Dickinson, Edmund (1624–1707)
Physician to King Charles II, a seeker of the hermetic knowledge,
and professed Rosicrucian, who published a text on alchemy
entitled Epistola ad T. Mundanum de Quintessentia Philosophorum,
which was printed at Oxford in 1686, and a second
time in 1705. A third edition was printed in Germany in 1721.
He was born on September 26, 1624. He studied medicine, obtaining
a M.D. degree in in 1656.
After becoming acquainted with Theodore Mundanus, a
French adept, Dickinson turned his attention to chemistry. In
correspondence with Mundanus, Dickinson explained that the
Brothers of the Rosy Cross had access to the universal medicine,
the elixir of life, but that by the time they discovered it,
they had ceased to desire it and declined to avail themselves of
the promise of life for centuries.
He added that the adepts were obliged to conceal themselves
for the sake of safety, because if their gifts seemed more
than human they would become abhorrent to the average man.
Thus, there were excellent reasons for their conduct; they proceeded
with caution instead of making a display of their powers.
They lived simply as mere spectators in the world and desired
to make no disciples, converts, or confidants. They
submitted to the obligations of life and enjoyed the fellowship
of none, admired none, followed none but themselves. They
obeyed all codes, were excellent citizens, and only preserved silence
in regard to their own private beliefs, Dickinson said, giving
the world the benefit of their knowledge up to a certain
It is believed by some that after laboring many years Dickinson
finally succeeded in alchemical transmutations and that the
king had a private laboratory where he took pleasure in watching
Dickinson at work.
In his later years, Dickinson became ill and retired. He
spent the last nineteen years of his life studying and writing
books. He died on April 3, 1707