WHICH THE TRUTH, AND WHICH A LIE?
[The Theosophist, Vol. III, No. 6, March, 1882, p. 160]
For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; yet am I also judged as a sinner?”
—Romans, iii, 7.
Mr. Joseph Cook, in one of his exquisite lectures at Bombay — namely, that of January 19 — devoted generally to the enlightenment of the benighted natives of this city, on the beatific truths of missionary Christianity, and especially to the demolition of Spiritualism and Theosophy—came down very hard upon the former. “That wretched movement,” he said (Spiritualism), which had supporters only “among the half-educated populations in the great American towns . . . had been doing immense mischief in the United States . . . Spiritualism was composed of seven-tenths of fraud; two-tenths of nervous delusion, and in the remaining one-tenth . . . nothing was in it, or Satan was in it . . .” Personally, he had not “the honour of a distant acquaintance with ten of the Spiritualists who deserved to be called men of any intellectual breadth and culture . . .”
It may, therefore, interest our readers to know that this great lecturer who thundered against the Spiritualists and ourselves, was at one time unintellectual enough to attend a Spiritualistic séance at Boston to test the veracity of Spiritualistic phenomena; and also truthful enough, for once, to put his name and autograph signature to the little letter we reproduce for the benefit of our readers. It is needless to say where all right-minded Indians have to seek for truth:
whether in the present ranting speeches of Mr. Cook or in the modest letter which he has deigned to sign. Now that Mr. Cook has put himself at a safe distance from the Theosophists, and has again taken to the pleasant task of slandering us in the city of Calcutta, we may as well show him in his true colours. We draw, therefore, the attention of those of our friends in the “City of Palaces” who may not have seen the Bombay Gazette of February 17, to a letter which appeared on that date in that paper. We quote it verbatim with a request to put it side by side with his lecture of January 19 and to judge for themselves of the reliability of the statements of the Rev. gentleman. We would say nothing further than this, that Mr. Cook seems to take scrupulously for his guidance in life the verse from the Romans placed as a motto at the head of our remarks.
(From the Bombay Gazette of the 17th February, 1882)
MR. JOSEPH COOK AND THE SPIRITUALISTS.
To the Editor of the Bombay Gazette.
Sir,—Mr. Joseph Cook, when recently lecturing here, expressed himself very scornfully of Spiritualism and all its works.
If you will refer to page 35 of a work, The Scientific Basis of Spiritualism published in Boston by Colby and Rich, 1881, you will see Mr. Joseph Cook’s signature to an account of certain phenomena which he vouches for as not explicable by any theory of fraud. Here is the whole extract:—
Report of the Observers of the Sargent experiment in Psychography
in Boston, 13th March, 1880.
At the house of Epes Sargent, on the evening of Saturday, March 13, the undersigned saw two clean slates placed face to face, with a bit of slate pencil between them. We all held our hands clasped around the edges of the two slates. The hands of Mr. Watkins, the psychic, also clasped the slates. In this position we all distinctly heard the pencil moving, and, on opening the slates, found an intelligent message in a strong masculine hand, in answer to a question asked by one of the company.
Afterwards, two slates were clamped together with strong brass fixtures, and held at arm’s length by Mr. Cook, while the rest of the company and the psychic had their hands in full view on the table!
After a moment of waiting, the slates were opened, and a message in a feminine hand was found on one of the inner surfaces. There were five lighted gas burners in the room at the time.
We cannot apply to these facts any theory of fraud, and we do not see how the writing can be explained unless matter, in the slate pencil, was moved without contact.
(Signed.) F. E. BUNDY, M.D.
Do. EPES SARGENT.
Do. JOHN C. KINNEY.
Do. HENRY G. WHITE.
Do. JOSEPH COOK.
Boston, March 13, 1880.
It is further mentioned in the book in question that “Mr. Cook was well abused by the religious journals for testifying to what he saw.” The abuse has evidently not been thrown away upon Mr. Cook; it has converted him from the error of his ways, and he now seeks to convert others by abusing them in his