A STATED Meeting of the Society was held at the Club of Odd Volumes, No. 77 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, on Thursday, 24 February 1949, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the President, Augustus Peabody Loring, Jr., in the chair.
The records of the last Stated Meeting were read and approved.
The Corresponding Secretary reported the receipt of letters from Mr. Henry Hornblower, II, and Mr. Waldron Phoenix Belknap, Jr. accepting election to Resident Membership, and from Mr. Carl Bridenbaugh accepting election to Corresponding Membership in the Society.
The President reported the death on 2 January 1949 of Eldon Revare James, an Associate Member; that on 18 January 1949 of Allston Burr, a Resident Member, and that on 19 February 1949 of Marcus Wilson Jernegan, a Corresponding Member of the Society.
Mr. Michael J. Walsh read a paper entided “Matt B. Jones and his Collection of Americana.”
The Editor communicated by title the following paper by Professor G. H. Turnbull:
GEORGE STIRK was born in Bermuda, the son of the Reverend George Stirk,1 who was Church of England minister to the Southampton Tribe there, and who died in 1637. His name is given variously as Stirk, Stirke, Stirky, Sterky, Starkey and Starkie. Ferguson2 says Stirk seems to have been really his name, but Robert Child, who knew him well, informed Samuel Hartlib in 1650 (as recorded in the latter’s Ephemerides for that year) that he “writes his name Stirke”; Child may only have meant this form rather than Starkey, without insisting on the “e,” which indeed may be Hartlib’s own writing of the name as he had heard it from Child’s own mouth. His father’s name, too, is spelled Stirke in contemporary documents, though Professor Kittredge uses the form Stirk, which indeed is that used by the Reverend George Stirk himself.3
The younger Stirk seems to have been born in 1628. In his Ephemerides for 16504 Hartlib gives Stirk’s age then variously as 21, 22 and 23, before meeting him; but, after meeting him for the first time on 11 December of that year, he records, among other details, from Child and Stirk’s “owne mouth,” his age as “but of 22 y[ears].”5
In 1639 Stirk was recommended by the Reverend Patrick Copland, of Warwick’s Tribe, to the care of John Winthrop the elder and went to Harvard College for his education, instead of going to England. In 1644, before he graduated, he began to study chemistry6 in his spare time and later, in 1648, he wrote to borrow books on the subject and chemical apparatus from John Winthrop the younger.7 He graduated Bachelor of Arts at Harvard College in 1646 and, according to Kittredge,8 was practising medicine at Boston from 1647 to 1650. He was certainly practising medicine there in 1648, for William White, in a letter to Robert Child of 8 May 1649, found among Hartlib’s papers, after describing what he had had to endure and how ill he had been treated by people like Mr. Robert Leader and his wife, added that twelve weeks before he left Boston for the Bermudas, which was apparently in July 1648,9 Stirk, who had begun to practise “physick” at Boston, “had such practise that he tooke me a great house and gave me 5s a daye . . . and there I shewed such works there that gentle and symple saide that I had beene wronged dyvers ways.” In A smart scourge, published in 1665, but written in 1664,10 Stirk says:11 “Of my publick profession of the Art of Medicine, this is the seventeenth year.” In that book and in his Epistolar Discourse (1665), he styles himself M.D.; but it is not known where he obtained that degree, nor when.12
The younger Stirk’s mother was the daughter of Stephen Painter,13 councillor for the Southampton Tribe and factor or agent in the Bermudas for Robert Rich, second Earl of Warwick. A George Stirk is mentioned14 as “hir sonne” in a petition of 20 May 1650, from Elizabeth Stoughton, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, widow of Israel Stoughton, who died in 1644,15 and Sibley concludes16 that, if this “be the graduate, it is obvious, though not sustained by any known record, that Israel Stoughton . . . became a widower, and married the widow of the Reverend George Stirk.” But it is possible that George Stirk’s widow was already dead by the summer of 1650, if not earlier.17 Now the younger Stirk was certainly married by 1652, for John Dury remembered his “service” to Stirk’s wife in a letter to Hartlib of 14 May of that year. Moreover, in his first entry about Stirk in his Ephemerides for 1650, written between 13/23 March and 9 April, Hartlib recorded the information from Robert Leader that Stirk was “lately married to one Stoughton’s daughter18 there,” i.e., in New England. It is more reasonable, therefore, to suppose that he was Elizabeth and Israel Stoughton’s son-in-law, rather than “sonne,” and that Sibley’s conjecture is wrong. In a later letter to Hartlib, of 29 May 1652, Dury referred to Stirk’s “family”; but there is no further evidence of what this comprised at that time.
Before he left New England, Stirk became Master of Arts at Harvard College.19 Information recorded in Hartlib’s Ephemerides confirms this,20 adding that he “is of a most rare and incomparable universall witt,” “prepares his owne Physick and hath done a number of most strange and desperate cures, as of the dropsy, dead palsy and others,” and is “also very chymicall.” Robert Child told Hartlib that Stirk, whom he had known in New England, was “famous already” for his cures and was a Presbyterian21 and of Scots parents, born in the Bermudas. After his first meeting with Stirk, Hartlib recorded among other things, from Dr. Child and Stirk’s “owne mouth,” that Stirk had been confined for two years in New England on suspicion of being “a Spie or Jesuit,”22 but afterwards practised physic there “with great successe as hee still undertakes for feavers, stone, falling sickness, dropsy,” that he had lacked mainly glasshouses in New England and had spent more than £500 on “natural and chymical experiments.”
Child also told Hartlib that Stirk had “a vast stupendious memory” and was an excellent Hebrew and Greek scholar. Stirk himself in his writings alludes several times to his education. In one place23 he says of his adversaries: “Are they Physicians by profession? so am I, educated in the schools as well as they, graduated as well as they, nor was my time idly spent, but in the Tongues and course of Philosophy usually taught, in Logick and other Arts read in the Schools. . . . For the vulgar Logick and Philosophy, I was altogether educated in it, though never satisfied with it; at length Aristotles Logick I exchanged for that of Ramus, and found myself as empty as before; and for authors in medicine, Fernelius and Sennertus were those I most chiefly applyed myself to, and Galen, Fucksius, Ayicen, and others I read, and with diligence noted, what I could apprehend useful, and accounted this practical knowledge a great treasure, till practical experience taught me, that what I had learned was of no value, and then was I to seek for a new path, in which I might walk with greater certainty, and by God’s blessing, by the tutorage of the fire, I attained true medicines taught obscurely by Paracelsus, but only explained by labour and diligence in the Art of Pyrotechny.” Elsewhere24 he explains that his first suspicion of the complete rottenness of the foundations of the current Philosophy was occasioned by a disputation on the possibility of making gold potable, his studies of the subject making him see the rottenness of both Logic and Philosophy; and he goes on: “now I apprehended (before years and titles had engaged me) that besides what I knew in Tongues my skill in Logick and Philosophy was not worth contemning, yet nothing was in my eyes more vile. I therefore rejected Aristotle and all his fictions, against whose fallacious shew I wrote with a pen dipt in salt and vinegar, yet without gall, a Treatise called Organum novum Philosophiae . . . then I perused some Chymical Authors.” In a later work25 he writes of being born and bred generously, and educated from his youth in learning, of his chemical studies and of his public profession of the art of medicine, “in which art in particular, as of Learning in General, I have had as much Academical honour, as by the conferring of degrees, Students and Practitioners are capable of.”
