I don't have a lot of time for this, so I'll have to hit the highlights. I just started reading "A Yankee Among the Nullifiers," which historians assume was written by Asa Greene, but which I knew, having glanced at it and read some of the other books attributed to him, was written by Mathew Franklin Whittier. Immediately I see it dedicated to a public figure (a statesman and orator) whom Mathew would have admired; and then we get into yet another faux autobiography (Mathew's modus operandi).
Once again, we see a modified version of Mathew's own life (i.e., up to Feb. 1833, when the Preface was written). All is roughly accurate, until he goes to Cambridge. This is what Mathew wanted to do. Then, he moves to the South, which Mathew definitely didn't do. But once there, working as a private teacher for the family of a plantation owner, he begins tutoring a girl named Henrietta at a neighboring plantation, who is "16 or 17." They, of course, fall in love, but can't let on to anyone else because of "present circumstances."
In reality, it was Abby who was tutoring Mathew (in lieu of the college education he wanted). She, being in an upper-class French family, had been given a full private education, and she was a child prodigy besides. She was, as I gather, thinking of going into the teaching profession, as she refused to marry any of the rich blockheads that her father was introducing to her older sisters (she was in her early teens at this time). Mathew's "present circumstances," which prevented them from openly declaring their love for each other, was their respective social statuses; and her age.
I was curious to see when I started writing about this idea, that Abby had tutored Mathew. It sort of evolved over time, as I wrote my first book. Very, very gradually, I found evidence hinting at it; but until now, I never was able to find a direct reference. The first hint I can remember was my second psychic reading, in December of 2010. There, he said she was educated. But the earlier psychic, in March of that year, had the relationship backwards--she had Mathew tutoring Abby (just as we see in "Yankee"). There were a few other clues along the way--Mathew writes a poem about the "Blue Stockings" in 1828, which is a clear reference to Abby. A "Blue Stocking" was an intellectual, educated girl. He writes as though a male student at Oxford, warning his classmates to attend to their studies, because the "Bluestockings are crossing the border" from Scotland--but what he means is, Abby's blue stockings (she must have liked to wear them) were crossing the gender border in academia. And we see the same thing in her story of "Mary Mahoney," who could discuss deep German metaphysics with her publishers, even though she was only of high school age.
We also see "Bertram" and "Lady Geraldine" reading poetry together; and Bertram trying out his own poetry on her--in the poem published by Elizabeth Barrett in her 1844 compilation, "Poems." That was Mathew's poem, which he must have sent her for her perusal, at a time when he was sharing his unpublished work with various famous literati.
But I discovered these things fairly late--later, I think, even than an April 11, 2014 reference I made in my journal. The "Blue Stockings" reference was only discovered last year. Likewise "Lady Geraldine." As said, the March 2010 reading had them reading together, but it had their tutorial relationship reversed. (Perhaps that was fate.) I can't think of anything else, except that twice, in 2010--before the first psychic reading--my research at that time suggested that Abby might have had a good education, and that she may have tutored or taught. This from an ostensibly chatty letter written by Abby to Mathew's sister in 1836, which we had recently obtained from a historical library. In February, my researcher wrote: :"Could the charity work that Abby did be tutoring?" It was just speculation and intuition, at this time, that Abby did charity work--it has since been confirmed. Then, in March, she writes: "I think she had a decent education (perhaps she tutored or taught)..."
Generic, you say? Maybe. Perhaps many upper-class girls tutored, and did charity work. Most of them, I think, were intent on marrying a good catch, and one acceptable to their fathers. Abby would have none of it--she, I think, had her sights set on Mathew from a very young age. I seem to remember that she was tormented by the local girls, who were bigger than she was physically, and that Mathew rescued her from a group of them when she was only eight years old. There are intimations of this event, as well, in the historical record, but no direct references to it. In fact, I suspect that Abby arranged for Mathew to be her one student. I think her father wanted to send her to a boarding school, because she was too independent and refused any interest in the suitors he introduced to the house. She was terrified of that prospect--so her mother intervened, and a compromise was reached. If Abby didn't want to marry, she should prepare for a female occupation--and teaching was the obvious choice. But she would have to do two things--she would have to take on a pupil, to see how she liked it and how well she was suited for it--and she would have to attend a class.
