By William R. Newman
Reputed to have played brilliant feats in New England--restoring the hair and enamel to an elderly girl, bringing a withered peach tree to fruit--Eirenaeus Philalethes used to be additionally rumored to be an adept possessor of the alchemical philosophers' stone. That the fellow used to be purely a legendary production did not shrink his acceptance a whit--his writings have been spectacularly winning, learn through Leibniz, esteemed via Newton and Boyle, voraciously ate up through numerous readers. Gehennical Fire is the tale of the fellow at the back of the parable, George Starkey.
Though almost unknown at the present time and little famous in heritage, Starkey was once America's most generally learn and celebrated scientist earlier than Benjamin Franklin. Born in Bermuda, he obtained his A.B. from Harvard in 1646 and 4 years later emigrated to London, the place he fast received prominence as a "chymist." thank you largely to the scholarly detective paintings of William Newman, we now understand that this can be just a small a part of a rare tale, that during truth George Starkey led lives. no longer content material just to put up his alchemical works below the identify Eirenaeus Philalethes, "A peaceable Lover of Truth," Starkey unfold intricate stories approximately his modify ego, in impact giving him a lifetime of his own.
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Extra info for Gehennical Fire: The Lives of George Starkey, an American Alchemist in the Scientific Revolution
62 Arcana Maiora Gehennical Fire When Starkey composed the extraordinary mix of millennial vision and laboratory practice that make up the Introitus, he knew that he had hit upon a formula guaranteed to excite the interest of the Hartlibians. The young American had observed the fusion of chiliasm, utilitarianism, and practical goodwill that bound Hartlib’s group together, and he at once developed a formula calculated to exploit it. Setting himself up as the middleman between his Active adept and the Hartlib circle, Starkey acquired a privi leged position as the revealer of secret knowledge.
Let us quote from the section entitled Nota: In the year 1644 I was first invited to this study by Mr. Palgrave, physician of New England, while I was living at Harvard College, under the tutorship and presidency of Henry Dunster. At the time I was between my sixteenth and seventeenth year . . I was then assiduously studying philosophy, and 1 began this pursuit at the end of that summer, but in the next year, namely 1645, I began to work on the true matter, with God’s assistance, with a certain comrade, John Alcocke, who said goodbye to this pursuit after two years, being intimidated by its tediousness.
B. M. three years later. Bulkeley was well connected at Harvard, being the son-in-law of President Chauncy. As Morison noted, Bulkeley later maintained a private laboratory on the Connecticut River, where he was a minister and sur geon. He has been the subject of a recent biography by Thomas Jodziewicz, who has examined his correspondence with Winthrop, also treated by Patricia Watson. There is evidence that Bulkeley was “instructed and influenced” by Winthrop in his own medical career, and he served as medical advisor to Winthrop’s children after the latter’s death.