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JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 





j, j , 




JAMES JOHN 
GARTH WILKINSON; 

A MEMOIR OF HIS LIFE, WITH A 
SELECTION FROM HIS LETTERS; 



BY 



CLEMENT JOHN WILKINSON. 



" The things which are seen are temporal : 
the things which are not seen are eternal." 



LONDON 
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNER & CO., LTD. 

DRYDKN HOUSE, 43 GERRARD STREET, W. 
1911 



'is- 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

PAGE 

BIOGRAPHY 1 



CHAPTER II 

THE SWEDENBORGIAN . . . . .152 

CHAPTER III 

HOMOEOPATHY AND KINDRED DEBATABLE 

MATTERS ...... 243 

CHAPTER IV 

APPRECIATIONS 284 

INDEX . . 801 



492951 



JAMES JOHN 
GARTH WILKINSON 



CHAPTER I 

BIOGRAPHY 

THE following fragment of autobiography was written 
by Dr Wilkinson in 1872, but the task unfortunately 
was abandoned or postponed. 

James John Garth Wilkinson was born in Acton 
Street, Gray's Inn Lane, London, on the 3rd of June 
1812 ; the eldest of the family of James John 
and Harriet Wilkinson ; his father of Durham, 
his mother of Sunderland. 1 His childhood was for 
the most part spent in that neighbourhood, and he 
played in the urban fields in which Acton Street 
at that time ended. 

1 He was the eldest of eight children born to his parents. His 
father came ultimately of Danish stock, and descended from a 
professional family, whose arms (originally granted to one Lawrence 
Wilkinson in 1615) still figure in the Town Hall of the City of 
Durham. John James Wilkinson was a Special Pleader, and in 
that capacity numbered at one time five Judges among his former 
pupils ; he was also for many years himself Judge of the Palatine 
County Court in his native city, holding his jurisdiction from the 
Prince Bishops of that day. Mrs Wilkinson, nee Robinson, had 
among her ancestors the Penn family, whence spring the founder 
of Pennsylvania. 

1 



S JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

Notwithstanding the care of a tender mother, his 
childhood was full of dark shadows, partly from his 
own nature, partly arising from those around him. 
From his earliest recollection the thought of death 
pursued him ; chiefly the thought of the dead, which 
had been wrought into the fears excited by the 
horrible tales told him by the servants. These 
fears grew with his growth, and the anticipation 
of the darkness of night made the days wretched. 
This dread is the chief recollection of the days next 
to infancy. He was always afraid in his little walks 
of seeing some dead body carried in the streets. 
Opposite the window in Acton Street, in an enclosed 
field, there were fresh ox-skins hanging ; these 
made a terrible impression for long. And once, 
in a journey to Sunderland by coach, among some 
nettles at the back of the hotel, he thinks at 
Grantham, he encountered a dead rat, and fell in 
fear among the nettles ; and was found, and brought 
to the coach. As time went on, the craving thought 
of the day was, how long the piece of candle allowed 
to go to sleep by should be. He generally outwatched 
the longest pieces, buried under the bedclothes. 
He was weak and ailing through his childhood. 

From a dear religious mother he got no consolation ; 
nothing that took away superstitious terrors, or 
reconciled death with nature. His grandmother, 
Mrs Robinson of Sunderland, and his aunt, Mary 
Robinson, did their best to answer his questions, 



BIOGRAPHY 3 

but the grave and its belongings were not to be 
disposed of. The horrors instilled into his mind 
by servants reigned supreme. Beyond the coffin 
and the vault no tale reached home to his heart. 

The second woe of Acton Street was the parting 
from home in the morning to go to day-school 
in Gray's Inn Lane. It was an overwhelming 
sorrow, and lasted more or less all his schooldays. 
The contrast between grandmother and aunt and 
the rest of the world was unspeakably great and 
painful. And his shame was excessive at the red eyes 
which he took to school. The fear of the red eyes 
was the chief handle that could be used to quiet him. 

These are the main points remembered : early 
affections tender, and reared in a hothouse to boot ; 
and ghastly and ghostly fears from within and from 
without. One other recollection. 

As a child he had a fatal facility of picking up bad 
words from the boys in the street, without in the 
least taking their meaning ; and the occasional 
repetition of these at home entailed upon him 
severe punishment, sometimes exclusion from the 
family for several days. He remembers the bitter- 
ness of his mother coming into the little front parlour 
where he was confined with the servant, and not 
speaking to him, or allowing him to speak, because 
he had been wicked with his tongue. The remem- 
brance, which may be a mistake, is as of a long 
period of durance. 



4 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

He must have had pleasures during this period 
of his life ; but he does not recall them. For the 
rest, the circumstances remembered were poor 
enough, and the home comforts, and the home sweet- 
ness and cleanliness were far below what nurseries 
and children of the middle class at this day enjoy. 
Little eyes and noses are critical, and lay up as 
memories the smells and sights that are not proper, 
and protest against them inwardly, even though 
they have had no other experience to go by. 

During these years he was taken to Sunderland 
by his aunt and grandmother, and well remembers 
the start in the coach from the great inn-yard, 
name forgotten (Saracen's Head ?), near Holborn 
Hill. There were boys going to a Yorkshire school 
as inside passengers, and when they had cried 
themselves to sleep, they slid down to the bottom 
of the coach. At Islington, passing the sheep pens 
there, he looked out, and asked if it was Sunderland. 
The journey for two or three days and nights con- 
tinuously was a new world, and he remembers hill 
and dale, kind gentlemen on the way, the Yorkshire 
mountains in the right hand distance, tender interest 
in the little Yorkshire schoolboys, and on the last 
morning, the low stone walls on entering Sunder- 
land, and then great aunt Maria Blakiston running 
by the coach- side for some distance before the coach 
reached its destination. 

He does not know if this was his only early visit 



BIOGRAPHY 5 

to Sunderland ; but if it was he might be seven 
years old, and he spent a year with his aunt and 
grandmother in the North. 

But he is probably anticipating. Before the year 
in Sunderland the family removed from Acton 
Street to a better house in the New Road, No. 8 
Seymour Place, opposite to where New St Pancras 
Church now stands, but which at that time was a 
region of nursery gardens, extending nearly from 
Battle Bridge (now King's Cross) to Tottenham 
Court Road. Here he remembers some of the 
births of his brothers and sisters. He now went 
to school to the Misses Norgate in Burton Street, and 
for the first time, as it appears, had other children 
for friends and companions. He calls to mind 
no learning, but friendly schoolroom battles, side 
against side, in which the little combatants rushed 
shouting at each other, and the shock was glorious 
to relate at home. One incident fixed itself, and 
was not understood. A governess in Miss Norgate's 
school in a fit of anger cut off all her own hair. 

Next he went to school to Miss Grover, living 
in a street off Euston Square, whose father was 
Master of the St Pancras National Schools. Some- 
times his father took him and his brother William 
on Sunday after church to the National School, 
and placed them in class there, and he felt surprise 
and sense of power in the multitude of boys assembled. 
At Miss Grover's for the first time he began to learn, 



6 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

and to like learning ; and at the end of one half year 
he received for prize a silver pencil case which then, 
as now, was like no other silver pencil case. It 
can be recollected without an effort, which is not 
the case with others. Miss Grover was a neat, 
trim, kind young lady, both precise and persuasive, 
and he well remembers the sweetness of her influence ; 
he saw her the day before her death a year or two 
ago, still fine, trim and sweet, unspoilt by her passage 
through the world, and little changed by her clean 
old age. 

All this time the ghastly fears went on, and dreams, 
nothing in themselves, influenced the years. One 
dream was full of mortality. It was a dream of a 
procession of swans, a funeral procession, as it were, 
walking funereal plumes, coming down the New Road, 
and entering a great vaulted cathedral with tombs 
around. The spirit of death was strong in the dream. 
Another experience of sleep was not a dream but a 
sensation as of infinity in the substance of the 
brain ; a feeling of the sands of infinity ; from 
what he now knows a kind of anatomical feeling 
of the pulp of the brain itself acted upon by some 
subtle overwhelming influence, which gave no pain, 
but was soft, smooth, and horrible to bear and to 
remember. It occurred now and then, and he 
generally woke with it, for if it had lasted it seemed 
as if it must destroy him. In his waking hours 
about this time, once for several days, he had the 



BIOGRAPHY 7 

impression of having committed the sin against 
the Holy Ghost, and the misery of being inconsolable 
by his dear mother, aunt, and grandmother, of being 
beyond their kind boundaries in his thought, was 
bewildering. This state soon passed away under 
their kind ministrations. 

Another strange thing was that being for his age a 
good penman the pencil case, he thinks, was for pen- 
manship he wrote on ruled lines in a little book 
prayers to the Devil, full of bad words ; he felt 
powerfully moved to write them, and a sense of 
independence in the act. These peculiarities are 
nearly all that stands out at this time. The fatal 
swans, the smooth horror rolling in his head during 
sleep, the despair of unpardonable sin, and the doing 
what he liked in the prayers to the wicked one. 
Straws of influences and nothing more, but they 
seemed then as now to belong to the life of life. 

Probably he was taken from Miss Grover's ex- 
cellent eye, to make the journey to Sunderland 
already mentioned. The year passed in the North 
was the first year of remembered pleasures ; the 
aunt and grandmother were at Sunderland, and he 
was their boy. He was there placed at school, and 
being an exceedingly timid and shamefaced boy, he 
held his own with great difficulty among other boys ; 
they perceived his want of resistance, and invaded 
it, as boys do by their law of pressure, without mercy. 
He recollects learning nothing but the multiplication 



8 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

table ; with one horrible exception, dancing. Having 
no ear for music, and unbounded shame about his 
own person, utter absence of ease or pleasure even in 
the movement of walking before others, dancing was 
a degradation unspeakable. It revolted him. The 
fear of being let into it made it impossible to get him 
to children's parties, where it might occur, and where 
also games of forfeits in which some penalty of action, 
such as kneeling in the middle of a room, might be 
demanded of him. His greatest trial in Sunderland 
was the ball of the dancing school at the Assembly 
Rooms, round which were ranged parents and friends 
in appalling numbers. He had to take part in one 
dance, and his face, and body, and arms, and legs 
were all made of shame ; he just lived through it. 
No one knew what it cost, or how little his degrada- 
tion of nature could be consoled or reached from 
without. The deepest depth of it all was that in the 
whole matter he was in partnership, forced partner- 
ship, with little girls, who were beings he could not 
understand ; he was so ashamed of them and of 
himself. He is not quite sure that the " soft smooth 
horror " of his sleep was not the spirit of all these 
shames ; the gulf by which they got into his brains. 
But he had also more boyish experiences in the 
North, and occasionally took part with the rough 
lads of whom the school consisted in raids and forays 
in the town. The sense of the power of gathered 
boys, their numbers, their mighty shouting, excited 



BIOGRAPHY 9 

and delighted him. It was as a unit, when eyes 
seemed turned on him, that his weakness came. 

At holiday times, and on half holidays, he used to 
go to Ryhope, to his grandmother's cottage there, 
where he was completely happy. The milk-boys on 
donkeys, seated between two barrels of milk, came 
in from Ryhope to Sunderland, and, whenever he 
was permitted, he rode back with Jemmy Bone, the 
son of his grandmother's tenant, between the empty 
barrels, and spent the night at dear Ryhope. The 
farmyard, the granary, the straw-loft, the little 
garden full of gooseberry bushes with a high stone 
wall round it, Ryhope pond, the largest inland water 
he had seen, a long strip of water deeply and 
mysteriously abutting on fenced fields, mysteriously 
because who could imagine the depth there, and with 
many swallows playing over it, all these were adequate 
blessings to his childhood. The road through a gate 
of whale jaw-bones along beautiful lanes to the 
Tunstall Hills, to a small property of his father's 
called Holichar Sides ; the walk to Ryhope Dean, 
the most romantic spot he had then seen, and the 
little village of Seaham ; and the path from the 
bottom of the village of Ryhope to the sea, are still 
his most precious memories of scenery. 

The picnic of picnics happened to him in this year ; 
his father was at Sunderland, and a large party of 
ladies and gentlemen went along the coast towards 
Castle Eden in a covered van ; a merry and uproarious 



10 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

party. At the destination he strayed away among 
the fells, and there found mountain bushes, junipers, 
and other plants of such regions, which were as parts 
of a new world to him. And on the same day in a 
rocky cove he came upon a moored boat, and got 
into it, when it went out to sea to the length of its 
rope, and the situation, with its beauty of clear depth 
of water, seemed and always will seem the beginning 
of adventure. The number of new things in the 
world this day, and the largeness of them, surprised 
him. He found to his inexpressible satisfaction that 
there were such places as wilds. It was like being 
let into a large property which made the former 
poverty apparent. 

This day stands out. And also in this year another 
of the Bones, in the summer evenings, used to take 
his gun, and go out with the boy to shoot small birds 
in the hedges ; " yellow yowlies " sometimes, and 
even blackbirds. His delight in a gun was very 
great ; it was the most beautiful of objects, the 
possession of it betokening manhood. He was fond 
to a degree of having and admiring the dead birds ; 
he loved them, and had no idea of wrong done them ; 
and though he knew they were killed, he had never 
been told there was inhuman cruelty in the act, and 
so he loved to see them shot, and loved them after- 
wards. The passion for a gun went all through his 
boyhood, though he had none of the physical 
faculties which make a sportsman. It was the first 



BIOGRAPHY 11 

romance of the power of skilful destruction ; the 
penetration with this into beautiful parts of nature ; 
and the possession of the coy birds unwilling to be 
acquired. There must have been a good many 
young passions in it or it could not have been so 
fascinating. 

These small pieces of memory are nearly all that 
survives of this delightful year, in which he was sur- 
rounded by grandmother and aunts and great aunts, 
and at home as he had never been before. One dear 
old friend of the family, Miss Ridley, of Villiers 
Street, Sunderland, was equal to any of his relations 
in her kindness, and the jargonel pear-tree in her 
garden was a part of her sweetness. Old Molly and 
younger Betty, her servants, were among his best 
kindred, and they so conceited him that he used to 
deliver long and loud addresses caught from the scant 
politics of the parlour, from the kitchen dresser. He 
thinks they were either for or against Queen Caroline ; 
but that is doubtful. No stream of this public 
speaking has entered into his later life. He was 
evidently a very timid, shamefaced boy, with strong 
feelings and vivid words when they dared to come out; 
and very very ignorant of control except by timidity, 
and of the consequences to himself or others when he 
let his passions and actions go free. 

His maternal great granny died when he was at 
Sunderland, and this fed his fear of death, which 
otherwise abated during this year, because grand- 



12 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

mother or aunt were always near him, awake and 
asleep. He could not be got into the house where 
his good old ancestor's body lay. 

At last a strange morning came at Ryhope, a 
morning known for some time to be coming. He 
was to go back to his parents in London. That 
morning he was indulged with loving indulgence, 
and granny and Aunt Mary were with him heart and 
soul to the last. He plucked a blue Iris bud I see 
it now from the little front garden of the cottage ; 
and then the coach from Sunderland to London 
stopped at the gate ; he was given into some old 
gentleman's charge, and he remembers nothing 
more but that he commended him for the journey, 
guarded his lily for him, and I suppose took him 
home to Seymour Place. He does not recall the 
meeting at home, in which he sank into one of several ; 
his mother was ever dear and warm; but his aunt 
and granny had become his mother. 

Shortly after this he met his brother, William 
Martin Wilkinson ; he was staying in the country, I 
think at Perry Hill, and he was taken thither ; the 
meeting was in a field. He had looked forward to it 
ignorantly but with desire ; and when they had 
rushed into each other's arms, he was amazed that 
he could not speak, and was crying. It struck him 
as so odd that he was crying, and yet so happy to 
have his brother. 

He might now be about nine years old, and there 



BIOGRAPHY 13 

were four or five sisters and brothers of them at 
home. 

Here the fragment of autobiography comes to an 
end, before the middle of that period in each life 
which is particularly sparse of preserved details. 
It does not present a picture of happy childhood ; 
without indicating anything morbid in the child, it 
suggests self-analysis and introspection, though these 
qualities were in reality perhaps the thoughts of 
adult life unconsciously transferred back to the events 
and times which they concerned. 

It must have been soon after his return from 
Sunderland that the boy was sent a large private 
school at Mill Hill, kept by Messrs Thorowgood and 
Wood, who moved, during his pupilage, to Totteridge 
in Hertfordshire. The few letters of this date which 
have been preserved are mainly interesting by reason 
of requests for books from home. The boy thanks 
his father for having sent him Milton's poems. " I 
am sorry to say that Mr Thorowgood opened the 
parcel and took " Roderick Random " away, because 
he did not think it proper for me to read." He asks 
at various times for Seele's " Analysis of the Greek 
Metres," Anacreon's odes, " The Lady of the Lake," 
"The Lay of the Last Minstrel," Campbell's 
"Theodoric" and "The Pleasures of Hope," also 
for Sir William Jones' poems. He is taking in Lord 
Byron's poems as they appeared in serial numbers, 
and speaks of spending some of the money which he 



14 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

brought with him in books. In 1826 he gained a 
prize for a poem of one hundred and sixty lines upon 
" Babylon," and copies out all but sixteen lines, 
" which were no great beauty to it," for his father. 
This success justifies the requests for poets and gives 
evidence of some early taste for versification, interest- 
ing in view of his later production of Improvisations 
of the Spirit. He appears to have had some dealings 
with chemicals, as he was fined for burning his coat 
with sulphuric acid. He lost his mother in 1825. 
His frequent and long visits to his grandmother and 
aunts at Ryhope, had made him little of a " mother's 
boy," but her early death practically ended Garth 
Wilkinson's knowledge of home life until he made a 
home for himself on his marriage. He left Totteridge 
with a very favourable report in 1829. He main- 
tained a friendship with Mr Thorowgood until the 
death of that gentleman in 1860. On parting with 
his pupil, Mr Thorowgood said : " Now mind you, 
you keep up your Latin, you'll want it," a prophetic 
remark to one who was to spend much labour in 
translating the Latin of Swedenborg. 

The boy was now sixteen, and had probably made 
as good progress in classics and English literature 
as could be expected from one of his years. The 
time had come for him to choose a career. " Now, 
James, I want you to choose your profession," said 
his father. " I want to be a lawyer," the boy 
answered. " I don't think that would suit you," 



BIOGRAPHY 15 

was the reply. " I have already made arrangements 
for you to be with Mr Leighton at Newcastle, to 
be a surgeon." The advice of parents was apt 
to be peremptory in 1829 ; but the medical pro- 
fession specially demands self-devotion and aptitude ; 
and it cannot be regarded as anything but a dangerous 
experiment to throw a young and sensitive lad on 
to its avenues not only without, but even against, 
his expressed wishes. 

Thomas Leighton was senior surgeon to the 
Infirmary of Newcastle-on-Tyne. The bond for 
the performance of covenants, etc., set forth in an 
Indenture of Apprenticeship, was signed by Mr 
Wilkinson, senior, on June 4, 1828, that being, 
as it happened, the day following Garth Wilkinson's 
sixteenth birthday. 

His experience as a medical student, under 
apprenticeship and in hospital, was almost contem- 
porary with those of Albert Smith's " Mr Ledbury " 
and Dickens' Bob Sawyer and Ben Allen. He 
has left no details of them ; but it is plain that, 
as the pupil of a senior surgeon to one of the best 
of the provincial hospitals, he would act as his 
master's " dresser " and be brought into practical 
contact with such surgical work as was done in those 
pre-antiseptic and pre-ansesthetic days ; his other 
duties consisted, no doubt, of drug- compounding 
and of bleeding, and otherwise treating those whom 
his master could delegate to a pupil. Whatever he 



16 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

saw and did at this time, and for long afterwards, 
had little effect in reconciling the child who suffered 
daily and nightly terrors over the apparatus and 
mystery of death to the practice of surgery or 
medicine as boy or man. 1 Wilkinson, as he himself 
said, at a much later date, was " schooled to bear 
a dresser's part in the wards and in the operations 
known and practised in that day, but hated them. 
He knows what surgery means. From his very entry 
into the shop of the Old Way, he never believed in 
the good or truth of promiscuous drugging." It 
was not until many years afterwards, when he had 
embraced Homoeopathy, that he could say that 
" he loves the healing art of which Homoeopathy is 
the present crown," or that he could write : 2 

" What is best, I take a leading interest in my 
dear Medicine, and especially in Homoeopathy, and I 
reckon myself truly fortunate to be able at length 
to connect my mind to my daily work ; and to see 
in the latter a most ample field for the exercise of 
my thoughts." 

But the routine education of an unwilling pupil 
left him ever hostile to the Profession into which 
it introduced him. Swedenborg prepared him 



1 Some idea of the disgust which the hospital routine of the early 
nineteenth century inspired in one who was destined to become a 
surgeon of world-wide reputation, can be gathered from Syme's 
Address on Surgery, delivered before the British Medical Association 
in 1865. 

8 Letter to Mr Henry James, November 14, 1852. 



BIOGRAPHY 17 

for Homoeopathy, and Homoeopathy taught him to 
love the healing art; but in 1870, when he was a 
registered practitioner of thirty -six years' standing, 
he wrote his pamphlet " A Free State and Free 
Medicine," advocating, in his own words, universal 
discharterment of medical bodies, and an embracive 
penal code for illegitimate operations and deadly 
drugging : every mortal operation and fee, to be 
the subject of (? for) a jury. 

In 1832 he came back to London, " walked " 
Guy's Hospital for two years, and qualified as 
Member of the Royal College of Surgeons and 
Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries in June 
1834. He was granted the degree of M.D., honoris 
causa, by the University of Philadelphia in 1853. 
Once qualified in his profession, the necessity for 
maintaining himself became pressing, and the 
young surgeon lost no time in setting to work. He 
found this first as a locum tenens at Aylesbury. 

This engagement was necessarily a temporary 
one, and on November 9, 1835 we find Garth 
Wilkinson, helped by loans from his grandmother 
and his maternal uncle, William Sewell, at the 
Veterinary College, establishing himself as an 
independent medical practitioner at 13 Store Street, 
Bedford Square. The position of a medical man 
in private practice differed then from that which 
he at present enjoys ;, it was more that of an 
apothecary than of a physician. Though called 



18 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

upon to diagnose the diseases of his patients, and 
charging for these services a small fee for attendance, 
the greater part of his profits lay in dispensing his 
own prescriptions and in selling drugs and plasters 
over the counter of his " front shop " : the " back- 
parlour " was often at once a consulting-room and 
living room. The system was an unsatisfactory 
one : for the patient, because it exposed him to 
the necessity of swallowing drenches and boluses 
in large numbers and quantity ; for the practitioner 
in general, because it concentrated his interest and 
attention upon routine prescribing and petty profit ; 
for Garth Wilkinson in particular, because he, as we 
know, " never believed in the good or truth of 
promiscuous drugging." But it was the custom 
of that day ; and a man without capital, influence, 
or academic distinction was in no position to upset 
or defy it. 

But, while we have been following the education 
and outset of our young medico, some extra- 
professional events had occurred which were to 
exercise strong and lifelong influence upon the 
development of his character and the nature of his 
work. One of the brothers of his mother lived 
at Woodford in Essex, and he was a devout reader 
and follower of Emanuel Swedenborg. On a visit 
to this uncle, Mr George Robinson, Garth Wilkinson 
received his first introduction to the voluminous 
writings of the great Swedish mystic. Little as he 



BIOGRAPHY 19 

or his introducer could guess it, the initiation was 
an event far reaching both for the man and the 
doctrines. For the neophyte it was the opening 
of conscious spiritual life, the first rapt sight of 
possibilities for himself and his fellows ; possi- 
bilities to the development and promulgation of which 
he was himself to devote the longest hours and 
deepest thoughts of a long life of deep thinking and 
earnest humble work. For the doctrine it was 
light and expression. For two generations of time 
the writings had lain buried in a dead language, 
under an accumulation of neglect all but universal. 
The time was ready for their resuscitation, and the 
man who could effect their freedom appeared. If 
genius is the coincidence of the hour and the man, 
a Swedenborgian genius was then engendered. It 
was here, too, and almost at the same time, that 
Swedenborg's champion met the companion who 
was to comfort and encourage him along the path 
which was opening before them all unwitting. 
Miss Emma Anne Marsh, daughter of Mr William 
Marsh, of Diss, Norfolk, was governess to Mr 
Robinson's family. The meeting, late in 1833, 
was at once recognized as momentous by the young 
man, and two years later he was to learn that he 
shared the recognition with her. There was the 
inevitable pleasing torment of doubts and fears, 
but on December 12, 1835, an engagement was 
entered into and announced. It is not difficult 



20 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

to think that the two events were complement al. 
So at least thought one of the contracting parties. 
Writing on the second anniversary of the engage- 
ment, he says : 

" This gloomier end of the year is now memorable 
to me for two remarkable circumstances of my 
life ; I mean my betrothing to thee, and my 
acquaintance with the writings of Swedenborg ; two 
events which, occurring almost in the same month, 
have something spiritually of connexion with each 
other. I can most truly say that I wish my reception 
of both of you to be constantly progressing ; I 
don't feel in either case that my affections are 
lessened; I do not find that a nearer inspection 
dissipates the fair things I have admired in both ; 
and I do pray that we may be enabled to live over 
the glorious things which are held out to us in those 
books of which I hope we have something of a 
common admiration." 

From the time of his engagement to Miss Marsh, 
letters passed between the fiances at nominally 
weekly intervals, though there were not seldom 
occurrences which made even more frequent com- 
munication seem necessary. This long series of 
letters (for they were not married until January 
4, 184*0) would make it possible to construct a 
diary of Garth Wilkinson's doings, hopes and fears, 
and of many of his thoughts and aspirations. The 
fluctuations of practice, pecuniary anxiety, his social 



BIOGRAPHY 21 

pleasures, his early literary labours, his judgments 
of men and measures, are all set down in this journal 
intime; but what concerns us more is the evidence 
which it contains of growing character. The early 
letters are those of a young man, little more than a 
boy truly in love 

Just for the obvious human bliss, 
To satisfy life's daily thirst 
With a thing men seldom miss. 

But as the time goes by, responsibility and work, 
professional and literary, each piece done honestly, 
ponderings over the pages he translates, and over 
the Introductions which he writes, do their work. 
Some of the toil would have been sordid and souring 
to one less in earnest ; but we see the writer of 
pretty and sincere love-letters developing into the 
strong loving man, just and firm of purpose, tender 
to his fellows but hateful of the evil which comes 
between them and their Maker : self reliant but 
humble. It is a process which does not lend itself 
to illustration by quoted passages, but the change 
is writ plain in the letters and could scarcely fail 
to be discerned. 

It is not clear whether the purchase of the lease 
of 13 Store Street carried with it the goodwill of a 
medical predecessor, or whether the venture was a 
breaking of new ground. In either case, the amount 
of work to be found was small, at first very small ; 



22 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

and there was ample time for other occupations 
not incompatible with waiting for patients. 
Wilkinson's mind was now fully engaged in the 
study of Swedenborg's writings, and he was already 
in touch with the Swedenborgian Society. He 
began a course of reading in his many spare hours, 
and gives an account of himself at the British Museum 
Reading Room of that day. 1 

" Fancy to yourself three very large and splendid 
rooms, equalling the King's library in the whole 
length of the suite, and filled with all the thinking, 
literary, and antiquarian faces in London, with deep 
silence prevailing over the whole assembly, and you 
will have a picture of a curious kind. 'Tis like a 
huge schoolroom, where all the (old) boys are really 
bent on improvement, each man having before him 
some huge old tome, and in general a notebook, into 
which he is transcribing the cream of wisdom." He 
appears impressed by the example of his seniors, to 
have opened his studies in a " History of Philosophers," 
and marked that all were mentioned but Swedenborg. 

His zeal for the cause, and his evident desire to 
spend his energies in furthering it, soon led to his 
obtaining a commission from the Swedenborgian 
Society for a translation from the Latin of their 
master. It was a huge piece of work : the translator 
passed through the usual stages of hope, despair, of 
plodding and feverish work. These moods are reflected 

1 Letter to Miss E. A. Marsh, August 8, 1836. 



BIOGRAPHY 33 

in his correspondence. At one time he writes, " I am 
now quite certain that authorship is not my forte : 
nay, that it is not possible to me " ; at another, " I 
have been steadily and methodically getting on with 
the Translation of the ' Doctrine of Charity,' the 
corrected copy of which I have now half finished. I 
think I improve in translating ; and especially in 
gradually gaining a finer perception of the minutiae 
of meaning in the author's Latin ; for there are many 
things which a person might never know, without 
being detected in any grievous omission, but which, if 
he does know, will gradually give a finished accuracy 
and an air of refined meaning, which the reader will 
feel, if he does not intellectually detect it. Such are 
the renderings of many little words, and many short 
arms of sentences, which frequently occur, and which 
have always been stumbling-blocks. I think I am 
now getting a few formulas in my head for some of 
them, and when I have done this I can readily and 
rapidly apply my knowledge." 

He worked, through good cheer and evil cheer, to 
such purpose that, having already published his trans- 
lation of the " Last Judgment " and " Fall of Babylon," 
in November 1839 he is correcting at the same time 
proofs of a volume of his own translation of the 
" Arcana Ccelestia " and of a volume of the " Doctrine 
of Charity " in Swedenborg's original Latin. Even 
before the latter was published, he was contemplat- 
ing a new and amended edition of it; and had 



24 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

also laid out for himself another heavy piece of 
work. 

" 1 I have set myself another task ; and, not without 
invoking the Divine Blessing. I have actually com- 
menced it ; and am determined to ' do or die.' This 
task is, the translation into English of Swedenborg's 
great work entitled ' Regnum Animale ' or Animal 
Kingdom ! It contains seven hundred closely printed 
quarto pages, and I shall be about three years in 
completing it ; but when I have, I trust, if I work 
with a good end (the end is all), I shall have shown 
that God intended a use to His children even through 
me, and in manifestly becoming such an instrument, 
and in most humbly becoming so, lies the only, the 
greatest, glory which can belong to anyone, to woman 
or to man. I calculate upon doing a page a day, and 
I hope you will sit beside me and encourage me to my 
duty. I do not intend to be in a hurry about it, nor 
yet in an apathy. . . . The advantages will be great 
(as to money, probably, in the first instance, none). 
They will be, first, disconnected from self, the boon to 
the English Public, and especially the Medical Pro- 
fession, of the greatest and noblest work on Human 
Physiology which has ever appeared in the world ; 
and the disposing men's minds thereby to look up- 
ward to the still more glorious truths which the author 
of the work was the instrument of dispensing. 
Nothing can be better calculated to effect this, than 

1 Letter to Miss Marsh, October 8, 1839. 



BIOGRAPHY 25 

the ' animal kingdom.' It has solidity and depth, 
beauty, philosophy, Reverence and Fact ! and all 
these things in the highest degree. The advantages 
to me will be, that the translating of the work will 
lead me through the whole field of Physiology (the 
most important one in medicine) as disclosed in this 
and in many other authors ; and this will make me 
a far more able professor of medicine. It will give 
me a perfect facility in reading and knowing the 
Latin language, and even some power of writing it, if 
need be. It will make me a fair English writer, and 
accustom me to the model of the finest writer of any 
age or country. And it will give me a certain stand- 
ing among the men of letters in the land, if I do it well. 
Then, the greatest and first and last of reasons, I 
shall be fulfilling a use for which, since He gave me 
the power, I may think that the Lord designed me. I 
am going on, therefore, and go on I will." 

The work was begun in a high spirit ; it was one 
which it needed high spirit to attack. It was longer 
and harder than he who undertook it knew ; but he 
finished it, and it was duly published in 1843. 

But these were not to be the first fruits from Garth 
Wilkinson's pen to reach the public eye. 

In 1838, Mr Charles Augustus Tulk, then Member 
of Parliament for Poole, lent Mr Wilkinson a copy of 
William Blake's " Songs of Innocence and of Ex- 
perience," a copy of William Blake's own making. 
The " Songs," issued in many a modern series of 



S6 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

English classics, are now to be found on many book- 
shelves, and in many memories ; but in 1838 they 
existed only in the prints struck off from the copper 
upon which Blake had himself engraved in relief both 
the text and the marginal illustrations. Of the 
thirty pence which Blake and his wife owned for their 
sole resource, on one occasion, twenty-two were spent 
in the purchase of materials for the first impressions. 
Surely determination to be heard could no further 
go. The delicacy and spiritual simplicity of the 
" Songs " made a deep impression on Garth Wilkinson, 
who was himself to do somewhat similar work in his 
Improvisations from the Spirit. His brother 
William, holding no lower opinion, came forward 
with the necessary funds ; subscribers were sought 
high and low ; a preface was written, and the edition 
(the first printed, in the usual sense of the word), a 
thin cloth-bound octavo, was published jointly by 
Pickering and Newbery on July 9, 1839. It consists 
of twenty-one pages of preface and seventy-four pages 
of text. It is a little book, which now finds a big 
welcome from bibliophiles. Mr Gilchrist had diffi- 
culty in obtaining it in 1860, when nearly thirty 
shillings was its usual price. At five times that sum 
it may be sought for in vain to-day ; but its editor 
thought himself fortunate to introduce it to his 
generation without loss. In his preface, after de- 
tailing the then known facts of Blake's life, our 
young author sets himself to examine the spiritual 



BIOGRAPHY 37 

claims of his poet. He falls foul of Allan Cunningham, 
who roughly classed them as delusions. He says, 
" In thus condemning the superficial canons by which 
Blake has been judged, it is far indeed from our in- 
tention to express any approbation of the spirit in 
which he conceived and executed his latest works ; 
or to profess to see good in the influences to which he 
then yielded himself, and from which his visional 
experiences proceeded. But since every human 
being, even during his sojourn in the material world, 
is the union of a spirit and a body the spirit of each 
being among spirits in the spiritual, even as his body 
is among bodies in the natural world it is therefore 
plain, that if the mind has unusual intuitions, which 
are not included by the common laws of nature and 
of body, and not palpable to the common eye, such 
intentions must be regarded as spiritual facts or 
phenomena ; and their source looked for, in the ever- 
present influences Divinely provided, or permitted, 
according as they are for good or evil of our own 
human predecessors, all now spiritual beings, who 
have gone before us into the land of life. On this 
ground, which involves the only pratical belief of the 
immortality of the soul, and the only possibility of 
the past influencing the present, it would be un~ 
philosophical and even dangerous, to call our very 
dreams delusions. It is still, indeed, right that we 
c try all spirits, at the judgment bar of a revelation- 
enlightened reason ' ; yet, be the verdict what it may, 



28 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

it can never retrospectively deny that spiritual 
existence, on whose qualities alone it is simply to 
adjudicate." 

This is, of course, a short statement of the 
Swedenborgian teaching concerning the factors which 
condition " influx," and it is supported by a foot- 
note : '' The true and unpopular doctrine on this 
subject is so plainly set forth by our great modern 
luminary, that we ask no excuse for inserting it here ; 
more especially as it will assist the reader to the com- 
prehension of Blake's state of mind." There follows 
a long Latin quotation from Swedenborg. 

The preface goes on to appreciate Blake's artistic, 
and especially his poetic, position. Speaking of 
Blake's terrible drawings of hell, it says : " We have 
the impression that we are looking down into the 
hells of the ancient people, the Anakim, the Nephilim, 
and the Rephaim. Their human forms are gigantic 
petrifactions, from which the fires of lust, and intense 
selfish passion, have long since dissipated what was 
animal and vital ; leaving stony limbs, and counten- 
ances expressive of despair and stupid cruelty." 
Blake's mind is then compared and contrasted with 
that of Shelley. The preface concludes : "If the 
volume gives one impulse to the New Spiritualism 
which is now dawning on the world ; if it leads one 
reader to think that all reality for him, in the long 
run, lies out of the limits of space and time ; and that 
spirits, and not bodies, and still less garments, are 



BIOGRAPHY 29 

men ; if it gives one blow, even the faintest, to those 
term-shifting juggleries, which usurp the name of 
' Philosophical Systems ' (and all the energies of all 
the forms of genuine truth must henceforth be ex- 
pended on these effects), it will have done its work 
in its little day, and we shall be abundantly satisfied 
with having undertaken to perpetuate it, for a few 
years, by the present republication." 

This preface appears to call for somewhat ex- 
tensive quotation, primarily as being the first 
original work of Wilkinson's pen ; and, secondarily, 
as being difficult of approach for the general 
reader. The vivid vigour of style and some of 
the curious knowledge of the writer are already 
visible. 

The drawings of Blake deeply impressed his 
admirer. " A few days ago," he writes on November 
6, 1838, " I was introduced by my friend Mr Elwell 
to a Mr Tathans, an artist, who possesses all the 
drawings left by Blake. ... It was indeed a 
not a treat, but an astonishment to me. The first 
painting we came to realized to me the existence 
of powers which I did not know are had in it. 'Twas 
an infernal scene, and the only really infernal thing 
I ever saw ' Life dies, Death lives ' might, as 
Elwell said, explain the character of it. It was most 
unutterable and abominable a hopeless horror. 
Of the same kind were many of the others. On the 
whole, I must say the series of drawings, giving me 



50 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

an idea that Blake was inferior to no one who ever 
lived, in terrific tremendous power, also gave me 
the impression that his whole inner man must have 
been in a monstrous and deformed condition 
for it teemed with monstrous and horrid productions. 
Those who would see Hell before they die, may be 
quite satisfied that they veritably have seen it by 
looking at the drawings of Blake. At the same 
time, all the conceptions are gigantic and appropriate, 
and there is an awful Egyptian death-life about all 
the figures." 

A belief in the truly spiritual nature of Blake's 
inspiration is not inconsistent with deep suspicions 
as to his sanity. " I received," he wrote on July 
17, 1839, "the Designs, etc., of Blake's from Mr 
Clarke ; comprising, I fancy, all those you saw. I 
almost wish I had not seen them. The designs 
are disorder rendered palpable and powerful, and 
give me strongly the impression of their being 
the work of a madman. Insanity seems stamped 
on every one of them ; and their hideous forms 
and lurid hellish colouring, exhale a very unpleasant 
sphere into my mind ; so much so, that I confess 
I should not like to have the things long hi my 
house. ... I felt puzzled what to say of the man 
who was compounded of such heterogeneous materials 
as to be able at one time to write the ' Songs of 
Innocence ' and at another ' The Visions of the 
Daughters of Albion.' ' The Book of Thel ' is, partly, 



BIOGRAPHY 31 

an exception to the general badness or unintelligi- 
bility of his verse and designs. I can see some 
glimmer of meaning in it, and some warmth of 
religion and of goodness ; but beginning to be 
obscured and lost under the infatuating phantasies 
which at length possessed its author. I should say 
sanity predominates in it, rather than that the work 
was a sane one. Some of the single lines are grand 
and expressive." 

