[GREATRAKES, Valentien (1629-1683)]. STUBBE, Henry (1632-1676). The miraculous conformist; or an account of severall marvailous cures performed by the stroking of hands of Mr Valentine Greatarick; with a physicall discourse thereupon, in a letter to the Honourable Robert Boyle Esq. Oxford: H. Hall for Richard Davis, 1666.
4o (191 x 140 mm). Engraved frontispiece showing Greatrakes "stroking" a boy, by William Faithorne (1616-1691) (some edges uncut; minor foxing to title-page, and some browning to text throughout). 19th-century russia gilt, edges gilt (upper cover detached). FIRST EDITION and the first scientific account, by a doctor and with corroboration from others, of healing by "laying on of hands". Stubbe, a physician from Stratford-on-Avon described the gift of Valentine Greatrakes, a former county magistrate of Ireland, of healing by stroking scrofula, ague and other diseases. Greatrakes had begun practicing his cure some time after 1662, with some success. His fame spread to England, and in 1665 he travelled there to treat Viscountess Conway. He unsuccessfully tried to show his ability to the King at Whitehall that same year. NLM/Krivatsy 11512; Wing S-6062; Norman 2031.
[LLOYD, David] (1597-1663)]. Wonders no miracles; or, Mr. Valentine Greatrates gift of healing examined, upon occasion of a sad effect of his stroking, March 7 1665, at one Mr Cresses house in Charter-House-Yard. London: Samuel Speed, 1666. 4o (191 x 140 mm). (Some browning to text throughout). FIRST EDITION of this anonymous reply to Stubbe's praise Wonders no miracles by David Lloyd, chaplain to the Bishop of St Asaph, who criticised Greatrake's character and his supporters. NLM/Krivatsy 7068; Wing L-2649; Wellcome III,p.532; Norman 1378.
GREATRAKES, Valentine. A brief account of Mr. Valentine Greatraks, and divers of the strange cures by him lately performed. London: J. Starkey, 1666. 4o (191 x 140 mm). (Title-page with some foxing; occasional foxing and light browning to text). FIRST EDITION of Greatrake's own response to Lloyd's attack, in the form of a letter addressed to Robert Boyle and including 53 testimonials from Boyle, the Countess of Devonshire, and others in his defence. Garrison-Morton 4992; Heirs of Hippocrates 577; NLM/Krivatsy 4974; Osler 2824; Wellcome III, p.159; Wing G-1789; Norman 940.
When 19th-century practitioners of mesmerism thought about a name for their field they considered naming it after Valentine Greatrakes, whose book on laying-on-of-hands for healing psychosomatic illnesses was the first to document the use of suggestion (now understood as hypnosis). He was a sole practitioner who understood what kind of cases he could or could not help, and may not have charged for his services (in great contrast to the entrepreneurial Mesmer). Students of mesmerism today recognize that Greatrakes and Mesmer were employing related methods of treatment, but in very different ways. See Mesmer and mesmerism lots 668-673.