A History of Metals in Colonial America by James A. Mulholland
By James A. Mulholland
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Extra info for A History of Metals in Colonial America
45 His outstanding library, a large part of which has been preserved, contained numerous works on the sciences, including alchemy. The major sixteenthcentury writings on prospecting, assaying, and refining metals by Agricola, Biringuccio, Ercker, and Barba are not among the surviving volumes of his library, nor is it known if Winthrop was familiar with them. Nevertheless, Winthrop probably was able to increase his interest in and general knowledge of metals from correspondence with friends in England and from lesser published sources.
Was accorded a prominent place. As Vanoccio Biringuccio wrote in his Pirotechnia, first published in Venice in 1540, "Once [ores] are found . . it is necessary to assay them in order to know what is in them, since the judgment of the sight is not sufficient for recognizing the quantity or even the substance they contain. For this reason, it is necessary to come to assaying and, with the knowledge of experience, to weigh their virtues and to proceed with the work or withdraw from it and its ~xpense.
For," wrote Hakluyt, "take away his [Philip of Spain's] treasure, . . his olde bandes of souldiers will soone be dissolved, his purposes defeated, his power and strengthe diminished, his pride abated, and his tyranie utterly suppressed. "44 Raleigh, then, hoped to use the colony as a base of operations from which to attack and capture the Spanish treasure fleets that moved northward along the Florida coast on their annual voyages to Spain. Like Gilbert, he reasoned that the colony might be a starting point from which the land to the west could be explored for gold and silver.