But when a man is between twenty -five and thirty, 
and a bachelor (though quite unwillingly), and full 
of interest in life, physic and translation cannot 
occupy all his time. His friend Mr Dow lived in 
or near Store Street, and had a large and pleasant 
circle of acquaintance into which he cordially 
welcomed his young doctor. Mr Tulk, too, had 
reunions of varying degrees of formality, where at 
one time set debates on matters Swedenborgian took 
place ; at others general social pleasures were 
pursued. Among his brother professional men he 
naturally made many friends, while as yet he had 
not banished himself from among them by champion- 
ing the unpopular doctrines of Halmemann. He 
made the acquaintance of Robert Browning, and 
heard a private reading of " Straff or d " at Mr 
Dow's before seeing the first performance of the 
play on May 1, 1837. ' You are curious to hear 
about ' Strafford.' Well, you shall be told. . . . 
We all formed a formidable body at the box door ; 



m JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

. . . there were three dozen of us together. The 
house was crammed to the utmost, and the audience 
very respectable. The first Act went off rather 
heavily, but the play gained as it proceeded, and 
in spite of a most miserable c cast of characters,' 
it must be considered a most successful production. 
The applause at its termination was prodigious, 
and lasted for something like twenty minutes, mingled 
with the most vociferous cries for the author, who, 
however, did not appear." 

" Last night (Feb. 3, 1838) Mr Browning, senior, 
came here. He is a very pleasant and quiet man, 
and Mr Dow made him sit down with pencil in hand 
and produce a little off-hand sketch of Baby. In 
three or four minutes he produced a very striking 
likeness." 

He had some acquaintance with Maeready, saw 
him in " Virginius " and found it " a perfect master- 
piece of acting, and far too much for my sensibilities." 
" You will be sorry to hear that on Friday night 
(April 1836) Mr Maeready was greatly irritated by 
the conduct of Mr Bunn, the rascally manager of 
Drury Lane, and was tempted to give Mr Bunn a 
very complete and merited thrashing. ... Mr 
Dow was there at the time." The " Poet " Bunn 
and the readily irritated tragedian must have made 
a fine scene. 

About this time he attended lectures on Animal 
Magnetism by Baron Dupotet and was moved 



BIOGRAPHY 33 

to repeat some of the experiments upon his boy. 
" Last night, as Mr Hewitt and I were sitting together, 
I called Henry in. He had never heard of the 
startling effects, and did not know what I was 
doing. After an operation of about five minutes, 
during the whole of which time he was laughing to 
himself at the absurd looking manipulations, his head 
suddenly declined, and he was quite asleep ! I 
had difficulty in wakening him. Here there could 
be no fancy, and he is a remarkably wakeful boy." 
" On Wednesday last (April 8, 1839) I went with 
Alfred Wornum to see Dr Elliotson's mesmeric 
experiments at the Dr's own house. The meeting 
was held in the drawing-room. . . . The Countess 
of Blessington came, and sat down quite close to 
me during some of the time. The things shown 
were truly wonderful. Let any sceptic go there, 
and if he be not shaken in his disbelief, the 
scepticism belongs to the will and not to the 
intellect." 

He attended also a course of lectures by Thomas 
Carlyle in the summer of 1838. The two men 
were acquainted, possibly by Wilkinson writing 
to him his appreciation of this course of lectures. 
Three letters only from Carlyle were found among 
Dr Wilkinson's papers, but of these the two later 
indicate some intimacy. 



84 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

< 

"5 CHEYNE Row, CHELSEA, 
"August 2nd 1838. 

" DEAR SIR, Accept my best thanks for your 
gift of Em. Swedenborg's work, and for the kind 
sentiments you entertain towards me. That an 
earnest fellow-man recognizes an earnest meaning 
in us, and with brotherly heart wishes us success 
in our special course of endeavour : this is a true 
benefit, one of the truest and purest we can receive 
in this world. Alas, each man, enveloped in his 
own peculiarities and confused tortuosities, is in 
great part hidden from all men : seen only of the 
maker of men ! It is much if we can discern, here 
and there, darkly as thro' tumults and vapour, 
that here also is a brother struggling whither we 
struggle ; and call to him from the distance, ' Good 
speed to thee also ! ' 

" Hitherto I have known nearly nothing of Sweden- 
borg ; or indeed I might say less than nothing, having 
been wont to picture him as an amiable but inane 
visionary, with affections quite out of proportion 
to his insight ; from whom nothing was to be learned. 
It is so we judge of extraordinary men. But I 
have been rebuked already : a little book by one 
Sampson Reed, of Boston in New England, which 
some friend sent hither, taught me that a Sweden - 
borgian might have thoughts of the calmest sort 
on the deepest things, that in short I did not 



BIOGRAPHY 35 

know Swedenborg, and ought to be ready to 
know him. 

" I hope to find due leisure for studying this Book 
of yours before many days. I engage to read it 
with my best attention. Meanwhile, soliciting a 
continuance of your good will, I remain, dear Sir, 
yours with thanks, T. CARLYLE." 

The following long quotation in a letter to his 
fiancee from Garth Wilkinson is dated October 
3, 1839 : 

" You may recollect that I sent a small packet 
to our friend Carlyle, containing * Blake,' my trans- 
lation of the 'Last Judgment,' Sampson Reed etc. 
On Saturday night, quite contrary to all my expecta- 
tions, I received such a very kind brotherly letter 
from him ! You will be pleased to see it. I have 
only copied what he says of Swedenborg. He 
speaks of me and my presents then of Blake's 
4 Songs ' and Preface then he says : 

" ' The book of Swedenborg's which you have 
translated anew, I read carefully in the old version 
received from you long ago. The impression it 
left was, and is, very strange. In his feeling about 
the moral essence of things, properly the core of his 
own being, I almost altogether and even emphatic- 
ally agreed with him. It was clear, too, that he 
was a man of robust, nay, you would have said, 
cold, hard, practical-looking understanding : how 



36 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

such a man should have shaped for himself, into 
quiet historical concretions, standing there palpable, 
visible, solid and composed as the mountain rocks 
or more so, spiritual objects which eye hath not 
seen nor ear heard ; this is what I cannot at all 
put together. I have looked into all the lives 
of Swedenborg that my Biographical Dictionaries 
would yield me ; but with little help there. I ought 
to admit that this is one of the most wondrous 
men ; whom / cannot altogether undertake to 
interpret for myself ! I can love and honour 
such a man, and leave the mystery of him 
mysterious.' 

" That good may go with you on the good path 
you travel so prays heartily, my dear Sir, yours 
always, T. CARLYLE." 

It will be convenient to deal here with the rest 
of this acquaintance, though the following notes 
are of a far later date than the time with which 
we are now dealing. No doubt the second European 
visit of their common friend, Mr Emerson, had drawn 
the two men nearer together. 

The first note is to decline an invitation to 
the wedding of Garth Wilkinson's eldest daughter 
Emma to Lieutenant Hermann Pertz. It is 
interesting as showing Carlyle's struggle through 
the three last volumes of his " Frederick the 
Great." 



BIOGRAPHY 37 

" June 6tk, 1859. 

" MY DEAR SIR, I am sorry to be cut off from 
attending you on this pleasant occasion. We are 
too weak here (especially the poor wife), and too 
busy (especially the other party, who is like to be 
swallowed and extinguished altogether with a job 
too heavy for him, and too hideous) too weak and 
busy for going out at all, for many months past, 
even under the handiest circumstances. 

" I pray you offer my respects and congratulations 
to all the parties, old and young, concerned in this 
glad business, and believe me, yours sincerely, 

T. CARLYLE." 

In the last note preserved (dated November 10, 
1863) the struggle continues : it has visibly affected 
the handwriting and induced abbreviations. 

" DEAR WILKINSON, The Photograph is excell fc 
very like ; and I am greatly obliged to you for it. 
We have put it into the brother compartment 
in the general Galaxy of friendly Faces ; and from 
time to time it will turn up as a memento, or be 
sought for as such, bringing nothing but pleasant 
thoughts with it. 

"As to the Chelsea Photographs you speak of, I 
am far too busy to spare even an hour for such 
operations at pres* : but surely in not many months 



38 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

now my doleful Prussian (ultra - Babylonish) 
Captivity will end ; after wh h , if permitted, 
how happy shall I be to remember y r flattering 
suggestion ! 

" Wish, for my sake, it may be soon. Yours always 
truly, T. CARLYLE." 

In March 1839, Garth Wilkinson had a serious 
illness which laid him by for some weeks and this 
was followed by a convalescence at Hampstead. 
Later in the same year one of his sisters living with 
him had small-pox : when it is interesting to notice 
that the young householder lost no time in obtaining 
lymph and vaccinating all the inmates and himself. 
His fierce opposition to the process and its enforce- 
ment was a growth of later date. 

During these years of early practice, or rather 
of waiting for practice and matrimony, impatience 
was excusable. The young people even exerted 
themselves, and tried to stir up influence, to obtain 
an appointment as Veterinary Surgeon in India. 
Fortunately Garth Wilkinson's uncle, Mr Sewell, 
head of the Veterinary College, had a hatred of 
nepotism and declined to move in the matter. 

Mr Gaskell, a relative, was part proprietor of 
the Weekly True Son and it seems likely that a 
proposal was made that Wilkinson should become 
a contributor and that the proposal was embraced, 
though nothing of his writing has been traced there. 



BIOGRAPHY 39 

He projected an article on Swedenborg for the 
Westminster Review ; but the idea stood over for 
the time, though it was not abandoned : for in 184& 
he wrote the article " A sketch of Swedenborg and 
the Swedenborgians," for the " Penny Cyclopaedia," 
which was reprinted as a booklet, and was doubtless 
the nucleus of his " Emanuel Swedenborg, a bio- 
graphy " published in 1849 and issued in a second 
amended edition in 1886. 

The long time of waiting came to an end, and 
John James Garth Wilkinson was married to 
Emma Anne Marsh on January 4, 1840. Their 
income was small ; their prosperity depended, 
humanly speaking, on their own exertions. But 
they were a couple who were ready to leave a large 
margin to faith. He, indeed, was not careful to 
be " too thoroughly justified " by worldly posses- 
sions in this momentous step ! They repaired 
straight from the church to their little house in Store 
Street, and began at once the homely unpretentious 
life which they designed to continue. 

Let it be said at once that Garth Wilkinson 
was highly and deeply blessed in his married life. 
Destined never to be rich, he gained a wife whose 
deep fund of contentment and housewifely com- 
petence would have gilded means narrower than 
theirs. Eclectic and independent in the unpopular 
causes which he espoused, he found a mate who 
could trust the wisdom and sincerity of his aims ; 



40 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

she could, moreover, understand and share them : 
subject as he was to those misgivings and apprehen- 
sions which at times beset the most enthusiastic, 
she brought an innate serenity of temperament 
into the partnership. They held together the 
highest principles, their qualities and powers were 
largely complementary. How far she made possible 
the tale of work which stands to his name, he and 
she alone knew ; and it was her constant aim to 
conceal her share in it. They remained, and 
doubtless still remain, true lovers. 

We must not dwell on this subject at length ; 
but any account of Garth Wilkinson's life which 
did not acknowledge a debt, both in happiness and 
achievement, to his wife would be incomplete. 

The visible fruit of this union was three daughters 
and a son ; we shall meet with allusions to them from 
time to time. 

Garth Wilkinson's standing task after, as before, 
his marriage was the translation of the " Regnum 
Animale," but he found time for occasional articles 
for the Monthly Magazine, then edited by his friend 
Mr John A. Herraud. In November, 1840, he 
contributed a long and reasoned review of the 
whole subject of mesmerism, with which we deal 
later (see page 74). In May 1841, he collaborated 
with the editor in an article upon Emanuel Sweden- 
borg, the first of three popular biographical accounts 
in which he was to be concerned. In the course 



BIOGRAPHY 41 

of the same year he contributed a criticism of certain 
manuscript notes by S. T. Coleridge, found by Mr 
Tulk in a copy of Swedenborg's " (Economia Regni 
Animalis." The writer points out that Coleridge's 
comments were intelligible to a large body of students, 
while the subjects of them belonged to an unknown 
system, and were placed at an unfair disadvantage 
by isolation from their contexts : he shows that 
the critic read only the last fifth of the book and that 
his annotations were written passim, and not upon a 
calm consideration of all that he did read. Coleridge, 
in his " inordinate lust of annotations," was as 
it were, talking to himself as he read, and he was 
used rather hardly in being himself criticized keenly 
but politely : but the occurrence gave an opening 
for Garth Wilkinson to champion and explain his 
master, such an opening as he was not likely either 
then, or later, to pass by. 

One of these articles caught the eye and at- 
tracted the admiration of Mr Henry James, editor 
of a Fourierist newspaper, The Harbinger of New 
York, himself a polished writer upon theological 
and metaphysical subjects, the father of Pro- 
fessor William James and of Mr Henry James, 
the well-known writers of to-day. Notice led to 
acquaintance, and acquaintance ripened into in- 
timate friendship. For many years the two men 
corresponded regularly, copiously and affectionately. 
The letters from London to New York have been 



42 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

carefully preserved, and give us a journal of the 
intellectual occupations of the writer : those from 
New York to London have been unfortunately 
with few exceptions destroyed. 

The new friend proved practically helpful as well 
as intellectually suggestive and sustaining. Either 
he or his wife, a woman whose modest charm of 
manner and personal beauty made her everywhere 
remarkable, dropped the seed which led Garth 
Wilkinson to embrace homoepathy. This, as we 
have already seen, reconciled him to the practice 
of his profession, though it alienated him in great 
measure from the bulk of his brother practitioners. 
The new friend threw the columns of his own paper 
pen to a writer who had yet to make a name ; he 
named him, when an English writer was wanted, as 
weekly correspondent for the New York Tribune, 
another journal of Fourierist tendencies, founded 
by Horace Greely and edited by George Ripley, 
who remained a life-long friend to Wilkinson. He 
introduced him to the leading Americans who 
visited England ; Emerson, Longfellow, Dana, 
Hawthorne and many others were friends whom 
Garth Wilkinson owed primarily to Mr James' 
influence. But, more than this, he initiated and 
fostered the acceptance and good repute of Wilkin- 
son's work amongst the numerous adherents of 
the New Church in the United States. There, even 
more than here, the English interpreter of Sweden- 



BIOGRAPHY 43 

borg was widely and carefully read : and when, 
in 1869, he took a long contemplated but swiftly 
performed tour in America, he found his own name 
a passport to recognition and hospitality wherever 
he laid his foot. 

The following extracts from a letter to one of his 
sisters (August 11, 1840), the only one of this period 
which has survived, gives some idea of his activities. 
After apologies for delay, he says " In the first place 
I have been busy for some weeks ; that is, relatively 
busy ; so that I have not been able, on many days, 
to apply myself to my translation, which you know 
generally goes on athwart almost everything. Then, 
in the next, I have been occupied rather more than 
was agreeable in writing and supervising the publica- 
tion of the Report of the Printing Society ; which, 
however, is happily now out. . . . On Sunday week 
I was invited to Dr Elliotson's, to meet the 
Reverend Channey Hare Townshend, and to 
see some mesmeric experiments. . . . Amongst 
them (the guests) were Mr Tulk, Mr Townshend, 
Mr Dickens (Boz), Jack Forster and about 8 
others. . . . Our life, though not a very uncom- 
fortable (!), is a very unvaried one. Mine consists 
almost entirely in seeing what patients I have to see, 
and in writing two quarto pages per diem, winding 
up the day, now and then, by a call from a friend." 

Garth Wilkinson had joined the Swedenborgian 
Society soon after he began the study of the writings, 



44 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

and it naturally was not long before he became a 
prominent member. He was on the Printing Com- 
mittee which was engaged in bringing out a uniform 
edition of all the " Works " : there was some differ- 
ence of opinion on the importance of this matter, 
and letters of an earlier date give a lively account 
of party politics in the Society. The Wilkinsons, 
for Garth was seconded by his brother William, now 
a rising solicitor, appear to have had at least a fair 
share of the direction. Wilkinson, as we shall see, 
was little in sympathy with the sectarian side of 
Swedenborgianism. He was concerned rather with 
the spiritual and intellectual side of the matter, 
and, in general, where essentials were not involved, 
gave his time to interpreting and translating the works. 
His translation of the " Regnum Animale " was 
duly published in 1843, prefaced by a long and care- 
fully written introduction. He demonstrates the 
scientific value of Swedenborg's work and presses 
his claims for recognition upon the scientists of 
the day. Incidentally he gives a disquisition upon 
the earlier anatomists, to show how fully his author 
was abreast of, or even ahead of, contemporary 
knowledge. Such an excursus argues special study. 
It is, indeed, evident that at this period of his life, 
Wilkinson was storing his mind with that vast 
knowledge which later showed itself in copious 
careless allusion in his published writings, his letters 
and his conversation. 



BIOGRAPHY 45 

He signalized the completion of this task by the 
first real holiday which he had taken since he began 
practice. In September 1843 he visited Brussels, 
Antwerp, Amsterdam and Leyden, seeing much 
that was new to him on his first Continental trip, 
and enjoying himself vastly ; though with many 
a backward look to his wife and children at home. 

After this brief interlude, he set himself down to 
the translation of the " (Economia Regni Animalis." 
Nominally he was acting as editor of a translation 
formerly made by his friend the Reverend A. 
Clissold, but the labour which he expended upon 
it amounted to a re-translation. This, too, was 
prefaced by a long and thoughtful Introduction. 
But during the course of this, the second of 
Wilkinson's " monumental " translations, he found 
time to deliver a lecture on " The Grouping of 
Animals." 

" Yesterday 1 1 thought of you and your New York 
Lectures and your anticipatory trepidation ; for 
last night I gave the first lecture I ever delivered ; 
and not without pain. It was before the Veterinary 
Medical Association, by request of that body. The 
audience was considerable, and comprised several 
scientific men of good repute, among the rest, 
Erasmus Wilson, the author of a good book on 
Anatomy. I chose for my subject the Grouping 
of Animals according to the Doctrine of Use, as 

1 Letter to Mr Henry J. James, May 17, 1845. 



46 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

contradistinguished from the classification according 
to the race of external resemblances or uniformity ; 
and aimed to show that the Domestic Animals 
were the head of the Zoological scale, in opposition 
to the monkeys. I flung out at the latter beasts, 
and the beastly hypotheses connecting them with 
man, with as much directness as I could : and 
did not mince the matter that science itself is but 
a servant, and must not be tolerated out of its 
place. The thing was well received, and will be 
published by and by." 

Other works which marked this busy period 
were the writing of " Remarks on Swedenborg's 
4 Economy of the Animal Kingdom,' " 1846, some 
criticism of the big work which he had last trans- 
lated ; an edition of Swedenborg's " Opuscula " 
in their original Latin, 1846, followed the next year 
by a translation of the same entitled " Posthumous 
Tracts now first translated from the Latin of Emanuel 
Swedenborg " ; a translation of "A Hieroglyphic 
Key to natural and spiritual mysteries by way 
of representations and correspondences " by the 
same author, 1847 ; an edition of Swedenborg's 
" (Economia Regni Animalis," in its original Latin, 
1847 ; a translation of Swedenborg's " Prodromus 
Philosophic Ratiocinantis de Infinito," under the 
title " Outlines of a Philosophical Argument on 
the Infinite, and the Final Cause of Creation, and 
on the Intercourse between the Soul and the Body,'* 



BIOGRAPHY 47 

1847; and "a Popular Sketch of Swedenborg's 
Philosophical Works" 1847. In 1847 he also 
delivered a lecture upon Swedenborg's scientific 
works before the Swedenborgian Association, and 
published it under the title of " Science for All." 

Only those who have carried through literary 
undertakings can recognize how much of labour 
such a catalogue represents. Let it be remembered, 
too, that many of these works were designed to take, 
and succeeded in taking, a place among the classics 
of an intellectual and critical body. 

Garth Wilkinson was largely concerned in the 
foundation of the Swedenborgian Association, being 
a member of the Provisional Council and also of a 
small sub -committee for preparing a draft Constitu- 
tion and Bye-laws. He also at this time contributed 
a review of Clissold's " Principia " to the " New 
Church Advocate." " The line of thought rudely 
indicated in that article " he writes to a friend, 
44 is at present running in my head, and I design, 
God willing, to follow it out at greater length here- 
after, probably in papers or lectures for the Sweden- 
borgian Association." 

It is clear that at this time, not only was Wilkin- 
son willing to undertake hard work, but also that 
every piece of work which he did opened up vistas 
of consequent labours, and that he was anxious 
to follow them all. He was, in fact, at this time 
working extremely hard ; riot, indeed, without 



48 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

receiving great appreciation from those whose praise 
was dear ; but without anything like proportionate 
contributions towards the support of his home. 
The increase of his practice was slow. And this is 
not surprising to those who know how much of his 
thought and energy were being expended in quite 
extra-professional channels. 

Among other plans which he entertained for the 
improvement of his condition was that of emigrating 
to America. This idea dated back as far as his 
acquaintance with Mr James, who was greatly in 
its favour. Inquiries were pushed on both sides 
of the Atlantic, but they ended in a recognition 
that the step was one of grave uncertainty, and 
the cherished thought was laid aside. " When 
my labours above mentioned (the translation of the 
* Economy of the Animal Kingdom ') are concluded," 
he writes to Mr James, at the end of 1844, " I shall 
think very seriously of America. We both wish 
to go to your country, both for the sake of our 
family, and in order that we may have a freer sphere 
of action : and if I had any certainty to go to, 
(which, I suppose, is impossible) I should not be 
long in deciding. ... I entreat, however, that you 
will from time to time give us a hint on this subject 
of emigration, which is one that we shall not cease 
to keep before us." 

A year and a half later, he refers to the subject, 
writing to the same friend : 



BIOGRAPHY 49 

" I tell you plainly that if I were placed in any 
responsible and satisfying position, by any joint 
effort on the part of the admirers of Swedenborg 
in America, the best of my mind and life should be 
devoted to their service. . . . There is not, to 
my knowledge, a thing under the moon that I 
would rather choose to be connected with, were 
it c fancy's sketch ' that I were outlining. A small 
fixed income at any rate for a period ; a cottage 
out of New York, where my labours might mainly 
be carried on ; for, between ourselves, I am so 
sick of this tourbillon of a city, and of all cities, that 
it would be a blessing to me to live for a few years 
rather further out than suburbs : labours connected 
with the literature and philosophy of Swedenborg : 
and association with those who sympathize with 
my pursuits ; for I have no such association here ; 
no, not a single voice to say, go on. . . . All 
these conditions fill up something which I should, 
nay do, desire with might and main ; and which, 
if it be right, I do not doubt of attaining." 

The freedom and diversity of the American people 
and conditions were a constant tractor to him, 
during these years. His foresight in the following 
extract from a letter, has been abundantly justified. 

" Your futurity promises to be great beyond 
what History has to show in the past ; that is to 
say, if your souls are equal to your chances. A 
climate ranging from the temperate to the torrid 



50 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

zone, and peopled by the genera of all civilized, and 
nearly all uncivilized, mankind, is a composition 
of circumstances which, when united to the fact 
that the whole rest of the world calls upon you 
to be useful to them, must give you wealth and 
variety to a surprising degree. It sometimes seems 
to me that it would be no pusillanimous flight from 
my poor position here, to go to help on with my 
feeble arm the youthful pursuits of a nation destined 
to be so provisive for old England, as well as for 
the entire world." 

But in May, 1849, the advices of Mr James, cor- 
roborated by those of another American friend, 
finally determined all hopes and anticipations of an 
emigrational nature. 

In following briefly this part of Wilkinson's 
correspondence with Mr James we have left un- 
recorded certain matters of varying importance. 

In 1847, it was found that the better part of 
the doctor's patients lived in and around Hampstead. 
He therefore sold the remainder of his lease of 13 
Store Street and followed them thither, settling 
in more congenial quarters, at 25 Church Row a 
neighbourhood much more definitely suburban then 
than now, but his residence there was not to be 
a long one. 

In 1848, Ralph Waldo Emerson paid his second 
visit to Europe and brought with him an introduction 
to Garth Wilkinson in the handwriting of Mr James. 



BIOGRAPHY 51 

The two men were already known to each other by 
their works, and they were not slow in forming a 
warm and stable friendship. Emerson was already 
well read in Swedenborg and this new acquaintance 
increased his interest in the writings : it would 
be interesting to know how far the lecture upon 
"" Swedenborg, or the Mystic " was completed when 
Emerson arrived in England, how much was added 
and what modifications it underwent, during his 
stay here. 

Mrs Wilkinson was away from home during 
Emerson's visit to London, a fact to which we owe 
some letters mentioning meetings with him. 

" I am going to spend the evening with Dr 
Carpenter," he writes on April 4, 1848, " to meet 
Emerson, where I shall also see Daniel Morell and 
other friends. I find Emerson has been speaking 
warmly of me." 

On April 10, he records : " Our party came off 
last night, and altho' everyone said they felt so 
strange at the absence of Mrs Wilkinson, and Mr 
Emerson particularly regretted it, as ' he had counted 
upon seeing you,' yet we made the best of it, and 
shone away as fiercely as we could, like despairing 
stars when the moon is out. I went in the gig for 
Emerson at half past 3, and brought him up to 
Williams', where we sat and chatted and walked 
round the farm ; then walked to the Heath by the 
fields, and enjoyed a most friendly and interesting 



52 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

chat. . . . Emerson delighted me and everybody. 
I must say, he grows upon my regard exceedingly." 

On the 17th he dined with friends and met Emerson 
and Crabb Robinson. " The said Crabb Robinson 
is one of the most entertaining and interesting old 
gentlemen I ever met. He is one of the Council 
of University College, an old friend of Mr Tulk's 
and one of the executors of Flaxman. He knew 
Blake well. After tea, he singled me out by miracle, 
and entertained me beyond measure about the 
great artist. It was he who gave Blake 5 guineas 
for the ' Songs of Innocence.' He warmly invited 
me to call upon him, when he will show me several 
of Blake's originals, both poems and pictures." 

Emerson has been called " the sanest of the 
Transcendentalists " but he was distinctly a dis- 
tinguished and discriminating Trans cendentalist ; 
and everybody who has considered transcendentalism 
is prepared to recognize Garth Wilkinson as a member 
of the same brotherhood. Emerson at all events 
recognized him at sight, and, as we shall shortly see, 
was ready to help him, not only with valuable literary 
encomium, but also with personal recommendations 
as a lecturer. It is not too much to say that his 
influence at a critical time was a predominant 
factor in gaining for his friend a literary, social 
and professional recognition which he then greatly 
needed and which he thereafter constantly justified 
and improved. Emerson gave the " word in season " 



BIOGRAPHY 53 

which was wanted : Wilkinson had the power to 
seize the forelock of opportunity. 

Wendell Holmes, in his interesting but unsatisfy- 
ing biography of Emerson, names " two notable 
products of the intellectual ferment of the Tran- 
scendental period " ; The Dial periodical and Brook 
Farm. Wilkinson's literary work and ideals were 
closely parallel to those of The Dial, though he 
was never a contributor to that paper. He was 
now to give his mind to the " true begetter " 
of the Brook Farm ideal. In America, Brook 
Farm, begun enthusiastically upon lines even less 
definite, developed into a determined attempt to 
carry out the idea of Fourier in a working 
"Phalanstery." An experiment of six years (1841- 
1847) ended to all intent in the destruction of 
the settlement by fire. Like all the contemporary 
efforts to realize Fourier's ideals, it was a failure. 

Fourier, who was born in 1772 and died in 1837, 
has shared the fate of many idealists. His purely 
abstract views of human nature and social possi- 
bilities have hindered the acceptance of certain 
excellent and concrete proposals for the benefit 
of society. He lived before the world was ready 
for him ; his Socialistic message contained some 
glaring fallacies and many wild words : his immediate 
followers " eat the air, promise- crammed " ; he 
himself died the lonely death of a pioneer. His 
name is unfamiliar alike to the small shareholder 



54 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

in the Co-operative Stores and to the member of Trade 
Unions, both of whom taste the fruit of his labours, 
now that the tree has been pruned out of recognition 
and adapted to " common or garden " culture. 

There was some pressure upon Wilkinson to be- 
come a Fourierist. Social problems never seemed 
more urgent for solution than they did at this time ; 
when the power of aristocracy had waned, only to 
be succeeded by the power of a dominant middle 
class. Speculation and theory were busy among the 
Intuitionists ; the strength of the Utilitarians had 
not yet shown itself. It was a fit time for doctrines 
such as those of Fourier, St Simon and Owen to 
gain adherents. Moreover, Mr James' paper, The 
H&rbinger, was the quasi-official organ of Brook 
Farm : Emerson was keenly sympathetic to the 
movement, though he was never a Brook-farmer 
himself. It was likely that Wilkinson should examine 
Fourier for himself . We can trace the result in his 
correspondence, though it is scarcely necessary that 
this should always be quoted at length. 

At first Fourier definitely repelled his student, 
who found his writings arrogant, pugnacious, given 
to petitio principii, impudent. The man himself 
appeared to be without a central religious faith : 
lacking this, he fails of his intended function as a 
great scientist : having it, his powerful perception 
of the universal mathematics of the sciences might 
have raised him high indeed : his experience is small 



BIOGRAPHY 55 

in quantity and poor in quality : and Doctrine 
without experience is useless. Six months later 
(August 1846) we find the note changing, and the 
reason for the change is given to us. Dr Hugh 
Doherty " is marrying Fourier to the New Church, 
giving the former, however, the masculine character 
in the compact." Fourier's analysis of the tv^!vo 
' 73 assions seems eminently valuable as leading direct 
to the organization of the Sciences." A few months 
later the process of conversion is clearly going on. 
In June 1, 1847, Wilkinson finds it natural that 
Fourierism should attract attention in America, 
" for the whole thing is jolly human " ; moreover 
the Fourierists have a more tangible belief in im- 
mortality and in the interdependence of the spiritual 
and natural worlds than any body of people except 
the Swedenborgians. Six weeks later he writes 
" All you say of the Association movement I echo 
from my heart. It is the morning brightness of the 
world's day." He is reviewing a book by his friend 
John Morell which deals with the subject, and will 
procure a copy for The Harbinger. 

An extract from a letter written to Mr James 
on October 1, 1847, will show how fully Fourier 
had by that time found himself a place as at least 
an accessory to Swedenborg in Wilkinson's con- 
sideration " What I have at present on the stocks 
for you is a paper on Correspondences, which I 
trust ^vill be finished before the middle of this month, 



56 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

and sent, if possible, by the steamer of the 19th. 
It will treat the subject as a branch of the movement, 
and not sink it in the mere laudation of Swedenborg. 
First, I attempt to show that the doctrine, as a 
general idea, is common to all men upon the least 
thought : Secondly, that the working out of the 
Doctrine supposes a vast science, and not a set of 
guesses arising from preconceived ideas : Thirdly, 
that in the happier times, this science will be the 
crown of the sciences, from its intensely practical 
character ; because correspondence is the circum- 
stance which draws down the spiritual world into 
nature, and engenders Creations according to the 
disposition of the lower world. I am not without 
hopes that the Paper may be useful, and prepare 
some to carry forward the views of Swedenborg 
and Fourier, instead of being, as heretofore, the 
mere turnspits of those central fires." 

On February 11, 1848, Wilkinson writes to Mr 
James to sympathize with him under an attack 
by The Boston Magazine upon an article which had 
evidently associated " those central fires." He is 
not surprised, since the standpoint is not easily 
grasped, and also because he ventures to doubt 
whether Mr James had himself sufficiently formulated 
his position as mediator between the Truths of 
Swedenborg and the Truths of Fourier. He himself 
is of opinion that the mission of Fourier had better 
be worked out for some time to come, say for a 



BIOGRAPHY 57 

quarter of a century, on its own grounds, separately 
from dogmatic theology. When the theologians 
see Fourierism at work, if it does work, they will 
not dare to despise or denounce it. He is not 
confident that the time for Association has yet come. 

This temporizing attitude was fully justified 
by experience. Swedenborgianism has had quite 
enough to do without dragging the extravagances 
of Fourier behind it. It must not be forgotten, 
either, that Fourier's doctrine, as crudely stated 
by him, contemplated a period in which the natural 
passions would play unbridled. This stage, which 
would clearly have made practical adherents of 
the doctrine unwelcome in every civilized community, 
was wisely regarded as unnecessary at Brook Farm, 
and was generally ignored. Union with a system, 
which, even in theory, could be connoted with 
" Free Love " was impossible for any Christian 
Church. 

Writing to Mr Emerson to bespeak his kindly 
consideration for the Reverend J. R. MorelTs trans- 
lation of Fourier " On the Soul " (a work, by the 
way, in which he himself had given more than 
occasional help) Wilkinson says " I look upon 
Fourier as the first worthy historian of the Animal 
Man," an expression which epitomises the results 
of his Fourieristic studies sufficiently well. We 
may date back to these studies some of the fierceness 
with which he attacked everything which bore the 



58 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

semblance of undue State interference with the 
individual. Compulsory Vaccination, the Contagious 
Diseases Act, state qualifications in medicine, pro- 
bably owe some of the sting in his lash to the 
intense individualism which Fourier fostered. 

Ordinary holiday travel is apt to lose its salt 
in transcription; but there were conditions which 
make Dr Wilkinson's first visit to Paris in 1848, 
interesting, even to-day. In England, either by 
good luck or good management, the Chartist rising 
had not culminated in revolution : but there was 
a general uneasy feeling that it was only the first 
wave of a storm which had broken. There was 
trouble throughout Europe. The wave of demo- 
cratic action swept over nearly every government, 
and nowhere more suddenly or fiercely than in 
France. As he himself wrote on his return 1 : 

" That visit is still engraven on me, and comes 
out in dream and reverie with singular vividness. 
Nothing would be more profitable to me than to 
travel over Europe just now : Volcanic countries 
present the most striking as well as often beautiful 
pictures, and pictures are the skins and costumes 
of the soul. But really in England too we may 
likely have movement soon ; the hush and ex- 
cessive triviality of politics, the silence so deep that 
fine sounds are heard upon it, betoken a coming 
storm. All the cattle, too, are flying to shelter, 

1 Letter to Mr Henry James, New York, July 28, 1848. 



BIOGRAPHY 59 

tinder those large old trees which may first call down 
the lightning. Their very instincts are wrong at 
such a time. In a word, England too is profoundly 
sub -volcanic. The finest vineyards are growing 
upon it, within a few feet, and even in consequence 
of, the terranean sulphor." 

When it was possible almost to hear the storm 
sing in the wind around the house, the sight of a 
neighbour actually suffering it was absorbing in 
interest. His brother William had just returned 
from a visit to Paris, full of what he had seen and 
heard. Garth felt that he could not remain at 
home, while such sights and sounds were within 
reach. With several friends, he started for Paris 
about June 2nd and joined his old friend Dr Doherty 
and Lord Wallscourt. A letter dated June 25th 
tells of his being in the centre of what was going on : 

" Here we are, much tired, but quite safe and well : 
we arrived at this place through sundry obstacles, 
but none really serious. It is a splendid city, 
but a day of horrors. Yesterday, by cannonad- 
ing and musketry no less than 25,000 souls 
perished : nothing like it since the last Revolution, 
or since the Massacre of St Bartholomew. Two 
thousand men of the working class were butchered 
in the vaults of the Pantheon, which was ankle- 
deep in it. The Musketry has not ceased all night, 
and it v is interrupted every now and then by heavy 
Artillery. But we are, I assure you, perfectly safe 



60 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

and I would not have missed the events for the 
world. They are historical. You can have no 
idea of them." 

Later he wrote : 

'' The fusillade and cannonade lasted all yesterday, 
and as I was philosophically reading Doherty on 
the Series this morning, about half past two (I had 
waked up for an hour), the coups de canon recom- 
menced, and that and the musketry kept up very 
audibly at intervals till this morning. Now I 
understand that the greater part of the Barricades 
have been taken, excepting those of the Faubourg 
St Antoine where the troopers have not yet been 
able to penetrate. . . . We have been walking 
about near the Tuileries and Louvre, watching 
the forests of bayonets as they stream towards 
the Faubourg St Antoine, where the rough work 
is to be done. . . . The Churches are full of the 
dead, and all the women are sitting at the doors, 
making charpie for the wounded. Every now and 
then we see them being brought into the Ambulances. 
The whole is a scene of Devilry on a magnificent 
scale, as I can never hope to see again. ... As to 
my personal adventures, I shall probably write and 
tell you them when we return. They have been 
amusing enough, but you could scarcely understand 
them without a commmentary. Be assured, however, 
that they belong to Comedy, not Tragedy. . . . 
You can have no idea of what French pluck is : 



BIOGRAPHY 61 

it is all, and more than all, of what Irish talk is : 
and that is a good deal. In fact there are in Paris 
hundreds of thousands who dare to die at any 
moment. To see them is to me a lesson in human 
nature. I did not know that there were such 
spiritual beings, such ready-made ghosts. They 
brave death because they are already spirits to the 
finger ends, and their steel is immortal. There 
are in Paris about 500,000 men under arms and 
fresh troops are pouring in from the country 
every hour. Only imagine the spectacle presented 
in every street, alive as it is with red cloth, glitter- 
ing / 'mils and bayonets. But it is a sight that I 
hardly wish you to see." 

" The insurrection is crushed. . . . The streets 
are becoming more free, and last night Doherty 
and I perambulated the Quays, to see the moving 
life. The troops passed us, flushed with the affair 
of the Faubourg St Antoine. . . . The cruellest 
thing of all was the Government putting forward 
the poor little Gardes Mobiles into the thick of the 
battle, to fight against their brother ouvriers. An 
officer told us last night, that out of one battalion 
of a thousand, but fifty men were left in service." 

