The Conjuror’s Magazine, 2: 22 (May 1793) pp. 404-6.



FROM the Duchess of York’s being represented in one of her portraits, looking steadily on her hands, the painter seems to insinuate in her Highness, what is well known to be very prevalent among the Prussians, a passion for chiromancy, or divination by the hand. Her royal father has been celebrated as an illuminé, and there is great affinity between the characters.

The Princess Royal is said to be a deep student in astrology; in which she perseveres, notwithstanding the advice of Mr. Best to the contrary.

It will be difficult to disprove a moral connection between the different parts of any system, if one that is physical be allowed: every wheel in a clock has its meaning, as well as its motion and action.

What were the first astronomers? Astrologers.

What were the first physicians? Astrologers.

What were the first law givers? Astrologers.

What were the first Christians, the worshippers of an infant saviour? Astrologers.

Such a character as Guido Bonatus Forliviensis must be useful. Being in Forly, in Italy, at a time when it was closely besieged, he erected a proper day for Guido, Earl of Montserrat, to make a sally, rout his enemies, and obtain a compleat victory; but not without receiving a slight wound on the knee. And that the Earl might be more assured, Bonatus marched out with him, carrying tow, eggs, and other necessaries to dress the wound. The event corresponded accurately and fully with the prediction, for the enemy was vanquished totally, and the Earl wounded punctually, as foretold—Fulgosii, lib. 8, chap. 11. The English Lilly was not less happy on the popular side in Cromwell’s time.

Remarkable is the story of Bassianus Caracalla, who, during his war in Mesopotamia, ordered one of his counsellors at Rome, called Maternianus, to procure a meeting of all the prophets, astrologers and conjurors, to discover if any plots or designs were in hand against his person or authority? And Maternianus finding, by their universal verdict, that one Macrinus, a colonel or tribune, who had a charge in the field at that very instant, under the Emperor, should bereave him of his life, sent an account of it by the next dispatch. The messenger happening to arrive at a time, when the Emperor was exceedingly earnest and intent at some sport, he commanded this very Macrinus, who stood next at hand, to open the packet, and inform him of the contents at the time of council. By this means Macrinus, advertised of the contents, and his own danger, though before the thought had never entered his head, and finding there was no medium between killing and being killed, made choice of a desperate fellow, who commanded a company under him, to stab the Emperor as he withdrew from company to ease nature; and thus established the credit of the Roman Magi.

Anaximander foretold to the Lacedemonians a dangerous and great earthquake at hand, advising them at the same time, to quit their houses and the city, and seek for safety in the fields. The earthquake came shortly—ruined the city of Sparta, and overwhelmed a great part of Mount Faygetus. However, if Anaximander wished to gratify any revenge, and obtain the reputation of a prophet at the same time, we know that this was the exact way to do it with little risque of his predictions failing; that is, supposing there were any caverns about the mountain or town; as wetted nitre and sulphur, or much stronger detonating materials, buried in the earth, were fully adequate to the effect; and, being the author, he could point out the extent and directions of the havock.

Hippocrates foresaw a dreadful plague among the Greeks long before it broke out; this also he might have done from physical perspicacity.

And therefore, Lilly, as attested by the notes and journals of the house of Commons, is a much more illustrious and unequivocal instance of verified prediction in this line. Among a series of hieroglyphics relative to the English nation, and to last for many hundreds of years yet to come, published by him in 1651, were two immediately succeeding one the other; the first of which represented several dead bodies in winding sheets, a church yard with sextons employed, and cart loads of dead emptying into the graves. The second was a view of London bridge on both side of the water, and the city of London in flames. After the fire, and when Lilly had for some time retired from business, and lived at Richmond, the house of Commons sent him an order to attend at their bar; where appearing, the Speaker informed him, that, as he had, fifteen years before, predicted the plague and fire, the house of commons wished to ask him, if he could give them any intelligence concerning the cause or authors of that fire? He answered, that the house might readily believe, that having predicted it, he had spared no pains to investigate the cause; but that all his endeavours had been [in]effectual; from whence he was led to attribute the conflagration to the immediate finger of God.

N. B. What Lilly was unable or unwilling to discover, every one else has failed in.

I must add, that he has another threatening hieroglyphic against this city, and this is, the twins, London’s ascendant, falling hand in hand into flames, which are fed by two men, each pouring on them, out of a jar, a combustible liquor. On a small turf from the ground is placed a regal crown, and a mole running towards it. The republisher of these hieroglyphics in 1682, seems judiciously to refer the signification of this last to party disputes and animosities, as productive of this flaming effect.