The case of Mr John Yarker, Grand Master of the Memphis Rite in England, I have already had occasion to mention, and have cited his explicit denial of any acquaintance with the New and Reformed Palladium, but he is included by Dr Bataille in his wonderful enumeration. Upon the general question, Mr Yarker observes: (a) that the Scottish or Ancient and Accepted Rite has nothing occult about it, but the Memphis and Misraim Rites are wholly occultism. (b) That Pike has, however, in his lectures added occult matters from these occult Rites. (c) That Pike, as a very able man, ruled the whole of the Supreme Grand Councils of the 33 deg. (Ancient and Accepted), which almost all originated from Charleston. (d) That this is the only form in which there can be said to have been a Dogmatic Directorate.
In like manner, Mr William Officer of Edinburgh, an initiate of the Scotch Rite, Inspector-General of the Supreme Council of the French Grand Orient, and Hon. Member of its Grand College of Rites, denies his alleged connection with any Central Directory, and has heard nothing of such an institution.
I do not conceive that there is any call to fill space by the multiplication of these denials, and I need therefore only add that I have others equally explicit in my possession. The obvious conclusion is that the alleged Table of High-Grade Masonry is a bogus document founded on some official lists of the Ancient and Accepted Scotch Rite.
Lastly, there are certain statements made by Dr Bataille which warrant the presumption that he could have had little, if any, active acquaintance with the Memphis Rite. That he may have purchased a diploma from Pessina is probable enough; what I learn of the Grand Master of the Neapolitan Sovereign Sanctuary, through sources not tainted like those of the witnesses of Lucifer, does not place him wholly above financial considerations, but Pessina was, and is, totally unrecognised by any Masonic power in the world of Craft Masonry. So far, therefore, from such a diploma acting as an Open Sesame, it would have sealed all doors against its owner, and this statement is true not only for ordinary Craft Masonry, but for the great majority of lodges under the Misraim obedience. Dr Bataille would not, therefore, have much opportunity for participating in that Rite to which he had purchased entrance, and, as a fact, he is wholly ignorant concerning it. For example, he seems to represent the Memphis and Misraim Rites as enjoying recognition from the Scotch Rite, and the latter as consciously subordinate and inferior, whereas the position is this. Memphis recognises the 33 deg. of the Ancient and Accepted as its first steps, and places 62 degrees upon them, which are not recognised in return. Misraim also includes the 33 deg. of the Scotch Rite, but in a more irregular arrangement, other degrees being interspersed among them. Pessina's Misraim Rite has been reduced by him from 90 deg. to 33 deg., which are virtually those of the Ancient and Accepted Rite approximated to Misraim teaching. So also he states that General Garibaldi was in 1860, and had been so for many previous years, the Grand Master and Grand Hierophant of the Rite of Memphis for all countries of the globe. This is completely untrue, for, as a matter of fact, Garibaldi succeeded Jacques Etienne Marconis of Paris, becoming president of a confederation of the Rites which was brought about by Mr John Yarker in the year 1881. Before this period he was simply an Hon. Grand Master of Pessina's body. The articles of this treaty, with a true copy of all the signatures attached to it, and with the seals of the Sovereign Sanctuaries against them, is before me as I write. I may state, in conclusion, that Dr Bataille also falsely represents himself to have met with Mr Yarker, who told him that he had personally aspired to the succession at the death of Garibaldi, which Mr Yarker characterises as "an infamous concoction."
I am in possession of ample materials for illustrating more fully the marvellous inventions produced by this witness of Lucifer, but the instalment here given is sufficient for the present purpose.
The discovery of Leo Taxil and of M. Ricoux has one remaining witness in the person of Miss Diana Vaughan. She also, as we have seen, is a writer of memoirs, and in giving some account of her narrative I have already indicated in substance certain lines of criticism which might be applied with success thereto. We must obviously know more about this lady, and have some opportunity of verifying the particulars of her past life before we can accept her statement that she has written while fresh from "conversion," and is speaking for the first time the language of a Christian and a Catholic. The supernatural element of her memoirs it is not worth while to discuss. Were she otherwise worthy of credit, we might exonerate her personal veracity by assuming that she was tricked over the apparition and hallucinated in the vision that followed it, but I propose submitting to my readers sufficient evidence to justify a conclusion that she does not deserve our credit, and though out of deference to her sex it is desirable, so far as may be possible, to speak with moderation, I must establish most firmly that the motive she betrays in her memoirs is not in many respects preferable to that of the previous witness.
It will be advisable, however, to distinguish that part of the narrative for which Miss Vaughan is admittedly and personally responsible from that which she claims to be derived from her family history. I must distinguish between them, not that I am prepared to admit as a legitimate consequence of her statement that there is any real difference or that I unquestionably regard Miss Vaughan as having created a strong presumption that she is in possession of the documents which she claims to have. I am simply recognising the classification which she may herself be held to make. If in this respect it can be shown that I have mistaken the actual position, I will make such reparation as may be due from a man of letters, whose reasonable indignation in the midst of much imposture will, in such case, have misled him. But there is only one course which is open to Miss Vaughan in the matter, and that is to produce the original documents on which she has based her narrative for the opinion of competent English investigators, in which case Miss Vaughan may be held to have established not the truth of her family history, which is essentially beyond establishment, but her bona fides in connection with its relation. After this the portion for which she is personally responsible, and from which there is no escape, will still fasten the charge of falsehood ineffaceably upon her narrative.
In addition, then, to her personal history, Miss Vaughan's memoirs contain:—I. A mendacious biography of the English mystic, Thomas Vaughan. II. A secret history of the English Rosicrucian Fraternity, and of its connection with Masonry, which is also an impudent fraud. The two constitute one of the most curious literary forgeries which are to be met with in the whole range of Hermetic literature; and Hermetic literature, it is known, has been enriched by many triumphs of invention. I shall deal with the narratives plainly on the provisional assumption that Miss Vaughan has been herself deceived in regard to them. They are based upon family papers said to be now in possession of the Charleston Dogmatic Directory. The central facts which are sought to be established by means of these papers have been mentioned already in my eighth chapter, namely, that Miss Vaughan is one of the two last descendants of the alchemist Thomas Vaughan; that this personage made a compact with Satan in the year 1645, that under the name of Eirenaeus Philalethes, he wrote the well-known alchemical work entitled "An Open Entrance to the Closed Palace of the King," and that he consummated a mystical marriage with Venus-Astarte, of which the Palladian Templar-Mistress is the last development. For the purposes of these narratives the birth of Thomas Vaughan is placed in the year 1612, and his death, or rather translation, in the year 1678. At the age of twenty-four years, that is to say, in 1636, he proceeded to London, and there connected himself with the mystic Robert Fludd, by whom he was initiated into a lower grade of the Rosicrucian Fraternity, and received a letter of introduction to the Grand Master, Johann Valentin Andreae, which he took over to Stuttgart and presented. In 1637, having returned to London, he was present at the death of Robert Fludd, which occurred in that year. In 1638 he made his first voyage to America, where he was hospitably entertained by a Protestant minister, named John Cotton, but his visit was not characterised by any remarkable occurrence. At this period the alchemist is represented by his descendant as a Puritan impregnated with the secret doctrine of Robert Fludd. In 1639 Vaughan returned to England, but was immediately attracted to Denmark by the discovery of a golden horn adorned with mysterious figures, which he and his colleagues in alchemy supposed to typify the search for the philosophical stone. At the age of twenty-eight, Vaughan made further progress in the Rosicrucian Fraternity, being advanced to the grade of