Sometimes I keep on editing and adding to one of these Updates for two or three days; and just about the time I finally get it where I want it, I supplant it with another. Almost as though the real audience is in the future. But then, something occurs to me which I add as a footnote; and as I ponder that, I realize it should be the subject of an Update in its own right.
This is one of those times.
As an example of trying to prove reincarnation to a cynic, who goes into denial and resorts to sophistry, I originally had the example of Einstein arguing with a child who wins by insisting, "Is not!!!" But this morning I thought I should use a more on-target analogy, and I changed it from Einstein to Daniel Webster.
Then I remembered that Mathew Franklin Whittier (myself in the 19th century, for anyone new, here) had actually met with Webster.
Now, the entire story is, of course, in my book, but I can summarize it. The Fugitive Slave Law was a nasty piece of legislation, intended to placate the Southern states. Abolitionists had been rescuing slaves, which the slavemasters thought of as property; but they couldn't do anything about it once the slaves reached freedom. Apparently it had gotten so annoying to them, that lawmakers--and Daniel Webster, in particular--fashioned a compromise, such that now, they were permitted to go North in search of their property and bring them back. Not only this, but Northern lawmakers and citizens were required, by law, to assist. Daniel Webster had thrown his prodigious talents behind this monstrosity. Perhaps he saw the Civil War coming. In any case, for the Abolitionists, this was the single worst piece of legislation ever to come out of the Hill.
Everyone pitched in to fight it. Even Mathew's literary friend, John Townsend Trowbridge, who normally played it safe and wrote adventure stories for boys as his bread-and-butter, wrote what he thought was a somewhat restrained editorial against it. He was babysitting a friend's paper in Washington, D.C. (an area mostly in favor of slavery), and when this editorial was published, it crippled the paper and ultimately, as I read the account, killed it.
Mathew, meanwhile, lost no time. He wrote a scathing lampoon of it, posing as his Archie Bunker prototype, "Ethan Spike," in which Ethan and his father learn of the bounty offered, and "catch" an elderly black doctor who had, in years past, faithfully treated them. The man escapes, and Ethan's father goes into a deep depression; so in the sequel (published in April of the following year), Ethan resolves to visit Daniel Webster personally on his father's behalf.
Next mornin, afore it was cleverly light, father an I, who'd laid our plans over night, started arter a n--r, who lived jest over the taown line. He was a clever old crittar, was more'n half a doctor an a first rate nuss. He'd ollers turn aout at any time a night, in any weather, if anybody was sick an wanted his sarvices--every body liked him, speshally aour folks. Many's the time he's come clear over through the deep snow, an watched with me when I had the rebellious fever. An when father had that great sore on his leg, caused by bein bit by the old sow when he got drunk at Kernall Peabody's treat an fell into the hog-pen--then the old n--r tended an nussed him as though he'd bin his own son. He made all sorts of mint jewlips an intments, an like to have got drowned over in cedar swamp--where he went arter red willer bark to make arb drink for him. But, as father said, what was all this to the Constitushun and the glorious perladium of free instertooshuns? The Gineral Court said that n--rs was uncurcumsized pagins as didn't belong no-wheres, and then lastly but not leastly, the forty-tew dollars! We'd have catched him if he'd bin our grandfather and grandmother tew.
But at the end of the letter, in which Ethan Spike and his father try to figure out how to collect their reward, we see the following:
P.S. Aour n--r is varmoused! The door of the tater arch was pad-locked, but the hinges was lether--the cuss cut em off--an streaked, cheaten father an I aout of forty-tew dollars we worked hard for. Dew send the paper you puts this in rite on to Daniel, prehaps he'll consider aour case is hard an make up part of the loss. Tell him ever so little wont come amiss, father's gettin old an there's not another n--r in these parts to kitch.
Of course, the letter would be sent to "Daniel," inasmuch as he would probably read it in the paper.
The Fugitive Slave Law was passed on Sept. 18, 1850, and this sketch appears in the Portland (Maine) "Transcript" of Oct. 19, 1850. However, five days earlier Mathew, himself had visited with Webster--in his capacity as a liaison for William Lloyd Garrison. (Keep in mind that his authorship of "Ethan Spike" still remained a secret in 1850.) The description is circumspect, and the meeting, itself, is portrayed as being cordial. Only one line hints at what they discussed:
Being informed that Quails was in waiting, he despatched his savory breakfast with all possible haste, and in a few minutes after, we were cosily seated together in the magnificently-arched ceiling quadrangular receiving-room, deeply engaged in discussing the complicated topics of National Legislation, and the long vexed question of whether colds--especially those settled in the nose--were conducive to health, or whether they were inclined to induce those of temperate habits to occasionally so far forget themselves as to go out on a blow. Each of us being slightly afflicted with the above complaint, we put the vexed question to vote, whether it was eithier pleasant or profitable, and the noes (nose) had it all their own way.
