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Sir Robert Paston to Dr. Browne.

[BIBL. BODL. Ms. RAWL. cccxci.]

Parson's Greene, the 19th of September, [1662.] WORTHY SIR,

You may justly wonder my pen has beene soe long a stranger to you, though, through manie removes, I could never till now com att my meddalls. All I have of the Brittish and Saxon I have this day sent you in a box, by the Norwich coachman, which I hope will be with you this night, with a large one of Heraclius, and some copper ones, which I hope are good. The manuscript of Dunstan and Beniamin Lock, I find verbatim in print, but nott the coronatio naturæ, though I have the same figures in another manuscript, without explication uppon them.

This ring with the head of Vespasian, which I esteeme verie good, I desire your finger may honor, I having worne itt on my owne, as the best I could find of that kind.

Sir, I desire the favor of you, by the returne of the coachman, to send me your two manuscripts of Mayerne, there beeing somthing in one of them which I immediatelie intend to putt in execution.

My wife has the ill fortune to be attacqued with a quartan ague, which is soe much the worse, she beeing within two months of her time.

My humble service to your ladie and my cousin Le Gross, and, sir, if you have anie notion that you please to communicate, in order to the old affaire I discoursed to you att Norwich, I shall hope to give you an accompt of itt in som short time; for I have delayed my self in vainelie endeavouring to fix a volatile spiritt on itts fixed salt; when I am master of the way, bringing the fixed part over in a volatile water, which, after circulation, I hope will performe the promises of Raymund Lullie. Your good bints may be a meanes to aduance my design which will oblidge, Sir, your verie humble servant,


Sir, be pleased to direct your letter, as also the bookes, to Mr. George Clayton's, att the Crowne, in Lombard-street, London.

Sir Robert Paston to Dr. Browne.

(BIBL. BODL. MS. RAWL. cccxci.]

Oxnead, April the 5th, 1669. HONORED SIR,

On Saturday night last, going into my laboratorie, I found som of the adrop (that had beene run foure or five times in the open ayre, and euerie time itts ætheriall attracted spiritts drawne of from itt) congealed to an hard candied substance, the which I ordered my man to grind in a marble to attenuate itts parts, and make itt more fitt for attraction, and comming in in the operation, I chid my servant for grinding itt where white lead had before beene ground, for I found it from itts fuscye red color, louke licke white lead ground with oyle, butt more lustrous, and he to convince that the stone was cleane, ground som of the same before my face on a tile, with another muller, which came to the same color and viscositye. I must confess that gave me a transport to find the ayre had worked such an effect. Uppon about half a pound of this I cohobated 3 som of itts ætheriall spiritt, which itt nottwithstanding tinged red, and I am now drawing itt of againe, for I think I had better have exposed itt in itts consistence to the open ayre againe, though I find itt hard to run into anye thin substance; yett perhapps the viscous matter may be more pretious, and by often grinding, exposing, and distilling, itt may att last goe a white and spiss water, such an one as philosophers looke after, or att least be fitt to receiue, and be acuated with, the ..... and saline parts of the ætheriall spiritt, when that operation comes in hand if itt affords us anye that way. I haue given Mr. Henshaw an accompt of this which I

3 Distilled again.

4 Acidified.

beleeve will please him, and I desire your advice in the point how to proceed upon't, for certainlye if these matters have anye truth in them, wee are upon the brink of a menstruum to dissolve mettalls in generall. The keys are not yett fitted to your table, butt I hope will be by Thursday, my service to your ladye, and excuse this relation with that generous condescention that allowes you to consider even the lowest thinges.

Sir, I am,
Your humble servant,


The Earl of Yarmouth to Sir Thomas Browne.

(BIBL. BODL. MS. RAWL. cccxcı.]

