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Chambers, Ephraim, 1680 (ca.)-1740 / Cyclopædia, or, An universal dictionary of arts and sciences : containing the definitions of the terms, and accounts of the things signify'd thereby, in the several arts, both liberal and mechanical, and the several sciences, human and divine : the figures, kinds, properties, productions, preparations, and uses, of things natural and artificial : the rise, progress, and state of things ecclesiastical, civil, military, and commercial : with the several systems, sects, opinions, &c : among philosophers, divines, mathematicians, physicians, antiquaries, criticks, &c : the whole intended as a course of antient and modern learning
(1728)

Alguazil - anagram,   pp. 61-82 PDF (20.5 MB)


Page 63


A L ,
A . K
(6g)
wvhich by lkngth of time, or Come other Caufe, are become
ony, or eveti earthy; as the fbfiul Unicorn's Horn, 8ec.-,.
Lallly, almoft all Stone Marine Plants, as Coral, Uc.
After all, the Alkaline Property does not appear to be na-
tive, but rather producible by Art.-This Opinion feems
to have been firit flarted by Helmont: before him, it was
the flanding Opinion, that Fix'd Alkalies pre-exiffed in
mix'd Bodies; and were only feparated or extricated from
the Parts of the Compound. flelmont advanced, that they
did not thus pre-exifi in their alkaline Form, but were Pro-
ductions of the Fire, by whofe violent Aaion, part of the
Salt which in the Concrete is all volatile, lays hold of fome
part of the Sulphur of the fame Body; and both melting
together, are fixed into an Alkaly: which Fixation he ex-
emplifies, by what happens when Salt-petre and Arfenick,
tho both volatile, being expofed to the Fire, are flux'd by
the Operation thereof, and made to fix each other.
Some late Chymifis, and particularly M. Geoffiroy, carry
the Point fomething further, and alfert, that all Alkaly
Salts whatever, both Fix'd and Volatile, are wholly the Ef-
fecl of Fire; in that before any Ad.ion of the Fire, they
did not pre-exifl in the Mixt wherein they afterwards ap-
pear'd. See FIRE.
Notwithfianding all the feeming Oppofition and Hoffility
between Acids and Alkalies, they may be converted into one
another; at leafl, Acids are convertible into Alkalies ; as is
fhewn at large by M. Geoffrey in a Difcourfe exprefs, in the
Mme. de l'Acad. An. 1717, where the Nature and Origin
of Alkalies is excellently explain'd.
.jkaly Salts, according to this Author, are only Acids
concentrated in little Molecules of Earth, and united with
certain Particles of Oil, by means of Fire.
When an Acid, which we conceive in the general as a
fmall, folid, pointed Spiculum, happens to be abforb'd or
concentrated in a proper Portion of Earth ; the whole be-
comes denominated a Saline, Compound, Neutral, or Inter-
mediate Salt; by reafon the Acid, thus inclofed in a Sheath,
cannot excite the fame Savour as when difengzag'd there-
from ; and yet excites a faline Tale: and for this reafon is
compound, cWC
Now, Fire is the only Agent capable of difengaging the
Acid, from the Earth it is thus invelled withal. Upon this,
the Acid being lighter than the Earth, rifes, and evaporates;
leaving the Earth at the bottom of the Veffel; which for
this Reafon is called Fix'd, in contradiflinaion to the Acid,
which is Volatile. This Earth, thus bereav'd of its Acid, is
left with its Pores open and empty, which before were
fill'd; and withal, in fuflaining the Adion of Fire, it necef-
farily retains fome of the Particles thereof, which give it
an acrimonious Tale, that mere Earth could never have.-
From this Tale it is called Salt; and from its Pores being
open, and thus difpofed to admit and imbibe new Acids, it
is called Alkaly Salt. See EARTH, SALT, CeC.
Now, it is not to be imagin'd, that an Earth which has
once been impregnated with Acids, can ever be perfedtly di-
vefiled thereof; there will flill remain Come, tho much lefs
than before. So that an Alkaly may be conceived as only a
too fmall Quantity of Acid, inclofed in too large a Quantity
of Earth.
The vifible and fenfible Fire is not the only Agent capa-
ble of Separating Acids from their Earth ; Fermentation has
the fame BElle, in virtue of that pure acdive Fire produced
or concern'd therein. Alkalies, therefore, are the Produc-
tion, either of the one, or the other Fire; and the fame
may be faid of the Acids difengag'd therefrom ;it being
the Dif-union of the Parts of the fame Salt occafion'd by
Fire, that yielded both the Acids as well as the Alkalies.
All the Dif*erence is, that the Alkaly imbibes and retains
certain Corpufcies of the Fire, whereas nothing foreign is
fuperadded to the Acid.
On this Principle every Acid is volatile, and every Alkaly
Thould be fix'd, if the Alkaly were only Earth: But, in re-
gard the little Acid fll remaining in the Alkal, may be
united with a Portion of Oil, as well as a Portion of Earth;
and Oil is known to be volatile; the Compound, that is,
the Alkaly, muff be volatile, in cafe the Oil prevail therein.
In this Cafe, the Alkaly is found to have a firong, pene-
trating, urinous Tale and Smell; and is what we call a Vo-
latile urinous Alkaly Salt.
Thefe things well confider'd; it will be eafy to affign
what mull enfue upon the Separations, or new Unions of
the Parts of a Mixt.
An Acid, 'tis evident, may become an Alkaly, in that after
having been Separated from its Matrix, it may be reflored in a
fmall Quantity to another Matrix, either wholly earthy or
