Devil-Worship in France/Chapter XIII
The discovery of Leo Taxil and of M. Ricoux has one remaining witness in the person of Miss Diana Vaughan. She also, as we have seen, is a writer of memoirs, and in giving some account of her narrative I have already indicated in substance certain lines of criticism which might be applied with success thereto. We must obviously know more about this lady, and have some opportunity of verifying the particulars of her past life before we can accept her statement that she has Written while fresh from "conversion," and is speaking for the first time the language of a Christian and a Catholic. The supernatural element of her memoirs it is not worth while to discuss. Were she otherwise worthy of credit, we might exonerate her personal veracity by assuming that she was tricked over the apparition and hallucinated in the vision that followed it, but I propose submitting to my readers sufficient evidence to justify a conclusion that she does not deserve our credit, and though out of deference to her sex it is desirable, so far as may be possible, to speak with moderation, I must establish most firmly that the motive she betrays in her memoirs is not in many respects preferable to that of the previous witness.
It will be advisable, however, to distinguish that part of the narrative for which Miss Vaughan is admittedly and personally responsible from that which she claims to be derived from her family history. I must distinguish between them, not that I am prepared to admit as a legitimate consequence of her statement that there is any real difference or that I unquestionably regard Miss Vaughan as having created a strong presumption that she is in possession of the documents which she claims to have. I am simply recognising the classification which she may herself be held to make. If in this respect it can be shown that I have mistaken the actual position, I will make such reparation as may be due from a man of letters, whose reasonable indignation in the midst of much imposture will, in such case, have misled him. But there is only one course which is open to Miss Vaughan in the matter, and that is to produce the original documents on which she has based her narrative for the opinion of competent English investigators, in which case Miss Vaughan may be held to have established not the truth of her family history, which is essentially beyond establishment, but her bona fides in connection with its relation. After this the portion for which she is personally responsible, and from which there is no escape, will still fasten the charge of falsehood ineffaceably upon her narrative.
In addition, then, to her personal history, Miss Vaughan's memoirs contain:—I. A mendacious biography of the English mystic, Thomas Vaughan. II. A secret history of the English Rosicrucian Fraternity, and of its connection with Masonry, which is also an impudent fraud. The two constitute one of the most curious literary forgeries which are to be met with in the whole range of Hermetic literature; and Hermetic literature, it is known, has been enriched by many triumphs of invention. I shall deal with the narratives plainly on the provisional assumption that Miss Vaughan has been herself deceived in regard to them. They are based upon family papers said to be now in possession of the Charleston Dogmatic Directory. The central facts which are sought to be established by means of these papers have been mentioned already in my eighth chapter, namely, that Miss Vaughan is one of the two last descendants of the alchemist Thomas Vaughan; that this personage made a compact with Satan in the year 1645, that under the name of Eirenæus Philalethes, he wrote the well-known alchemical work entitled "An Open Entrance to the Closed Palace of the King," and that he consummated a mystical marriage with Venus-Astarte, of which the Palladian Templar-Mistress is the last development. For the purposes of these narratives the birth of Thomas Vaughan is placed in the year 1612, and his death, or rather translation, in the year 1678. At the age of twenty-four years, that is to say, in 1636, he proceeded to London, and there connected himself with the mystic Robert Fludd, by whom he was initiated into a lower grade of the Rosicrucian Fraternity, and received a letter of introduction to the Grand Master, Johann Valentin Andreæ, which he took over to Stuttgart and presented. In 1637, having returned to London, he was present at the death of Robert Fludd, which occurred in that year. In 1638 he made his first voyage to America, where he was hospitably entertained by a Protestant minister, named John Cotton, but his visit was not characterised by any remarkable occurrence. At this period the alchemist is represented by his descendant as a Puritan impregnated with the secret doctrine of