Adeptus Minor by Amos Komenski, in which year also Elias Ashmole entered the order. Accompanied by Komenski, Vaughan proceeded to Hamburg, thence by himself to Sweden, and subsequently to the Hague, where he initiated Martin de Vries. A year later he visited Italy, and made acquaintance with Berigard de Pisa. This was a pious pilgrimage which testified his devotion to Faustus Socinus, for Miss Vaughan, on the authority of her documents, regards the Italian heretic, not only as a conscious Satanist, but as the founder of the Rosicrucian Society, and the initiator of Johann Valentin Andreae, whom he also won over to Lucifer. On his return Thomas Vaughan tarried a short time in France, where he conceived the project of organising Freemasonry as it exists at the present day, and there also it occurred to him that the guilds of the Compagnage might serve him for raw material. When, however, he returned to England, he concluded that the honorary or Accepted Masons, received by the Masonic guilds of England, were better suited to his purpose. Some of these were already Rosicrucians, and among them he set to work. In the year 1644 he presided over a Rosicrucian assembly at which Ashmole was present. At this time also Oliver Cromwell is said to have been an accepted Mason, and it was by his intervention that, a year later, Thomas Vaughan was substituted for the headsman at the execution of Archbishop Laud, for the object already described. It was after his compact with Lucifer that the alchemist wrote the "Open Entrance." His activity in the Rosicrucian cause then became prodigious, and the followers of Socinus, apparently all implicated in the Satanism of their master, began to swell the ranks of the Accepted Masons. At this time also he began his collaborations with Ashmole for the composition of the Apprentice, Companion, and Master grades, that is to say, for the institution of symbolical Masonry. In 1646 he again visited America, and consummated his mystic marriage, as narrated in the eighth chapter. In 1648 he returned to England, and one year later completed the Master grade, that of Companion having been produced during his absence, but following the indications he had given, by Elias Ashmole. In 1650 he began to issue his Rosicrucian and alchemical writings, namely, Anthroposophia Theomagica and Anima Magica Abscondita, followed by Lumen de Lumine and Aula Lucis in 1651. The Rosicrucian Grand Master Andreae died in 1654, and was succeeded by Thomas Vaughan, whose next step was the publication of his work, entitled "Euphrates, or the Waters of the East." In 1656 he is said to have published the complete works of Socinus, two folio volumes in the collection, entitled Bibliotheca Fratrum Polonorum. Three years later appeared his "Fraternity of R.C.," and in 1664 the Medulla Alchymiae. In 1667 he decided to publish the "Open Entrance," the MS. of which was returned to him by the editor Langius after printing, and was subsequently annotated in the way I have previously mentioned. During the early days of the same year Vaughan converted Helvetius, the celebrated physician of the Hague, who in his turn became Grand Master of the Rosicrucian Fraternity. In 1668 he published his "Experiments with Sophic Mercury" and Tractatus Tres, while ten years later, or in 1678, the year of his infernal translation, he produced his edition of "Ripley Revived" and the Enarratio Trium Gebri.
From beginning to end, generally and particularly, the narrative I have summarised above is a gross and planned imposture, nor would any epithets be so severe as to be undeserved by the person who has concocted it, because it does outrage to the sacred dead, in particular to the greatest of the English spiritual mystics, Thomas Vaughan, and to the greatest of the English physical mystics, Eirenaeus Philalethes. For the mendacious history confuses two entirely distinct persons—Eugenius and Eirenaeus Philalethes. It is true that this confusion has been made frequently, and it is true also that at the beginning of my researches into the archaeology of Hermetic literature I was one of its victims, for which I was sharply brought to book by those who knew better. But a young and unassisted investigator, imperfectly equipped, has an excuse which will exonerate him at least from a malicious intention. It is otherwise with a pretended family history. When documents of this kind reproduce blunders which are pardonable to ignorance alone, and upon a subject about which two opinions are no longer possible, it is certain that such documents are not what they claim; in other words, they have been fabricated, and the fabrication of historical papers is essentially a work of malice. Furthermore, when such forgeries impeach persons long since passed to their account, on the score of unheard of crimes, they are the work of diabolical malice, and this is a moderately worded judgment on the case now in hand. Thomas Vaughan, otherwise Eugenius Philalethes, was born in the year 1621 at Newton, in Brecknockshire. The accepted and perfectly correct authority for this statement is the Athenae Oxonienses of Anthony Wood, but he is not the only authority, and if he be not good enough for Miss Vaughan, she can take in his place the exhaustive researches of the Rev. A. B. Grosart, whose edition of the works of the Silurist Henry Vaughan have probably been neither seen nor heard of by this unwise woman, in the same way that she is ignorant of most essential elements in the matters which she presumes to treat. The authority of a laborious scholar like Dr Grosart will probably be of greater weight than the foul narrative of a Palladian memoir-maker, who has not produced her documents. From this date it follows that in the year 1636 Thomas Vaughan was still in the schoolboy period, not even of sufficient age to begin a college career. He could not, as alleged, have visited Fludd, the illustrious Kentish mystic, in London, nor would he have been ripe for initiation, supposing that Fludd could have dispensed it. In like manner, Andreae, assuming that he was Grand Master of the Rosicrucians, would not have welcomed a youngster of fifteen years, supposing that in those days he was likely to travel from London to Stuttgart, but would have recommended him to return to his lesson-books. The first voyage to America and all the earlier incidents of the narrative are untrue for the same reason. In place of wandering through Denmark, the Hague, and Sweden, initiating and being initiated, he was drumming through a course at Oxford; in place of pious pilgrimages to the shrine of Socinus, he was preparing to take orders in the English Church, and the narrative which is untrue to his early is untrue also to his later life. After receiving Holy Orders he returned to his native village and took over the care of its souls. He was never a Puritan; he was never a friend of Cromwell; he was a high-churchman and a Royalist, and he was ejected from his living because he was accused by political enemies of carrying arms for the king. He never travelled; on the contrary, he married, at what period is unknown, but his tender devotion to his wife is commemorated on the reverse pages of an autograph alchemical MS. now in the British Museum, which belies furthermore, in every line and word, the Luciferian imposture of the Paris-cum-Yankee documents, by its passionate religious aspiration and its adoring love of Christ.
When Vaughan came up to London, it was as a man who was somewhat out of joint with English, in spite of his Oxford career, because he was a Welsh speaking man, and when he took to writing books, he apologises for his awkward diction. He accentuates also his youth, which would be warrantable at the age of twenty-eight, but would be absurd in a writer approaching forty years. This point may be verified by any one who will refer to my edition of Vaughan's Anthroposophia Theomagica. The works of Thomas Vaughan, besides Anthroposophia Theomagica, are Anima Magica Abscondita, published in 1650; Magia Adamica 1650, apparently forgotten by the "authentic documents" of Miss Vaughan, as are also "The Man-Mouse" and "The Second Wash, or the Moore scoured once More"—satires on Henry More, written in reply to that Platonist, who had attacked the previous books. These belong to the year 1651, as also does Lumen de Lumine; "The Fame and Confession of the Fraternity R.C." appeared in 1652, not 1659, as the "family history" affirms; Aula Lucis, 1652 (not 1651); and "Euphrates," 1655. What is obvious everywhere in these priceless little books is the devotion of a true mystic to Jesus Christ, and to gift them with the sordid interpretation of a French-born cultus of Lucifer is about as possible as to attribute a Christian intention to the calumnies of Miss Vaughan's documents.
In the year 1665, at the house of the rector of Albury, a chemical experiment with mercury cost the Welsh alchemist his life, and he was buried in the churchyard of that village in Oxfordshire.
It is clear, therefore, that the wonderful archives in the possession of Miss Vaughan give a bogus history of Eugenius Philalethes, but they are also untrue of Eirenaeus. It is untrue that this mysterious adept, whose identity has never been disclosed, was born in 1612; he was born some ten years later.