This is Mathew writing, in his unmistakable style, under the pseudonym "Quails" for the Boston "Weekly Museum," published in the Nov. 2, 1850 edition. If you look it up, you will see that "Quails" is attributed to singer/entertainer Ossian Dodge--a fiction which Mathew deliberately played along with, so as to deepen his cover.* He was traveling, apparently as a postal inspector, in the New England states; but at the same time, he was acting as a secret liaison for William Lloyd Garrison, contacting fellow-abolitionists, prominent figures in government, and potential donors. He then used the public column as a way to keep Garrison's people informed of his contacts and his itinerary.
By the way, as I keyed this in, I noticed another of Mathew's typical puns. When writing as "Ethan Spike" and his other characters, he loved to throw in little puns and satirical malapropisms. He couldn't resist doing the same, here:
Dear Putnam:--Did n't we say in our last, that we were about starting on a jaunt to the house of the God-like Daniel? Well, we did go, and such a time as we had of it too! After walking a distance of some five miles, we arrived at the elegant mansion, at precisely seven minutes past eight, (we like to be exact about dates) and, as G.P.R. James, the equestrian romancer often remarks in his lectures, "we wish particularly to call your attention to this fact;"--at seven minutes past eight, on Monday morning, October 14th, 1850, Daniel Webster, the ex-pounder, was seated at his breakfast-table, doing justice to what smelt very much--to us in the adjoining room--like beef-steak, highly-seasoned, and rare-done.
"Pounder" was undoubtedly slang for a lawyer, though I couldn't find a reference to it online. I mentioned in my previous Update that Mathew frequently attended and reported on lyceum talks, so the reference to the "equestrian romancer's" lectures is typical, for him. Meanwhile, he makes a particular point of recording the time and date of the meeting, not because of some idiosyncratic habit he shares with a romantic lecturer, but because he wants it recorded for his own legacy, when, perchance, he will be ferreted out as the real historical author of "Quails." My picking up on these things--while no-one else ever has--is an example of intuitive past-life memory, as discussed in my previous Update, whereby I can sense his motives, however he may obscure them for the public.
Mathew had received formal training in debate through his membership in the Pnyxian Club, which was the premier debate club in Portland, Maine, in the early 1840's. William Lloyd Garrison apparently thought enough of his abilities, in this regard, to put him up against the likes of Daniel Webster.
I am the reincarnation of Mathew, and I retain some of his skills--including that one.
Thus, the prominent people in the field of reincarnation studies, and afterlife science, don't know who they're up against.
I say that to brag--and no, that's not a Freudian slip, I meant to leave out the word "not"--but that isn't the main reason. My erstwhile friend, who rejected me because I dared assert myself with him, thought so. But I say it simply to stand up for myself, and put anyone on notice that I am, indeed, "Will Hunting," and my belt is, indeed, "J.C. Penney, $3.98." It always was. This is nothing new--it was my past-life modus operandi, as well.
I continue to have the sense that if I finally get anyone to take me seriously, it will be some historian who steals my findings and makes a name for himself (or at least, a top-notch dissertation) with some small part of it.
If anyone does that, of course, they may provide me with precisely the ticket I need to get noticed.
Sometimes I get the sense that Mathew deliberately dug himself into such a deep pit of obscurity, that try as I might, I cannot now dig myself out of it. Meaning, his legacy, and also mine, today. But this goes to the principles of reincarnation. There are two things people have no idea of, which, once understood, will change the world. My Guru, Meher Baba, has gifted both of these key concepts to us all; but the gift has not yet been received, as people aren't ready. The first is the secret of what he calls "sanskaras," or mental impressions. The closest we have come to it is the principles of behavioral psychology, as set forth by B.F. Skinner; and I heard an interesting story in that regard. Skinner was selling off a bunch of his books; and what was in that collection of unwanted books, but a set of Meher Baba's "Discourses," in which these ideas are set forth. Kind of reminds me of how Einstein is said to have studied the Upanishads...
