The Occult Laboratory: Magic, Science, and Second Sight in Late Seventeenth-Century Scotland

By Michael Hunter | Go to book overview

3.

THE SECRET COMMON-WEALTH a OR A TREATISE DISPLAYING THE CHIEF CURIOSITIES AMONG THE PEOPLE OF SCOTLAND AS THEY ARE IN 1 USE TO THIS DAY

Being for the most part
Singular to that Nation 2

A Subject not heir to fore
discoursed of by any of our writers. b

Done for the satisfaction of
his friends by a modest in
quirer, living among the
Scotish-Irish.
1.6.9.2.

____________________
a
For details of the various MSS of Robert Kirk's Secret Commonwealth, see Introductory Notes on the Texts, above, pp. 38—40. This text is based on Edinburgh University Library MS Laing III 551.
b
At this point, MS 5022 diverges markedly, reading:

And yet ventured on in ‹an› Essay, To suppress the impudent and growing Atheism of this age; And to satisfie the desire of some choice Friends. By a Circumspect inquirer, Resideing among the Scottish-Irish in Scotland.

Earlier in the title, MS 5022 has 'as they are in use' before, rather than after, 'among the people of Scotland' and 'diverse of ' after 'among'. It also has 'Singularities for the most part peculiar to that Nation' rather than 'Being for the most part Singular'. In addition, the biblical quotations that follow are in a different order, with the one that is last here appearing first, while, among them, MS 5022 adds:

Sent by the writer to the right Reverend and most Learned Divine Dr Stillingfleet, Bishop of Worcester, His Lady.

The reference is presumably to Stillingfleet's second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Nicholas Pedley, who died in 1697. For elucidation, see Introduction, pp. 18, 20.

-77-

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