" The prisoners are now being brought in, escorted 
by masses of bayonets. Many are lads with fine 
intelligent faces : they have their hands tied behind 
their backs, and march in the midst of the troops 
with a sad, heroic air. It is one of the most melan- 



62 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

choly sights that the world presents ; intelligent, 
brave hunger, compressed and crushed by the 
bayonets of the upper Classes." 

" I send you Wallscourt's letter just received. 
He, like ourselves, has heard the whizz of iron near his 
precious head. It is an exciting siffle, but only alarm- 
ing when you are about three hundred miles off it." 

" So ends the first skirmish between Socialism 
and the old civilization. . . . Judging the beginning 
of Socialism by the beginning of Liberal Politics, 
how vast is the preponderance of force in favour 
of the former ! " 

" We have seen the battle streets, and instructed 
ourselves thereby . . . and seen a sight for a life- 
time : all the appearance of a city taken by storm. 
. . . But, after all, the most memorable part was 
the fierce imprint left by the fight. Barricades 
everywhere, and the houses riddled and smashed 
and crushed with hail of musketry and deadly 
strokes of cannon. You can't conceive it. On 
one house 14 feet square the indefatigable Phillips 
counted 482 musketry hits and 9 cannon shots. 
. . We took a cab and drove to other in- 
teresting things of the moment. First we saw 
the funeral of General Negrier, whose remains 
were borne in a rich car, ornamented with 
spears and tricolours. But the best sight of the 
day was the Archbishop of Paris. Noble fellow ! 
there he lay, in his palace, in his room of state, 



BIOGRAPHY 63 

hung with sables, adorned with his insignia, and 
reclining upon a sloping couch, for all the world 
like a good spirit sleeping till to-morrow's work. 
Really, the French are great Cooks ; and whether 
it is a Procession, or an ovation, or a chop, or a 
tadavre, they get it up, and engraft upon it a second 
nature of beauty and refinement, in a style quite 
striking for me. Death has none of his terrors 
when they polish him off ! " 

" Paris is illuminated every night, in order to make 
the streets as light as possible and prevent a certain 
system of popping which goes on when we are abed, 
after 11 o'clock : before that hour the daily shooting 
season has not commenced; but, after that, the 
sentinels are fair game, and we may (if not asleep) 
hear the crying out all night with admirable dis- 
tinctness. Gardez lien a vous ; the vous very 
loud. . . . No passage during the night is allowed 
near or behind them, but all must keep the mid 
road. . . . There goes the everlasting rappel and 
the measured tread, past the Tuileries." 

44 What I have seen convinces me of this. The 
Parisians care no more about life than we do about 
a few coppers, and they are not susceptible of fear 
for any length of time, but it will be converted 
into untamable rage. It is a sad state of things ; 
but Providence is over all, working out His great 
designs of Peace through the passions of hostile 
nations, and making their wrath praise Him." 



64 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

" We have just seen the Funeral Pomp of the 
Victims of June. . . . 'Twas a grand military 
spectacle, an immense piece of Cookery." 

There were naturally other and more normal 
sights in a first visit to Paris. Enghien, Montmorenci 
and Versailles, the sewage works at Montfaucon, 
the Abattoir and so forth were visited. But from 
the account of such doings we will cull only one 
extract as recalling an almost forgotten name, 
that of Robert Owen, the successful cotton-spinner 
who later nigh upon beggared himself as an ex- 
perimental Socialist, the founder of Communities 
at New Lanark^ Ratahine and Tytherly. He died 
ten years later, but too early to see many of his 
ideas developed in practice. 

" Last night we had a curious party ; Brisbane, 
Phillips, Daly, Doherty, Dana, Wallscourt and 
Robert Owen. Old Owen is lodging in this house ; 
he is a nice quiet old citizen of the world, wedded 
most amusingly to his circumstances and parallelo- 
grams, and, for the rest, putting his conceit aside, 
a humble enough specimen of a man. He always 
thinks that the morrow is to see Owenism prevalent 
over the world, and that all his failures have been 
successes. There is something in a man who has 
received a life of stripes and still does not know 
that he is beaten." 

It is evident that as much experience and novelty 
as possible was concentrated into a brief holiday 



BIOGRAPHY 65 

before Garth Wilkinson returned to " England, 
home and duty " on the sixth of July. 

Practice not satisfying the requirements of his 
growing family, and all thought of settling in 
America being over, it was necessary that Wilkinson 
should supplement his means by some extra-pro- 
fessional work. And this suited well with his 
propagandist zeal for the doctrines of Swedenborg. 
This was a time when, in Brougham's words, " the 
schoolmaster was abroad " : philosophy was also 
peripatetic. The Society for the Diffusion of 
Useful Knowledge, and the Mechanics' Institutes 
which existed and flourished in almost every town, 
testify to a keen thirst for information ; no doubt 
the supply and the demand mutually stimulated 
each other. Certainly the lecture was a popular 
road to knowledge (or, at least, to superficial informa- 
tion) about the " thirties," " forties," and " fifties " 
of the last century. The man who had anything 
to say, or any views to indoctrinate, could not do 
better than lecture his fellow- creatures. It was an 
avenue to the public ear which Thackeray, Dickens, 
Carlyle, and Emerson did not despise ; and there 
were, it may safely be said, hundreds of lesser lights 
who illuminated their fellows and toured the larger 
towns of the country with a course of three or four 
lectures in their carpet-bags. The lecturer supplied 
the night's entertainment. A diagram or two, 
a few specimens, might be provided ; but the magic 



6 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

lantern and dissolving views were still unknown. 
There was, in fact, such a supply of lecturers that 
to find lucrative engagements in the best towns was 
not an easy matter; as Garth Wilkinson, having 
issued a syllabus for a course of lectures on the 
Physics of Human Nature, discovered. But he had 
a powerful ally in Mr Emerson, who had ready 
admittance to just those audiences which his less- 
known friend was anxious to address ; and, wherever 
Mr Emerson lectured and elsewhere, there he 
dropped a germinal recommendation of Garth 
Wilkinson. We find him writing in acknowledge- 
ment. 

1 " I cannot tell you in the space of a letter how 
much your kind word has done for me in England, 
and in my own town. For a long time I could not 
understand the place which I seemed to occupy in 
the good feelings of many worthy and clever persons, 
but by slow degrees the truth dawned upon me, 
that you had done it all. It is even so, I assure you. 
What you may have said, I know not, and I do 
not wish to know ; but this I do know, that the 
words, whatever they were, gained me a position that 
Lhad not before, and which seems to me unmerited 
by my deeds. Nay ; the fruits have not been all 
opinions ; but many a coin has run into my ex- 
chequer from the same stream of your kind expres- 
sions. And in a Lecture Tour, I found that you 

1 Letter to Mr R. W. Emerson, October 15, 1849. 



BIOGRAPHY 67 

had everywhere been there also, dropping your 
charities from your own unique urn." 

With such a powerful endorsement, the syllabus 
took more prosperous journeys and was followed 
often by the lecturer. His tours included the 
Whittington Club (London), Liverpool, Manchester, 
Birmingham, Derby, and Leeds. There was only 
one accident worthy of record during these journeys. 
Mr and Mrs Wilkinson returned from Liverpool 
via Sheffield, and stayed there some days with a 
friend, Mr Phillips. Driving with him in a pony 
carriage, they were about to visit Montgomery 
the poet ;not " Satan " Montgomery, whom 
Macaulay gibbeted, but James, author of " Pelican 
Island " and many hymns) and pulled up at the top 
of the hill. The pony bolted down the hill again. 
The two gentlemen were thrown out, but Mrs 
Wilkinson was carried sixty yards at full gallop. 
They were all badly bruised, but were thankful 
to escape alive. Garth Wilkinson " escaped almost 
unhurt, which I take as a divine sign that I have 
work to do yet, and that I am to use my energies 
therefor." 

The full syllabus of the six lectures on the Physics 
of Human Nature, as delivered at the Liverpool 
Mechanics' Institute on August 2, 1848, and on 
each succeeding Saturday and Wednesday, shows 
that they concerned themselves respectively with the 
brain, the lungs, the heart, food and assimilation, 



68 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

the skin, and the human form. In most places,, 
however, the course appears to have consisted of 
either three or four lectures. Each lecture was 
in reality a demonstration, firstly, in elementary 
anatomy and physiology, secondly (and this was the 
important point in the lecturer's scheme), in the 
doctrine of correspondences : the powder of doctrine 
was conveyed in the jam of information. The 
line of thought was one which Wilkinson followed 
and produced, in more detail and to more purpose, 
later, when he wrote " The Human Body and it 
Connection with Man." 

The reports given by the provincial press make this 
fairly evident, though it is amusing to notice how 
the true gist of the matter did not always attract 
attention. 

" On Monday evening last Mr J. J. Garth 
Wilkinson delivered a lecture at the Mechanics' 
Institute on the Human Brain. Notwithstanding 
the extremely unfavourable weather, there was 
a numerous attendance. After some prefatory 
remarks, the lecturer explained, and illustrated 
by means of diagrams, some of the chief features 
in the anatomy of the brain. ... Mr Wilkinson 
then contended that the animal spirit was formed 
in the cortex of the brain, and was impelled thence 
through the body by an automatic motion of the brain 
itself. He endeavoured to show that the brain 
respired at the same intervals with the lungs, but in 



BIOGRAPHY 69 

a higher atmosphere, and in a more eminent degree. 
The manner in which these doctrines were settled 
decided the fate not only of physiology, but of 
philosophy. If there was no universal body living 
in the particular body, mankind had no communion 
with the universe, but was limited to solid sensualities. 
If there was no spirit in the nerves, man was not 
embodied at all, or else he was nothing but body ; 
and in either of these cases, the general laws of 
nature were fixed hypotheses incapable of proof, 
or delusions to be abjured or forgotten. So we 
must wander between metaphysics and stupidity, 
between idealism and spiritualism, without daring 
to look our souls in their natural faces a sad result, 
which could only be contravened by a knowledge 
and study of an animal spirit existing in the body. 
Mr Wilkinson was warmly applauded throughout 
and at the conclusion of his lecture, of which the 
above is only a slight sketch." Manchester Guardian, 
Wednesday, October 11, 1848. 

. . . What then was the end in view of the 
process of digestion and assimilation ? In one sense, 
it was the formation of the blood ; but in a higher 
sense, it was that we might live in the world by means 
of a body derived from the world, and represent- 
ing the world. To be completely men of nature, 
we required to be allied to her by our constitution, 
to marry into all her royal families, to take a body 
from every kingdom, in order that we might enter, 



70 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

inhabit, appreciate and understand it. The sense 
of taste, and the alimentary series which he had 
been considering, afforded us our lowest or material 
embodiment, by which we were brought into fellow- 
ship with the mineral, vegetable, and animal ; the 
sense of smell and the pulmonary series, gave us 
our aerial food, by which we gained the freedom 
of the atmosphere ; the brain was the governor 
of assimilation, realizing for the body all the aethers 
and spaces of the mundane system, and introducing 
man into all the elements of his being. The highest 
organization, as well as the lowest, was omnivorous, 
eating the whole universe. The lecturer concluded 
by some remarks on the psychology of digestion 
and assimilation in nature and society." Manchester 
Guardian, Oct. 18, 1848. 

" . . . While the action of the lungs in drawing 
the venous blood to the heart had been well 
canvassed, their action upon the great nerves and 
spinal marrow had not been thought of. The 
nerves were the most impressible part of the body ; 
and what could be the result of the expansion to 
which they were constantly subject, but the admission 
of a fluid along them large enough to fill the space 
created ? And must not this effect, in the same 
instant, amount to expansion of all the parts to 
which the nerves or fluid were sent viz. to all 
the viscera of the frame ? Then the lungs not 
only breathed themselves, but caused the body to 



BIOGRAPHY 71 

breathe with them. In the body there was an 
organic attraction, corresponding to that of the 
organic world, enabling all the organs to take what 
they wanted. These organs, too, were conveniently 
placed for this purpose ; those needing the best 
blood being so seated at the banquet that they 
obtained what they required naturally and neces- 
sarily. They were classed in exact rank, each 
having its attraction, seconded by its place around 
the table. The order which this subject involved, 
could it be fully opened, would exceed the most 
hopeful conception and beggar the visions of the 
poets. If each organ, then, contributed its share 
to the ensemble of life, each demanded a special 
care in the maintenance of health, which was the 
wealth of life. (Here followed some strictures 
upon tight lacing.) If motion was the essence 
of the life of the organs, all our articles of apparel 
might fairly be supervised and limited in their 
pressure, in order that our persons might enjoy 
their healthful liberty. It was not to be doubted 
that in what we wear, equally as in what we are, 
grace, pleasure, and beauty are compatible with 
freedom, and with freedom only. The lecturer 
concluded by some remarks on the universality 
of the functions of breathing, or alternation in 
nature and society. He was frequently and warmly 
applauded throughout the lecture." Derby Mercury, 
January 17, 1849. 



72 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

Such was the impression which the lectures made 
at the reporters' table. What the lecturer felt 
meanwhile is told in a letter to Mr Henry James. 1 

" As soon as I get back to Hampstead, I will 
be less egotistic in my communications, and we will 
have a long chat upon our old subjects ; at present 
I am so engrossed with my new travellings and 
altered mode of life, that I can hardly think of 
anything else. 

" Everybody tells me that I shall in a little time 
have my winter full of lecturing, and become popular 
in that line. Certainly I feel in good heart at the 
prospect of usefulness which seems opening before 
me. 

" I am now meditating a course on The Kingdom 
of Sleep. ... I shall try to make it interesting 
to you, so do not think that I am going into any 
old catalogue work or copying from anybody. 

" My last lecture (at Liverpool) was coldly received, 
but successful for all that. The audience and the 
lecturer seemed to me like two stones, trying which 
was the hardest ; but I am sure that we parted good 
friends, or kind foes, whichever you like. I minced 
nothing, and my poor wife told me she shook all 
over to hear my strange heterodoxy so audible 
in the dead silence." 

He wrote again in the same sense to the same 
friend (September 15, 1848). After mentioning 

1 August 25, 1848. 



BIOGRAPHY 73 

his existing engagements, he speaks of preparing 
other courses of lectures. His attitude is " to see 
the subjects all round ; to recognize the omni- 
presence of truth ; to believe in the travelling force 
of the great streams of God. For this purpose I 
despise nothing, but whatever be the subject, I 
first take its description, and note its stock ; then 
its plain uses ; then the divinity and history of the 
knowledge of it ; its representation and appearance 
in Mythology and Philosophy ; and what Poetry 
has said and still says to it ; then how it occurs 
in language, and lastly what is the peculiar view 
of it at this day; and, gathering up these several 
informations, I next try to see them as forms and 
uses ; and conclude by carrying out the thing 
through a few of its analogies, in Society, History, 
Spirituality. . . . Even with my feeble powers, 
I find the method helpful to me, and attractive to 
the listeners. And the fields of fact which it opens 
are so immense and fruitful that one never thinks 
of controversies, but instead of them, one invites 
others to better arrangements of the facts ; calling 
forth, not criticism, but emulous works." 

The projected new courses, as well as a scheme for 
publishing those which were actually delivered, in 
book form, were never realized ; but his method 
is worthy of being recorded, as he clearly followed 
it in other manifestations of work. 

While he was lecturing in Manchester, Mr Wilkinson 



74 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

was introduced to Mr James Braid, and was deeply 
interested in his practice of hypnotism. Mr Braid 
was not satisfied with the pretensions of magnetism ; 
and, on experiment, he found that he could do all 
and more than those who followed it, though he 
dispensed with all their paraphernalia of magnets 
and crystals. Mr Braid's conclusions have long been 
generally adopted, but they then had all the charm 
of novelty, and, as reaching toward what is now called 
the subliminal consciousness, had a special attrac- 
tion for Garth Wilkinson. He had already himself 
critically examined the claims of Mesmerism in an 
extended review for The Monthly Magazine (vol. 
iv. No. 23), and had expressed grave doubts of its 
utility for the patient, though he regarded it as- 
opening up great possibilities in " pyschological 
analysis." The new development, and the elimina- 
tion of the personal will factor from its processes, 
gave him a fresh zest in following out and examining 
the phenomena and theories of mental states. 

We anticipate a little in giving here an extract 
from a letter 1 which illustrates Wilkinson's ex- 
pectation of a new " influx " of power to the art 
of healing, from another aspect. 

" The other evening I met at Mr A. I. Scott's 
(the Professor of English Literature at University 
College, London) a Mr Dillon Tennant, who represents 
a mode of curation novel in these roundabout ages* 

1 To Mr H. J. James, April 13, 1849. 



BIOGRAPHY 75 

He is a person of character and standing, and may 
be relied on. Whateley, the Archbishop of Dublin, 
has witnessed and investigated his cures, and I 
have seen his autograph papers attesting the facts. 
Mr Dillon Tennant was led in the first instance to 
these beneficences by seeing a friend in great torture, 
unrelieved by other means, and he was moved to say 
to himself : ' In the name of God, I'll mesmerize 
him.' He did so, and in a few minutes the pain 
was gone. After this he tried the same thing for 
many sufferers, always ' in the name of God,' and 
succeeded. . . . Each person so treated and the 
operation sometimes proceeded at the rate of a cure 
per minute he bent on his knees to give thanks to 
God. . . . Frequently from 50 to 100 persons were 
relieved at one seance. I am glad to have seen him, 
because he recalls to available knowledge certain 
old-fashioned Prophets and Apostles whom one too 
easily forgets. His, like theirs, appears to be the 
actual power of faith as an organ and a substance. 
I am not able, it is true, to place great stress upon 
his cases : I know too little of them ; but they send 
me to the Apostolical and Christian cures, which I 
do potentially believe ; and place before my eyes 
what I have long been looking for ; the Divine 
Stem of Healing ; that channel pipe which runs 
with panaceas ; and of which all medicine, in its 
varieties of systems, is but the branches. . . . 
There are arts better than ours ; machines and ways 



76 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

better than ours ; and the world shows its Divine 
origin in being large enough to have GOD in it as well 



as man." 



In June of this year (1849) Wilkinson began his 
duties as writer of a weekly letter for The New 
York Tribune. There are words which suggest 
that the task was not congenial, and it was relin- 
quished in December 1850. 

Meanwhile he found an important work to do for 
the New Church. He has got himself entangled, 
he says in a letter, in a life of Swedenborg, which 
had occupied all his time ; it is going on very fast 
and he hopes that another fortnight will disburden 
him of it; he does it con amore, having long been 
preparing for it. He means to have it published 
also in the United States. He began it with the 
idea of a threepenny pamphlet in his mind ; but it 
grew under his hand and formed a very complete 
biography, so far as the facts and their order are 
concerned. " I scarcely venture to hope that the 
Swedenborgians will like it, because I have not 
treated Swedenborg as either a ne plus ultra or an 
idol. It is not a philosophical or progressive affair 
professedly ; though I hope that it will disabuse 
worthy people of some of their falacies." 

His expectations were more than realized, for 
the sectarian Swedenborgians did not like the book 
indeed, they " vituperated " it ; but worthy people 
who were seeking candid information on the subject 



BIOGRAPHY 77 

were otherwise minded. So much so that a new 
and slightly amended edition was called for in 
1860, and the book still has a public of its own. 
The work of three hundred odd pages was completed 
in three months. 

We have seen that Wilkinson had been working 
hard harder probably than was wise for some 
years. For it must be remembered that he added 
a growing quantity of medical work to the extra- 
ordinary literary output which stands to his credit. 
There is little wonder, then, that the strain showed 
itself at times in mental depression and bodily 
weakness. Mr James had expressed some intention 
of bringing his family to Europe for educational 
purposes. In a letter encouraging this project 
Wilkinson writes to him (August 6, 1849) : 
" Certainly this is a splendid climate for producing 
healthful bodies, and a good thing too ; for the 
quantity of work required of an Englishman is no 
trifle. . . . Then, for a man like you, the Society 
is ever varied, and the stimulation incessant. For 
us, it is true, this is not so, for my ideas are merely 
those of duty now ; I look on pleasure as impossible ; 
and being like you (in ' Becky Sharp ') l a man of 
all the sins, I look for no fact but in that everlasting 
work that crushes out self-thought every moment. 
Prison and task-mastering are the blessings the 
vast blessings of the day, and happy is he over whom 

1 A recent study of Thackeray's heroine, written by Mr James. 



78 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

necessity stands with a rod of iron, feruling him for 
every moment not devoted to the most absorbing 
labour. That is my creed for myself, and though 
I cannot contemplate it as an ultimate lot, yet I 
do feel that its only limit is the grave. I am j oiliest 
when I feel it most, and I make a creed of it, to have 
all artificial checks provided against rebellion." 

Shortly before this he had written : " For a length 
of time now I have been hydropathizing, and with 
huge benefit to mind and body. 'Tis astonishing 
how much more work I can do, what absence of 
customary invitations I feel, under the wishy-washy 
regime. Even when I am ill, I can still work on, 
and observe my malaise with a kind of upper mind, 
as though my sickness was ... an instructive 
panorama." 

Wilkinson was one of those men who required 
" a little wine for his stomach's sake," and his 
pessimism vanished speedily when he returned to 
his usual and very moderate potations. But the 
experience left him sore against the ultra-teetotal 
school. He wrote a long account of Carpenter's 
prize essay on Alcoholic Liquors, to Mr James, and 
concluded it as follows : " The human chemistry 
of the case, which lies in the union of emotions with 
wine, is therefore quite a different study from the 
animal chemistry. And as this is a matter that is 
of very great importance for men's thoughts at 
present, I design to go into it in my labours, and to 



BIOGRAPHY 79 

endeavour to develop a few sentences of a precise 
kind, on the subject of this unknown human 
chemistry. Certainly wine shall not be blasphemed 
in my hearing, without a strenuous effort to rescue 
it from peril." His defence of wine against the 
" blasphemies " of the intemperate temperance 
party duly appeared in The Human Body (pp. 168 
et seq.). 

During these years his dissatisfaction in the tradi- 
tional practice of medicine had been growing in Wil- 
kinson's mind. The doctrine of Hahnemann had been 
brought to his notice by Mr James, by Mrs Carter, 
another American friend, and by the general interest 
which followed the introduction of its practice into 
England by Dr Quin in 1837. He had read what works 
he could find on the subject, and had experimented 
in the treatment inculcated by them more and more 
extensively, until he must be regarded as a staunch 
Homoeopath in 1850. His works, words, and ideas 
in this connection will best be considered in a separate 
chapter. But his conversion was an event in his 
life too important to be passed over without mention 
here ; since, as we have seen, it reconciled him to 
practice and made him happy in it. His clientele 
increased at once, and he must now be regarded 
from a changed point of view. Up to 1850, he was 
a writer, specializing upon theology from a Sweden- 
borgian outlook, who practised physic for a main- 
tenance ; from that time forward he was a physician 



80 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

who found time to write upon the old subjects. 
Only two more translations from Swedenborg's 
writings came from his pen, and they were separated 
by an interval of more than thirty years. 

Hitherto his medical and scientific knowledge 
had tinctured his work for the New Church. His 
vital interest in that Church never flagged : but we 
have now reached a period, and a long one, in which 
the interest seldom showed itself in his writings, 
except as illustrative of matters medical and 
scientific. This " second manner " lasted, indeed, 
until he virtually retired from practice ; or, rather, 
encouraged practice to retire from him. But there 
was a transition period, and in it he produced what 
was, perhaps, of all his writings, the work most 
fully characteristic of the man. 

This book, " The Human Body and its Connection 
with Man, illustrated by the Principal Organs," 
was a substitute for the publication of his lectures ; 
but it represents those lectures as elaborated and 
enriched by the reflections of the author since they 
had been delivered. The first mention of it occurs 
in a letter to his father in July 1849 ; but a letter 
to Mr James, at the end of the same year, enters 
into more detail. 

" This is the first work on which I at all stake 
myself, and I am proportionately anxious to put the 
last hand to it. On nothing else have I accumulated 
labour. And, as you are to be its patron saint, 



BIOGRAPHY 81 

I am particularly tremulous on your account also. 
The field is a new one that of the Correspondences 
of the Human Frame; I do not mean the spiritual 
correspondences, but the continuations of it into 
nature, into industry, into society, and into mind. 
I feel that the physical man is the keystone of the 
arch of the arts, and that to open his truths, be it 
ever so little, is to prepare the way for that Artist 
Man whom you herald, who really dwells now 
in the physical man as a soul, and who is to come 
forth one day as an Animated Society. True body 
is the easiest way of altering mind, and I am deeply 
anxious to use it as such. Once dip into its Lake 
of Truths, I see no controversies ahead nothing 
but reconciled parties and co-operating sinews. 
My work, however, will, I fear, be only suggestive ; 
but even that will be something." 

Of the need of some such work as he is doing, he 
wrote x : 

" When I look at the disconnection in science 
between man and his own body, I cease to wonder 
at the difficulty the great Emerson has in thinking 
of an incarnate God. Why, the philosophers have 
never yet got to think of man himself as incarnate. 
They admit either the flesh without the spirit, or 
the spirit without the flesh. The thought has yet 
to come which will combine the two. The present 
thought admits no incarnations whatever not even 

1 Letter to Mr H. J. James, January 25, 1850. 

F 



82 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

those of lice and flies. It has two ends, ghosts and 
minerals, but no meaning, which are flesh." 

" The Human Body " was published in May 1851, 
and dedicated to Mr James. It was published by 
subscription. The aim and method of the work 
appear in Wilkinson's " Proposal for Publishing." 
In it he says : " The human body, as an object 
of science, has hitherto been the property of one 
profession ; it has been studied only after death, 
when it is the reverse of human, to afford light to 
medicine, which takes no cognisance of it but when 
diseased. Death has slyly proffered his torch to 
the art of healing. A different study, not super- 
seding yet subjugating the former, is needed to 
connect the body with life, health, and business ; 
a study that brings the plain to illustrate the obscure, 
and the common to interpret the extraordinary. 
To further such a study is the object of the present 
work, in which we hope to show by examples that 
the anatomy of man is other than that of the dis- 
secting room, and that the knife is the feeblest 
although the first instrument for opening the 
mysteries of the human being." 

A review of the book in the New York Daily 
Tribune says that it was probably the first attempt 
ever made, by a professional man, to connect the 
technical facts of anatomy and physiology with the 
truths of Revelation. " At all events it is the 
only one whose superb and lavish ability entitles 



BIOGRAPHY 83 

it to an enduring mention. Ordinary men have 
no beliefs. They have only knowledge. . . . Yet 
this is precisely Dr Wilkinson's infatuation : he 
evidently believes what other people only remember. 
His memory is manifestly and wholly subservient 
to the highest intellectual uses. Nothing comes into 
it by the portals of sense which is not immediately 
divested of its dusty garments, and elevated into 
the chambers of the understanding, these to be 
associated with . angelic company. He diligently 
gathers all that the best men and the most sacred 
books have said of God and man, but no symptoms 
of congestion appear, because the knowledge is 
instantly sublimated into belief, and thence descends 
in copious showers of influence upon all the fields 
of practical life. . . . Such exactly is Dr Wilkinson's 
force the force of a man who is alive with glowing 
life from the centre of his intellect to the circum- 
ference. When such a man accordingly descends 
into the arena of the schools, we must not be surprised 
to see teaching assume a novel aspect, and old truths 
beam forth with quite original beauty. Those who 
wish an intellectual treat of the very highest de- 
scription, a banquet in which every dish is made 
to yield the subtlest and most unexpected aromas, 
by a cooking the most expert and masterly ever 
practised, may safely be referred to the book whose 
name we have already cited." 

" The Human Body " was widely read ; indeed 



84 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

it probably attained a more general repute than any 
other of Wilkinson's works. A second edition was 
published in 1860. Its original appearance was 
somewhat delayed by an interruption in the writing 
of it. Wilkinson received a commission for a trans- 
lation. It appeared in 1852, " The Generative 
Organs considered Anatomically, Physically, and 
Philosophically. A posthumous work of Sweden- 
borg, translated from the Latin." 

At the end of 1850 the Wilkinsons moved again r 
to Sussex Lodge, St John's Wood. The house is 
nearly opposite to 4 Finchley Road, the home for 
nearly fifty years, where Dr Wilkinson died. 

Prospects were beginning to look brighter. A 
letter to his father reports, in June 1851, " Our 
move to Sussex Lodge has been, so far, a very good 
thing for us ; my practice has greatly increased, and 
our connections are both extended and heightened. 
We have indeed constant struggles and wants, but 
we hope that the turn in our long lane of cares may 
be near at hand." It was so. The practice soon 
demanded and justified a carriage : and whatever 
care may have sat behind the rider was not due 
to want of a sufficient income. 

A large and growing medical practice does not 
conduce to steady literary work; moreover, the 
study necessary to practise homoeopathy is consider- 
able and absorbing. But if for a time Wilkinson's 
pen was unproductive, he was using what leisure 



BIOGRAPHY 85 

he had in preparing, perhaps unconsciously, for 
future literary work. The Norse languages had 
always attracted him. Perhaps it was an hereditary 
leaning, for his family is originally of Danish extrac- 
tion. He gives a short account of his studies in 
the Preface to " Voluspa," writing in November 
1897 : "At the end of a long life we yearn back and 
think biographically, and gentle readers will forgive 
a retrospect. So I tell them the story of my 
love of the far North. It is between forty and 
fifty years since I enjoyed my first acquaintance with 
the Eddaic Books. Tegner's ' Frithiof ' and his 
fine translation of ' Vafthrudhuismal ' were my 
lures into further reading. Through friends in 
Scandinavia the old Icelandic tongue came before 
me. The Lord's Prayer read in Icelandic made 
me say to myself, * This is my language.' Rektor 
P. A. Siljestrom, the schoolmaster of Sweden, and a 
master scholar of his country, a man of enduring 
scientific and liberal genius, read to me my first 
line of grammatical Old Norse. I6n A. Hjaltalin, 
my dear Icelander who found me in Reykiavik, 
became my teacher in London, and carried me 
through the Eddas. 

Dr Siljestrom was a great friend of Wilkinson's. 
When he left England for the United States, armed 
with an introduction to Mr James, he left his young 
wife at Hampstead with his English friends. 
Wilkinson " took the opportunity of her presence 



86 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

to learn a little Swedish." They had at this time 
a German guest also, Mr Neuberg, a friend of both 
Emerson and Carlyle. On June 24, 1837, Wilkinson 
wrote to Mr Emerson : 

" I have requested Mr Clapp to send you a copy 
of my work on ' The Human Body and its Connexion 
with Man,' just published ; it is, I hope, in a double 
sense, my last book. I owe you a grudge for having 
in some part been a party to the book : for your 
good opinion of my former labours has had, I am sure, 
a certain egging effect upon me in this. Perhaps 
you will be so kind as to be a little sour and un- 
satisfactory about the present, that you may con- 
tribute to warn me away from the strand of 
scribbling. 

" My pursuit for relaxation this long time past 
has been Northern Literature and Languages, 
Swedish, Danish, and Icelandic ; and the contents 
which these three bags carry are attractive to me 
at present. Mr Carlyle also is as deep as an old 
laundry- woman in these rich old clothes." 

But his estimate of the contents of " those three 
bags " was much higher than Carlyle's. 1 

" I have lately been reading Carlyle's Essay on 
Odin in the 'Hero-Worship,' in pursuance of my 
present Scandinavian studies. What a useful 
affair it doubtless was, but what a poor thing it is ! 
He admits the inimitableness of this mythology, 

1 Letter to Mr H. I. James, January 25, 1850. 



BIOGRAPHY 87 

and yet humbly craves at last of his readers, to 
consent to admit that the authors of it were not 
downright fools ! The prisoner at the bar has 
beaten the Greeks in majesty and depth, and all 
the thoughts of men in invention, pray you, Gentle- 
men of the jury, let the verdict be ' No jackass ! ' 
... It is perfectly clear that Carlyle has no insight 
into the circumstances attending the production 
of these wonders of the Fore-time, or he would never 
have said that they were the first rude but powerful 
conceptions of the earliest gazers upon nature. 
We see here that he has been born in an atmosphere 
fetid with Scotch philosophers, which imposed upon 
him the belief in the original savagery of man." 

His strong views on the receptivity of abori- 
ginal man found full expression in " Revelation, 
Mythology, Correspondences " (1887) and in " The 
African and the True Christian Religion, his Magna 
Charta " (1892). 

These studies were no temporary amusement. 
In 1855, Wilkinson writes to Mr James : " I am 
busy ; but still I find it necessary to interpolate 
my active life with some sort of recreation with 
some fad entirely apart from physic. My Icelandic 
studies furnish me with this ; and I am going to 
send you, for my name- sake, 1 a translation of one 
of the Eddaic songs ' Hamar's Heimt ' Thor's 

1 One of Mr James' sons was christened " Garth Wilkinson" ; one 
of Wilkinson's daughters was " Mary James." 



88 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

recovery of his hammer. Belonging to the child- 
hood of our races, it will serve for our children, 
as well as for our old gentlemen that is to say, 
both for the Boy and Old Henry. I have in my 
vicinity a young sculptor of great promise, for whom 
I have undertaken to make a few versions of these 
wonderful songs, he intending to illustrate them ; 
and it is not impossible, if life and valour be given 
for the next ten years, that I may even essay the 
terribly ambitious work of a translation of the 
' Elder Edda,' a work which, if well done, would 
surprise literature ; give Greece and Rome a thwack 
unexpected, but wanted long ; and shed a new 
light upon the English language. It has for me also 
an interest, in that it is the earliest, the most hoar 
phenomenon, in the morning of our ages ; while 
Swedenborg, also of Scandinavia, is the latest hour 
of the same day ; and he who knows of both hears 
deep calling unto deep." 

For the main part, however, the practice of his 
profession gives him enough to do. " When you pay 
your promised visit," he writes to Mr James, in 
May 1853, " I do not think that you will find me 
altered to the extent that you have heard. It is 
true I am now in a new pursuit which excludes all 
old ones as active guests though it leaves them 
as subjects on which I rejoice to think that advance- 
ment is being made by others. Surely, my dear 
Henry James, you would not cramp me by insisting 



BIOGRAPHY 89 

that I shall study, or without study swallow, your 
great batches of universals, when I solemnly tell you 
that they are out of my line. . . . Respect the blink- 
eyedness of the doctor who, in comparison with 
curing an old cough or a chronic gouty limb, thinks 
astronomy and theology to be for him of little 
moment, and of the cobbler who, for fear of diverting 
his skill from boot-soles, can't be got to look at 
the moon through the finest telescope that was ever 
framed. I am that Doctor and Cobbler, I never 
could do two things at once, and thence each pursuit, 
with me, implies the temporary incapacity for 
others." 

There is something entertaining in Garth 
Wilkinson's plea to be treated mercifully as the 
possessor of "a one-storeyed intellect." In this 
very letter he shows the keenest interest in the 
spiritualism of that day. " The ferment all this 
produces shows that some great stirrer is a-troubling 
the waters ; and, for my part, though I have not been 
near the spirits, I am quite convinced, and would 
avow it publicly, that the present movement is 
Providential in its best parts, in something more 
than the sense of permission : that it also belongs 
to the age ; inasmuch as it is cheap, easy, and ex- 
peditious Revelation, or the Spiritual World for the 
Million, and that its lowness is the strong point and 
claim about it." 

It appears that Wilkinson was firm so far as 



90 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

abstaining from attendance at seances was concerned ; 
but for years he lived in an atmosphere of " spiritual- 
ism." Those nearest to him were in association 
with mediums and were moved to execute spirit- 
drawings. His brother William was for many years 
editor of the Spiritual Magazine; and, in 1856, 
Garth Wilkinson himself edited a number of the 
Spiritual Herald. We shall soon reach his writing 
of the " Improvisations from the Spirit." But he was 
to escape from this " obsession " with a modified 
opinion and a hearty dislike for the whole subject. 
His final attitude is plain. 1 " I do not deny, but 
prize, in their place, spontaneous motions of the 
spiritual world upon and in the natural world. 
If there be a spiritual world in proximity with 
our world, such manifestations are, some of them r 
according to order, and no one is chargeable with 
them. On the other hand, solicited intercourse 
with the spiritual world is, to me, a mistake, and, 
with my convictions, it would be a sin to take part 
in seances, or any other means, in such solicitation." 
He refused to discuss either his own experiences 
or the general subject, in conversation ; saying only 
that he had gone into the matter extensively and 
wished to say nothing about it. 

In a letter to Mr James we get a glimpse of Wilkin- 
son's political views at this time (July 1850). They 

1 Quoted without reference, in the University Magazine, June 1879,, 
Art. " J. J. Garth Wilkinson." 



BIOGRAPHY 91 

were, like most of his views, highly eclectic. Sir 
Robert Peel had just died by accident, and the Duke 
of Wellington was not likely to be long spared to 
the country. 

" No one so much represented England as he 
[Sir Robert Peel]. Even the soubriquet of ' Perfidious 
Albion ' was justified in its best sense in him. A 
man of continual expediency, he could never be 
bound to party save as the tool, and not the master 
of ever-shifting occasion. He got into parties, 
but his practical tendencies speedily won them and 
broke them up. And in this he was seconded by 
the ' Iron Duke,' who, apparently inflexible, is 
really flexible as a shirt of mail ; which, impenetrable 
from without, is yet jointed, and bends about to 
every requirement of the body politic. These two 
men have been the two great Revolutionists, more 
Anglico, and have succeeded in breaking up the old 
associations of parties to such an extent, that many 
years must elapse before a new party can be formed 
with any chance of coherence beyond the attainment 
of temporary objects. For to neither of them were 
political combinations regarded as hearty clubs with 
banners, watchwords, and c no surrender ' tunes ; 
but simply as means, more or less useful, but subject 
to be superannuated and discarded as soon as ever 
the circumstances altered. They suffered much 
from the hot fragments of parties which they them- 
selves had broken to atoms, but Providence had 



92 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

given them both prepared skins of courage and 
apathy ; and they held out their ground until Sir 
Robert's death, as the two best defended and least 
offensive men in England. Their graves will be 
honoured by no majority or minority, but by the 
whole legislature and people of England." 

