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Micrographia - or some physiological descriptions of minute bodies made by magnifying glasses with observations and inquiries thereupon/Chapter 9

< Micrographia - or some physiological descriptions of minute bodies made by magnifying glasses with observations and inquiries thereupon

Observ. IX.Of the Colours observable in Muscovy Glass, and other thin Bodies.


MOscovy-glass, or Lapis specularis, is a Body that seems to have as many Curiosities in its Fabrick as any common Mineral I have met with: for first, It is transparent to a great thickness: Next, it is compounded of an infinite number of thin flakes joyned or generated one upon another so close & smooth, as with many hundreds of them to make one smooth and thin Plate of a transparent flexible substance, which with care and diligence may be slit into pieces so exceedingly thin as to be hardly perceivable by the eye, and yet even those, which I have thought the thinnest, I have with a good Microscope found to be made up of many other Plates, yet thinner; and it is probable, that, were our Microscopes much better, we might much further discover its divisibility. Nor are these flakes only regular as to the smoothness of their Surfaces, but thirdly, In many Plates they may be perceived to be terminated naturally with edges of the figure of a Rhomboeid. This Figure is much more conspicuous in our English talk, much whereof is found in the Lead Mines, and is commonly called Spar, and Kauck, which is of the same kind of substance with the Selenitis, but is seldom found in so large flakes as that is, nor is it altogether so tuff, but is much more clear and transparent, and much more curiously shaped, and yet may be cleft and flak'd like the other Selenitis. But fourthly, this stone has a property, which in respect of the Microscope, is more notable, and that is, that it exhibits several appearances of Colours, both to the naked Eye, but much more conspicuously to the Microscope; for the exhibiting of which, I took a piece of Muscovy-glass, and splitting or cleaving it into thin Plates, I found that up and down in several parts of them I could plainly perceive several white specks or flaws, and others diversly coloured with all the Colours of the Rainbow; and with the Microscope I could perceive, that these Colours were ranged in rings that incompassed the white speck or flaw, and were round or irregular, according to the shape of the spot which they terminated; and the position of Colours, in respect of one another, was the very same as in the Rainbow. The consecution of those Colours from the middle of the spot outward being Blew, Purple, Scarlet, Yellow, Green; Blew, Purple, Scarlet, and so onwards, sometimes half a score times repeated, that is, there appeared six, seven, eight, nine or ten several coloured rings or lines, each incircling the other, in the same manner as I have often seen a very vivid Rainbow to have four or five several Rings of Colours, that is, accounting all the Gradations between Red and Blew for one: But the order of the Colours in these Rings was quite contrary to the primary or innermost Rainbow, and the same with those of the secondary or outermost Rainbow; these coloured Lines or Irises, as I may so call them, were some of them much brighter then others, and some of them also very much broader, they being some of them ten, twenty, nay, I believe, neer a hundred times broader then others; and those usually were broadest[errata 1] which were neerest the center or middle of the flaw. And oftentimes I found, that these Colours reacht to the very middle of the flaw, and then there appeared in the middle a very large spot, for the most part, all of one colour, which was very vivid, and all the other Colours incompassing it, gradually ascending, and growing narrower towards the edges, keeping the same order, as in the secundary Rainbow, that is, if the middle were Blew, the next incompassing it would be a Purple, the third a Red, the fourth a Yellow, &c. as above; if the middle were a Red, the next without it would be a Yellow, the third a Green, the fourth a Blew, and so onward. And this order it alwayes kept whatsoever were the middle Colour.

There was further observable in several other parts of this Body, many Lines or Threads, each of them of some one peculiar Colour, and those so exceedingly bright and vivid, that it afforded a very pleasant object through the Microscope. Some of these threads I have observed also to be pieced or made up of several short lengths of differently coloured ends (as I may so call them) as a line appearing about two inches long through the Microscope, has been compounded of about half an inch of a Peach colour, 1/8 of a lovely Grass-green, 3/4 of an inch more of a bright Scarlet, and the rest of the line of a Watchet blew. Others of them were much otherwise coloured; the variety being almost infinite. Another thing which is very observable, is, that if you find any place where the colours are very broad and conspicuous to the naked eye, you may, by pressing that place with your finger, make the colours change places, and go from one part to another.

There is one Phænomenon more, which may, if care be used, exhibit to the beholder, as it has divers times to me, an exceeding pleasant, and not less instructive Spectacle; And that is, if curiosity and diligence be used, you may so split this admirable Substance, that you may have pretty large Plates (in companion of those smaller ones which you may observe in the Rings) that are perhaps an 1/8 or a 1/6 part of an inch over, each of them appearing through the Microscope most curiously, intirely, and uniformly adorned with some one vivid colour: this, if examined with the Microscope, may be plainly perceived to be in all parts of it equally thick. Two, three, or more of these lying one upon another, exhibit oftentimes curious compounded colours, which produce such a Compositum, as one would scarce imagine should be the result of such ingredients: As perhaps a faint yellow and a blew may produce a very deep purple. But when anon we come to the more strict examination of these Phænomena, and to inquire into the causes and reasons of these productions, we shall, I hope, make it more conceivable how they are produced, and shew them to be no other then the natural and necessary effects arising from the peculiar union of concurrent causes.

These Phænomena, being so various, and so truly admirable, it will certainly be very well worth our inquiry, to examine the causes and reasons of them, and to consider, whether from these causes demonstratively evidenced, may not be deduced the true causes of the production of all kind of Colours. And I the rather now do it, instead of an Appendix or Digression to this History, then upon the occasion of examining the Colours in Peacocks, or other Feathers, because this Subject, as it does afford more variety of particular Colours, so does it afford much better wayes of examining each circumstance. And this will be made manifest to him that considers, first, that this laminated body is more simple and regular then the parts of Peacocks feathers, this consisting only of an indefinite number of plain and smooth Plates, heaped up, or incumbent on each other. Next, that the parts of this body are much more manageable, to be divided or joyned, then the parts of a Peacocks feather, or any other substance that I know. And thirdly, because that in this we are able from a colourless body to produce several coloured bodies, affording all the variety of Colours imaginable: And several others, which the subsequent Inquiry will make manifest.

To begin therefore, it is manifest from several circumstances, that the material cause of the apparition of these several Colours, is some Lamina or Plate of a transparent or pellucid body of a thickness very determinate and proportioned according to the greater or less refractive power of the pellucid body. And that this is so, abundance of Instances and particular Circumstances will make manifest.