They played right into her hands, because she wanted Mathew as her pupil! Little did they know he was also her own choice for a future husband (nor did he, at the time). You see, the women are always in charge of these things, only, they let the men think they are initiating it. But she had to attend a class, and she ended up in the class of Albert Pike, in nearby Newburyport. You may have heard of him--he became a general for the South in the Civil War; he then went on to be a very high ranking Mason (or perhaps the highest, I think it was "33 degrees" or something like that) in Boston. Pike stole Abby's poetry, when she was 14 years old, and published it without her knowledge in various newspapers, under their shared initials of "A.P." Sometimes he extended or modified it; sometimes he even submitted his own poems. I've gone over that extensively in my first book. He really must have been an ass. He is accused of having promoted a form of Luciferianism, when he was a Masonic leader; and he is also implicated in at least one conspiracy theory--something about amassing gold for a comeback of the Confederacy, after the war.
I can well believe it, if he would rip off the poetry of a 14-year-old girl, and claim it--to his dying day--as his own. He apologized to a biographer that he was never able to write that well, again.
Well, I'd better get this posted. I found yet another of Mathew's travelogues, I think, this time from Mobile, Alabama in early 1857. I found three of them in original copies of the Portland "Transcript" which I was selling. I've pulled them off the listing; but right now, the dates just barely work. I have to find all of them, to see whether or not there is an irreconcilable date discrepancy. Right now, we are looking at a possible window of December, 1857 through about the first week of April. Anything outside those boundaries will disqualify it as Mathew's work. These are signed "Buckingham," which was the name of Mathew's first editor, on the "New-England Galaxy," when Mathew began his literary career in 1827, at age 14. I'll have to try to hit the library this afternoon, after my work shift.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
I'm going to add this here, though none of my regulars may see it if they've already read it. If you read these early in the day, you might want to check back. (Posterity, of course, will see it all at one time.)
I finished reading "A Yankee Among the Nullifiers" today, and incorporated the salient points into my sequel, which I just re-posted. Although I had thought I was just going to skim through this book and write a couple of sentences, I found a great deal in it. There's too much to add, here, because it's very complex and I'm worn out from adding it to the book. That book is only $12.00, folks--but if I were you I'd wait a little while until I incorporate all of these books assigned to Asa Greene, plus there is one more bit I'll mention later when I can either confirm it as plausibly being Mathew's work, or disprove it.
I can share a couple of the discoveries I made, today, in this book--especially, those bearing on past-life memory. I realize that some readers (now and in the future) might tire of my deep exploration of literary history, and might be saying, "How about verifying some more past-life memories?" Truthfully, the big push for that was in the first book. I established that it's a real case. Thereafter, everything takes that conclusion as a given--and for good reason.
But as I delve deeper and deeper into this history of Mathew Franklin Whittier, I come upon evidence for things I'd remembered, or at least sensed, early in the study. So let's look at a couple of those.
First of all, I want to reiterate that when Mathew writes fiction, it's largely disguised autobiography. He not only draws from his own life, he writes his life story (chiefly the story of his romance with Abby, his first wife). I have used this analogy before, and it's a good one--his stories are like taking a photograph into Photoshop, and applying the filters. It's not even a collage--it's an actual photograph from his life, with filters applied so you can't recognize it. That is, you can't recognize it unless you know what you're looking for. If you know what you're looking for, you can undo the filters.
Which is what I've done. I take one of these stories, and because I know the back-story--and I've restored the original version of so many of them--I know exactly where to "tweak" to bring it back to literal autobiography.
With this story, we have Abby yet again. This time, she lives on a Southern plantation, with her father, and her name is Henrietta. Elnathan, the hero of the story, is a Yankee. He gets an assignment in South Carolina on a plantation as a private tutor. His employer is a Union man, i.e., sympathetic to the idea of retaining the Union and abiding by national laws, as opposed to attempting to "nullify" the laws one doesn't like by appealing to the principle of States Rights. But Elnathan also gets an assignment tutoring Henrietta at a neighboring plantation. She is "16 or 17 years old," and as he teaches her, they fall in love. But because of the circumstances, they don't dare make any open display of their affections.
