9th of February, 1875.
Professor Hiram Corson,
Pardon me if, to all appearance, I have neglected to answer your very kind letter, received about a week ago. The fault is not mine, as you will see, but ought to be laid right to the door of my "Malchance," as the French Canadians say. I have nearly broken my leg about ten days ago and cannot leave my bed as yet; otherwise most assuredly I would not have risked even for a while to be thought so ill-mannered as that.
I have received many letters of thanks for my article, many undeserved compliments and very little practical help in the way of published statements supporting my theory, which is certainly built upon evident proofs. As an illustration of the moral cowardice prevailing among spiritualists, I take the liberty of sending you a letter just received by me from Gen. Lippett, the Commissioner, sent by the Banner of Light to this city, with the special purpose of investigating thoroughly the Katie King mystery. He has done so, and he has discovered beyond any doubt the culpability of Dr. Child. He has in his possession the testimony of two well known photographers whom the Hon. "Father Confessor" has bribed for the speculating purpose of obtaining Katie's portrait by taking it from this creature White. The Banner has refused as you see point blank to publish anything against Dr. Child.
Talk after that of the wisdom of the old mottoes and proverbs, and let us repeat if we dare about innocence and virtue being rewarded and vice punished! Well, I do think that old dame Truth has deserted for ever your beautiful shores. At least, by what I can judge from my own experience of over eighteen months' residence in your country, the old lady must be resting in undisturbed repose as in a state of deep trance at the bottom of her native well.
There, I am unable to move in the perfect impossibility of leaving my room and my articles sure to be henceforth refused.
I possess several valuable documents against our Philadelphian prophet, among others the sworn statement of a voluntary witness, which would kill Dr. Child if ever it was brought against him in a Court of Justice. But — it never will; for the Doctor is as cautious as he is peculating, declines answering me even in print, it seems. And to think that I was simple-minded enough to hope that he would try and sue me for libel, for it was the only way to force him into a Court of Justice.
My dear sir, would it be impossible for you to publish a few words stating your opinion as to the matter. A few lines from you that the Banner is sensible enough to appreciate, and would never dare to refuse, would go far against our fraudulent prophet. The editors will print nothing more from me, for they say "there is no knowing where my literary Russian bombs may explode." The only good result that has been brought about by my article, as soon as it appeared, was the immediate resignation of Dr. Child from his office of the President of Spiritual Association of Philadelphia; otherwise he plays at "dummy," and is to be seen or heard nowhere.
I came to this country only on account of Truth in Spiritualism, but I am afraid I will have to give it up. We shall never be able to draw the line of demarcation between the true and the false as long as the so-called pillars of spiritualism will, notwithstanding their half-rotten and unreliable condition, be supported and helped out to the last by the too lenient backs of the cowardly spiritualists. Would the Holmses ever dare fool and swindle the public as they did if they had not been backed and screened by Dr. Child until three thousand dollars offered him by the Y.M.C.A. proved too much for his tender soul, and he had to turn a modern spiritual Judas and sell out his Christ to the highest bidder. Now, the Holmses, frauds as they partly are, are still genuine mediums, and no mistake, and if there is some excuse for them for the perpetration of such a swindle, it lies in the "circonstance attenante" of the perpetual danger of starvation, as in the case of most of the public mediums. As for Dr. Child, a gentleman and a man known to be wealthy, there is no excuse for him, and such a character as that ought to be horsewhipped. His participation — in my eyes at least — in this fraud, is worse than robbery, worse than the murder of a human being; it is a nameless crime, one of blasphemy, sacrilegious derision and pollution of the most holy, sacred feelings treasured in the souls of all spiritualists.
He has done his work for one of us at least; poor old Robert D. Owen will not recover from the shock he experienced by the same hand that led him into the belief in the pure Spirit. He is 73 years of age and does not leave a sick bed from the moment of the exposure. I know it is his death blow.
That's why I hate Childs so bitterly.
Excuse my long letter, dear sir, in favour of the sincerity of my feelings, strong and too impetuous as they may seem to you, perhaps.
With sincere regards of esteem, dear sir.
(signed) H. P. Blavatsky.
The Holmses have vanished from town and I took the house they used to live in, for purposes you may guess.
825 North 10th Street,
This letter was posted in an envelope of Betanelly & Co., Russian-American Commission Merchants, Philadelphia, Pa. The postmark is February 16th, and the year is evidently 1875. The letter itself has no date, but is simply Philadelphia, Tuesday.
Professor Hiram Corson.
Just received yours, and many thanks for the readiness with which you undertake the defence of Truth. With my letter you may do as you please; use my name, bring me out as a witness, just whatever you may think proper. I can as readily answer for Gen. Lippett's consent, though, not having his permission for it, I suppose it more advisable to lay it all to my door, and state that you learned the particulars about the cowardice of the Banner of Light through me, for I do not care if the editors get a grudge against me. I am perfectly independent of them, but Lippitt is employed by them, and his means are very limited. Just say that I wrote you, copying textually his letter. I send you at the same time a very precious document, copied by the writer himself from an original letter that he sent me in the presence of Gen. Lippitt, whose signature you will find at the bottom as a witness to the transaction. I have five more witnesses.
I am here in this country sent by my Lodge on behalf of Truth in modern spiritualism, and it is my most sacred duty to unveil what is, and expose what is not. Perhaps did I arrive here one hundred years too soon. May be, and I am afraid it is so, that in this present state of mental confusion, of doubt, of the endless and fruitless conflicts between the Tyndalls and Wallaces, the issues of which are arrested by the almighty power of the dollar, — for people seem to care every day less for truth and every hour more for gold, — my feeble protest and endeavours will be of no avail; nevertheless, I am ever ready for the grand battle, and perfectly prepared to bear any consequences that may fall to my lot.