Septembr. the 10th, 1674. HONORED SIR,

The great ciuility of your letter is an obligation I haue som time layne under, adiourning my returne on purpose that I might haue som thinge to discourse. My friend, Mr. Henshaw, (who is lately returned from his employmt. of envoye extraordinary in Denmark,) and has brought over with him many curiositys; the principle of which lyes in the Unicornes horne, in which he has as much as he prises att foure or five hundred pounds, beeing three very long hornes of the fish called puach and seuerall peeces; many rarityes of amber; great store of succinum beeing found about those shores, and a very large peece he gave mee, which was found in the earth many miles from the sea, he has one piece in which a drop either of water or quicksilver is included, which turnes round as the amber is moved, and severall with insects in them. He confesseth he had licke to have beene cheated by a merchant with a piece that had somwhat included in itt, which he found to bee rosin, and wee have a way to counterfeitt itt very handsomely, which he has taught mee, and, if wee had a workman to help us, might doe many pretty thinges of that nature. He has seuerall peeces of the mineralls of Dronthem ; he has brought over a vegetable called the alga saccharifica, which, when he putt itt in the box, had nothing on the leaves, and in bringing has attracted a matter in tast and feeling licke sugar. He tells mee the former King of Denmark was curious in all manner of rarities, and has one of the best collections of that kind in the world, as allsoe a most famous library of choyse collected bookes, butt this king's delights are in horses, and the discipline of an army, of which he has thirty thousand brauely equipped, which Mr. Henshaw saw encamped att the rendevous att Colding, in Juteland; allsoe a potent navy ready to assist those that will pay the most for them. The king, att his comming away, gave him considerable presents to the value of betweene five and six hundred pounds, and has written such a character of him that I feare may invite him thither agayne, if our king has any occasion to send one. He was there acquainted with the principle physitian, one Bouchius, a great louer of chymistry, butt I thinke nott much experienced in itt, who assumed that leafe gold by continuall grinding for som fourteen dayes, and then putt into a retort in nudo igne yields som dropps of a bloud red licquor, and the same gold exposed to the ayre, and ground againe, doth toties quoties yield the same; this is now under the experiment of a physitian in this towne, to whome I gave the process to undertake the tryall, and shall bee able shortly to give you an accompt of itt. I have little leysure and less convenience to try any thing heere, yett my owne salt will sett mee on work, having now arrived to this that I can with foure drachmes of itt dissolve a drachme of leafe gold into an high tincture, which by all the art I have is nott seperable from the menstruum which stands fluid, and is both before and after the solution of the gold as sweet almost as sugar, soe farr is itt from any corrosive nature. I am gooing to seale up two glasses, one of the menstruum with gold dissolved in itt, and another of the menstruum per se, and to putt them in an athanor, to see if they will putrify, or what alteration will happen. I have att Oxned seene this salt change as blacke as inke, I must, att the lowest, have an excelent aurum potabile, and if the signes wee are to judge by in Sendivogius description bee true, I have the key which answers to what he says, that if a man have that which will dissolve gold as warme water doth ice, you have that out of which gold was first made in the earth. My solution is perfectly agreeable to itt; dissolves itt without hissing, bubble or noyse, and doth itt in frigido : that which encourages mee is that I shall make my lump with spiritt of wine, which I could never by under twelve shillings a quart, and now heere is one, which Prince Rupert recommended mee to, that sells it for eighteene pence the quart, and will fire gunpowder after itts burnt away in a spoone, and answers all the tryalls of the highest rectified spiritt of wine. I shewed some of itt to Dr. Rugeby, who thinkes itt must com from molosses, butt whatever itt comes from there itt is in all qualities bearing the highest tryalls of spiritt of wine. Sir, I pray take my thankes for

5 Created Earl of Yarmouth, Jan. 1673.

6 Amber.

7 Furnace.


kind remenibrance of mee, and if you can recommend mee to any author that can further enlighten my understanding pray doe. My wife ioynes with mee in the presentments of our services to your lady and yourself. I begg your pardon for tiring you with soe many words to soe little purpose,


am, Sir, your most humble servant,


Sir Thomas Browne to Elias Ashmole.



Norwich, Oct. viij, 1674. HONORD SIR,

I give you late butt heartie thancks for the noble present of your most excellent booke; which, by the care of my sonne, I receaved from you. I deferred this my due acknowledgment in hope to have found out something more of Dr. John Dee, butt I can yett only present this paper unto

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