earthy and oleaginous.-In the firft Cafe, it will become a
Fix'd Alkaly; in the fecond, it may be, a Volatile Alkalyj
if in the fuppofed Matrix the Proportion of Oil prevail over
that of Earth ; and in this Cafe it will be urinous.
Again, what before was a fix'd Alkaly, may become Vo-
latile and Urinous, by depofirting or letting go part of its
Earth, and taking Oil in its lead.
4
A L v
Thefe Tranfmutations are not found equally eafy and
praaicable in the three different Kinds ot Mixts, or the
three Kingdoms ; by reafon of the Diverfity of Circumnfan-
ces that muff concur thereto.-They are much the moil rare
and difficult in the Mineral Realm ; by reafon, no doubt;
that the Parts of Minerals are more clofely ty'd together, and
have, as it were, lefs play. The only inflance Chyrnifiry
hath hitherto produced, of a Mineral Acid's being converted
into a Fix'd Alkaly, is in the Operation of fixing Salt-petre.
The Vegetable Kingdom, it is obferv'd, furnishes a large
Quantity of fix'd Alkaly Salt; and a little volatile Alkaly:
The Animal Kingdom, on the contrary, afTords a deal of
volatile Alkaly Salt, and but little fix'd. The Foffil King-
dom affords a very little native fix'd Alkaly Salt, as the
Egyptian Natrum, and the Salts procured by Lotion from
faline Earth about Smyrna and fome other Places of the
Eall ; and the Chymifis have alfo found a Method of con-
verting Nitre into a fix'dAlkaly: But no body hath hitherto
produced a volatile Alkaly from the Acids of the Mineral
Kingdom.-And yet, if Acid Salts of the Vegetable Kind
be convertible either into fixed or volatile Akalies, why may
not Mineral Acids be fufceptible of the fame Change ?
fince Vegetable Acids are originally no other than Mineral
ones : For, from whence but the Earth fhould Plants derive
their acid Juice ?
In efe&a, M. Geoffroy has at length fliewn the Operation
feafable, by an adlual Transformation of the fame Acid,
Nitre, into a volatile urinous Alkaly.  See the Alem. de
I'Acad. ubi fupra. See alfo SALT-PETRE, CC.
By the way, it is to be noted, that the Initance of Ezyp-
tian Natrum or Nitre, furnifhes an Obiedion againfi the
general Affertion of all Alkalies being artificial, or produced
by Fire: Mr. Boyle, who had fome of this Salt fent him
by the LE5ngL/h  Ambaffador at the Porte; found that
Vinegar would work brifkly on it, even in the Cold 5
" Whence, Jays he, it appears, that the .7 > tian Nitre,
s acknowledged to be a native Salt, and made only by the
" Evaporation of the Superfluous Water of the Nile, is yet
" of a lixivious Nature, or at leadt abounds wich Particles
" that are fo, tho produced without any precedent Incinerai-
" tion, and the Matter of it expofed to no Violence of the
" Fire, to make it afford an Alkaly.", Producib. of Chyla.
SPrincip. - He adds, " However, he does not know any
" other Body in Nature, except this, wherein the Alkaline
Properties are not produced." Ibid.-And proceeds to
give Inflances of Alkalies being made from Sea Salt, and
other Acids; and Ihews, " how the fame Body, without
" the Addition of any other Salt, may by varying the man-
ner of the Fire's Application, be made either to afford.
" little elfe than Acids, or a greater or lefs Quantity of Al-
" kaly." Id. ibid.
For the tiheory of the Operation of Acids upon Alkalies.
See ACID.
HIypothefis of A L .rAL and Acid.
7"acbenius, and Sylvius de la Boe, follow'd by the Tribe
of vulgar Chymifis, llrenuoufly affert Sal Alkaly and Acid.
to be the only univerfal Principles of all Bodies ; and by
means hereof, account for the Qualities of Bodies, and the
reft of the Phaenomena of Nature; particularly tho!e in the
Animal Oeconomy.-In a word, Alkaly and Acid are fub&i-
tuted in the flead of Matter, and Motion. See PRINcI-
PLE, ELEMENT, EC.
Mr. iBoyle attacks this Hypothefis with great force of At-
gument.-In effe&, 'tis at bedt but precarious to affirm, that
Acid and Alkaline Parts are found in all Bodies.
When the Chymills fee Aqua fortis diillolve Filings of Cop-
per, they conclude, that the acid Spirits of the Menflruum
meet in the Metal with an Alkaly, upon which they work ;
but how unfafe a way of arguing this is, appears hence, that
Spirit of Urine, which is allowed a volatile AIkaly, and ac-
cordingly makes a great Confli6.} with Aqua fortis, readily
diffolves Filings of Copper, and more genuinely than tho
acid Liquor.-So, when they fee the Magiflery of Pearl or
Coral, prepared by dropping Oil of Tartar into the Solu-
tion of thofe Bodies made with Spirit of Vinegar; they af'
cribe the Preipitation to the fixed Alkaly of the Tartars
which mortifies the Acidity of the Spirit of Vinegar: where-
as, the Precipitation would no lefs enfue, if, inflead of the
alkalizate Oil of Tartar, that firong Acid, Oil of Sulphur
per Campanam, were ufed.
It may alfo be doubted, whether it be jut} to fuppofe,
that when an Acid is difcover'd in a Body, the Operatiotl
of that Body on another, abounding with an Alkaly, mull
be the EfFea of a Conflicti between thofe two Principles.-4
For, an acid Body may do many things, not fimply as an
Acid, but on account of a Texture or Modification, which
endows it with other Qualities as well as Acidity. Thus,
when the Chymills fee an acid Menfiruum, as Aqua fortils
Spirit of Saltj Oil of Vitriol, Tc. diffolve Iron, they prefent-
ly afcribe the Efiec to an Acidity in the Liquors;the well
dephlegmed urinous Spirits, which they hold to have a g eat
Anti.


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