot 18c (p. 3).
The Roy G. Neville Historical Chemical Library, vol. 2, p. 658.
|Place of creation|
|Rights||Public Domain Mark 1.0|
|View in library catalog|
Newton, Isaac. “Roth Mallor's Work,” circa 1692. QD14 .N498. Science History Institute. Philadelphia. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/46k32ki.
This citation is automatically generated and may contain errors.
Roth Mallors work
Take of ☿ x^[℔] Cleans it w^[th] 1^[℔] of flowers of [alchemical symbol for sulphur]
vive 24 hours. To these x^[℔s] take ℥i of o^[E] Min. Soap
(vir) shake it w^[th] y^[e] ☿ so y^[t] it may first embo-
dy w^[th] it & afterwards by further agitation be spued out by
it. This work may last 24 hours or more. To [y^[t]] same
☿ ad ℥i more of y^[e] soap & work as before. This do 7 times
Then before any Durca be added the matter must be
kept in agitation as before for at least 7 days (for twill
be better if it be fourteen) adding no soap to it, the soap
being to make it through out any feculence y^[t] may yet
lye concealed in y^[e] ☿ in y^[e] form of a powder (whereby
y^[e] ☿ will remain y^[e] purer.
The 3^[d] Period.
Divide y^[e] last ℥iv of ☿ into 7 parts set this āāā (made
of y^[e] prepared ☿ & Copper) in digestion & imbibe it w^[th]
one part of y^[e] ☿ first, & in about 24 hours twill be dried
in y^[e] warmth of a M.B. So do 7 times in all making this
seven imbibitions w^[th] y^[e] ☿. Seal it up & digest it in a
heat of Balneum (not hotter) for 6 weeks. Then take it
out & divide this stuff into 8 parts. And put one part
of this your prepared ☿ vir^[t] this stuff into a fresh egg-glass
strong & of such a size that it may be able to contein
the whole ☿ & y^[e] whole stuff & yet remain three
parts empty & digest about 8[scribble] eight days & thereby
reduce it to pouder & so upon the new made pouder
put successively the other 8^[th] part or ounce [& after
that a 3^[d] & then y^[e] 4^[th] &c] (so y^[t] you will have in
all ℥xvi) & at last give it a fixing heat with a strong
fire w^[ch] may be about 24 hours. The first Rotation
goes upon [space] of melted ☽.
From Quick lime sublimate * extract y^[e] salt out of the caput
mort. Tis a very fusible ^[fixt] salt. Pour upon it 1/10 of its weight
of spirit of niter or Aqua fortis & you will have a menstruum
w^[ch] will dissolve gold.
℞ butter of ♁ per deliquied. Digest it in a heat like that
of blood. It will putrefy grow black & afterwards clear again
& dissolve metall then be a menstruum for resolving bodies like
y^[e] Alkahest but not so potent.
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