Notes on Magic

  • Reference
      GB 133 Eng MS 34
  • Dates of Creation
      19th Century
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      Extent of unit of description: 325 x 205 mm. 4 folios; Binding: modern green buckram binding by Bramhall and Menzies.

Scope and Content

Notes on magic, divided into three sections: 'Rites or cirimones [sic] magically to be observed in all opperations by the chrystal or circle'; 'Consecration of the place where the Bible & chrystal is sett'; and 'The call or invocation serving for any spirit according to the day & hour & planet ruling'. A prefatory note is signed by Francis Barrett.

Administrative / Biographical History

Francis Barrett (fl. 1780-1814), writer on magic and demonologist, appears to have been born in London between 1770 and 1780. He made several ill-fated attempts at balloon ascents in the Summer and Autumn of 1802, but he is best known as the author, or more accurately, the compiler, of The Magus.

Barrett claimed to be a student of chemistry, metaphysics, and natural occult philosophy and gave lessons in the magical arts, using his apartment as his classroom. He was also involved in translating the Kabbalah and other ancient texts into English. His primary and unifying aim was to revive an interest in the occult arts and his work entitled The Magus was his means of achieving this. The work was a compendium dealing with various occult subjects like the natural magic of herbs, stones and the elements; magnetism; talismanic magic; alchemy and other means of creating the Philosopher's stone and Numerology; as well as including several biographies of famous adepts from history. Although the work may have influenced the English occult novelist, Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873), The Magus gained little notice until Eliphas Levi, the influential French occultist of the mid nineteenth century (1810-1875), actively publicised the work as part of his own teaching and writings.

Source: W.H. Brock, 'Barrett, Francis (fl. 1780-1814)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press -

Access Information

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by Mrs Enriqueta Rylands, on behalf of the John Rylands Library, in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan, project archivist, with reference to:

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (English MS 34).

Custodial History

Formerly part of the Bibliotheca Lindesiana, the Library of the Earls of Crawford and Balcarres, from Haigh Hall, Wigan, Lancashire.