I pray you, do not take me to be a "blind fanatic," for, if I am the latter, I am not the former. When I became a spiritualist, it was not through the agency of the ever-lying, cheating mediums, miserable instruments of the undeveloped Spirits of the lower Sphere, the ancient Hades. My belief is based on something older than the Rochester knockings, and springs out from the same source of information that was used by Raymond Lully, Picus della Mirandola, Cornelius Agrippa, Robert Fludd, Henry More, et cetera, etc., all of whom have ever been searching for a system that should disclose to them the "deepest depths" of the Divine nature, and show them the real tie which binds all things together. I found at last, and many years ago, the cravings of my mind satisfied by this theosophy taught by the Angels and communicated by them that the protoplast might know it for the aid of the human destiny. The practical, however small knowledge of the Principle, Ain-Soph, or the Endless and the Boundless with its ten Sephiroths or Emanations, goes more towards opening your eyes than all the hypothetical teachings of the leaders of Spiritualism, let them be American or European. In my eyes, Allan Kardec and Flammarion, Andrew Jackson Davis and Judge Edmonds, are but schoolboys just trying to spell their A B C and sorely blundering sometimes. The relation between the two is in just proportion what were in the ancient ages the book called Sohar, based on the perfect knowledge of the Kabbala handed down by oral tradition from David and Solomon to Simon ben Jochai, the first man who dared write it down, and the Massorah, a book based on outside, not direct tradition, and which never vouchsafed the truth of what it taught.
I do not know why I write you all this. Perhaps it does not interest you in the least; perhaps you will find me presumptuous, conceited, boosting, and a bore. I must beg of you to account for it in one way at least, viz. the great desire I have to hear responding echoes, to seek for them whenever and wherever I can, in the only hope of being occasionally answered. If the Doctrine of the "Aged of the Aged" of Sephira, its first-born, the Macroprosophos, etc., is a thing you never troubled yourself of investigating, then let it drop at once, and consigning me for ever in the annals of your memory with the demented and crazy dreamers of the age, believe me only
Gratefully and truly yours,
(signed) H. P. Blavatsky.
825 North Tenth Street,
Professor H. Corson,
Kindly forgive me for intruding once more — unwelcome this time maybe — on your valuable time. I know that I should not be disturbing you now, for somehow or other I feel that, as the French say, "Vous-avez d'autre chats a fouetter en ce moment," and my new message risks to become an unasked guest. But at the same time I feel sure that you are not one of those who begins a job and leaves it unfinished. Your article has appeared, and I am glad of it; I knew Colby would never dare refuse you. My article was sent ten days ago, and will never appear, I am afraid; and so, I take the liberty of forwarding it to you for perusal when you have a moment to spare for it. As you will see, it's a new proof against Dr. Child. I enclose together with it the statement of a man named Westcott who was present when the bargain between the "father confessor" and Mrs. Holmes for ten dollars a seance was made. In his Sunshine, that Colby wants to pass off as an answer to my question, Child does not dare deny, as you see; he only tries his best to influence his readers' hearts, and says I "fabricate stories."
I hope and pray for truth's sake and justice's sake that you will be able to finish what Colby is determined not to let me do — to wit: unmask the lying villain.
With profound esteem and regard,
H. P. Blavatsky.
When you are through with my article, please forward it to Mrs. L. Andrews, Springfield, when you write her. I wonder if I could not have it published in the Springfield Republican by paying for it? I am ready to pay any sum of money for it. Please find enclosed a letter from General Lippitt, that will show you how our leading spiritualist paper is ready to die for truth.
March 20th (1875).
Professor H. Corson.
My dear Sir,
I am all swollen up, my face as big as a pumpkin, and I feel like dematerializing, dissolving, but I feel so glad at the same time of having received such a kind friendly letter from you, that I forget all my ailings and sit down right away for the purpose of only telling you that I appreciate deeply, very deeply indeed, all your kindness to a woman, a stranger, that I am afraid you will find, when you know her better, not to deserve this kindness so much as you think, perhaps. Alas! my dear Sir, I am really very very vicious in my own way, and unpardonably so in the eyes of every true American. My only hope for the future is that you may turn out to be more of a man, a true-hearted, noble-minded man, than of an American; then perhaps you may forgive me my Russian vices and put up with them for the sake of charity. I feel so happy to think that I may have a chance of passing a week or two in the society of my two correspondents and, may I add, friends — you and Mrs. Andrews. I am so scared at the same time when I come to think how utterly disenchanted you may both of you feel, and how shocked Mrs. Corson may feel, though she is not an American but a French lady, who knows better than your own nation does what we Russians are. You invite me so kindly to the Cascade; but what will you say when you see your guest stealing away from the room every fifteen minutes to go and hide behind the doors and in the yards and basements to smoke a cigarette? I am obliged here to confess that I, like all the women of Russia, smoke in my drawing-room as in the drawing-room of every respectable lady from an aristocratic princess down to the wife of an employee; they smoke according to our national custom in the carriage as well as in the foyer of the theatres. I am actually obliged to hide myself like a thief; for the Americans have insulted me and stared me out of countenance, and published about me in the papers, ornamenting my poor self with the most wonderful names, and inventing about me stories, and so forth, till, unable to give up an innocent habit of more than twenty years standing, I was finally driven to what I consider to be a mean act of cowardice; doing what I am ashamed here in America to proclaim in the face of the world. But if you can forgive me my national sins, then, of course, I will be most happy to avail myself of your kind invitation. A thousand times I thank you and Mrs. Corson, to whom I beg you will present my most sincere compliments, and ask her beforehand for some indulgence and charity for a poor barbarian who has fallen down from her Cossack-land in your civilized country like some ill-shaped aerolite from the moon. Tell her I promise never to smoke in her drawing-room. If after my confession Mrs. Corson is brave enough to repeat her invitation, I can go and seek out the company of the hamadryads in the silent woods. With the dear, sincere, truthful Mrs. Andrews I was more sincere still, if I remember right. Heavens be merciful unto me, but I do think that to her friendly invitation to come and visit her one of these days at Springfield I actually confessed to her that I very often swore in Russian. I do not know yet how she bore the shock, but I do hope that this fatal revelation did not kill her on the spot.
Oh! dear me! you will have a nice idea of your correspondent now since I have devoted four pages to confess my two most disgusting vices, but I like always to have people see my worst side at first, so that if they happen to find out some particle of genuine gold in a heavy, bad penny, so much the better for the penny.
I have not changed my residence, but it is always better to send the letters to my P.O. box 2828, as I am obliged to absent myself from town every now and then on spiritualistic business; as I told you, I was sent to this country by my Society, and the letters may be mislaid sometimes.