Robert Fludd. In 1639 Vaughan returned to England, but was immediately attracted to Denmark by the discovery of a golden horn adorned with mysterious figures, which he and his colleagues in alchemy supposed to typify the search for the philosophical stone. At the age of twenty-eight, Vaughan made further progress in the Rosicrucian Fraternity, being advanced to the grade of Adeptus Minor by Amos Komenski, in which year also Elias Ashmole entered the order. Accompanied by Komenski, Vaughan proceeded to Hamburg, thence by himself to Sweden, and subsequently to the Hague, where he initiated Martin de Vriès. A year later he visited Italy, and made acquaintance with Berigard de Pisa. This was a pious pilgrimage which testified his devotion to Faustus Socinus, for Miss Vaughan, on the authority of her documents, regards the Italian heretic, not only as a conscious Satanist, but as the founder of the Rosicrucian Society, and the initiator of Johann Valentin Andreæ, whom he also won over to Lucifer. On his return Thomas Vaughan tarried a short time in France, where he conceived the project of organising Freemasonry as it exists at the present day, and there also it occurred to him that the guilds of the Compagnage might serve him for raw material. When, however, he returned to England, he concluded that the honorary or Accepted Masons, received by the Masonic guilds of England, were better suited to his purpose. Some of these were already Rosicrucians, and among them he set to work. In the year 1644 he presided over a Rosicrucian assembly at which Ashmole was present. At this time also Oliver Cromwell is said to have been an accepted Mason, and it was by his intervention that, a year later, Thomas Vaughan was substituted for the headsman at the execution of Archbishop Laud, for the object already described. It was after his compact with Lucifer that the alchemist wrote the "Open Entrance." His activity in the Rosicrucian cause then became prodigious, and the followers of Socinus, apparently all implicated in the Satanism of their master, began to swell the ranks of the Accepted Masons. At this time also he began his collaborations with Ashmole for the composition of the Apprentice, Companion, and Master grades, that is to say, for the institution of symbolical Masonry. In 1646 he again visited America, and consummated his mystic marriage, as narrated in the eighth chapter. In 1648 he returned to England, and one year later the Master grade, that of Companion having been produced during his absence, but following the indications he had given, by Elias Ashmole. In 1650 he began to issue his Rosicrucian and alchemical writings, namely, Anthroposophia Theomagica and Anima Magica Abscondita, followed by Lumen de Lumine and Aula Lucis in 1651. The Rosicrucian Grand Master Andreæ died in 1654, and was succeeded by Thomas Vaughan, whose next step was the publication of his work, entitled "Euphrates, or the Waters of the East." In 1656 he is said to have published the complete works of Socinus, two folio volumes in the collection, entitled Bibliotheca Fratrum Polonorum. Three years later appeared his "Fraternity of R.C.," and in 1664 the Medulla Alchymiæ. In 1667 he decided to publish the "Open Entrance," the MS. of which was returned to him by the editor Langius after printing, and was subsequently annotated in the way I have previously mentioned. During the early days of the same year Vaughan converted Helvetius, the celebrated physician of the Hague, who in his turn became Grand Master of the Rosicrucian Fraternity. In 1668 he published his "Experiments with Sophic Mercury" and Tractatus Tres, while ten years later, or in 1678, the year of his infernal translation, he produced his edition of "Ripley Revived" and the Enarratio Trium Gebri.
From beginning to end, generally and particularly, the narrative I have summarised above is a gross and planned imposture, nor would any epithets be so severe as to be undeserved by the person who has concocted it, because it does outrage to the sacred dead, in particular to the greatest of the English spiritual mystics, Thomas Vaughan, and to the greatest of the English physical mystics, Eirenæus Philalethes. For the mendacious history confuses two entirely distinct persons—Eugenius and Eirenæus Philalethes. It is true that this confusion has been made frequently, and it is true also that at the beginning of my researches into the archæology of Hermetic literature I was one of its victims, for which I was sharply brought to book by those who knew better. But a young and unassisted investigator, imperfectly equipped, has an excuse which will exonerate him at least from a malicious intention. It is otherwise with a pretended family history. When documents of this kind reproduce blunders which are pardonable to ignorance alone, and upon a subject