The source of both dates is "The Open Entrance to the Closed Palace of the King"; but that which Miss Vaughan champions is based upon a corrupt reading in a bad version, and she has evidently never seen the original and best of the Latin impressions, that of Langius, though she has the presumption to cite it. That edition establishes that he wrote the treatise in the year 1645, he being then in the twenty-third year of his age—whence it follows that the date of his birth was most probably 1622, and the history with which he is invested by Miss Vaughan is again a misfit; it is putting man's garments on a boy. Furthermore, there is not one item in her statements concerning the "Open Entrance" which is not directly and provably false. It was not printed, as she indicates, under the supervision of the author; it was not printed from the original MS., nor was that MS. returned to Philalethes after it had passed through the press. It is shameful for any person, male or female, however little they may consider their own fair fame, to so far violate the canons of literary honour as to make dogmatic statements concerning a work which they cannot have seen. The preface prefixed to this edition by Langius completely refutes Miss Vaughan. Here is a passage in point:—"Truly who or what kind of person was author of this sweet, must-like work, I know no more than he who is most ignorant, nor, since he himself would conceal his name, do I think fit to enquire so far, lest I get his displeasure." Again—"To pick out the roses from the most thorny bushes of writings, and to make the elixir of philosophers by his own industry, without any tutor, and at twenty-three years of age, this perchance hath been granted to none, or to most few hitherto." Langius, moreover, laments explicitly the fact that he did not print from an original MS. He printed from a Latin translation, the work of an unknown hand, which had come into his possession, as he tells us, from a man who was learned in such matters. Miss Vaughan's pretended autograph, with its despicable marginal readings, is obviously a Latin copy, whatever be its history otherwise. The original was in English, and when Langius was regretting its loss, "a transcript, probably written from the author's copy, or very little corrupted," was in possession of the bookseller William Cooper, of Little Saint Bartholomews, near Little Britain, in the city of London, who published it in the year 1669, to correct the imperfections in the edition of Amsterdam. This transcript also establishes that the "Open Entrance" was penned when the author was in his twenty-third year.
As a matter of fact, Philalethes does not appear to have superintended the publication of any of his writings, and here Miss Vaughan again exhibits her unpardonable ignorance concerning the works with which she is dealing. To prove that her reputed ancestor was alive after the accepted date of Thomas Vaughan's death, she triumphantly observes that in the year 1668 he published his experiments on the preparation of Sophic Mercury and Tractatus Tres. But the latter volume was a piracy, for in his preface to "Ripley Revived" the author expressly laments that two of its three treatises had passed out of his hands, and he feared lest they should get into print, because they were imperfect works preceding the period of solid knowledge which produced the "Open Entrance." Again, so little was he consulted over the appearance of the "Sophic Mercury" that the printer represents it as the work of an American philosopher, whence it has been fathered upon George Starkey.
Eirenaeus Philalethes was undoubtedly a great traveller and he visited America, but there is no ground for supposing that he was ever in Italy, and that either he or Thomas Vaughan edited the works of Socinus is an ignorant fiction, for which even Miss Vaughan can find no better warrant than the evasive place of publication which figures on the title-page of the Bibliotheca Fratrum Polonorum, namely, Eirenaeopolis. In like manner she erroneously credits him with the authorship of the Medulla Alchemiae, which is the work of Eirenaeus Philoponos Philalethes, otherwise George Starkey.
These facts fully establish the fraudulent nature of Miss Vaughan's family history, by whomsoever it has been devised, and seeing that where it is possible to check it, it breaks down at every point, we need have no hesitation in rejecting the information which it provides in those cases where it cannot be brought to book. The connection of Faustus Socinus with the Rosicrucian Fraternity, as founder, is one instance; this is merely an extension of the imposture of Abbe Lefranc in his "Veil Raised for the Curious," and it rests, like its original, on no evidence which can be traced. Another is the Rosicrucian Imperatorship of Andreae, and yet another the initiation of Robert Fludd. Again, the connection of Philalethes with John Frederick Helvetius is based on speculation only, and that of Ashmole with the institution of symbolical Masonry has never been more than hypothesis, and not very deserving at that. I regret to add that, on the authority of her bogus documents, Miss Vaughan has given currency to a rumour that the founder of the Ashmolean Museum poisoned his first wife. She deserves the most severe reprobation for having failed to test her materials before she made public this foul slander. Furthermore, in that portion of her materials which is concerned with her family history, she is not above tampering with the sense of printed books. The worshippers of Lucifer are represented as invariably terming their divinity the "good God"—Dieu bon,—or our God—notre Dieu—to distinguish him from the God of the Adonaites, and the references made to the Deity by Philalethes in the "Open Entrance" she falsely translates by these Luciferian equivalents, thus creating an impression in the minds of the ignorant that he is not speaking of the true Divinity. After this it will hardly surprise my readers that a pretended translation from a MS. of Gillermet de Beauregard, which she states to be preserved in the archives of the Sovereign Patriarchal Council of Hamburg, is simply stolen from an Instruction a la France sur la verite de l'Histoire des Freres de la Roze-Croix, by Gabriel Naude, who ridiculed and reviled the Order. I submit in conclusion that, in view of the facts already elicited, it is not worth while to inquire into the value of the episode concerned with the judicial murder of Archbishop Laud, and to elaborately argue that Oliver Cromwell was the last person in England to be implicated in such a transaction, he, at the period in question, being briskly employed in checkmating his King, who was at Oxford in winter quarters, and having neither the power nor opportunity to meddle with the details of an execution. The incident, in a word, is worth as much and as little as the abominable story of the subsequent pact with Lucifer or the foolery of the mystic marriage.
The critical investigation of Miss Vaughan's alleged documents having led to these results, it remains to be seen how far the other portions of her narrative will bear analysis. So long as she confined the more responsible part of her memoirs to personal experiences in the science of conversion and to the relation of her Eucharistic raptures, the lovers of ardent reading in this order of sensation were the only persons who could lay a complaint against her if she failed to fulfil their requirements. So long also as she fixed the scene of her history in a comparatively remote place, and among men now dead, she was partially protected from exposure, but when she transfers her revelations to England she is treading on dangerous ground, and she has in fact fallen into the pit. She has had the temerity to meddle with the modern history of Rosicrucian societies, and has undertaken to inform her readers after what manner she has come into possession of the rituals of the revived Rosicrucian Order, and her account is specifically untrue. She is undoubtedly acquainted with the grades of the order, but she could have obtained these from more than one published source—as, for example, the late Kenneth McKenzie's "Cyclopaedia of Freemasonry," or from my own "Real History of the Rosicrucians." But even if she possess the rituals, she has not come by them in the manner she describes. Her account is as follows:—"The Fraternity of the Rose-Cross comprises nine degrees of initiation—1. Zelator; 2. Theoricus; 3. Practicus (Miss Vaughan writes Praticus, which would be the error of a French person who does not read Latin and not the error of an English or American person as she claims to be); 4. Philosophus; 5. Adeptus Minor, according to the variants of Valentin Andreae, or Adeptus Junior, according to the variants of Nick Stone (those were the variants of Nick Stone which were ostensibly burned in 1720 by the Grand Master Theophilus Desaguliers, but were not in reality destroyed; transmitted to trusty English brethren, after the death of Desaguliers, they passed from reliable hands to others also reliable, until the reconstitution of the Rose-Cross; for the reconstituted association exists actually in England, Scotland, the United States, and Canada, and those variants of the grades which were made by Nick Stone, are at the present day deposited with Doctor W. W. W., living at Cambden (sic) Road, London, Supreme Magus of the Rose-Cross for England, AT WHOSE HOUSE I HAVE TRANSCRIBED THEM); 6. Adeptus Major; 7. Adeptus Exemptus; 8. Magister Templi; 9. Magus."
Miss Vaughan's literary methods are not exactly captivating, and the enormous parenthesis is hers, but the capitals which close it are mine. The English doctor mentioned is well known to transcendentalists, and he is actually a high-grade Mason; he is also personally well-known to myself. To the best of his recollection he has never at any time met any person terming herself Diana Vaughan. More especially, no such individual has ever called at his house, much less copied any rituals of which he may be in possession. There is therefore only one term by which it is possible to qualify Miss Vaughan in her account of this matter, and if I refrain from applying it, it is more out of literary grace than from considerations of gallantry, for when persons of the opposite sex elect to make themselves odious by gross imposition, they cannot expect to escape the legitimate consequences at the hands of criticism any more than another class of female malefactors will escape on the plea of their sex at the hand of justice.