As first, if you take any small piece of the Muscovy-glass, and with a Needle, or some other convenient Instrument, cleave it oftentimes into thinner and thinner Laminæ, you shall find, that till you come to a determinate thinness of them, they shall all appear transparent and colourless, but if you continue to split and divide them further, you shall find at last, that each Plate, after it comes to such a determinate thickness, shall appear most lovely ting'd or imbued with a determinate colour. If further, by any means you so flaw a pretty thick piece, that one part does begin to cleave a little from the other, and between those two there be by any means gotten some pellucid medium, those laminated pellucid bodies that fill that space, shall exhibit several Rainbows or coloured Lines, the colours of which will be disposed and ranged according to the various thicknesses of the several parts of that Plate. That this is so, is yet further confirmed by this Experiment.

Take two small pieces of ground and polisht Looking-glass-plate, each about the bigness of a shilling, take these two dry, and with your fore-fingers and thumbs press them very hard and close together, and you shall find, that when they approach each other very near, there will appear several Irises or coloured Lines, in the same manner almost as in the Muscovy-glass; and you may very easily change any of the Colours of any part of the interposed body, by pressing the Plates closer and harder together, or leaving them more lax; that is, a part which appeared coloured with a red, may be presently ting'd with a yellow, blew, green, purple, or the like, by altering the appropinquation of the terminating Plates. Now that air is not necessary to be the interposed body, but that any other transparent fluid will do much the same, may be tryed by wetting those approximated Surfaces with Water, or any other transparent Liquor, and proceeding with it in the same manner as you did with the Air; and you will find much the like effect, only with this difference, that those comprest bodies, which differ most, in their refractive quality, from the compressing bodies, exhibit the most strong and vivid tinctures. Nor is it necessary, that this laminated and ting'd body should be of a fluid substance, any other substance, provided it be thin enough and transparent, doing the same thing: this the Laminæ of our Muscovy-glass hint; but it may be confirm'd by multitudes of other Instances.

And first, we shall find, that even Glass it self may, by the help of a Lamp, be blown thin enough to produce these Phænomena of Colours: which Phænomena accidentally happening, as I have been attempting to frame small Glasses with a Lamp, did not a little surprize me at first, having never heard or seen any thing of it before; though afterwards comparing it with the Phænomena, I had often observed in those Bubbles which Children use to make with Soap-water, I did the less wonder; especially when upon Experiment I found, I was able to produce the same Phænomena in thin Bubbles made with any other transparent Substance. Thus have I produced them with Bubbles of Pitch, Rosin, Colophony, Turpentine, Solutions of several Gums, as Gum-Arabick in water; any glutinous Liquor, as Wort, Wine, Spirit of Wine, Oyl of Turpentine, Glare of Snails, &c.

It would be needless to enumerate the several Instances, these being enough to shew the generality or universality of this propriety. Only I must not omit, that we have instances also of this kind even in metalline Bodies and animal; for those several Colours which are observed to follow each other upon the polisht surface of hardned Steel, when it is by a sufficient degree of heat gradually tempered or softened, are produced, from nothing else but a certain thin Lamina of a vitrum or vitrified part of the Metal, which by that degree of heat, and the concurring action of the ambient Air, is driven out and fixed on the surface of the Steel.

And this hints to me a very probable (at least, if not the true) cause of the hardning and tempering of Steel, which has not, I think, been yet given, nor, that I know of been so much as thought of by any. And that is this, that the hardness of it arises from a greater proportion of a vitrified Substance interspersed through the pores of the Steel. And that the tempering or softning of it arises from the proportionate or smaller parcels of it left within those pores. This will seem the more probable, if we consider these Particulars.

First, That the pure parts of Metals are of themselves very flexible and tuff; that is, will indure bending and hammering, and yet retain their continuity.

Next, That the Parts of all vitrified Substances, as all kinds of Glass, the Scoria of Metals, &c. are very hard, and also very brittle, being neither flexible nor malleable, but may by hammering or beating be broken into small parts or powders.

Thirdly, That all Metals (excepting Gold and Silver, which do not so much with the bare fire, unless assisted by other saline Bodies) do more or less vitrifie by the strength of fire, that is, are corroded by a saline Substance, which I elsewhere shew to be the true cause of fire; and are thereby, as by several other Menstruums converted into Scoria; And this is called, calcining of them, by Chimists. Thus Iron and Copper by heating and quenching do turn all of them by degrees into Scoria, which are evidently vitrified Substances, and unite with Glass, and are easily fusible; and when cold, very hard, and very brittle.

Fourthly, That most kind of Vitrifications or Calcinations are made by Salts, uniting and incorporating with the metalline Particles. Nor do I know any one calcination wherein a Saline body may not, with very great probability, be said to be an agent or coadjutor.

Fifthly, That Iron is converted into Steel by means of the incorporation of certain salts, with which it is kept a certain time in the fire.

Sixthly, That any Iron may, in a very little time, be case hardned, as the Trades-men call it, by casing the iron to be hardned with clay, and putting between the clay and iron a good quantity of a mixture of Urine, Soot, Sea-salt, and Horses hoofs (all which contein great quantities of Saline bodies) and then putting the case into a good strong fire, and keeping it in a considerable degree of heat for a good while, and afterwards heating, and quenching or cooling it suddenly in cold water.

Seventhly, That all kind of vitrify'd substances, by being suddenly cool'd, become very hard and brittle. And thence arises the pretty Phænomena of the Glass Drops, which I have already further explained in its own place.

Eighthly, That those metals which are not so apt to vitrifie, do not acquire any hardness by quenching in water, as Silver, Gold, &c.

These considerations premis'd, will, I suppose, make way for the more easie reception of this following Explication of the Phænomena of hardned and temper'd Steel. That Steel is a substance made out of Iron, by means of a certain proportionate Vitrification of several parts, which are so curiously and proportionately mixt with the more tough and unalter'd parts of the Iron, that when by the great heat of the fire this vitrify'd substance is melted, and consequently rarify'd, and thereby the pores of the Iron are more open, if then by means of dipping it in cold water it be suddenly cold, and the parts hardned, that is, stay'd in that same degree of Expansion they were in when hot, the parts become very hard and brittle, and that upon the same account almost as small parcels of glass quenched in water grow brittle, which we have already explicated. If after this the piece of Steel be held in some convenient heat, till by degrees certain colours appear upon the surface of the brightned metal, the very hard and brittle tone of the metal, by degrees relaxes and becomes much more tough and soft; namely, the action of the heat does by degrees loosen the parts of the Steel that were before streached or set atilt as it were, and stayed open by each other, whereby they become relaxed and set at liberty, whence some of the more brittle interjacent parts are thrust out and melted into a thin skin on the surface of the Steel, which from no colour increases to a deep Purple, and so onward by these gradations or consecutions, White, Yellow, Orange, Minium, Scarlet, Purple, Blew, Watchet, &c. and the parts within are more conveniently, and proportionately mixt; and so they gradually subside into a texture which is much better proportion'd and closer joyn'd, whence that rigidnesse of parts ceases, and the parts begin to acquire their former ductilness.