about which two opinions are no longer possible, it is certain that such documents are not what they claim; in other words, they have been fabricated, and the fabrication of historical papers is essentially a work of malice. Furthermore, when such forgeries impeach persons long since passed to their account, on the score of unheard of crimes, they are the work of diabolical malice, and this is a moderately worded judgment on the case now in hand. Thomas Vaughan, otherwise Eugenius Philalethes, was born in the year 1621 at Newton, in Brecknockshire. The accepted and perfectly correct authority for this statement is the Athenæ Oxonienses of Anthony Wood, but he is not the only authority, and if he be not good enough for Miss Vaughan, she can take in his place the exhaustive researches of the Rev. A. B. Grosart, whose edition of the works of the Silurist Henry Vaughan have probably been neither seen nor heard of by this unwise woman, in the same way that she is ignorant of most essential elements in the matters which she presumes to treat. The authority of a laborious scholar like Dr Grosart will probably be of greater weight than the foul narrative of a Palladian memoir-maker, who has not produced her documents. From this date it follows that in the year 1636 Thomas Vaughan was still in the schoolboy period, not even of sufficient age to begin a college career. He could not, as alleged, have visited Fludd, the illustrious Kentish mystic, in London, nor would he have been ripe for initiation, supposing that Fludd could have dispensed it. In like manner, Andreæ, assuming that he was Grand Master of the Rosicrucians, would not have welcomed a youngster of fifteen years, supposing that in those days he was likely to travel from London to Stuttgart, but would have recommended him to return to his lesson-books. The first voyage to America and all the earlier incidents of the narrative are untrue for the same reason. In place of wandering through Denmark, the Hague, and Sweden, initiating and being initiated, he was drumming through a course at Oxford; in place of pious pilgrimages to the shrine of Socinus, he was preparing to take orders in the English Church, and the narrative which is untrue to his early is untrue also to his later life. After receiving Holy Orders he returned to his native village and took over the care of its souls. He was never a Puritan; he was never a friend of Cromwell; he was a high-churchman and a Royalist, and he was ejected from his living because he was accused by political enemies of carrying arms for the king. He never travelled; on the contrary, he married, at what period is unknown, but his tender devotion to his wife is commemorated on the reverse pages of an autograph alchemical MS. now in the British Museum, which belies furthermore, in every line and word, the Luciferian imposture of the Paris-cum-Yankee documents, by its passionate religious aspiration and its adoring love of Christ.
When Vaughan came up to London, it was as a man who was somewhat out of joint with English, in spite of his Oxford career, because he was a Welsh speaking man, and when he took to writing books, he apologises for his awkward diction. He accentuates also his youth, which would be warrantable at the age of twenty-eight, but would be absurd in a writer approaching forty years. This point may be verified by any one who will refer to my edition of Vaughan's Anthroposophia Theomagica. The works of Thomas Vaughan, besidesAnthroposophia Theomagica, are Anima Magica Abscondita, published in 1650; Magia Adamica 1650, apparently forgotten by the "authentic documents" of Miss Vaughan, as are also "The Man-Mouse" and "The Second Wash, or the Moore scoured once More"—satires on Henry More, written in reply to that Platonist, who had attacked the previous books. These belong to the year 1651, as also does Lumen de Lumine; "The Fame and Confession of the Fraternity R.C." appeared in 1652, not 1659, as the "family history" affirms; Aula Lucis, 1652 (not 1651); and "Euphrates," 1655. What is obvious everywhere in these priceless little books is the devotion of a true mystic to Jesus Christ, and to gift them with the sordid interpretation of a French-born cultus of Lucifer is about as possible as to attribute a Christian intention to the calumnies of Miss Vaughan's documents.
In the year 1665, at the house of the rector of Albury, a chemical experiment with mercury cost the Welsh alchemist his life, and he was buried in the churchyard of that village in Oxfordshire.
It is clear, therefore, that the wonderful archives in the possession of Miss Vaughan give a bogus history of Eugenius Philalethes, but they are also untrue of Eirenæus. It is untrue that this mysterious adept, whose identity has never been disclosed, was born in 1612; he was born some ten years later.