The subject of Luciferian Freemasonry has been under discussion in the columns of Light long before the appearance of this volume, and a number of transcendentalists, including one of great eminence—Mr Charles Carleton Massey—a few high-grade Masons, and myself, have exposed the pretensions of the French conspiracy. In most cases, and by more than one person, copies of the various issues were sent to Miss Vaughan through her publisher, and if she be not, as I hinted in that journal, the Mrs Harris of Freemasonry, there is little doubt that they reached her like other friendly offerings which she acknowledges in odd corners of her memoirs. It is probably in consequence of the exposures made in Light in connection with others said to have been made recently in Canada that in the eighth number of her memoirs she threatens to turn somewhat desperately on her critics. I understand that the Australian boomerang is a weapon that comes back to its caster, and the vindictive feeling which has prompted Miss Vaughan to a fresh burst of revelation has returned upon herself in a very overwhelming manner. "I am driven, and I will do it," is her position. "I will reveal the English Palladists such as they actually and personally are." And she does so to her own destruction as follows:—
"The actual chief of the English Luciferians is Doctor William Wynn Westcott, living at 396 Cambden Road, London, whom on a previous occasion I mentioned only by his initials. It is he who is the actual custodian of the diabolical rituals of Nick Stone; it is he who is the Supreme Magus of the Socinian Rose-Cross for England." She proceeds to give the names of the Senior and Junior Sub-Magi, the members of the Grand Council, the chiefs of what she terms the Third Luciferian Order, and the Masters of the Temple, otherwise the Metropolitan College. Similar particulars follow concerning the York College, the College of Newcastle-on-Tyne, and that of Edinburgh.
Now, Dr Wynn Westcott is a high-grade Mason, as I have said, and he occupies a professional position of influence and importance; it is clear that a gratuitous attempt to fasten upon him charges of an odious character is an exceedingly evil proceeding and places the person who does so outside all limits of tender consideration. When Miss Vaughan states that Dr Westcott is a Palladist, a diabolist, a worshipper of Lucifer, or however she may elect to distinguish it, I reply that she is guilty of a gross libel, which is at the same time an abominable and cruel falsehood. When she says that she has been received at his house, I reply that she has not been received there, and that Dr Westcott is likely to require better credentials from female visitors than are supplied by the infamous inventions in the "Memoirs of an Ex-Palladist." When Miss Vaughan affirms that she has transcribed Dr Westcott's rituals at the house of Dr Westcott, I reply that this would be an untrue statement if the lady who made it were an intimate friend, and it is doubly untrue when affirmed by a perfect stranger. When Miss Vaughan states that Dr Westcott is the head of a Society which worships Lucifer, I reply that she is speaking falsely of a body concerning which she is in complete ignorance, and when an ignorant person thus attributes evil she or he does not only act foolishly but with exceeding malice. Miss Vaughan is henceforth upon all accounts outside that category of literary honour which makes it possible for criticism to be concerned with her and still preserve its dignity. Lastly, Miss Vaughan alleges that the official appointments made by Dr Westcott as Supreme Magus of the Society in question for the year 1896 were submitted to Adriano Lemmi and approved by him. This allegation is false in toto. Neither in a general nor a special sense is Dr Westcott responsible to Lemmi or to any Italian Freemason; what is more, no personal or written communication has at any time passed between them, and save as a past Grand Master Dr Westcott has never heard of the person to whose commands he is thus supposed to be subject. It will be seen that the baseless nature of this absurd statement involves all others of its kind, and there is no reason to attach the slightest credibility to anything which has been advanced concerning the supreme position of Adriano Lemmi, who, further, himself denies it, and, whatever his past history, is as much entitled to belief as accusers who betray their true character in this unenviable manner.
The Society which has thus been attacked in the person of its Supreme Magus is of singularly unpretending nature, simple as regards its history, and making no claim either to Masonic or Mystical importance. It does not claim or possess a connection with the original Rosicrucian Fraternity. It does not attribute antiquity to the rituals which it uses. It was founded by Robert Wentworth Little, who died in 1878, and has been in existence somewhat less than forty years. Its sole connection with Masonry is that it only initiates Masons. It neither enjoys nor expects recognition from the Grand Lodge of England. It is literary and antiquarian in its object, and came into existence chiefly for the study of the history of Freemasonry and of other secret societies. Its members are required to believe in the fundamental principles of Christian doctrine. The Metropolitan College has only four convocations and one banquet annually; the number of Fratres upon the Roll of Subscribers is fifty-four. It has attracted Masons interested in the antiquities of their craft and has no other sphere of influence. It publishes occasional transactions, the dimensions of which are regulated by an exceedingly modest income. I mention many of these particulars merely to place a check upon exaggerated notions. Some of the provincial Colleges have a larger membership, but they are of precisely the same character. It is not a society of occultists, though, like innumerable other bodies, it counts occultists among its brethren. Finally, no religious cultus of any kind is performed at its meetings, and no woman has ever passed its threshold.
The Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia is Rosicrucian only in its name, as it is Masonic only in its name, and its members are not Miss Vaughan's ex-Freres d'Angleterre.
It is certainly and in all respects necessary that something effectual should be done to curb a slanderous and evil tongue which has the audacity to impress the most sacred feelings of religion into the service of wilful lying. Dr Westcott is not the only English Mason who has suffered the undeserved indignity of gross aspersion from this unclean pen. Another victim is Mr Robert S. Brown, Grand Secretary of the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland, who is also a member of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, and of nearly all Masonic Orders, the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia included. This honourable gentleman is especially recommended by Miss Vaughan to the attention of Catholics in Edinburgh, being the city in which he resides. She describes him as a dangerous sectarian, a veritable sorcerer, and the evil genius of one of her own relatives. She states further that he is an Elect Magus of the Palladium, that he protects Sophia Walder when she visits Scotland, and that he was a great admirer of Phileas Walder, at whose instance he consecrated himself to the demon anti-Christ. In each and all these statements this malicious woman has lied foully. I communicated with Mr Brown on the subject, and hold his written denials, which are at the service of any person who desires to see them. Mr Brown says:—"I am not an Elect Magus of the Palladium. I never to my knowledge saw Miss Walder, and never knew Miss Vaughan, or anyone of the name, man, woman, or child. I never heard Miss Walder named till I received your letter, and never knew of the existence of the Palladian Order, if it does exist, till I saw it mentioned in articles in 'Light' and the 'Freemason's Chronicle' (London).... With reference to the particular statements in this copy of the Memoires, no doubt the writer has succeeded in getting hold of the facts in most cases as to the official positions of the parties named, which of course are easily obtained; the little details regarding some of us would indicate the presence of an agent in our midst or near at hand. The 'inventions' and most slanderous statements regarding most of us are, however, outrageously false and wicked. My house has never had the honour(!!!) of entertaining Miss Walder or any other lady of like character; it is not a chemical laboratory, and I have never exercised myself in these mysterious experiences either there or elsewhere. I am a humble member of the Episcopal Church of Scotland, and, I trust, a sincere follower of the Master.... I count nearly all the gentlemen named in this vile proclamation among my friends, they are all good men and true, and I hope to associate with them for many years to come. I most emphatically deny the vile aspersions cast on their characters and my own, and you have my full authority to do so as far as the same may serve your purpose." My readers will agree that the clear and temperate statement of Mr R. S. Brown brands Diana Vaughan with indelible disgrace in the eyes of the civilised world.