Stirk was probably drawing on his own earlier experience and knowledge when he told Hartlib of the “hugely great” silk-spider of the Bermudas, that spins a strong web between tree and tree, making “most excellent silke in great abundance,” far better than silkworms, and that might be kept in England, and of the excellent oranges and lemons grown there, far better than “any in Spain,” as the Spanish Ambassador confessed after “entertainment with them by the late E[arl] of Arundel.”26
The account of Stirk in the Dictionary of National Biography says that he returned to England in 1646. This is quite erroneous, for Stirk does not seem to have been in England before, and he did not arrive here until 1650. Kittredge conjectures27 that he came in 1651 with his sister and his grandfather, Stephen Painter, but elsewhere28 he says it was in 1650 or 1651, probably in the latter part of 1650, leaving Boston some time after 6 August 1650. The matter is now settled for us by entries in Hartlib’s Ephemerides for 1650, where it is recorded that on 29 November Benjamin Worsley brought Hartlib “the first news of young Dr. Sterky come hither out of N[ew] E[ngland],” and that on ii December Hartlib met Stirk for the first time on the Exchange. In an earlier entry for that year, made between 13/23 March and 9 April, Hartlib records that Stirk should have come over in the company of Mr. (Richard) Leader, his “intimate friend.”29
Stirk appears to have lived in England from his arrival in November 1650 until his death in 1665. Something has hitherto been known concerning this period of his life; but Hartlib’s papers, now available, provide much new and valuable additional information for the first ten years or so. In the following account of him and of his activities during this period the source drawn upon, except where otherwise stated, has been these papers; and in particular, the journal labelled Ephemerides which Hartlib kept, and various letters which came into his hands.
Stirk experimented much with the transmutation of metals. According to the Ephemerides for 1651, he had already made, in America, more than fifteen hundred experiments with antimony, having got from a filius Hermetis in New England, who had the elixir, the hints and some of the gold and silver made by the latter with the elixir; though otherwise Stirk was “a pure Helmontian.”30 Hartlib, apparently quoting Stirk, records that the “anonymous adept” in New England, presumably the same person as the filius Hermetis, got his hints from reading some papers of John White, called the Gilder of Norwich.31 In the same year, 1651, Robert Child told Hartlib of Stirk’s “admirable skill” in the making of furnaces of all kinds,32 and of his having discovered how to make furnaces like Glauber’s before seeing any of the latter’s. Early33 in 1651, John Dury saw Stirk extract from antimony silver equal in weight to gold, and from iron gold of the color of the rose noble, and estimated that Stirk might easily make £300 a year in this way. However, Stirk could only make three ounces of silver and gold at a time, and complained that he found the making hard work, like that of a horse working a mill continually; whereas, if he had more accommodation and used more instruments, he might make as many ounces as he pleased. Benjamin Worsley, therefore, who claimed that he and Johann Moriaen could turn the antimonial silver into gold and extract gold in great quantity from tin and iron,34 wished Stirk to cease toiling for small quantities and join them in their work, whereby he would be a great gainer. Stirk, however, had vowed, if he got “the great secret,” not to make any private profit by it. Moreover, according to Dury, Stirk himself could turn silver into gold, and could also extract silver from tin, his silver amazing people by its exact resemblance to ordinary silver; he had at last found someone who would pay him what he asked for this silver, but Worsley had pointed out the danger of selling it thus, since it ought to be handed in to the Mint.
On 30 May 1651 Stirk wrote a letter to Johann Moriaen, then at Amsterdam, to whom he was introduced by Dury in a letter which described Stirk as possessed of the same desire as themselves, viz., to promote piety, truth and every virtue useful for the propagation of Christianity,35 and which expressed the hope that Moriaen and Stirk would work together for these ends. Stirk told Moriaen that he pursued truth, not fame, and had no secrets for sale. He had seen the “stone” for making gold, and had been given some ounces of the “stone” for making silver by a young friend, who had both “elixirs”; the friend was still alive, but his name Stirk had bound himself by oath to conceal for ever. Stirk had seen his friend, an adept, make and multiply his elixir with sophic mercury, but without seeing exactly how, because of the caution observed by the adept. Stirk had lost seven of his nine parts of the “stone” in trying it with sophic mercury given him by the adept, before discovering that the “stone” had impurities which hindered the multiplication.36 After he had made many unsuccessful attempts to extract such mercury from metals and minerals, God in pity gave him the idea of the difference between the extraction of mercury from bodies “in the destructive way” and that which “occurs in male and female.”37 The latter, called “copper mercury,” enabled him to extract the purest gold and wonderful silver, almost equal to gold in weight; it separates gold into “irreducible antimony” and a black powder within two months. Stirk does not claim that this is the true sophic mercury, but he believes it is its true basis; and it differs little from the true, of which he still has a little.38
In April 1652 Dury wrote to Hartlib expressing the hope that Stirk would “not make haste at an adventure upon the great work,” but would set upon “the lucriferous experiments which God hath put into his hand,” and so promote “his own comfort” and “the accomplishment of our joint public designs.” In a letter to Hartlib of 29 May of the same year Dury mentioned Stirk’s illness and went on: “I can say nothing else but that he hath been faithfull hitherto to us in his aimes; if God would have blessed his endeavours and directed him a way of advantage to trade therewith, he might have been out of his straits before this time, but that which he has thought the most compendious and reddie way for his own relief and the advancement of public designs hath not obtained a blessing of successe hitherto. I could have wished that he had followed the plainest roade way of knowen experiments which might have been lucriferous; but his hope to abbreviat his way hath retarded his designe for want of successe.”
Frederick Clodius told Hartlib, his father-in-law, in August 1652 that it was said Stirk could certainly make from copper a gold that stood all the tests except that of taste, and from which could be made vessels answering in color, weight and beauty to the purest gold; but that Stirk’s extraction of silver from tin was the more profitable experiment. On 18 August 1652 Hartlib, Dury and Clodius made a pact in which they stated that their joint efforts to promote the public good were not to injure or prejudice anyone, and that their efforts were to help Stirk and serve his honor and advantage.
Hartlib has recorded that on 2 March 1653 Stirk came and told him that he had now perfected his experiment to make Luna fixa, and that this silver passed all the tests of the goldsmith, being therefore equivalent to gold except for the color, which could easily be added. Later that year Stirk told Hartlib that an ounce of his silver sold for forty shillings; he wore a ring of antimony obtained from this silver and mixed with some pure gold which was thereby turned into silver and made incapable of separation from it.
Stirk himself related in verse his experiments in transmutation, and the following excerpts39 give the gist of the story as he told it:
“An Artist once I said, I knew him well . . .
Of whom I from my knowledge can rehearse,
That he had both Elixer white and red . . .