It is sad indeed, as you say, that Truth has to beg and pray and humble herself to be admitted into the leading organ of the spiritualists of this country, when lies have only to send in their cards to be received with outstretched arms. For instance, there is in the last Banner an account of one Mr. Wood, who pretends he saw his wife at a seance given by Mrs. Holmes. Now I know it to be a falsehood. In the first place, no respectable wife, dead or alive, will ever materialize through such a source of vile impurity as this Mrs. Holmes happens to be, to the greatest disgrace of us spiritualists. Then, a certain old lady, Mrs. Lippincott, in whose house the seance took place, assured me most emphatically that on that same evening the medium was found tricking and cheating; but the old gentleman who wrote this wonderful account is a half-crazy lunatic, who happens to see his wife in every corner, under the chairs, and in each glass of whiskey he swallows. "Et c'est ainsi que l'on ecrit l'histoire!" Poor spiritualism!
Most certainly I am ready to do anything you or Mrs. Andrews think proper. You may curtail the article, trim it, and even crop it in a Sing-Sing fashion if you think it will do any good; but I really think that for the sake of the cause, we spiritualists ought not to too much humble ourselves when we know we are right. Don't think for a moment, my dear Mr. Corson, that it is vanity or author's pride that speaks in me. If I write well enough in other languages, and I know I do, I know well at the same time that I have nothing to boast of in my English articles; and if it was not for the thought and moral certitude that truth, however badly dressed, must always conquer, I would never have dared to come out in polemics in the arena of English literature. I guess you, a professor of English philology and literature, have often laughed at my Muscovite expressions. I wish to goodness I could make you laugh heartily, for it seems to me you sadly need to. I can't say more, and could not if I would, for I can never, somehow or other, express what I feel unless I fight for it. I am a poor hand for any outward show of sympathy or compliments, and there are many things I would never dare touch, for those wounds are so deep that they cut through the very centre of the heart, and my hands are so rough that I dare not trust to them. One thing I must say, though, for I can't help it. I am sorry to see that you, a spiritualist, and knowing yourself that you use a wrong expression, still pronounce the word "lost" or "dead." Now, it seems to me that this sounds like a profanation. We insult our beloved ones apparently gone so far yet still nearer than ever. There is but one death in nature, and that is the moral death of a person in our hearts when the bad actions and deeds of this person compel us to bury him for ever in our soul's memory, and the remembrance vanished to the last particle. How can your pure, beautiful, innocent child be dead? Did not she, apparently to us, suffer unjustly the penalty of her living in this world, and being confined in her prison of clay? This same apparent injustice should be to us spiritualists the most apparent convincing proof of the immortality of our spirit, that's to say, to every one who firmly believes in a just omnipotent God as a Principle of everything. What harm did she ever do? What sin could she have committed to have been made to suffer as she did? Her physical death was but a proof that she was ready before her natural term of years to live in spirit henceforth in a better world. As I once wrote to Mrs. Andrews about the loss of her young son Harold, I have yet enough left in me of love for poor humanity to rejoice when I see children and poor young people die. "Too good to live in this world" is not an idle saying. It is a profound philosophical verity. What really devoted father or mother would not consent to become blind for the sake of the eternal felicity of their beloved children? Would not you? Is not caecity worse in such a case? for it makes everything vanish out of sight for ever, whereas now you cannot see one dear one only. To this you may object that a blind man can at least feel or hear the voice of one lost to sight. But cannot you feel and hear her the same as ever? Did you ever try? Oh, how I wish I could teach you some things you seem to know nothing of as yet. How happy you could be then! American spiritualism is dreadful in some things; it's killing, for it really brushes close materialism, sometimes. Why should you go and profanate the names of your best-beloved, your departed ones, the holy spirits inhabiting regions in atmospheres as pure and holy as themselves, by breathing their names to dirty, venal paid mediums, when you have all the means within yourselves to communicate and visit and receive visits from your departed! How willingly would I devote all my life, nay, sacrifice it even, if I could only impart to some bereaved fathers and mothers sons, and often daughters, the grandest truth that ever was, a truth so easily learned and practised for whomever is endowed with a powerful will and faith. I have said too little or too much, I know not which. By the fruit shall we judge of the seed. Amen.
You want to know about the Revue Spirite. I comply with your request, the more willingly as I know well and consider M. Leymarie, the editor of it, my friend. This journal or periodical is the best in France. It is highly moral and truthful and interesting. Of course, the direction of it is purely kardec-like, for the book was the creation of the "Maitre" himself, as French Spiritistes, the re-incarnationists, call Allan Kardec, and was left, furthermore, as an heirloom by the latter to Leymarie. The widow, Madame A. Kardec, is one of the noblest and purest women living. The Spiritistes have a slight tendency to ritualism and dogma, but this is but a slight shadow of their Catholic education, a habit innate in this people who jump so quickly from Popish slavery to materialism or spiritualism. Mrs. Corson will not repent if she subscribes for it. I find fault with them for one thing, not with the Revue Spirite, but with the teaching itself, namely, that they are re-incarnationists and zealous missionaries for the same. They could never do anything with me in that way so they gave me up in disgust, but we still are friends. Monsieur and Madame Leymairie are both of them highly cultured people, and truthful and sincere as gold. For you, dear Sir, if I can make so bold as to give you advice, subscribe to the Boston Spiritual Scientist. It is a worthy little paper, and the tendency is good, though they are as poor as poverty itself. I have a good mind to send my article to be published in that paper; they have very good articles sometimes and, moreover, print all they find of interest in foreign spiritualistic journals. I send you two copies, in both you will find marked with red pencil flattering notices about my father's best daughter. Prince Wittgenstein is an old friend of my youth, but has become a re-incarnationist. We had a fight or two and parted half friends and half enemies. He is the one that feels sure that the London Katy King was in a previous life his wife when he was some Turkish sultan or other. There's the fruit of the re-incarnational teaching.
As soon as my noble profile and classic nose reincarnate themselves in their previous normal state I shall have my portrait taken for you and Mrs. Andrews, but not in profile. By some mysterious and unfair decree of Providence my nose presents in that way the appearance of an upturned old slipper, a little the worse for wear. I met Dr. Child a few days ago at Lincoln Hall face to face. He did not look at all as if he saw the sunshine this once after a storm, but looked, on the contrary, when meeting my gaze, the very picture of a venomous mushroom after a heavy shower — and cleared out.
My best compliments to Mrs. Corson; and to you, my sincerest, deepest wishes for a genuine warm "sunshine" to thaw the icicles from every place of your inner self. With sincere esteem and regard,
H. P. Blavatsky.
May 20th, 1875.