There is a limit to the necessity of exposure, but should Miss Vaughan manifest any desire to have further instances of her mis-statements I will undertake to supply them. I will only add here in conclusion my personal opinion that Miss Vaughan has not been for any length of time a resident in an English-speaking country, much less can she have received, as it is alleged by some of her friends, an American education. The proof is that she makes characteristic French blunders over English names. Thus, we have Cambden on each occasion for Camden, Wescott for Westcott; we have baronnet for baronet, Cantorbery for Canterbury, Kirkud-Bright for Kirkcudbright; we have hybrid combinations like Georges Dickson, impossibilities like Tiers-Ordre Luciferien d'Honoris Causa, and numerous similar instances.
To behold "Diana unveiled" was equivalent in alchemical terminology to attaining the magnum opus. The reputed author of the "New Light of Alchemy" testifies that some persons had in his own day and to his certain knowledge attained this supreme privilege. It is not of my own seeking if in another sense I have made public the same spectacle, and thus broken with the traditions of secret science. It would have been preferable from one point of view to have discovered Lucifer behind the mask of Masonry than to have found the conspiracy against it another Tableau des Inconstances des Demons in which the infidelite et mecreance connected with the old false witness, abound after a manner undreamed of by Bodin and Wierus, for it is distinctly disconcerting to think that a great church is so little honoured by her combatants and converts.
It only remains to state, and I do so with extreme reluctance, that the evidence of Signor Domenico Margiotta, which seems so strong in itself, can only be accepted, as we have seen, in connection with the credibility of Miss Vaughan, and as this has completely broken down, we cannot do otherwise than regard that part of his evidence which is concerned with Palladism as the narrative of a person who has been very seriously misled. And I think he has otherwise shown us that he is not a judicious critic of the materials which have come into his hands. He should never, for example, have printed his list of Palladian Lotus Lodges—so far as regards Great Britain, it is undeniably a false list. Take that of Edinburgh as a typical instance. Mr Brown, who has every opportunity of knowing, tells me there is absolutely no truth in the statement that there is in Edinburgh a Mother, or any, Lodge of the Palladian Order. "Neither is there a Triangular Province—whatever that may mean—such as is described. All is absolutely false."
THE RADIX OF MODERN DIABOLISM
We have finished with the witnesses of Lucifer, and I think that the search-light of a drastic criticism has left them in considerable disarray. We approach the limit of the present inquiry, but before summing up and presenting such a general statement or conclusion as may be warranted by the facts, there is one point, left over hereunto, and designed for final consideration, because it appeals more exclusively to professed transcendentalists, which it will be necessary to treat briefly. I have already indicated that sporadic revivals of black magic have occasionally been heard of by mystics here in England, and from time to time we have also heard vaguely of obscure assemblies of Luciferians. Quite recently an interview with Papus, the French occultist, published in Light, mentions a society which was devoted to the cultus of Lucifer, star of the morning, quite distinct from Masonry, quite unimportant, and since very naturally dead. Now, a large proportion of mystics here in England are High-Grade Masons, and if a society of the Palladium had extended to anything remotely approaching the proportions alleged, they could not have failed to know of it. I will go further and affirm that our non-Masonic transcendental associations have abundant opportunities to become acquainted with institutions similar to their own, and it is preposterous to suppose that there could be several Palladian triangles working their degrees in this country without our being aware of the fact. But we have not been aware of it, and our only informations concerning Palladism have come to us from France. We do not accept these informations; we know that the persons here in England who are alleged by French false witnesses to be connected with the Palladium are not so connected, and are now learning of it for the first time. The statements concerning Mr John Yarker are categorically untrue; the gross calumny published by the "converted" Diana Vaughan about Dr Wynn Westcott, who happens to be a High-Grade Mason, she will never dare to come forth from her "retreat" and re-affirm within the jurisdiction of these islands, because she knows well that a British jury would make a large demand upon her reputed American dollars. Let us, however, put aside for the moment the mendacities and forgeries which complicate the question of Lucifer, and let us approach Palladism from an altogether different side. I believe that I may speak with a certain accent of authority upon any question which connects with the French magus Eliphas Levi. I am an old student of his works, and of the aspects of occult science and magical history which arise out of them; in the year 1886 I published a digest of his writings which has been the only attempt to present them to English readers until the present year when I have undertaken a translation in extenso of the Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, which is actually in the hands of the printer. Now, it has not been alleged in so many words that the radix of Modern Diabolism and the Masonic cultus of Lucifer is to be found in Eliphas Levi, but that is the substance of the charge. Most, or all, of the witnesses agree in representing him as an atrocious Satanist, an invoker of Lucifer, a celebrater of black masses, and an adept in the practical blasphemies of Eucharistic sacrilege; all of them father either upon the Palladium or upon Pike a variety of documents containing gross thefts from Levi; some of them, directly and upon their own responsibility, cite passages from his works, always with conspicuous bad faith. Finally, they agree in connecting him with the foundation of the New and Reformed Palladium through his alleged disciple Phileas Walder; and one of them goes so far as to say that Palladism was a further development or restoration of a Satanic society directed by Eliphas Levi and operating his theurgic system, which he in turn, if I rightly understand the mixed hypothesis of M. de la Rive, may have derived from the Palladic rite of 1730. If we accept for the moment this origin of the reformed order, it will follow that if the occult doctrines of Eliphas Levi have been seriously misunderstood or grossly defamed by the witnesses, the diabolical or Luciferian connection of Palladism does not wear the complexion which has been ascribed to it. It is represented as: (a) outwardly Masonic, and (b) actually theurgic. (c) It is Manichaean in doctrine. (d) It regards Lucifer as an eternal principle co-existent, but in a hostile sense, with Adonai. (e) It holds that the beneficent deity is Lucifer, while Adonai is malevolent; (f) Certain sections of Palladists, however, recognise that Lucifer is identical with Satan, and is the evil principle. (g) This section adores the evil principle as such. Now, in each and all these matters the Palladian system conflicts with that of Levi.
To give a colourable aspect to their hypothesis, the witnesses affirm that Levi was a high-grade Mason. He was nothing of the kind; he affirms most distinctly in his "History of Magic," that for any knowledge which he possessed about the mysteries of the fraternity, he owed his initiation only to God and to his individual studies. Secondly, the practice of ceremonial magic, which is what the witnesses understand by theurgy, is a practice condemned by Levi, except as an isolated experiment to fortify intellectual conviction as to the truth of magical theorems. He attempted it for this purpose in the spring of the year 1854, and having satisfied himself as to the fact, he did not renew it. Thirdly, the philosophy of Eliphas Levi is in direct contrast to Manichaean doctrine; it cannot be explained by dualism, but must be explained by its opposite, namely, triplicity in unity. He shows that "the unintelligent disciples of Zoroaster have divided the duad without referring it to unity, thus separating the pillars of the temple, and seeking to halve God" (Dogme, p. 129, 2nd edition). Is that a Manichaean doctrine? Again: "If you conceive the Absolute as two, you must immediately conceive it as three to recover the unity principle" (Ibid.). Once more: "Divinity, one in its essence, has two fundamental conditions of being—necessity and liberty" (Ibid., p. 127). And yet again: "If God were one only, He would never be Creator nor Father. If He were two, there would be antagonism or division in the infinite, and this would be severance or death for every possible existence; He is therefore three for the creation by Himself, and in His image of the infinite multitude of beings and numbers. Thus He is really one in Himself and triple in our conception, by which we also behold Him triple in Himself and one in our intelligence and in our love. This is a mystery for the faithful and a logical necessity for the initiate of the absolute and true sciences" (Ibid., p. 138). And the witnesses of Lucifer have the effrontery to represent Levi as a dualist! I will not discredit their understanding by supposing that they could misread so plain a principle, nor dissemble my full conviction that they acted with intentional bad faith. Fourthly, Eliphas Levi regarded Lucifer as a conception of transcendental mythology, and the devil as an impossible fiction, or an inverted and blasphemous conception of God—divinity a rebours. He describes the Ophite heresy which offered adoration to the serpent and the Cainite heresy which justified the revolt of the first angel and the first murderer as errors fit for classification with the monstrous idols of the anarchic symbolism of India (Rituel, pp. 13, 14). Is that diabolism? Is that the cultus of Lucifer? True, Levi did not believe in the personal existence of a father of lies, and if it be Satanism not to do so, let us be content to diabolise with Levi while the false witnesses illustrate the methods of their father.