The second idea is, simply, reincarnation--the significance of which is, that it provides the time necessary for the operation of mental impressions to play out. It may appear to us that we can expose ourselves to anything, and do anything, with impunity, in this one lifetime. But throw reincarnation into the mix, and suddenly the entire dynamic changes. Now, you don't get away with anything; and you are moulded and shaped, hampered or enabled, as the case may be, by every mental impression. Abby, Mathew's soul-mate and mentor, actually wrote about this very thing. I won't quote it, here--it's in the book.
Had Abby lived, I don't know how deeply Mathew would have plunged into politics. I think, and feel, that he viewed the Civil War as a kind of hijacking of the Abolitionist movement--which was based on higher moral principles--by more impatient, and more violent, people. It was nothing short of appalling, to him--and I've never been able to watch anything about it, in my current lifetime. Mathew was in line with Garrison's philosophy, "No Union with slaveholders," i.e., of actually booting the South out, and letting it wither on the vine. The problem, of course, was that slavery was good business, and it was kept alive by too many Northern textile tycoons, shipping interests, and such. The violent abolitionists, who took over the movement, wanted to encourage slave uprisings. Mathew knew such people, and was friends with some of them, including black abolitionist William Lambert, head of the underground railroad in Detroit. He was also friends with Frederick Douglass. But after the Civil War, I think he disgustedly washed his hands of active involvement in politics. He remained engaged for the first couple years, going so far as to write an open letter to President Lincoln encouraging him to permit blacks to fight for the Union, and to free the slaves. This, not in just any little publication, but in New York's "Vanity Fair," a strongly conservative magazine. (I have two physical copies, which came dear--but some day, I think one of them will help fund a small museum for Mathew's legacy, and the other one, of course, will go in it.)
Today, I view political goings-on mostly from the sidelines, because my guru, Meher Baba, instructed his followers to stay out of it. I find that Lee Camp is right in line with where Mathew would be, if he were alive, today. Mathew would have applauded his work, except where he attacks religion, without discerning between the "sheep" of real spirituality and the "goats" of tired doctrine. I mean, he would have made that distinction then, as Mathew--not just that I would do that, today.
I do sometimes wonder what direction Mathew's life would have gone in, if Abby hadn't died. Abby was the original author of "A Christmas Carol," with Mathew adding his two cents either in active collaboration, or posthumously. He apparently handed it to Dickens when Dickens was in Boston, in 1842; Mathew being friends with Oliver Wendell Holmes, who was one of the young men around Dickens at the time. Mathew must have tagged along as one of the unnamed fellows in the group, and handed over the manuscript as a tribute to Abby, who had died about a year earlier.
I say these things, having gone to great lengths to prove them in my book. If you have not read that book in its entirety with an open mind, you have no right to question my assertions. You don't expect me to go over all that evidence here, surely--and just as surely, you don't expect me to offer a little of it, so that you can shoot that little bit down, out-of-context. So I have the right to assert what I have backed up--and you have no right to dispute it, if you haven't read my evidence.
You also have no logical basis on which to dismiss me as a nutcase, if I don't display evidence of being a nutcase in these Updates. I think it's obvious that my mind is in good working order, even if you don't like my ideas and conclusions.
Well, it's time for my morning walk on the beach. Enough of writing my heart out to people who don't write back, and who don't even look at my book, no less purchase it. I guess it just struck me, if William Lloyd Garrison had enough faith in my abilities to put me up against Daniel Webster one-on-one, you might take me more seriously. If you took me seriously enough to believe me about it, that is.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*Webster was known to be a drinker; and the clear inference in this passage, given "Quails'" typical use of irony as seen in many of his columns, is that the two men drank together. Mathew (including as "Quails") was an advocate of Temperance, at this time--but increasingly, if my intuitive past-life memory is correct, he was really convinced of temperance in its literal sense, i.e., moderation, rather than total abstinence, as it had come to be interpreted by the enthusastic reformers. Ossian Dodge, whom this column was attributed to, was famously known as a strict Temperance man who had never touched a drop in his life, on a promise to his mother as a young man. The only possible reason Dodge, the entertainer, would have been meeting with a such a public figure in the first place (if it wouldn't enhance his career), is for the cause of Temperance--and if so, he certainly wouldn't be joking about it in this manner, publicly hinting that he might be persuaded to take the usual "medicinal" treatment when sick.
Music opening this page: "Venus Isle" by Eric Johnson, from the album, "Venus Isle"