Adepts in America in 1776 » William Q. Judge’s Speculations prompt Blavatsky to Question “Illuminati” Theory
DID ANY ADEPTS GET INVOLVED IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. WILLIAM Q. JUDGE PUBLISHED IN THEOSOPHIST 1883 SUGGESTIONS HE PLACES AS THOSE OF HIS OWN RESPONSIBILITY WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF ANY ADEPTS. AN ORTHODOX HINDU CHHABIGRAM DOLATRAM WRITES TO H.P.B. FOR CLARIFICATION AND SHE QUESTIONS THE THEORY
‘Illuminati’ def. (Lat.). The “Enlightened”, the initiated adepts.—Theos. Glossary, 1892.
William Q. Judge’s initial statements, followed by Dolatram’s letter. Helena Blavatsky responds to it, concerning the political involvement of Masons and Rosicrucians in the American Revolution, followed up by Judge’s response to Dolatram. The term Illuminati in the title, as even the definition above demonstrates, is not a reference to the false pop-culture conspiracy theories.
First Published in “The Theosophist,” Adyar, October 1883, signed “by an Ex-Asiatic”—a pseudonym used by W.Q. Judge.
This article (1883) was also reprinted in Universal Brotherhood (April, 1898): “The following suggestions and statements are made entirely upon the personal responsibility of the writer, and without the knowledge or consent — as far as he knows — of the adepts who are in general terms therein referred to.
The reflecting mind is filled with astonishment upon reviewing the history of the rise of the United States of North America, when it perceives that dogmatic theology has no foundation in any part of the Declaration of Independence or Constitution for the structure which it fain would raise and has so often since tried to erect within and upon the government. We are astonished because those documents were formulated and that government established at a time when dogmatism of one kind or another had supreme sway. Although the Puritans and others had come to America for religious freedom, they were still very dogmatic and tenacious of their own peculiar theories and creed; so that if we found in this fundamental law much about religion and religious establishments, we would not be surprised. But in vain do we look for it; in vain did the supporters of the iron church attempt to lay the needed corner-stone, and today America rejoices at it and has thereby found it possible to grow with the marvellous growth that has been the wonder of Europe.
The nullification of those efforts made by bigotry in 1776 was due to the Adepts who now look over and give the countenance of their great names to the Theosophical Movement.
They oversaw the drafting of the Declaration and the drawing of the Constitution, and that is why no foothold is to be found for these blatant Christians who desire to inject God into the Constitution. In the declaration from which freedom sprang “nature and nature’s god” are referred to. In the second and third paragraphs the natural rights of man are specified, such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The king is spoken of as being unworthy to be “the head of a civilized nation,” nothing being said as to whether he was the head, or worthy to be, of a Christian one.
In appealing to their English brethren, the declaration says the appeal is “made to their native justice and magnanimity.” All reference to religion and Christianity or God’s commands are left out. This was for the very good reason that for 1700 years religion had battled against progress, against justice, against magnanimity, against the rights of man. And in the concluding sentence the signers mutually pledge each other to its support ignoring all appeals to God.
In the constitution of 1787 the preamble declares that the instrument was made for union, for justice, for tranquility and defence, the general good and liberty. Art. VI. says no religious test as a qualification for office shall ever be required, and the 1st Amendment prohibits an establishment of religion or restraint of its free exercise.
The great Theosophical Adepts in looking around the world for a mind through which they could produce in America the reaction which was then needed, found in England, Thomas Paine. In 1774 they influenced him, through the help of that worthy Brother Benjamin Franklin, to come to America. He came here, and was the main instigator of the separation of the Colonies from the British Crown.
At the suggestion of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and other Freemasons, whose minds through the teachings of the symbolic degrees of masonry were fitted to reason correctly, and to reject theological conservation, he wrote “Common Sense,” which was the torch to the pile whose blaze burned away the bonds between England and America. For “Common Sense” he was often publicly thanked. George Washington wrote September 10th, 1783, to Paine: “I shall be exceedingly happy to see you. Your presence may remind Congress of your past services to this country, and if it is in my power to impress them, command my best exertions with freedom, as they will be rendered cheerfully by one who entertains a lively sense of the importance of your works.” And, again in June, 1784, in a letter to Madison, Washington says: “Can nothing be done in our assembly for poor Paine? Must the merits and services of “Common Sense” continue to glide down the stream of time unrewarded by this country? His writings certainly have had a powerful effect upon the public mind. Ought they not then to meet an adequate return?