Professor Hiram Corson.
My dear Sir,
As you will learn in my letter addressed to Mrs. Corson, if you ever do see me you will never have the pleasure of admiring but one of my legs, I am afraid. Fate is fate, and the less we talk about it the better it may be.
I agree with you that any talk about such an abstruse subject as spiritualism can be a great deal better done in conversation than through letters. I will "try" and come to see you if it were only for that; for I know you could be in great need of spiritual truths, and the sooner you will get convinced of the simple facts the less you will have chances of pondering over this subject as well as over others that may preoccupy you as I often saw you do, rubbing slowly your hands in your meditative mood, in the meanwhile, and asking yourself thousands of questions, all of them unanswered. Is it so? Or is it but the vicious images sent forth by the emanations of my own perverse imagination? It's for you to agree, and for me to submit to your decision.
I have an article by Professor Wagner, Professor of Zoology, and a very eminent scientist, a friend of the late A. Humbolt. Wagner has been battling and kicking and fighting for years against spiritualism. Now he has found out at last that he has been "kicking against the pricks," as they say, shows his sores to the public, and admitting in a very lengthy article the truth of the phenomena, begs his brother scientists of Europe and America not to make asses of themselves any longer but decide once for all and go and investigate spiritualism earnestly and very seriously. Alas! Alas! I am afraid his voice will be one in a wilderness here in this country. Too many Dr. Beards and Professor Anthonys for that in America. As soon as I feel better I will translate this article for the Scientist.
Now you must excuse even this bit of a letter, for I write it from the deep recess of my bed, which is far from being a bed of roses, suffering as I do. You may think me perhaps a cheat if you did not forget that I promised you my portrait, and that you have to see it yet. But I am not to be blamed. I seldom allow my noble countenance to get immortalized in portraits. I have none, and passing through New York had some taken at a spirit photographers. There I am, represented on it looking like some elderly idiot staring disconsolately at a she spirit with a rooster crest on its head, making faces at me. Really, putting all vanity aside, how can I send you such an awful caricature? So I gave two of those libel pictures to two persons I do not care about; but neither you nor Mrs. Andrews, nor Mr. Sargent, or even Olcott got one, and have to wait.
I feel very faint, and therefore, begging you will excuse my blots and scratchings out, and the general unclean appearance of my poor epistle, I hope you will still believe in the sincerity with which I sign myself,
(signed) H. P. Blavatsky.
My constant address is P.O. Box 2828, Philadelphia.
Prof. H. Corson.
My dear Sir,
Really it is very very kind of you to care so much about such a poor lame creature as I have become lately, and how gladly would I avail myself of the opportunity you offer me so amiably, were I able to do so at present! But, as I can hardly travel from my bed to the other end of the room without help, how can I travel by railway to Ithaca? and how can I risk to encumber you with such a sad, cross, limping, disagreeable thing as I feel myself to be at present? As soon as I feel better and able to walk, if it be on a crutch, I will come to Ithaca, and then we will talk. Just prepare me a little corner where I can safely surround myself with clouds of smoke and change the spot into a miniature valley at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius, without shocking too much poor Mrs. Corson, and I will soon appear in it like some weird monstrous she-goblin or spook, peeping out from this dense smoky atmosphere only to force you to follow me into realms and regions far more dense and foggy and impenetrable at first sight than the former. But with a sufficient stock of will-power and earnest desire to impart to others what I happen to know myself, and a good dose of introductory knowledge on your part, as you happen to study so seriously Howitt's Ennemoser and others, let us hope that this mutual introreception will not be followed (as in some cases I experienced lately) by a violent commotion of conflicting, adverse elements, causing a wide breach to form between the interlocutors for want of calm reasoning or too much fanaticism on either side.
Yes, I wrote to Mr. Sargent, and blamed him for having allowed the Scientist to go on with his idiotical Diogenes whom Brown has certainly fished out from some wash-tub in Boston. Of course, I excuse the poor man in one sense (Brown, not Diogenes, who is no man, but an ass), for he had to fill up his paper quand meme, and perhaps was driven by necessity to ornament it with such impudent and occasionally indecent stuff. But previously to that, I had blown up Mr. Brown himself, and told him what I thought of him and his Diogenes. He will not publish it any more, I bet you. So you can contribute something to it occasionally, and receive for it the thanks of spiritualists in general and mine in particular. You are right, and the wickedest traitors are mostly to be found in one's own family. Such is the wolf-like propensity of human nature. I do not know Brown personally, nor do I care much for such an honour, but I do think him more foolish and young and inexperienced than conceited or stupid. He seems perfectly willing to take any advice, and has never accepted it from me or Mr. Sargent, but with real gratitude and readiness to submit most humbly to our sine qua nons and decrees. So don't be too hard on him. Poor Mr. Owen, between the cruel Truth staring him in the face, his long friendship for the Judas-Child and his own spiritual fluctuations, he is sadly situated, the dear old patriarch. I do not think him fair in what he wrote so far as he consented to write anything at all, and vis-a-vis Olcott; but he speaks truly and sincerely when he says that he better abstain from giving his opinions about the Holmeses, who are mediums, and for all that frauds; and so they are. I will explain to you many things when I see you (if I ever do). Now look at poor General Lippitt and his efforts to save them from starvation and want! Why, he does not know, of course, what all of us know in Philadelphia, namely, that Mrs. Holmes's appeal to spiritualists was chiefly made for the purchase of a buggy and horse. They just bought one, and paid between one hundred and fifty to two hundred dollars for this apparel of luxury. What people who are in real want will ever think of buying horses and buggies? Now, this is mere imposition, and I call it robbing the really needy ones from their last piece of bread to satisfy cheating, wicked, lying impostors! Do not write this to Mrs. Andrews, she will never believe it, any more than she believes about Slade; but if you want to ascertain the fact, have someone ask Mr. John Morton, a Philadelphia gentleman of high standing, president of the Market Street railroad, to whom Mrs. Holmes applied for this same horse. I never give to the world anything but true facts, and I will never allow myself to throw discredit on anyone, not even on Child that I despise and loathe, unless I am perfectly sure of the fact.