He freely gave two ounces weight or more
Which was of vertue truly to convert . . .
Full six-score thousand times its quantity.
I nothing found which was to it of kin,
But it would tinge it into silver pure . . .
[which] Would like to gold abide in aqua fort
And would like gold passe Antimony, yea,
In weight it equal’d Sol, so that report
Hath told me it was white gold by th’ assay . . .
Only of Sol it wanted colour due,
If I had known this working when I had
More of my medicine, I had been made.
For why this Lune is gold indeed, and will
For gold be sold at more than half the rate,
At which that Sol which tincted hath its fill . . .
This man who gave this gift to me . . .
For living he’s I hope . . .
His present place in which he doth abide
I know not, for the world he walks about . . .
By Nation an Englishman, of note
His Family is in the place where he
Was born, his Fortunes good, and eke his Coat
Of Arms is of a great antiquity,
His learning rare, his years scarce thirty three . . .
When then on me he freely did conferre
The foresaid blessing, also he did adde
A portion of his Mercury . . .
This Mercury was that with which he did
His Redstone multiply exceedingly . . .
I thought that if the red
And white were both multiplicable, then
One progresse linear to either led,
Which was a false ground, this my errour ten
Of twelve parts quite destroi’d, and yet unwise,
So many lessons might me not suffice.
Those two parts then I mixed with Luna pure,
Ten other times its weight, and then anew
I fell to work again, hoping that sure,
Once right might nineteen errours losse renew,
Yet when my fire was almost out, I thought
Upon the reason of the thing I sought.
So that few grains [of my white medicine] excepted I did waste
All what I had bestowed on me . . .
Some of what did remain to serve expense . . .
And need since that inforced me to use
Some little of a little, so that now
The rest I was compel’d (ne could I choose)
To mix with Luna fine, or else I trow
I soon a grain might lose which was my store,
This then I mixt with other ten grains more . . .
Thus with my trials oft my Mercury
Was now to nothing brought or very little . . .
At last my good friend once again I met,
And what had happened I did not hide,
I . . . hop’d anew from him to be supplied,
But this also my hope was much deluded . . .
For when he understood what I had tri’d . . .
He saw that if he me anew suppli’d,
That I could go to the Hesperian Tree,
And pluck the Apples at my list, and then
Might do much mischief unto honest men.”
In 1655 Boyle told Hartlib that Dr. Jones40 was making a full trial of the experiment on antimony and gold which Stirk had imparted to Boyle, and had already found that the antimony did “much exalt” the gold, so that silver might be mixed with it.
Stirk records41 that he was first set, through the incitation and encouragement of Helmont, upon the search for the immortal dissolving liquor, called by Paracelsus his Liquor Alchahest. To the search for this “liquor,” which was the thing he most desired in the world, he devoted himself seriously for fully eight years and persevered, in spite of the tediousness involved in its preparation, until he learned the secret of its origin and preparation.42
The eight years43 would appear to have been from 1644 to 1652. It was in 1644, as has already been mentioned, that Stirk began to study chemistry in his spare time. When Worsley informed Hartlib on 29 November 1650, of Stirk’s arrival in England he mentioned that he had come “with a ful confidence of the Altahest”; and Hartlib himself recorded, after his first meeting with Stirk on 11 December 1650, that Stirk could “fix mercury.” Early in 1651 Boyle told Hartlib that the preparation of the liquor that Stirk must make, “I mean the Altahest,” would cost him two or three months;44 and we have already noted that, at the end of May 1651, Stirk claimed, in his letter to Moriaen, to have discovered how to obtain sophic mercury or something almost exactly the same.45 Hartlib recorded that, on 26 August 1652, Clodius saw the mercury “brought over the helm” by Stirk’s Alcahest, and as we have already seen, Stirk told Hartlib on 2 March 1653, that he had perfected his experiment to make Luna fixa; but in the summer of 1653 Clodius told Hartlib that he had sent Stirk an extract from Helmont about what the Alcahest “properly was,” and its virtues and uses, “which Stirk never knew.”
Stirk himself said in 1657,46 that as soon as he knew the secret of the Liquor Alcahest, and could prepare it, “my spirit was so satisfied with the knowledge thereof, that I never hitherto prepared it. For the way as I made it was very tedious.” Elsewhere47 he explained that, since his success in the search for the secret, he had never had a convenient opportunity to repeat the operations, and that he lost what he had of the liquor through the breaking of his glass vessel.
He advised48 others, however, against beginning their study of chemistry in aid of medicine, as he had done, with the search for this secret, which is “the top-stone of medicinal art,” likening such a course to the madness of a man who, having to climb a ladder, wants to begin at the top and refuses to use the lower rungs.
Stirk claimed that the Liquor Alcahest was itself a noble and universal medicine49 and also that, by its use, specific remedies for various diseases could be made from vegetables, metals and minerals;50 the highest preparation of gold that could be made by it being able to cure the most deplorable diseases,51 but “the sweet oyl of Venus,” prepared from copper and the liquor, being the most “sovereign remedy for most (not to say all) diseases.”52
Before Stirk came over from New England, Robert Leader informed Hartlib that Stirk prepared his own medicines and had cures for such desperate diseases as dropsy and “dead palsy,” and Child told Hartlib that Stirk was “famous already for curing the palsy and other incurable diseases.” When Hartlib himself met Stirk in London for the first time on 11 December 1650, Stirk was “going about to prepare his physick”; and a little later Child told Hartlib that Stirk had spent all his medicines, having given most of them away, before he came from New England, but had already twenty good patients in England and was still undertaking to cure fevers, the stone, the falling sickness and dropsy.
In regard to the stone, Child told Hartlib in December 1650 that Stirk had a “liquor” which, put into the eye, did not hurt, but which dissolved “before your eys” a stone from the bladder put into it, and which is therefore to be injected into the bladder to cure that disease. He added that Stirk had not yet prepared that “liquor,” but could cure the stone in the kidneys “more readily”; apparently by means of another medicine,53 for early in January, 1651, Boyle informed Hartlib that Stirk had made ready the other “liquor” for curing the stone in the kidneys. Boyle added that Stirk had prescribed that Boyle take the liquor, one ingredient of which was Essentia Croci, in a vehiculum of white wine with “oculis cancror[um] contusis,” and had commended highly, “as most proper for the kidneys,” the spirit of sulphur, the spirit of salt, the spirit of turpentine and “mire” [? myrrh].
In his letter to Moriaen of 30 May 1651 Stirk claimed to have learned from a description by Johannes Helmont the secret of the preparation of the “mercury of life” of Paracelsus, and to have then made, from the “best” mercury and the purest “copper antimony,” a medicine which, though not yet perfect, cures, so far as he has tried it, gout, consumption and other inveterate diseases commonly called incurable. Indeed, he seems to have sought a more universal medicine for years. Even as early as the beginning of 1651 Boyle told Hartlib that the preparation of the “physick” or Liquor Alcahest would take Stirk two or three months, and as late as the middle of 1653 Boyle told Hartlib that Stirk was bragging that he had “now perfected nobiliss[imam] medicinam which he had reduced ad mellaginem,54 i.e., which is sulphur of mercury or q[uick] silver, to be now used without any danger at all.” Indeed, he claimed that his later medicine “far exceeded” the “pill” that he used in the earlier years from 1651 to 1655.55
In 1652 Clodius told Hartlib that Stirk’s medicines were then only in the form of salts, so that they could not be sent far away because they would melt,56 a disadvantage which could be overcome when they were brought to perfection in powders.
