Quick or living silver; from its great fluidity. See Argf.ntum vivum.
Mercurius alcalisatus. Alcalisated mercury; hydrargyrus cum creta; Quicksilver with chalk; AEthiops albus. hydrargyri puri iij. cretae pp.
v., rub them together until the globules disappear. Ph. Lond. 1788.
Mercurius calcinatus; mercurius praecipitatus per se. Calcined quicksilver, hydrargyrias calcina-tus. This preparation is directed to be prepared by exposing a pound of quicksilver in a flat bottomed glass cucurbit to a heat of about 600 degrees, in a sand bath, till it becomes a red powder. By agitation, or by triture, similar effects are produced on the mercury, and in much less time. This has lately been a fashionable preparation, but is scarcely, if at all, superior to calomel, though the prejudices of the moment have occasionally given it the preference with ourselves and others.
Mercurius cinnabarinus. See Cinnabar fac-titia.
Mercurius corrosivus sublimatus. See Mercurius Corrosivus Albus.
Mercurius corallinus, arcanum corallinum. This was designed to render the mercurius nitratus ruber a more mild internal medicine; but as no considerable advantage was obtained by the process, it has been rejected.
Mercurius corrosivus albus. The white corrosive mercury; mercurius corrosivus sublimatus, gas siccum sublimatum, albi, aquila alba, sublimatum, hydrargyrus muriatus, muriated quicksilver. The modes of preparing this medicine are various; but the college of London direct quicksilver and vitriolic acid two pounds of each, dried sea salt three pounds and a half: the quicksilver is to be mixed with the acid in a glass vessel, and boiled in a sand heat till the matter is dried; which is added, when cold, to the sea salt, in a glass vessel. The whole is sublimed in a glass cucurbit, with a heat gradually raised, and the sublimed matter separated from the scoriae. Pharm.lond. 1788.
The greatest part of this preparation used in England is brought from Holland and Venice; and, as has been suspected, adulterated with arsenic. Dr. Lewis gives the following method of detecting the fraud:"take any quantity of the suspected white corrosive mercury, powder it in a glass mortar, and mix it well with twice its weight of black flux (see Calcinatio,) and a little filings of iron; put the mixture into a crucible capable of holding four or five times as much; give a gradual fire until the ebullition ceases, then hastily increase it to a white heat: if no fumes of a garlic smell be perceived during the process, and if the particles of iron retain their form, without any of them being melted, we may be sure that the mixture contains no arsenic." Neumann denies the possibility of this preparation being adulterated with arsenic, and observes, that, instead of their subliming together, the arsenic will attract the marine acid to itself, and the mercury will be revived, instead of sublimed in the form of this preparation.
Sublimated mercury is peculiarly adapted to those cases in which the slow continued action of the metal is required, particularly in eruptions, in glandular indurations, and some similar complaints. In lues it often fails, after having first appeared to succeed. It was given by Van Swieten in lues, dissolved in corn spirit; and in this form it sits most easily on the stomach; but the watery solution is not inconvenient in this respect. A small proportion of crude sal ammoniac in the solution prevents the precipitation. It may be given also in pills mixed with the crumb of bread, and the dose, at first, should not exceed one fourth of a grain. See Argentum vivum.
Mercurius dulcis sublimatus; dulcified mercury sublimate, calomelas; and when the sublimation hath been ten or twelve times repeated, panacea mercurii.
It is the mercurius corrosivus albus, dulcified by the addition of crude mercury. The London college directs the proportion of nine ounces of purified quicksilver to twelve ounces of the muriated quicksilver: rub them, it is added, together till the globules disappear, and sublime; in the same manner repeat the sublimation four times; afterwards rub the matter into the finest powder, and wash it by pouring on boiling distilled water. Ph. London. 1788. In the Augustan Dispensatory one sublimation only is required. See Argentum vivum.
The marks of sufficient dulcification are, its being perfectly insipid to the taste, and indissoluble by long boiling in water. If the water hath taken up any part of the mercury, it may be discovered by dropping into the liquor an alkaline solution, which will precipitate the mercury it may contain. If the dulcified mercury turns black on being mixed with lime water, or volatile alkali, it is duly prepared.
We have already mentioned Mr. Scheele's preparation of calomel in the humid way, and explained its principles. We shall now add the process at length, translated from the Stockholm Transactions.
"Half a pound of quicksilver and the same quantity of nitrous acid are to be put into a small vessel with a long neck, the mouth of which is to be covered with paper. The vessel is then to be placed in a warm sand bath; and after a few hours, when the acid affords no signs of its acting any longer on the quicksilver, the fire is to be increased to such a degree that the solution may nearly boil. This heat is to be continued for three or four hours, taking care to move the vessel from time to time, and at last the solution is to be suffered to boil gently for about a quarter of an hour. In the mean while we are to dissolve four ounces and a half of fine common salt in six or eight pints of water. This solution is to be poured boiling into a glass vessel, in which the above mentioned solution of quicksilver is to be mixed with it, gradually, and in a boiling state also, taking care to keep the mixture in constant motion. When the precipitate is settled, the clear liquor is to be drained from it, after which it is to be repeatedly washed with hot water till it ceases to impart any taste to*the water. The precipitate obtained by this method is to be filtered, and afterwards dried by a gentle heat. This is the hydrar-gyrus muriatus mitis of the London Pharmacopoeia, only that they order four ounces of sea salt, instead of four ounces and a half.