An Essay of Transmigration, in Defence of Pythagoras: or, A Discourse of Natural Philosophy.
London: E.H. for Tho. Basset, at the George in Fleet-Street, 1692. Elder, W. First Edition. Full-Leather. Very Good / No Jacket. Item #2329113
First edition (this printing not in Wing, which transcribes the title as 'Metempsychosis or an essay of transmigration.' [Wing B5450]). ESTC R16493. Rebound, probably in the 19th century ('Larkins' in gilt on front turn-in, almost definitely Jeremiah Larkins [1833-1907]). Edges rubbed, ink name stamp (A.H. Butler) on front flyleaf, small brown spot on top marginal corner of first few pages.
[lvi], 192 pp. Full red straight-grained gilt paneled morocco, gilt titles, rules, and turn-ins, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers. Engraved frontispiece portrait of Pythagoras with 'W. Elder sculp' printed beneath. An interesting offshoot of seventeenth century neo-Platonism, contending that there is indeed a transmigration of life-essences and spirit, and that this was the basis of Pythagoreanism, rather than the notion that a debauched human consciousness could step from one body (or species) to another for all eternity. A second part of the work discusses in detail the chemical theories of Greek philosophers. "Bulstrode, Whitelocke (1652–1724), administrator and religious writer, was born on 25 September 1652, the second of three sons of Sir Richard Bulstrode (1617–1711), diplomat, and his first wife, Joyce or Jocosa (d. 1677), daughter of Edward Dineley of Charlton, Worcestershire. He was named after his father's cousin, Bulstrode Whitelocke. Whitelocke Bulstrode was specially admitted as a student of the Inner Temple on 27 November 1664 and called to the bar on 22 June 1702. The revolution of 1688 divided Bulstrode and his Jacobite father, who followed King James into exile. Bulstrode himself was a staunch whig and devout protestant, whose notebooks are full of religious reflections, particularly on occasions of taking the sacrament. He did, however, maintain communication with his Jacobite relatives. Bulstrode's first publication was An Essay of Transmigration, in Defence of Pythagoras, or, A Discourse of Natural Philosophy (1692). This wide-ranging work of natural philosophy drew particularly on alchemical sources. Bulstrode was an admirer of Eirenaeus Philalethes, the pseudonym of the American alchemist George Starkey, whom he referred to several times as 'the great Eirenaeus'. Bulstrode argued that transmigration—the theory of the passage of the soul at death into another body—applied properly to vegetative and sensitive rather than rational souls, and that ancient mythology was an elaborately coded system of natural and experimental philosophy. The book was republished in 1693. A Latin translation by Oswald Dyke was published in 1725." - Oxford Dictionary of National Biography