In 1657, in his attack on those doctors whom he called Galenists, Stirk challenged them to a trial:57 “let them give me as much for each party cured, as I will forfeit for each uncured of a thousand in acute diseases in four daies, that is, in Feavers, Pleurisies, Small-pox, Measles, Fluxes, Calentures, and Agues four fits, not Hectical, or if Quartan and Hecticall, in four weeks, provided the strength be not wasted to despair.” He claimed58 that he cured yearly more fevers, agues and pleurisies than any Galenist did in about twice the time, sometimes dealing annually with nearly two hundred cases of ague, and with many more of fever, pleurisy, flux and vomiting, of which scarcely five were not perfectly cured, and that, moreover, many doctors, in London and in the country, used his medicines to cure and relieve thousands of people every year.
Whether or not he obtained a universal medicine in the form of the Liquor Alcahest, Stirk was trying, as early as 1652, to prepare medicines without the latter. By the autumn of that year, according to Hartlib’s record, Stirk had found out a kind of fermentation whereby he could prepare excellent medicines and cordials, “as good as if they were done with the Alcah[est], yet without the Alcahest,” and instanced the medicines he made ex herbis venenatis. In December 1652 he told Hartlib that he had perfected his Tartarus Volatilis59 whereby he could prepare all kinds of medicines without the Alcahest, and that he valued it as much as the latter, if not more, for the preparation of medicines.
His friend, Astell, who never saw Stirk’s Alcahest, said60 that he did not know whether the reason was that Stirk was importuned for remedies by patients, whose condition would not permit their waiting for medicines “of so high a preparation,” or that Stirk’s want of conveniences hurried him from place to place; but he added that he knew Stirk to possess several “magisteries,” or potent curative agencies, and to have been master, not many months before his death in 1665, of a mercurial medicine, “whose effects were such that it merited the name of an Arcanum.” As we have already seen, Stirk was constantly seeking for more and more universal medicines.61
Stirk’s discovery in 1652 of a process of fermentation whereby he could prepare cordials without the Alcahest as good as those made with it has just been mentioned. Hartlib’s record of this information adds that the “Elixir Proprietatis62 is very fragrant and refreshing.” Stirk himself told Hartlib in the same year that he reckoned that the best cordial in the world was “Chircotan,”63 the material for which was to be sent to him from Bilbao by his friend Mr. Neale, along with orange flowers and other things.
Stirk had specific cures for various ailments and diseases. In 1651 Boyle told Hartlib that Stirk, acting on a “singular opinion” from Helmont, was undertaking to cure consumption by a new kind of ferment under the throat, this “being the seat of that disease.” In 1651 Child told Hartlib that Stirk had cured Colonel (Owen) Rowe’s daughter of imperfections in her eyes, “which the chirurgeons and doctors could not doe”; and in 1653 Stirk himself informed Hartlib that the heart and liver of a viper, taken out fresh or hot and put into wine, makes a drink which is an excellent preservative and restorative for the eyes, because those organs are “mighty venereal and so consequently excellent.” In his record of his first meeting with Stirk in December 1650 Hartlib noted that “in feavers64 he used a Bezoardicum65 and somwt [? somewhat] of antimony,” and early in 1651 Boyle told Hartlib that Stirk had almost got ready his medicine for fevers. Early in 1651, too, Dury told Hartlib that Stirk claimed that only one thing would take away the “noisome” taste from spirit of urine66 by making it aromatic; Dury thought Stirk meant “something of civet,” but was not sure.
In 1653 Boyle told Hartlib that Stirk had a great store of his laudanum and that it, his Ens Veneris67 and Ens Haimatinum68 were excellent medicines. The Ens Veneris would not cure chronic diseases,69 but was excellent for other diseases, such as agues, fevers, headaches and French pox, and was a medicine for the poor, because enough to serve a hundred poor people could be prepared for five shillings.
Besides trying the transmutation of metals, searching for the Liquor Alcahest and making medicines, Stirk made experiments in other directions too. Early in 1651 Hartlib recorded that Stirk had made an experiment to preserve, by way of decoction, the scent, color and shape of plants or flowers. In his letter of 30 May 1651, Stirk informed Moriaen that he had a secret process of fermentation for making aromatic oils, oils of roses, and rosewood oil, far more in quantity and much better in quality than the ordinary ones, and that he would make them if they could be sold well.
Stirk went to St. James’s Palace to distil oils himself, possibly soon after his arrival in England. He was certainly doing so in March 1652, but illness, apparently in April of that year, stopped the work and Stirk had to leave St. James’s.70
Later, probably in 1652, Hartlib also recorded the information from Clodius that Stirk had imparted the recipe for oil of Benjevin71 to “Mr. Smith the globe-maker near the Glasshouse at Ratclife.”72 Apparently about the same time Worsley told Hartlib that he had got from a friend at Rome the “rarest” recipe for making essences and aqua Angelor [um]73 or aqua Romana, which had “the most delicate, soft and spirituous reviving smel” that he had ever smelled, and far exceeded anything that Stirk had ever made; but he confessed that it was to be used only on choice and delicate flowers, such as jasmine, roses, citron and orange flowers, Stirk’s method with woods, gums and spices still remaining the best. About the middle of 1653 Clodius told Hartlib that Stirk had two ways of making oil of roses, the second, and “more compendious” of which ways Clodius had written down for Hartlib; and in the middle of 1655 he told Hartlib that three or four drops, taken inwardly, of the oil of roses, as Stirk made it, was “a very fine gentle purge.”
Hartlib also recorded, probably in 1652, that Stirk’s experiment for making ice “in the hottest room or summer” would be worth much in Italy, where the cardinals are accustomed to bring to table pieces of ice with which to cool their drinks; the procuring of the ice costs them much pains, care and expense, which would be saved if Stirk’s method were used.
Stirk thought it possible to make diamonds and jewels artificially by means of the “Elixir,” meaning perhaps the Alcahest; but a man from the East showed him the secret of making them from “a certain seasand,”74 and in 1653 Stirk intended to try the experiment, which he imparted to Moriaen,75 who in turn passed it on to Clodius. Stirk believed that by this art diamonds and jewels might be made in all countries and become so plentiful that “the pride of jewels [would be] made contemptible.”
