The Clavis or Key to Unlock the Mysteries of Magick of Rabby Solomon

Scope and Content

Manuscript on magic, with a simulated title page: The Clavis or Key to unlock the Mysteries of Magick of Rabby Solomon. Translated from the Hebrew into French and from French rendered into English with additions by Ebenezer Sibley M.D... The whole enriched with Figures, Talismans, Pentacles, Circles, Characters &c London. No. 18 Bartletts Buildings, Holborn, 7th August 1789. There are numerous magical diagrams and tables. The main text is preceded by notes in another hand on creatures 'governed by' the various planets, the Moon and the Sun. Though the manuscript is undated, the paper is watermarked 1825.

Although the manuscript appears to be a copy of a printed book, there is no record of any work by Sibly or others under this title.

Administrative / Biographical History

Although Ebenezer Sibley, or Sibly (1751-c 1799), devoted himself to medicine, graduating as a Doctor of Medicine from King's College, Aberdeen in 1792, his primary interest was astrology. He was a key figure in the revival of astrology and magic after their decline in the Enlightenment. He published numerous works on both astrology and medicine, including Uranoscopia, or the pure language of the stars (1780), A new and complete illustration of the celestial science of astrology (1784-8), Key to physic and the occult science of astrology (1794), and The medical mirror, or a treatise on the impregnation of the human female (c 1796).

Source: Patrick Curry, 'Sibly, Ebenezer (1751-c.1799)', 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 the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on Ebenezer Sibly.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (English MS 40).

Custodial History

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

Related Material

The Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine holds papers of Ebenezer Siby (ref.: GB 120 MS 4594).