In “the Age of Reason,” which he wrote in Paris several years after, Paine says; “I saw, or at least I thought I saw, a vast scene opening itself to the world in the affairs of America, and it appeared to me that unless the Americans changed the plan they were then pursuing and declared themselves independent, they would not only involve themselves in a multiplied of new difficulties, but shut out the prospect that was then offering itself to mankind through their means.” Further on he says: “There are two distinct classes of thoughts; those produced by reflection, and those that bolt into the mind of their own accord. I have always made it a rule to treat these voluntary visitors with civility, and it is from them I have acquired all the knowledge that I have‘”
These “voluntary visitors” were injected into his brain by the Adepts, Theosophists. Seeing that a new order of ages was about to commence and that there was a new chance for freedom and the brotherhood of man, they laid before the eye of Thomas Paine, who they knew could be trusted to stand almost alone with the lamp of truth in his hand amidst others who in “times that tried men’s souls” quaked with fear, — a “vast scene opening itself to Mankind in the affairs of America.” The result was the Declaration, the Constitution for America. And as if to give point to these words and to his declaration that he saw this vast scene opening itself, this new order of ages, the design of the reverse side of the United States great seal is a pyramid whose capstone is removed with the blazing eye in a triangle over it dazzling the sight, above it are the words, “the heavens approve,” while underneath appears the startling sentence “a new order of ages.”That he had in his mind’s eye a new order of ages we cannot doubt upon reading in his “Rights of Man,” Part 2, Chap. 2, “no beginning could be made in Asia, Africa or Europe to reform the political condition of man. She (America) made a stand not for herself alone, but for the world, and looked beyond the advantage she could receive.” In Chap. 4, “The case and circumstances of America present themselves as in the beginning of a world . . . there is a waning of reason rising upon men in the subject of Government that has not appeared before.”
The “design of the seal” was not an accident, but was actually intended to symbolize the building and firm founding of a new order of ages. It was putting into form the idea which by means of a “voluntary visitor” was presented to the mind of Thomas Paine, of a vast scene opening itself, the beginning in America “of a new order of ages.” That side of the seal has never been cut or used, and at this day the side in use has not the sanction of law.
In the spring of 1841, when Daniel Webster was Secretary of State, a new seal was cut, and instead of the eagle holding in his sinister claw 13 arrows as intended, he holds only six. Not only was this change unauthorized, but the cause for it is unknown. When the other side is cut and used, will not the new order of ages have actually been established?
More then is claimed for the Theosophical Adepts than the changing of baser metal into gold, or the possession of such a merely material thing as the elixir of life. They watch the progress of man and help him on in his halting flight up the steep plane of progress. They hovered over Washington, Jefferson, and all the other brave freemasons who dared to found a free government in the West, which could be pure from the dross of dogmatism, they cleared their minds, inspired their pens and left upon the great seal of this mighty nation the memorial of their presence New York, June 25, 1883.”
CHHABIGRAM DOLATRAM (DIKSHITA), The Theosophist, Vol. V, No. 3 (51), December, 1883, pp. 79-80
The perusal of an article headed “The Adepts in America in 1776,” published in the October number of The Theosophist (*[This article was published in The Theos., Vol. V, No. 1(49), October, 1883, pp. 16-17. It is signed by “An Ex-Asiatic,” which was one of the pseudonyms of William Quan Judge. It is dated at New York, June 25th, 1883.—Comp.]) has suggested the following doubts, which, on account of the extraordinary felicities of personal communication, which you seem to claim with the Adepts, you are specially fitted to solve. The article [by William Q. Judge] is no doubt written on his own responsibility by the writer, who is particularly careful to inform his readers that his statements have been made “without the knowledge and consent—as far as he knows—of the Adepts.” The views advanced, however, fall in entirely with those held in general by the Theosophical Society, and the Editor of The Theosophist is the sole authority on a subject of this sort.
The gist of the article referred to above is contained in the concluding paragraph. It seems to create the impression that the Adepts, as a natural consequence of their universal sympathy for the well-being of the human race, participated in the great American Revolution and brought about its happy results through, as it were, the medium of Washington and others. In short, it is intended to say that Thomas Paine, Brother (?) Benjamin (by the by, history has kept us entirely in the dark about his connection with Theosophy) and a host of other leaders of this Revolution worked in the particular manner, they are said to have done, simply because they were moving under the guiding inspiration of the Adepts. In fact the article means that the necessity of a Revolution in America, and, for the matter of that, a rough plan of all the subsequent operations, were preconceived in the minds of these Mahatmas long before the so-called Freemason brothers had an earthly existence. The principle involved, evidently, seems to be that the first conception of all such Revolutions, as are, in the opinion of the writer, in their ultimate results, beneficial to humanity, and the subsequent selection of human agency for working them out, have invariably had their first origin in the laudable solicitude of the Adepts for the progress of humanity.