It is unnecessary to multiply quotations, but here is one more: "The author of this book is a Christian like you; his faith is that of a Catholic deeply and strongly convinced; therefore his mission is not to deny dogmas, but to combat impiety under one of its most dangerous forms, that of erroneous belief and superstition.... Away with the idol which hides our Saviour! Down with the tyrant of falsehood! Down with the black god of the Manichaeans! Down with the Ahriman of the old idolaters! Live God alone and His incarnate Logos, Jesus the Christ, Saviour of the world, who beheld Satan precipitated from heaven!" Go to, M. le Docteur Bataille! A bas, Signor Margiotta! Phi, diabolus and Leo Taxil!
Seeing then that Eliphas Levi has been calumniously represented, and that he was not a Satanist, he could not have founded a Satanic society, nor could a Manichaean order have been developed out of his doctrines. Hence if a Palladian Society do exist at Charleston, it either owes nothing to Levi, or its cultus has been falsely described. In other words, from whatever point we approach the witnesses of Lucifer, they are subjected to a rough unveiling. In the words of the motto on my title, the first in this plot was Lucifer—videlicet, the Father of Lies!
It remains for us now to appreciate the exact position in which the existence of the Palladian Order is left after all suspicious information has been subtracted. We have examined in succession the testimony of every witness to the discovery of Leo Taxil and M. Adolphe Ricoux, and it has been made entirely evident that they are of a most unsatisfactory kind. I make no pretence to pass a precise judgment upon Leo Taxil, for I am not in a position to prove that the Palladian rituals which appear in "Are there Women in Freemasonry?" can be characterised as invented matter. Granting his personal good faith, there are still many obvious questions, one of which is the connection between the Palladians and Masonry. As regards the so-called Paris triangle, from which the information was obtained, as regards the ritual itself, there is obviously no such connection, except the fantastic and arbitrary rule that initiation is imparted exclusively to persons possessed of Masonic degrees. It is patent that such an institution is not Masonic, though it possesses some secrets of Masonry. The Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, as we have seen, is an association based upon precisely the same regulation, but it has no official position. Should a circle of Catholic priests conspire for the formation of a society dedicated to black magic and the celebration of the Satanic mass, that would not be the Church diabolising. No institution, and no society, is responsible for the unauthorised acts of individual members. At the same time, if it should be advanced by hostile criticism that the invention of rituals is easy, and that the literary antecedents of Leo Taxil are not precisely of that kind which would lead any cautious person to place blind confidence in his unchecked statements, I am compelled to say that I should find considerable difficulty in challenging such a position.
Mgr. Meurin, the next witness, deserves, by his position and ability, our very sincere respect; compared with the octogenarian sentimentalism of Jean Kostka, the violence of Signor Margiotta, and the paste-pot of M. de la Rive, one breathes a pleine poitrine in the altitudes of ecclesiastical erudition, artificial as their eminence turns out; the art sacerdotal does not concern itself with preposterous narratives, so that it disputes nothing with the art of Bataille; it has never stood in need of conversion, and hence is exempt from the hysterical ardours and languors of Diana Vaughan. But the archbishop's interpretation of Masonry is based upon another interpretation of Kabbalistic literature, which can be accepted by no person who is acquainted therewith, and would have scarcely been attempted by himself if he had known it at first hand. In the matter of Palladian Masonry, he can tell us only what he has learned from Ricoux.
It is agreed upon all sides that we dismiss Dr Bataille. He does not disclose the name and nation which he adopted during his Masonic career, and hence the persons whom he states that he met are, with one exception, not in a position to contradict him, because they are not in a position to identify him. The personality of the one exception is not particularised, but may be guessed without the exercise of much skill in divination, and here I must leave the point, not because I am disinclined to speak plainly and thus risk the possibility of being mistaken, but because Dr Bataille informs us that this one confidant is in his power, and that he could procure for him or her a term of penal servitude. Lastly, he is not in a position to exhibit his Palladian diplomas, which were demanded by the dispensing authorities when he first fell under their suspicion and have not been returned to him. While we are therefore prevented from checking his affirmations in what most concerns our inquiry, we see that at all points where it is possible to control him he has completely broken down; the miraculous element of his narrative transcends credit, and his statements upon a multitude of ordinary matters of fact are beneath it. When we connect these points with the mode of publication he has seen fit to adopt, and remember the kind of motive which usually attaches to that mode, we have no other course but to set him entirely outside consideration. His book is evidentially valuable only to close the question. He may have visited Charleston; he may have made the personal acquaintance of Albert Pike, Gallatin Mackey, Phileas Walder, and his daughter Sophia; three of these persons are dead and cannot testify; the fourth acknowledges that he attended her medically at Naples; she protests against his betrayal, but she does not betray in return his Masonic identity, though I need scarcely add that she does not substantiate his statements. On these points my readers may be reasonably left to form their own judgments.
Miss Diana Vaughan is a lady who, in spite of much notoriety, is not in evidence; with one exception no credible person has ever said that he has seen her; that exception is Signor Margiotta. It would not, however, be the strongest line of criticism to dispute her existence; we may accept very gladly all that her Italian friend is good enough to say in regard to her personal characteristics, but we know that she has tried to deceive us, with conspicuous ill-success it is true, yet in a gross and most wicked manner. As to Signor Margiotta himself, with all his imperfections, he is the strongest witness to the discovery of Leo Taxil. I have admitted the great apparent force which belongs to his enormous array of documentary evidence, and I have established the nature of the complications which make that evidence extremely difficult to accept.
Lastly, Jean Kostka and M. A. C. de la Rive, though they came within the scope of our inquiry, are not Palladian witnesses. It would appear, therefore, that Leo Taxil and M. Adolphe Ricoux are, for the most part, neither honoured in their witnesses nor in a position to stand alone. The evidence which has grown out of their discovery is in an exceedingly corrupt state, and in summing the Question of Lucifer, as an impartial critic, I shall therefore simply propose to my readers the following general statement:—In the year 1891, Leo Taxil and M. Adolphe Ricoux state that they have discovered certain documents which show the existence of a Palladian Society, claimed to be at the head of Masonry, and in the year 1895 Signor Domenico Margiotta states that he belonged to that society and gives further particulars concerning it. A number of other witnesses have also come forward whose evidence must, for various reasons, be completely rejected. It is in all respects much to be deplored that Signor Margiotta has largely and approvingly cited the testimony of two of these witnesses who are most open to condemnation, and that he has himself exercised an imperfect and uncritical censorship over papers which have come into his hands. From first to last all documents are open to strong suspicion.
Such is the slender residue which results from this sifting of Lucifer; if I have made my final statement thus indeterminate in its character, it is because I wish my readers to form their own conclusions as to Leo Taxil and Domenico Margiotta, and because I believe that, before long, further evidence will be forthcoming. I have little personal doubt as to the ultimate nature of the verdict, but at the present stage of the inquiry, with all the exposures which I have had the satisfaction of making fresh and clear in my mind, I would dissuade any one from saying that there is "nothing in" the Question of Lucifer; it is at least obvious that there is no end to its impostures, in which respect I do not claim to have done more than trim the fringes of the question. It is not therefore closed, and, if I may so venture to affirm, it assumes a fresh interest with the appearance of this book. It deserves to rank among the most extraordinary literary swindles of the present, perhaps of any, century. The field which it covers is enormous, and there is room, and more than room, for a score of other investigators who will none fail of their reward. Within the limits of a moderate volume, it is impossible to take into account the whole of the issues involved, while the importance which is to be attributed to the subject should not be lightly regarded, seeing that in France, at the time of writing, it provides an apparently remunerative circulation to two monthly reviews, and that its literature is otherwise still growing. At the present moment, and for the purposes of this criticism, a few concluding statements alone remain to be made; they concern the position of Italy in connection with the so-called Universal Masonry, some aspects of the history of the Scotch Rite in connection with the recent revelations, and the interference of the Catholic Church, wisely or not, in the question.