Child never answered my last letter. He never attempted to by printed word or a spoken one, except once, the day I had two hundred copies of my article distributed by my order on a Sunday at Lincoln Spirit'l Hall: the agent by an act of ironical politeness offered him one (as they were given away gratis); and a gentleman who knew Child asked him before quite a number of people what he was going to say in answer to that article: to which Child, with an unparalleled coolness, a ne plus ultra of sublime impudence, said aloud: "O! pshaw! I know what it was all about. Some lying information furnished to this Russian by Leslie, no doubt." And that was all. Orestes turning back on Pylades, Castor accusing his bosom friend Pollux of lying information! Rich and sublime, wasn't it? For this Leslie is the same "amateur detective" that played such a conspicuous part in the detection of the false she-spirit, together with Child. Some time ago, Child tried to creep in as secretary to the International Committee of Spiritualists for the Centennial. I knew of it an hour after, and went to work; the result of my labour was that he was pitched out of that place, obliged by spiritualists themselves to resign as he resigned his presidency three months ago. He is an honorary member and correspondent of the London Spiritualist; his name is on the list, as you may see if you get the London Spiritualist, elbowing the names of the Prince Emile de Wittgenstein, Aksakof, Epes Sargent, Eugene Crowell, and such-like earnest, honest spiritualists. I am at work, and need say no more. From the deepest recess of my sick-bed, with my lame leg compelling me to an utter inactivity, and obliging me to retire from many public works (?), I have yet a few resources left in me, as you can see, to protect my cowardly, timid, silently-suffering brother spiritualists from the sham and degradation of such an association as this one. If I live his name will disappear from the list and vanish in oblivion. Like some unlicensed self-constituted Nemesis, I work silently but surely for all that. I am bed-ridden and a helpless cripple to be perhaps. If my leg is paralyzed, my brains are not paralyzed, that's sure, and Will-power, my dear Mr. Corson, goes far when well applied by those "who know how and when."
Excuse me for this long, very long letter. Somehow or other, all my letters, especially if addressed to those that I believe and hope will understand me, become too long.
I thank you most sincerely for all the sympathy you show for the aforementioned luckless leg of mine; but, as it is a cloven-hoofed one in the mystical sense of the word, it will be no great loss to humanity to see it disappear from its unworthy mistress. I guess there are more than one of my true friends who are secretly hoping and praying for both of us — leg and myself — that we might vanish into space on the traditional broomstick and be seen no more. But fate is fate, and we are but its helpless toys.
Now, I will deliver you of myself and letter and close by calling on your head all the lights and blessings of the Empyrean and its hosts of Seraphims, if you are acquainted with the latter mysterious gentlemen.
"May your shadow never decrease and may it screen you for ever from your enemies." That's a Chaldeo-Persian compliment I learned in its native land.
With sincere regard and esteem,
Very truly yours,
H. P. Blavatsky.
Dr. Hiram Corson.
My dear Sir,
I am doubly fortunate in receiving letters from both yourself and Madame, but time admits my acknowledging only your own to-night. To-morrow I will answer Mrs. Corson.
Your criticism upon the literary aspirations of callow youth is generally correct, but I am persuaded does not apply to the case in point. Epes Sargent has called upon Mr. Brown by my request and makes a favourable report as to his industry and worthiness. His paper is selected for assistance because it is already established, is on a very economical basis, has a clean record, and presents itself to us as a tabula rasa. By degrees the favour of such men as yourself, Epes Sargent, Gen. Lippitt, Col. Olcott, and others I might name, is being enlisted, and it is my desire that at a time not distant, the survival of the paper being assured, a list of these eminent writers will be announced as thereafter contributing exclusively to its columns. My idea is, by no means to depend on Mr. G. Brown alone for the direction of our campaign; however, more of this anon. I thank you in advance for your hearty and kind promise of valuable help. I have so much confidence in the future that I have sent Mr. G. Brown to-day fifty dollars scraped off the bottom of an empty purse, and only regret my present inability to do more at a moment when he requires at least two hundred and fifty dollars to tide him over deep waters. He wrote me a desperate letter, and I have put the matter in the hands of Mr. Epes Sargent, who will go to him immediately on receipt of my message, and handing him the sum, ascertain what more can be done or ought to be done for the paper.
Do not undervalue the importance of spiritual phenomena; instead of regarding them as the letter "which kills" you should consider them as constituting the broad deep foundations upon which alone intelligent belief in man's immortality can be safely reared. They heralded the birth of the Christian religion, clustered about its infancy, comforted, consoled, and armed its patristic propagandists; and the decadence of the Church dates from the time when they were ignored entirely by one branch and misdirected by the other. If you will simply say that the phenomena of the past twenty-seven years have mainly served to startle, amuse, or terrify the public I will not contradict you; but, in beginning our work of expounding the laws by which they are produced, and inculcating the moral principles they suggest, our purpose would be fatally defeated, for we should soon come into the present extremity of the denominational Churches, and propound dogmas unsupported by vital proofs. He who attains to the sublime heights of Wisdom and Intuition no more requires the buoyant support of these phenomena than does the eaglet need to rest on its mother's back after his pinions are fairly spread; but the eagles of mind are few, and the twittering sparrows multitudinous, and it is not for those who can mount above the clouds of doubt to despise the needs of their weaker fellows. The mighty supernal intelligences who are directing this spiritual movement, so far from sharing in your view of the manifestations, have already begun to produce phenomena of a still higher order such as transfigurations (n'en deplaise Professor Anthony), direct writings, the photographing of the wandering soul of living persons, and the evocation of the latter (in spirit) while their individual bodies are asleep. The occurrence of these marvels was foretold to me and by me to others long before their advent; and if you will attentively watch the English, French, and American papers during the next three months you will see more and more cause for astonishment. I do not need to go to the Franklin Library or search in the annals of Baronius, Gibbon, or other authors for the facts about the "Labarum." If it interests you I can tell you all about it without ever reading one single one of those books, for in the records to which I have had access I find that this sign was known before Constantine's birth, that it was flashed in the sky obediently to a purpose long before entertained, to furnish a sign and a convenient symbol to arouse the enthusiasm and stimulate fervour of the hosts to whom the execution of a great design was committed. The books extant have only served to mislead men whose minds were not prepared to receive the truth by reason of their extraordinary self-sufficiency and conceit. The indications are that we are about at the threshold of an epoch when a thousand mysteries shall be revealed, and it depends at least in some degree upon such very feeble mortal agencies as your pen and mine and those of other zealous workers, how soon the world shall be enlightened.