This was the principle of Wilkinson's own method. 
His opinions were strong, and he supported them 
strongly ; but he had kept means ever in their 
place, and was always ready to avail himself of new 
ones, but upon the means in use at any one time he 
concentrated his attention. It may have left him 
open to a charge of inconsistency at the hands of 
the superficial. That concerned him not at all, 
Nor was he able to conceive of anything except God, 
His laws and Word, as exempt from being some day 
" superannuated and discarded." He could calmly 
foresee a time when even Swedenborg's message 
would prove but provisional and preparatory for 
another. He was essentially an individualist and an 
eclectic. He was not nullius addictus jurare in verba 
magistri; rather, he was ready to hail any man as 
his master so long as, and only so long as, he could 
teach and help him forward in the matter in hand. 
The wise strong man has only one principle, the glory 
of his Maker ; and his best way of furthering that 
is the education of his own character. Consistent 
in that, he can afford to appear inconsistent in all 
else. 



BIOGRAPHY 9S 

As to politics, certainly, Wilkinson was to be found 
in various companies at various times. Mr Francis 
Newman, brother of the Cardinal, hailed him as a 
Republican in 1867 : neT describes himself as a Con- 
servative, in 1885. But his friend Mr Matheson 
defined his position more accurately, in 1888 : "I 
am Mathesonian in my political views, which I 
think have certain dissonances with Wilkinsonianism 
that is to say, with a certain radically liberal 
conservatism." 

In 1854, England had two great subjects to think 
about, the cholera and the Crimean War : the two 
insisted upon being considered together in the 
prevalence of cholera among our soldiers and sailors 
in the Crimea. 

Wilkinson saw his opportunity and wrote, " War, 
Cholera, and the Ministry of Health, an Appeal to 
Sir Benjamin Hall and the British People." In 
the form of an open letter, it promulgates homoeo- 
pathy as the medicine of the future. With its 
medical side we are not at present concerned ; but 
the reasoning power, the good temper, the wit and 
aplomb which Wilkinson showed in its pages brought 
him many readers. As a reviewer said, " If a man 
wants to see the faculty horsewhipped, or tossed 
in a blanket, or tried at the bar, or dressed in a cap 
and bells ... we advise him to read Dr Wilkinson's 
' Ministry of Health.' It is a most original piece 
of medical remonstrance, dressed up in festive 



94 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

style, like a Christmas box, or a New Year's Day 
gift. It contains both facts and fun and sharp 
surgical satire, with good humour combined." 
Statistics are relieved by sarcasm ; pathos gives 
place to suggestions in practice : it even deals in 
prophecy which has since been fulfilled. For it 
foretells the medical woman. " Dr Blackwell ! is 
already but one of a band of which Florence Night- 
ingale is the English chief, and some of the best 
woman's blood in this country is speeding to the 
field of war to do woman's work as it has not been 
done before since the days of Jeanne d'Arc. I 
will not trust myself to think or to feel, while the 
Lord thus calls up His chosen into their long empty 
places, lest the brain should be drowned in the too 
great hour. Only I will say, it rejoices me that 
medicine (call it nursing if you please, but it will 
not stop there) is one thing which has unchained the 
feet of woman, and cast away her Chinese shoes." 
" The Ministry of Health " is a contribution to a 
controversy which now and again still comes before 
the public, and as such it is forgotten ; but, as a 
long and sustained flight in true humour, it deserves 
readers and admirers at the present time. 

In this book Wilkinson advocated registration 
of all who chose to practise physic. He returned 
more seriously to the same subject in an article 
which he wrote for the British Journal of Homceo- 

1 The first woman M.D. of the United States. 



BIOGRAPHY 95 

under the title of " Unlicensed Medicine " 
in 1855. 

In 1856 he produced a curious pamphlet, " Painting 
with both Hands, or the Adoption of the Principle 
of the Stereoscope in Art, as a Means to Binocular 
Pictures," under the pseudonym John Love. The 
idea of the pamphlet was that "ambidextrous or 
two-handed painting will realize in art also binoculars 
or two-eyed pictures. . . . The suggestion of such 
a method, involving, as it does, a new and difficult 
education, would be monstrous if painting remained 
as it was ; but this, as I have said, is no longer the 
case ; for the stereoscope, by beating it on its own 
basis, has shown that it is not true to Nature, and 
moreover has demonstrated where the failing lies." 

But the suggestion itself was based on a fallacy : 
Art does not aim to produce an image such as is seen 
through the stereoscope, but such as is seen through 
the eye ; and that, not in its entirety, but with 
selective power. " Painting with both Hands " 
contains, however, an amusing hit at Ruskin, who 
" hops along on one leg to criticism with a power 
and rapidity quite new ; and sometimes moves so 
fast that his hopping even mimics progress." The 
pamphlet did not found a new school of painting. 

Wilkinson's next work was " Improvisations from 
the Spirit " (1857). An account of it is given in 
Gilchrist's "Life of William Blake" (vol. i. 
p. 382). 



96 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

" A very singular example of the closest and most 
absolute resemblance to Blake's poetry may be met 
with (if only one could meet with it) in a phantas- 
mal sort of little book, published, or perhaps not 
published, but only printed, some years since, and 
entitled ' Improvisations of (sic) the Spirit.' It 
bears no author's name, but was written by Dr 
J. J. Garth Wilkinson, the highly gifted Editor 
of Swedenborg's writings, and author of a Life of him, 
to whom we owe a reprint of the poems in Blake's 
' Songs of Innocence and Experience.' These 
improvisations profess to be written under precisely 
the same kind of spiritual guidance, amounting to 
abnegation of personal effort in the writer, which 
Blake supposed to have presided over the produc- 
tion of his ' Jerusalem,' etc. The little book has 
passed into the general (and, in all other cases, richly 
deserved) limbo of the modern ' Spiritualistic ' 
muse. It is a very thick little book, however un- 
substantial its origin ; and contains, amid much that 
is disjointed or hopelessly obscure (but then, why 
be the polisher of poems for which a ghost, and not 
even your own ghost, is alone responsible ?), many 
passages, and indeed whole compositions of a remote 
and charming beauty, or sometimes of a grotesque, 
figurative relation of things of another sphere, which 
are startlingly akin to Blake's writings could pass, 
in fact, for no one's but his. Professing, as they do, 
the same new kind of authorship, they might afford 



BIOGRAPHY 97 

plenty of material for comparison and bewildered 
speculation, if such were in any request." 

Wilkinson's own account of the genesis of this 
book is as follows (quoted, without reference, in 
The University Magazine, June 1879) : 

" A theme is chosen and written down. So soon 
as this is done, the first impression upon the mind 
which succeeds the act of writing the title, is the 
beginning of the evolution of that theme, no matter 
how strange or alien the word or phrase may seem. 
. . . An act of faith is signalized in accepting the 
first mental movement, the first word that comes 
as the response to the mind's desire for the unfold- 
ment of the subject. . . . Reason and will are 
not primary powers in this process, but secondary, 
not direct, but regulative ; and imagination, instead 
of conceiving and constructing, only supplies words 
and phrases piece-meal, or however much it receives ; 
it is as a disc on which the subject is projected, not 
as an active concipient organ." 

It must be remembered, firstly, that Wilkinson 
showed some power of versifying, when a boy at 
school, and that he was then a greedy reader of 
poetry ; secondly, that Blake was the only poet 
whom (so far as we know) he had studied systematic- 
aDy and exhaustively since that time. The only 
other contribution towards judgment which shall 
be added here is that no doubt can exist concerning 
Wilkinson's serious simplicity in his account of the 

6 



98 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

" influx " to which he considered himself subject. 
With these helps the reader must judge of the matter 
for himself. 

Two specimens of these " Improvisations " may, 
however, be welcome, since the book which contains 
them is practically unobtainable. 

Shall my Poet cup 

Now be dried up ? 

Yes : it shall dry up now, to ope again : 

And then it shall disclose a deeper vein, 

And more abundant waters, when thy health 

And Faith and Hope and Good are greater Wealth 

Of Poet- Power within thee : then thy heart 

Shall be more full of courage, and have part 

In fountains not so easily exhaust. 

At present thou art Vanity's Holocaust, 

And greatly burnt up by her love of Beauty, 

For sake of Beauty's show so, do thy Duty : 

And song shall come in bright Attendances : 

And specially when upon thy knees, 

Thou dost invite the Muse Celestial down. 

At other times she does but sit and frown, 

While lower spirits, not songful, leering sprites, 

Usurp her harp-strings, and put out her lights. 

Heaven, the Heart's Heaven, and Home, the land of God, 

Is the Parnassus on whose mystic sod 

The Muses build their real mansion. Life 

Is the great field whereon the heavenly Strife 

And heavenly harmony of Song do enter, 

And where in unison of Love they centre. 

Make thy Home Heaven, then, and then Poesy 

Married to Christ, love shall well visit thee. 

Farewell till then : for until then we flee. 

Cowley and Herbert's sphere 

Are no longer here. 



BIOGRAPHY 99 

I asked, Can I write Song this morning ? 

Yes, you can, with power and sweetness too. 
Your Muse is here : you nothing have to do, 
But to sit by, while she indites the Song : 
Her brightness flows around you, and ere long, 
You will so recognize her friendly hand, 
That naught shall intervene to countermand 
God's will with you, that you be instrument, 
To work out His most holy high intent 
Of pouring Truth, apart from mortal pride, 
Upon all men who willingly abide, 
In Truth's and Beauty's way : so take your pen, 
Be a good boy ; and down to earth again 
Shall step sweet Spirit- Melodies, more rare 
Than ever yet have thrilled thy native air. 



The book has always had admirers and adherents, 
and Wilkinson was frequently importuned for copies. 
Dr Westland Marston, acknowledging a presentation 
copy, says : " I find matter of deep psychological 
interest. I value it for its spirit which seems to me 
an utterance of the law or essence of which objects 
are exponents ; although the forms are occasionally 
perplexed. There are perpetual glints of spiritual 
life and revelations which could not be got at by any 
process of straining, though the two sets of images 
often run the one into the otfcer. . . . Clearly the 
book, proceeding from the initial force of the mind, 
rather than from the representative faculties, will 
only be patent to the initial mind to the initiated : 
but by such it will be deeply valued." Another 



100 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

correspondent, writing as late as 1871, says : 4 You 
have assuredly long ago heard from far worthier 
lips the just recognition of their value ; but I cannot 
forbear expressing to you my deep sense of the 
mingled charm of strong simplicity and mystic 
splendour that characterize so many of them." 
But " the initiated " are few, and Mr Gilchrist's 
dictum, that the book has passed into the limbo of 
the modern " spiritualist " muse, must be accepted. 
Still, two poems, those upon " Turner " and " The 
Diamond " appear in the little known authology 
of verse which Mr Emerson issued under the title 
" Parnassus." 

This year, 1857, saw a very different production 
of Wilkinson's pen a pamphlet upon " The Use 
of Glanderine and Farcine in the treatment of 
Pulmonary and other Diseases " which introduced 
two new nosodes to medical practice. Another 
pamphlet, embracing the two influences which were 
then potent upon him, was " The Homeopathic 
principle applied to Insanity, a proposal to treat 
Insanity by Spiritualism." 

There follow several years in which Wilkinson 
published little. In 1858 he took his son James, then 
a boy of fourteen, with him for a tour in Norway and 
Sweden, at that time regarded as a piece of serious 
travel. It is not necessary to follow them through 
the experiences of a holiday now sufficiently usual ; 
but one extract may be quoted from his letters as 



BIOGRAPHY 101 

evidence of his delight and appreciation of what he 



saw. 1 

" I am almost stunned by the magnificence and 
fearful beauty of Nature in these Norse wildernesses 
of mountains. Lake upon lake,, waterfall upon 
waterfall, mountains barren as stones, mountains 
clad with heather, with fir trees, with superb various 
forests, emerald pictures of farms hung up here and 
there in the halls of the giants : you have no con- 
ception of it. Tell our friend Mr Shrubsole that here 
are Rockeries by the thousand miles together. . . . 
The might of water here, doubling and embracing 
all the great creations, which see themselves like 
thoughts within it, is something unparalleled to my 
mind. Only just now we have visited near our 
Hotel, a foss or waterfall, the descent of a great 
river through deep stony gorges into the subjacent 
lake, which at first took away my powers of apprecia- 
tion. It is the realm of the Poetry of the Giants. 
. . . Jamie drives himself like a Norwegian." 

During this year Garth Wilkinson's eldest daughter, 
Emma, was betrothed to Lieut. Hermann Pertz, 
son of G. H. Pertz. 2 

The marriage was a happy one to all concerned 
and gave great interest in all German matters to 
the family. The two daughters of this union were, 

1 Letter to his wife, August 7, 1858. 

2 Editor of ' ' Monumenta Germanise Historica/' and author of 
"Stem's Leben." 



102 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

after the death of their parents, to supply bright and 
loving company to Garth Wilkinson in his old age. 

Spiritualism contributed a strange acquaintance 
in Thomas Lake Harris. Writing to a follower 
of Harris, 1 Wilkinson says : 

" Mr and Mrs Harris stayed with me in this house 
for some weeks when they first visited London. 
I have many memories of them both. Afterwards 
they lodged in Queen's Terrace, close to this, during 
the whole time of his delivery of his sermons in 
Wigmore Street, in what is now Steinway Hall. 
In that Hall I also heard both Carlyle and Emerson 
lecture. There is a poem in Regina addressed 
to my late daughter, Emma Marsh Pertz. 

" When Harris visited London some years after, 
he passed me by, and was with the Oliphants and 
others. It was a proof of his spiritual judgment, 
for in the meantime I had departed from any- 
thing like pupilage to his genius, and gradually left 
Spiritualism on any other than the lines of the 
New Religion commissioned through Swedenborg. I 
do not, however, close myself against any future 
dispensation. But I cannot see that T. L. Harris 
has continued the Revelation of the Divine Sense 
of the Word, though he has broken ground in social 
and practical life : perhaps deep ground." 

Lawrence Oliphant was also a friend of this period. 
" To-day I have a present of West India Jams from 

1 Letter to Mr J. Thomson, September 1, 1893. 



BIOGRAPHY 10S 

Mrs Bennett, Mr Oliphant's friend," wrote Wilkinson 
in 1865. " He wants to go to Mr Harris in America. 
Their difficulty seems coming" There was perhaps 
more than " spiritual judgment " in Harris' avoid- 
ance of his former host ; for when Oliphant pressed 
Wilkinson for an introduction to Harris, Wilkinson 
declined it, with the expressed opinion that the 
acquaintance was not for Oliphant's good. It had 
been well for the latter if he had accepted his friend's 
opinion. But he went to Queen's Terrace, walked 
outside Harris' lodgings for some time in doubt, 
and finally introduced himself to " the Prophet," 
with results which will be remembered by all who 
have read his biography. 

The last contemporary mention of Harris, in the 
same year, reads, " Harris is starting a Bank, of 
which he is President." Wilkinson does not appear 
to have been a depositor. 

In the same letter, he mentions, " The day before 
yesterday I had a long talk with Mr and Mrs G. H. 
Lewes. Romola was very nice, and looked particu- 
larly well." 

Among the letters of 1859 is one from Lola Montez, 
who seeks Garth Wilkinson's acquaintance on account 
of his position in the New Church, his authorship 
of the " Improvisations," and his connection with 
T. L. Harris. 

These years were full of professional work, and that 
is very probably the reason why they have left few 



104 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

traces of other interests. Charles Lamb said that 
the true works of Elia were to be found in the ledgers 
of India House. The writings of Garth Wilkinson 
between 1857 and 1880 must, in general, be sought 
in his Case Books. During this time he established 
a consulting room at 76 Wimpole Street and moved 
house to 4 Finchley Road. In 1865 he delivered 
a discourse upon " Our Social Health " before 
The Ladies' Sanitary Association, which was after- 
wards published, and ran through two editions: 
it set forth righteousness, both public and private, 
as an essential to social well-being. His holidays 
bulk largely in his correspondence, perhaps because 
he found more time for writing then than during 
the working months. These holidays were varied 
and extensive. 

In 1859, starting late in consequence of his 
daughter's wedding, Wilkinson went South, to Algiers, 
md Marseilles, then home by Aries, Nismes and Lyons. 
He wrote, among others, a lively letter to his son. 

" I arrived just before the Annual Arab Races, 
which the French Government has instituted, by 
premiums, to improve the breed of Arab Horses. 
The town was full of Arab cavaliers, from all parts, 
even to the great desert : all Tribes, such figures 
as you have seen in books, at full gallop, with lance 
and matchlock. From 5 to 6 thousand men were 
encamped on Mustapha Superieure, a place above 
the town, where also we saw troops of camels. 



BIOGRAPHY 105 

In the race, 7 Arabs started every 5 minutes, for 
four hours, and the victor, the moment his steed 
came in, leapt down, and was paid his premium. 
It was a strange sight, to see these wild people, with 
their rude turbans and long garments of flannel, 
with naked legs, flying past in fierce competition 
on their Arab horses. Then the sides of the course 
were occupied also by the picturesque chivalry 
of the Atlas. Besides these, there were the dapper 
French Officers and multitudes of Moors, Jews, 
Negros ; a mixture of many nations. One or two 
Arabs were killed in the rush ; one very near me. 
The French have an ambulance bed on the course 
ready to receive them ; and, one moment in all the 
fire of rivalry, the next they are being walked off 
in their coffins. Their Arab freres take no notice 
and a few deaths are considered a matter of course." 

The sunshine, the mixture of races, and the fruit, 
of which he gives a picturesque catalogue, appear 
to have most impressed him. 

In 1860, there was another wedding in the family, 
his second daughter marrying Mr B. St John Matthews 
(afterwards Attwood-Matthews) of Pontrilas Court, 
Herefordshire. The holiday of this year took him 
to Paris, Brussels and Malines. Paris, not being 
in revolution, did not please him so much as it had 
done in 1848. 

In 1861 he took an autumn trip to Spain with 
his friend Mr Decimus Hand, meeting on board 



106 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

ship with General Outram, " who in these his last 
days is quite a picture and a study to me. He 
talks very unreservedly of his past life." The route 
was by Gibraltar, Cadiz, Xeres (where he " tasted 
sherry at the fountain head "), Seville, Cordova 
and Granada with the Alhambra. The Cathedral 
of Seville greatly impressed him. " At 9 this morn- 
ing we went into the Cathedral, which made me 
literally heave with emotion. Hands said, " I say, 
Wilkinson, doesn't this knock one to pieces ? " 
To say that it beggars and eclipses all the ecclesi- 
astical edifices I have seen conveys no idea of what 
I felt. Art in the grandest shape yet realized, 
one feels that it is also Nature, and that rock and 
mountain would own it as a sister. It is so stupend- 
ous in size and weight, that Antwerp or Notre Dame 
dwindles before its columns. And the lights that 
play within it, by their intensity of colour, give 
a kind of awful finish, though ever shifting, to the 
interior. We also ascended the Moorish Tower, 
340 feet, the easiest ascent I ever made, and saw 
the view of Seville, of a village on the hill where 
Cortez lived, the Bull Ring, the Guadalquiver, etc. 
But coming back to the Cathedral, the view looked 
small, to the surprizing inside." 

Characteristic of the man was his intense love 
of light and of trees. He seldom visited a place 
without recording some enjoyment gained from one 
or both of them. It will be remembered that in his 



BIOGRAPHY 107 

autobiographical fragment he mentions the joy 
which he felt as a boy on a certain " picnic of 
picnics " on meeting with " jumpers and other 
plants of such regions, which were as parts of a new 
world to him." Writing to his youngest daughter, 
on this Spanish journey, he heads his letter : 

" ALHAMBRA ! ! September 25, 1861 :- 

" The above will speak volumes. I am not 
writing within the precincts of the Alhambra ! I 
shall not waste words with descriptions : but only 
say that all words fail to convey an idea of this 
ruin with its surroundings. It and Granada are 
the Arabian Nights made into a palace and 
city. You cannot see the El Hamar (Alhambra) 
without the sun-green gardens, of Orange, Pome- 
granate, Vine, Fig, and all other most blooming 
and aromatic creatures : nor it, or these, without 
the sun-blue sky, paved as it is here with its own 
light, reflected up in one great column from mountain 
and plain, as far as the eye can reach. In all the 
sight there is a glow, as though we were feeling in 
the day the immediate pulsation of the sun. And 
the men and women one sees, as well as the piled 
fruits, seem as if they were the result and natural 
jewel of all these influences. 

" I speak only on the picturesque side, and attempt 
to throw you a copper, representing the Imperial 
Coinage of the beauty of this old Moorish place, 



108 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

as it is embalmed in the true beauty of God's great 
Nature." 

The possessor, or possessed, of such enthusiasm 
did well to travel ; but he had an eye quick to see 
the humbler beauties of the garden. Writing to 
the same daughter (Mrs Claughton Mathews) in 
1898, he says : 

" It seems absurd to talk to you, any of you, 
about greenwoods ; either in Brockenhurst or 
Sevenoaks. But the happiness of a patch of blue 
precocious squills, and of daffodils and primroses 
and oxlips fills the conceit until I think of my 
little flower-beds as country scenery, embosomed 
now also in horse-chestnut trees great and small, 
revelling in live bold buds, the promise of Spring." 

The last time I saw him, only a few weeks before 
his death, when his walks were confined to the little 
London garden behind his home, Garth Wilkinson 
showed me, with affectionate satisfaction, some of 
his garden treasures, reminiscent of sunny days of 
travel ; a chestnut grown from a nut which he had 
picked up at Cordova, Hydrastis C anode, sis brought 
from the States, Phytolacca sent to him ^ v a friend 
in New Zealand. His mind's eye could still Decon- 
struct the scenes where these things had flourished 
at their best, and he was warmed and lighted up 
by memory. 

In 1863 his holiday took him no farther than 
Scotland and the English Lakes ; and in 1864 he 



BIOGRAPHY 109 

paid a delightful visit to his daughter, Mrs Pertz, 
and his infant grandchildren, at Salzburg ; seeing 
Nuremburg, Innsbruck and Vienna, in company with 
Captain Pertz. 

1866 took him to Iceland, which appealed to him 
so keenly that he repeated the journey in 1868. 
Journals of both visits are full of keen observation 
and great enjoyment. Icelandic travel in those 
days was regarded as distinctly adventurous, and 
there was a good deal of roughness and discomfort 
in the experience : but it was salutary. " All our 
party," he wrote, " seems better than usual ; and 
for my part I cannot doubt that it is more feasible 
for me to be here on this rough platform of experience, 
than to be enjoying the luxuries of good hotels in 
pleasant places on the Continent. I feel strengthen- 
ing for my dear work at home." The greatest danger 
that he escaped was from an unexpected eruption 
of the Great Geyser while he was bathing in a warm 
pool. Tons of boiling water fell on the place he had 
occupied but a moment before. 

Here, as elsewhere, he made friends. Mr Ion 
a Hyaltalin helped him much, as we have seen, 
in his study of the language. He came to England 
later, became Librarian of the Advocates' Library 
in Edinburgh, returned home, and is now head of 
a College in Modruvellir. The friendship was close 
and life-long. 

The holiday of 1869 realized the hopes of many 



110 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

years. It took the form of a rush through part 
of the United States. He was away from home 
only five weeks. The poet, Longfellow, and his 
family, were on board the steamer on the outward 
journey, and with them Wilkinson foregathered. 
He saw New York, Albany, Niagara, Montreal, 
Quebec, Lake Champlain, Lake George, Boston and 
Cambridge. Here he was fraternally received by 
Mr James, and renewed the unbroken friendship 
of old times. Wilkinson found his god-son an 
ex-captain and farmer on a large scale, who, having 
fought and bled in command of a negro Regiment, 
can hope no better for the coloured brother than that 
he may die out. From Mr James' house Wilkinson 
visited Longfellow, with whom he found Charles 
Sumner, Chairman of the Committee for Foreign 
Affairs in the Senate, and notorious at this time 
for his fierceness over the Alabama Claims. Though 
he was conciliatory and " claimed " to be a reader 
of Wilkinson's works, on the recommendation of 
Emerson, the conversation ended in an outspoken 
argument. Old patients, old literary colleagues, new 
friends who were old readers, fell in Wilkinson's way 
at every turn : he found himself famous in the States, 
his name a pass-word. It is not to be wondered at 
that he enjoyed his hurried holiday. 

On his return home, he wrote in his travelling 
journal a reply to the constant question which had 
greeted him. " What do you think of our country ? " 



BIOGRAPHY 111 

" Sitting at home here, Jonathan, Brother and dear 
Boy, I like what I have seen of it very extremely ; 
and even feel that I fantastically regret having spent 
holidays in France, Germany, Switzerland and other 
old and irrelevant places, when I might earlier have 
grasped your singular and ever-grasping fingers. 

" I was fourteen days and some hours there, and 
felt the touch of a new life, a new vitality, a new 
velocity in everybody. I was impressed spiritually 
with the fact of a new Mission in Humanity, which 
America is carrying out : a mission the basis and 
nutriment of which is Making Money and Getting 
on ; not the All-mighty Dollar, but the indefinitely 
plentiful Dollar as a Divine Need for men to execute 
their Mission. I was impressed with the Divine 
Value of Money as distinctively opposed to the 
Aristocratic and Avaricious value of it, with the 
fact that every man is determined to make it by 
some services, to have it and to spend it. A new 
consciousness of the worth of Life in Cash ; a con- 
sciousness for want of which the operatives of Europe, 
save in the Trades Unions, are rotting. 

" 2. I was impressed with the fact that the American 
People is Providentially hurled over the steeps and 
difficulties of their Continent, fearless and therefore 
free, to lay hold of it hour by hour, and cover it 
with roads and cities ; and to show how rapid an 
Architect Freedom is, in a new world all his own. 
And that this period of New Building of all kinds 



112 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

is not the making of a new Country, but of a 
Cosmopolitan Place, veritably a New World ; which 
will destroy Countries and institute the World. 
That all lands will open into it, by henceforth vast 
migrations ; and that by example, influence and 
polity it will educate, flow into and impress all 
countries, and be the crowning piece in the material 
life of the Nations, and that God is palpably with 
America all the time, and that it is Newly His, and 
will kneel more reverently to Him than any other 
World of Peoples. 

And that the Vices and Corruptions of America 
are of the greatest, but do not hinder her first 
mighty Work ; but will be burnt up as dried tares 
when the day of her purgation comes. And that 
now they are spiritually less deadly, though more 
odorously offensive, than the perfumed and fine- 
skinned Vices of European States." 

Wilkinson, on his return, was strongly impressed 
with the necessity for the repeal of the Contagious 
Diseases (Women) Act. Mrs Josephine Butler and 
Mr F. W. Newman, the Cardinal's brother, were 
his friends, and it was not long before he took his 
place by their side. The periodical inspection 
of prostitutes in naval and military towns was a 
matter which made him white with anger and 
indignation. He wrote an open letter of sixteen 
pages to the Home Secretary, Mr Bruce, in which 
he stated his views with every plain statement 



BIOGRAPHY 113 

of medical circumstance which could make the 
administration of the Act horrible and loathsome 
in the minds of his readers. Hating the subject, 
hating to write of it, he did so, once and for all, 
that others might hate it as he did. " The Forcible 
Introspection of Women for the Army and Navy 
by the Oligarchy considered physically " is painful 
reading. Whatever views may be held upon the 
subject, it is now unnecessary that this little 
pamphlet should be read. In a tract entitled " A 
Free State and Free Medicine," further advocating 
the dischartering of his profession, Wilkinson dealt 
also with this subject. At the same time we find him 
strongly supporting the Married Woman's Property 
Bill, in a letter to Mrs Jacob Bright. 

Those of us who are old enough remember the 
intense excitement in England concerning the 
Franco-Prussian War, how general sympathy was 
first opposed to France and came round to her 
in her debacle. It was sure to be otherwise in 
Wilkinson's household, who had a son-in-law fighting 
in the Prussian Engineers. As usual, Wilkinson 
" did not mince matters." On August 12, 1870 
he wrote to his wife. " The evil of the day is that 
they (the Prussians) have been wantonly assaulted 
and invaded by ' Diaboleon,' and that they are 
obliged to resist to the death, and to put an end to 
the state of things which ' Diaboleon ' represents. 
And they are doing it with a speed and certainty 



114 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

which seems favoured of Heaven. Never before 
has there been a more sublime spectacle of a great 
Nation moving without a break from home into 
battle, against a mere standing army of bandits 
and cut-throats led by a murderous Devil. The 
result will show that a standing Army has no chance 
against an embattled people. . . . ' Diaboleon ' 
said well that ' he went to increase Liberty and 
Civilization.' He did. A deeper Diaboleon, whose 
fool he is, sent him forth, and in the destruction 
of Self and Host, Liberty and Civilization will breathe 
afresh, even for poor, but soon emancipated, France." 

Many prayers were sent up for the safety of 
Hermann Pertz who saw much service, was the 
first Officer to enter Metz, received the Iron Cross 
at Versailles and returned safely to his family, amidst 
a chorus of thanksgiving. 

Wilkinson had long foreseen German Unity. 
Writing to his daughter Mrs Pertz in 1866 during 
" The Seven Weeks' War," he said : " I am deeply 
interested in all you tell me of dear Hermann, for 
whose preservation I am thankful to God ; and also 
in the European conflict. If Prussia were a liberal 
power, she might unite Germany into one nationality. 
... At present, all she can do is to overrun alien 
Germany ; but she will be unable to hold whatever 
she cannot Prussianize ; for Prussianization appears 
to be the height and depth and breadth of her aim, 
and a very poor aim it is to justify the loss of so 



BIOGRAPHY 115 

many lives. But God may engraft His own ends 
upon the small aims of Kings and Ministers, and 
force the little fellows to carry them out ; as he 
engrafted Total Emancipation upon the pettifogging 
Aims of the United States, and they had to fight 
till it was gained." 

In October 1870, Wilkinson joined Mrs Pertz 
in Berlin. Writing to his wife the day after his 
arrival, he says. " Thank God, I am safe and well 
in this comfortable Hotel, and have just break- 
fasted in my bedroom, with our own Emma, and 
the boys beside me. They were here by 9 in 
the morning to see Grossvater in bed, in which 
they succeeded. . . . There are no regiments 
visible on the road, and almost no young men ; 
this nation is evidently in a great crisis. Every- 
one seems quiet and composed ; no boasting. The 
wounded in every train ; we had three in my carriage. 
. . . France has no great cause to band her against 
the great cause that they (the Germans) have, the 
Unity of a Great German Fatherland. . . . She has 
caught her Conqueror. His doom is to conquer 
and to chain her for a time. No light doom either." 
On October 22, he writes, " At 10 to-day we went 
to the Wounded, with 144 jackets, socks and 
comforters, besides cigars. We were through at 
1. Mrs Pertz 1 (senior) went with us, and 
we met at the hospital barracks the Countess 

1 Nee Homer, wife of G. H. Pertz. 



116 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

Stein, who accompanied us, also with stores. 
She spoke in such splendid terms of Emma and 
all she did at Strassburg ; of her courage and 
rapidity. You should see Emma among the flocks 
of soldiers ; she quite towers, and addresses them 
in the easiest way ; and evidently loves service 
among them, touched, no doubt, continually by her 
absent Hermann. I am astonished at her, for she 
so thoroughly heads and leads the relieving party. 
We gave to Germans and French ; and I had pleasant 
chats with the latter. You have only to see the whole 
stalwart faces of the Germans, their build, and 
contrast with the French, to know that that set 
of Germans once awakened and once victorious, 
the French would have no chance in the greater game 
of War." 

This year saw the beginning of Wilkinson's crusade 
against compulsory vaccination. His labours in 
this regard occupied his pen and his leisure ex- 
tensively for some eight or nine years. It is a 
matter which will be best considered in a separate 
chapter. 

In 1871, Mary James, Wilkinson's youngest 
daughter, was married to Mr Francis Claughton 
Mathews. It was a union which began a close and 
affectionate friendship, lasting through the remainder 
of Wilkinson's life. The marriage of his children 
gave Wilkinson ties near home and contributed 
with his age (for he was now nearing his sixtieth 



BIOGRAPHY 117 

birthday), to diminish his zest for distant and rapid 
holiday excursions. Indeed we may regard his 
holidays of this and the next year as marking the 
end of such travel, in an orgy of two consecutive 
trips to Norway. His journal of the first of these 
journeys abounds in descriptions of scenery by land 
and sea and pleasantly reflects the sunshine flecked 
with sea-birds. " I have a most delightful Captain," 
he writes to his wife, " who quite pets me ; the 
constant change of people at the Stationer ; the 
putting off of the boats ; and the men and women 
who come on board, is a pleasant study for a holiday 
time. And then, sea, sky, mountains, all clear and 
sweet, for hundreds and thousands of miles. ... I 
am on deck nearly all day ; enjoying the warm 
fresh air, and conversing about with the passengers." 
His son was contemplating the construction of a 
railway line from Sundsvall to Trondhjem, and he 
was busy in collecting information : the Swedes 
were opposed to it, as likely to exhalt Trondhjem 
at the expense of Stockholm. " They say the 
Swedish Government hinders it. Probably this is 
a Norwegian mistake. But, from what I hear, 
I cannot but think that the Railway will be made." 
James Wilkinson also engineered the Lulea line, 
the first and only railway which crosses the Arctic 
circle. 

Wilkinson's speculative imagination was still 
active, " Loud carousing in the Cabin," he reported 



118 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

on one of the outward journeys, " Constant Toasts " 
-" Skal "for " lyckHga neise." " What can toasts 
mean ? They seem generally to be convivial prayers, 
with the Principal Character left out. ... As I 
noticed of the clouds in going to Iceland, so here, not 
only of the clouds, but of the rocks and mountains, 
I see that animal and human forms are constantly 
suggested. Men's faces on the fell-tops, tortoises, 
elephants, all huge mammals, seem impacted, and 
struggling in bonds of stone here. All folks notice 
it. Is there not a nisus animalis and nisus humanus 
really signified, a spiritual moulding inevitable, 
in these things called freaks of Nature, and creatures 
of the imagination ? I believe it, and that no Alp 
can be upheaved, and no rock settle, without feeling 
that inner force of God by which all nature tends to 
higher forms and to man. The more plastic the 
sphere, the more representative ; so that cloudland 
shows it most dramatically. But granite obeys 
also, and is from within, as well as from without, 
a creature of the Divine and Human Imagination." 

In a long-delayed letter to Mrs Pertz, at about 
this time, Wilkinson bewails his inability to do more 
than meet the absolute daily necessities of corre- 
spondence. His practice now was very large and he 
had frequently to visit patients at considerable 
distances such as Eastbourne, Oswestry and 
Leamington. He found his relaxation chiefly in 
reading ; the Norse studies were pursued, and he 



BIOGRAPHY 119 

began a course of the Latin Classics which he followed 
with occasional interruptions to the end of his life. 
Virgil, especially the sixth JSneid, was a favourite 
of his ; and he was pleased to meet anyone who 
would discuss Lucretius with him. Plautus and 
Terence amused him greatly. He was less addicted 
to Greek. His holidays were now spent chiefly in 
visiting his married daughters in Herefordshire and 
in Kent. In 1875, however, he spent a few weeks 
in Guernsey and enjoyed it ; but he found an air 
of retired gentility about the island which would 
not long have contented him. In 1879, he paid 
his last visit to Major and Mrs Pertz, at the Althof 
Loetzen in East Prussia, where the Major was Com- 
mandant of a small fortress. This Wilkinson duly 
inspected, but it is characteristic of him that after 
noting that "it is a great order " he proceeds to 
mention the presence of wildflowers and the dis- 
turbance of a hare from her form on one of the 
slopes. The Major's overgrown garden and its cure 
by clearances and pruning gave him great joy. 
Major Pertz retired soon after this visit and found 
occupation on the newly constructed Lynn and 
Fakenham Railway, the work of James Wilkinson 
junior. But he did not long survive his retirement 
and died at Holt in Norfolk. It was the first entry 
of death into Wilkinson's immediate family circle, 
and he was deeply touched. Hermann Pertz 
was a dear friend as well as the husband of a 



120 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

loved and loving daughter for more than twenty 
years. 

In 1882 Wilkinson translated from the Swedish 
a tract by his friend Rektor Siljestrom upon the 
Vaccination question, entitled " A momentous 
Education question for the consideration of Parents 
and others who desire the well-being of the Rising 
Generation." A second edition was called for in 
the following year. He also wrote a little account 
of " Swedenborg's Doctrines and the Translation 
of his Works," a contribution to a series of New 
Church Tracts. It was a subject upon which no 
living man could speak with greater authority. 
" As one who has had some experience in translating 
Swedenborg," he says, " I can aver that at first 
for a length of time I had the feeling that it would 
be easy and right to popularize him somewhat, and 
to melt down his Proprium and his Scientifics, his 
Goods, Truths and Uses and many other of his 
terms. I tried my hand and failed. I found that 
none but Ulysses can bend the bow of Ulysses : 
that Swedenborg in Latin must be Swedenborg 
in English ; and so at last I came close to his terms, 
and, as far as I could get, got into their marrow ; 
and then I did not want to melt them down, but felt 
sure then, as I feel now, that they are a genuine 
coinage which the reader when he learns it, will 
never wish to see defaced in any least lineament, lest 
a value which is priceless be lost or altered thereby. 



BIOGRAPHY 121 

I learned, in short, that the terms are from the 
rational mint of the New Dispensation, and that 
it is not lawful to break or vary the coins of that 
Kingdom into other forms." 

If the reader will be at the pains to compare a 
passage of the original Swedenborgian Latin with 
Wilkinson's translation he will see how modest is the 
claim which the translator sets forward for his 
work. He will be inclined to claim more for him ; 
and to say that Wilkinson mastered the use of 
Elizabethan prose for this purpose. The English of 
the translations is the English of the Authorized 
Version of the Scriptures, the comprehensive and 
comprehensible English of Cranmer's Collects in the 
Book of Common Prayer. 

In 1883, Wilkinson edited for his friend the 
Reverend J. le G. Brereton, a paper entitled One 
Teacher : one Law which demonstrated " the 
essential oneness of the Old and the New Testaments." 
In the same year he brought out, on his own account, 
a brochure on " Pasteur and Jenner " in which he 
bound Vivisection and Vaccination together for 
the purpose of gibbeting them the more effectually. 
He also write a tractate on " The Treatment of Small- 
pox by Hydrastis Canadenses and Veratrun vivide " 
and followed it in 1884 by another one, " Vaccination 
as a source of Small-pox." 

1885 was a productive year in literary output ; 
nor did the quality of the work show any degeneration. 



