1st Edition, small 4to, publisher’s embossed cloth boards and gilt spine, viii, 102, (1), 35. This is the first publication of ‘two curious documents concerning Dr. John Dee, the eminent philosopher of Mortlake’, ‘I: His Private Diary, written in a very small illegible hand on the margins of old Almamacs, discovered a few years ago by Mr. W.H. Black, in the library of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. II. A Catalogue of his Library of Manuscripts, made by himself before his house was plundered by the populace, and now preserved in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge’ (from the preface). The last 35 pages are a small supplement inherent the Camden Society. This is likely one of the rarest publications of this publisher, specialised in reprinting relevant historical texts. Dr. John Dee (13 July 1527 – 1608 or 1609) was an Anglo-Welsh mathematician, astrologer and occultist, and an advisor to Queen Elizabeth I. He spent much time on alchemy, divination, and Hermetic philosophy. He advocated turning England’s imperial expansion into a “British Empire”, a term he is credited with coining. Due to the extent of his knowledge and the particularity of his character, a number of intriguing theories has been written regarding his persona, including the fact that he was an early member of the Rosicrucians or that he was ‘the original 007’, mostly because of a number of documents addressed to the Queen, which he had signed with two circles and a figure which recalls an elongated seven. Supporters of the latter theory also point out that he was under suspicion of being an English spy while he was travelling through Europe in his fifties. Slight bumping at the corners, little browning at the yellow endpapers, minor and sparse foxing at the first and last few pages, but still arguably a very good copy.
Edited by James Orchard Halliwell., The Private Diary of Dr. John Dee, and the catalogue of his library of manuscripts, from the original manuscripts in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, and Trinity college library, Cambridge., Printed for the Camden Society, 1842