Now, that 'tis nothing but the vitrify'd metal that sticks upon the surface of the colour'd body, is evident from this, that if by any means it be scraped and rubb'd off, the metal underneath it is white and clear; and if it be kept longer in the fire, so as to increase to a considerable thickness, it may, by blows, be beaten off in flakes. This is further confirm'd by this observable, that that Iron or Steel will keep longer from rusting which is covered with this vitrify'd case: Thus also Lead will, by degrees, be all turn'd into a litharge; for that colour which covers the top being scum'd or shov'd aside, appears to be nothing else but a litharge or vitrify'd Lead.

This is observable also in some sort, on Brass, Copper, Silver, Gold, Tin, but is most conspicuous in Lead: all those Colours that cover the surface of the Metal being nothing else, but a very thin vitrifi'd part of the heated Metal.

The other Instance we have, is in Animal bodies, as in Pearls, Mother of Pearl-shels, Oyster-shels, and almost all other kinds of stony shels whatsoever. This have I also sometimes with pleasure observ'd even in Muscles and Tendons. Further, if you take any glutinous substance and run it exceedingly thin upon the surface of a smooth glass or a polisht metaline body, you shall find the like effects produced: and in general, wheresoever you meet with a transparent body thin enough, that is terminated by reflecting bodies of differing refractions from it, there will be a production of these pleasing and lovely colours.

Nor is it necessary, that the two terminating Bodies should be both of the same kind, as may appear by the vitrified Laminæ on Steel, Lead, and other Metals, one surface of which Laminæ is contiguous to the surface of the Metal, the other to that of the Air.

Nor is it necessary, that these colour'd Laminæ should be of an even thickness, that is, should have their edges and middles of equal thickness, as in a Looking-glass-plate, which circumstance is only requisite to make the Plate appear all of the same colour; but they may resemble a Lens, that is, have their middles thicker then their edges; or else a double concave, that is, be thinner in the middle then at the edges; in both which cases there will be various coloured rings or lines, with differing consecutions or orders of Colours; the order of the first from the middle outwards being Red, Yellow, Green, Blew, &c. And the latter quite contrary.

But further, it is altogether necessary, that the Plate, in the places where the Colours appear, should be of a determinate thickness: First, It must not be more then such a thickness, for when the Plate is increased to such a thickness, the Colours cease; and besides, I have seen in a thin piece of Muscovy-glass, where the two ends of two Plates, which appearing both single, exhibited two distinct and differing Colours; but in that place where they were united, and constituted one double Plate (as I may call it) they appeared transparent and colourless. Nor, Secondly, may the Plates be thinner then such a determinate cize; for we alwayes find, that the very outmost Rim of these flaws is terminated in a white and colourless Ring.

Further, in this Production of Colours there is no need of a determinate Light of such a bigness and no more, nor of a determinate position of that Light, that it should be on this side, and not on that side; nor of a terminating shadow, as in the Prisme, and Rainbow, or Water-ball: for we find, that the Light in the open Air, either in or out of the Sun-beams, and within a Room, either from one or many Windows, produces much the same effect: only where the Light is brightest, there the Colours are most vivid. So does the light of a Candle, collected by a Glass-ball. And further, it is all one whatever side of the coloured Rings be towards the light; for the whole Ring keeps its proper Colours from the middle outwards in the same order as I before related, without varying at all, upon changing the position of the light.

But above all it is most observable, that here are all kind of Colours generated in a pellucid body, where there is properly no such refraction as Des Cartes supposes his Globules to acquire a verticity by: For in the plain and even Plates it is manifest, that the second refraction (according to Des Cartes his Principles in the fifth section of the eighth Chapter of his Meteors) does regulate and restore the supposed turbinated Globules unto their former uniform motion. This Experiment therefore will prove such a one as our thrice excellent Verulam calls Experimentum Crucis, serving as a Guide or Land-mark, by which to direct our course in the search after the true cause of Colours. Affording us this particular negative Information, that for the production of Colours there is not necessary either a great refraction, as in the Prisme; nor Secondly, a determination of Light and shadow, such as is both in the Prisme and Glass-ball. Now that we may see likewise what affirmative and positive Instruction it yields, it will be necessary, to examine it a little more particularly and strictly; which that we may the better do, it will be requisite to premise somewhat in general concerning the nature of Light and Refraction.

And first for Light it seems very manifest, that there is no luminous Body but has the parts of it in motion more or less.

First, That all kind of fiery burning Bodies have their parts in motion, I think, will be very easily granted me. That the spark struck from a Flint and Steel is in a rapid agitation, I have elsewhere made probable. And that the Parts of rotten Wood, rotten Fish and the like, are also in motion, I think, will as easily be conceded by those, who consider, that those parts never begin to shine till the Bodies be in a state of putrefaction; and that is now generally granted by all, to be caused by the motion of the parts of putrifying bodies. That the Bononian stone shines no longer then it is either warmed by the Sun-beams, or by the flame of a Fire or of a Candle, is the general report of those that write of it, and of others that have seen it. And that heat argues a motion of the internal parts is (as I said before) generally granted.

But there is one Instance more, which was first shewn to the Royal Society by Mr. Clayton a worthy Member thereof, which does make this Assertion more evident then all the rest: And that is, That a Diamond being rub'd, struck or heated in the dark, shines for a pretty while after, so long as that motion, which is imparted by any of those Agents, remains (in the same manner as a Glass, rubb'd, struck, or (by a means which I shall elsewhere mention) heated, yields a sound which lasts as long as the vibrating motion of that sonorous body) several Experiments made on which Stone, are since published in a Discourse of Colours, by the truly honourable Mr. Boyle. What may be said of those Ignes fatui that appear in the night, I cannot so well affirm, having never had the opportunity to examine them my self, nor to be inform'd by any others that had observ'd them: And the relations of them in Authors are so imperfect, that nothing can be built on them. But I hope I shall be able in another place to make it at least very probable, that there is even in those also a Motion which causes this effect. That the shining of Sea-water proceeds from the same cause, may be argued from this, That it shines not till either it be beaten against a Rock, or be some other wayes broken or agitated by Storms, or Oars, or other percussing bodies. And that the Animal Energyes or Spirituous agil parts are very active in Cats eyes when they shine, seems evident enough, because their eyes never shine but when they look very intensly either to find their prey, or being hunted in a dark room, when they seek after their adversary, or to find a way to escape. And the like may be said of the shining Bellies of Gloworms; since 'tis evident they can at pleasure either increase or extinguish that Radiation.

