Busardier (ca. seventeenth century)
A practitioner of alchemy of whom few particulars are recorded.
He is said to have lived at Prague with a noble courtier.
Falling sick and feeling the approach of death, he sent a letter
to his friend Richtausen at Vienna, asking him to come and stay
with him during his last moments. Richtausen set out at once
but on arriving at Prague found that Busardier was dead.
On inquiring if the adept had left anything behind him, the
steward of the nobleman with whom he had lived stated that
only some powder had been left which the nobleman desired
to preserve. Richtausen by some means got possession of the
powder and took his departure. On discovering this, the nobleman
threatened to hang his steward if he did not recover the
powder. The steward, surmising that no one but Richtausen
could have taken the powder, armed himself and set out in pursuit.
Overtaking him on the road, he drew a pistol on Richtausen
and made him hand over the powder. Richtausen, however,
contrived to keep a considerable quantity. Knowing the value
of the powder, Richtausen presented himself to Emperor Ferdinand,
himself an alchemist, and gave him a quantity of the
powder. The emperor, assisted by his mine master Count
Russe, succeeded in converting three pounds of mercury into
gold by means of one grain of the powder. The emperor is said
to have commemorated the event by having a medal struck
bearing the effigy of Apollo with the caduceus of Mercury and
an appropriate motto.
Richtausen was ennobled under the title of ‘‘Baron Chaos.’’
A. E. Waite, in his Lives of Alchemistical Philosophers (1888), stated
‘‘Among many transformations performed by the same powder
was one by the Elector of Mayence, in 1651. He made projections
with all the precautions possible to a learned and skilful
philosopher. The powder enclosed in gum tragacanth to retain
it effectually, was put into the wax of a taper, which was lighted,
the wax being then placed at the bottom of a cruet. These preparations
were undertaken by the Elector himself. He poured
four ounces of quicksilver on the wax, and put the whole into
a fire covered with charcoal above, below and around. Then
they began blowing to the utmost, and in about half an hour on
removing the coals, they saw that the melted gold was over red,
the proper colour being green. The baron said the matter was
yet too high and it was necessary to put some silver into it. The
Elector took some coins out of his pocket, put them into the
melting pot, combined the liquefied silver with the matter in
the cruet, and having poured out the whole when in perfect fusion
into a lingot, he found after cooling, that it was very fine
gold, but rather hard, which was attributed to the lingot. On
again melting, it became exceedingly soft and the Master of the
Mint declared to His Highness that it was more than twentyfour
carats and that he had never seen so fine a quality of the
precious metal.’’
Sources
Waite, A. E. Lives of the Alchemical Philosophers. London
George Redway, 1888. Reprinted as Alchemists through the Ages.
Blauvelt, N.Y. Rudolf Steiner Publications, 1970.

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