The source of both dates is "The Open Entrance to the Closed Palace of the King"; but that which Miss Vaughan champions is based upon a corrupt reading in a bad version, and she has evidently never seen the original and best of the Latin impressions, that of Langius, though she has the presumption to cite it. That edition establishes that he wrote the treatise in the year 1645, he being then in the twenty-third year of his age—whence it follows that the date of his birth was most probably 1622, and the history with which he is invested by Miss Vaughan is again a misfit; it is putting man's garments on a boy. Furthermore, there is not one item in her statements concerning the "Open Entrance" which is not directly and provably false. It was not printed, as she indicates, under the supervision of the author; it was not printed from the original MS., nor was that MS. returned to Philalethes after it had passed through the press. It is shameful for any person, male or female, however little they may consider their own fair fame, to so far violate the canons of literary honour as to make dogmatic statements concerning a work which they cannot have seen. The preface prefixed to this edition by Langius completely refutes Miss Vaughan. Here is a passage in point:—"Truly who or what kind of person was author of this sweet, must-like work, I know no more than he who is most ignorant, nor, since he himself would conceal his name, do I think fit to enquire so far, lest I get his displeasure." Again—"To pick out the roses from the most thorny bushes of writings, and to make the elixir of philosophers by his own industry, without any tutor, and at twenty-three years of age, this perchance hath been granted to none, or to most few hitherto." Langius, moreover, laments explicitly the fact that he did not print from an original MS. He printed from a Latin translation, the work of an unknown hand, which had come into his possession, as he tells us, from a man who was learned in such matters. Miss Vaughan's pretended autograph, with its despicable marginal readings, is obviously a Latin copy, whatever be its history otherwise. The original was in English, and when Langius was regretting its loss, "a transcript, probably written from the author's copy, or very little corrupted," was in possession of the bookseller William Cooper, of Little Saint Bartholomews, near Little Britain, in the city of London, who published it in the year 1669, to correct the imperfections in the edition of Amsterdam. This transcript also establishes that the "Open Entrance" was penned when the author was in his twenty-third year.
As a matter of fact, Philalethes does not appear to have superintended the publication of any of his writings, and here Miss Vaughan again exhibits her unpardonable ignorance concerning the works with which she is dealing. To prove that her reputed ancestor was alive after the accepted date of Thomas Vaughan's death, she triumphantly observes that in the year 1668 he published his experiments on the preparation of Sophic Mercury and Tractatus Tres. But the latter volume was a piracy, for in his preface to "Ripley Revived" the author expressly laments that two of its three treatises had passed out of his hands, and he feared lest they should get into print, because they were imperfect works preceding the period of solid knowledge which produced the "Open Entrance." Again, so little was he consulted over the appearance of the "Sophic Mercury" that the printer represents it as the work of an American philosopher, whence it has been fathered upon George Starkey.
Eirenæus Philalethes was undoubtedly a great traveller and he visited America, but there is no ground for supposing that he was ever in Italy, and that either he or Thomas Vaughan edited the works of Socinus is an ignorant fiction, for which even Miss Vaughan can find no better warrant than the evasive place of publication which figures on the title-page of the Bibliotheca Fratrum Polonorum, namely, Eirenæopolis. In like manner she erroneously credits him with the authorship of the Medulla Alchemiæ, which is the work of Eirenæus Philoponos Philalethes, otherwise George Starkey.
These facts fully establish the fraudulent nature of Miss Vaughan's family history, by whomsoever it has been devised, and seeing that where it is possible to check it, it breaks down at every point, we need have no hesitation in rejecting the information which it provides in those cases where it cannot be brought to book. The connection of Faustus Socinus with the Rosicrucian Fraternity, as founder, is one instance; this is merely an extension of the imposture of Abbé Lefranc in his "Veil Raised for the Curious," and it rests, like its original, on no evidence which can be traced. Another is the Rosicrucian Imperatorship of Andreæ, and yet another the initiation of Robert Fludd. Again, the connection of Philalethes with John Frederick Helvetius is based on speculation only, and that of Ashmole with the institution of symbolical Masonry has never been more than hypothesis, and not very deserving at that. I regret to add that, on the authority of her bogus documents, Miss Vaughan has given currency to a rumour that the founder of the Ashmolean Museum poisoned his first wife. She deserves the most severe reprobation for having failed to test her materials before she made public this foul slander. Furthermore, in that portion of her materials which is concerned with her family history, she is not above tampering with the sense of printed books. The worshippers of Lucifer are represented as invariably terming their divinity the "good God"—Dieu bon,—or our God—notre Dieu—to distinguish him from the God of the Adonaïtes, and the references made to the Deity by Philalethes in the "Open Entrance" she falsely translates by these Luciferian equivalents, thus creating an impression in the minds of the ignorant that he is not speaking of the true Divinity. After this it will hardly surprise my readers that a pretended translation from a MS. of Gillermet de Beauregard, which she states to be preserved in the archives of the Sovereign Patriarchal Council of Hamburg, is simply stolen from an Instruction à la France sur la vérité de l'Histoire des Frères de la Roze-Croix, by Gabriel Naudé, who ridiculed and reviled the Order. I submit in conclusion that, in view of the facts already elicited, it is not worth while to inquire into the value of the episode concerned with the judicial murder of Archbishop Laud, and to elaborately argue that Oliver Cromwell was the last person in England to be implicated in such a transaction, he, at the period in question, being briskly employed in checkmating his King, who was at Oxford in winter quarters, and having neither the power nor opportunity to meddle with the details of an execution. The incident, in a word, is worth as much and as little as the abominable story of the subsequent pact with Lucifer or the foolery of the mystic marriage.