It would be somewhat too long a work for this place Zetetically to examine, and positively to prove, what particular kind of motion it is that must be the efficient of Light; for though it be a motion, yet 'tis not every motion that produces it, since we find there are many bodies very violently mov'd, which yet afford not such an effect; and there are other bodies, which to our other senses, seem not mov'd so much, which yet shine. Thus Water and quick-silver, and most other liquors heated, shine not; and several hard bodies, as Iron, Silver, Brass, Copper, Wood, &c. though very often struck with a hammer, shine not presently, though they will all of them grow exceeding hot; whereas rotten Wood, rotten Fish, Sea water, Gloworms, &c. have nothing of tangible heat in them, and yet (where there is no stronger light to affect the Sensory) they shine some of them so Vividly, that one may make a shift to read by them.

It would be too long, I say, here to insert the discursive progress by which I inquir'd after the proprieties of the motion of Light, and therefore I shall only add the result.

And, First, I found it ought to be exceeding quick, such as those motions of fermentation and putrefaction, whereby, certainly, the parts are exceeding nimbly and violently mov'd; and that, because we find those motions are able more minutely to shatter and divide the body, then the most violent heats or menstruums we yet know. And that fire is nothing else but such a dissolution of the Burning body, made by the most universal menstruum of all sulphureous bodies, namely, the Air, we shall in an other place of this Tractate endeavour to make probable. And that, in all extreamly hot shining bodies, there is a very quick motion that causes Light, as well as a more robust that causes Heat, may be argued from the celerity wherewith the bodyes are dissolv'd.

Next, it must be a Vibrative motion. And for this the newly mention'd Diamond affords us a good argument; since if the motion of the parts did not return, the Diamond must after many rubbings decay and be wasted: but we have no reason to suspect the latter, especially if we consider the exceeding difficulty that is found in cutting or wearing away a Diamond. And a Circular motion of the parts is much more improbable, since, if that were granted, and they be suppos'd irregular and Angular parts, I see not how the parts of the Diamond should hold so firmly together, or remain in the same sensible dimensions, which yet they do. Next, if they be Globular, and mov'd only with a turbinated motion, I know not any cause that can impress that motion upon the pellucid medium, which yet is done. Thirdly, any other irregular motion of the parts one amongst another, must necessarily make the body of a fluid consistence, from which it is far enough. It must therefore be a Vibrating motion.

And Thirdly, That it is a very short vibrating motion, I think the instances drawn from the shining of Diamonds will also make probable. For a Diamond being the hardest body we yet know in the World, and consequently the least apt to yield or bend, must consequently also have its vibrations exceeding short.

And these, I think, are the three principal proprieties of a motion, requisite to produce the effect call'd Light in the Object.

The next thing we are to consider, is the way or manner of the trajection of this motion through the interpos'd pellucid body to the eye: And here it will be easily granted,

First, That it must be a body susceptible and impartible of this motion that will deserve the name of a Transparent. And next, that the parts of such a body must be Homogeneous, or of the same kind. Thirdly, that the constitution and motion of the parts must be such, that the appulse of the luminous body may be communicated or propagated through it to the greatest imaginable distance in the least imaginable time, though I see no reason to affirm, that it must be in an instant: For I know not any one Experiment or observation that does prove it. And, whereas it may be objected, That we see the Sun risen at the very instant when it is above the sensible Horizon, and that we see a Star hidden by the body of the Moon at the same instant, when the Star, the Moon, and our Eye are all in the same line; and the like Observations, or rather suppositions, may be urg'd. I have this to answer, That I can as easily deny as they affirm; for I would fain know by what means any one can be assured any more of the Affirmative, then I of the Negative. If indeed the propagation were very slow, 'tis possible something might be discovered by Eclypses of the Moon; but though we should grant the progress of the light from the Earth to the Moon, and from the Moon back to the Earth again to be full two Minutes in performing, I know not any possible means to discover it; nay, there may be some instances perhaps of Horizontal Eclypses that may seem very much to favour this supposition of the slower progression of Light then most imagine. And the like may be said of the Eclypses of the Sun, &c. But of this only by the by. Fourthly, That the motion is propagated every way through an Homogeneous medium by direct or straight lines extended every way like Rays from the center of a Sphere. Fifthly, in an Homogeneous medium this motion is propagated every way with equal velocity, whence necessarily every pulse or vitration of the luminous body will generate a Sphere, which will continually increase, and grow bigger, just after the same manner (though indefinitely swifter) as the waves or rings on the surface of the water do swell into bigger and bigger circles about a point of it, where, by the sinking of a Stone the motion was begun, whence it necessarily follows, that all the parts of these Spheres undulated through an Homogeneous medium cut the Rays at right angles.

But because all transparent mediums are not Homogeneous to one another, therefore we will next examine how this pulse or motion will be propagated through differingly transparent mediums. And here, according to the most acute and excellent Philosopher Des Cartes, I suppose the sign of the angle of inclination in the first medium to be to the sign of refraction in the second, As the density of the first, to the density of the second. By density, I mean not the density in respect of gravity (with which the refractions or transparency of mediums hold no proportion) but in respect onely to the trajection of the Rays of light, in which respect they only differ in this; that the one propagates the pulse more easily and weakly, the other more slowly, but more strongly. But as for the pulses themselves, they will by the refraction acquire another propriety, which we shall now endeavour to explicate.

We will suppose therefore in the first Figure A C F D to be a physical Ray, or A B C and D E F to be two Mathematical Rays, trajected from a very remote point of a luminous body through an Homogeneous transparent medium L L L, and D A, E B, F C, to be small portions of the orbicular impulses which must therefore cut the Rays at right angles; these Rays meeting with the plain surface N O of a medium that yields an easier transitus to the propagation of light, and falling obliquely on it, they will in the medium M M M be refracted towards the perpendicular of the surface. And because this medium is more easily trajected then the former by a third, therefore the point C of the orbicular pulse FC will be mov'd to H four spaces in the same time that F the other end of it is mov'd to G three spaces, therefore the whole refracted pulse GH shall be oblique to the refracted Rays C H K and G I; and the angle G H C shall be an acute, and so much the more acute by how much the greater the refraction be, then which nothing is more evident, for the sign of the inclination is to the sign[errata 2] of refraction as G F to T C the distance between the point C and the perpendicular from G on C K, which being as four to three, H C being longer then G F is longer also then T C, therefore the angle G H C is less than G T C. So that henceforth the parts of the pulses G H and I K are mov'd ascew, or cut the Rays at oblique angles.

