Home | Works and E-Texts | About William Gilbert | Further Information |



William Gilbert's Works (and E-Texts)


Extant Works


The Aurora of Human Happiness
An unpublished autograph manuscript poem written by Gilbert in Joseph Cottle's Bristol Album and dated May 26, 1795. Held at the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections Cornell University Library Wordsworth Collection (#4622 Bd. Ms. 8 ++ Fol 1v-2). First published on this website 23 April 2006.  E-Text.


Writings in The Conjuror's Magazine, or Magical and Physiognomical Mirror
Between September 1791and July 1793. [Under own name and under pseudonyms B. & Omega.]
About the Conjuror's Magazine     E-Texts


The Hurricane: A Theosophical and Western Eclogue. To which is subjoined, a Solitary Effusion in a Summerís Evening (Bristol: R. Edwards, 1796; & repr. Oxford: Woodstock Books, 1990).  E-Text
With a brief and useful introduction by Jonathan Wordsworth, this invaluable reprint in the Revolution and Romanticism series has revived interest in and enabled further study of The Hurricane
. Unfortunately Gilbert's final Advertisement for "The Law of Fire" on page 105 is missing from the Woodstock Books edition. By kind permission of the Director of Information Services, University of Bristol, an image of the missing page is made available here. Woodstock Books owners can print out and insert this missing page into their copy - it can be glued on the blank page facing page 104.


An Opinion on the Power of Courts Martial to Punish for Contempts, occasioned by the case of Major John Browne, of the sixty-seventh Regiment. (London: J Bell, 1788)  This 22 page pamphlet has no author on the title page but the author gives his name at the end (p.22): "W. Gilbert, London February 13th, 1788." William Gilbert's authorship is certain because the court martial has been identified as one he was concerned in. The trial of John Browne, Esq., major of  His Majesty's 67th, [...] before a general court martial which assembled at the Horse Guards, on the thirteenth day of August 1787 (London: J. Bell, 1788), is a published transcript of the proceedings, and names William Gilbert, Browne's Counsellor-at-Law, as a witness.


Preface to The Speech of George Washington, Esq. Late President of the United States of America on his Resignation of that Important Office with a Preface by William Gilbert, Esq. (Bristol: R. Edwards, 1796). This pamphlet was described as extinct by Paul Kaufman who had only seen a manuscript transcription ('no copy of this item is known' p.102n ), but copies are held at Princeton University Library and other libraries in the USA. In the UK Wesley College Library holds a copy. This is not in their online catalogue: see card index IC Db4 18.11. It is bound with Methodist pamphlets, suggesting a continued Methodist association).    E-Text


Writings in The Watchman - see The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Vol 2, ed. Lewis Patton, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970)  The Watchman was Coleridge's short-lived periodical, of which 10 Numbers were published between 1 March and 31 May 1796.


       [Mr G--rt] 'The Commercial Academic No. 1' in No. 5, (2 April 1796). (Patton pp.168-172) Patton's editorial notes on Gilbert have a few errors but the attribution is sound. 'Mr. G. discovers much general knowledge, and when his reasonings are not perhaps unimpregnably solid, even then they are ingenious' wrote Coleridge in his editorial introduction to Gilbert's odd take on macro-economics. Further numbers were promised, but none appeared.


       [B. = possibly Gilbert?] 'Two Portraits in One' in No. 7, (19 April 1796). (Patton pp.247-8) An odd preface submitted by B. to the Editor along with an excerpt from an article by William Seward in praise of Pitt the Elder. Under the heading "Two Portraits in One" B. writes that Seward's article resembles "those ingenious designs, which, as one side or the other is held uppermost, present you with a bearded philosopher, or a blooming beauty" (see example on left); in just the same way, he jokes, if affirmative statements are turned into negative and vice versa, it can be seen as a true portrait of Pitt the Younger who is as feeble as his father was great. 
B. was the pseudonym adopted by Gilbert for his Conjuror's Magazine writings. There is something of him in the sarcastic style and language, but without more information this is a very speculative attribution. (Patton was not aware of Gilbert's previous adoption of this pseudonym and posited Burnett and Beddoes on the basis that their names began with that letter.)


        'Fragment: by a West Indian'  No 10, (13 May 1796), (Patton pp 350-1). 22 lines from different parts of Canto I of The Hurricane stitched together to present an attractive romantic poem without a trace of Gilbert's metaphysics.



Lost Works  -- "I have among my papers some curious memorials of this interesting man" - Robert Southey.


The Calenture - an "admirable" description in prose referred to by William Wordsworth in 'The Brothers' (1800).
See Calenture


Drawing on information probably provided by Robert Southey, the 1824 Retrospective Review  article on The Hurricane lists two works by Gilbert, which remain untraced:


The Law of Fire
See page 105 of The Hurricane for Gilbert's advertisement. Southey wrote in Life of Wesley (London:1858, Vol 2, p.230) that shortly after the 1796 publication of The Hurricane, Gilbert "placarded the walls in London with the largest bills that had at that time been seen, announcing 'The Law of Fire'".
     The title provides a good idea of the subject matter. Gilbert's Conjuror's Magazine article Predictions for April (April 1792, pp.370-2),  quotes 2 Esdras 13.37-38: 'And this my Son shall rebuke the wicked inventions of those nations, and shall destroy them without labour, by the law that is like unto fire'. [My emphasis]. This passage from the Apocrypha is usually rendered as "the law which is like unto me" but the "fire" variant continues to be preferred on Millennial websites.


The Standard of God Displayed
No work of this title has been traced. The first sentence of Isaiah 59:19 is quoted in Gilbert's 'Predictions for April'. The full verse runs: "So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the WEST, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him". This may offer a clue as to its subject matter.