Will the writer, therefore, or the Editor, undergo a little trouble to satisfy our curiosity, which a perusal of the article very naturally raised as to the part which the Adepts took in the English Revolution of 1649? Was President Bradshaw, who, in a self-constituted Court of Justice, tried and condemned to death, his lawful sovereign Charles I, under the celestial influence of the Mahatmas, as Citizen Paine subsequently was?
Was Cromwell then no more than a mere puppet dancing to the pulls of the string, which the Adepts, of course, kept in their own hands? Why were they, poor souls, who did everything but in strict obedience to the inward dictates of superior spirits, allowed, then, by the all-powerful Adepts to suffer the indignity of having their dead remains (may they rest in peace!) disinterred and hanged by the public executioner?
The French Revolution of 1789, too, which has been fruitful of such vast consequences, could, by no means, be conceived to have taken place without the Adepts having lent a powerful helping hand to it Citizen Paine had no doubt long since been prepared for the work; but it was to Danton, Robespierre and Marat, who have acquired so world-wide a notoriety by their deeds, and to whose influence the French Revolution is chiefly indebted for the turn it subsequently took, that the Mahatmas must have turned with a peculiar feeling of gratification as a set of instruments incomparably superior to Paine, Washington and all the other American Revolutionists. Will you, then, enlighten us how much of this rare inspiration, under which they acted, they owed to the Mahatmas?
Were Victor Emmanuel and Garibaldi, while working out the revolution in Italy, doing no more than carrying out the wishes of the Tibetan Brothers? It cannot, I think, adopting the line of arguments the writer has adopted, be denied that all these revolutions have been brought about by, and the agents employed in them have been mere instruments in the hands of, these Mahatmas. It is said, of course, as a proof of the actual share the Mahatmas had in the work, that Thomas Paine saw or at least thought he saw “a vast scene opening before him,” and in another place that “some thoughts bolt into the mind of their own accord.” If these simple things are sufficient to entitle Paine to a claim to supernatural visitations, is it unreasonable to argue that Lord Byron was also actuated by the same benign influence when he, with a self-abandonment of worldly comforts and conveniences, and a voluntary submission to physical hardships and privations which merit the highest praise, repaired to Greece to take an active part in the work of its liberation and at last died amidst the swamps of Missolonghi? How far this is correct you alone are in a position to say, as you alone enjoy a familiar intimacy with the Mahatmas.
To prevent misapprehension, I should conclude with the remark that as an orthodox Hindu I do believe in the existence of Mahatmas, though I must candidly confess that such arguments as have from time to time appeared in your very interesting journal in proof of the existence of the Mahatmas, have failed to bring convictions home to me.
****end of letter
27th October, 1883.
EDITOR’S NOTE.—Our Journal is open to the personal views of every Theosophist “in good standing,” provided he is a tolerably good writer, and forcing his opinions upon no one, holds himself alone responsible for his utterances. This is clearly shown in the policy, hitherto pursued by the Magazine. But why should our correspondent make so sure that “the views advanced fall in entirely with those held in general by the Theosophical Society?” The Editor of this periodical for one disagrees entirely with the said views, as understood by our critic. Neither the Tibetan nor the modern Hindu Mahatmas for the matter of that, ever meddle with politics, though they may bring their influence to bear upon more than one momentous question in the history of a nation—their mother country especially.
If any Adepts have influenced Washington or brought about the great American Revolution, it was not the “Tibetan Mahatmas” at any rate; for these have never shown much sympathy with the Pelings of whatever Western race, except as forming a part of Humanity in general. Yet it is as certain, though this conviction is merely a personal one, that several Brothers of the Rosie Cross—or “Rosicrucians,” so called—did take a prominent part in the American struggle for independence, as much as in the French Revolution during the whole of the past century. We have documents to that effect, and the proofs of it are in our possession. But these Rosicrucians were Europeans and American settlers, who acted quite independently of the Indian or Tibetan Initiates. And the “Ex-Asiatic” who premises by saying that his statements are made entirely upon his own personal responsibility settles this question from the first. He refers to Adepts in general and not to Tibetan or Hindu Mahatmas necessarily, as our correspondent seems to think.