It is not my business in this place to set down the reasons why this or that body should impede the Rays more, others less: as why Water should transmit the Rays more easily, though more weakly than air. Onely thus much in general I shall hint, that I suppose the medium M M M to have less of the transparent undulating subtile matter, and that matter to be less implicated by it, whereas L L L I suppose to contain a greater quantity of the fluid undulating substance, and this to be more implicated with the particles of that medium.

But to proceed, the same kind of obliquity of the Pulses and Rays will happen also when the refraction is made out of a more easie into a more difficult mediū; as by the calculations of GQ & CSR which are refracted from the perpendicular. In both which calculations 'tis obvious to observe, that always that part of the Ray towards which the refraction is made has the end of the orbicular pulse precedent to that of the other side. And always, the oftner the refraction is made the same way, Or the greater the single refraction is, the more is this unequal progress. So that having found this odd propriety to be an inseparable concomitant of a refracted Ray, not streightned by a contrary refraction, we will next examine the refractions of the Sun-beams, as they are suffer'd onely to pass through a small passage, obliquely out of a more difficult, into a more easie medium.

Let us suppose therefore A B C in the second Figure to represent a large Chimical Glass-body about two foot long, filled with very fair Water as high as A B, and inclin'd in a convenient posture with B towards the Sun: Let us further suppose the top of it to be cover'd with an opacous body, all but the hole a b, through which the Sun-beams are suffer'd to pass into the Water, and are thereby refracted to c d e f, against which part, if a Paper be expanded on the outside, there will appear all the colours of the Rain-bow, that is, there will be generated the two principal colours, Scarlet and Blue, and all the intermediate ones which arise from the composition and dilutings of these two, that is, c d shall exhibit a Scarlet, which toward d is diluted into a Yellow; this is the refraction of the Ray, i k, which comes from the underside of the Sun; and the Ray e f shall appear of a deep Blue, which is gradually towards e diluted into a pale Watchet-blue. Between d and e the two diluted colours, Blue and Yellow are mixt and compounded into a Green; and this I imagine to be the reason why Green is so acceptable a colour to the eye, and that either of the two extremes are, if intense, rather a little offensive, namely, the being plac'd in the middle between the two extremes, and compounded out of both those, diluted also, or somewhat qualifi'd, for the composition, arising from the mixture of the two extremes undiluted, makes a Purple, which though it be a lovely colour, and pretty acceptable to the eye, yet is it nothing comparable to the ravishing pleasure with which a curious and well tempered Green affects the eye. If removing the Paper, the eye be plac'd against c d, it will perceive the lower side of the Sun (or a Candle at night which is much better, because it offends not the eye, and is more easily manageable) to be of a deep Red, and if against e f it will perceive the upper part of the luminous body to be of a deep Blue; and these colours will appear deeper and deeper, according as the Rays from the luminous body fall more obliquely on the surface of the Water, and thereby suffer a greater refraction, and the more distinct, the further c d e f is removed from the trajecting hole.

So that upon the whole, we shall find that the reason of the Phænomena seems to depend upon the obliquity of the orbicular pulse, to the Lines of Radiation, and in particular, that the Ray c d which constitutes the Scarlet has its inner parts, namely those which are next to the middle of the luminous body, precedent to the outermost which are contiguous to the dark and unradiating skie. And that the Ray e f which gives a Blue, has its outward part, namely, that which is contiguous to the dark side precedent to the pulse from the innermost, which borders on the bright area of the luminous body.

We may observe further, that the cause of the diluting of the colours towards the middle, proceeds partly from the wideness of the hole through which the Rays pass, whereby the Rays from several parts of the luminous body, fall upon many of the same parts between c and f as is more manifest by the Figure: And partly also from the nature of the refraction it self, for the vividness or strength of the two terminating colours, arising chiefly as we have seen, from the very great difference that is betwixt the outsides of those oblique undulations & the dark Rays circumambient, and that disparity betwixt the approximate Rays, decaying gradually: the further inward toward the middle of the luminous body they are remov'd, the more must the colour approach to a white or an undisturbed light.

Upon the calculation of the refraction and reflection from a Ball of Water or Glass, we have much the same Phænomena, namely, an obliquity of the undulation in the same manner as we have found it here. Which, because it is very much to our present purpose, and affords such an Instancia crucis, as no one that I know has hitherto taken notice of, I shall further examine. For it does very plainly and positively distinguish, and shew, which of the two Hypotheses, either the Cartesian or this is to be followed, by affording a generation of all the colors in the Rainbow, where according to the Cartesian Principles there should be none at all generated. And secondly, by affording an instance that does more closely confine the cause of these Phænomena of colours to this present Hypothesis.

And first, for the Cartesian, we have this to object against it, That whereas he says (Meteorum Cap. 8. Sect. 5.) Sed judicabam unicam (refractione scilicet) ad minimū requiri, & quidem talem ut ejus effectus aliâ contrariâ (refractione) non destruatur: Nam experientia docet si superficies NM & NP (nempe refringentes) Parallelæ forent, radios tantundem per alteram iterum erectos quantum per unam frangerentur, nullos colores depicturos; This Principle of his holds true indeed in a prisme where the refracting surfaces are plain, but is contradicted by the Ball or Cylinder, whether of Water or Glass, where the refracting surfaces are Orbicular or Cylindrical. For if we examine the passage of any Globule or Ray of the primary Iris, we shall find it to pass out of the Ball or Cylinder again, with the same inclination and refraction that it enter'd in withall, and that that last refraction by means of the intermediate reflection shall be the same as if without any reflection at all the Ray had been twice refracted by two Parallel surfaces.

And that this is true, not onely in one, but in every Ray that goes to the constitution of the Primary Iris; nay, in every Ray, that suffers only two refractions, and one reflection, by the surface of the round body, we shall presently see most evident, if we repeat the Cartesian Scheme, mentioned in the tenth Section of the eighth Schem. 6.
Fig. 3.
Chapter of his Meteors, where E F K N P in the third Figure is one of the Rays of the Primary Iris, twice refracted at F and N, and once reflected at K by the surface of the Water-ball. For, first it is evident, that K F and K N are equal, because K N being the reflected part of K F they have both the same inclination on the surface K that is the angles F K T, and N K V made by the two Rays and the Tangent of K are equal, which is evident by the Laws of reflection; whence it will follow also, that K N has the same inclination on the surface N, or the Tangent of it X N that the Ray K F has to the surface F, or the Tangent of it F Y, whence it must necessarily follow, that the refractions at F and N are equal, that is, K F E and K N P are equal. Now, that the surface N is by the reflection at K made parallel to the surface at F, is evident from the principles of reflection; for reflection being nothing but an inverting of the Rays, if we re-invert the Ray K N P, and make the same inclinations below the line T K V that it has above, it will be most evident, that K H the inverse of K N will be the continuation of the line F K, and that L H I the inverse of O X is parallel to F Y. And H M the inverse of N P is Parallel to E F for the angle K H I is equal to K N O which is equal to K F Y, and the angle K H M is equal to K N P which is equal to K F E which was to be prov'd.