Now we undo some of the Photoshop filters. Abby was tutoring Mathew, not the other way 'round. They did indeed fall in love, and they didn't dare make any outward display of their feelings--but not for the reasons given in the story. Her father was also politically conservative, but he was an upper-class marquis, not a Southern plantation owner who believed in "nullification." And she was probably as young as 12 or 13, to Mathew's 16 or 17. Or even younger. Obviously, he dared not openly admit any feelings for her, at that time.
Now, it goes on, but let's first set out what I had extrapolated from scant clues up to this point. I had to triangulate dozens of references in as many different stories--by Mathew, and also stories by Abby--in order to get a consistent picture. And past-life impressions were my truing function, my Geiger counter, my compass, if you will. I could feel when a certain scenario was getting close to the historical truth. What I determined is that they were permitted to go out, even for walks at night, when she was 15--but only with the solemn promise that they would remain strictly chaste. And Mathew did that. But his belief was that once a girl reaches 16, physical expression of love is acceptable. Meaning, just from the ethical perspective, setting aside the issue of parental permission. Abby knew this as well, and when she reached 16, she seduced him. I don't mean to put it so bluntly, but she permitted physical intimacy, at least to some degree. I won't go into which "base" we are talking about, but they went on picnics, and they got horizontal at those picnics.
All this, as said, from dozens and dozens of clues, and from past-life glimpses and impressions.
They were caught--by her father, by a snitch, or something like that; and Mathew was banned from the house. She was told lies about him; he was told lies about her; and at least briefly, each believed the other had used them. Meanwhile, her father brings in an upper-class rival, whom she only takes as a friend. He appears in just about every one of these stories. Sometimes she is a little bit intrigued by him, but not seriously interested; sometimes she's repelled by him, at least as a romantic partner. But she believes in turning rejected suitors into friends, because she is too soft-hearted to hurt their feelings, and she accepts this one as a friend. He takes advantage of the situation and tries to kiss-rape her (if not worse), and he is drive out of the house. He turns out to have been a rogue.
Meanwhile, Mathew, being banned from seeing her or writing to her, takes to communicating with her in code, via his published works. This book, "A Yankee Among the Nullifiers," is written precisely during this period, and is one of these works.
In it, using his characters, "Elnathan" and "Henrietta," he makes it clear that he wants to marry her, and that if she would go along with it, he's ready to elope. The Henrietta character demurs, because it is improper, it would be disloyal to her father, etc. So Mathew is careful not to assume she would do it--but he wants her to know that he would if she would.
He also lets her know that he has rethought, and abandoned, everything he had formerly said in favor of bachelorism. And that not having any other recourse, he will simply wait for her. And that, in the meantime, he is trying to be successful in his merchanizing career, so that he can win her father's approval. All of that is conveyed in this narrative analogy.
But I had never seen any direct evidence that Mathew was banned from the house, until I read this book. I had remembered it, quite early in the research, in the following past-life glimpse:
Mathew is coming up to the door of the Poyen home. As he is still on the walkway, Abby's brother comes out and stops him, announcing, "She doesn't want to see you." Abby, meanwhile, is inside the house overhearing the encounter, fervently hoping that Mathew won't believe him.
This scenario made no particular sense to me at the time I had that glimpse. Now, however, it makes perfect sense. He was, in fact, banned from the house--and I have, in other stories, that part of the scenario which involves feeding each of them disinformation about the other.
We also have "Elnathan" contemplating elopement. Writing in 1832, he would be hoping that could be avoided. In fact, they did have to resort to it, in 1836. The problem was that her father's real objection was not to Mathew's worldly success or lack thereof--it was to his class, which Mathew was never going to be able to fix. Her father let him think he could get permission by being successful, to essentially send him on a fool's errand and get him out of the picture. So Mathew faithfully tries his best to fulfill his part of the bargain, and fails--primarily because he is too honest to compete in New York City, as we saw recently with "The Perils of Pearl Street." When he comes back, and Abby happily accepts his proposal, they announce their engagement per custom, but her father shocks them by still refusing his permission. So, of course, they elope.