The critical investigation of Miss Vaughan's alleged documents having led to these results, it remains to be seen how far the other portions of her narrative will bear analysis. So long as she confined the more responsible part of her memoirs to personal experiences in the science of conversion and to the relation of her Eucharistic raptures, the lovers of ardent reading in this order of sensation were the only persons who could lay a complaint against her if she failed to fulfil their requirements. So long also as she fixed the scene of her history in a comparatively remote place, and among men now dead, she was partially protected from exposure, but when she transfers her revelations to England she is treading on dangerous ground, and she has in fact fallen into the pit. She has had the temerity to meddle with the modern history of Rosicrucian societies, and has undertaken to inform her readers after what manner she has come into possession of the rituals of the revived Rosicrucian Order, and her account is specifically untrue. She is undoubtedly acquainted with the grades of the order, but she could have obtained these from more than one published source—as, for example, the late Kenneth McKenzie's "Cyclopædia of Freemasonry," or from my own "Real History of the Rosicrucians." But even if she possess the rituals, she has not come by them in the manner she describes. Her account is as follows:—"The Fraternity of the Rose-Cross comprises nine degrees of initiation—1. Zelator; 2. Theoricus; 3. Practicus (Miss Vaughan writes Praticus, which would be the error of a French person who does not read Latin and not the error of an English or American person as she claims to be); 4. Philosophus; 5. Adeptus Minor, according to the variants of Valentin Andreæ, or Adeptus Junior, according to the variants of Nick Stone (those were the variants of Nick Stone which were ostensibly burned in 1720 by the Grand Master Theophilus Desaguliers, but were not in reality destroyed; transmitted to trusty English brethren, after the death of Desaguliers, they passed from reliable hands to others also reliable, until the reconstitution of the Rose-Cross; for the reconstituted association exists actually in England, Scotland, the United States, and Canada, and those variants of the grades which were made by Nick Stone, are at the present day deposited with Doctor W. W. W., living at Cambden (sic) Road, London, Supreme Magus of the Rose-Cross for England, AT WHOSE HOUSE I HAVE TRANSCRIBED THEM); 6. Adeptus Major; 7. Adeptus Exemptus; 8. Magister Templi; 9. Magus."
Miss Vaughan's literary methods are not exactly captivating, and the enormous parenthesis is hers, but the capitals which close it are mine. The English doctor mentioned is well known to transcendentalists, and he is actually a high-grade Mason; he is also personally well-known to myself. To the best of his recollection he has never at any time met any person terming herself Diana Vaughan. More especially, no such individual has ever called at his house, much less copied any rituals of which he may be in possession. There is therefore only one term by which it is possible to qualify Miss Vaughan in her account of this matter, and if I refrain from applying it, it is more out of literary grace than from considerations of gallantry, for when persons of the opposite sex elect to make themselves odious by gross imposition, they cannot expect to escape the legitimate consequences at the hands of criticism any more than another class of female malefactors will escape on the plea of their sex at the hand of justice.
The subject of Luciferian Freemasonry has been under discussion in the columns of Light long before the appearance of this volume, and a number of transcendentalists, including one of great eminence—Mr Charles Carleton Massey—a few high-grade Masons, and myself, have exposed the pretensions of the French conspiracy. In most cases, and by more than one person, copies of the various issues were sent to Miss Vaughan through her publisher, and if she be not, as I hinted in that journal, the Mrs Harris of Freemasonry, there is little doubt that they reached her like other friendly offerings which she acknowledges in odd corners of her memoirs. It is probably in consequence of the exposures made in Light in connection with others said to have been made recently in Canada that in the eighth number of her memoirs she threatens to turn somewhat desperately on her critics. I understand that the Australian boomerang is a weapon that comes back to its caster, and the vindictive feeling which has prompted Miss Vaughan to a fresh burst of revelation has returned upon herself in a very overwhelming manner. "I am driven, and I will do it," is her position. "I will reveal the English Palladists such as they actually and personally are." And she does so to her own destruction as follows:—
"The actual chief of the English Luciferians is Doctor William Wynn Westcott, living at 396 Cambden Road, London, whom on a previous occasion I mentioned only by his initials. It is he who is the actual custodian of the diabolical rituals of Nick Stone; it is he who is the Supreme Magus of the Socinian Rose-Cross for England." She proceeds to give the names of the Senior and Junior Sub-Magi, the members of the Grand Council, the chiefs of what she terms the Third Luciferian Order, and the Masters of the Temple, otherwise the Metropolitan College. Similar particulars follow concerning the York College, the College of Newcastle-on-Tyne, and that of Edinburgh.
