James Yonge: Sidrophel the quack astrologer exposed

Scope and Content

'Sidrophel the quack astrologer exposed, King Charles ye Martyr, vindicated, and judicial astrologie proved false, groundless, destructive of religion, and ye common peace, in a letter to Mr. W. Salmon.' There are eleven preliminary pages comprised of a dedication to Dr Sherlock, Dean of St Paul's, dated Plymouth, 23 October 1692, and a message 'To the reader'. These are followed by fifty numbered pages of text, in which Yonge attacks the medical empiric William Salmon (1644-1713). The manuscript was written by an amanuensis, but includes revisions in the author's hand and additions on inserted slips. It was prepared for a printer, and there is an autograph note by Yonge at the front giving detailed directions for its printing. Ultimately, the manuscript was not printed in this form. The additions to the text were probably made subsequent to the decision not to print, when it had become clear that the extent of the required revision would make it necessary to produce another fair copy for the printer.

The volume is accompanied by a photocopy from the Sotheby's sale catalogue, 30 June 1972, describing its contents, and correspondence regarding the acquisition of the collection by Cambridge University Library.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Yonge (1647-1721), surgeon and medical writer, was born at Plymouth on 27 February 1647. After attending the local grammar school, he was apprenticed as a surgeon in the navy in 1658. He was present at the bombardment of Algiers in 1662, and was held as a prisoner of war by the Dutch at Amsterdam, 1665-1666. Following his release, Yonge developed a successful practice in Plymouth before becoming surgeon to the city's naval hospital and, in 1674, deputy surgeon-general to the navy. He died on 25 July 1721.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Purchased at Sotheby's, 1972.

Other Finding Aids


Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on James Yonge in Sidney Lee, ed., Dictionary of national biography, vol. XXI (London, 1909), p. 1241.


Sidrophel vapulans or the quack-astrologer toss'd in a blanket was published in a greatly revised form in 1699.