He also commended highly in 1655 to Boyle a way, which had been practised with great success, to double or quadruple a certain amount of saltpetre. It consisted of putting layer upon layer of “good fat earth,” each layer being sprinkled with a certain proportion of saltpetre, letting it stand in a barrel for four months, and then emptying all the urine of the house upon it from time to time for four more months, by the end of which time much of it would have been converted into good, pure saltpetre.76
Towards the end of 1652 Stirk told Hartlib that he (Stirk) could make himself rich and retire, if he wished to retire, by making cochineal out of the roots and leaves of the prickly pear which grows in abundance in the Bermudas. Hartlib’s comment on this idea in his record is pointed and characteristic: “Ergo let him discover it to the publick seeing hee doth not retire.” Stirk could, however, have answered that comment in this way from his Pyrotechny:77 “So that unless a Man have Lands to live of (and such as have, are rarely Favourers, or Followers of Philosophy) he must provide himself of some lucriferous Experiments, in the mean while, to defray charges, and help him to live, or else his Philosophy will go near to be starved itself, and to starve the Philosopher.”
Hartlib’s papers also contain a good deal of miscellaneous information about Stirk. Near the end of 1652 he recorded that Stirk had become acquainted with Lord Dover,78 “a great chymist,” very well acquainted with Butler, who should have married a kinswoman of his. Early in 1653 Stirk engaged someone79 to make wine out of corn. In 1653 he gave Hartlib a piece of cloth made from “talk,”80 out of which the best and most lasting of lampwicks might be made.81 In the same year Mr. More82 got from Boyle Stirk’s Balsam of Vegetables, Clodius informed Hartlib that Stirk had just invented an excellent kind of iron retort which saves half the time and charges for making, and Stirk himself told Hartlib that treble fermentation, which made beer and ale as clear as rock water, was becoming common in brewing. Hartlib recorded in 1655, after 17 September, the news from Clodius that Stirk had gone to Bristol “to assist the work of refining there” and to practise medicine; and in 1656, on the 2nd or 3rd of July, Stirk himself, who had come to London to get a patent for an invention “for a continual blast [? furnace] etc.,” told Hartlib that he had found near Bristol a mine of ore like antimony, yet not it, but very like silver, from which all kinds of plate might be made, “which shall shew as fair as any silver”; also a mine of talc, “very fair,” of which he did not know the use, except that it was good to be given for bleeding. Early in 1651 Boyle told Hartlib that Stirk was “about to refute” Vaughan83 and also to translate a chemical book from Latin into English.84
Mention has already been made, in connection with Stirk’s experiments on the transmutation of metals, of a filius Hermetis in New England, from whom Stirk got his hints and some of the “stone” for the transmutation, and of the confession of the anonymous adept in New England, presumably the same person, that he had got his hints for the same purpose from reading certain papers of one John White, whom Hartlib took to be called the Gilder of Norwich. The following are other references, found among Hartlib’s papers, to this mysterious personage.
In 1651 Hartlib recorded, just after the foregoing note about John White, that Stirk was to set down the whole story of the adept in New England, with all the matters of fact about the old woman getting new teeth and hair, and about new life in the peach tree that had been withered for eight years,85 and that Stirk had been advised since86 by the adept that he had “lighted on 60.87 that had the Lapis.” A chemical manuscript of this adept is mentioned as early as 1653, and even earlier, if an entry in the Ephemerides were written in 1652, as seems to me likely, to the effect that the manuscript seemed somewhat obscure to John Pell, but that Clodius, if Stirk would “open” but one passage to him, would find all the rest absolutely clear. In May 1653 Clodius told Hartlib that Alexander von Suchten’s books, diligently read with this manuscript, unfold clearly the whole philosophical mystery;88 adding, a few days later, that the manuscript of Ripley to King Edward89 should be read with the two other sources for the clear unfolding of the mystery of the philosopher’s stone. Early in 1655 Clodius told Hartlib that the whole secunda operatio for the great work was wholly wanting in the manuscripts,90 so that Schlezer91 rightly complained of a hiatus in those writings. Early in 1657 Clodius told Hartlib that von Suchten’s Elucidation book, or a commentary on him, which Hauprecht92 had, contained most of the secrets of which Stirk bragged, and deserved to be translated. On 18 March 1658, Kretschmar93 told Hartlib that the materia Lapid[is], which was truly expressed somewhere in the manuscript of Stirk’s New England adept, had been most satisfactorily revealed to him (Kretschmar) that day; and later that year Hauprecht told Hartlib that the manuscript of Stirk’s New England adept was the Introitus [Apertus] ad occlusum Regis Palat[ium],94 which reveals the philosopher’s stone more clearly than any other.95 Early in 1659 Hartlib recorded that the adept of Clodius judged the last part of “Stirks or the American Ms.” to be truly genuine, the processes there being very truly set down and revealed, but the other parts to be “altogether sophisticated and full of cheats.”96
We have already seen that Stirk’s friend Astell wrote of Stirk, for want of conveniences, “being hurried from place to place.” Some of his places of lodging are known. When Hartlib met him for the first time on 11 December 1650, Stirk had hired a house “for the present” in Hosier Lane. In 1651, between 19 January and 12 February, Child told Hartlib that Stirk was “now lodged with Mr. Webbe”; this seems to suggest a change of place. He was at St. James’s Palace in 1652,97 was living “obscurely”98 at Rotherhithe in February 1654, went to Bristol in 1655 and seems, from Hartlib’s Ephemerides, to have been still there in 1656. In 1658, apparently in the summer, he wrote from his “chamber at the White Swan in Foster Lane.”99 His address on 18 June 1660100 was St. Thomas Apostles in London, where his wife, Susanna, died on 21 February 1662,101 and he was still there in 1664,102 “next door to Black-Lyon-Court”; but on 9 December of that year his address was “Bartholomew Lane, second door below the Excise Office.”103 On 21 June 1665, the year in which he died, he was at “Broad Street, second dwelling-house from Winchester-street.”104
Stirk was ill in 1652, certainly by mid-April, as appears from Dury’s letter to Hartlib of 29 May, answering one from Hartlib about Stirk’s condition, written six weeks before. The news of God’s “hand of sickness” upon Stirk did “much affect and afflict” Dury. In an earlier letter, of 2 April 1652, Dury had expressed wonder that Stirk had followed Boyle’s105 advice and taken out the windows of his room, “seeing the open roome must needs admit of all changes of aire, and so make the heat of his furnace variable and impossible to be constant at one tenure.” This suggests for the illness a possible reason which is supported, and amplified, by a letter from Robert Child to Hartlib of 2 February 1652/1653, in which Child says: “I am very sorry to hear of Mr. Stirkes indisposition. I cannot easily believe that any in England are so malitious as to poyson any, but I suppose his infirmity hath proceeded partly by the London aire which will not easily agree with those that have bin educated in a purer, and partly by his chymicall experiments; for I, whilst I was at London, ofttimes tould him, that he would ruine himselfe by using charcoale in places without chimneys,106 as also by the preparations of mercuriall and antimonious medicines.”
Stirk was in prison for debt in 1654, for how many weeks Hartlib knew not,107 but was delivered from it for “the second time.”108 He seems to have been in prison again, or at least in confinement,109 for at least ten months in 1658;110 a confinement which, he says, he accepted patiently because it gave him the time for experiments which his medical practice had scarcely afforded when he was at liberty.111 It is also said112 that he was in prison in London for his debts when he died in 1665.
