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The nitrous, or vitriolic acids, expel the marine, and thus reduce the corrosive into a calx similar to the foregoing. Sulphur remarkably abates the power of this metal, and hence crude antimony, in which the regulus appears to be combined with sulphur, from one fourth to one half its weight, proves altogether mild. If a part of the sulphur be taken away by such operations as do not destroy or calcine the metal, the remaining mass becomes proportionably more active. The sulphur of antimony may be expelled by deflagration with nitre; the larger the quantity of nitre to a certain point, the more of the sulphur will be dissipated, and the preparation will be more active.
If the quantity of nitre be more than sufficient to consume the sulphur, the rest of it, deflagrating with the inflammable principle of the regulus itself, renders it again mild.
The sulphur of antimony is likewise absorbed in fusion by certain metals, and by alkaline salts. These last, when mixed with sulphur, prove a menstruum for all metals, (zinc excepted ;) and hence, if the fusion be long continued, the regulus is taken up, and rendered soluble in water.
From these particulars, with respect to antimony, it may naturally be concluded, that it not only furnishes us with an useful and active medicine, but that it may also be exhibited for veterinary purposes under several different forms, and that the effects of these will be considerably diversified.
The College of Physicians have, in regard to human medicine, restricted the number of preparations of antimony in their pharmacopeia to a few only; and it is highly probable, that, from the proper employment of chem, every useful purpose to be answered by antimony as a remedyin the diseases of cattle may be accomplished. Calcined antimony is prepared in the following manner :
Take of antimony, powdered, eight ounces ; nitre, powdered, two pounds; mix them, and cast the mixture, by degrees, into a red-hot crucible. Burn the white matter about half an hour, and, when cold, powder it; after which, wash it with distilled water.
In the last edition of the London Pharmacopoeia, this preparation had the name of calx of antimony; and it may be considered as at least very nearly approaching to some other antimonials of the Old Pharmacopoeia, particularly to the nitrated diaphoretic antimony, washed ditto, and stibiated nitre, none of which are now received as separate formula of pharmacopoeia ; and indeed, even the calx of antimony itself, thus prepared, has now no place in the Edinburgh Pharmacopoeia.
The calx of antimony, when freed by washing from the saline matter, is extremely mild, if not altogether inactive, in the human subject. For a man, the common dose is from five grains to a scruple, or half a drachm; and Wilson relates, that he has known it given by half ounces, and repeated twice or thrice daily for several days together. Some report, that this calx, by keeping for a length of time, contracts an active quality, from whence it has been concluded that the powers of the reguline part are not entirely destroyed; that the preparation has the virtues of other antimonials, which are given as alteratives ; that is to say, in such small doses as not to disturb the first passages. The uncalcined part being grosser than the true calx, the separation is effected by often washing with water, in the same manner as is directed by separating earthy powders from their grosser parts. It has been observed, that when diaphoretic antimony is
prepared with nitre abounding with sea-salt, of which all the common nitre contains some portion, the medicine has proved violent. This effect is not owing to any particular quality of the sea salt, but to its quantity, by which the proportion of the nitre to the antimony is rendered less.
The nitrum stibiatum, as it was called, is produced by the deflagration of the sulphur of the antimony with the nitre, in the same manner as the sal polyche st, from which it differs no otherwise than in retaining some portion of the antimonial calx. Notwithstanding the doubts entertained by some of the activity of the antimonium calcinatum, yet the London College appears to have done right in retaining it; for whilst it is allowed to be the mildest of our antimonials, it is admitted, by several able practitioners, to be efficacious.
CROCUS OF ANTIMONY.
Take of antimony, powdered, and nitre, powdered, of each one pound; sea-salt, one ounce: mix, and put them by degrees into a red-hot crucible, and melt them with an increased heat ; pour out the melted matter, and when cold, separate it from the scoriac.
Equal parts of antimony and nitre are to be injected, by degrees, into a red-hot crucible; when the detona
a tion is over, separate the reddish metallic matter from the whitish crust, beat it into powder, and edulcorate it by repeated washings with hot water till the water comes off tasteless. Here the antimonial sulphur is almost totally consumed, and the metallic part left divested of its corrector. These preparations, given from two to six grains, generally act as violent emétics, greatly disordering the constitution. But the opera
tion, like that of every preparation of antimony, whose reguline part is not joined with the acid, must be liable to variations, according to the quantity and condition of the acid of the stomach. Farriers frequently give to horses an ounce or two in the day, divided into different doses, as an alterative. In the horse, and other quadrupeds of the herbiverous tribe, it acts chiefly as a diaphoretic. The chemists have been accustomed to make the crocus with a less proportion of nitre than what is directed above, and without any farther melting than what ensues from the heat which the matter acquires by deflagration, which, when the quantity is large, is very considerable ; a little common salt is added to promote the fusion. The mixture is put, by degrees, into an iron pot or mortar, somewhat heated, and placed under a chimney; when the first ladleful is in, a piece of lighted charcoal is thrown to it, which sets the matter on fire; the rest of the mixture is then added by little and little, the deflagration is soon over, and the whole appears in perfect fusion; when cold, a considerable quantity of scoriac is found on the surface, which scoriac is easily knocked off with a hammer. The crocus prepared in this manner is of a redder colour than that of the former edition of the London Pharmacopoeia. And, indeed, the method now directed by the London College may be considered as founded on this. It differs principally from that of the Edinburgh College in the employment of the sea-salt, by which the process is much facilitated.
Is prepared by taking of the crocus of antimony, powdered, and vitriolic acid, of each one pound; dry sea-salt, two pounds. Pour the vitriolic acid into a retort, adding, by degrees, the sea-salt and the crocus of antimony, previously mixed; then distil in a sandbath. Let the distilled matter be exposed to the air for several days, and then let the fluid part be poured off from the dregs.
BUTTER OF ANTIMONY.
Take crude, one part; corrosive sublimate, two parts. Grind them first separately, then thoroughly mix them together, taking the utmost care to avoid the vapours. Put the mixture into a coated glass retort, (having a short wide neck), so as to fill one half of it; the retort being placed in a sand-furnace, and a receiver adapted to it; give first, a gentle heat, that only dewy vapours may arise; the fire being then increased, an oily liquor will ascend and condense in the neck of the retort, appearing like ice, which is to be melted down by a live goal cautiously applied. This oily matter is to be rectified in a glass retort into a pellucid liquor.
The process here directed by the College of Edinburgh is extremely dangerous, insomuch, that even the life of the operator, though tolerably versed in common pharmacy, may be endangered for want of due
Boerhave relates a case of a man who was suffocated for want of due care to prevent the bursting of the retort. The fumes which arise, even on mixing