The one Mason whose rank corresponds in Italy to that of Albert Pike in America is not Adriano Lemmi, but Signor Timoteo Riboli, Sovereign Grand Commander of the 33rd and last degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scotch Rite. Adriano Lemmi is, or was, Grand Master of the Craft Section of Italy and Deputy Grand Commander only of the Supreme Council of Italy of the 33 deg.. The pretended Grand Central Directory of Naples, which governs all Europe in the interests of Charleston, with Giovanni Bovio for Sovereign Director, is a Masonic myth—pace Signor Margiotta. Signor Bovio is a Member of the Grand Master's Council and a 33 deg. at Rome. There is a Neapolitan Section of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, but it has powers only up to the 30 deg., and as such has no authority in general government, nor does Bovio appear to be a member of the Neapolitan section, though as a member of Lemmi's Council, and a 33 deg., he no doubt has his share in the government of the Neapolitans.
The history of the Ancient and Accepted Rite as given by Signor Margiotta and sketched in my second chapter is an incorrect history. The facts are as follows:—A person named Isaac Long was engaged in propagating the French Rite of Perfection of 25 deg. in America before 1796; in that year he gave the degrees to one de Grasse and also to de la Hogue, who established a Consistory of the 25 deg. at Charleston. In 1802 this Consistory had blossomed into a Supreme Grand Council, 33 deg., and at a little later period they forged the name of Voltaire's friend, Frederick the Great of Prussia, to what Mr Yarker terms "one of the most stupidly concocted documents ever palmed upon an ignorant public." However this may be, Long does not seem to have been at any time a member of this body. This is how the "Mother Council of the World" is said to have come into existence, and Charleston has established Supreme Councils 33 deg., between 1811 and 1846, in France, Ireland, Scotland, England, and elsewhere.
There is no foundation for the legend of the Charleston Templar relics, namely, the skull of Jacques de Molay and the Baphomet, beyond the fact that one of the grades, the 23 deg. of the old Rite of Perfection and the 30 deg. of the modern Rite, uses a representation of the Papal tiara in its ceremonies and also of the crown of France, in allusion to Pope Clement V. and Philip le Bel.
I can find no Mason, of what grade or rite soever, who has ever heard of Pike's Sepher d'Hebarim, his book called Apadno, or lectures in which he imparted extracts unacknowledged from Eliphas Levi; they may rank with triangular provinces, Lucifer chez lui, the skull of Molay, and the Palladium; in other words, they are lying myths. Nothing which Pike has or is known to have written has any Luciferian complexion. He has collected into his lectures a mass of mystical material from rites like Memphis and Misraim, but it is alchemical, theosophical, or dealing with ancient symbolism, the mysteries, pre-christian theology, &c. As to Pike himself, a Mason of high authority observes in a private letter:—"He was one of the greatest men who ever adorned our Order. He was a giant among men, his learning was most profound, his eloquence great, and his wisdom comprehensive; he was a scholar in many languages, and a most voluminous writer. He was an ornament to the profession to which he belonged, namely, Law; he fought the cause of the red man against the American government many years ago, and prevailed in a large degree. I believe he was a true and humble servant of the One True and Living God, and a lover of humanity."
Having regard to all these facts, it is much to be regretted that the Catholic Church should have warmly approved and welcomed the extremely unsatisfactory testimony which connects Masonry with Diabolism. When the report of Diabolism first reached the ears of English mystics, and it was understood that the Church had concerned herself very seriously in the matter, I must confess that a hidden motive was immediately suspected. A recrudescence of mediaeval Black Magic was in no sense likely to attain such proportions as to warrant the august interference; it seemed much as if Her Majesty's government should think it worth while to suppress the League of the White Rose. But when it transpired that the Question of Lucifer was a new aspect of the old question of Catholic hostility to Masonry, the astonishment evaporated; it was at once seen that Modern Diabolism had acquired an extrinsic importance because it was alleged to be connected with that Fraternity which the Church has long regarded as her implacable enemy. I must be permitted to register clearly the general conviction that if black magic, sorcery, and the Sabbath up to date had been merely revived demonomania, had been merely concerned with the black paternoster, the black mass, or even with transcendental sensualism and the ordeal of the pastos, the Roman hierarchy would not have taken action as it has, nor would the witnesses concerning these things have been welcomed with open arms; as a fact, no interest whatsoever is manifested in the doings of diabolists who operate apart from Masonry. Now, the hostility of Continental Masons towards Catholicism, in so far as it provably exists, has been largely or exclusively created by the hostility of the Church, and we know that he hates most who hates the first. In so far, therefore, as the Church has concerned herself by encouragement, which has something of the aspect of incitement, in the recent revelations, we shall have to bear in mind her attitude, while the history of forged decretals and bogus apostolic epistles will reveal to us that she does not invariably exercise a searching criticism upon documents which serve her purpose.
The sorcery of the nineteenth century is under no circumstances likely to justify the faggots of the fifteenth; it might be easier to justify the sorcery. As much by mystics as by the Church Catholic, modern black magic may be left to perish of its own corruption. But an attempt on the part of the Church to fasten the charge of diabolism on the Masonic Fraternity has credibly another motive than that of political hostility, which seems held to justify almost any weapon that comes to hand. At the bottom of her hatred of Masonry there is also her dread of the mystic. Transcendental science claims to have the key of her doctrines, and there is evidence that she fears that claim. Black magic, which, by the hypothesis, is the use of the most evil forces for the most evil purposes, she does not fear, for it wears its condemnation on its forehead; but mysticism, which accepts her own dogmas and interprets them in a sense which is not her own, which claims a certitude in matters of religion that transcends the certitude of faith, seems to hint that at one point it is possible to undermine her foundations. Hence she has ever suspected the mystic, and a part of her suspicion of Masonry has been by reason of its connection with the mystic; she has intuitively divined that connection, which by Masons themselves, for the most part, is not dreamed at this day, and when suggested is generally somewhat lightly cast aside. It would be quite out of place at the close of the present inquiry, which, from a wholly independent standpoint, has sought to justify a great fraternity from a singularly foul aspersion, to attempt enforcing upon Masons a special view of their institution, but it is desirable, at the same time, to be just towards the Catholic Church, and to affirm that we, as mystics, are on this point substantially in agreement with her. The connection in question was for a time visible, and remains in historical remembrance; from the beginning of its public appearance till the close of the eighteenth century, the history of Masonry is part of transcendental history. That connection has now ceased to manifest, but there is another which is integral and permanent, and is a matter of common principles and common objects. Let it be remembered, however, that connection is not identity; it is not intended to say that the threshold of Masonry is a gate of Mysticism, but that there is a community of purpose, of symbolism, of history, and indirectly of origin, between the two systems.
All true religion, all true morality, all true mysticism have but one object, and that is to act on humanity, collective and individual, in such a manner that it shall correspond efficiently with the great law of development, and co-operate consciously therewith to achieve the end of development. Under all the mysteries of its symbolism, behind the impressive parables of its ritual, and as equally, but if possible more effectually concealed, beneath the commonplace insistences of its moral maxims, this end is also proposed by the occult initiations of Masonry; and if it be defined more explicitly as the perfection of man both here and hereafter, and his union with what is highest in the universe, we shall see more clearly not only that it is the sole fundamental principle of all religion, its very essence, divested of creed and dogma, but also inherent in the nature of symbolical Masonry, and "inwrought in the whole system of Masonic ceremonies."
