NEWTON A Londoner acquainted with Mr Boyle (Isaac Newton's Alchemical Notes - Keynes MS 26).

Isaac Newton, 1643-1727



(Alchemical Notes)

Isaac Newton

Cambridge, Keynes MS. 26, 
King's College Library, Cambridge University

On Monday March 2d or Tuesday March 3 1696,
(Julian Calendar)
A Londoner acquainted with Mr Boyle...

Consists of a note written by Isaac Newton regarding a mysterious "Londoner", 
a friend of Robert Boyle, who visits him and confirms a number of alchemical theories.

On Munday March 2d or Tuesday March 3 1696, A
Londoner acquainted with Mr. Boyle & Dr Dickinson making
me a visit, affirmed that in the work of Jodichus a Rhe
with Vitriol twas not necessary that the Vitriol should be purified
but the oyle or spirit might be taken as sold in shops
without so much as rectifying it. That the fire does not
destroy the life of the Oyle or Spirit in distilling it from
the red hot Vitriol. That two or three pounds of Oyle or Spirit
will not afford above half an ounce of fixt salt &
that the oyle affords more fixt salt then the spirit.
That the white spirit is in appearance like rain water
only sweet & fragrant, & that Dr Twisdens spirit as
Iodichus described it to him was genuine. That the white spirit
must be rectified seven times from its faex (feces) without
separating any flegm from it, & that in rectifying, it
will endure any heat without losing its life. That the
remaining matter for extracting the soul must not be calcined to a
red heat, but only well dryed, least the soul fly away.
That for extracting the soul the spirit must be digested
on this matter not two months but only till it appear well
coloured with the extracted soul. That when you draw
off the spirit from the soul you must leave the soul
not thick like honey or butter but thinner then oyle
so that you may pour it clean out of your glass
like a liquor & that it will keep better in moisture then
when too dry & therefore tis safest to err on that hand
there being no danger in keeping it too moist. I think he said
also that the soul must be volatized by the spirit, but I'm
sure tis so in the Process of Iodochus p 20 & those of Basilius with

☉ & other metalls Key 5 p 22. Test. p 123 lin 5 & p 154 l 17, 18, 19, 20
& p 166 lin ult & p 169 l 19, 20, 21. & p 170 l 19, 20, 21, 22. Et Sny
ders Pharm. Cath. p. 15 l. ult & p. 21 l 25

He told me also that when all the soul is drawn
extracted the remaining matter must be put in
a cruciple covered with a muffle or hollow cap of iron
like a bowl inverted & a fire made round about them
for an hour which cannot easily be too hot. Then the
salt extracted with the spirit & the matter calcined again
& extracted again as before & so on till no more salt
can be extracted. That he imbibed this fixt salt always
with eighth part of the spirit [perhaps 8, 10 or 12 times] &
that when it was so long imbibed till it became volatil
it was not necessary to sublime it. For all is pure, &
if in the sublimation any thing should remain below, that
would not be a heterogeneous impurity to be rejected but
an unripe part of the matter which by further imbibition
would be all ripened & volatized like the rest. And
that if in imbibing you should at any time use too great
heat, all the hurt would be only the loss of so much
matter as sublimes & drives upon the upper part of your
vessel. And that in every imbibition he let the matter
imbibed with 1/8 of the spirit continue in the cold for 3
days the better to unite them & then digested them
4 or 5 days more. And when he had finished the work
with the white spirit he imbibed in like manner with an
eight part of the red soule [perhaps 7 times] And that
when the 3 principles were joyned the menstruum becomes
a notable one. It then dissolves & volatizes all metals &
Gold dissolved & volatized may be digested with it to the end.
When he had finished the imbibitions (whether with
both the white & red spirits, or rather with the white alone
he said that the matter flowed with an easy heat but in

cold congealed & grew hard like a stone, & by digestion
passed through the colours black white citrine & red & in
the beginning if the decoction it fumed up like a cloud
as is described in the process of Jodochus Rhe. And that in
this decoction of the fire should go out for a while the
matter would not thereby lose its life or motion but go
on still when the fire is kindled anew. And that it never
putrefied but in the first decoction. Whence I seem to
gather that he putrefied with the white spirit alone &
multiplied only by imbibing with the red as is described
by Jodochus & Basil. This work he fermented by
multiplying melting with ☉ & said that the whole was finished in
9 months.

GEORGE RIPLEY - Rouleau alchimique (Bodleian Library - University of Oxford) - 15ème siècle

GEORGE RIPLEY - Rouleau alchimique (Beinecke Library - Yale University) - 15ème siècle

GEORGE RIPLEY - Rouleau alchimique (Huntington Library) - 15ème siècle

GEORGE RIPLEY - Rouleau alchimique (The Getty Research Institute)