Clipped From The New York Times

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 - them-4 TUEOSOPUICAL DEAD-UEADS. There is danger...
them-4 TUEOSOPUICAL DEAD-UEADS. There is danger that the American public may forget tlie American Thcosnphioal Society, since the better part of this organization has been transplanted to India. The Theosophical Society, it should be said, is composed of people who have become dissatisfied with the Christian religion as being too modern, too commonplace, and too easily understood. The Theosophists desire something more bric-4-brackish and rococo. They seek the attainment of superhuman knowledge by physical processes. They aim to secure a direct insight into the processes of the divine mind and the interior relations of the divine nature. The chief, or " Boss," of this mysterious order is known as the Hierophant. At last accounts, CoL II. S. Olcott was the Hierophant Gne of the shining lights of the Theosophical Society was Baron Palm, a rich and eccentric no-bleman, who made large investments in Chicago real estate and Nevada mining stocks. In the midst of a search for the philosopher's stone and the eiixir of life. Baron Palh died, : leaving his real estate and his mining stocks to Col. H. S. Olcott. in behalf of theosophy, to be used by him in the ctiscovery of the true religion of humanity. Baron Palm was buried according to theosophical notions, I the ceremonies performed over his remains being an eclectic mixture of Christian, Egyptian, and Brnhminic rites. It was generally supposed that the bequest of Baron Palm enabled Col. Olcott and his comrades to set up in business as explorers of the great central thouirht of the universe. So. mining shares being depressed and Chicago real estate inactive, the Theoaophtsts determined to find out God. . Joined to Col. Olcott was Mme, Bla-vatsky, a Russian Princess, a person addicted to sitting cross-legged and to cigarettes. These two, having; run tle gamut from Calvinism and Socinianism, through the Greek Church into Spiritism and the revelation of the oversold, de cided that they must go back of the Chris tian era if they would discover the secret of the supernatural in the u n i verse. They argued that we get further away from the great central soul of the creation as we travel down the ages. The new is to be rejected as shoddy. The older a thing is, the nearer it is to the ccntrality of nature. This is the way in which the Theosophists argue. And it must bejadmitted that they have practiced what they have taught. They have gone to India jbo study the oldest of faiths. Unhap pily, several months were wasted in the study of Hindustanee. Mme. Blavatsky, being a Russian Princess, was naturally polyglot But Hindustanee, it must be admitted, in the language of the worldly, " rather got her," when she wa3 forced to study this difficult language in company with Col. Olcott, whose lingual achievements had been confined to a mastery of North American English, with a strong nasal accent due to the east winds and catarrhal influences of the North American climate. Nothing more bric-a-brac and antique than the religion of the Hindus can anywhere be found. The mere fact that this is the oldest religion on the face of the earth would seem to establish its genuineness as the fundamental faith of the human race. Confucius, Mohammed, and Jescs Christ, according to these searchers after truth, were too modern, too recently invented, to be of any practical value to mankind. The central sun must be sought somewhere in the dawning twilight, of human history. So Col. Olcott and Mme. Blavatsxy went to India to study the Vedas, the Shas-ters, and the seven occult books of Sakya-muni. It is hardly necessary to add that in this dusty and moth-eaten religion they found something which, -when they had mastered the Hindustanee and the Sanskrit, was truly "soul-filling. But the legacy of Baron Palm gave out in course of time, and these earnest seekers after truth found themselves, to use a nautical phrase, "on their beam-ends" in the matter of finances. Rents and marketing are cheap in Indi, and our searchers after truth had, moreover, accustomed themselves to the vegetable diet which is enjoined upon the Hindu, however distasteful it may have been to a gentleman who had been accustomed to the chops and steaks of Fulton Market. In this emergency, if we may believe the report of Col. Olcott, recently sent to his fellow Theosophists in this City, supernatural powers intervened. "Things are booming," wrote the Hierophant, " and we travel for nothing. " - Explanation, being sought upon this pont, it was said that when the Hierophant and his companion desired to travel, ' conveyances were- found waiting at their door. Mysterious messengers appeared laden with free passes. Although the seekers after truth never made known to any human being their wishes and plans, they could not move in the direction ,of the fulfillment of these without ' being Intercepted by silent and irresponsive emissaries, who sped them on their way without money and without price. On one occasion Col. Olcott started from Bombay to a distant city to deliver a message which he did not understand to a man whose name he did not know. On his arrival, a messenger appeared at the station and demanded and received the message. : The wants of Col. .Olcott and Mme. Blavatsky are met in the most mysterious manner,' and as satisfactorily as the most exacting frequenter of American boarding-houses could wish. Elijah fed by the ravens was nothing to these two pilgrims. Food, roi-mcRt, railway passes, and free tickets to the circus are ill showered upon the devoted seekers after truth in a way which proves that theosophy is its own reward. This brief narration sufficiently points its own moral. Let- those of us who ait; weary of the Christian, religion; weary of delving and grubbing In the vulgar soil of America, weary of earning our own living, -.' : - position to prove the truth of his own theory, there is obviously every reason why the discussion of the subject should proceed with great enthusiasm. It really seems, however, as if