122 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

A translation of Swedenborg's " Sapientia Angelica 
de Divino Amore " appeared. It consists of fifteen 
pages of introduction and 344 pages of text. The 
last of Wilkinson's translations from his master's 
works, it shows his matured skill as well as his vigour 
and perseverance. " The Greater Origins and Issues 
of Life and Death" followed. "This," as the 
preface explains, " was commenced in order to furnish 
to the public mind the Author's testimony and 
convictions concerning what is called Vivisection. 
. . . The determination of his heart and intellect 
against it has grown with his growth, strengthened 
with his strength. He has written upon it from 
time to time. And now, when a great public opinion 
is rising by his side, he had been compelled to put 
forth all his strength as one combatant in the cause 
of common humanity and common science." 

" Medical Specialism " was originally an article 
contributed to the Homoeopathic World, which was 
reprinted. It deals with a favourite subject of 
its author's the specializing of and in the Practice 
of Medicine. 

In a letter to his daughter Mrs Frank Mathews, 
he gives the following account of his feelings and 
doings at this time : 

" As I get older, care settles down more heavily ; 
but I have not yet discovered whether it is that there 
is more real care, or that I make the matter more 
onerous. Probably the latter. However, I am truly 



BIOGRAPHY 

glad that this year I have been allowed to complete 
two Books, and to have them in my past. My 
translation of Swedenborg's ' Divine Love and 
Wisdom ' is the most important literary work 
of my life ; I have been through it in various editions 
some six times, and have now done my best with 
it. You will be glad to hear that my labours are 
hailed and appreciated warmly both in this country 
and in America ; and that my own Book is selling 
as well as I can expect on both sides of the Atlantic. 
There is a good demand for it in Canada. If bodily 
health continues, there are still other subjects on 
which I should wish to speak ; especially theological- 
political, on the rule of a true Church in and over 
Democracy. . . . But whether I am strong enough 
to enter this field, time and health will show. I 
like to tell you these things ; for they are the only 
intimate part of me, and I wish you to participate 
in them. 

" Dear Mamma and I are very happy together, 
especially in being at one in all our best hopes and 
beliefs ; and in waiting with a patience which is 
a new and good fruit of years. In the midst of all 
our many anxieties for all our dear families, she is 
always buoyant at the end, and submissive to 
the Will, which is above our dictation. She is 
reconcilable to events by a Power above herself." 

The " waiting with patience " for one of the 
partners was not to be long, for in March 1886, 



124 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

came the great sorrow of Wilkinson's life, the sorrow 
which one of every pair of lovers must expect. The 
loving and comprehending companion of forty -six 
years of happy wedded life had latterly been failing 
in health, and was taken from him. Neither religion 
nor philosophy can obviate the impact of such a 
blow at first ; while self is self, the removal of so 
much must shock what of us is not stunned. In 
this way Garth Wilkinson suffered ; but he knew well 
how near is the spirit world, how continuous with 
that which is ours ; and he emerged, dismayed but 
not perplexed, from the first inevitable selfishness 
of grief. It was from the depth of experience and 
conviction that he wrote to the widow of a dear and 
recently lost friend. ' You have both of you 
changed worlds ; he is in sight of his Home, perhaps 
in it : you are in the Faith and Good of it, as you were 
not when he was here. It is sure that where conjugal 
love exists, the death of either mate increases and 
elevates the union as no other happening can." 

Wilkinson was now seventy- three ; he had not 
lost heart, but he was weary and had lost his chief 
earthly support. He had already given up his 
consulting room in Wimpole Street, and henceforth 
he retired, so far as he was allowed to do so, from 
the practice of his profession. There were old and 
loved patients whom he could not abandon ; these 
he still received at his house and visited when 
necessary ; but he would not add to their number. 



BIOGRAPHY 125 

He was far from idle, however. His interest in 
life and in all questions of the day remained keen 
to the last. If his aim had been to prolong his life 
and he once told Crabbe Robinson that he wished 
to see his century, " to see the world flower open 
and the great things that will be, and to help," 
he could not have acted more wisely, for interest 
is the great physical spring of life. He was still 
conscious of a message to be delivered, he wished to 
reinforce work he had done in the past. His tolera- 
tion became more wide, his judgments more gentle, 
his affections more general. He voluntarily and 
consciously entered into old age, but it was an old 
age of mental beauty, of good humours, of kindli- 
ness and wisdom : qualities which not only endeared 
him to old friends, but which also brought him new 
ones, and that not seldom among the young. People 
sought him out and asked leave to visit him ; they 
came with questions on all sorts of subjects and went 
away with information gathered from wide reading 
and wider observation. Seldom can there have been 
a man who was less, in the unpleasant American 
phrase, " a back number." He was in touch with 
the thinking and working men in all his favoured 
subjects, and, if they came to him for advice or 
information, he usually drew something from them 
for his own mental store. 

At this time he was good to see. Above six feet 
in height and but little bowed by time; inclined 



126 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

to stoutness but far from unwieldiness ; bearded 
almost to the waist, the hair grizzled but still show- 
ing some of its original brown ; but slightly bald 
over a high- domed forehead ; thick and rough of 
eyebrow over keen blue eyes which flashed under 
his gold-rimmed spectacles ; handsome and tidy in 
his dress, he was a fine specimen of a cultured and 
kindly gentleman. His voice was charming, strong, 
vigorous and deep as the thought behind it ; prone 
to hearty laughter, but not rarely a little broken 
by anything of grandeur and pathos which had 
touched him. It was a voice which comes back to 
those who knew him as they read his books or recall 
his talk. His enunciation was remarkably clear, 
without any trace of precision, as his conversation 
was full of learning without pedantry. Sitting by 
his dwarf revolving bookcase, on which rested his 
snuff box and a pile of books in many languages 
and on many subjects, he made a picture which 
never rises in the memory of his friends without 
bringing pleasure and thankfulness with it. 

In 1887 Wilkinson brought out " Revelation, 
Mythology, Correspondences," a work in which he 
set himself to show that Revelation was not confined 
to the Jewish and Christian Churches, but that the 
ancient mythologies, read by the light of corre- 
spondences, was full of Divine teaching ; that there 
was, in fact, a golden primaeval age. This was the 
task to which he devoted the last years of his literary 



BIOGRAPHY 127 

power, and much of his work hereafter had the 
promulgation of this idea for its object. 

Of similar import was the book of 1888, " Oannes 
according to Berosus," his theme in this instance 
being the history of the culture of the Chaldeans 
at the hands of Oannes, a Triton of the Persian 
Gulf, as related by Berosus, priest of Bel's Temple 
in the time of Alexander the Great ; it gives its 
meaning according to the doctrine of correspondences, 
and argues therefrom its inspired nature. 

Wilkinson's books brought him interesting corre- 
spondents, and " Oannes " was specially provocative 
in this way. Among these letters was one from 
" your affectionate and indebted Westland Marston." 
He wrote on July 11, 1888, " Oannes (I thought 
before I found you make the same suggestion, that 
he was nominally, and more than nominally, akin 
to the Evangelist 'IcocWqcr) has quite absorbed me. 
Whether derived from the earliest Word or not, there 
is no doubt, I think, that all ancient legends and 
mythologies were correspondences to (and from ?) 
the original Bible. I remember even in the myth- 
ology of Ancient Mexico (a remote region where 
its symbols seem unlikely to have penetrated), 
there is a striking adumbration both of the Lord 
and the devil, and the Mexicans were looking forward 
to the advent of the former (?) as the Jews were 
to that of the Messiah. A literature of Divine 
Revelations in some measure leavening the Universe 



128 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

in the spiritual verity of which the unity of all 
languages (one day to be established) is externally 
the type. A thousand thanks for this most interest- 
ing book, which, besides its general theme, arrests 
one, almost on every page, by some pregnant hint 
or suggestion." It met also with a warm expression 
of approval from Professor Sayce. 

In 1888 Wilkinson collected all the information 
possible about Jasper Swedenborg, Bishop of Skara, 
and father of the more famous Emanuel Swedenborg, 
which originally appeared as an article in The New 
Church Magazine, but was reprinted for private 
circulation. This was an act of piety which he 
thoroughly enjoyed. 

" The Soul is Form and doth the Body make " 
followed in 1890. This was a return to the subject 
of the lectures of 1848 and of " The Human Body 
and its Connexion with Man " of 1851 ; but now 
the doctrine of Correspondences is more plainly 
stated ; the anatomy is treated briefly ; its applica- 
tion is the confessed object of the work. Concentrat- 
ing his attention upon the interdependence of two 
organs, Wilkinson was able to deal with them at 
greater length. He himself described the book as 
treating of " the less known functions and Spiritual 
Correspondences of the heart and lungs." 

A letter to Dr Theobald during this year shows 
well how essential was the part which Correspondence 
played in Wilkinson's method of thought. With him 



BIOGRAPHY 129 

it was no question of how far illustration may be 
used for purposes of argument ; visible things were 
to him more than types of things invisible ; they 
were, rather, the actual presentation of things un- 
seen and outside our present ken, but capable of 
yielding direct instruction by the use of the Key 
of Correspondence. 

. " I am not in agreement with your dear Uncle's 
Psychology. The word Emotions belongs to an age, 
the present, in which religious states are transient 
or passing. Emotions are ultimate states of the Will 
manifested to the senses ; the last efflorescences 
of affections. The affections are the direct con- 
tinuations of the Will of Ruling Love ; the articles 
of which the Will is the heart ; the great constant 
channels which carry the life of the Will through 
the whole Man ; and he is what they are. The 
emotions are manifested occasional ends of the 
affections." 

" Religion with man must reside in the Will, 
or it is nowhere else. There residing, it is a new 
conscience, formed divinely by truth of doctrine 
committed to life lived. Faith and conscience 
are here at one, or the same thing. Man directly 
makes Will, faith and conscience, ' by acting 
sincerely, justly and faithfully ' under the Lord's 
guidance in all his day's works or duties. He 
acknowledges that it is all the Lord's mercy which 

enables him to do this, but he does not in the same 

i 



ISO JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

sense feel it ; but feels, and is to feel, that he is doing 
it himself. Otherwise he would be a Nothing. I 
do not believe in ' the sense of infinite dependence/ 
(here in a pencil note is added "7 do, but the word 
4 absolute ' is better than ' infinite ' ") or that 
Angel or Man ever had it. The sense of independence 
of God, constantly given by Him, but intellectually 
acknowledged to be only an appearance necessary 
for finite existence, seems more true." 

On June 3, 1892, Wilkinson wrote to his daughter 
Mrs Pertz on his eightieth birthday. 

" Your strong hand- writing and dear heart- 
writing do me good, and make me grateful on my 
eightieth birthday. It is a long life to review, and 
God the Lord is merciful. I have to thank and sing 
praises to Him for His mercies beyond all deserts. 
She who is with Him gave me dear children, and 
brought them up in virtue and enlightenment, 
and they and grandchildren and great-grandchildren 
are round me. May we be all ' the people of His 
pasture and the sheep of His hand ! ' 

In this, his eighty-first year, Wilkinson produced 
two books. The first, " The African and the True 
Christian Religion, his Magna Charta," a study 
in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, "was 
yet another of his arguments in favour of widely- 
spread primaeval knowledge, as well as a plea for 
a fuller recognition of the Negro's brotherhood to 
the white man." The second, " Epidemic Man and 



BIOGRAPHY 131 

Ms Visitations " was, in his own words to a friend 
44 intended to assert that all our Diseases are our own 
deeds, confronting us, by conversion of forces into 
bodily ruin and planetary catastrophe " ; a doctrine 
which, if it could but gain general acceptance, would 
immensely encourage " physiological righteousness." 

On August 8, 1893, Wilkinson suffered another 
great loss in the death of his eldest daughter, Mrs 
Pertz. During her widowhood she had lived much 
-with her father and had acted as mistress of his home. 
She was a woman of great understanding ; of great 
will power, often unsuspected under her gentleness 
and self-forgetfulness. Her loss was a grievous 
one and shook Wilkinson severely. Two grand- 
daughters, Emma and Florence Pertz, however, 
were left to brighten and comfort the home. 

Journeys were now difficult, but Wilkinson was 
still able to visit his daughters at Pontrilas Court 
and at Sevenoaks. He also enjoyed staying with 
the Countess de Noailles at Eastbourne, who shared 
his views on many subjects, and who to the end 
remained his friend and patient. 

Still, though strength was failing, the will was 
firm ; and the literary output continued, though 
it cost more toil, and was less rapidly executed ; 
but it showed no loss of power or of force and felicity 
in expression. 

During this year the Reverend Professor Tafel, 
a friend of many years' standing died, with whom 



JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

Wilkinson had been closely associated in the trans- 
lation and editing of Swedenborg's work on " The 
Brain," which Tafel ultimately dedicated to his 
friend. Wilkinson had revised the proofs page by 
page, being probably the only Englishman of sufficient 
knowledge at once of Swedenborg and Anatomy 
to undertake the task. The friendship thus formed 
was a close one, and its close (in so far as death could 
close any friendship of Wilkinson's) saddened him. 
He remained in correspondence with Mrs Tafel for 
years. 

The following letter is characteristic of the man at 
this time, full of old memories, failing somewhat 
in bodily strength, but with a firm and faithful 
hold upon present interests l : 

" Thank you for the beautiful ferns and flowers- 
My fifty-sixth Wedding Day has been peaceful, 
and full of memories. All of you are the garland 
given me by that faithful and excellent wife. 

" Dr Dudgeon has just been here, and finds me 
on the mend. I have a bronchial attack ; but it 
is yielding to his treatment. To-day I am down 
earlier than usual. 

" Come when you can, but do not fatigue yourself. 

" Our international relations are distressful. We 
are necessarily an isolated nation. An island with 
vast present possessions must be. We don't easily 
form alliances, in order that we may not be re- 

1 Letter to his daughter, Mrs F. C. Mathews, January 5, 1896. 



BIOGRAPHY 133 

sponsible for concerns not our own. Hence we are 
thought proud and haughty, and every power has 
a pluck at us. And we are a peculiar people, I 
believe in a good sense. All these are dislikeable 
points. May the Lord of Nations make us just and 
honest, and brave therein ! " 

There was something of the spirit of this last 
paragraph, a spirit of statesmanship rather than 
of politics, in his next book, " The Affections of 
Armed Powers : a plea for a School of little Nations." 
He dedicated it to his son-in-law Mr Frank Mathews, 
with whom a strong intellectual sympathy and 
mutual esteem ever existed. 

Another book of this year (1897) was the sub- 
ject of much thought and of considerable study. 
Wilkinson himself said that " it had loomed in his 
mind for fifty years of cogitative thought." As 
far back as 1890, writing to his friend Professor 
Victor Rydberg, to acknowledge his book " Fadernas 
Gudasaga," he said that he had long meditated 
a spiritual commentary upon " Voluspa," and adds, 
" Remains of good, tenderly remembered from 
innocent times, are the uncorrupted dwellings of 
the Lord in men, and the fresh starting points 
of salvation." And, on another occasion, he wrote, 
" I read almost all the Norse mythology into an 
internal sense, corresponding to the Revealed 
internal sense." Wilkinson was deeply learned in 
Icelandic, Swedish, and German Mythology, and had 



134- JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

contemplated a thorough treatment of the whole 
subject, but he fell back upon " Voluspa " as within 
his limits of power and time. How earnestly he 
pursued his theme, the following extract from a 
letter to Mr Ion a Hjaltalin will show. " My effort, 
which must be merely tentative and ground-breaking, 
to find whether the seed can be sown upon it, so as 
to come towards revelation, is of a different kind 
(to some previous etymological considerations). All 
I can say is that as I proceed, praying that some 
of the wise and simple little children above may be 
sent to open my mind, I do make progress, and find 
a connected chain, or a road with good bridges, in 
parts of the ' Voluspa ' which seem most abrupt. 
And, for all I discern, the Prophecy needs no altering 
or the order of its chants" 

" The Book of Edda called < Voluspa,' a study in 
its scriptural and Spiritual Correspondences " deals 
with the full internal interpretation of the Prophecy 
of the Vala. The work is prettily dedicated to his 
granddaughters, " My free comrades in life and 
work," as the studies of a grandfather. 

There is some special quality of wear and work 
in that generation of old people which is now very 
rapidly disappearing, the children of the men who 
broke Napoleon at Waterloo. Whether their children, 
in their turn, will astonish their descendants by 
force and longevity is questionable. But it is certain 
that the generation to which Wilkinson belonged 



BIOGRAPHY 135 

was blessed with a continuance of force beyond 
what is ordinary. In them was the saying, " Those 
whom the Gods love die young," explained as 
meaning, " Those whom the Gods love are young 
until they die." But, though it appears postponed, 
there is a period for them too ; and, one by one, we 
see these " grand old men " gathered to their fathers. 
Slowly and in the main without suffering, Wilkinson 
realized physically that he was nearing his end. 
" I am weak rather, but fairly well," he wrote, 1 
" and I believe that if I had faith to begin I could 
get on with my writing. But I fear I am ' giving 
in,' and making my entry into the eighty-fifth room 
of existence into an excuse for being served instead 
of serving." But he was far indeed from complaint. 2 
" I am now very infirm, and can hardly do anything 
of a day's work. This was also the reason of my 
long silence on which your ladies commented. I 
am weak and poorly. So you must make allowance 
for me, and, if I can write but seldom, know that 
I value intercourse with your mind highly, as I 
have always done, since I knew you. My Grand- 
daughters, after a long German tour, are now at 
home for the winter, and I have every blessing that 
old age requires. They are treasures." 

Of " that which should accompany old age, as 
Honour, love, obedience, troops of friends," nothing 

1 Letter to Mrs Ruxton, August 8, 1896. 

2 Letter to Mr Thomson, October 28, 1896. 



136 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

was lacking nor was the outlook into the future 
a doubting one. He wrote to a friend 1 who told him 
of a dream concerning one " gone before." 

"It is the beginning of a world of Revelations, 
of which the last, to those who can receive it, is 
permanence and Heaven. How such assurances 
should chasten Churchyard theology, and teach that 
the days of death are short for everyone and that 
resurrection out of the body begins immediately ! 
And then that the Use of having been born in nature 
shines out before good spirits as soon as they awaken. 
The dead world has been the A.B.C. and forerunner 
of the living world : the dead Sun of the living Sun : 
no metaphor or parable, but a Spiritual Orb with 
the Lord God Almighty veiled in its glory. It is 
lovely to think, lovelier to know, that the landscapes 
of heaven are peopled with trees, with birds, with 
animals, and that all these are divine Uses and 
continual scriptures of instruction, varying from 
state to state." 

In 1898 Wilkinson found great pleasure in the 
marriage of his elder granddaughter, Miss Emma 
Leonora Pertz, to Mr E. J. Payne, author of " The 
History of the New World called America." He 
was a learned and highly cultured man, congenial 
in tastes to his new relations. It was an event 
which threw a cheerful gleam of light upon Wilkinson's 
last months. 

1 Letter to Mrs Roberts, May 20, 1897. 



BIOGRAPHY 137 

There remained one more piece of literary work 
for the full brain and tired hand of the man of 
eighty-seven. The last book, like the first, con- 
tributed to the Swedenborgian interpretation of 
revelation. The preface to Blake's " Songs of 
Innocence and Experience " was dated July 9, 
1839 when Wilkinson was but twenty-seven years 
old ; he dated his dedication of " Isis and 
Osiris in the Book of Respirations; Prophecy in 
the Churches; In the Word; God with Us; 
The Revelation of Jesus Christ," to Dr Alfred 
Wiedemann, Professor in the University of Bonn, 
on September 16, 1899. In the first he quoted 
Swedenborg as giving the only possible explanation 
of Blake's inspiration : in the last he demonstrates 
by the Doctrine of Correspondences the internal 
meaning of an ancient Egyptian scroll. He had 
passed away before the latter, the last of a long 
series, had reached his hand. 

Less than a week before his death he wrote to 
his daughter, Mrs F. C. Mathews, to celebrate her 
birthday. He said, " I am well and surrounded by 
your bounties. ... I had hoped to have my little 
Book, ' Isis and Osiris in the Book of Respirations ' 
on your table ; but it will come to you later. In- 
asmuch as the fresh air is strength, my unlearned 
Tract, for such it is, may carry you both through 
some journeys of sight and thought, ending in new 
regions. Since boyhood I have been a student 



138 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

of spirit, material and substantial, and it is for me 
a sacred continuation unbroken to the end of the 
chain." 

There was nothing violent in the manner of his 
death : the strength of body failed and the spirit 
returned to God who gave it. Surrounded by all 
whom he loved best on earth, this lifelong searcher 
for the unknown stepped into the Valley of the 
Shadow, nothing doubting that the comfort of 
the Shepherd's rod and staff would be with him, 
confidently expecting the company and enlighten- 
ment of those who had gone before him to the Home 
of the Father. 

It should be possible for one who has enjoyed 
acquaintance with Garth Wilkinson, with his friends, 
with his many published writings, with his most 
intimate private correspondence, to indicate some 
cardinal points in his nature around which his motives 
and activities were wont to revolve. Three such 
convenient points for studying his character seem 
to be his mysticism, his transcendentalism and his 
impatience. 

Mysticism is a word too often rendered obscure 
by misuse. It should not be used to signify mystery 
or vagueness of metaphysical aim. It is here used 
of the sense of the immanence, or indwelling presence, 
of God in the nature of man. Such a sense is seldom 
entirely lacking in individuals, and it would appear 



BIOGRAPHY 139 

to play an essential part in the scheme of every 
religious system. The mystic is one who possesses 
this sense in a high degree and cultivates it as the 
most noble part of his being. The Christian mystic 
is one who cultivates this sense by constant reference 
to the incarnation of Christ, the doctrine which 
deduces from the human nature of the Divine Man 
a promise of an increasing godliness for himself and 
his fellows. This sense was strongly marked in Dr 
Wilkinson : it found expression more frequently 
and more fully as his nature developed, and as the 
aim of his life-work defined itself before him. The 
central importance of the Incarnation is dwelt upon 
with growing insistence in both his books and his 
letters. He himself was used to reserve the word 
Theology for the Word of God communicated in 
revelation ; but his own message, consisting as it 
did throughout of teaching with regard to the re- 
spective natures of God and man and of the relations 
and duties consequent upon those natures, can 
scarcely be classified as other than " theological " 
according to the accepted use of terms. 

A deep religious instinct showed itself early 
in his life, in the musings and night-terrors, and 
in the paradoxical rebellions of his childhood, 
which occupy a relatively large space in his frag- 
ment of Autobiography. From the end of the time 
covered by that short document, we have little 
evidence of his inner life until he began the copious 



140 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

letter-writing which lasted to his death. But, he 
confesses himself, in his intimate letters to his 
fiancee, as having passed through a period of doubt 
in his early manhood, and even speaks of himself 
as having been a " rank skeptic " during some of 
that time. It is not a rare experience of youth ; not 
seldom it points rather to immature and necessarily 
unsatisfactory attempts to fathom the deepest 
subjects than to any mental attribute which will 
work permanent effect upon character. It was so 
in his case. 

A new faith in God and a new human love reached 
Garth Wilkinson almost simultaneously in his in- 
troduction to the writings of Swedenborg and his 
attachment to the lady who became his wife ; and 
his progress in both may be traced in letters neither 
fitted nor intended for quotation, but which make 
it plain that each of these elements helped the other 
in his new awakening. The force of this fresh grasp 
of his relation to his Maker and to his fellows endured 
and increased throughout Wilkinson's life, and his 
character appears to have grown deeper and gentler 
as the years went by, under the influence of the two 
collateral factors. For the rest, it will suffice to 
point out here that all knowledge which came in 
his way and all experience which life brought to 
him were sublimated into contributions toward 
the comprehension and cultivation of the divine in 
man. 



BIOGRAPHY 

The essential part which faith in the Godhead 
and manhood of Christ played in Wilkinson's 
mysticism, and the attitude of that mysticism 
toward pantheism, will be best considered in a 
chapter devoted to his religious position as a pupil 
of his great master Swedenborg. 

Transcendentalism, again, is a term which needs 
careful definition before use. It has at least three 
different significations. Firstly, it was applied to 
a school of philosophy most commonly associated 
with the name of Kant. Secondly, the term was 
tacked on to a dreary religious sect of theists who 
affirmed nothing but the existence of a God and 
promulgated a dry optimism concerning the future 
of our race. Thirdly, the name was applied, (no 
man knowing wherefore, and themselves least of 
all) to an ill defined intellectual and religious move- 
ment among certain distinguished New Englanders 
of whom Everett, Emerson and Channing may be 
named as prominent, in the first half of the nine- 
teenth century. Somebody has defined the move- 
ment as "a pilgrimage from the idolatrous world 
of creeds and rituals to the Temple of the Living God 
in the soul ; " and it is not easy to include all those 
who claimed to march under its banner within any 
stricter limitation. Indeed, limits, formularies and 
definitions were their abhorrence. 

No reader or acquaintance of Wilkinson's could 
be in any danger of classing him among the philo- 



JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

sophic Transcendentalists. His own attitude towards 
the Kantian school is very clearly displayed in the 
Introductory Remarks with which he prefaced 
his translation from Swedenborg, " Outlines of a 
Philosophical Argument of the Infinite " (1847). 

" In a word the upshot of Transcendentalism 
was to regard all sensation, knowledge and thought 
as subjective, and to make the individual believe 
all the manifestations of God, nature or humanity 
which are made to his mind, as so many presentations 
of his own being. In this way, each man becomes 
shut in the case of an opaque and impenetrable 
selfhood, which not only absorbs and destroys 
all outward truth, but makes it impossible to 
have any confidence in the existence of our 
brother man. To accept these consequences is the 
manner in which Transcendentalism has answered 
scepticism ! " 

It is clear, too, that the Theistic Transcendentalisms 
of our classification could claim no adherent in 
Wilkinson. By a process of exclusion, therefore, 
we are left to consider his position among the last 
of our list. 

Perhaps the only comprehensive bond which 
would gain recognition among those whom for 
brevity we will call the New England Transcenden- 
talists was freedom from traditional ties. Each 
enjoyed content while he followed individual con- 
science by such light of revelation as he had ; and 



BIOGRAPHY 143 

each disclaimed all fettering limitations which at 
any time marred that content. There was no 
Church, no Brotherhood, no organization among 
them : they were men and women seeking Spiritual 
freedom by the light of conscience. In this alone 
they shared sympathy : by this alone they recognized 
each other in the world over which they were spread. 
It was therefore quite consistent with his Trans- 
cendentalism that Wilkinson should claim some 
measure of theo-pneustic inspiration for Emanuel 
Swedenborg, that he should at the same time be 
a Communicant of the Church of England, and 
that he should regard both Swedenborg and the 
Church of England as Divine, but temporary, pro- 
visions for man in his present state. But he held 
that the Creator transcended all his creatures, and 
that new revelations of the Nature and Will of the 
Creator were constantly occurring, both through 
the medium of Correspondences and otherwise ; 
and that such revelations were to be constantly 
expected and acknowledged. 

This faculty for pushing forward towards the 
unknown, this readiness to accept new light from 
any source, caused uneasiness amongst those who 
were his best wishers and most competent admirers. 
Thus, Emerson, writing of Wilkinson soon after his 
own second visit to England, in 1847, gave him 
encouragement high and stately, but added a warning 
in clear words : 



144 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

" Wilkinson, the editor of Swedenborg, the anno- 
tator of Fourrier, and the champion of Hahnemann, 
has brought to metaphysics and to psychology a 
native vigour, with a catholic perception of relations, 
equal to the highest attempts, and a rhetoric like 
the armoury of the invincible knights of old. There 
is in the action of his mind a long Atlantic roll not 
known except in deepest waters, and only lacking 
what ought to accompany such powers, a manifest 
centrality. If his mind does not rest in immovable 
biases, perhaps the orbit is larger, and the return 
is not yet ; but a master should inspire a confidence 
that he will adhere to his convictions, and give his 
present studies always the same high place." 
(Emerson. English Traits. Literature). 

There was in the earlier days of Dr Wilkinson's 
conscious powers, a time when he was still unversed 
in exercising them. It was difficult to display 
manifest centrality, to avoid a suggestion of giddiness, 
while new vistas of possibility spread themselves 
at each point of view. Confidence that he would 
adhere to his convictions was possible to friends 
who knew the inherent rash honesty of their man : 
but there had to be a season when the man was 
himself uncertain which of his then " present studies " 
would absorb him and exhibit itself as his pre- 
dominant objective. It would have appalled an 
ordinary inquirer concerning Swedenborgianism to 
read such expressions as Dr Wilkinson wrote to 



BIOGRAPHY 145 

his friend Mr Henry James, when he was writing 
of his lectures (October 26, 1848) :- 

" I begin to find that the age is indeed ripe for all 
that can be told it ; only it is in that degree of 
childish weakness, that the Manner is indispensable 
to the matter ; the terrible novelties must be said 
pretty, and then they excite nothing but pleasant 
tastes. ... I cannot have anything but hope 
of the whole world, because I see everywhere either 
earnest search for truth, as in France, or steady 
obedience, as here ; and this ass, or that horse, will 
alike serve for the august riders into the earthly 
and the heavenly Jerusalems. 

" This matter of growth is with me a most interest- 
ing fact, as it places each age in freedom, and eman- 
cipates all children from the overweening dominion 
of their best and gentlest predecessors. A Sweden- 
borg is good and great, but the babies of the new 
generation are born to estates just fresh from God, 
and which Swedenborg could not even conceive. 
All men are new creations and want new creations 
wherein and whereby to live." 

The return of the forecast is not yet. Forty 
years have passed, and the New Church has not 
yet transcended and outgrown the teaching of 
Swedenborg. A series of bright visions, born of 
new illumination, cannot be profitably measured 
by the foot-rule or tested by laws of perspective. 
The years were to teach, as is their way, that 



146 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

illumination is a difficult possession to transfer, even 
by the most persuasive of manners. Experience was 
to clip the wings of optimism, but never to break 
them. A carefully limited field of work had 
yet to be defined and followed. Plodding work, 
patient reiteration, a brilliant versatility, indomitable 
perseverance, were the qualities which forty years 
were to educate and spend. 

This " exorbitance," this tendency to fling off 
red-hot fragments from the periphery at unexpected 
angles, was not, even while it was most in action, 
altogether hidden from the man himself : and he 
was working towards a true consistency of aim and 
expression. In his next letter to the same friend 
he writes (November 22, 1848), relative to some 
untraced communication, to The Harbinger of New 
York :- 

" I should rather that my paper on Correspondence 
appeared without my name : it is a transition 
paper, and I have already outgrown it in some parts. 
Besides, I regret now all that I have printed, except 
only my Translations. Please God, better and graver 
things are to come from me than what have been 



seen." 



But transcendentalism, in the sense of eagerness 
and readiness to discard limitations and to outgrow 
the partial views of yesterday, remained the chief 
and not least lovable traits in the man's nature 
while he remained in sight. 



BIOGRAPHY 147 

Closely allied to this was the third of Wilkinson's 
noteworthy characteristics, one which, for lack 
of a better name I have called impatience. It was 
impatience of no ignoble order. The man was so 
seized of the nearness and reality of the unseen 
spiritual world, so desirous of revelation, so anxious 
for " Influx," that he suffered what amounted 
to intellectual torment. Was there no prayer in 
answer to which the veil would rise ? Was there 
a trumpet call which would raze the dividing wall and 
leave a practicable breach for the besieger ? Could 
he find, even in unlikely places, some overlooked 
hint, the secret key to the locked door ? The 
ultimate object of his search was the coming down 
from heaven of the New Jerusalem, the appointed 
hour of which Swedenborg (and the Gospel long before 
Swedenborg) had proclaimed as beyond human ken. 
In the early days of his adoption of the Sweden- 
borgian revelations, it seemed to him that the time 
could not be long, and the service of standing and 
waiting was proportionately severe. He sought 
for signs which should support the urgency of his 
hope, and sought them in strange places. There 
was no path along what are regarded as the boundaries 
of the unknown down which his footsteps might not 
be traced : mesmerism, hypnotism, spiritualism, 
with its apparatus of rappings, mediums, and 
clairvoyance, healing as an immediate divine gift, 
Fourrierism and T. L. Harrisism he explored them 



148 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

all, with this impatience of his quest to drive him, 
and discovered each to be a cul-de-sac in the maze 
before he abandoned it. 

But if this impatience was not ignoble, it was 
quite unscientific. To educate the eye into that 
of a Seer may make it the eye of the Poet, but will 
never make it the eye of the Scientist. As Coleridge 
has said, " Poetry is not the antithesis to prose, 
but to Science " ; Science demands " the patience 
for uncorrelated fragments, the endurance of in- 
completeness." The uncorrelation of fragments was 
the very subject of Garth Wilkinson's impatience ; 
incompleteness was the very last thing which he found 
it easy to endure. His message, couched in terms 
of speculation, suffered. For, though he passed 
his youth in days when speculation was popular 
and, was, in consequence, gladly heard, the years 
of his matured powers were years of scientific 
expansion and advance, and a message conceived 
in hostility to science met deaf ears or, at best, 
a partial welcome. The world now rejects en- 
thymemes and demands scientific proof of the 
first two figures of your syllogism before it will 
examine the third. But if from one point of view 
he appears as the last of the Transcendentalists, 
as the voice of one crying in the wilderness to a 
small congregation, there is another view equally 
possible and more just. Age, inevitable disappoint- 
ment, and, above all, spiritual growth, quieted the 



BIOGRAPHY 149 

impatience we speak of. But, if he realized that 
the mills of God grind slowly, Garth Wilkinson 
suffered no doubt as to the thoroughness of their 
working or the nature of their work. It might be 
that the coming of the New Jerusalem could not 
be hastened, that it could not even be discerned 
as nearer, within the lifetime of man ; but it could 
be furthered, the paths could be made straight 
and the crooked places plain : and to this task he 
addressed his pen almost literally to his last hour. 
He found his task in the demonstration of corre- 
spondences : he pursued and enriched it from his 
great store of varied learning. One had spoken 
of him as being " half a century before the intelli- 
gence of the world." x If the estimate is correct, 
the fruit of his mind and spirit will be found ready 
for the taste and appetite of a generation who knew 
not the man on earth : they would enjoy the banquet 
the better for the presence of their host ! 

But he himself was under no illusion as to the 
amount of acceptance accorded to him, and it troubled 
him little if his listeners were few : his labour was, 
so far as in him lay, to make them fit. Late in his 
life he wrote to a friend : 2 " In a few thousand years, 
the coming of the New Jerusalem may be discern- 
ible in love to God and love to man : but a good 
many cycles of World-overthrow may be gone through 

1 Letter from Dr Pearson, April 7, 1878. 

2 Letter to Mr John Marten, December 23, 1893. 



150 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

in the interval." He has clearly learned the lesson 
of patience as regards his great hope. Writing, at 
the age of eighty-five, to his friend Mr John Thomson, 
of Candorrat, Glasgow, a bookseller, he says, 
(January 17, 1898) : " Do not attribute carelessness 
to me for not writing to you earlier : I have been 
so anxiously working at my unpopular book-making. " 
He was not seeking his own glory. 

Emerson wrote in his lecture on " Swedenborg, 
or the Mystic " : " Swedenborg printed these scientific 
works in the ten years from 1734 to 1744, and they 
remained from that time neglected : and now, 
after their century is complete, he has at last found 
a pupil in Mr Wilkinson, in London, a philosopher 
critic, with a co-equal vigour of understanding and 
imagination comparable only to Lord Bacon's, who 
has restored his master's buried books to the day, 
and transferred them, with every advantage, from 
their forgotten Latin into English, to go round the 
world, in our commercial and conquering tongue. 
This startling reappearance of Swedenborg, after 
a hundred years, in his pupil, is not the least re- 
markable fact in his history. Aided, it is said, 
by the munificence of Mr Clissold, and also by his 
literary skill, this piece of poetic justice is done. 
The admirable preliminary discourses with which 
Mr Wilkinson has enriched these volumes, throw 
all the contemporary philosophy of England into 
shade, and leave me nothing to say on their proper 



BIOGRAPHY 151 

ground." The praise is high but not unmeasured, 
Laetus sum laudari me abs te, pater, a laudato 
viro, but there is a praise still higher, of which 
those who love him trust that he may be found 
worthy. Garth Wilkinson esteemed himself a 
" steward of the mysteries," and "it is required 
of a steward that he shall be found faithful." 



CHAPTER II 

THE SWEDENBORGIAN 

GARTH WILKINSON'S religion was the centre of his 
life. All problems which presented themselves 
to him were referred to it; his motives emanated 
from it. He was early introduced to Christianity 
and revelation as presented by Swedenborg, and 
never did those doctrines fall upon ground better 
suited for their reception and development. Prob- 
ably with small thought concerning the momentous 
meaning of his action, Wilkinson threw himself 
at once into a thorough and exhaustive study of 
" the writings," and was soon recognised as a born 
translator. He was, indeed, from the first more 
than a careful Tenderer of his original from one 
language to another. We have seen in the preced- 
ing chapter how early in his task he was struggling 
for a mastery of those nuances of expression which 
raise the drudge into the artist, and open out the 
genius of an author to the mind of those who see 
him in his new dress. As in the case with most 
conscientious work, the effort brought more than 
a creditable fulfilment of the immediate task in 
hand. Not only did Wilkinson gain an intimacy 

152 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 153 

with the ipsisima verba of Swedenborg, probably 
peculiar to himself in his own generation ; he acquired 
in addition to this a readiness of expression, a facility 
and virility of literary workmanship, which could 
not have failed, if used upon themes less unpopular 
than those he followed, to redound to his fame and 
profit. But these were not what he sought. 

A vision of the reality and nearness of spiritual 
life through the exegesis of Swedenborg, was for him 
a call to his life-work. What he himself saw must 
be rendered visible to all men to the best of his 
power. Having graduated through translation 
into learning, he found himself possessed of gifts 
which made his pen a valuable weapon. Armed 
with it, he threw himself into a life of use, and 
became the most versatile and original of Sweden- 
borg' s disciples. His enthusiasm of spirit and power 
of mind, were, indeed, so fitted to the task of his 
self-devotion that to some he appeared more in the 
position of a reincarnation than a follower of his 
master. Swedenborg, buried in manuscript under 
the dust of a century's neglect, seemed, to some at 
least, to speak again. As Mr Emerson said l : 
" This startling re-appearance of Swedenborg, after 
a hundred years, in his pupil, is not the least 
remarkable fact in his history." 