So that according to the above mentioned Cartesian principles there should be generated no colour at all in a Ball of Water or Glass by two refractions and one reflection, which does hold most true indeed, if the surfaces be plain, as may be experimented with any kind of prisme where the two refracting surfaces are equally inclin'd to the reflecting; but in this the Phænomena are quite otherwise.

The cause therefore of the generation of colour must not be what Des Cartes assigns, namely, a certain rotation of the Globuli ætherei, which are the particles which he supposes to constitute the Pellucid medium, But somewhat else, perhaps what we have lately supposed, and shall by and by further prosecute and explain.

But, First I shall crave leave to propound some other difficulties of his, notwithstanding exceedingly ingenious Hypothesis, which I plainly confess to me seem such; and those are,

First, if that light be (as is affirmed, Diopt. cap. 1. §. 8.) not so properly a motion, as an action or propension to motion, I cannot conceive how the eye can come to be sensible of the verticity of a Globule, which is generated in a drop of Rain, perhaps a mile off from it. For that Globule is not carry'd to the eye according to his formerly recited Principle; and if not so, I cannot conceive how it can communicate its rotation, or circular motion to the line of the Globules between the drop and the eye. It cannot be by means of every ones turning the next before him; for if so, then onely all the Globules that are in the odd places must be turned the same
Schem. VI.
way with the first, namely, the 3. 5. 7. 9. 11, &c. but all the Globules interposited between them in the even places; namely, the 2. 4. 6. 8. 10. &c. must be the quite contrary, whence, according to the Cartesian Hypothesis, there must be no distinct colour generated, but a confusion. Next, since the Cartesian Globuli are suppos'd (Principiorum Philosoph. Part. 3. §. 86.) to be each of them continually in motion about their centers, I cannot conceive how the eye is able to distinguish this new generated motion from their former inherent one, if I may so call that other wherewith they are mov'd or turbinated, from some other cause than refraction. And thirdly, I cannot conceive how these motions should not happen sometimes to oppose each other, and then, in stead of a rotation, there would be nothing but a direct motion generated, and consequently no colour. And fourthly, I cannot conceive, how by the Cartesian Hypothesis it is possible to give any plausible reason of the nature of the Colours generated in the thin laminæ of these our Microscopical Observations; for in many of these, the refracting and reflecting surfaces are parallel to each other, and consequently no rotation can be generated, nor is there any necessity of a shadow or termination of the bright Rays, such as is suppos'd (Chap. 8. §. 5. Et preterea observavi umbram quoque, aut limitationem luminis requiri: and Chap. 8. §. 9.) to be necessary to the generation of any distinct colours; Besides that, here is oftentimes one colour generated without any of the other appendant ones, which cannot be by the Cartesian Hypothesis.

There must be therefore some other propriety of refraction that causes colour. And upon the examination of the thing, I cannot conceive any one more general, inseparable, and sufficient, than that which I have before assign'd. That we may therefore see how exactly our Hypothesis agrees also with the Phænomena of the refracting round body, whether Globe or Cylinder, we shall next subjoyn our Calculation or Examen of it.

And to this end, we will calculate any two Rays:Schem. 6.
Fig. 3.
as for instance; let EF be a Ray cutting the Radius CD (divided into 20. parts) in G 16. parts distant from C, and ef another Ray, which cuts the same Radius in g 17. parts distant, these will be refracted to K and k, and from thence reflected to N and n, and from thence refracted toward P and p; therefore the Arch F f will be 5.d 5'. The Arch F K 106.d 30'. the Arch f k 101.d 2'. The line F G 6000. and f g 5267. therefore h f. 733. therefore F c 980, almost. The line F K 16024. and f k 15436. therefore N d 196. and n o 147 almost, the line N n 1019 the Arch N n 5.d 51'. therefore the Angle N n o is 34.d 43'. therefore the Angle N o n is 139.d 56'. which is almost 50.d more than a right Angle.

It is evident therefore by this Hypothesis, that at the same time that e f touches f. E F is arrived at c. And by that time e f k n is got to n, E F K N is got to d and when it touches N, the pulse of the other Ray is got to o. and no farther, which is very short of the place it should have arriv'd to, to make the Ray n p to cut the orbicular pulse N o at right Angles: therefore the Angle N o p is an acute Angle, but the quite contrary of this will happen, if 17. and 18. be calculated in stead of 16. and 17. both which does most exactly agree with the Phænomena: For if the Sun, or a Candle (which is better) be placed about E e, and the eye about P p, the Rays E F e f at 16. and 17. will paint the side of the luminous object toward n p Blue, and towards N P Red. But the quite contrary will happen when E F is 17. and ef 18. for then towards N P shall be a Blue, and towards n p a Red, exactly according to the calculation. And there appears the Blue of the Rainbow, where the two Blue sides of the two Images unite, and there the Red where the two Red sides unite, that is, where the two Images are just disappearing; which is, when the Rays E F and N P produc'd till they meet, make an Angle of about 41. and an half; the like union is there of the two Images in the Production of the Secundary Iris, and the same causes, as upon calculation may appear; onely with this difference, that it is somewhat more faint, by reason of the duplicate reflection, which does always weaken the impulse the oftner it is repeated.

Now, though the second refraction made at N n be convenient, that is, do make the Rays glance the more, yet is it not altogether requisite; for it is plain from the calculation, that the pulse d n is sufficiently oblique to the Rays K N and k n, as wel as the pulse f c is oblique to the Rays F K & f k. And therefore if a piece of very fine Paper be held close against N n and the eye look on it either through the Ball as from D, or from the other side, as from B. there shall appear a Rainbow, or colour'd line painted on it with the part toward X appearing Red, towards O, Blue; the same also shall happen, if the Paper be placed about K k, for towards T shall appear a Red, and towards V a Blue, which does exactly agree with this my Hypothesis, as upon the calculation of the progress of the pulse will most easily appear.

Nor do these two observations of the colours appearing to the eye about p differing from what they appear on the Paper at N contradict each other; but rather confirm and exactly agree with one another, as will be evident to him that examines the reasons set down by the ingenious Des Cartes in the 12. Sect. of the 8. Chapter of his Meteors, where he gives the true reason why the colours appear of a quite contrary order to the eye, to what they appear'd on the Paper if the eye be plac'd in steed of the Paper: And as in the Prisme, so also in the water-drop[errata 3], or Globe the Phænomena, and reason are much the same.