No Occult theosophist has ever thought of connecting Benjamin Franklin, or “Brother Benjamin” as he is called in America, with theosophy; with this exception, however, that the great philosopher and electrician seems to be one more proof of the mysterious influence of numbers and figures connected with the dates of the birth, death and other events in the life of certain remarkable individuals. Franklin was born on the 17th of the month (January, 1706), died on the 17th (April, 1790) and was the youngest of the 17 children of his parents. Beyond this, there is certainly nothing to connect him with modern theosophy or even with the theosophists of the 18th century—as the great body of alchemists and Rosicrucians called themselves.
Again neither the editor nor any member of the Society acquainted even superficially with the rules of the Adepts—[the former individual named, disclaiming emphatically the rather sarcastic charge of the writer to her being “alone to enjoy or claim the extraordinary felicities of personal communication with the Adepts”]—would believe for one moment that any of the cruel, blood-thirsty heroes the––regicides and others of English and French history—could have ever been inspired by any Adept—let alone a Hindu or Buddhist Mahatma. The inferences drawn from the article “The Adepts in America in 1776,” are a little too far-fetched by our imaginative correspondent. President Bradshaw—if such a cold, hard and impassive man can be suspected of having ever been influenced by any power outside of, and foreign to, his own soulless entity—must have been inspired by the “lower Jehovah” of the Old Testament—the Mahatma and Paramatma, or the “personal” god of Calvin and those Puritans who burnt to the greater glory of their deity—“ever ready for a bribe of blood to aid the foulest cause” (fn. *See The Keys of the Creeds, by a Roman Catholic Priest) alleged witches and heretics by hundreds of thousands. Surely it is not the living Mahatmas but “the Biblical one living God,” he who, thousands of years ago, had inspired Jephthah to murder his daughter, and the weak David to hang the seven sons and grandsons of Saul “in the hill before the Lord”; and who again in our own age had moved Guiteau to shoot President Garfield that must have also inspired Danton and Robespierre, Marat and the Russian Nihilists to open eras of Terror and turn Churches into slaughter-houses.
Nevertheless, it is our firm conviction based on historical evidence and direct inferences from many of the Memoirs of those days that the French Revolution is due to one Adept. It is that mysterious personage, now conveniently classed with other “historical charlatans” (i.e. great men whose occult knowledge and powers shoot over the heads of the imbecile majority), namely, the Count de St. Germain—who brought about the just outbreak among the paupers, and put an end to the selfish tyranny of the French kings—the “elect, and the Lord’s anointed.” And we know also that among the Carbonari—the precursors and pioneers of Garibaldi there was more than one Freemason deeply versed in occult sciences and Rosicrucianism. To infer from the article that a claim is laid down for Paine “to supernatural visitors” is to misconstrue the entire meaning of its author; and it shows very little knowledge of theosophy itself. There may be Theosophists who are also Spiritualists, in England and America, who firmly believe in disembodied visitors; but neither they nor we, Eastern Theosophists, have ever believed in the existence of supernatural visitors. We leave this to the orthodox followers of their respective religions. It is quite possible that certain arguments adduced in this journal in proof of the existence of our Mahatmas, “have failed to bring conviction home” to our correspondent; nor does it much matter if they have not. But whether we refer to the Mahatmas he believes in, or to those whom we personally know—once that a man has raised himself to the eminence of one, unless he be a sorcerer, or a Dugpa, he can never be an inspirer of sinful acts. To the Hebrew saying, “I, the Lord create evil,” the Mahatma answers—“I, the Initiate try to counteract and destroy it.” [William Quan Judge published a brief answer to C. Dolatram’s letter in The Theosophist, Vol. V, No. 9 (57), June, 1884, p. 223.]
“In the last century the Illuminati taught, “peace with the cottage, war with the palace,” throughout the length and breadth of Europe. In the last century the United States was freed from the tyranny of the mother country by the action of the Secret Societies more than is commonly imagined. Washington, Lafayette, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, were Masons.” (Helena Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled Vol. 1, 1877, pg. 391.)
THE communication In your December number from Chhabigram Dolatram, headed as above, is a piece of special
pleading, directed against the adepts, and flowing from a source not friendly to either the cause of theosophy or to the Masters. Personally, I do not believe Mr. Dolatram wrote the article; he simply allowed his name to be appended to it. It is to my thinking, the emanation of a European Christian and royalist mind.