A large shelf full of books are a public testimony 
to the zeal with which Wilkinson utilized his talent 

1 Representative men : " Swedenborg, or the Mystic." 



154 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

in promulgating the truth as he saw and held it. 
For him, the writings of Swedenborg enshrined 
the latest word of revelation vouchsafed to man. 
As he traced the word of God in the Sagas and in 
the hieroglyphic writings of ancient Egypt in the 
past, so, too, he confidently expected further revela- 
tion which should supersede the message of Sweden- 
borg, in its turn, in that future when man was 
educated to receive it. For the present, however, 
he must labour to have that message heard and 
heeded. The works in which he sought that end 
have been enumerated and characterized in the 
foregoing chapter. A full critical appreciation of 
their scope and execution would here be out of 
place : it will be enough to say that they naturally 
classify themselves as textual, explanatory and 
developmental. The textual works, consisting 
of translations and editions of Swedenborg's writings, 
are the hand-books and classics of the New Church 
at the present day, and are little likely to be super- 
seded while the English language lasts. Within 
the explanatory and developmental classes fall 
Wilkinson's Introductions to the several works which 
he translated and edited, and also the vast amount 
of brilliant illustration which he bestowed upon 
the far-reaching doctrine of Correspondences, in 
which he traced examples of mystical correspondence 
in the early writings of the race and in the occurrences 
of his own day. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 155 

But the effect of religion can only be partially 
estimated by a consideration of a man's published 
works. Its influence upon conduct and upon 
character are fully seen and known only to the 
Maker of man. Upon this subject it must suffice 
to say that in his personal life, Wilkinson consistently 
regulated his conduct by the lofty creed which he 
professed, and that, having served his generation 
faithfully and unremittingly, he fell on sleep. 

Those who need an exposition of Swedenborg's 
doctrines or an estimate of his value among the 
religious teachers of the world will find them else- 
where, and not least satisfactorily in the works 
of Wilkinson. We are here rather concerned to 
define the place of Wilkinson among his disciples, 
and to give, so far as may be in his own words, his 
views upon the subject to which he devoted his 
life and by which he regulated his conduct. 

The most important question which can be pro- 
pounded to a Christain is that which Christ asked 
his immediate followers : ' Whom say ye that 
I am ? " The answer in Wilkinson's case is very 
distinct. 1 " The Doctrine of the Divine Humanity 
is clearly the highest doctrine of Heaven. The 
glorification of that Humanity is by analogy the 
rule of all progress, of all movement toward goodness. 
There is not a single sphere of knowledge but is hollow 
and unsubstantial if the recognition of that doctrine 

1 Letter to Mr Henry James, December 2, 1846. 



156 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

is not in it. It reconciles the Idealist to nature 
and the Materialist to God. In a word, it gives 
poor humanity a new and everlasting root in a fresh 
covenant ; and is emphatically Religion. It is 
a doctrine which I hope my dear friend will spend 
and be spent for. The commonest knowledge and 
the merest obeisance to duty best illustrate it. 
He who makes no excursion into the sciences (using 
the term in its modern limited sense) may find in 
his own home here a deeper insight into Creation, 
and windows more pellucid and truly crystalline, 
than all the vagueness of self -sought things can 
otherwise afford him. In a word, if you be so 
minded, there is no need to study anything less 
than humanity for the confirmation of the Divine 
Humanity ; least of all to oppress the memory 
with the broken pieces into which the creation 
is every day reduced by the savans" 

Writing to the same friend, he says 1 : "I am 
sure I am a much more outside person than you, and 
with much less faith ; thus I cleave to the historical, 
as a Romanist to his dolls ; and when you talk of the 
Christ, I feel pained at the definite article, because it 
makes Christ Himself the only one I know of in- 
definite. . . . I cannot make History movable to please 
anybody ; and, as to what has occurred I imagine its 
fact value to be inalienable. . . . The full influence 
of the letter is as necessary as that of the Spirit." 

1 June 1, 1849. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 157 

Our last quotation on this vital point is evidently 
in answer to a letter which is no longer extant. 
However it shows Wilkinson's attitude toward 
the doctrine of the Incarnation so distinctly that 
it must find place here. 

" * In your letter to me, I think you scientifically 
wrong in evaporating the personality of Christ 
in order to procure the universality of the Christ. 
It is against nature, as much as against God. The 
" old superstitious standpoint " is indeed the only 
one ; the philosophical ' mathematical point ' is 
no substitute for it. Life and limb, I adhere to 
the former, and find it more and more confirmed 
to me by all my studies and thoughts. You seem 
to think that the human existence of Christ is not 
his Divine Existence also ; and that the six-foot 
measure of His person plainly demonstrates His 
finiteness. ( I regard it differently, and see in the 
whole universe nothing but a provision for giving 
Omnipresence, Omnipotence and Omniscience to per- 
fections, and not to sizes. But I will reserve what I 
have to say on this until I have read your book." 

St John's avowal, in Browning's " Death in the 
Desert," is not more definite : 

" I say the acknowledgment of God in Christ 
Accepted by thy reason, solves for thee 
All questions in the earth and out of it ; 
And has so far advanced thee to be wise." 

1 Letter to Mr Henry James, March 22, 1850. 



158 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

The discussion between the friends did not end 
here. We shall meet later with a continuation 
of it on Mr James' part. 

Holding these strong views upon the Incarnation, 
it follows that Wilkinson held his Bible as directly 
and fully inspired. He held also that much which 
is obscure in the Bible had been specially revealed 
to Emanuel Swedenborg, and that the Word in its 
fulness was not granted to those who did not avail 
themselves of this help. The relation in which he 
viewed his Bible and " the writings " is compendi- 
ously stated in the following letter * : 

" I am weak and unable to complete a little work 
I have on hand, so within the last fortnight I have 
read through Swedenborg " De Coelo et Inferno," in 
the original. I regard it as the Law-Revealing 
Sinai of the Lord's Second Advent. I do not regard 
Swedenborg' s works as subsidiary to the Word, 
but as capable of being absorbed into it : so that 
the internal Word will be all in all ; those Works 
from without and from within subsisting to declare 
it." 

" This is not the place," he says in 1897, 1 to do 
more than affirm that the Lord has opened the Word 
to Emanuel Swedenborg by the revelation to him 
of the internal sense within the letter which con- 
sists of correspondences." Further statements of 

1 Letter to Mr John Thomson, February I, 1306. 

2 Preface to ' ' Voluspa/' p. ix. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 159 

Wilkinson's views as to the relation which of 
Swedenborg's works bear to the Bible, is given us 
in another letter to the same friend. 1 

" There is, indeed, more in the Psalms than 
Swedenborg saw, and than any man but God-man, 
the speaker of them, will ever see. But Swedenborg 
alone has been commissioned to open the Psalms, 
by being ordered by God-man to reveal the whole 
doctrine of the Incarnation. That is what makes 
Jesus Christ alone the opener of the Psalms. They 
treat primarily of the whole state of Jesus, born a 
natural man of Mary, born a Divine-Natural man 
from God from Heaven, conquering universal Hell, 
as man must conquer his own particular self -hell ; 
and His (Jesus') conquest in fight against temptations, 
enabling Man again to have free-will ; Jesus creating 
the Divine-Natural Degrees in Himself, and there- 
with becoming one with the Divine-Spiritual 
and celestial Degrees, and thus one with the 
Father. 

" The Psalms recount all the horrors and terrible 
states which Jesus' living with hell testifies. How 
do we know this ? By the last chapter of Luke, 
in which Jesus, on the way to Emmaus made it 
known to mankind, ' These are the words which I 
spake unto you while I was yet with you, how that 
all things must be fulfilled which are written in the 
law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms 

1 Letter to Mr John Thomson, March 14, 1899. 



160 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

concerning me.' None of this has come home to 
Jesus until Swedenborg doctrinally opened it." 

The opinions which Wilkinson held upon the 
" infallibility " or degree of inspiration granted to 
Swedenborg in his various writings is very carefully 
stated in the following long letter written in answer to 
an inquiry on the subject from a friend in America 1 : 

" I appreciate your difficulties about the c in- 
fallibility ' of the writings of Swedenborg ; I mean 
about the claim of it for the theological writings. 
For myself I dismiss the word, infallibility, into 
the sphere of Papacy. Swedenborg never said he 
was infallible. What he implied was that he was 
over-ruled by the Lord his own will evidently 
capable of the obedience necessary to write the 
internal sense of the Word, as it could be received by 
Mankind. No angel helped him; on the contrary, 
the Angels often told him what poor matter he was 
writing from their standpoint ; and he, guided by 
the Lord, replied, that it was up to the level of the 
intelligence of the receptive world in his day. This 
debasing of the coin of internal truth, by amalgamat- 
ing it with the copper of the natural man, and so 
making it hard and substantial to us, though the 
gold of heaven was interfered with, hardly comes 
under the word, infallibility. The use of the 
amalgamating process is produced by an infallible 
Valuer, but the process itself is accommodation ; 

1 Letter to iMrs Cockerell, May 5, 1890. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 161 

and the coining MOIL will see more and more than 
Swedenborg was commissioned to reveal ; so that 
whoso believes in the finality of any statement 
of the internal sense, will limit the ever advancing 
glory of the Word. Nevertheless, every stage is 
the Word of God, and is the internal sense of the 
Word of God to us ; and we cannot be deceived in 
regarding it as such. 

" The Word of God is a various revelation. It 
is God Himself, He tells us, in the beginning. No 
man sees or knows it save as the daylight of the 
divine Sun above the heavens. In the heavens 
it is the Lord in and with the angels ; but as Himself 
in a definite divine revelation, as a Book also. On 
Earth it is a written perpetuated Book possessed 
by man. All through, therefore, the Word has 
two characters ; God's being and property in it ; 
and the loan of it to man. This seems to connect 
itself with the question How a divine commentary 
on the Word, like the authoritative explication 
vouchsafed to and through Swedenborg, is to be taken 
as itself the Word, and co-real with the Word ? 
If in any age it is all that man can know of the Word, 
such Voice of God is the Word to men, external or 
literal, internal or spiritual ; and doctrinal. 

" The Word as God is thus separated from the 
imparted Word as suited by divine mercy, and 
therefore as still infinite, to the state of the heavens 
and the churches. All authoritative expositions 



162 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

of the Word, are, as Uses, co-real with the Word 
for our regeneration : they are divinely true and 
good. No exposition, however, is co-real with 
the declaration, ' In the beginning was the Word, 
and the Word was with God, and the Word was 
God.' 

" As to our attitude of acceptance of Swedenborg's 
infallibility, he himself is dead against it for the men 
of heaven and the men of earth. In heaven he saw 
a temple on which was written ' Now it is granted 
to enter intellectually into the mysteries of faith.' 
For us on earth he has said, ' Consider what I say 
with reason, and with reason accept it.' These 
declarations (which I put in my own words) are 
incompatible with receiving this author's works 
with blind faith. Though it must be added that 
the affirmation or faith of love for what is good and 
true is the way, truth and life of the needful under- 
standing of the writings of the New Jerusalem. 
To an Atheist neither of the above permissions 
or recommendations applies. To him there are no 
mysteries of faith, and no reception of any spiritual 
instruction into the breast of reason. He is an 
infallible selfhood. 

" Now, banishing infallibility as a dangerous 
apoplexy of the active mind, we come to Swedenborg's 
theological writings, and to their claims. For 
myself I regard those which he published as divine 
books. ' The Arcana,' the 6 Four Leading Doctrines,' 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 163 

the * Heaven and Hell,' ' Conjugal Love,' ' Last 
Judgment,' ' Apocalypse Revealed,' and the rest. 
For me they are temples of the Holy Spirit. Also 
4 The Divine Love and Wisdom ' and Divine Pro- 
vidence of course. There are errors of information 
on natural subjects in them, because they were 
written in the eighteenth century. These are of 
no consequence to a lover of truth divine. But 
they have the use of showing infallibility the door 
politely. 

" With regard to all these works, if you receive in 
faith and love as much as commends itself to your 
urgent uses for the bread of life, you do quite enough 
to be in the great supper, without stumbling over 
those things which do not commend themselves 
to you. 

"As to the large unpublished works, all readers of 
them and of the ' Diary ' know how greatly luminous 
and instructive they are. You are absolutely at 
liberty to receive all the nourishment you can from 
them. There will be innumerable differences of 
reception among the readers of these also. Liberty 
and Rationality will prefer different qualities and 
quantities in the feast of reason and the flow of soul. 
Among them I regard the ' Coronis,' ' The Athanasian 
Creed,' ' The Divine Love and Wisdom ' from 
4 Apocalypse Explained,' and the ' Diarium ' and 
' Apocalypse Explained ' itself, as signal stores for 
the nourishment and delight of coming JSons. 



164 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

" Swedenborg's Life for the Use that he was to 
fulfil has now to be taken into account. He rose 
from Childhood to Manhood, and through Old Age, 
as a prepared instrument ; ever mounting the divine 
stairs of Jacob's Ladder ; and registered a new 
sight from the higher light given through the foot- 
steps of an adequate life. The next ages will see, 
with new rays of truth-perception, that in the 
long series of pre-theological works from small to 
large, he was guided and further prepared for the 
stages to come. A perpetual engrafting of next 
and next faculties was accomplished on him by the 
Great Gardener. No infallibility here either; but 
a constant reception of principles and depths, and 
rejection of old ways and appearances. So each 
work was, as it were, a generation in itself, and had 
to die in its methodic body, that the proximate 
spiritual might come forth, and continue the ascent. 
If the so-called scientific works are seen with an open 
mind, they are spiritual powers and exercises and 
far off cognitions of theology and of the Divine Word. 
This is the case with Swedenborg's ' Principles of 
Chemistry,' in which he has laid the foundation- 
stone of a godly mineral temple, transparent from 
top to bottom, which cannot even be dreamt of by 
the modern commercial medical and culinary chemist. 
Higher still he mounts in his ' Principia.' His work, 
(posthumous) on ' Generation ' is ground so new, 
but closely following anatomy, physiology and 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 165 

living and loving Sex, that it must be an age before 
any number of readers will want its instructions. 
Like all the series, it is out of the mind and heart 
and interests of the end of the Nineteenth Century. 
It tells the World, as it has never been told before, 
that we, who object to Divine Revelation, live in 
an era of mere imagination, and in a feminine age. 
With respect to this saying let it be observed that 
no derogation of woman is implied here ; but the 
author means that one half of the soul is predominant, 
where on the other hand the masculine and feminine 
forces should be in even ratios, balanced and be- 
getting in the strength of the heavenly conjugment. 

" Coming to the ' Economy ' and the ' Animal 
Kingdom,' the veil of nature grows thinner chapter 
by chapter, and the correspondence of the organs 
of the body to the faculties and uses of the Mind 
and Spirit lightens forth in inductions and deduc- 
tions and make organization transparent ; and 
instead of the skeleton being seen as in Rontgen's 
Rays, the spiritual body is visible in the shape in 
which good and evil will present it after death. 
All these are therefore preparatory and preliminary 
treatises on Heaven and Hell. To single one piece 
of their daylight, we would mention the Doctrine 
of Respiration, the Life and Union of the Body and 
the Spirit, and the bodily fulcrum and basis of the 
emancipation of the intellect as an instrument of 
regeneration. Space permits no mention of Sweden- 



166 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

borg's great discoveries in the region of the Brain. 
They are the culmination of his natural spiritual 
philosophy of the human body. 

" Such a series and order as we have sketched, 
puts infallibility out of Court. Papacy is a Mummy 
in the swathings of its infallibility, and though the 
wrappages are many, and the invention curious, 
yet the sameness of death and immobility is written 
upon the throne on which the Papal Corpse sits. 
In the New Church writings, issuing as they do 
from the living God, ' behold I make all things new,' 
is the eternal protest against the invasion and fixity 
of time and space into the Courts of the infinite. 
A new heaven and a new earth are our prophecy. 

' We come last to say a word on your difficulty 
with regard to the " Worship and Love of God " ; 
a work intermediate between Swedenborg's natural- 
spiritual books, and the theological writings. You 
would ask, Is the account of Man's first Creation 
true ? Can it be relied on ? Crucified by Infalli- 
bility, by infallible modern medical scientism, it 
can only yield up the ghost. But in and after so 
doing, it must be seen as not only natural, but, like 
our Lord's body, as a first state of divine natural. 
Swedenborg would never affirm his beautiful thought, 
of the Two Trees of Life, to be a literal fact. It is 
part of a great Mythology which all his previous 
works constitute. It belongs to Ark and Emblem, 
to Yggdrasil, to the trees of Life in the Word, in 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 167 

Genesis and Revelation ; and received as life-giving 
by the spiritual intellect, the Non-sense of it is the 
pure mind and reason working out the problems of 
science with a power given from above. Age by 
age the sense, quite novel, and quite unselfish and 
unsensual, will come, when the divine series in the 
Work is admitted and its place in all the Works from 
the ' Principles of Chemistry ' to ' The Arcana,' is 
taken into the account. The Lord's manifestation to 
Swedenborg in East London was very nigh at hand 
to him when he wrote this nonsensual Drama and 
Oratorio. 

" It occurs to me to supplement this, which I 
may perhaps print in Morning Light, with the 
suggestion, that God, well called by Paul the * Father 
of Lights,' from the beginning has not helped 
Mankind directly by imparting to him any natural 
Sciences. It may be a rule that He reveals to us 
nothing that we can find out for ourselves. The 
celestial wisdom of the Adamic Church is no infringe- 
ment of this order. Its so-called science, summed 
up in the knowledge of correspondences, was of heavenly, 
not of natural things : and even in primeval Egypt 
the knowledges were such as could only be attained 
by Revelation ; for they were the absolute spiritual 
fitnesses of the external worship of the Church to 
the holy states of the Ancient Men, to God in them. 
In our remainders from these revelations, the orienta- 
tion of temples, and other prescripts, are not of 



168 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

natural science, but of primeval revelation. This 
condition, that we are necessitated to discover all 
natural scientifics for ourselves is a personal basis of 
our freewill ; for we should soon lose our wholesome 
love of discovery with its compensated toils, if our 
second sight, and third sight, and manifold sights of 
nature were all shown to us gratuitously. And our 
intelligence would dwindle into animality. With 
this condition of invention, sciences are for ever and 
for ever imperfect, and as they can become more 
and more perfect by our diligence, our understanding 
minds are created by the daily instruction we receive 
of our own nothingness. For the end of natural 
science also is that whatever is good and true in it, 
is, in spite of all we have just said, a direct gift of 
the loving economy of the Almighty." 

In addition to his great reverence for the works 
of Swedenborg, Wilkinson was possessed of an 
affection almost personal for the man who died forty 
years before he himself was born. There was no 
detail of Swedenborg's life which was too trivial 
for careful investigation : he even collected and 
published all the available material for a memoir 
of Jasper Svedborg, Bishop of Skara, the Seer's 
father. 

" This is a memorable day," he wrote on January 
26, 1896, to his friend Dr Boericke of San Francisco, 
" the two hundred and sixth anniversary of the birth 
of Emanuel Swedenborg. Ten days ago, I started 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 169 

reading ' De Ccelo et Inferno ' in Latin, my dear 
Samuel H. Worcester's fine Edition ; and I finished 
the perusal this morning. How much is gained sug- 
gestively from the original. ... To read it is to 
know that you will be before the great White Throne. 
It is an ' awfully good book.' ' 

He had the courage of his convictions and would 
have no suppression of facts, or eclecticism, where 
Swedenborg was concerned. 1 

" I should be grieved if any attempt to exclude the 
dreams from your " Monumenta Swedenborgiana " 
were to succeed. They are documents which cannot 
now be suppressed ; and the quietest way in which 
they can come forth is in your large Volumes, where 
they will assume no disproportionate importance. 
Failing that, they will probably issue in a portable, 
perhaps in a pamphlet form, and have an unduly 
wide circulation. It would be an awkward fact 
for the world to handle, if the Society tried to sup- 
press the document. 

i4 Those who think Swedenborg mad will think 
him no madder for ' The Dreams ' : those who are 
capable of finding him not mad will speedily see in 
'The Dreams' a step in the marvellous ladder of 
his upraising. 

" I remember well when I warmly and earnestly 
advocated the publication of the 'Diarium', with 
nearly the whole Society against me, many earnest 

1 Letter to Dr Tafel, July 2, 1877. 



170 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

men were terrified, and one said, ' That book, if 
published, will disband the Church.' The Lord's 
Church is not to be disbanded by the whole Truth. 
I pray you all, fear not ; this book, even if it open 
controversy, will be no stumbling block to any 
whom it really concerns. The Age is opening fast 
to a reverent, careful and tolerant study of such 
phenomena as those indicated in c The Dreams.' 

" May I add, as an old friend and deep well- 
wisher to the Society, an earnest hope that you will 
be commissioned at once to proceed to the European 
part of your work, the publication of all the Docu- 
ments in the originals. We owe this to the world 
and to posterity. Make any use you like of this 
letter." 

It may be remembered that in 1836, Wilkinson's 
first reading at the British Museum was in a History 
of Philosophers and that he noticed with disapproval 
the absence of Swedenborg's name from among 
them. Sixty years later, we find him delivering 
a firm verdict in the same sense. 1 

" You ask me, who, in my opinion, is the greatest 
Philosopher of the present time ? My answer is, 
Emanuel Swedenborg. His writings recognize and 
adequately demonstrate all the faculties of man, and 
see them in their connexion from the highest to the 
lowest as the creations of a Divine love and wisdom. 

" The Philosophy lies in the veritable Revelation 

1 Utter to Mrs Keeley, March 21, 1896. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 171 

that human love and wisdom exist in their integrity 
only in proportion as the rule of higher and inner 
faculties becomes established in human life, in- 
dividual and social ; so that the relation between 
God and man is continually established and re- 
established. 

" The two factors of this are God's gifts, both of 
them, 1. A Word of God, inspired by Him, and 
plainly full of His Commandments and Laws. 
2. A conscience sensitive to the Light of this 
Word. Obedience is the Use of this conscience 
in daily Duties. 

" These dry statements cover and include a divine 
Philosophy which has new eyes given to it for the 
discernment of all things hitherto deemed mysterious. 
They are windows to which the natural and spiritual 
worlds freely open. 

" This philosophy will not pass away, but with 
the reformation and regeneration of mankind, age 
after age, it will become more new and glorious, 
never forgetting its past, yet living in its present, 
and not anticipating its future. 

" The meaning of this is a divine Church, the 
religious and secular pulpits of which will grow 
out of the life of Emanuel's Philosophy." 

The high value which Wilkinson attached to 
Swedenborg's works led him to reverse various 
generally accepted judgments. 1 

1 Letter to Miss Marsh, January 28, 1839. 



172 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

" To my mind the insertion of extracts from 
Swedenborg spoils the context of any other man 
it so completely surpasses all other writing, in its 
clear-burning tranquility of brightness." 

He finds even St Augustine fail when tried by 
this measure. 1 

" This morning I have read Chapter VII. of 
St Augustine's Confessions. He is a sublime Genius, 
full of great and true intuitions, but which are not 
on the rational plane. It is strange to compare him 
with the substantial lesson of Swedenborg, learnable 
through him by all the world." 

His very love-letters teemed with allusions to 
Swedenborg. This is not wonderful between lovers 
who were studying " The Writings " together, and 
who sought counsel, warning and encouragement 
from those pages. 2 

" I am very much pleased with your view of 
Swedenborg's power of convincing. It is mild, but 
how irresistible, like all mild things, or all things 
which have in them Love, Spiritual mildness. How 
do I feel that all my warmth and fury is not strength; 
that it is weakness ! that if thou or I wish to be 
strong it must be by renouncing the strength of 
selfish passion, by commencing unselfish action I " 

Wilkinson's letters contain very frequent avowals 
of his religious belief ; as a propagandist, he never 

1 Letter to Mrs Wilkinson, September 3, 1884. 

2 Letter to Miss Marsh, November 6, 1838. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 173 

shrank from testifying. Two examples of this 
must not be omitted. Writing to Professor Victor 
Rydberg to acknowledge a present of the Swedish 
scholar's " Undersokningar i Germanisk Mythologi " 
in 1890 he says : 

" I have some idea of attempting a review of 
your Book on some principal points ; perhaps in a 
little Book. The Northern Mythology has to me a 
sacred character, and I have long seen that ' Voluspa ' 
is a tradition of holy things. I am a confirmed 
and ever more confirmed disciple of Swedenborg, 
who stands for me in the brain behind * Heim- 
skringlas Panna ' as the spirit of the North coming 
over the whole World ; and as even more than 
the reunion of the two ends of the Aryan Race 
as the Uniter of all the Races under the Divine Word. 
I say this to declare where I am as your very grate- 
ful pupil and admirer." 

In the last of his letters to Mr Emerson which 
have escaped destruction, he is lamenting their 
failure to meet in London, in spite of many efforts 
on both sides ; and giving his special reasons for 
having wished to meet his old friend and helper, 
he says 1 : 

" In these last days of the Supremacy and Papacy 
of the Human Mind as Emperor, I wanted so very 
much to talk to you, and assault you a little, about 
Swedenborg, for whose proximate extension you 

1 Letter to Mr R. W. Emerson, January 3, 1874. 



174 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

have done so much. Years ago, when I looked at 
him as a great phenomenon mentally, I reckoned 
him among the World's great men. Now I see him 
as not among (? them) : but as a Divine Functionary, 
having in all he does and says a purely spiritual 
tendency. So I look upon him as a God-given 
pressure of common-sense upon all the relations 
of public and private life, which he derives from 
the Divine Man, through the Human Heavens, 
and Spiritual World, into Humanity in all its bosoms, 
and through every stroke of all its businesses. For 
this, the coming first, and then the Word and Revela- 
tion of the Divine Man is necessary ; and this is 
the thing which Swedenborg's mind was opened at 
the top to teach. 

;c In the light of all this I confess myself a Sweden- 
borgian, a name which, a quarter of a century ago, 
I should have repugned. 

" The opposite to it, involving, as it does, blank 
ignorance of the life after death which we are so 
soon to enter, appears to me untenable against all 
the dearest holiest interests of men and women. 

" I know your generosity will excuse my 
dogmatism." 

Wilkinson's statement that during the later 
" fifties " he would have disclaimed being a " Sweden- 
borgian " needs some qualification and brings us 
naturally to consider his position as a member of 
the " New Church." 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 175 

The difficulty appears to be one of terms. To the 
world at large a " Swedenborgian " is a follower of 
Swedenborg, a member of a religious body terming 
itself " The New Church." Among those who 
claimed membership in the New Church were two 
classes : firstly, those who segregated themselves 
from other communities and claimed to possess, 
as a Church, Orders and Sacraments ; these may 
not unjustly be called Sectarians ; secondly, those 
who claimed to extract an internal sense from Divine 
Writ by means of the revelation which they believed 
to have been granted to Swedenborg and to have 
been transmitted in " The Writings." These latter 
did not necessarily find their position inconsistent 
with membership of other religious bodies or the 
recognition of the Orders and Sacraments of those 
bodies. For them the " New Church " was a 
spiritual body destined to grow in strength and 
purity by reformation and education due to influx 
from on high. 

It cannot be denied that Wilkinson early in 
his life was very ready to become, if he did 
not actually become, a member of the first class 
which we have defined. He was anxious for 
example, to be married in a " New Church " 
place of worship and abandoned his intention 
partly on account of the inconvenience involved 
and partly to avoid giving pain to those dear to 
him. 



176 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

But shortly before that time we find him writing 
to his fiancee in these terms. 1 

" What you say about the Sacrament is very 
interesting to me ; and you shall, according to your 
expressed wish, read me what you have been reading 
and what Swedcnborg says on that subject. I am 
beginning to feel regrets of a stronger and stronger 
kind that I attend so little to the forms of Religion 
and the Church. These regrets, I think, will embody 
themselves some day in the practice of frequenting 
Divine Service and partaking of the Holy Sacrament. 
But at present, from my neglect of these offices 
during my whole life (save only my school-life, when 
they were compulsory and far too hardly required), 
I feel an inability to set myself about performing 
them." If, as seems likely, the Sacrament of the 
Eucharist according to the rites of the Church of 
England is intended, Wilkinson's sectarianism was 
not, even at its bitterest, very bitter. Seven years 
later, however, with greater experience of the two 
classes of the " New Church," he expresses himself 
with no uncertain sound. 2 

" So Miss is in hot water ! We do not 

wonder at it, and it seems to be a warning to us all 
not at present to interlock ourselves very closely 
with any sect or party, and perhaps not to leave 
that in which we were born. I am tempted to think 

1 To E. A. M., June 17, 1839. 

2 Letter to Mr Henry James, September 18, 1847. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 177 

that the times are not free enough to allow men to 
associate together on mere doctrinal ground, but 
that if they do this they will coagulate together, or 
conglutinate, and lose the liberty of action and of 
thought. This has been my own experience, and 
I am now, therefore, anxious to belong to no party 
as a Community but the Church of England, and, 
by my presence there, to contribute an individual 
mite toward making that name latitudinarian enough 
for the millions of diverse spirits who are compre- 
hended under it already. The same advice I tender 
to others, to be what their fathers were before them, 
and to labour to improve their ancestral estate. 
Then, when the better day dawns, the spiritual 
earth will be fat and fit for the crop which is that 
day to be sown in it, over all climates. But on this 
subject, see the 24th Chapter of Matthew, from 
the 14th to the 28th verse." 

This aversion to joining the " sect or party " 
calling themselves " The New Church " was highly 
characteristic of him. In every movement he 
wielded a free lance : his transcendentalism (of 
the New England type) made him an individualist. 
Never hesitating to raise voice or use pen in the 
most unpopular causes, heedless of what obloquy, 
contumely and controversy he might himself arouse, 
he yet possessed a caution which saved him from 
responsibility for what others might say, write or do. 

But if the preceding quotation illustrates his 



178 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

attitude towards the " New Church " with which 
he could not ally himself, that which follows relates 
to the New Church, the Heavenly Jerusalem whose 
descent from above was his dream and great desire. 1 
" I cannot doubt that at this day the New Church 
embraces all that is good and true in all men, creeds 
and worships ; and that so far as any man is on the 
road to heaven, so far he is in the New Church, and 
not in the Old. This certainty gives one a different 
aim from the simple conversion of congregations 
from one name to another ; and might tend to make 
one regard all existing things as forms which might 
be regenerated into truths without being wrenched 
from their individual places. How much richer a 
Church will be which embraces the varieties now 
shadowed forth by the different Religions and Sects ; 
than one which tyrannically imposes itself upon all ! 
In time and through the myriad-fold arm of circum- 
stances wielded by Providence, the fundamental 
truth of the Divine Humanity and newness of Life, 
will no doubt be accepted by all Creeds, and will 
re-animate the Creeds, which will then simply 
convey the Divine Truths downwards in so many 
channels fitted to the great and small divisions of 
the Human Race. And the enlarging charity which 
shall then appear, will interpret for good, and adopt 
as of the New Church, many a doctrine which is 
now repudiated merely from a hard habit of judging 

1 Letter to Mr Henry James, February 28, 1847. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 179 

one set of words by another to which it seems 
heterogeneous." 

Wilkinson maintained and even strengthened his 
connection with the Church of England through the 
rest of his life, attending its Services and availing 
himself of its highest act of worship. Probably 
his readiness to proclaim himself a Swedenborgian in 
1874, though he would have repugned the title 
earlier in his life, was (in part at least) due to a more 
accurate view of Swedenborgianism in the public 
mind. His assumption of the name certainly did 
not connote a deeper Sectarianism. But it must 
not be inferred that Wilkinson's attitude absolved 
him from a very active part in those propagandist 
works of which he approved. The facts are far 
otherwise. He was for many years from 1839 a 
working member of the Printing Committee of " The 
Society for Printing and Publishing the (Theological) 
writings of Swedenborg," instituted in London 1810 ; 
and in 1844, he was largely concerned in founding 
" The Swedenborgian Association," becoming its 
first Secretary. The special function of this Associa- ^ 
tion was the editing and translation of Swedenborg's 
works and manuscripts, " written anteriorly to the 
opening of his spiritual sight in the year 1745." This 
was a matter very near to Wilkinson's heart, for he 
held that his author must be studied chronologically 
if a man would learn the degrees of development 
through which the scientist passed into the seer ; 



180 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

and it may be said that he found his life-work in 
preparing the material for such a study, in demon- 
strating and illustrating the theory of correspondence, 
and in striving to widen the accepted view of the 
occurrence and scope of divine inspiration. Those 
who read the original Prospectus of the Sweden- 
borgian Association can scarcely miss the hand of its 
Secretary in it. How much Wilkinson expected 
from the new body appears in the following letter * : 
; ' The Laws of the latter (the Association) are just 
completed and by the next steamer I hope to send 
you a copy of them ; when, if you decidedly approve, 
we shall look to have what support you can fairly 
award us. That much may be done now, and in 
the way of a New Method in Knowledge, I, for one, 
have not the slightest doubt. It seems to me that 
when a state perishes, through a decadent process, 
there is, at the end, a reversion to the principles 
of such a state (a 4 fleeing to the mountains ') and 
an appropriation of them in the new principles of a 
new state. Besides, such principles are used at 
that time for the purposes of justice and judgment ; 
they are the marks from which the departure dates, 
the measures of its length, and the judges of its 
pretexts. Now in this way, as it seems to me that 
the Scientific state is actually consummated, must 
we not refer back to the Works of the presumed 
Father of Inductive Science, viz., ' the great Lord 

1 Letter to Mr Henry James, March 3, 1845. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 181 

Bacon,' and see what can he got out of him for our 
purposes ; in what light his genius will acknowledge 
his modern children, and a few such points ? I 
propose therefore studying his Works with a view to 
this scheme of proceeding, and endeavouring to 
measure the moderns by him and him by Swedenborg. 
Probably I can achieve no more than a few sugges- 
tions put boldly forward, which, however, would be 
enough to excite thought and to jog people out of 
some of their ruts. It is manifest that we want a 
Novum Organon Scientiarum, and I have an increasing 
confidence that the germs which will evolve it are 
all contained in Swedenborg's Theological Writings, 
and this in the very simplest, or highest, form." 

Wilkinson's use of terms was not unfrequently 
arbitrary ; it appears that here he anticipates that the 
Association was to fulfil some age of Science by its 
publications. The result does not appear to have 
followed, for Bacon was not brought in as judge. 
Swedenborg's earlier writings show him fully abreast 
of Science so far as it existed in his day, and his 
speculative vigour is beyond question. His follower 
was inclined to regard him as prophetic in this regard 
also, and to read into Science some internal meaning 
from Swedenborg. Certainly a " clearing house " 
of the sciences, an assistance in the correlation of 
scientific discovery, is a desideratum recognized 
more generally than it was sixty years ago, but still 
far from attainment. 



182 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

But it must be confessed that there are occasions 
upon which it is difficult to " localize " Wilkinson 
accurately. Such an occasion is seized upon by 
Mr Henry James in the letter from which the follow- 
ing extract is taken. The letter illustrates the true 
friendship between the two men, the faithfulness 
and outspoken criticism of the writer, the implied 
tolerance of that criticism on the part of the receiver. 
Mr James is acknowledging a copy of " The Human 
Body in its Connexion with Man," a book which 
Wilkinson had dedicated to him. 1 

" I have read the great book, you may be sure 
with eyes enormously expanded, and mouth in 
sympathy. Such a tremendous volley of strength 
and brilliancy lifting my name into the astonished 
air ! The reaction was instantaneous. I said to 
my wife, ' This is sport to Wilkinson, no doubt ; 
for great men like to show their magnanimity by 
condescension to small ones ; but it is death to me. 
I shall buy a small place in some sheltered nook 
of the Hudson River, and never let my unworthy 
head be seen in the city. Such an honour put upon 
one binds him to keep the peace evermore. Farewell 
henceforth all my intellectual activities, all my 
lectures, newspaper squibs and all ! ' But the 
tumult is now subsiding, and I am able to read the 
post-dedicatory portion of the volume with attention. 

" All your part of the book is absolutely marvellous- 

1 Letter from Mr Henry James, September 9, 1851. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 183 

I find all readers to agree in this. They say that 
you exhaust human power in the direction of 
rhetoric, and that there is no use of looking for 
fine writing after this. Your thought is so organic, 
you think so concretely, that one feels, when in 
intellectual converse with you, as if he were struggling 
in the folds of huge icthyosauri, or dancing a jig 
with gleesome megatheria. It would be a monstrous 
compliment to the world at large to say that you 
were ever going to be a popular writer. Scholars 
will rejoice in you as in abundance of hid treasure, 
but only in a better world than this will you become 
known to the multitude. And there seems a just 
Providence in this. If you were well recognized, 
at your worth as a writer, you would so dwarf 
all our existing celebrities as to have the whole 
field of literature to yourself, and extinguish every 
publisher but him who put forth your book. You 
will have, you must have inevitably, a great fame ; 
but it will be ratified only by the very best voices of 
the race. I see the book is advertised to be re- 
printed by a Philadelphia house, the head of which, 
Mr Welford tells me, is in London at present, and 
I presume therefore in communication with you. 
The advertisements may, however, be merely a 
feeler of the public pulse. 