The story doesn't end there. After a couple of months, Abby returns home to make the peace; but she is kidnapped. There must be some kind of legal dispute, and she is ordered not to leave the area, and not to have any contact with Mathew. I finally figured out that this was actually a kindness on the part of the official who ordered it. Why? Because Abby's father was planning on sending her to a boarding school, where Mathew would never be able to see her. She was terrified of it (always had been), but her mother had always been able to step in and prevent it. Now, however, it looked like he was going to follow through. One can extrapolate this scenario from the only letter in existence, written in her hand, to Mathew's sister, Elisabeth.
So what does she do? She arranges a rendezvous with Mathew--or, perhaps, several of them--to get pregnant. And this is what I remembered before I ever found evidence for it. I saw, in my mind's eye, Abby leading me up a flight of stairs, by the hand. Suddenly, half-way up the stairs, she opens a door--almost like a white hatchway, flush with the wall on the right-hand side--and pulls me into a small room, or a large storage closet. There, we make love with me sitting on a large white dresser.
This is a very strange scenario. But I found the same architecture in the house directly across the street from where Abby's house was--and, directly next-door. A real estate agent told me he thought the house next-door was originally a barn, on the Poyen property across the street. These are the only two houses in the area--or anywhere, so far as I can tell--which have this weird architectural feature. The door isn't literally half-way up the stairs--it's actually level with the second floor, but there are three steps leading up to it before you get to the top. Visually, seen from below, you could get the impression that it's part-way up. The door in the house across the street is on the right, as in my memory (but it has been replaced); the door in the house next-door is on the left. But that door is original, and it looks like a white hatch, just as I remembered. In the house across the street, the room has been remodeled into a bathroom. But in the house next-door, it remains a 9x9 (as I recall) storage room. You can tell it's a storage room, because the two doors inside are arranged so you can open them while using up as little storage space as possible. Probably these were used as linen closets for the maids, conveniently located for both upstairs and downstairs.
I was able to find maybe three or four other houses in New England which had a somewhat similar arrangement, but none with this exact set-up. It's a very awkward design, which you can see if you look at the photographs in my first book. The three steps leading up to the door block the landing itself. So you can see why it wasn't popular.
I couldn't have seen it in a book, magazine or film, because so far as I can tell, it only exists in the house that was across from Abby's family home, and the one next-door that was originally on her property. Therefore, the "cryptomnesia," or false memory objection is entirely defeated. (If I thought Randi the magician was honest, I could win his prize with this.)
This is one of the memories that emerged in my study, which I consider definite proof that the past-life match is genuine. I would have to try to trace all of these elements, but I do have written down when this came to me, or at least the earliest reference to it I can find in my notes and e-mails. This was long, long before I had most of the evidence for this elopement scenario. What I think I did have, was the letter from Abby, and this start to my first psychic reading (from my notes, taken during the session):
Nobility, stature, status. Wife not right religion, family against. Loved her dearly. Family or families feuded, rejected him. "You can come but she can't"--because of religion or status.
Now, the scenario that developed after the marriage is one which has not come up in any of Mathew's stories, at least none that I can think of. Here, we have a couple who have eloped, where the girl attempts to go back and make peace with her father, only to be kidnapped with a threat of being sent away to boarding school. How could he do it, legally? I think, because he contested the legality of the marriage somehow. Had he won that legal battle--and he was a big man in town--there would be no marriage, and as her father, he could legally send her away.
But I take it that no boarding school would accept a pregnant girl. It was the only way--and it worked. About nine months later, Mathew and Abby had their first child--a boy, whom they named after her father, first and middle name--"Joseph Poyen Whittier." Almost certainly, she did that as another peace gesture--but this didn't work, either. Joseph Poyen was aristocracy, and his family had ties to the French king. One did not let one's daughter marry a commoner, and that was that.
In this story, "A Yankee Among the Nullifiers," Elnathan obtains permission when he saves Henrietta's father's life. The father exclaims, "If I had 20 daughters, you could marry them all!" And, he immediately gifts him half his estate.
This, of course, is what Mathew, writing in 1832, fantasized happening.
Do you still think that Asa Greene--whose own personal history doesn't match anything in any of these books--still wrote it? He would simply have had to come up with the entire plot out of his head, from scratch--which is what every historian blithely assumes.
Perhaps they aren't authors, and don't know how the creative process actually works...at least, not with really good fiction, which is no fiction at all.
Music opening this page: "I Found Love," by The Free Design,
from the album, "Kites Are Fun"