It is quite true, as you say, in your comment that I referred in my article to adepts in general. But my own unsupported opinion was and is that the American revolution was a just one, started to accomplish a beneficial end, and that the Hindu or Tibetan Mahatmas would not be disgraced by any connection with it, notwithstanding the royalist and anti-republican feelings of the real authors of Mr. Dolatram’s paper. That revolution was not degraded, in the American side, by the shedding of blood, except in lawful battle for human rights.
Allow me to point to a historical fact in connection with the Count St. Germain, which will shed light on the question of what, if any, connection do some adepts have with justifiable revolutions.
One of the well known generals who fought with Washington, in the Continental army against the British, was General Fred. Wm. VonSteuben, a Prussian. In 1777 he was in Paris, and at the same time the Count St. Germain was Minister of War there. They were well acquainted with each other, and the Count induced VonSteuben to come over to America and offer his sword to Gen. Washington. He did so, was gladly received, and did splendid service in the cause of liberty. Everybody knows that St. Germain was an Adept, and the fact above detailed is set forth in many publications and letters of authentic force.
Mr. Dolatram picks up the expression “brother Franklin.” I never heard, nor ever said, that Franklin was a Theosophist. He was a Freemason, and therefore a “brother,” so was Washington and also Jefferson. A sincere mason will be a just man who reveres liberty and abhors a tyrant.
As Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita of himself, we may hear the Adept saying “I am manifested in every age for the purpose of restoring duty and destroying evil doing.”
Letter of K.H. to Sinnett c. 1883-84 on Revolutions
“. . . Phenomenal elements previously unthought of, . . . will disclose at last the secrets of their mysterious workings. Plato was right to readmit every element of speculation which Socrates had discarded. The problems of universal being are not unattainable or worthless if attained. But the latter can be solved only by mastering those elements that are now looming on the horizons of the profane. Even the Spirit[ualis]ts. with their mistaken, grotesquely perverted views and notions are hazily realizing the new situation. They prophesy and their prophecies are not always without a Point of truth in them, of intuitional pre-vision, so to say. Hear some of them reasserting the old, old axiom that “Ideas rule the world”; and as men’s minds receive new ideas, laying aside the old and effete the world (will) advance; mighty revolutions (will) spring from them; institutions (aye, and even creeds and powers, they may add) — WILL crumble before their onward march crushed by their own inherent force not the irresistible force of the “new ideas” offered by the Spiritualists! Yes; they are both right and wrong. It will be just as impossible to resist their influence when the time comes as to stay the progress of the tide, — to be sure.” (K.H., The Mahatma Letter, Letter No. 93, Received in London 1883-84.)
“Koot Hoomi tells Sinnett first that the world must prepare itself for the manifestation of phenomenal elements in constantly augmenting volume and force. The age of miracles, he says, is not past; it really never was. Plato was right in asserting that ideas ruled the world; and as the human mind increases its receptivity to larger ideas, the world will advance, revolutions will spring from the spreading ferment, creeds and powers will crumble before their onward march. The duty set before intelligent people is to sweep away as much as possible of the dross left by our pious forefathers to make ready for the apotheosis of human life.
The great new ideas:
“touch man’s true position in the universe, in relation to his previous and future births; his origin and ultimate destiny; the relation of the mortal to the immortal; of the temporary to the eternal; of the finite to the infinite; ideas larger, grander, more comprehensive, recognizing the universal reign of Immutable Law, unchanging and unchangeable in regard to which there is only an Eternal Now, while to uninitiated mortals time is past or future as related to their finite existence on this material speck of dirt. This is what we study and what many have solved. (The Mahatma Letters, pg. 26) “
Many old idols must be dethroned, chief of all being that of an anthropomorphized Deity, with its train of debasing superstitions.” (cited from Alvin Boyd Kuhn, The Mahatmas and Their Letters, pg. 157-58)
Expressing the republican thought of the time, K.H., apparently aware of the “physics of power,” prepared to be victors of history, and often critical in his letters of subjective escapism in asceticism and mysticism declares strongly to Sinnett and the modern theosophists, that:
“He who would lift up high the banner of mysticism and proclaim its reign near at hand, must give the example to others. He must be the first to change his modes of life; and, regarding the study of the occult mysteries as the upper step in the ladder of Knowledge must loudly proclaim it such despite exact science and the opposition of society. “The Kingdom of Heaven is obtained by force” say the Christian mystics. It is but with armed hand, and ready to either conquer or perish that the modern mystic can hope to achieve his object.” (K.H., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, Simla, October 19th, 1880)