As mystics, however, we consider that the ethical standard of Masonry will produce good citizens to society and good brethren to the Fraternity, but it will not produce saints to Christ. There is an excellence which is other than the moral, and stands to morality in precisely the same relation that genius bears to talent. The moral virtues are not the summum bonum, nor the totality of all forces at work in the development of man, nor actually the perfect way, though they are the gate of the way of perfection. Now, the mystic claims to be in possession of the higher law which transcends the ethical, from which the ethical derives, and to which it must be referred for its reason. That the lost secret of Freemasonry is concerned with special applications of this higher law which connect with mysticism, we, as mystics, do hold and can make evident in its proper time and place. Here, and personally, I am concerned only with a comprehensive statement. In addition to its body of moral law, which is founded in the general conscience, or in the light of nature, Masonry has a body of symbolism, of which the source is not generally known, and by which it is identified with movements and modes of thought, and with evolutionary processes, having reference to regions already described as transcending the ethical world and concerned with the spiritual man. From every Masonic candidate, ignoring the schismatic and excommunicated sections, there is required a distinct attitude of mind towards the world without and the world within. He is required to believe in the existence of a Supreme Intelligence, with which his essential nature corresponds in the possession of an indestructible principle of conscious or understanding life. Beyond these doctrines, Masonry is wholly unsectarian; it recognises no other dogmas; it accredits no form of faith. Now, Mysticism is a body of spiritual methods and processes, based, like the Masonic body of ethical methods and processes, on these same doctrines. Every man who believes in God and immortality is the raw material of a mystic; every man who believes that there is a discoverable way to God is on the path of conscious mysticism. As this path has been pursued in all ages and nations by persons of widely divergent creeds, it is clear that however much mysticism has been identified with special spheres of religious thought and activity, it is independent of all.
But while Masonry would appear to regard the evolution of our physical, intellectual, and moral nature as the best preparation for that larger existence which is included in its central doctrine, and would thus work inward from without, mysticism deems that the evolution of the spiritual man and the production of a human spirit at one with the divine, constitute the missing condition requisite for the reconstruction of humanity, and would thus work outward from within. Neither Mason nor Mystic, however, can ignore either method. The one supplements the other; and seeing that the processes of mysticism are distinct from what is still a subject of derision under the name of transcendental phenomena, as they are wholly philosophical and interior, not to be appreciated by the senses, a secret experience within the depths and heights of our spiritual being, an institution which believes in God and immortality, and by the fact of immortality in the subsistence of an intimate relation between the spirit and God, will not look suspiciously on mysticism when it comes to understand it better.
I have spoken of Masonic symbolism, and the method of instruction in Masonry is identical with that of mysticism; both systems are "veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbolism." The significance of this correspondence would not be measurably weakened were there no similarity in the typology, no trace of mystic influence in Masonic rite and legend. But there is a resemblance, and the types are often identical, though the accredited interpretation varies. Masonry, as a fact, interprets the types which belong to our own science according to the criterion of ethics, and thus provides a prolegomena to Mysticism, as ethics are a necessary introduction to the inner science of the soul. There is naturally a minor body of conventional typology which is tolerably exclusive to the craft, but the grand and universal emblems, characteristic of symbolical Masonry as distinct from the operative art—these are our own emblems. The All-Seeing Eye, the Burning Star, the Rough and Perfect Ashlar, the Point within a Circle, the Pentalpha, the Seal of Solomon, the Cubic Stone—all these belong to the most lofty and arcane order of occult symbolism, but in mystic science they illumine more exalted zones of the heaven of mind. The rites, legends, and mysteries of the great Fraternity are also full of mystical allusions, and admit of mystical interpretation in the same manner, but their evidential force is weaker, because ceremonial and legend in the hands of a skilful commentator can be made to take any shape and any complexion; it is otherwise with the symbols of the Brotherhood which were possessed by us before the historical appearance of Masonry. So also the Masonic reverence for certain numbers which are apparently arbitrary in themselves is in reality connected with a most recondite and curious system of mystic methodical philosophy, while in the high titles of Masonic dignity there is frequently a direct reference to Mysticism.
If we turn from these considerations and approach the historical connection through those still undetermined problems which concern the origin of Masonry, we shall discern not unfortunately a way clear to their solution, but a significant characteristic pervading every Masonic hypothesis almost without exception—namely, an instinctive desire to refer Masonry in its original form to sources that are provably mystic. In the fanciful and extravagant period, when archaeology and comparative mythology were as yet in their childhood, this tendency was not less strong because it was mostly quite unconscious. To pass in review before us the chief institutions of antiquity with which Masonry was then said to be connected, would be to sweep the whole field of transcendental history, and when we come to a more sober period which recognised the better claim of the building guilds to explain the beginnings of the Fraternity, the link with Mysticism was not even then abandoned, and a splendid variant of the Dionysian dream took back the mediaeval architects to the portals of Eleusis and of Thebes.
When the history of Freemasonry becomes possible by the possession of materials, its chief philosophical interest centres in one country of Europe; there is no doubt that it exercised an immense influence upon France during that century of quakings and quickenings which gave birth to the great revolution, transformed civilisation in the West, and inaugurated the modern era. Without being a political society, it was an instrument eminently adaptable to the sub-surface determination of political movements. At a later date it may have contributed to the formation of Germany, as it did certainly to the creation of Italy, but the point and centre of Masonic history is France in the eighteenth century. To that country also is mainly confined the historical connection between Masonry and mystic science, for the revival of Mysticism which originated in Germany at the close of the eighteenth century, and thence passed over to England, found its final field in France at the period in question. There Rosicrucianism reappeared, there Anton Mesmer recovered the initial process of transcendental practice, there the Marquis de Puysegur discovered clairvoyance, there Martines de Pasqually instructed his disciples in the mysteries of ceremonial magic; there the illustrious Saint-Martin, le philosophe inconnu, developed a special system of spiritual reconstruction; there alchemy flourished; there spiritual and political princes betook themselves to extravagant researches after an elixir of life; there also, as a consequence, rose up a line of magnificent impostors who posed as initiates of the occult sciences, as possessors of the grand secret and the grand mastery; there, finally, under the influences of transcendental philosophy, emblematic Freemasonry took root and grew and flourished, developing ten thousand splendours of symbolic grades, of romantic legends, of sonorous names and titles. In a word, the Mysticism of Europe concentrated its forces at Paris and Lyons, and all French Mysticism gathered under the shadow of the square and compass. To that, as to a centre, the whole movement gravitated, and thence it worked. There is nothing to show that it endeavoured to revolutionise Masonry in its own interest. The Fraternity naturally attracted all Mystics to its ranks, and the development of the mystic degrees took place as the result of that attraction.
By the year 1825 a variety of circumstances had combined to suspend transcendental activity, and the connection with Masonry ended, but the present revival of mystic thought is rapidly picking up the links of the broken chain; secretly or unobtrusively the spirit of transcendentalism is working within the Fraternity, and the bogus question of Lucifer is simply a hostile and unscrupulous method of recognising that fact. If Masonry and Mysticism could be shown in the historical world to be separated by the great sea, the consanguinity of their intention would remain, which is more important than external affinity, and they are sisters by that bond. But they have not been so separated, and on either side there is no need to be ashamed of the connection. With all brethren of the Fraternity, "we also do believe in the resurrection of Hiram," and we regard the Temple as "an edifice immediately realisable, for we rebuild it in our hearts." We also adore the Grand Architect, and offer our intellectual homage to the divine cipher which is in the centre of the symbolic star; and we believe that some day the Mason will recognise the Mystic. He is the heir of the great names of antiquity, the philosophers and hierarchs, and the spiritual kings of old; he is of the line of Orpheus and Hermes, of the Essenes and the Magi. And all those illustrious systems and all those splendid names with which Masonry has ever claimed kindred belong absolutely to the history of Mysticism.
TURNBULL AND SPEARS, PRINTERS, EDINBURGH.