Can you doubt what I meant by the language you quote from a former letter of mine? Has your observation of spiritualism been to such little purpose that you do not know that there are ways of talking to your departed ones, of seeing them, of feeling the clasp of their hands, the pressure of their lips, without going to paid mediums, whose moral depravity is so often the means of surrounding them with a fetid and polluted atmosphere, habitable only by lying, mischievous, and vicious spirits, such as will be Child's? If you would learn the Secret of Secrets by which the highest heavens can be brought within the easy reach of your soul's vision and grasp, you must go to those sources of knowledge which have been long closed except to the initiate. I cannot even name to you the Body which has these secrets in charge, much less impart to you any of those I have learned, unless I find your mind after long acquaintance in such a stable mood as to indicate its receptivity. I have watched you through your moods of seclusion, and can only say that if with such abstraction, light has not at least glimmered upon your soul, you are not now in a state that would warrant what you desire. Instead of thanking me you would doubt me "even though one should rise from the dead" to corroborate my statements. Oh, my dear sir, why should poor humanity doubt so bitterly and repulse the divine hands stretched forth to every suffering mortal! Why is it that the more enlightened seems a man the more his brains become thickly inlaid with a double crust of conceit and vanity which gets so incrusted in the "seat of thought" that they actually shut out every glimpse of divine light, leaving him a voluntary victim to the illusions of his self-constituted gods, in the shape of precise ciphers, mathematical deductions, and so forth? Poor, poor humanity! Verily, said Christ, that pure spirit that will remain in the heart of every noble man or woman, the very ideal of perfection on this dirty earth, that "the kingdom of heaven be taken away from the wise men and revealed unto babes" (if I quote erroneously forgive my ignorance of the precise words). If my poor explanation and still poorer knowledge can be of any use to you, why, I ask the question about what you call "the monogram of Christ," the — the question came after I had read your description of the suffering, the patience in illness, and moral fortitude of that poor child that was your daughter on this earth, and is now your daughter a thousand times more so in the land of light and love. You seem to feel the loss (!?) so bitterly, your agony appeared so intense to me that I asked myself with surprise (that will be justified in the hereafter even in your eyes) how it came to pass that you, who have selected the mysterious symbol of for your seal, not only use black sealing wax for it (the black, emblem of darkness and irretrievable loss) but actually used in one breath, — if I am permitted this expression — the expression of your sorrow and the exhibition of the symbol of the whole. I saw at once that you did not fully realize its secret meaning, that standing before an open door, that you had but to touch with your finger if you wanted "to behold the one that stood behind it"; you lamented, believing the door shut, if not for ever, — locked at least for the time of your earthly life, and that perhaps you did not even know that you stood at the very open door. I employed a little diplomatic subterfuge — pardon me, for I was afraid of becoming guilty of an indiscretion, and put you the question about the symbol in another shape, expecting to understand from your answer how far you knew its meaning and properties. I now see all. You are acquainted with the "Labarum" only as many others are. You take it to be a monogram of Christ, for the books you allude to, never thought (or perhaps did not know themselves) that, because the shape of the happened to resemble the Greek letters of and P., it was not proof at all that the "Labarum" had been formed of the letters belonging to the Greek alphabet. Why should not the Greek alphabet be as likely composed partially of the most ancient symbols and signs? Such is the case I assure you. I defy all the scientists of the world, as well as all the antiquaries, philologists, and all the Champollions, Senior and Junior, to prove to me that this symbol of does not exist as far back as 16,000 years previous to the birth of Christ. You can trace it from our modern cathedrals down to the Temple of Solomon, to the Egyptian Karnac, 1600 B.C. The Thebans find it in the oldest Coptic records of symbols preserved on tablets of stone and recognize it, varying its multitudinous forms with every epoch, every people, creed or worship. It is a Rosicrucian symbol, one of the most ancient and the most mysterious. As the Egyptian Crux ansata, or that travelled from India, where it was considered as belonging to the Indian symbolism of the most early ages, its lines and curves could be suited to answer the purpose of many symbols in every age and fitted for every worship. But the real genuine meaning very few know, and when they do know they are afraid to use it through moral cowardice and stubborn doubt. The Crux ansata meant "the time that was to come," the "Labarum" when it went under another alias meant "the time is come." As God looks down upon the passing ages and remains for ever the same unchangeable and , the Alpha and Omega; so it is with this symbol and powerful sign. You may alter its shape and adopt its form to suit any period or fancy, call it whatever name you like, it will, notwithstanding all its metamorphoses, remain the same, with the identical power it possesses, and will always help the initiated to unlock as a genuine key the door of the "Mystery of Mysteries." Its origin belongs to the greatest of light suns in history; for it is born from the central "intolerable ring of brilliancy," to quote the words of Flamel, — the original gods' revelation. It retains its power up to our days, belongs to the oldest of religions, or knowledge, I should rather say, and is ever ready to usher us through its potency into the presence of our beloved, living in a brighter world. Even the famous "Sesame, ouvres toi" refers to the "Labarum"; "omnia ex uno, omnia in uno, omnia ad unum, omnia per medium, et omnia in omnibus" is a Hermetic axiom and can be applied to the so-called "Labarum." The two lines of and or do not represent the Greek letter (the Russian or Slavonian tau) or guttural ch. In the Rosicrucian teaching both of these lines united or separated have special magic or spiritual powers according to where they stand to the super-natural extra forces that help them through the operations of those "who know how and when to direct the weird power," says Robertus de Fluctibus, the great English Rosicrucian or alchemist, in his learned work called "Examen in qua Principia philosophiae Roberti Fluddi, Medici." I wish you could read it. He would teach you all you may expect to know.
Forgive me my long letter.
Truly yours with the greatest esteem,
(signed) H. P. Blavatsky.
3420 Samson St.,
My dear Sir, please note the letters I write you at night-time, and put more faith in them than in those scribbled in daylight. I will explain when I have the honour and pleasure of seeing you personally.
Professor H. Corson.