Now, Dr Wynn Westcott is a high-grade Mason, as I have said, and he occupies a professional position of influence and importance; it is clear that a gratuitous attempt to fasten upon him charges of an odious character is an exceedingly evil proceeding and places the person who does so outside all limits of tender consideration. When Miss Vaughan states that Dr Westcott is a Palladist, a diabolist, a worshipper of Lucifer, or however she may elect to distinguish it, I reply that she is guilty of a gross libel, which is at the same time an abominable and cruel falsehood. When she says that she has been received at his house, I reply that she has not been received there, and that Dr Westcott is likely to require better credentials from female visitors than are supplied by the infamous inventions in the "Memoirs of an Ex-Palladist." When Miss Vaughan affirms that she has transcribed Dr Westcott's rituals at the house of Dr Westcott, I reply that this would be an untrue statement if the lady who made it were an intimate friend, and it is doubly untrue when affirmed by a perfect stranger. When Miss Vaughan states that Dr Westcott is the head of a Society which worships Lucifer, I reply that she is speaking falsely of a body concerning which she is in complete ignorance, and when an ignorant person thus attributes evil she or he does not only act foolishly but with exceeding malice. Miss Vaughan is henceforth upon all accounts outside that category of literary honour which makes it possible for criticism to be concerned with her and still preserve its dignity. Lastly, Miss Vaughan alleges that the official appointments made by Dr Westcott as Supreme Magus of the Society in question for the year 1896 were submitted to Adriano Lemmi and approved by him. This allegation is false in toto. Neither in a general nor a special sense is Dr Westcott responsible to Lemmi or to any Italian Freemason; what is more, no personal or written communication has at any time passed between them, and save as a past Grand Master Dr Westcott has never heard of the person to whose commands he is thus supposed to be subject. It will be seen that the baseless nature of this absurd statement involves all others of its kind, and there is no reason to attach the slightest credibility to anything which has been advanced concerning the supreme position of Adriano Lemmi, who, further, himself denies it, and, whatever his past history, is as much entitled to belief as accusers who betray their true character in this unenviable manner.
The Society which has thus been attacked in the person of its Supreme Magus is of singularly unpretending nature, simple as regards its history, and making no claim either to Masonic or Mystical importance. It does not claim or possess a connection with the original Rosicrucian Fraternity. It does not attribute antiquity to the rituals which it uses. It was founded by Robert Wentworth Little, who died in 1878, and has been in existence somewhat less than forty years. Its sole connection with Masonry is that it only initiates Masons. It neither enjoys nor expects recognition from the Grand Lodge of England. It is literary and antiquarian in its object, and came into existence chiefly for the study of the history of Freemasonry and of other secret societies. Its members are required to believe in the fundamental principles of Christian doctrine. The Metropolitan College has only four convocations and one banquet annually; the number of Fratres upon the Roll of Subscribers is fifty-four. It has attracted Masons interested in the antiquities of their craft and has no other sphere of influence. It publishes occasional transactions, the dimensions of which are regulated by an exceedingly modest income. I mention many of these particulars merely to place a check upon exaggerated notions. Some of the provincial Colleges have a larger membership, but they are of precisely the same character. It is not a society of occultists, though, like innumerable other bodies, it counts occultists among its brethren. Finally, no religious cultus of any kind is performed at its meetings, and no woman has ever passed its threshold.
The Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia is Rosicrucian only in its name, as it is Masonic only in its name, and its members are not Miss Vaughan's ex-Frères d'Angleterre.