Some information may be gathered about his personal qualities from the sources available. Leader told Hartlib in 1650, before Stirk arrived in England, that the latter was “very laborious studious and experimental,” and Child confirmed that opinion early in 1651 by telling Hartlib that Stirk was “of an extreame laborious disposition.” Stirk said115 that, in order to win such secrets as that of the Liquor Alcahest, “Night after night must be spent. . . so I have done, and still continue to do”; and in 1664, in regard to his chemical studies, he affirmed:116 “this is the one and twentieth year therein, during which few have exceeded me in pains, and unwearied industry.” Elsewhere he called himself117 “an indefatigable prosecutor of experiments,” “taking nothing upon any mans trust so as to build anything on it, or to draw any conclusion from it.” Mention has already been made of the opinion of Stirk which Dury wrote to Moriaen in May 1651; in his letters to Hartlib of 1652 he writes that Stirk “seemes to make haste and doth things oft times at an adventure,” but that “he hath been faithful hitherto to us in his aimes”; he promises to help Stirk when he returns from Sweden to England and adds: “I know it is an inward grief unto his spirit, that he is not in a capacitie to do what hee faine would.” In his letters to Hartlib from Ireland in 1652 Child several times sent his love to Stirk, and in February 1653 he wrote asking Dury and Hartlib to give Stirk some good counsel, “for I look on him as a bird who is flowen into the world before fully feathered,118 or as a good vessell with much saile and little ballast; he wants as yet the ballast of yeares and experience of the world.” In April 1653 he told Hartlib that, if Stirk “hath bin unkind to you, yet continue your accustomed love and goodnes to him, and advise him for the best; he hath I question not excellent things in him if it please God to give him likewise wisdom to use them.” Hartlib, in spite of his strictures on Stirk in his letter to Boyle of 28 February
1653/1654, nevertheless adds charitably there:119 “When God hath brought you over again [from Ireland to England], we shall leave him altogether to your test, to try whether yet any good metal be left in him or not.” The English doctor already mentioned said120 of Stirk a few years after his death: “He has been the cause of many evils by means of his deceptions”; but Stirk’s friend Astell, writing about the same time, said this of him,121 “It was his misfortune to justifie Truth in an Age when Chymistry had few friends that durst appear to justifie her. . . . Had he not met with many Crosses and Troubles,122 doubtless his discoveries had been greater; and had not he been cut off by that raging Pestilence, 1666, when he was just rising out of those Clouds which ecclipsed his worth, it would quickly have appeared to the World, notwithstanding the Malice of his Enemies, that he was a true follower of Nature. . . a man whose writings spoke him more to the world than his Person or Discourse; whose moral failings I dare no more justifie, but he was a Man, and as such, the best of us are subject to erre.”123 His attacks on the Galenical doctors may have been due in part to their attitude to him,124 partly to their contempt for the application of chemistry to medicine and for Paracelsus and Helmont, whom he respected and valued; and we have seen how fair he tried to be towards Currer, whom he regarded as maliciously inclined towards him and as the cause of his being in “confinement.”
Certainly from the time that he came to England, if not before, Stirk put about the story that in New England, whence he had come, he had been given some of the powder or tincture for making gold (the white elixir), some sophic mercury, and some unpublished manuscripts on chemistry, by a friend, who in turn had them from an adept called Eirenaeus Philalethes. The manuscripts were Ars Metallorum Metamorphoseos, Introitus Apertus ad occlusum Regis Palatium, and Brevis Manuductio ad Rubinum Coelestem.125 Stirk obtained copies of them from his friend, “with much adoe,” but no commission to show them to anybody. The friend, Stirk goes on to say, who had been an eyewitness of the “great secret” (of the Philosopher’s stone), lost nearly all the powder he had been given by the adept in his attempts to “multiply” it, but succeeded in preparing the “Philosophers Mercury” (for making silver); he told Stirk that he was unwilling to write about his experiments, although so far successful, until he had made the red tincture, which he was under a solemn vow to the adept not to undertake himself, nor to teach to others, for a certain number of years. At last, however, Stirk persuaded his friend to write two treatises; one, in seven books, called The Marrow of Alchemy, and another, in Latin, entitled Breve Manuductorium ad Campum Sophiae.126
Ultimately he got his friend’s permission to communicate the manuscripts to some friends, and they were so much sought after that Stirk “could never keep them at home”; so that finally, “by much entreaty,” he prevailed with his friend to allow him to publish them, if he wished.
Before meeting this friend, Stirk says, he had for many years been “one of Geber’s Cooks, rosting my thrift in vain,” but the friend demonstrated Stirk’s previous errors and set him in the right path, so that he soon obtained the philosopher’s mercury and by it “the first whitenesse” (i.e., silver from metal); but the friend would not, because of his vow, instruct Stirk in the making of the “rednesse” (gold); indeed, not only would he not help Stirk over his difficulties, which were due to what Stirk called errors “in Imbibition, Cibation and Fermentation,” but he even put Stirk out, i.e., misled him; not, Stirk thought, out of envy, but out of scruple for his vow.127
The account drawn from Hartlib’s papers, and set out above in connection with the transmutation of metals and with the mysterious adept in New England, tells the same kind of story, though with differences in details. It will be noted that there Stirk says of himself, what he had said of his friend, that after many unsuccessful attempts and losing most of the stone, he had discovered the way to make philosopher’s mercury. Also Hartlib’s record of 1659 identifies “the American Ms.,” which is obviously one of those supposed to have been given to Stirk by his friend, with Stirk’s manuscript; and it may be that the reference is to the Introitus Apertus, of which the last part is judged to be truly genuine and the processes in it “very truly set down and discovered,” whereas the other parts are considered to be “altogether sophisticated and full of cheats.” Moreover, the Marrow of Alchemy, in which he gives the story outlined above, was written by Stirk himself, so that what is said there of Stirk’s friend, the author, is said of Stirk himself.128
Then again, Stirk’s letter to Moriaen of 30 May 1651 ends thus: “A Philaletha Philopono Hermeticae Scholae Chemiatra indignissimo . . . Georgio Stirkio”; this suggests the identification of Stirk with Eirenaeus Philoponus Philalethes. This would agree with the statement of the English doctor129 that “Philaletha Anonymus,” who composed the various tracts on chemistry, “was really George Starkey.” Finally, Stirk himself is said to have added the pseudonym “Eirenaeus Philoponus Philalethes” to his own signature, George Starkey, on two occasions;130 and this is conclusive evidence for the identification of Eirenaeus Philalethes with Stirk.
List of works written by Stirk and of others possibly written by him
A. Works written by Stirk, and published
- 1. ‘Natures Explication and Helmont’s Vindication, or a Short and sure way to a long and sound Life: Being a necessary and full apology for Chymical medicaments, and a vindication of their excellency against those unworthy reproaches cast on the Art and its Professors (such as were Paracelsus, and Helmont) by Galenists, usually called Methodists . . . By George Starkey, a Philosopher made by the fire. . . . London 1657. Ferguson, op. cit., ii. 403, 404. Wing, D., Continuation of a Short-Title Catalogue, Item 5280. The British Museum copy has a correction, by Thomason, of the date to 1656 and the addition of “Jan. 16.”