My dear Sir,
Truly spirits do bring on sometimes wonderful things! Hardly had I mailed you a letter, three times too long perhaps for an ordinary man's patience, when your own last favour proved to be a real god-send: first, for a poor worthy fellow, and then, if spirits help me, it may prove to be the little first cause of great results. You never thought, I am sure, when writing as you did in your last and giving vent to an honest indignation that ought to be felt and shared by every spiritualist, about the disgusting publication of "Duff Mr. Duff " in the Irreligio — Un-philosophical, as it ought to be called, — that your indignation, catching hold of me, would make me lay awake all night; and when I lay awake I think, and after thinking I generally act. The same morning brought me back my article from Colby which without further comment he respectfully declined on a bit of a dirty printed slip of paper. Very well; so I began thinking and plotting and scheming, and took the Spiritual Scientist, to which little paper I had never paid much attention before; and finding there another mention of my name from the Revue Spirite, I sent it to you. Did you receive it? (not the Revue but the Scientist). I took up some back numbers and read them through attentively, and the more I read the less I found of such trash as I found on the Religio, and even in the great sublime Banner. On the contrary, I remarked in it a decided tendency, as I wrote you, to help our cause, and an earnest endeavour to follow the steps of The London Spiritualist, and other such respectable foreign papers. Are you of my opinion? To be sure it is rather difficult for you to judge from two single copies; but I like it so well myself that I subscribed for it immediately. Then came in a gentleman from Boston to visit me, and I learned from him that the editor of The Scientist was a very well-educated young man, well-connected enough but poor as poverty itself. To become a spiritualist and an editor of a spiritual paper he had quarrelled with all his family, and the consequences were that he had quite ruined himself. The opposition on the part of the Banner, — whose policy is to praise and puff up all spiritual manifestations, even fraudulent and spurious ones, and never to expose anything or anyone, — was untiring. Their persecution of this poor Jerry Brown, who took from the first quite a contrary course, was merciless. That's what I learned from Mr. Giles of Boston. Of course, I felt fired up like a dry match immediately, got several subscribers for him the same day, and sent him my article, adding in my letter that I begged him not to look upon the subscription money in the light of a bribe, for, if he were not to print my article at all or thought it too long for the Scientist, I should try to find him subscribers just the same. Then I received a letter from Olcott talking with me at length about the immediate necessity of having in this country a respectable spiritualistic paper, and that I must try and work for it if I have the cause at heart. So I went and talked to my friends and acquaintances, and the idea struck me that if we could secure the Scientist for this class of spiritualist, which I can name at once the opposition party, we might do a vast deal of good for the cause. We have got no antidote as yet. The poisonous stuff is served out in the shape of all manner of bogus communications. The spiritualists are more and more bewildered, benumbed, and paralyzed though believing all the time sur parole only because the Banner or the dear old Religio-Philosophical said so and endorses it. Such a state of mind is more than dangerous and requires an antidote. My idea is to raise a subscription from the richer spiritualists and issue stock at one hundred dollars a share.
An editor, an able one at least, would be very difficult to select, for if he answered well enough one way he might fail in something else. Colonel Olcott is ready enough, but then he asks right away seven hundred dollars a month, and I find the nut too hard to crack for a fervent spiritualist. Would not you think that if we tried to help that poor Jerry Brown, something good might come of it? If we only help him by inducing prominent spiritualists and prominent well known men to write for his paper occasionally, help him in the way of finding subscribers (as the Banner acts so mean towards him), don't you think we could help the cause and at the same time help a poor struggling fellow-creature, a brother spiritualist? I am not, generally speaking, very tender-hearted, but my heart aches for that man after the letter I received this morning from him, which I forward to you for perusal. Don't you think his very soul speaks in this simple truthful narrative of his trials and sufferings? I know he does not tell half of his troubles; his position is worse even than what he admits to me. He might get as a printer, a compositor, or type-setter thirty-five dollars a week, — and still he clings to the truth and struggles and works like a slave to get but half this amount, with a regular weekly deficit that slowly but surely drags him into the abyss! Isn't it meritorious in him? I do respect and honour him for that and will do everything in my power to help him through. If you could only write something serious for his paper, something that would attract attention, and your name alone would be sufficient to raise up his paper. And then, perhaps, you might find him a few subscribers in Ithaca. If you cannot, which I am afraid is the case, for I know more than you think about you, then do write something for his paper. See how freely and unceremoniously I act; that's the usual effect of too much kindness. But I know you are a good, kind, noble heart, and will not think me daring or indiscreet to claim such a service from you; you are a spiritualist and a true one. When you have read Jerry Brown's letter in response to my second one in which I asked him to tell me what I could do for him, and if a subscription would be of any good to him, — please send it to Mrs. Louisa Andrews. I know she will cry over it, that she will, and her "Buff" will howl with sympathy, for dogs are in our days more honest and noble-hearted than men are, and more truthful than spiritualists of the class of Colby. Fancy Rich, the proprietor of the Banner, in partnership with a low variety theatre. Spiritualism and variety show! O Nineteenth Century! what a pretty fellow you are!
I will write to Flammarion, the astronomer, of Paris, and ask him to write something; and then I will get Mrs. Andrews. Do you think if Longfellow would write a piece of poetry for him it would do him any good? With all this I forgot my article. It will appear in the next number of the Scientist, and I am going to take several hundred copies and send them all over the country. I guess Child's "sunshine" will be eclipsed for a few days.
Excuse my "style echevele" and innumerable mistakes, but no one can reasonably expect a woman with her nerves all stretched and like strings in an old fiddle ready to burst, to write good English. I feel so excited that I wonder I didn't write my letter in Russian. I enclose a very curious letter from a prisoner, published by the Hartford Times, and sent me by Colonel Olcott. Perhaps it will make you smile. Please present my sincere compliments to Mrs. Corson, and keep on believing me, most truly and respectfully yours,
H. P. Blavatsky.
Could you not bring out our statements against Child in the Scientist and confound Colby?
P.S. No date.
Will you kindly allow me, dear Sir, one more question. If my inquisitiveness is rude or unwelcome don't answer me, and I will understand and feel the eloquent hint. I wanted to ask you the question from the first, but did not feel I had the right to. Why, instead of the original sign of the "Labarum" which stands thus , and is the one which is said to have appeared to the Emperor Constantine in the heavens one fine morning, you have adopted a change on each side of the "Labarum," ? The latter characters, as far as I know (and I judge in my own Rosicrucian way by the second table of stone in the Double Lithoi) mean — , which was given or delivered by (male principle) and — because it passed or came through — (THE FEMALE PRINCIPLE RIGHT AND LEFT). But then on your seal is lacking both on and the surrounding signs of .