Having therefore shewn that there is such a propriety in the prisme and water Globule whereby the pulse is made oblique to the progressive, and that so much the more, by how much greater the refraction is, I shall in the next place consider, how this conduces to the production of colours, and what kind of impression it makes upon the bottom of the eye; and to this end it will be requisite to examine this Hypothesis a little more particularly.

First therefore, if we consider the manner of the progress of the pulse, it will seem rational to conclude, that that part or end of the pulse which precedes the other, must necessarily be somwhat more obtunded, or impeded by the resistance of the transparent medium, than the other part or end of it which is subsequent, whose way is, as it were, prepared by the other; especially if the adjacent medium be not in the same manner enlightned or agitated. And therefore (in the fourth Figure of the sixth Iconism) the Ray A A A H B will have its side H H more deadned by the resistance of the dark or quiet medium P P P, Whence there will be a kind of deadness superinduc'd on the side H H H, which will continually increase from B, and strike deeper and deeper into the Ray by the line B R; Whence all the parts of the triangle, R B H O will be of a dead Blue colour, and so much the deeper, by how much the nearer they lie to the line B H H, which is most deaded or impeded, and so much the more dilute, by how much the nearer it approaches the line BR. Next on the other side of the Ray A A N, the end A of the pulse A H will be promoted, or made stronger, having its passage already prepar'd as 'twere by the other parts preceding, and so its impression wil be stronger; And because of its obliquity to the Ray, there will be propagated a kind of faint motion into Q Q the adjacent dark or quiet medium, which faint motion will spread further and further into Q Q as the Ray is propagated further and further from A, namely, as far as the line M A, whence all the triangle M A N will be ting'd with a Red, and that Red will be the deeper the nearer it approaches the line M A, and the paler or yellower the nearer it is the line N A. And if the Ray be continued, so that the lines A N and B R (which are the bounds of the Red and Blue diluted) do meet and cross each other, there will be beyond that intersection generated all kinds of Greens.

Now, these being the proprieties of every single refracted Ray of light, it will be easie enough to consider what must be the result of very many such Rays collateral: As if we suppose infinite such Rays interjacent between A K S B and A N O B, which are the terminating: For in this case the Ray A K S B will have its Red triangle intire, as lying next to the dark or quiet medium, but the other side of it B S will have no Blue, because the medium adjacent to it S B O, is mov'd or enlightned, and consequently that light does destroy the colour. So likewise will the Ray A N O B lose its Red, because the adjacent medium is mov'd or enlightned, but the other side of the Ray that is adjacent to the dark, namely, A H O} will preserve its Blue entire, and these Rays must be so far produc'd as till A N and B R cut each other, before there will be any Green produc'd. From these Proprieties well consider'd, may be deduc'd the reasons of all the Phænomena of the prisme, and of the Globules or drops of Water which conduce to the production of the Rainbow.

Next for the impression they make on the Retina, we will further examine this Hypothesis: Suppose therefore A B C D E F, in the fifth Figure, to represent the Ball of the eye: on the Cornea of which A B C two Rays G A C H and K C A I (which are the terminating Rays of a luminous body) falling, are by the refraction thereof collected or converg'd into two points at the bottom of the eye. Now, because these terminating Rays, and all the intermediate ones which come from any part of the luminous body, are suppos'd by some sufficient refraction before they enter the eye, to have their pulses made oblique to their progression, and consequently each Ray to have potentially superinduc'd two proprieties, or colours, viz., a Red on the one side, and a Blue on the other, which notwithstanding are never actually manifest, but when this or that Ray has the one or the other side of it bordering on a dark or unmov'd medium, therefore as soon as these Rays are entred into the eye and so have one side of each of them bordering on a dark part of the humours of the eye, they will each of them actually exhibit some colour; therefore A D C the production of G A C H[errata 4] will exhibit a Blue, because the side C D is adjacent to the dark medium C Q D C, but nothing of a Red, because its side A D is adjacent to the enlightned medium A D F A: And all the Rays that from the points of the luminous body are collected on the parts of the Retina between D and F shall have their Blue so much the more diluted by how much the farther these points of collection are distant from D towards F; and the Ray A F C the production of K C A I, will exhibit a Red, because the side A F is adjacent to the dark or quiet medium of the eye A P F A, but nothing of a Blue, because its side C F is adjacent to the enlightned medium C F D C, and all the Rays from the intermediate parts of the luminous body that are collected between F and D shall have their Red so much the more diluted, by how much the farther they are distant from F towards D.

Now, because by the refraction in the Cornea, and some other parts of the eye, the sides of each Ray, which before were almost parallel, are made to converge and meet in a point at the bottom of the eye, therefore that side of the pulse which preceded before these refractions, shall first touch the Retina, and the other side last. And therefore according as this or that side, or end of the pulse shall be impeded, accordingly will the impressions on the Retina be varied; therefore by the Ray G A C H refracted by the Cornea to D there shall be on that point a stroke or impression confus'd, whose weakest end, namely, that by the line C D shall precede, and the stronger, namely, that by the line A D shall follow. And by the Ray K C A I refracted to F, there shall be on that part a confus'd stroke or impression, whose strongest part, namely, that by the line C F shal precede, and whose weakest or impeded, namely, that by the line A F shall follow, and all the intermediate points between F and D will receive impressions[errata 5] from the converg'd Rays so much the more like the impressions on F and D by how much the nearer they approach that or this.

From the consideration of the proprieties of which impressions, we may collect these short definitions of Colours: That Blue is an impression on the Retina of an oblique and confus'd pulse of light, whose weakest part precedes, and whose strongest follows. And, that Red is an impression on the Retina of an oblique and confus'd pulse of light, whose strongest part precedes, and whose weakest follows.

Which proprieties, as they have been already manifested, in the Prisme and falling drops of Rain, to be the causes of the colours there generated, may be easily found to be the efficients also of the colours appearing in thin laminated transparent bodies; for the explication of which, all this has been premised.

And that this is so, a little closer examination of the Phænomena and the Figure of the body, by this Hypothesis will make evident.