- 2. Pyrotechny Asserted and Illustrated, to be the surest and safest Means for Art’s Triumph over Nature’s Infirmities. Being a full and free Discovery of the Medicinal Mysteries studiously concealed by all Artists, and only discoverable by Fire. With an Appendix concerning the Nature, Preparation, and Vertue of several Specifick Medicaments, which are Noble and Succedaneous to the Great Arcana. By George Starkey, who is a Philosopher by Fire, London . . . 1658. Ferguson, op. cit., ii. 401. Wing, 5284.
Stirk seems to have planned (Natures Explication, 296) two treatises, one to be entitled “The Art of Pyrotechny opened and discovered,” the other to be called “Truth Asserted and Maintained or a Chymicall and Philosophicall resolution of certain questions sent me by one veyling himself under the name of Philalethes Zeteticus”; but the two seem to have been merged in this one work, the second being apparently contained in 158–172, “The Conclusion of this Treatise: Being, An Answer to a Friend’s Letter, containing some important Queries etc,” where (page 159) he alludes to the friend as “an ingenious and discreet Zetetick.”
It is clear from the Epistle Dedicatory and page 139 that Stirk regarded Natures Explication as the first part of this work.
- 3. George Starkey’s Pill vindicated from the unlearned Alchymist and all other pretenders—With a brief account of other excellent specifick Remedies of Extraordinary virtue, for the honour and vindication of pyrotechny. No place [? London]. No date [1660?]. Ferguson, op. cit., ii. 403. Wing, 5283.
A refutation of Mathew’s claim to have discovered the pill, viz., Richard Mathew, The Unlearned Alchymist His Antidote: Or, A more full and ample Explanation of the Use, Virtue and Benefit of my Pill, Entituled, An
There was a previous edition of 1660. Ferguson, op. cit., ii. 82.
- 4. Royal and other innocent bloud crying to Heaven for vengeance . . . By George Starkey. . . . London, 1660. Ferguson, op. cit., ii. 404. Wing, 5287.
- 5. A smart scourge for a silly sawcy Fool, being an Answer to a letter, at the end of a Pamphlet of Lionell Lockyer . . . By G.S.M.D. and Philosopher by the Fire. Ferguson, op. cit., ii. 404, says 1664. Wing, 5289, says 1665. It is signed (page 8) by George Starkey, 9 December 1664.
- 6. A brief Censure and Examination of several Medicines of late years extolled for universal Remedies. By George Starkey . . . London, 1664. Ferguson, op. cit., ii. 404. Wing, 5272.
- 7. An Epistolar Discourse to the Learned and Deserving Author of Galenopale. By George Starkey, M.D. . . . 1665.
Comes after page 31 in πλανο-πνιγμος, or a Gag for Johnson that published Animadversions upon Galeno-pale, and a Scourge for that pitifull Fellow Mr. Galen, that Dictated to him a Scurrilous Greek Title. By Geo. Thomson, Doctor of Physick. London, 1665. Ferguson, op. cit., ii. 404, gives separately “Letter to George Thomson, Lond. 1665,” which is probably the same work, though 8°, not 4°.
- 8. Liquor Alchahest, or a discourse of that immortal Dissolvent of Paracelsus and Helmont. Published by J. A[stell]. . .1675. Ferguson, op. cit., ii. 404. Wing, 5277.
- 9. The Admirable Efficacy . . . of Oyl which is made of Sulphurvive, set on fire, and called commonly Oyl of Sulphur per Campanam . . . Faithfully collected out of the writings . . . of J. B. Van-Helmont. 1683. British Museum Copy.
Is No. 8 in Collectanea Chemica, “A Collection of Ten several Treatises in Chymistry . . . London,” Printed for William Cooper. . .1684. Is No. 3 in Collectanea Chemica. . .(London, 1893), where the title is given as: The admirable efficacy and almost incredible virtue of True Oil which is made of sulphur vive set on fire and commonly called Oil of Sulphur per campanam. By George Starkey. Because in it (page 52) Starkey refers to “A Brief Examination and Censure” as being ready for the press and about to “see the light” in a few days, this work must have been published not later than 1664.
B. Works written by Stirk, but not published
- 10. A Congest of Methodical Arguments. Written, in an attempt to show how gold could be made potable, apparently while he was at Harvard. Natures Explication, 36.
- 11. Organum Novum Philosophiae. Written against Aristotle, after No. 10 and apparently while he was still at Harvard. Natures Explication, 37.
- 12. Pyrotechny Triumphant. Astell, in the preface to his edition of Stirk’s Liquor Alchahest (1675), said that he intended to publish this work, “which the Author, had he lived, intended to do, which will be an Explanation of his Pyrotechny Asserted, and Explication of the History of Nature, comprehended in those subjects.” In his Pyrotechny (1658) Stirk mentions what seems to be this work in four places, viz.: page 148, “in my next part of Pyrotechny, which shall be, Its Victory and Triumph, in which I shall discover ten most secret Mysteries, of which the first shall concern the Mysteries of the Microcosm. . .”; page 149, “the extraction of which [Sulphur from any Mineral, or soft Metal] I shall candidly and clearly teach in that my Triumph of Pyrotechny, for its Conquest and Victory over all its clamorous and railing Adversaries”; page 156, “I shall reserve that [“the Alcoolization of Alcalies”] to that part of my Pyrotechny triumphing, which treats of the Mysteries of the Microcosm”; and page 171, “concerning the use of which [more generally useful Medicaments] I shall give in writing brief and full Directions, Epitomizing as it were my next Tractate of Pyrotechny Triumphing, and sending it forth in single sheets; and as nobler Medicaments may be made in quantities, I shall do the like by them, which you may confidently expect, God willing, this summer.”
- 13. A Treatise. . . concerning the Liquor [Alcahest] in Latin; which, according to Stirk, Pyrotechny, 35, “was chiefly written, while my tryals were in the very working, and which I purpose shall e’re long see the light.” See No. 8 and No. 19, one of which may be an English version.
- 14. De Mysteriis Alcalium. Mentioned in Pyrotechny, 81, as “a. . . Tractate. . . which I purpose shortly shall see the light.”
- 15. The Method and Mystery of curing Diseases. Mentioned in Pyrotechny, 106, as “my Treatise . . . which I intend very shortly to publish.” On page 109 of Pyrotechny Stirk says that he will handle a particular subject in a “Treatise of the Method and Mystery of Medicine,” which may be the same work.
C. Works attributed to others, which may have been written by Stirk
- 16. The Marrow of Alchemy. By Eirenaeus Philoponos Philalethes. First Part, London, 1654; second part, London, 1655. Ferguson, op. cit., ii. 474, who gives evidence, which seems conclusive, that Stirk was really the author. Wing, 5278, 5279.
