A FAMOUS ALCHYMIST.
RAYMOND LULLY, or Raymon Lull, comes the next in order. He was born in the island of Majorca, in the year 1225, of a family of the first distinction, though he did not assume his chymical character till towards the latter part of his life.
Upon his applying himself to chymistry, he soon began to preach another sort of doctrine; insomuch that, speaking of that art, he says it is only to be acquired by dint of experiment and practice, and cannot be conveyed to the understanding by idle words and sounds. He is the first author I can find, who considers alchymy expressly with a view to the universal medicine: but after him it became a popular pursuit, and the libraries were full of writings in that vein.
Lully, himself, beside what he wrote in the scholastic way, has a good many volumes wrote after his conversion: 'tis difficult to say how many; for it was a common practice with his disciples and followers to usher in their performances under their master's name. "I have perused (says Boerhaave) the best part of his works, and find them, beyond expectation, excellent: insomuch, that I have been almost tempted to doubt whether they could be the work of that age, so full are they of the experiments and observations which occur in our later writers, that either the books must be supposititious, or else
the ancient chymists must have been acquainted with a world of things which pass for the discoveries of modern practice. He gives very plain intimations of phosphorus, which he calls the Vestal Fire, the Offa Helmontii, &c. and yet it is certain he wrote 200 years before either Helmont, or my Lord Bacon."
He travelled into Mauritania, where he is supposed to have first met with chymistry, and to have imbibed the principles of his art from the writings of Geber: which opinion is countenanced by the conformity observable between the two. The Spanish authors ascribe the occasion of his journey to an amour: he had fallen in love, it seems, with a maiden of that country, who obstinately refused his addresses. Upon enquiring into the reason, she shewed him a cancered breast. Lully, like a generous gallant, immediately resolved on a voyage to Mauritania, where Geber had lived, to seek some relief for his mistress. He ended his days in Africa; where, after having taken up the quality of missionary, and preaching the gospel among the infidels, he was stoned to death 1.
185:1 The history of this eminent adept is very confused. Mutius, an author, is express, that that good man, being wholly intent upon religion, never applied himself either to chymistry or the philosopher's-stone: and yet we have various accounts of his making gold. Among a variety of authors, Gregory of Thoulouse asserts that "Lully offered EDWARD III, king of England, a supply of six millions to make war against the Infidels." Besides manuscripts, the following printed pieces bear Lully's name, viz. The Theory of the Philosopher's Stone: The Practise: The Transmutation of Metals: The Codicil: The Vade-Mecum: The Book of Experiments: The Explanation of his Testament: The Abridgements, or Accusations: and The Power of Riches.