It ought to stand, if I understand right, thus:
Can you tell me why?
Well, perhaps I am a fool after all, and an inquisitive one, too, and you are right and know better.
God bless you and forgive my indiscretion, if it is one.
Yours truly again,
H. P. Blavatsky.
Professor Hiram Corson.
Having received your letter on Friday evening I postponed answering it, wishing first to ascertain if my article be printed in the last Banner. I knew it would not, and my prevision turned out to be true. Henceforth, if I do not promptly act I will have to follow the example of Bluebeard's wife with her "Seur Anne, ne vois tu rien venir" It's useless, Colby will not publish it, for some causes as unfathomable as spiritualism itself in certain minds. If it would not be giving you too much trouble I would beg of you to let Colby know that you have read a copy of my article, as I tell him that I have sent it all over the country to all of my acquaintances and correspondents. I am determined to see it published, whatever the cost may be. I write to Mrs. Andrews to-day asking her to try if she cannot manage to get it in the Springfield Republican. If she succeeds — so much the better for truth and the worse for Colby's partiality. Have you read in the Boston Spiritual Scientist an extract from the London Spiritualist Even in London they know that out of the eleven spiritualists claiming to exist in this country, I, a foreigner, a woman, am the only one to fight the truth. They are very complimentary to me, but Colby will take care not to quote from it in his paper.
Mrs. Andrews has sent me a beautiful portrait of yours, and I am very much obliged to her. I did not dare trouble you for it, being such an utter stranger to you. I do take her to be one of the brightest, purest spirits ever created in this dirty swamp called Earth. She seems to be incarnated kindness and gentleness, so sincere, so truthful, so ever ready to forgive and be unwilling to believe in evil; no wonder she can never feel happy here. I am next to afraid of corresponding too much with her lest I should inadvertently show her a glimpse of the "horns and hoofed heel" of my real true nature, for I cannot and will not forgive as long as I can help it. I have taken to task to scourge and whip vice wherever I find it, and in myself more than in others. You will surely blame me for it as many others did, but I cannot help it. I sooner will forgive murder, or worse than that, theft, than a lie; and Dr. Child is a biped lie, as you know it yourself. I have promised myself and proclaimed to the world my indomitable resolution to take this Philadelphia hydra with his seven lying-heads by the teeth and claws, and not to relinquish my hold until I strangle it fairly on the spot, though I may be bitten and wounded by it. Lies and untruthfulness or cheating must be considered the greatest crimes in our sacred cause, for they are the more dangerous in a belief that allows so much margin for deception and self-illusion, and ought to be persecuted above everything else. What the "pious frauds" of the "Fathers" of the Church in the early days of Christianity, combined with the deliberate cheating of the Catholic priesthood, have brought to poor deluded humanity (or at least a portion of it) must be avoided for spiritualism in the future ages. Humanity as a mass is worse than ever now, having sinned through ignorance and frailty of our imperfect nature. Now they sin, the so-called civilization, and knowing perfectly what they are about. The prevailing miserable tendency toward materialism in our age, brought about by the never-ending exposures by science of all manner of religious frauds, can be cured by Truth alone, and only by it, for humanity in general is certainly too much advanced to accept one lie for another. On the whole, confessing to ourselves how things stand just now, we spiritualists certainly cannot wonder at the reluctance of the majority of people to barter that erroneous belief which, notwithstanding its numerous fabricated dogmas, has still won its right to citizenship and respectability through ages, for another one, that is seemingly fabricated under the very eyes of the growing generations. How very careful must we be, then, in accepting phenomena and revelations purporting to come from spirits. What dreadful consequences can bring about one deliberate lie, found out beyond doubt in the mouth of a spiritualist! Like one drop of gall in a bucketful of pure water, it is ever liable to poison the whole truth. I know that what I undertake is perhaps beyond my powers, but never beyond my will; for like a sentinelle perdue I will die at my post firm and unflinching, trying to set all facts in their true light. Those that seek to overturn the truth of spiritualism will find a curious dragon in me and a merciless exposer, whoever they may be. I see the arduousness and barrenness of the journey lying before me, the impassable thorns my path is covered with, but I do not fear or feel discouraged. I have received anonymous letters, threatening messages, and insulting warnings, but only feel like laughing at them. My reward is not here, and I do not expect it here; it's at home upstairs, and I know well, that were I to fail or succeed, in either case I shall be laughed at, defamed, slandered, and blackmailed; and even should events subsequently vindicate fully the whys and wherefors of my mode of proceeding, I feel that not one dog of the vilifiers of our cause and scoffers of myself will sway his tongue to acknowledge that at least one of the fanatics, crazy believers in spiritualism, has been truthful in every way. But what I do feel sometimes sorely, is that I am but a woman, after all, and that all the moral courage and physical, too, I guess, cannot carry me through if someone does not help me and back me, an individual of my poor weak sex. Will you be one of your strong sex to help me in the truth? When I look at your portrait, though I see you but in profile, it seems to me that you are one that accomplishes more than he promises and acts more than he speaks. Most probably you will never see me, and that's lucky, for my shocking Russian manners would terrify you, but will you allow me to write you and ask your help for the forthcoming fight between truth and blind fanaticism in spiritualism? I have secured the help of Colonel Olcott, General Lippitt, of Dr. Taylor, in the West, Aksakof in Petersburg, and a dozen others. Spiritualism as it is must be stopped in its progress and given another direction. The delusions and insane theories of some spiritualists are shameful in our century. I have some rich friends here in Philadelphia, and the female portion of them are all ready to come out with their money and influence on behalf of the cause. So what we need the most is brains and fearless indomitable minds to work up in the mental department at our command, we have but very very few scholars. Do not be frightened, dear sir, for I will never take advantage of your kind permission if you give it, and become a bore. What I ask you is to simply contribute a few times a year some article like the one you sent in to the Banner, your last letter I mean, and let Colby and his like know that there is behind the screens a small party of spiritualists who are after truth alone, and will never allow a lie or an exaggerated fact to spread abroad without trying to rectify it. They will never allow him, the truthful Colby, to withhold truth and help falsehood.
Well, I think that, notwithstanding my fine promises for the future, I did become a bore in my present letter, which is undoubtedly too long for any mortal's patience, so please accept my sincere thanks and excuses, and . . . (the subscription only cut off).