" The matter of the book, too, is glorious, for the 
most part. The whole truth of it, as exhibiting the 
loving co-partners of spirit and matter, is beyond 



184 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

price, and the suggestiveness of every page accord- 
ingly is unequalled in my experience. But I confess 
to some disappointment too, owing probably (nay, 
I am sure), to my own dulness. That is, I do not 
see precisely to what practical end you would make 
all this correspondential lore avail. I know well 
enough when I read Swedenborg, what the bearing 
of all his disclosures in relation to correspondence, 
is. I know that they all tend to the glorification of 
the Lord, or divine natural man. But I do not 
find myself in as full or flowing sympathy with you. 
Then again I am additionally bothered every little 
while with sinewy strokes of orthodoxy, which 
would delight John Calvin : not that good orthodoxy 
which seizes firmly the Kernel of the truth and 
throws away the shell, but apparently a sort that 
insists upon the shell as equivalent to the kernel. 
I am sure, I repeat, that I do not understand you, 
and I will wait therefore for subsequent readings 
to sharpen my wit. But, for the present, it appears 
to me from the face of your book either that you 
have some knowledge which you do not impart to 
other men in relation to the Christ, or else that you 
differ toto ccelo from Swedenborg concerning Him. 
You employ habitually such remarkably Calvinistic 
language about the Christ and it often seems so 
consciously and wilfully introduced that I am 
dumbfounded, and expect to hear the bones of good 
old Swedenborg rattle with indignation. The mis- 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 185 

chief of the old Church Christianity is, he says, 
that they conceive of the Lord only as a Person, or 
that they have no conception of the divine humanity, 
but from person, which conception is fatal to the 
spiritual understanding of the scriptures. I fully 
abide by this confession. Now you, as it strikes 
me, delight in mystifying the simple disciple of 
Swedenborg, and heaping all kinds of tacit contempt 
upon those principles of biblical interpretation which 
guided him in denying the divinity of the letter. 
I have no doubt, all the while, that you have a certain 
justification in your own knowledge ; but, having it, 
hang it, why don't you let common people know 
what it is ? I am unfeignedly mystified by every 
word you utter on the subject of Christianity. And 
yet your utterances are so extremely pronounced, 
.and portentous of concealed will, that I dare not 
treat them as I would those of a feeble man, and 
dismiss them from all regard. I want to know your 
philosophic standpoint, the source whence you 
derive such unprecedented and (an illegible word) 
theologic aplomb. For heaven's sake, therefore, 
tell me, or (better than this) tell the public, 
in some brief review of a book or what 
not, how you understand the science of the 
Christ." 

Mr James appears here to lay his finger upon a 
weak point in his friend's method of work, upon 
something akin to what we have, in earlier pages, 



186 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

characterized as " impatience." Writing of the 
deepest subjects from a point of view between that 
of the theologian and the philosopher, it was in- 
cumbent upon Wilkinson, if he would carry his 
reader with him, to establish his position constantly 
by careful definition of the terms which he employed. 
" The light dove, piercing in her easy flight the air, 
and perceiving its resistance, imagines that flight 
would be easier still in empty space. It was thus 
that Plato left the world of sense, as opposing so 
many hinderances to our understanding. He did 
not perceive that he was making no progress by 
these endeavours, because he had no resistance as 
a fulcrum on which to rest or to apply his powers, 
in order to cause the understanding to advance. It 
is indeed a very common fate of human reason first 
of all to finish its speculative edifice as soon as 
possible, and then only to inquire whether the 
foundation be sure." x We may acquit Wilkinson 
of want of industry, as we may acquit him of 
want of conscience : but his impatience to be 
in the thick of his work not seldom made his 
progress from ill-defined premises to the loftiest con- 
clusions unconvincing because logically unscientific. 
The reader shares the writer's joy in ampler ethers 
and more divine airs, but fails to join him there, 
because the initial stages of the climb took place in 
a fog, as though the early steps, though sufficient 

1 Kant : Introduction to the " Critique of Pure Reason," p. 4. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 1ST 

for the thinker and writer, were not cut deep 
enough to guide and support his follower, the 
reader. 

From time to time, Wilkinson was dissatisfied with 
the tendencies taken on by the movement in which 
he associated, as the earnest individualist in every 
movement is sure to be. 1 

" We take in the New Era and are exceedingly 
diverted and edified by it. ... There is in it not 
only faith but life, which latter element the New 
Church movement now lacks entirely. It is not 
that there is not all the Truth in Swedenborg that 
we ever contended for, but in his followers it is 
unprogressive and destitute of hope and charity, 
and therefore their state is liable to be superseded 
by any real manifestation, however low, which goes 
to the Tables and hearts of the people. I find, in 
fact that the old spirit of learning, its exclusiveness 
and cruel Latinization, rules just now in Theologicals 
and Spirituals ; for the philosophers, parsons and 
atheists will have it that nothing low shall enter into 
the category of Revelation, and that Revelation shall 
not go to the low ; whereas all the meaning of 
Revelation is something told in their own way to 
people who cannot understand things otherwise. 
Consequently, Revelation is a perpetual descent ; 
and, until it has come to the million, and Smith 
Thomson, Noakes & Co. have each a private reveal- 

1 Letter to Mr Henry James, May 19, 1853. 



188 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

ment in addition to the public Gospel, the scope of 
Revelation cannot be complete." 

There were, too, doctrinal difficulties, the less 
easy to be borne because they existed between 
friends. The letter in which the following long 
extract occurs was evidently an answer to one in 
which Mr James pointed out discrepancies between 
the views of Wilkinson and his friend Mr Augustus 
Tulk, M.P., as expressed in the work of the latter. 1 

" I forwarded your letter to Mr Tulk as soon as 
it arrived, since which I have seen him two or three 
times, and noticed his satisfaction at the corre- 
spondence thus begun. You have certainly given 
me a hard thrust or two, in order to rouse me to 
show fight, but I am too old a bull in that arena to 
be provoked in this matter to a c ferocious rejoinder.' 
As for a " leisurely rejoinder," which you also desire 
by your lancinating attack to produce, it shows that, 
like a Queen of Spain, you desire a prolonged spectacle 
of my agonies. But I cannot gratify you in this 
either. 

" My present course of work and study is so alien 
to the subject, that I candidly confess I cannot 
bring my mind to treat it in that order which you 
require. Furthermore, to my own conceit at least, 
I have actually gone through it ; and though I can 
make it, to a certain extent, a matter of recollection, 
I cannot make it a matter of thought. There is 

1 Letter to Mr Henry James, September 2, 1845. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 189 

nothing in it which excites me to activity, nothing 
but is as well comprehended when the intellect is 
asleep as (when it is) awake. When I catch myself 
in any part of its mill-horse round, I say to myself, 
like the London vulgar boys, ' There you are at 
your old rigs again ' : and then I bridle up in a 
moment, and perhaps blush slightly to think that 
I consumed two mortal years in such occupation. 
And when dear Mr Tulk (for whom I have a sincere 
respect) is at his gravest, I am unable to look at him, 
for fear my slippery mouth should fail me (se dif~ 
funderet), and I should give way to enormous 
laughter : so I am debarred of his direct presence, 
and eat my handkerchief obliquely. It is impossible 
to convert such a state into ' ferocity. 5 You see 
what you ask when you require a leisurely rejoinder ? " 
" But, as I should vex you if I left matters thus, 
I will go a little into my own history as connected 
with Mr Tulk's views. When I first began to read 
Swedenborg, it gave a new impetus to my whole 
mind, and made me desire to inform myself upon 
many subjects and many authors of whom I had 
never thought before. And, among other things, 
I fell into the very natural idea that there was a 
certain parallelism between various books of meta- 
physics and the writings of Swedenborg, and that 
I ought to know something about the former in order 
to appreciate our Author correctly. Then I had 
no sooner entered the pale of ' the readers ' than 



190 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

I found a number of eddies of controversy, all 
blowing away without any prospect of a calm. 
These circumstances together led two or three of 
us into rationating about the existence of matter 
and a number of other such mistaken questions. 
We bought Berkley, and, finding how dexterous he 
was, and (above all) that those who objected to 
him did not understand him (though they were 
substantially right, for all that, and perhaps were 
right for not understanding), we thought we had 
got a pearl of great price and were a chosen few, for 
whom alone the veil of Isis was about to be uplifted. 
About this time we came across Mr Tulk's little 
Book, and now our satisfaction was at its height. 
As I was the most enthusiastic Berkleyan of the lot, 
I applied to Mr Tulk for a number of his Books, and 
by this means made his acquaintance. Great as 
was my wonderment at Swedenborg, it seemed to 
me that Mr Tulk's views alone conducted me into 
the sweetest recesses of the New Church writings, 
and I spent weeks and months and years in lingering 
around these fancied spots. It is true that I some- 
times had a hard battle to assure myself that they 
were truths and not potent conjurations ; but the 
will to be comfortable and their pleasant imagery 
were persistent enough to maintain me in this state 
for a long time. During this time, I read through the 
* Arcana Ccelestia,' and seized upon all the passages 
I could find confirmatory of my then views ; these, 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 191 

however, were few, far between and so far unsatis- 
factory that even the best of them required induction 
and interpretation in order to make them give the 
desired evidence, without a good deal of law-giving 
skill, they would easily have been witnesses on the 
other side. This was awkward, and it sometimes 
struck me that it was not honest to gather strength 
in this way. On the other hand, the passages clean 
against Tulkism were tens of thousands, but this 
cloud of witnesses was modestly put out of court, 
under the pretext that their utterances were for the 
sensually minded, while on the other hand, the 
former class of passages contained direct statements 
of principles, and were to govern all the rest. Had 
I had the misfortune to be the inventor of the scheme, 
probably my amour propre and my love of offspring 
might have carried me through even the rude shock 
of facts like these ; but anything short of parental 
love must break down under such circumstances. 
A brat so misbegotten, and manifesting this so fear- 
fully by his contrariety to all honest opinion, might 
soon expect to be left by his mere friends, although 
his Mother should still cling to him. I began, there- 
fore, instinctively to loosen myself from these views, 
prompted thereto by a secret consciousness that 
they and Swedenborg were irreconcilable. 

" About this time it might be that I strongly felt 
that if the Tulkish doctrines were true, God was 
still unrevealed, and not the less so because a 



192 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

sensation of Him once was extant in the world, 
and His image was in the human mind at the present 
day. For, if the sensation and the image came by 
transflux through man, and therefore were mere 
representatives, I then had the horrifying contra- 
diction of a purely passive or puppet god, of which 
heaven, hell and man managed the strings and 
pulled the wires. To such a god I could not pray, 
for he was, in the very worst sense, the work of men's 
hands. It would have been spiritual idolatry of the 
lowest kind, that is, the deification and worship of 
self ; a thing which heathenism only symbolized, but 
which, with such a god and such a doctrine, would 
have been converted into a fact. I left Tulkism 
upon this point, and acceded to the Scripture declara- 
tion that the Lord is the First and the Last, and to 
Swedenborg's doctrine that He is present to man 
both mediately and immediately, and that He alone 
is Heaven. 

" But, although I had thus got rid of this peculiar 
form of Socinianism, the Berkleyan doctrine still 
adhered to me, and perhaps I have some remnants 
of it in my mind even now. I regard it as a logical 
circle of which the falsity is most easily demonstrated 
by the fact of impotence. It is evidently out of 
the order of nature, because it is a thing which can 
do nothing, and can generate nothing, and therefore 
has no right to exist. It is precisely like our self- 
hood in this ; and, what is curious, it makes us 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 198 

doubtful of the existence of each other, and isolates 
us hopelessly, proving here again where it comes 
from. Whether or not it is worse than materialism 
were a piece of casuistry hard to determine. I 
believe a set of Berkeleyans would be lazier dogs than 
the same number of materialists ; perhaps as Hindoo 
Atheists compared with French ones. 

" But I was not satisfied to get rid of Berkeley 
simply on the ground of fruitlessness ; but, by 
investigating some of his leading aphorisms in the 
light of the New Church Doctrine, I found I had 
abundant reason to refuse to start with him through 
his Logic. His whole book rests, I think, upon the 
answer which he makes Philonous give to the question, 
' Can anything but a sensation be like a sensation ? ' 
and to which answer poor silly Hylas of course 
assents. I do not, and the Book, therefore, with 
me, stops there ; or, like a burst bubble, goes into 
an incredibly small compass. Consider here these 
truths Man is not Life, but a recipient of Life. 
The Lord alone is Life, etc., etc., etc. 

" Having got so far, by the merciful course of 
Providence I was led to study Swedenborg's Scientific 
Works, and, by this means, I furnished the lower 
storeys of my mind with positive doctrines of nature, 
in the room of that flatulent stuff which I had once 
considered to be a just account of the Creation. 
Thus also I saw the stages through which Sweden- 
borg's mind was empowered from on high to arrive 

N 



194 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

at those doctrines which are given in his Theology, 
and were as far as possible removed from all we call 
metaphysics. I saw that to palm Tulkism upon 
Swedenborg would be to violate his whole mind and 
education, just as much as to violate the Doctrines 
of the New Jerusalem. I saw also the reason why 
the followers of Swedenborg were not so well able 
to repel attacks and see through trivial difficulties 
as they ought to be ; viz., that they did not train 
their minds from the beginning to follow the flexible 
order displayed by God in nature. And this too is 
the reason why there is a want of greenness and 
outward beauty in their writings, because they 
must be comparatively sandy and barren until, in all 
ways, they can come out into ultimate power and 
works, which cannot take place until nature in her 
lowest sphere (i.e. in the sphere of mechanics) is 
seen to be a correspondence of the Lord and the 
Spiritual World. 

" Now I have proceeded historically as regards 
my own mind, to show you just what I have gone 
through, and, if there is anything set down egotisti- 
cally, pray lay it to the account of the method thus 
chosen, and not altogether to conceit. 

" The sum of my belief respecting our friend, 
Mr Tulk's doctrines, is this : 1. that his view re- 
specting the Lord is Socinianism, so far as this, 
that it teaches an unrevealed and necessarily un- 
revealable God, unhinging the worship of Jesus 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 195 

Christ, by making Him a mere image projected 
through finite minds. 2. That his sole (intellectual) 
attachment to Swedenborg is by means of the 
doctrine of correspondence ; which, however, he 
manages to hold in a fanciful way, unwarranted by 
his Author, in order to suit his first and last doctrines, 
viz. Socinianism and Berkeleyism. 3. That his Ber- 
keleyism, a doctrine of nature, instead of being a 
foundation to his scheme, is but a light outer dross, 
whereby the natural world is made to smile a little 
upon the fantasies which his Socinianism produces ; 
and yet that he has no other foundation, no scientific 
pillars deep sunken in the nature of mundane things, 
and hence is in perpetual insecurity, and can never 
hope to have half a dozen followers at once. . . . 

" On re-reading this, I find I have omitted one 
subject, which is that, to my apprehension, the 
Doctrines of the New Church shine with tenfold 
lustre, and their rationality is tenfold more con- 
spicuous to me since I got rid of the Tulkian method 
of interpreting them. Only take them as a Revela- 
tion, and proceed by a large Induction from the whole 
to read them aright, rather than by logical processes 
to insinuate your own old ideas into them, and you 
will see that they are a Kving fountain of beauty 
and reason." 

Whatever may be thought of the mental process 
by which Wilkinson rid himself of Berkeleyism and 
its dependent Tulkism, this letter has importance 



196 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

as a fragmentary spiritual autobiography ; and it 
illustrates once more, if further illustration were 
necessary, how, for him at least, Swedenborg's 
writings were upon all questions the ultimate court 
of appeal, the ne plus ultra of arbitration. 

We have seen, in the Biographical chapter, that 
party spirit ran high in the Swedenborgian bodies. 
Though based actually in profound differences of 
opinion, it sometimes found occasion for its exhibi- 
tion in matters of minor importance. Such occasions 
were, in the bachelors' days when they lived together 
at Store Street, not unwelcome to Garth Wilkinson 
and his brother. 

There was, however, at least one controversy 
which cannot be ranked as of minor importance, the 
editing of Swedenborg's "Diarium" by the Sweden- 
borg Society. It has been alluded to above (page 
169) in Wilkinson's letter to Dr Tafel concerning 
the publication of " The Dreams." Wilkinson gave 
an account of his first introduction to the MS. in 
a letter to his fiancee. 

" Yesterday x evening Mr El well came to see me, 
as did also Mr A. Wornum. We all three went 
together in the evening to Mr Sibly's to see the 
original manuscript of Swedenborg's Diary. It is 
literally immense : so closely written, and withal 
so illegible from abbreviations that it will be a work 
of great labour to edit it. At the same time the 

1 July 24, 1839. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 197 

contents are highly curious, and I am quite anxious 
to see it printed. The whole will fill 8 or 9 octavo 
volumes. There are particulars about numbers of the 
persons of antiquity, and also about many illustrious 
moderns. Altogether it is a most wonderful book." 

More than a half century later, when few of those 
who had discussed an almost forgotten matter can 
have been living, he wrote to a friend : 

" 1 1 cannot separate between Swedenborg's 
* Diarium ' and his published writings, or think that 
the jottings of the former are any more mere dreams 
or visions than his memorable Relations in his 
published Works. . . . But for my persistent and 
insistent action, the ' Diarium ' would never have 
been published by the Swedenborg Society when it 
was. It was a dead letter in MS. in the hands of 
the Rev. Mansah Sibley, who resisted its then 
publication. I think that the Rev. M. Sibley died 
in the nick of time, and so the Swedenborgian Society 
got hold of the MS. It belonged really to the Royal 
Academy of Sciences of Stockholm, having been 
borrowed from it, and not returned. Through 
Baron Berzelius, I got leave from the Academy for 
its publication, and personally sent the MS. off to 
Professor Immanuel Tafel at Tubingen. At that 
time it was said by a New Church Minister that if 
the c Diarium ' was published it would ' disband the 
Church.' I persevered, notwithstanding." 

1 Letter to Mr J. Thomson, October 7, 1894. 



198 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

Wilkinson was strong enough to carry his point 
and to crush opposition in this matter ; but the 
feeling of opposition remained and showed itself 
in disapproval and resentment. 

But the continuous and heavy tasks of transla- 
tion in which he soon engaged himself deprived the 
elder brother alike of time and inclination for un- 
necessary controversy. The strength of his opinions 
tended rather to isolation than to debate ; and he 
did not without need appear in public Sweden- 
borgian matters. Indeed, even before his practice 
absorbed him for a long series of years, he relied 
almost entirely upon the written, as distinguished 
from the spoken, word for the promulgation of what 
he believed and thought. 

In 1847 and 1849 Wilkinson delivered lectures 
before the Swedenborg Association. The extract 
which follows is an answer to criticism upon the 
latter. 1 

" Your onslaught number two is more serious. 
You cite from me that * there is less of the Divine 
seed in the world than there was in Swedenborg's 
mind a hundred years ago, and, if we go on at this 
rate, there will soon be none left.' Now read the 
context and remember the occasion. Remember 
that I was speaking to nobody but the Swedenborg 
Association, which professes to carry out Sweden- 
borg's doctrines through all things. The passage 

1 Letter to Mr Henry James, June 28, 1845). 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 199 

never was meant to convey anything but a rebuke 
to that audience for having done nothing, for having 
possessed themselves of Swedenborg and never 
sown, reaped, or resown him. It was perfectly true 
of them. They have so put themselves under Sweden- 
borg, that if they don't follow him out, they do 
nothing. Had I not been (very unwillingly) address- 
ing that body, I should never have mentioned 
Swedenborg's name, should hardly have thought 
of him. Of the very people there present, I believe 
every one to live in an atmosphere and stratum of 
truths deeper and wider than Swedenborg ever 
dreamt of : only not consciously, because they see 
only Swedenborgically. I believe that our modern 
plane of existence is human and social in quite a new 
sense, and that good Swedenborg knew not of it. 
He was not aware of the existence of the Social 
World, save as an atmosphere : he saw clean through 
it, and consequently saw nothing in it." 

People do not like to be scolded, however faithful 
and well-intentioned the scolder; and these people 
revenged themselves upon the scolder by doubting 
the orthodoxy of his view Concerning Swedenborg. 
The attitude of suspicion taken up by the sectarian 
class of Swedenborgians was long maintained, and 
it betrayed itself in a half-hearted support of their 
champion, in failure to welcome and use his work. 

Such an attitude was by no means universal 
among the Swedenborgians : Wilkinson had always 



200 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

his enthusiastic followers who saw the man and his 
work as faithful and as of vital importance to their 
cause. But the doubt and suspicion were evident 
enough to the subject of them. 1 

" No news has come from Mr Clapp yet, and I am 
therefore uncertain whether my second batch of 
proofs has arrived, and whether my Life of Sweden- 
borg is published (in America) or not. Newberry 
tells me that the New Church people are very decided 
in their vituperation of the Book, and that they 
patronize it not at all. He has not sold 200 copies, 
and will be sadly out of pocket, poor man. However, 
it is eagerly read by many of those persons whose 
ear I have desired, and specially by the most in- 
telligent among the Unitarians. I am somewhat 
curious to know what its fate may be on your side 
of the water." 

The Swedenborgians may have held aloof from the 
book for a time ; but they ultimately discovered 
that its aim was good and that it fulfilled its aim. 
It ran out of print, and a call for a second edition 
was met in 1888. It remains the classical work 
upon the subject, alike for the Swedenborgian and 
the general reader. 

Good work is seldom done without opposition 
and misunderstanding, and there is no need to enter 
at greater length into old differences of opinion 
and action than is necessary to show that in his 

1 Letter to Mr Henry James, January 25, 1850. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 201 

following of Swedenborg, as in every cause which 
he espoused, Wilkinson was prepared to stand, and 
did stand, alone. This was often disheartening. 
But he had the satisfaction of knowing that opinion 
came round to his side. Many years before he ended 
together his writing and his life, he was generally 
recognized as the most learned, industrious, and 
outspoken of all who " read the Writings." 

Among the various definitions of genius which 
have been offered, the best known and almost the 
worst in quality is that which calls it " the trans- 
cendent capacity for taking pains." Upon such a 
definition, and upon much better grounds, Wilkin- 
son's claim to genius as a translator would be 
unimpeachable. 1 

" ' The Economy of the Animal Kingdom ' is pro- 
ceeding apace through the press, 208 pages being 
now printed. This Work does not diminish my 
interest in the natural philosophy promulgated by 
Swedenborg. It is, however, a very difficult Treatise 
to follow ; and, when I tell you that, after reading 
every proof four times, I still find that I have not 
half exhausted the meaning, and in many cases 
have not perceived the ratio of the general order 
at all, you will, I think, consider that the work is 
not calculated at first hand for the popular amuse- 
ment. Deeply interesting as the matter, for the 
most part, is, the method is perhaps to the full as 

1 Letter to Mr Henry James, February 1844. 



JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

instructive to the mind as the matter. There is, 
every now and then, such a masterly flinging on 
one side of the obtrusive yet non-essential parts of 
a subject, and such a long discernment of the quiet, 
retiring centres and pivots of things. We see a 
mind for which the still small voices of creation are 
excellent music, a mind whose stillness is itself so 
profound that the mixed harmonies are its veriest 
language. This must incite us all to cultivate a 
finer sense, and to receive it as a settled truth that 
there is ever something more in nature than the order 
first presented to the senses ; that this order is the 
lowest, a chaos (as it were) of essentials and non- 
essentials ; and that the latter must be rejected 
to the sides of the circumference, to give breadth 
to the series, while the former must be placed in 
the direct line of descent, and then contemplated as 
the main progressions of Creative Wisdom. But I 
must stow this, for I am getting into a Treatise." 
More than two years later he is able to write : 1 
" My labours on the ' Economy ' are, I may say, done. 
The last sheet of my Preface (it makes more than 
five sheets) is printed ; and, by the next boat, I 
intend to send you three or four copies of it. I am 
sure that it is not in your way, being altogether 
critical, literary, biographical, controversial, British- 
Museum-ish ; and not universal, spiritual, or organic. 
For I know my own powers, and that they limit me 

1 Letter to Mr Henry James, April 18, 1846. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 203 

absolutely to the former walk, and therefore I go 
in it cheerfully, hoping that it may be of use for 
better things. To me, everything which dissipates 
any bit of misconception or nonsense about Sweden- 
borg, or which gives a new correct notion, is of 
importance ; and my labours are a jotting down 
of some such things as these. Bibliography, in an 
extended sense, is the whole idea of them. If they 
fail of this, they are good for nothing ; in so far as 
they succeed in this, my end is realized in them." 

The piece of work thus estimated by its author is 
one of those concerning which Mr Emerson wrote : 

" The admirable preliminary discourses with which 
Mr Wilkinson has enriched these volume., throw 
all the contemporary philosophy of England into 
shade." But it is good to be humble. The spade- 
work and drudgery which produced these translations 
and introductions built the foundations of that 
deep knowledge of Swedenborg's Works which 
were to bear superstructures valuable to all time 
to the New Church. 

Concerning his translation of Swedenborg's work, 

' The Generative Organs considered anatomically, 

physically, and philosophically," Wilkinson wrote : l 

4i I am bringing out, parallel with my work on 
the Body, a Translation of Swedenborg's work 
on the Generative organs of both sexes : a book 
of singular suggestiveness, though not very com- 

1 Letter to Mr Henry James, August 2, 1850. 



204 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

patible with the smugness and straightlacedness of 
many of the followers of Swedenborg. However, 
the Swedenborg Association has had the boldness 
to commission me to execute a version. I cannot 
help regarding it as one small help on the way to a 
greater liberty of thought and knowledge on sexual 
subjects. It will at all events make them matters 
of contemplation, and begin, therefore, to rescue 
them from that heavily covered animality and 
hypocrisy which at present lies in them. Our 
existing education on this head can only be char- 
acterized as unconsciously piggish ! But when the 
wings of Science and Spirit come and annex them- 
selves, the gross parts will be raised into the air, 
and things before invisible and unutterable will be 
seen to be as clean as the flowers of the field or as the 
pleasant butterflies, which are the flowers of flowers. 
But, doubtless, even these must be fenced round, 
lest the pigs should run grunting to eat them." 

This view, that daylight and fresh air will purge 
the uncleanness which has attached itself to Nature, 
was quite characteristic of the man. Here, as on 
the question of publishing Swedenborg's "Diary," 
he was all in favour of outspeaking. 

Wilkinson frequently brought Swedenborg and 
his message before those in whom he hoped that 
acquaintance would fructify into service : among such 
were Thomas Carlyle and Miss Harriet Martineau. 1 

1 Letter to Miss Marsh, October 22, 1839. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 205 

" On Saturday I wrote Mr Carlyle a reply to his 
kind letter, sending him, on loan, what biographical 
notices of Swedenborg I could procure. I also gave 
him a few particulars about the Philosophical Works 
and the ' Diary of Memorabilia,' which is in manu- 
script, and I told him my motives for having troubled 
him so much with the Books, namely, that I wished 
him to have before him materials for forming and 
expressing to the world an opinion on the subject. 
Whether this may produce anything further I 
know not, and, indeed, having now done my part, 
I must leave him to himeslf." 

Miss Martineau acknowledged his present very 
sympathetically (October 22, 1838) :- 

"It is my intention to read with seriousness and 
diligence the book you have sent me : and I believe 
I shall sit down to the work under somewhat less 
than the ordinary degree of prejudice on the subject. 
I agree largely in some of the practical parts of the 
faith of your Church, and thence have a respect by 
anticipation for the speculative portions which I 
do not yet understand or agree with. Mr Sampson 
Reed has been kind enough to furnish me with much 
material for inight into the belief and practice of 
your Church, and the more I learn the more desirous 
I am that both should be better understood than 
they are." 

Of much later date, though brought about by 
similar propagandist work on Wilkinson's part, are 



206 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

the letters from Robert Browning and Coventry 
Patmore, both of whom were his old friends. 1 

" MY DEAR DR WILKINSON, Your kind note 
did indeed render active rather than waken 
many memories, pleasant and painful together, as 
must happen in such a case : you, however, stay 
associated with nothing that is other than pleasurable. 
Thank you very much for the book I shall read with 
great interest. I well remember the letter in which 
you recommended me to study Swedenborg. I 
believe that you and I have always been in accordance 
as to aspiration and sympathy, though we may 
differ in our appreciation of the relative importance 
of facts connected with them. 

" I am glad to suppose, both from what you tell 
me and what you are silent about, that on the whole 
things go well with you. So may they continue ! 
I too have an elderly child a son, and I live with 
my sister, whom you must have seen in old days 
when poor Dow was young. 

" Believe me, with reiterated thanks for your 
gift and kind words, Yours very cordially, 

"ROBERT BROWNING." 

Mr Coventry Patmore was inclined to regard 
Swedenborg in the rather odd aspect of a Papist 
manque. Writing in 1891, he says : 

1 Letter from Mr Browning 1 , May 17, 1887. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 207 

" I am very glad to see your handwriting again, 
after so many years. Your 4 cloth differs ' less than 
you suppose from mine. I claim Swedenborg as 
the greatest of Roman Catholic prophets, since St 
Augustine at least. Swedenborg's great inspiration, 
like that of all the Prophets and Apostles, was 
purely ethical and psychological, and did not prevent 
him making mistakes about other things, any more 
than the inspirations of the Evangelists prevented 
them from giving four different versions of the 
inscription on the Cross. All the time that S. was 
abusing the Catholics for holding false doctrine, he 
was mainly teaching pure Catholic doctrine, as it is 
and always has been held by the Saints, though the 
Parish Priest, partly from his own usual ignorance 
and partly from the brutish condition of his con- 
gregation, is compelled to 

( Make Truth look as near a lie 
As can comport with her divinity.' 

Your own people, you know, are just as stupid, and 
know no more of what Swedenborg meant than ours 
do of the meaning of the Breviary. It was Sweden- 
borg mainly that brought me into the Catholic 
Church." 

A year later, Mr Patmore wrote to the same 
purpose : 

" I am reading your new book with the greatest 
pleasure and profit, as, indeed, I read all your books. 



208 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

The ' Summa ' of St Thomas Aquinas and your 
volume of selections from Swedenborg have, for 
many years, formed the groundwork of all my 
reading : and, you will perhaps be surprised to hear 
that they seem to me to be but two aspects of one 
and the same Catholic truth, St Thomas appealing 
mainly to the ear of rational faith, Swedenborg 
to the perceptive faculty." 

Swedenborg's writings have been indicted as 
teaching an intellectual, rather than a spiritual, 
religion a religion more of the head than of the 
heart ; and the indictment is supported by the 
inscription which he saw, in one of his visions, upon 
a Temple in Heaven, Nunc licet intrare intellect- 
ualiter in mysterid fidei. Wilkinson's work, con- 
cerned largely with the intellectual apprehension of 
matters spiritual, might seem open to a similar 
charge : but, in fact, he would have none of a 
religion which, while it flattered the mind, left the 
conduct untouched. 1 

" Really and truly, the worshipping of this idol 
intelligence is the greatest absurdity that can be, 
as it is the prevailing one of the present day. It is 
but a shade higher than Mammon- worship. For, 
only think what intelligence is 9 apart from use. 
What does it do ? What monuments does it leave ? 
What men does it lead to Heaven ? " He goes on 
to distinguish between knowledge and wisdom, 

1 Letter to Miss Marsh, December 3, 1839. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 209 

and to extol a religion which seeks the latter. 
In another letter of the same year, he returns 
to the subject from a slightly different point of 
view. 

" I am very much pleased with the mention you 
make of Sampson Reed's book. I was confident 
you would like it, and I am quite of your opinion 
regarding the bearing of the sentence you quote 
from Carlyle. After all, it seems to me to come to 
this, that man sees not only with his eye, but with 
himself, and consequently his vision is such as his 
interior being is. This is clearly implied in the 
commonest way of stating it, when we say, ' He 
sees,' for, to see well not only implies a clear cornea 
but a fit ground of vision. It is not the mere trans- 
parency of the intellect which makes the mind's 
sight acute and perfect, but the will also must have 
a predisposition to be affected with the things which 
the intellect perceives. All (of) which our friend 
Sampson has stated far better than I can do, yet 
still it sometimes makes an impression and even 
sets the thing in a better light when those we love 
talk it over in their own familiar way, and that for 
the very reason just given ; that then the will is 
sure to be somewhat fixed upon the same point as 
the intellect." 

And, in fact as well as in theory, Wilkinson kept 
a just distance between faith and knowledge, holding, 
with Bishop Pearson, that " those things which 



210 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

are apparent are not said properly to be believed 
but to be known." 1 

" I have read your strictures on Mr Tennant 
(See page 74) with interest. First, the facts are 
important, and I do believe them to be facts. 
As to the theory of God's intervention, let us 
hold it very gently. However, that God does 
intervene in the most partial as well as in the most 
universal ways who can doubt ? Furthermore, that 
there are certain hieroglyphical or correspondential 
powers given to certain actions that gesture and 
attitude bring spirit with them I hold to be in- 
disputable. If we could work the Science of corre- 
spondences, we should be enabled to perform many 
wonders, without any new substances being called 
into play. In Mesmerism, if we knew what wrinkle 
of face and what play of fingers gave the shape 
correspondent to any drug, we might produce its 
effects upon a susceptible patient by one look 
or one pointing or one beckon. This is a deep 
part of the universal laws of nature. The Name 
of God has also, I doubt not, its own natural 
powers." 

As his writings gained acceptance and as he 
became himself acknowledged as the most extensive 
existing repository of Swedenborgian lore, Wilkinson's 
correspondence became enormous, it must have 
constituted a severe tax upon his leisure; but he 

1 Letter to Mr Henry .lames, June 1, 1849. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 

never complained, and it may be doubted whether 
any inquirer failed to receive an answer. Many 
such correspondents wrote from America. One 
inquires about Jasper Svedborg, the father of 
Emanuel Swedenborg, another writes to suggest that 
a new edition of ( ' The Human Body " should be 
prepared, with anatomical plates for the benefit 
of lay students ; there are inquirers concerning 
the correspondential bearings of commerce, the 
early African nations and upon a host of other like 
matters. 

From answers to such correspondents and also 
from obiter dicta on Swedenborgian subjects, I 
propose to give extracts, allowing them to stand 
disjointed, as they came day by day from his pen. 
They will be found loosely grouped together accord- 
ing to their subject matter. 

1 " ' Fairbrass ' 2 is not indeed, as you well remark, 
devoted to ' the light and pretty ' and new ideas 
and connexions of the narrative with the birds and 
flowers. All nature is always conversing about 
good and evil, and nothing of her inner voices, 
irrespective of these grand and terrible Rulers, is 
light or pretty in her. The Science of Correspond- 
ence talks : ' Day unto day uttereth speech, and 
night into night showeth knowledge.' There is no 
speech or language when their voice is not heard. 

1 Letter to Mr John Martin, October I, 1894. 

2 A character in " A Child's Story/' by E. Pemberton. 



JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

Their line (?) is gone out into all the earth, and their 
words unto the end of the world. In them hath 
He set a Tabernacle for the Sun." 

" Since, without these spiritual factors, there 
is no truth in talking walking-sticks or kneeling 
knights, inventions about them otherwise inspired 
are frivolous, and do not touch anything of the heart, 
even in children. It is the shining down from an 
internal light upon a dark world that gives zest to 
all myth and fairyland." 

1 " I shall most likely stroll down about 2, when 
the Procession leaves the Palace, and though myriads 
of common human beings, uncrowned, will most 
likely be all I shall see, I shall have feelings which 
are recompense for the sight of Royalty I shall 
scarcely get. We before talked of our common 
awe in witnessing the majesty of human masses. 
I always now think doctrinally of such things 
as even these. I cannot help looking toward the 
Being in whom all these particles of Man are in 
union or oneness, that Divine and unbounded 
Man of whom all men in all times and countries 
and planets are but the diverse images and forms ; 
whilst he is their unchanging and Substantial 
Humanity. 

2 " I should have liked to be one of your party 

1 Letter to Miss Marsh, November 8, 1837. This refers to 
Queen Victoria's visit to the City on the following day, Lord 
Mayor's Day. 

2 "Letter to Miss Marsh, September 11, 1838. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 213 

when you visited the Great Western Steamer. I 
do take such a deep interest in all these new births 
of this Time, for they seem to me signs of still greater 
changes which are passing over the souls of men, 
from which they come forth to tell tales to those 
who like to listen, of what is going on in the invisible 
Kingdom, where they originate." 



SPIRITUAL AND NATURAL NOURISHMENT 

1 " Reading ' The Arcana ' yesterday, I came on a 
passage Gil Spiritual and Natural nourishment, and 
the correspondence between them, and how they 
help each other ! 

6 That Scientifics and truths sustain men's souls 
is manifest from the desires of knowing instinct 
in all men, and likewise from the correspondence 
of food with scientifics : which correspondence also 
manifests itself during the taking of food, for, if 
this be done whilst one is discoursing and listening 
to discourse, the vessels which receive the chyle are 
opened, and the man is more fully nourished than 
if he (or she) eats alone. Spiritual truths and the 
instruction in them would have such an effect with 
men if they were in the love of good' ('Arcana,' 
n. 6078). 

" How important therefore it is not to confirm 

1 Letter to Miss E. L. Pertz, October 29, 1883. 



14 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

the habit of isolation at what might be sacrament- 
times, will come home to you." 



SIGNIFICANCE OF EARTHQUAKES 1 

6 You ask me about Earthquakes, what they 
proceed from ? Do you mean naturally or spiritu- 
ally ? Spiritually, Swedenborg tells us, they re- 
present and proceed from ' changes of the state of 
the church ' ; and I should think, from changes 
of the grander kind. The Earth represents the 
natural man ; the Earth's surface, the natural man 
exteriorly illuminated by the heat and light of the 
Spiritual Sun ; that is by love and faith ; but if 
only exteriorly, and not interiorly, his Earth's green 
and illumined surface consists of the hypocritical 
pretences of love, and the mere knowledges of faith. 
The depths of the Earth, from which the Earth- 
quakes begin, represent the interiors of the natural 
man at variance with the exteriors ; and conse- 
quently Earthquakes represent the state when the 
interiors are about, by mighty commotions, to 
destroy the fair surface of the exteriors ; or when 
inward lusts of evil are about to overwhelm every- 
thing of spiritual knowledge and even of seeming 
love, in the superficial aspect of the man ; and to 
reduce the whole man into a final or homogeneous 
state of barren, stony desolation." 

1 Letter to Miss Marsh, September 10, 1839. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 215 

THE CLOTHING OF ADAM AND EVE l 

'' Tell that I think there must be survivals 

of correspondences among savage tribes. The fig- 
leaves came as a deep perception to the inspired 
writer of the Word in Genesis. They signify the 
lapse out of celestial into natural good remaining, 
into its lower mind, now covering the deeper lost 
innocence. Adam and Eve made these for them- 
selves (verse 7). But (verse 21) The Lord made 
them skins ; signifying a deeper lapse, and a greater 
covering. It is all written in 6 Arcana,' vol. i." 

