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Dr Foxcastle was the president of the Learned Society of York Magicians at the time of its dissolution in February 1807. He held firmly to the belief that a gentleman - a true gentleman, that is - could only be a theoretical magician: he had no need to be an adept in the practice of magic at all. Indeed, during one of the last meetings of the Society the doctor forcefully expressed his view that magicians do not have a duty to do magic, just as astronomers do not have a duty to rearrange the stars [1]. When the Society was disbanded Dr Foxcastle was obliged to give up his studies, as part of the agreement he and other members had entered upon with Gilbert Norrell [3].

After the disappearance of Norrell and Jonathan Strange from England in 1817, it appears that the contract between Norrell and the Society Magicians was voided and that Foxcastle resumed his study of magic. At any rate, he attended the new meeting called by John Childermass and made himself a little disagreeable there by questioning Miss Redruth's right to attend [69].