Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. VIII.: Of several Sorts of Earth, Stones, Metals, Minerals, and other Fossils. - The Works, vol. 2 An Essay concerning Human Understanding Part 2 and Other Writings
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CHAP. VIII.: Of several Sorts of Earth, Stones, Metals, Minerals, and other Fossils. - John Locke, The Works, vol. 2 An Essay concerning Human Understanding Part 2 and Other Writings 
The Works of John Locke in Nine Volumes, (London: Rivington, 1824 12th ed.). Vol. 2.
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Of several Sorts of Earth, Stones, Metals, Minerals, and other Fossils.
This solid globe we live upon is called the earth, though it contains in it a great variety of bodies, several whereof are not properly earth; which word, taken in a more limited sense, signifies such parts of this globe as are capable, being exposed to the air, to give rooting and nourishment to plants, so that they may stand and grow in it. With such earth as this, the greatest part of the surface of this globe is covered; and it is as it were the store-house, from whence all the living creatures of our world have originally their provisions; for from thence all the plants have their sustenance, and some few animals, and from these all the other animals.
Of earth, taken in this sense, there are several sorts, v. g. common mould, or garden earth, clay of several kinds, sandy soils.
Besides these, there is medicinal earth; as that which is called terra lemnia, bolus armena, and divers others.
After the several earths, we may consider the parts of the surface of this globe, which is barren; and such, for the most, are sand, gravel, chalk, and rocks, which produce nothing, where they have no earth mixt amongst them. Barren sands are of divers kinds, and consist of several little irregular stones without any earth; and of such there are great deserts to be seen in several parts of the world.
Besides these, which are most remarkable on the surface of the earth, there are found deeper, in this globe, many other bodies, which, because we discover by digging into the bowels of the earth, are called by one common name, fossils; under which are comprehended metals, minerals or half metals, stones of divers kinds, and sundry bodies that have the texture between earth and stone.
To begin with those fossils which come nearest the earth; under this head we may reckon the several sorts of oker, chalk, that which they call black-lead, and other bodies of this kind, which are harder than earth, but have not the consistency and hardness of perfect stone.
Next to these may be considered stones of all sorts; whereof there is almost an infinite variety. Some of the most remarkable, either for beauty or use, are these: marble of all kinds, porphyry, granate, free-stone, &c. flints, agates, cornelians, pebbles, under which kind come the precious stones, which are but pebbles of an excessive hardness, and when they are cut and polished, they have an extraordinary lustre. The most noted and esteemed are, diamonds, rubies, amethysts, emeralds, topazes, opals.
Besides these, we must not omit those which, though of not so much beauty, yet are of greater use, viz. loadstones, whetstones of all kinds, limestones, callamine, or lapis calaminaris; and abundance of others.
Besides these, there are found in the earth several sorts of salts, as eating or common salt, vitriol, sal gemma, and others.
The minerals, or semi-metals, that are dug out of the bowels of the earth, are antimony, cinnabar, zink, &c. to which may be added brimstone.
But the bodies of most use, that are sought for out of the depths of the earth, are the metals; which are distinguished from other bodies by their weight, fusibility, and malleableness; of which there are these sorts, gold, silver, copper, tin, lead, and, the most valuable of them all, iron; to which one may join that anomalous body quicksilver, or mercury.
He that desires to be more particularly informed concerning the qualities and properties of these subterraneous bodies, may consult natural historians and chymists.
What lies deeper towards the centre of the earth we know not, but a very little beneath the surface of this globe, and whatever we fetch from under ground, is only what is lodged in the shell of the earth.
All stones, metals, and minerals, are real vegetables; that is, grow organically from proper seeds, as well as plants.