For first (as we have already observed) the laminated body must be of a determinate thickness, that is, it must not be thinner then such a determinate quantity; for I have always observ'd, that neer the edges of those which are exceeding thin, the colours disappear, and the part grows white; nor must it be thicker then another determinate quantity; for I have likewise observ'd, that beyond such a thickness, no colours appear'd, but the Plate looked white, between which two determinate thicknesses were all the colour'd Rings; of which in some substances I have found ten or twelve, in others not half so many, which I suppose depends much upon the transparency of the laminated body. Thus though the consecutions are the same in the scumm or the skin on the top of metals; yet in those consecutions in the same colour is not so often repeated as in the consecutions in thin Glass, or in Sope-water, or any other more transparent and glutinous liquor; for in these I have observ'd, Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple; Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple; Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple; Red, Yellow, &c. to succeed each other, ten or twelve times, but in the other more opacous bodies the consecutions will not be half so many.

And therefore secondly, the laminated body must be transparent, and this I argue from this, that I have not been able to produce any colour at all with an opacous body, though never so thin. And this I have often try'd, by pressing small Globule of Mercury between two smooth Plates of Glass, whereby I have reduc'd that body to a much greater thinness then was requisite to exhibit the colours with a transparent body.

Thirdly, there must be a considerable reflecting body adjacent to the under or further side of the lamina or plate: for this I always found, that the greater that reflection was, the more vivid were the appearing colours.

From which Observations, is most evident, that the reflection from the under or further side of the body is the principal cause of the production of these colours; which, that it is so, and how it conduces to that effect, I shall further explain in the following Figure, which is here described of a very great thickness, as if it had been view'd through the Microscope; and 'tis indeed much thicker than any Microscope (I have yet us'd) has been able to shew me those colour'd plates of Glass, or Muscovie-glass, which I have not without much trouble view'd with it, for though I have endeavoured to magnifie them as much as the Glasses were capable of, yet are they so exceeding thin, that I have not hitherto been able positively to determine their thickness. This Figure therefore I here represent, is wholy Hypothetical.

Let A B C D H F E in the sixth Figure be a frustum of Muscovy-glass, thinner toward the end A E, and thicker towards D F. Let us first suppose the Ray a g h b coming from the Sun, of some remote luminous object to fall obliquely on the thinner plate B A E, part therefore is reflected back by c g h d, the first Superficies; whereby the perpendicular pulse a b is after reflexion propagated by c d, c d, equally remote from each other with a b, a b, so that a g + g c, or b h + h d are either of them equal to a a, as is also c c, but the body B A E being transparent, a part of the light of this Ray is refracted in the surface A B, and propagated by g i k h to the surface E F, whence it is reflected and refracted again by the surface A B. So that after two refractions and one reflection, there is propagated a kind of fainter Ray e m n f, whose pulse is not only weaker by reason of the two refractions in the surface A B, but by reason of the time spent in passing and repassing between the two surfaces A B and E F, e f which is this fainter or weaker pulse comes behind the pulse c d; so that hereby (the surfaces A B, and E F being so neer together, that the eye cannot discriminate them from one) this confus'd or duplicated pulse, whose strongest part precedes, and whose weakest follows, does produce on the Retina, (or the optick nerve that covers the bottom of the eye) the sensation of a Yellow.

And secondly, this Yellow will appear so much the deeper, by how much the further back towards the middle between cd and cd the spurious pulse e f is remov'd, as in 2 where the surface B C being further remov'd from E F, the weaker pulse e f will be nearer to the middle, and will make an impression on the eye of a Red.

But thirdly, if the two reflecting surfaces be yet further remov'd asunder (as in 3 C D and E F are) then will the weaker pulse be so farr behind, that it will be more then half the distance between c d and c d. And in this case it will rather seem to precede the following stronger pulse, then to follow the preceding one, and consequently a Blue will be generated. And when the weaker pulse is just in the middle between two strong ones, then is a deep and lovely Purple generated; but when the weaker pulse e f is very neer to c d, then is there generated a Green, which will be bluer, or yellower, according as the approximate weak pulse does precede or follow the stronger.

Now fourthly, if the thicker Plate chance to be cleft into two thinner Plates, as C D F E is divided into two Plates by the surface G H then from the composition arising from the three reflections in the surfaces C D, G H, and E F, there will be generated several compounded or mixt colours, which will be very differing, according as the proportion between the thicknesses of those two divided Plates C D H G, and G H F E are varied.

And fifthly, if these surfaces C D and F E are further remov'd asunder, the weaker pulse will yet lagg behind much further, and not onely be coincident with the second, c d, but lagg behind that also, and that so much the more, by how much the thicker the Plate be; so that by degrees it will be coincident with the third c d backward also, and by degrees, as the Plate grows thicker with a fourth, and so onward to a fifth, sixth, seventh, or eighth; so that if there be a thin transparent body, that from the greatest thinness requisite to produce colours, does, in the manner of a Wedge, by degrees grow to the greatest thickness that a Plate can be of, to exhibit a colour by the reflection of Light from such a body, there shall be generated several consecutions of colours, whose order from the thin end towards the thick, shall be Yellow, Red, Purple, Blue, Green; Yellow, Red, Purple, Blue, Green; Yellow, Red, Purple, Blue, Green; Yellow, &c. and these so often repeated, as the weaker pulse does lose paces with its Primary, or first pulse, and is coincident with a second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, &c. pulse behind the first. And this, as it is coincident, or follows from the first Hypothesis I took of colours, so upon experiment have I found it in multitudes of instances that seem to prove it. One thing which seems of the greatest concern in this Hypothesis, is to determine the greatest or least thickness requisite for these effects, which, though I have not been wanting in attempting, yet so exceeding thin are these coloured Plates, and so imperfect our Microscope, that I have not been hitherto successfull, though if my endeavours shall answer my expectations, I shall hope to gratifie the curious Reader with some things more remov'd beyond our reach hitherto.

Thus have I, with as much brevity as I was able, endeavoured to explicate (Hypothetically at least) the causes of the Phænomena I formerly recited, on the consideration of which I have been the more particular.

First, because I think these I have newly given are capable of explicating all the Phænomena of colours, not onely of those appearing in the Prisme, Water-drop, or Rainbow, and in laminated or plated bodies, but of all that are in the world, whether they be fluid or solid bodies, whether in thick or thin, whether transparent, or seemingly opacous, as I shall in the next Observation further endeavour to shew. And secondly, because this being one of the two ornaments of all bodies discoverable by the sight, whether looked on with, or without a Microscope, it seem'd to deserve (somewhere in this Tract, which contains a description of the Figure and Colour of some minute bodies) to be somewhat the more intimately enquir'd into.




  1. Original: broadish was amended to broadest: detail
  2. Original: is to be the sign was amended to is to the sign: detail
  3. Original: Water, Drop was amended to water-drop: detail
  4. Original: the production G A C H was amended to the production of G A C H: detail
  5. Original: impression was amended to impressions: detail