Prof. Novak, of Pesth, has hit on the true secret of earthquakes, and if so, his name will speedily become illustrious. ., Most people imagine that the earth in its revolution around the sun runs with perfect smoothness nnd regularity. As a matter of fact we never feel the earth bumping over any obstruction, and we never hear of its axle becoming hot through friction. Still, it by no means follows that the earth moves through its orbit without the slightest disturbance. We 'know that the planetary bodies exert a mutual attraction one upon another, and that this attraction frequently prevents them from running on schedule time. Numbers of comets have been drawn out of their paths by Jupiter and his moons, and have been delayed in this way for montlis at a time", and the exasperatingly familiar story of tlie discovery of the planet Neptune turns on the fact tliat Neptune had revealed its existence by interfering with the motions of the planet Uranus, although the latter was more miles distant from, it than can be expressed without exhausting the zeros in any ordinary font of type. We must, therefore, believe that the earth is influenced by the attraction of other planets to at least as great an extent as any other mcmlier of the solar system. Upon this hypothesis which nobody can deny, nor absolutely prove Prof. Novak holds his earthquake theory. He informs us that the earth is checked in its course, and drawn in one direction or another by the influence of the sun, Venus, Jupiter, and other heavenly bodies, although we can no more perceive these irregular motions than we can perceive the usual and regular motions of the earth. This effect, however, is to produce sudden changes in the postiou of the axis and the equator, and these changes produce the earthquakes. The axis of the earth, for example, may be pulled out of position by some meddling planet even so slightly as to move the point of the north pole only a foot. No instruments known to the astronomers could detect this slight change, and yet it would produce a tremendous effect in the bowels of the' earth, and would cause the surface to tremble and break here and there, precisely as it docs during the progress of an earthquake. The equator would, of course, change its position just in proportion to the changes in the "position of the axis, and this, in Prof. Novak's opinion, would also lead to earthquakes. In this latter assumption, the Professor must surely be mistaken. As every school-boy knows who has studied the globes, the equator is a ring of brass, with figures engraved on it, encircling the earth, but nowhere touching its surface. Why any change in its position should stir up the inside of the globe we must .leave Prof. Novak to explain if he can explain it. The valuable part of this .theory is the assumption that earthquakes are caused by a change in the position of the earth's axis. The weak part is the assumption that "this change is produced by the attraction of the planetary bodies. This must,remain anj unverified hypothesis, and as such cabnot prove satisfactory to practical men. ore-over, it is a hypothesis which we do' not need, for here, on the surface of the earth, we can sec with our own eyes causes in progress which must inevitably shift to and fro thS centre of gravity of the globed and thus cause the axis to shift its position. It is a scientific fact that whenever any particle of matter on the earth's surface is moved ever so slightly the earth's centre of gravity moves with it. When Mr. Stanley Matthews walks from his bedroom to his dining-room he is entirely right ia feeling that ho has really moved the earth. The amount of change thus produced in the centre of gravity of the earth is, however, so slight that we cannot credit Mr. Matthews with the authorship of all our earthquakes. But When we reflect that there are a vast number of vessels trading between this country and Europe, we can readily see that if, by accident, the greater part of them should arrive heavily loaded on the same side of the ocean at the same time, the centre of gravity would be materially changed, and the axis of the earth would be wrenched in. one direction or another, in consequence of this change. Now, as a matter of fact, earthquakes occur most frequently during the Summer months, when all the ocean steamers are "crowded with passengers and crammed with freight. Suppose that of the eight or nine hundred steamers now trading between the American continent and the rest of the world six or seven hundred happen to le on this hemisphere at the same time an event more likely to happen in. Summer than at any other season. The result would be that the earth's centre of gravity would move vary materially in the direction of this enormous concentration of matter; the axis would move with it, and the grinding and crushing that would take place in the interior of the earth would produce earthl-' quakes heavy enough to make even a wander - ing San Franciscan feel at home. t Withthismodification, Prof. Novak's theory fully meets all the exigencies of tlie case. It' gives us a full knowledge of the origin of earthquakes, and teaches us how to avoid them. All we have to do is to put a stop to the movements of vessels on the Atlantic and the Pacific, and the earth's centre of gravity will keep reasonably quiet, and San Francisco or Lisbon will never quake again. Gov. Newell, ot the Territory of Washington, who seems to have brought to his new position all of that enerjry and capacity for research which are characteristic of him. prints many new and interesting facts in regard to that far-distant corner of the country. Among other things, he draws Attention to the fact that the industry of planting and cultivating Eastern oysters in Puet Sound ia steadily progressAnje. and he predicts that at no distant day the Territory will become the rreat oys-, Ur-nrodaciojE section of the fauifie coast. The

Clipped from
  1. The New York Times,
  2. 08 Jan 1881, Sat,
  3. Page 4

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  • Clipped by lgust – 11 Apr 2013

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