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vol. 3, p. 256
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)


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Chicago, July 20th, 1875.

To the Editor of the Spiritual Scientist:—

I have been much interested in the second article on Rosicrucianism by “Hiraf.” (The first I did not see, having just returned from Sonora.) and the critique thereon by a lady. I have also read Mr. Sotheran’s lecture upon Cagliostro. These able papers are timely, because unless we have a larger scope of thought and action, it seems to me that Spiritualism is going straight to the — well, you can guess. The Scientist is just what the world needs at this juncture, and in opening its columns to the discussion of Rosicrucianism, it performs a most noble service to the Age and the Cause. A few things bother me, however, in all three of the above-noted papers. First, I deny that either Bulwer Lytton, or Hargrave Jennings were or are at the head of the Mystic Order in England. Second, the statement that the Order does not exist.

Surely, these writers ought to know that in London there is a large body of the Order of Rosicrucians; in Bristol, England, a flourishing branch; in Montreal and Quebec, a mighty lodge; and in the street called Spring, in New York City, there is a very large weekly convention of them every mortal week, and that there are isolated Rosicrucians all over the land, from Maine to Mexico, from Florida to Mariposa, and to-day constant inquiries are being made as to where affiliations can be sought and had.

It is evident to me that of the 119 persons whose writings on Rosicrucianism have appeared in this country since 1853, not more than eight of them really know aught either of it, or of either of the three Cabalas—so-called. I have read quite a number of communications from alleged adepts, and only one do I believe to be true, and that one from the Egyptian wing of the Fraternity,—the Brotherhood of Luxor.

Again, the lady seems to know a deal more, in some respects, a5out the real Order, than either Sotheran, Bulwer, Hiraf or Jennings, and yet I doubt the source of that knowledge, for I am unaware that ladies,—Mme. St Germain and Mme. Cagliostro included,—have ever been intromitted. I dispute the net that they have. Certainly they have not in the East, and if not there, where? in the West or South? One might just as well look for a lady in the lofty decrees of the F. and A. M., as in the mystic lodges of the R. C. In a word, I dispute the actual membership in the Order, of any of the parties alluded to.(*)

Geo. Corbyn.
Our correspondent’s letter is interesting, but he shoots wide of the mark. It is true an Order of Rosicrucians exists in Europe and America: but it bears about as close a resemblance to the fraternity of Cagliostro and Rosencranz, as our modern masonic lodges do to the hypothetical lodge of Solomon and the two Hirams which they typify. Masonry is said to have passed from the “operative” to the “speculative” phase at the death of Sir Christopher Wren, Grand Master of England, and builder of St. Paul's Cathedral; and it is probable that Rosicrucianism as a practical, operative science passed away when Cagliostro expired in the dungeons of St. Leon. Can any one of the multitude of members in the K. C. lodges which our correspondent catalogues, display any one of the mysterious powers of that adept, or of Madame Blavatsky, the lady to whom he alludes? If not, it behooves him to seek farther before saying that she either was or was. not initiated at the East, West or South. Attention and Silence. *—[
Editor Spiritual Scientist.

(*) I am sorry ... Corbyn is so ignorant of Masonry, since this was written ... have received from the Sovereign Grand Master general of the ... of England and Wales a diplooma of 32° degree.

N.Y. Jan. 1878.


Schroeder's Air-Ship! "Risum Teneatis !"

Is there any scientific humbug too superlatively silly or impudent for the swallow of some of our omniscient editors? The “Keely Motor” has its ridiculous pretensions spread abroad in every newspaper in the land, to impress the credulity and attract the money of ignorant dupes. And now comes Schroeder's air-ship, grandly sailing before the public in a minute and elaborate description in the New York Tribune of the aid. The courtesy which such papers as the Tribune and the World refuse to attested scientific facts from the highest sources, they readily extend to the crazy schemes of any scientific ignoramus.

The air ship scheme of Mr. Schroeder is one of those stupid follies which lie outside of the realm of science and mechanics, and are fit only to be recorded in company with the adventures of Baron Munchausen. They, serve, however, as bait for the omniscient city editor and his verdant country reader.

This scheme proposes, by means of an eight horsepower engine, to propel through the upper air a balloon of 80,000 cubic-feet of gas, a car sixty-five feet long and twelve feet high, twelve thousand pounds of freight, with passengers and engineers, at the rate of seventy miles an hour!!!! and as soon as constructed it is to apply for permission to carry the mails across the ocean!!

If Mr. S. had proposed to tow a 2,ooo-ton ship to England by means of a solitary Indian in his birch-bark canoe, he would not have exhibited as great a quantity or as rich a variety of ignorance as his air-ship scheme displays. In the first place, his eight-horse engine, working by the best machinery on the atmosphere (instead of his ridiculous wings), could not develop a traction power of more than 150 or 170 pounds, (we omit the engineering calculations in mercy to our readers) and the balloon alone, at the speed of seventy miles an hour, would require for its propulsion (if it were not torn into shreds immediately) about 184,800,000 foot-pounds per minute, or $5,600 horse power!!

It would whizz through the air like a small hurricane, and the propellers, if Mr. S. could give them his proposed 1,200 revolutions per minute, or a speed of 1,800 feet per second at the circumference, would roar like a young tornado in front of the balloon, having a greater peed than any hurricane has been known to attain. Should one of his propeller-blades break, it might start for the Milky Way with an initial velocity of 1,227 miles per hour! All of which is to be accomplished by a little engine with less than 170 pounds of efficient traction power. Vive la bagatelle! The wisdom of editors is amazing. We allude to this matter merely to illustrate the kind of ignorance which knows nothing of either material or spiritual science, bat insolently stops the way of real progress.

Editor's notes

  1. Rosicrucianism by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 22, August 5, 1875, p. 257
  2. image by unknown author
  3. Schroeder's Air-Ship! "Risum Teneatis !" by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 22, August 5, 1875, p. 258