- 17. The Dignity of Kingship asserted: in answer to Mr. Milton’s Readie and Easie Way to establish a free Commonwealth . . . by G.S. . . . London. . .1660. In his edition for the Facsimile Text Society (No. 54, 1942) W. R. Parker argues for Stirk being the author, and not George Searle, or Gilbert Sheldon. He also (Introduction, vii–viii) gives the new title of the reissue of 1661: “Monarchy Triumphing over Traiterous Republicans. . . .”
- 18. Britains Triumph for Her Imparallel’d Deliverance. By G.S. 1660. Parker (op. cit., xii) also attributes this work to Stirk.
- 19. Arcanum, or Secret of the Immortal Liquor Alkahest, called Ignis-Aqua. By Eirenaeus Philaletha. Is No. 1 in Collectanea Chemica (London, 1684), and No. 1 in Collectanea Chemica (London, 1893). Ferguson, op. cit., i. 169, who says (ii. 191) it is not the same as No. 8 above. Wing, 5287A.
- 20. Brevis Manuductio ad Rubinum Coelestem. By Eirenaeus Philaletha. Ferguson, op. cit., ii. 191; he mentions there a German treatise, Eine kurze Anleitung, etc., which seems to be the same work, and (ii. 192) an English version. Cf. Kittredge ii. 136. Wing, 5290.
- 21. Fons Chemicae Philosophiae. By Eirenaeus Philaletha. Published by Birrius in 1668. Ferguson, op. cit., ii. 191; he mentions there a German treatise, Brunn der Chemischen Wissenschaft, which may be a translation, on 192 an English version, and on 193 (under Ripley Reviv’d) a chapter belonging to the Fons which had been omitted by Birrius. Wing, 5290.
- 22. Fons chymicae Veritatis. By Eirenaeus Philaletha. Ferguson, op. cit., ii. 191.
- 23. Ars Metallorum Metamorphoseos. By Eirenaeus Philaletha. Ferguson, op. cit., ii. 475. Mentioned by Stirk in the Marrow of Alchemy, Second Part, An Advertisement to the Reader. Ferguson elsewhere (11. 192) calls it De Metallorum Metamorphosi, and records a German and an English version. Wing, 5290.
- 24. Introitus Apertus ad occlusum Regis Palatium: Autore Anonymo Philaletha Philosopho . . . publicatus, Curante Joanne Langio. Amstelodami. . .1667. Ferguson, op. cit., ii. 192, who also mentions there the English edition, 1669, by William Cooper (Secrets Reveal’d: or, an Open Entrance to the Shut-Palace of the King. Cf. Wing, 5288), which is not a retranslation of Lange’s edition. Ferguson also gives (11. 192–193) what appears to be a French translation, and a French “explication” of it. Cf. Kittredge 11. 135.
- 25. Ripley Reviv’d: or, an Exposition upon Sir George Ripley’s Hermetico-Poetical works. . . . Written by Eirenaeus Philalethes . . . London, Printed . . . for William Cooper. . .1678. According to Ferguson, op. cit., it.11 193, it contains: An exposition upon Ripley’s Epistle to King Edward IV [Wing, 5274]; an exposition upon Ripley’s Preface [Wing, 5275]; an exposition upon Ripley’s First six Gates of the Compound of Alchymie; Experiments for the preparation of the Sophie Mercury [which may be the same as No. 6 in Collectanea Chemica (1893), and as Expériences sur l’opération du mercure philosophique, which is mentioned by Ferguson, op. et loc. cit.]; A Breviary of Alchemy [Wing, 5271]; An exposition upon Ripley’s vision [Wing, 5276]. Wing, 5286. Among the works written by the adept, Eirenaeus Philalethes, which Stirk mentions (Marrow of Alchemy, First Part, address To the Reader) were “a large Comment on Ripley his twelve gates, and the Epistle to King Edward”; the latter seems to be the work published in Ripley Reviv’d, but the former (which does not seem to be mentioned by Ferguson) is apparently not the “exposition on the first six gates” contained in Ripley Reviv’d.
- 26. Opus Elixeris Aurifici et Argentifici. Mentioned by Stirk (Marrow of Alchemy, First Part, address To the Reader) as written by Eirenaeus Philaletha.
- 27. Brevis via ad vitam longam. Mentioned by Stirk (Marrow of Alchemy, First Part, address To the Reader) as written by Eirenaeus Philaletha. Cf. Kittredge 11. 136. Wing, 5290A, gives Via ad vitam, 1661, which may be the same work. The work may also be related to No. 1 above, which has, as an alternative title, “a short and sure way to a long and sound life.” On the other hand, in the Second Part of the Marrow of Alchemy, 1655 (An Advertisement to the Reader) Stirk says that a treatise by the “friend” who wrote the Marrow, entitled “Alchemy Triumphing, or a short way to a long life,” would “ere long see the light.”
- 28. A Commentary on Arnolds Ultimum Testamentum. Mentioned by Stirk (Marrow of Alchemy, First Part, address To the Reader) as written by Eirenaeus Philaletha. Arnaldus de Villanova may be meant; but, although his works include a Testamentum, a Testamentum Novum and a Testamentum Novissimum, there is no mention (in Ferguson, op. cit., i. 46) of a Testamentum Ultimum.
- 29. Cabala Sapientium, or An Exposition of the Hieroglyphicks of the Magi. Mentioned by Stirk (Marrow of Alchemy, First Part, address To the Reader) as written by Eirenaeus Philaletha.
- 30. Elenchus errorum in Arte Chemica deviantium. Mentioned by Stirk (Marrow of Alchemy, First Part, address To the Reader) as written by the “friend,” who had also written the Marrow of Alchemy (No. 16 above). In the Second Part of the Marrow of Alchemy, 1655 (An Advertisement to the Reader) Stirk says this work “will ere long see the light.” Cf. Kittredge ii. 136.
- 31. Enarratio Methodica Trium Gebri Medicinarum, in quibus continetur Lapidis Philosophici Vera Confectio, Autore Anonymo sub nomine Æyrenaei Philalethes, natu Angli, habitatione Cosmopolitae. Amstelodami, Apud Danielem Elsevirium, 1678. Ferguson, op. cit., ii. 191. Cf. Wing, 5281, Opus tripartitum, 1678, which may be the same work, though in 5273 he gives Enarratio Methodica, 1678. Ferguson (ii. 191) says it contains (on page 189): Vade-Mecum Philosophicum sive Breve Manuductorium ad Campum Sophiae . . . Auctore Agricola Rhomaeo, horum Arcanorum vere adepto; and he quotes evidence (ii. 265) that Rhomaeus was Starkey. In the Marrow of Alchemy, First Part, address To the Reader, Stirk says he persuaded his “friend,” who had written the Marrow, to write a treatise “in Latine, entituled, Breve Manuductorium ad Campum Sophiae, which concerns chiefly Paracelsus liquor Alcahest.” Cf. Kittredge ii. 136, where it is given as Brevis manuductio ad campum Sophiae.
- 32. Principes pour la Conduite de l’Oeuvre hermétique. Ferguson, op. cit., ii. 193.
- 33. Philadelphia, or brotherly love, 1694. Wing, 5282 (under George Starkey).