It is certainly and in all respects necessary that something effectual should be done to curb a slanderous and evil tongue which has the audacity to impress the most sacred feelings of religion into the service of wilful lying. Dr Westcott is not the only English Mason who has suffered the undeserved indignity of gross aspersion from this unclean pen. Another victim is Mr Robert S. Brown, Grand Secretary of the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Scotland, who is also a member of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, and of nearly all Masonic Orders, the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia included. This honourable gentleman is especially recommended by Miss Vaughan to the attention of Catholics in Edinburgh, being the city in which he resides. She describes him as a dangerous sectarian, a veritable sorcerer, and the evil genius of one of her own relatives. She states further that he is an Elect Magus of the Palladium, that he protects Sophia Walder when she visits Scotland, and that he was a great admirer of Phileas Walder, at whose instance he consecrated himself to the demon anti-Christ. In each and all these statements this malicious woman has lied foully. I communicated with Mr Brown on the subject, and hold his written denials, which are at the service of any person who desires to see them. Mr Brown says:—"I am not an Elect Magus of the Palladium. I never to my knowledge saw Miss Walder, and never knew Miss Vaughan, or anyone of the name, man, woman, or child. I never heard Miss Walder named till I received your letter, and never knew of the existence of the Palladian Order, if it does exist, till I saw it mentioned in articles in 'Light' and the 'Freemason's Chronicle' (London) … With reference to the particular statements in this copy of the Mémoires, no doubt the writer has succeeded in getting hold of the facts in most cases as to the official positions of the parties named, which of course are easily obtained; the little details regarding some of us would indicate the presence of an agent in our midst or near at hand. The 'inventions' and most slanderous statements regarding most of us are, however, outrageously false and wicked. My house has never had the honour(!!!) of entertaining Miss Walder or any other lady of like character; it is not a chemical laboratory, and I have never exercised myself in thesemysterious experiences either there or elsewhere. I am a humble member of the Episcopal Church of Scotland, and, I trust, a sincere follower of the Master … I count nearly all the gentlemen named in this vile proclamation among my friends, they are all good men and true, and I hope to associate with them for many years to come. I most emphatically deny the vile aspersions cast on their characters and my own, and you have my full authority to do so as far as the same may serve your purpose." My readers will agree that the clear and temperate statement of Mr R. S. Brown brands Diana Vaughan with indelible disgrace in the eyes of the civilised world.
There is a limit to the necessity of exposure, but should Miss Vaughan manifest any desire to have further instances of her mis-statements I will undertake to supply them. I will only add here in conclusion my personal opinion that Miss Vaughan has not been for any length of time a resident in an English-speaking country, much less can she have received, as it is alleged by some of her friends, an American education. The proof is that she makes characteristic French blunders over English names. Thus, we have Cambden on each occasion for Camden, Wescott for Westcott; we have baronnet for baronet,Cantorbéry for Canterbury, Kirkud-Bright for Kirkcudbright; we have hybrid combinations like Georges Dickson, impossibilities like Tiers-Ordre Luciferien d'Honoris Causa, and numerous similar instances.
To behold "Diana unveiled" was equivalent in alchemical terminology to attaining the magnum opus. The reputed author of the "New Light of Alchemy" testifies that some persons had in his own day and to his certain knowledge attained this supreme privilege. It is not of my own seeking if in another sense I have made public the same spectacle, and thus broken with the traditions of secret science. It would have been preferable from one point of view to have discovered Lucifer behind the mask of Masonry than to have found the conspiracy against it another Tableau des Inconstances des Démons in which the infidelité et mécreance connected with the old false witness, abound after a manner undreamed of by Bodin and Wierus, for it is distinctly disconcerting to think that a great church is so little honoured by her combatants and converts.
It only remains to state, and I do so with extreme reluctance, that the evidence of Signor Domenico Margiotta, which seems so strong in itself, can only be accepted, as we have seen, in connection with the credibility of Miss Vaughan, and as this has completely broken down, we cannot do otherwise than regard that part of his evidence which is concerned with Palladism as the narrative of a person who has been very seriously misled. And I think he has otherwise shown us that he is not a judicious critic of the materials which have come into his hands. He should never, for example, have printed his list of Palladian Lotus Lodges—so far as regards Great Britain, it is undeniably a false list. Take that of Edinburgh as a typical instance. Mr Brown, who has every opportunity of knowing, tells me there is absolutely no truth in the statement that there is in Edinburgh a Mother, or any, Lodge of the Palladian Order. "Neither is there a Triangular Province—whatever that may mean—such as is described. All is absolutely false."