MENTAL DEPRESSION, CONSCIOUS SEPARATION FROM 

GOD 2 

" You mistake greatly, if you think that I have 
a greater insight in times of trouble, into the uses 
and ends of temptation, than other people, or than 
you. Trouble involves the want of this percep- 
tion, and hence the confused state of mind which 
all wretchedness causes. All wretchedness consists 
in the feeling that we are living for no end ; and 
really, that we are thus living unconnected from the 
Supreme End, or the Lord. If you take any case 
of unhappiness whatever, you will find that this 
is the case ; they all involve the doubt in the man's 
mind, of ' what good is my life to me ? ' In other 

1 Letter to Miss E. L. Pertz, August 23, 1888. 

2 Letter to Miss Marsh, September 10, 1839. 



216 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

words, ' what am I living for ? ' And thus they 
all consist in a felt separation, greater or lesser, 
higher or lower, from the End of Ends. Thus you 
perceive, that in times of trouble, every man alike 
must feel a want of perception of the use of the 
things which come over him. Yet still there are 
differences in men on this matter. In some the 
whole thing appears perfectly hopeless, for they 
have no faith in happiness at all, or in other words, 
there is no affirmation of any end in any part or 
^acuity of their mind or being. These are they who 
delight in being miserable, and are the most selfish 
of men, and in almost total separation from the 
Supreme Goodness and Love. They are misan- 
thropists, and only admit the existence of God, that 
they must have the power of charging Him with 
their miseries. Their miseries are not temptations, 
but are the results of the loss of worldly things, 
such as power, money or fame. But there is quite 
another class of sufferers, (are we not all sufferers 
in one class or the other, or a class intermediate 
between the two ?) whose griefs are the results of 
the perception of evil in themselves, and whose 
trials are all purifying temptations. They constantly 
feel, more and more deeply, that they are not good, 
and that thus they are not connected as they should 
be with the one great end of Being. Yet still in 
all their gloom they see just enough of star and 
moonlight overhead, to show them that there is a 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 217 

plan of journey, and a series of definite objects to 
be passed, and a number of ends to be attained ; 
though the light does not suffice them, perhaps, to 
distinguish definitely a single thing : still less are 
they cheered by a single warming ray. They only 
have a cold knowledge of the general fact, without 
any particulars to illustrate it, and without any 
comfort in knowing it. But they persevere, for 
God is with them, turning their darkness into light, 
and their moon into a sun. They are big with the 
coming day, and are unceasingly advancing towards 
it ; and every moment of gloom is the necessary 
way to it, for there is a Divine Force, which is driv- 
ing itself on through them, and the darkness, and 
kindling day in the midst of both. 

" What can it be, but God, which thus makes us 
persevere in our way, when we have no pleasure in 
persevering ? which gives us a faith in the final 
good of our being, when we have no view of any 
good at all ? The battle and the victory of tempta- 
tion, when a man fights against himself, and against 
his likings is indeed a mystery, which requires us to 
admit something more than self as the agent of the 
wondrous conflict. I often feel, that for a man to 
go forth in helm and plume, and fight against his 
fellows, is natural and easy enough, for all the 
motives of himself drive him to do so ; but that for 
a man to fight against his pleasures, inclinations, 
natural propensities, and early acquired habitudes, 



218 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

is no such easy thing to conceive ; and indeed it 
could not be conceived, if it were not felt, more 
or less in all temptation. ' A man's enemies are 
those of his own household.' " 



MANY INHABITED WORLD s 1 

" I welcome the moral of your muse. Some good 
flowing in and flowing out is indispensable, to give 
real worth to song. There must be psalm, whether 
plain or veiled at the centre, and your dream comes 
to you from good stars, teaching you that temptation 
undergone and vanquished, and the cheer that 
comes after are the Way, the Truth and the Life 
of whatever is finally lovely. 

" You deal accurately with the astronomic con- 
ception of the dead moon and the blasted volcanic 
coffin of it. Can fire have existed there if there 
were no atmosphere ? My belief is that there is 
no planet or sufficient satellite but has human beings 
upon it. Looking from the faith that the creative 
Love and Wisdom of the Almighty myriads of solar 
systems cannot satisfy the Infinite Man and Saviour, 
the revealed thought is welcome, that an unmeasur- 
able variety of Man is demanded to fill the nursery 
planets of the firmament. Also there is, as in 
Geology, a perfect order in this immensity. You 
want flesh and bone of every kind, from the summit 

1 Letter to Miss Alice Head, December 24, 1898. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 219 

to the base of the universal Man here discerned. 
Therefore we have not brains enough or imagina- 
tions enough to limit the breath, and consequently 
spiritual capacity, of the Lunar people. The longer 
we live, if we are advancing in true light, the more 
we shall find that truth eclipses fiction, that godly 
science, in its activity and rejection of materialism 
and sensualism, and in its capacity for learning 
and distinction, uses imagination as a torch wherever 
it is useful, but never disparages the Inner Sun from 
which all light and heat proceed originally." 

1 " Of course the loss of those nearest and dearest 
to us has a Providential Use for us, if we are living 
in the Way, the Truth and the Life. It is fearfully 
and wonderfully elevating to all who take it aright ; 
like the first experiences of flight to a young bird, 
when the Mother commands it to have faith in Wing 
and Air. Great things follow from the human 
faith ; among the rest, wings for the mind to explore 
the Spiritual World to which the beloved have been 
taken." 

2 " Our loving sympathy is with you in your great 
sorrow. No consolation can make it other than a 
crown of sorrows. Such a husband taken from you 
in the height of his years and powers, and such a 
life to be filled on your lonely way ! 

1 Letter to Mr Tafel on the death of his daughter, Mrs Pertz, 
September 15, 1893. 

2 Letter to Mrs Tafel on the death of her husband, January 11, 
1893. 



220 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

4 With the Lord's help alone you will be equal 
to it ; and in fulfilling your years you will find the 
only consolation, until your hour of Victory also 
comes, and the heavenly marriage is reached. 

" His work to our eyes looks broken off, but to 
Providence this cannot be. He did what he could 
do, and no other man in the world was equal to the 
quantity and quality of his achievements for the 
New Church. In that case he has virtually left 
nothing undone, and in his own line nothing that 
wants doing. Others will be raised up to continue 
on the plains where he left off upon the mountains. 
And then he is at work above by influx, and will 
guide the choice of those who will be his successors. 
Let us feel sure that the Lord's Church will not 
suffer because one potent spirit more is transferred 
to the heavenly side of her Armies." 

COMMERCE 

1 " Your Mama tells me that finds support 

in Swedenborg for her view that each country 
should shut out the fruits and produce of all other 
lands. Almost anything can be confirmed out of a 
voluminous writer by taking parts and isolating 
them from the general meaning. Humanity also 
is a whole, consisting of different and distinct parts 
or organs. Some of it is family-humanity, some is 

1 Letters to Miss E. L. Pertz, May 30 and June, 1889. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 821 

clannish, some in larger governmental blocks, some 
in great empires, some almost in world-empires. 
The latter is the case especially with Oceanic England. 
According to these diversities, communications exist 
and are limited and extended. In the family scale, 
at the bottom of ' civilization,' people kill their 
own sheep, if they have any, and make their own 
candles, in that case, etc., etc., etc. All these 
things are profoundly traditional. But none of 
this is a rule for any other organic Society. The 
people of the heart, which lives in the widest circula- 
tion of goods, are not to be measured by the people 
of the bones, which want to be still. The people 
of the brains, which live in thought and will, are not 
to be measured by the limbs, which exist to be 
governed. 

" But enough of this. Swedenborg's doctrine 
here is that the people of this earth are fundamentally 
commercial, or existing and flourishing in the inter- 
change of commodities between all countries ; so 
that each may have what all has. The Reason is, 
that this Earth belongs to the general skin in the 
Grand Man ; which skin is the universal covering, 
everywhere communicating with itself. And on 
this function depends the production of the external 
Word, and the Incarnation itself. The externality 
of the mind of this earth made it possible that the 
Word could be written here in this end and terminus 
of creation ; and that the Lord might be then 



JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

communicated in the Spiritual World to the entire 
universe. I send you the Book in which you will 
find this. . . . 

" As to commerce, I should like to see any of 
Mr Mill's papers on his view of the subject. Com- 
merce is as irremovable as human Society on this 
earth is. So there is no call to defend it. The pillars 
of our mankind rest upon it. But, for the sake of 
dear individual minds, it is important not to accept 
fallacies, or to confirm them into falsities, for fallacies 
dwarf the mind, and falsities pervert it. 

" No view against Commerce itself can be re- 
conciled with Christianity. The perversions of it 
require the acknowledgment of the good of it, and 
they are to be dominated by the new conscience, 
and commerce is to be thus regenerated. But, for 
the rest, it is no worse than the Church and State, 
Medicine, Law, Trade, Artizanship, and every other 
department of Life. The whole head is sick, and 
the whole heart faint, not commerce alone. All 
demand the new daily Duty-doing. 

" If all the dates in Biskra could be the unquestioned 
property of the poor Arabs and Negroes, the result 
would be that they would sink under the glut and 
gluttony of the goods, and next year there would be 
no Date-palms left. So of every other place and 
property where non-proprietors came into possession 
of what is not their own. The thing itself, the 
property, would cease. The world requires Self- 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 

interest to carry it on, until human-love-interest 
comes. And self-interest, with its fore-sights, does 
not exist in the lowest classes anywhere. As 
commerce is a divinely permitted necessity for this 
earth, so no final race here can have its perfect 
bodily development without a table temperately 
set out with the fruits and meats of all the climates 
from the pole to the pole. 

" My hand is shaky in my 78th year, but I want 
to say the truth, that truth may come and be done. 

" Finally, I hope you will daily enjoy all the 
fruits you can, and some of the wines." 

DOCTRINE OF SUCCESSIVE REVELATIONS l 

" I miss writing to you, though, owing now to 
feeble health, I am deficient in energy, though warm 
in will. But Christmas reinforces love with an 
external command. . . . 

" There is little for me to record. I am still 
trying a little work in writing, 2 now an Egyptian 
theme, perhaps nameable as Egypt Scriptural and 
Egypt Monumental. As I emerge from my weak- 
ness, I look forward to continuing this attempt to 
introduce a Spirit from the Word into the dead body 
of Egyptology. The subject may open into interest : 
for the students of the hieroglyphics and the tombs 
and temples never think that there is any connexion 

1 Letter to Mr John Thomson, December 22, 1898. 

2 Isis and Osiris, etc. 



JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

but a fabulous one between the detailed Biblical 
Revelation and the so-called history of the Pharaohs. 
I know you like to hear of my small ventures. 

'' The demolition of the Dervishes is agreeable to 
my apprehension. The worst of them have been 
received into the Spiritual world where there is 
skill to treat them. The rest will make excellent 
soldiers and men of duty for the British and Irish 
Chain, one Day to become golden and impearled 
round the neck of Africa." 

THE DOCTRINE OF SUCCESSIVE REVELATIONS 1 

" You told me on Thursday that it was believed 
among your countrymen in Vej that the gift of 
singing among them was suggested and imitated 
from the songs and notes of birds. 

" It may interest you to read the following rough 
translation from the poem ' De Rerum Natura ' of 
Lucretius. ' Imitating the liquid notes of birds by 
the mouth came long before the time when men 
were able to chant their slender ditties as songs, 
and to please the ears. Moreover the sighs of the 
West Wind, Zephyrus, through the hollows of reeds, 
first taught these countrymen to blow their hemlock 
flutes. Then, little by little, they learnt the dulcet 
means which the pipe pours forth to the play of the 
fingers of the singer ; the pipe, abundant through- 
out the pathless groves, and woods and forest slopes, 

1 Letter to Prince Momolu Massaquoi, September 15, 1894. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 225 

the solitary places and divine houses of the shep- 
herds " (Book v. 1379-1387). 

" The earliest age, the pre- Adamite, was not savage, 
but in " the innocence of ignorance." It had no 
bad inheritance in it to lame its nature. The men 
and women had Freewill, and, though designed for 
elevation to the celestial state called Adam, they 
could stop if they chose at any earlier state. Some 
did so stop ; and are now probably the Cave-men ; 
so called Aborigines, but of many kinds. However, 
all were then gifted of human faculties, and at first 
learnt nothing from birds and from Zephyr. 

" In later stages, indeed, man, a different creature, 
has learnt from outward nature, in fact, learns every- 
thing from without. But, in the beginning nature 
was a correspondential image and shadow of him and 
from his summit he saw through its veil, and gave 
their acceptable symbolic names to all living things. 

" Lucretius represents the Savage Man, and mistakes 
him for the primeval man. The best of your race, 
the African, represent the Remains of the Adamic 
Race, but not of the Adamic Church, which perished. 

" The doctrine of successive Churches or Revela- 
tions is thus all-important to the understanding of 
Swedenborg. These Churches are in a series, one 
after another, and are " the ways of God to Man." 
They are what the Greek Testament calls JSons. 
When they are comprehended in their order, Revela- 
tion can become Theology." 



226 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

PANTHEISM 

1 " Are you Channing's critic in the ' Spirit of the 
Age ? ' Right or wrong, Channing seems to have 
vibrated back pretty entirely into a respectable 
Anglo-Saxon Arianism, purged of the very essence 
of the French socialist. I am not prepared to 
offer any verdict, except on one point : I must say 
on that, that it appeals to me that Fourier least of 
all men deserves the title of a Pantheist. There are 
no religious doctrines to be found in him worth 
notice, and what little he has said theologically I 
could have wished he had let alone. But then 
observe the hypothesis upon which he has worked 
the problems of existence. It is a distinctly Anthro- 
pomorphic Hypothesis : a position that God's works 
can be interpreted by man, because they are like 
man's works, and interpreted by man's mind because 
it is like God's mind. All that immensely reaching 
genius to which the universe lies so coloured and so 
subject consists in his implicit belief in some axiom 
of the Manhood of God. It is this which makes him 
give feeling and quasi-feeling to planets, suns, 
vegetables and minerals. It is this which causes 
him to treat the universe as a vast common-sense 
house, full of utensils for human-like wants and 
purposes. It is this which enables him, from a new 
altitude of scornful benevolence, to call down 

1 Letter to Mr Henry James, December 27j 1849. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 

thunders upon the impenetrability and impossibility 
which the recent generations have been building 
up everywhere. It is this which gives him hope, 
faith, love and science. In short, if he has not 
made use of a Personal God theologically, he has 
at least never ceased to employ Him algebraically, 
as the only cypher which can work the unknown 
into the known and present us with the universe 
as a patent quantity at last. Now, God cannot be 
too present in all thought, and it is a peculiar glory 
of Fourier that he has introduced Him personally as 
the x of his vast mathematics : the x itself having 
all the benefit of a cypher, at the same time that 
it is itself, by illustration from the human mind, 
the very plainest of substances. These thoughts 
flitted through me when I read the well-ordered 
dispute between Channing and his critic. 

" On the other hand, I suspect that our Arians do 
not themselves hold the Personality so strongly as 
Fourier did, and that they separate it at a certain 
altitude from the Humanity, when, it seems to me, 
the Personality perishes." 

HELL'S TORMENTS l 

" I think there is an error in your last about the 
signification of ' the worm that never dies.' You 
seem to think that it signifies ' a troubled conscience ' 

1 Letter to Miss Marsh, November 13, 1838. 



JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

and that the evil in a future life have this troubled 
conscience. To me this would, I confess, be a very 
unpleasant belief, because I see no reason why a 
created being should be kept in a continual state of 
self-reproach, without being able to practise self- 
amendment. It rather seems to me that the exist- 
ence of a troubled conscience shews a certain interior 
love of the good and horror of the evil. But the 
testimony of Swedenborg is quite conclusive on the 
point. He asserts that the pains of conscience 
form no part of the pains of Hell for, says he, in the 
1st Vol. A. C. those who are there, ' have no con- 
sciences.' They have in fact no repentance, no 
remorse, no sorrow for sin of any kind whatever. 
And the reason is plain, that in their final state 
(which thus even to them is a rest\ the adventitious 
goodness or truth, which dwelt in their outer mind 
is quite removed and they are nothing but evil and 
falsity nay, Swedenborg says they themselves ' are 
evils and falsities.' Now the existence of conscience 
of course depends upon the co-existence of two 
contrary elements in the soul, but in the other state 
the one element is taken away, and the other be- 
comes all-ruling. Let it not however be therefore 
supposed that the New Church doctrine diminishes 
the terrors of Hell. The real question is, does it 
make evil more or less terrible to you and to me 
than it was before ; for evil and the false are the 
only terribles of Hell. I believe it makes it in- 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 229 

finitely more so. I should then say that the true 
torment consists in the loves of evil themselves ; 
for these loves being finite and most selfish burn 
to be gratified by universal dominion, but being 
checked and limited necessarily by each other what 
a source of disappointed misery is here ! Self, in 
its efforts to destroy other selfs, which efforts are 
perpetually resisted, and tend therefore to narrow 
and compress itself this self is the worm which 
never dies. It might also be said that each of the 
cupidities of the natural man is that worm ; in each 
of them there is the desire of universal dominion, 
and as this cannot be, each is, by its nature, weak 
and miserable." 



CONDITIONS FOR UNDERSTANDING SPIRITUAL 
PROGRESS 1 

" I think I do recollect once saying that to under- 
stand the Arcana C. it was necessary we should 
have gone through the states therein unfolded : 
and I cannot help yet thinking it must be so. I 
do not see how by this remark my Emmy or anyone 
else is debarred from improvement : for is not our 
Lord continually leading us through new states of 
spiritual being, and do we not find ourselves then 
conscious of truths which were before unknown, 
which before could not be known ? for then we had 

1 Letter to Miss Marsh, October 9, 1838. 



230 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

not the faculties which discern them : I think it 
manifest that if a thing has happened to ourselves 
we can far better understand a description of it, 
and this is even more applicable in spiritual things, 
where each state is quite new, and perhaps quite 
unlike all other states and so not to be comprehended 
by them. In fact I might say that each state ta 
be seen requires a separate eye or faculty of seeing. 
And whenever a new state of our being is unfolded 
there is more or less self-consciousness of it, which 
is its eye, and in this self-consciousness, after all, is 
contained all the knowledge we have of metaphysics 
or philosophy as realities in ourselves. But it so 
happens, that no man is conscious of all or even of 
a very small part of what is transacted in his interior 
man, though no doubt this consciousness will be 
greatly increased, and in proportion as men become 
more unselfish, they will become larger selves. Now, 
the Arcana gives all that can be told in natural 
language both of those changes of which we are, 
and those of which we are not (but may one day) be 
conscious, and therefore I think it is pretty clear 
that our real knowledge of the internal things of 
that book must be gradually produced by the gradual 
development and self-consciousness of the internal 
man. It will then be a description of what men are. 
Then indeed things, which no patience of hammering 
investigation could beat out, will be quite easily 
seen and affirmed as true of ourselves as truths- 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN Ml 

In ourselves, which are substantial and self-evident 
only. But, at present the Book describes of the 
internal man much of which the interior of the men 
of this dark age are not composed, so that they can 
have no self-consciousness of it and their knowledge 
must be nothing more than the knowledge of certain 
sayings in a certain book ; of which it may be clearly 
known what is said, but what it means in reference 
to them, or in other words, what it is, must be quite 
unknown." 



THE SPIRITUAL IMPORTANCE OF HUMBLE DUTIES x 

"Did you read through the first Vol. of the Arc. 
Coel. ? I am truly glad that you feel such a deep 
interest in the writings of Swedenborg, and I am 
sure we shall always find them not only a solid 
support in all the situations of grave and active life, 
but also a delightful recreation of the mind and the 
affections in converse on evenings when worldly 
care is excluded, and when other religions are also 
generally shut out, in order that they may not hurt 
the cheerfulness of the occasion ; but it is a peculi- 
arity of ours that it is our rule of conduct in the 
world, our guide from the world to the regions of 
abstract reason, and spiritual beauty, and even 
the life and soul of liveliness with the lively, pro- 
vided they be cheerful from a godly, and therefore 

1 Letter to Miss Marsh, September 4, 1837. 



232 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

truly human ground. May our Lord Jesus be with 
us and in us and apply divine truths to the purifica- 
tion and ordination of every act of our lives ! I 
believe that there is no act, however degraded in its 
outward form, which may not contain within it a 
Spiritual beauty which is ineffable : because every 
deed of man contains his will, and there may be 
heavenly motives involved in doing the minutest 
thing. Every act done because it is a duty to God 
and His church to do it, is beautiful above language 
and conception; and the real delight of it is that 
stream of living waters in which the good live, when 
the natural part of them is happily removed forever. 
Now, pray, dear Girl, as no principle of philosophy is 
worth a pin, which does not illustrate common or 
real life in the world, look at the consequences of 
this principle as applied to many vile and degraded 
trades and callings. Recollect that nothing can be 
done which may not be done from a heavenly motive. 
Recollect that if a barber crops the hair in the best 
manner because it is his duty ; because it is his 
religion to do the least thing with all his will, such 
man really does an act which contains within it 
Love to God and love to his neighbour ; all the 
6 Law and the Prophets ' are involved in every 
such deed, and so it is shown that in this common 
and disregarded employ there may be something 
really Divine ! Tis true 'tis not felt as such by the 
man then, but still whatever is contained in an act, 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 

the Divine Goodness can evolve out of it, and there- 
fore in the world of the Spirit, when the act has 
long ceased, or rather where it never was, the Divinity 
and true dignity of the motive, of the will, is all that 
is felt and seen, and then the exaltation and enjoy- 
ment are transcendent and ineffable." 



SWEDENBORG'S WRITINGS 1 

" On Saturday I dined with Mr Coxe, at his office 
in the City, and saw there the manuscript of the 
'Apocalypsis Explicata,' three quarto volumes in 
the Author's own writing. You may guess how 
small and compact the writing is by the fact that 
his three volumes of manuscript print into four 
volumes ! The writing is very beautiful and ex- 
tremely legible. I took the trouble after dinner 
to make a facsimile of a short paragraph with the 
style and tracing paper, so that I have got it very 
exact indeed." 

2 " I am very glad you did not commence reading 
the ' Apocalypse Revealed ' ; for, although it is 
truly a wonderful book, I do feel that it is the most 
severe and dry piece of reading I ever took up. 
I have nearly finished the first volume, which I 
consider conclusive of the fact that there is an 
internal sense in the Scriptures of which the writer 

1 Letter to Miss Marsh, August 27, 1839. 

2 Letter to Miss Marsh, undated. 



234 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

was cognizant, but still I only finish the book as a 
question of evidence. ... I conceive that Sweden- 
borg's book on ' The Last Judgment ' ought to be 
read before it, in order to make people in some way 
acquainted with the subject treated of. I should 
tell you that I am reading it out of a musty old 
translation printed in Manchester. The very sight 
of the book is repulsive, so I approach it under all 
sorts of disadvantages. I think that a new edition 
on good paper would have much assisted me, and 
ministered a delight to the senses, which is not to 
be despised as an assistance to the soul." 

SWEDENBORG AND MATRIMONY l 

" On Sunday I dined at Mr Tulk's and spent a 
very pleasant day. Mr Tulk read me a portion of 
a work he is writing on the Lord's Prayer. He also 
told me a very curious anecdote of Swedenborg. 
On what authority it rests, I know not, but as it 
was told me I tell it. Someone asked Swedenborg 
why he had never married. He replied either ' that 
he was married ' or that c he had seen his future 
wife in the spiritual world.' He also named her and 
said she was a Countess Gildenberg." 2 

1 Letter to Miss Marsh, September 24, 1839. 

2 Swedenborg's first love and its disappointment are related in 
Wilkinson's " Emanuel Swedenborg" (pp. 14-15 and 250, 261) 
te With regard to his first and only love, Emerentia Polhen, Sweden- 
borg in his old age, as Tybeck relates, assured the daughters 
and sons-in-law of the former object of his affection, as they visited 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 235 

SWEDENBORG'S MANUSCRIPT l 

" I am now writing an Introduction to the ' Hiero- 
glyphic Key,' in which, in very brief, I shall attempt 
to touch upon the Science of Correspondences in its 
serial aspect : as a manifold, and not a simple or 
(what is the same thing), an occult science. For a 
manifold science involves the idea of love, reconcilia- 
tion of parts, charity ; whereas a simplistic science 
is haughty, high and reserved." 

SWEDENBORG'S CHEMISTRY 2 

" ' The Principles of Chemistry ' is a rare book, and 
only to be had either by advertising for it as wanted, 
say in Morning Light, or by giving Mr Speirs a 
commission to get it. 

" May I briefly remark that you cannot, by 
following modern science, enter Swedenborg's track. 
This is nowhere more shewn than in Chemistry. 
The end and use of modern chemistry is analytic 
knowledge of substances, whether for manufacturing 
purposes, or for exploration of nature. The quest 
is for primitive substances ; and when these are 

him in his garden, that he could converse with their departed 
mother whenever he pleased." It was told us by the late Mr Charles 
Augustus Tulk, hut we have no document for it, that our author 
used to say that he had seen his allotted wife in the spiritual world, 
who was waiting for him, and under her mortal name had been a. 
Countess Gyllenborg (*tc)." 

1 Letter to Mr Henry James, September 18, 1847. 

2 Letter to Mr John Marten, March 19, 1896. 



236 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

found, their combination or synthesis comes. The 
laws of this are greatly investigated. 

" Swedenborg's was another Chemistry, of in- 
violate forms, with properties from the forms ; as 
man and woman have properties from their forms : 
and there are no simple substances. Simple sub- 
stances are the ultimates of destruction : atoms you 
can't cut. Swedenborg's Forms are simple or com- 
pound functions, which must be maintained in the 
Theory, because they are mineral-organic. The 
bed of all this is Geometry actuated, in each case, 
by a central particular fire. 

" Beware of dismissing Light from your view of 
nature. Energy won't supply its place. Light and 
Heat are the unchangeable representants and corres- 
pondences of Love and Wisdom, divine." 



EMERSON'S " SWEDENBORG OR THE MYSTIC " * 

" I am much your debtor for a copy of your 
Poems transmitted to me by your London Publisher, 
and from which I have derived health and pleasure. 
I know of no writer equal to you for transporting 
the denizen of the city spiritually into the country, 
and giving him the benefit of ' that liberty, the 
air,' together with a thousand other needed en- 
franchisements. But I dare not attempt to criticize 
you. One thing, however, strikes me profoundly, 

1 Letter to Mr R. W. Emerson, March 1, 1841. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 237 

and I do not see any of your critics notice it : I mean 
your profound poetical analysis of natural and 
scientific truth. For instance, how sharply yet 
largely true your recount of the physiology of the 
loving eye in that Poem entitled 6 Initial Love.' l 

" But I must not trust myself to say more for fear 
I should awkwardly be paying you some intended 
compliment from which you might shrink with 
dislike. 

" Although you state that your Swedenborgian 
shelves are full, I have ventured still to send through 
Mr Clapp a thin volume of the same series, hoping 
that you will gently squeeze it into a place among 
the rest. . . . 

" Is your lecture on Swedenborg published yet ? 
If not, and if it is to appear as Copyright in England, 
might I suggest that, were it to be issued per se, 
it would probably command a very extensive sale 
among the readers of that Author in this country. 

1 ' f Leave his weeds and heed his eyes, 
All the rest he can disguise. 
In the pit of his eyes a spark 
Would bring back day if it were dark ; 
And, if I tell you all my thought, 
Though I comprehend it not, 
In those unfathomable orbs, 
Every function he absorbs. 
He doth eat, and drink, and fish, and shoot, 
And write, and reason, and compute, 
And ride, and run, and have, and hold, 
And whine, and flatter, and regret, 
And kiss and couple and beget, 
By those roving eyeballs bold." 



238 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

I should be happy to do all I could to commend it 
to a large audience." 



SWEDENBORG'S " HEAVEN AND HELL " TRANSLATED 
INTO ICELANDIC 1 

" DEAR DR WILKINSON, I beg to acknowledge 
the receipt of your letter enclosing two others from 
your Icelandic friend. I will take the first oppor- 
tunity of forwarding them to the Repository and 
obtain their insertion in the next number, if it be 
not at present too late ; or if it be, they can appear 
in the number for November. 

" I have no doubt the Committee of the Swedenborg 
Society will be rejoiced to receive the glad tidings 
they contain, and, for myself, I cannot but feel 
most humbly thankful to Divine Providence for 
such a result. 

" I do not know when the Committee next meet, 
but if you have any proposition to make with respeet 
to the translation into Icelandic of the ' Heaven 
and Hell,' I have no doubt of its favourable reception 
by the Committee and the necessary funds being 
provided. 

"If your mind is made up on this subject, I 
would suggest your writing a letter to me, as you 
did before, giving some idea of the amount of the 
funds and the time required, and engaging, as you 

1 Letter from the Rev. Augustus Clissold, September 11, 1871. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 239 

were kind enough to do before, that the translation 
into Icelandic shall be a faithful one. This letter 
I will then lay before the Committee, and I feel 
sure they will be ready to carry out your wishes 
and those of the Icelanders. I am, dear sir, yours 
very truly, " AUGUSTUS CLISSOLD." 

The translation was duly preformed by Mr Ion 
a Hjaltalin. 

CATHOLICITY l 

" This morning's paper contains Cardinal Newman's 
Address, on his reception of the Purple. It is 
Liberalism in Religion. A great deal that he says 
is too true ; but the error of Sect cannot be cured 
by adopting Rome, which is the Sect of Sects ; and 
her apostacy the cause of the divisions in Christendom 
and of the great gulf in it, on the other side of which 
stands the bold Realm of Infidelity. Unitary Truth 
from Love, which can only come by a new Dispensa- 
tion from the Lord, is the only Oneness that is needed 
or possible." 

DR LIVINGSTONE 2 

" Dr Livingstone entered the spiritual world on 
the 15th of last August. What a strange fire of 
adventure possessed him, to spend all his old days in 

1 Letter to Mrs Wilkinson, May 13, 1879. 

2 Letter to Mrs Wilkinson, January 28, 1874. 



240 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

battling with swamp and wood and wilderness after 
Geographical Truth ! It seems an outre genius ; and 
yet, if he was commissioned from within as the 
pioneer of African progress, so great an end elevates 
his direful wanderings into a religious life. Peace 
be with him now ! " 

INFLUX l 

"I have just finished 'Barnaby Rudge,' and a 
wonderful book it is. How the new Light and Love 
shine in it, and how the new Spiritual Power stoops 
down in it, and almost makes itself manifest for 
what it is ! Influx influx is given to men as it 
was not given before." 

NIAGARA 2 

" Let me say in these hurried words that Niagara, 
mighty and perpetual, suggests to me even more 
(in this mood of mine) than it shows to me. It even 
partly lulls and partly stuns me into sleep about its 
enormous self. And I think of what the Descent of 
things is ; of the Architecture that descends ; of 
the Holy City, New Jerusalem ; and in the immense 
rainbows that span the heaven over the Falls here ; 
that lie mile- wide on the river: that shimmer as 
they are fed by perpetual spray and mist, I remember, 

1 Letter to Mrs Wilkinson, August 24, 1872. 

2 Letter to Mrs Wilkinson, September 6, 1869. 



THE SWEDENBORGIAN 

" Her light was like unto a stone most precious " : 
and in the Rainbows dissolved in the air I remember 
the same : and in all, not omitting the vivid and 
ever-varied thunders, and the huge sperm and 
beauty of ever new Form, I catch a suggestion 
of that substantial River of Influx which in 
one little world and small Voice is the Holy 
Ghost. 

These are the thoughts I had of Descent ; very 
different from those of Mont Blanc, or those of 
Ascent." 



DARWIN'S FUNCTIONS l 

" I have just finished ' The Life and Letters of 
Charles Darwin,' by his son. Mistaken, as I believe 
he was, in discarding Revelation, and rejecting Deity 
because he could not find Him out to perfection, 
the life of the man leads me to think that there was 
a providential purpose worked out by his permitted 
wilfulness. One end seems to be that he brought the 
whole mind of Europe down to consider facts, and 
on them to crucify Dogmas. Had he understood the 
' Doctrine of Uses,' as coming from above, he would 
have begun a great fabric : but he would not have 
done what he has done, and the opposing Ecclesiasms 
would have resisted, which they are not now doing. 
He has contributed to their death. 

1 Letter to Mr John Thomson, September 25, 1895. 
Q 



JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

FICTION l 

" What you say of Novels and their retreat into 
unlocked for Uses I heartily endorse. Without 
profanity, by fictional stories, everything in the 
sensual mind can be freely talked over, and anger 
from dogmas disappears where freedom reigns all 
round. The word 6 Agnostic ' is for this reason better 
than ' Atheist,' because its venom is withdrawn 
in its novelty of possibly pleaded harmlessness. 

" Have you, in the New Church Magazine for 
July, seen my review of Richard Whiteing's ' Number 
5 John Street ' ? He writes me that of the seventy 
great reviews he has had in the press of Great Britain 
and America my interpretation has given him more 
thought than all the rest, and that he keeps it by 
him to study it. ... 2 

" I am rather tired now, after my four months' 
prayer, to be helped in my " Isis and Osiris in the 
Book of Respirations." For fifty years I have been 
on this theme in its general application of Breath- 
ing. Now I have been enabled to converse with it 
in most special embraces." 

1 Letter to the Rev. P. Melville, B.D., September 25, 1899. 

2 On March 28 of the same year, Wilkinson wrote to Dr Melville : 
" I am not going on with my little Essay on the Egypt of Corre- 
spondence. It has been interrupted by a very remarkable Book by 
Richard Whiteing, ' Number 5 John Street.' I have written a 
Swedenborgian View of it. It deserves it, for it is an inspiration, 
or refluxion for purposes of use, of the Hades within and above us. 
It may be published, and if so you shall see it. Mr Whiteing is an 
intimate friend of our house, and he may have been infected with the 
( Apocalypse Revealed ' which I have lent him/' 



CHAPTER III 

HOMOEOPATHY AND KINDRED DEBATABLE MATTERS 

WE have seen something of Garth Wilkinson's 
adoption of the practice of Homoeopathy in the 
chapter devoted to his life. It occupied so large 
a place in his total of work done that, in a full 
consideration of the man, it needs to be treated 
in more detail. 

The credit of founding a new method of drug- 
selection in the treatment of disease belongs to 
Samuel Hahnemann, who was born in 1755 and lived 
until 1843. Possessed of at least a double dose of 
" divine discontent " with the empiric practice of 
his day, Hahnemann recognized the dual action of 
drugs in the contradictory and confusing account 
of the effects of Cinchona, as given in a work on 
Materia Medica which he was engaged in translating 
from English into German. He investigated and 
developed the idea thus presented to him until 
he established his famous law Similia similibus 
curentur. The system of medicine based upon this 
law involves the proving of drugs upon healthy 
persons (Hahnemann's " Pure Materia Medica ") and 
the use of drug-symptoms thus developed as an index 

243 



JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

to the cure of similar disease-symptoms observed in 
the sick. As a logical correlative to the system upon 
which the drug was chosen, its dose for the sick is 
less than that sufficient to produce its characteristic 
effects in the healthy prover. 

Partly by reason of the innate conservatism of the 
medical mind, partly through the bitter controversial 
methods of its discoverer, Homoeopathy has laboured 
under professional discouragement from its first 
beginning to the present day. It may claim to have 
profoundly modified practice : the bleeding lancet 
is no longer to be found in the waistcoat pocket of 
every medical student; the significance of the 
barber's pole and basin has become a matter of 
archaeology ; the old lengthy and murderous pre- 
scription is almost extinct ; drugs and doses intro- 
duced by Hahnemann and his followers are in daily 
use. But the system is far from general recognition ; 
and those who systematically follow its law are still 
made to remember that, though they are in the 
medical profession and enjoy such scanty privileges 
as that profession bestows, they are far from sharing 
its blood-brotherhood. 

The introduction of Homoeopathy evoked a storm 
of protest. The profit of those who made shrines 
in precious metals to the old gods was endangered, 
and those who taught the new way were threatened 
with the magistrate. Dr Quin, who brought the 
Hahnemannian doctrine and practice to England in 



HOMOEOPATHY 245 

1837, found patients in plenty at once and profes- 
sional followers more slowly. These latter had to 
face opposition both overt and covert, professional 
ostracism and outrageous criticism. They were 
knaves or fools, lucky if they escaped condemnation 
under both headings. If a patient died under the 
care of one of their number, it was darkly hinted 
that a verdict of manslaughter should follow. It 
needed, therefore, no slight resolution, no tepid 
conviction, in the man who professed himself a 
homoeopath in the early " forties." The unpopu- 
larity of a cause had, however, never deterred 
Wilkinson from espousing it for reason shown : and 
at the time of his conversion he had been long dis- 
satisfied alike with the ordinary practice of his pro- 
fession and his own position therein. Pitchforked 
into the study of medicine by his father when a mere 
boy, sickened at the crude practice to which he was 
introduced in his apprenticeship, he engaged in the 
struggle for maintenance without any of that timely 
assistance which ensures a good beginning and goes 
far to further, if it cannot command, a prosperous 
career. It is little wonder that the early days of 
Wilkinson's practice were not marked either by 
enthusiasm on his part or any greedy acceptance 
on the part of the patient public. The work of a 
general practitioner in the " thirties " approximated 
much more to that of the chemist than is to-day 
the case : he had to recommend the copious con- 



246 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

sumption of physic, for it was from physic that he 
derived profit. Wilkinson was possessed of two 
qualities incompatible to the foundation of a suc- 
cessful practice upon such lines, a conscience and 
" a horror of promiscuous drugging." His enthusi- 
asm was reserved for work in matters Swedenborgian, 
and he eked out what came to him through labour 
in that capacity by means of professional work 
repugnant alike to his taste and his higher nature. 
There is no statement in his correspondence which 
gives a date when homoeopathy first came under 
Wilkinson's notice, but a letter from a friend in 
1844 congratulates him on his intention to investigate 
the subject. In December of the same year Wil- 
kinson writes to Mr Henry James that his only son 
is dangerously ill with bronchitis and whooping 
cough. " We have committed him to Homoeopathy, 
and called in Dr Durnford who has been very kind 
in his attentions, although but little marked im- 
provement has yet taken place." Two years later, 
he is found writing to his absent wife of a discussion 
with a medical friend who " appeared in no way 
bigoted against the subject." But he gives a lively 
and presumably accurate account of the means by 
which he was brought to consider Hahnemann's 
system of treatmemt, in "War, Cholera and the 
Ministry of Health," written in 1854. The pamphlet 
which perhaps gives the best example of Wilkinson's 
" early manner," virtually aimed at recommend- 



HOMOEOPATHY 247 

ing Homoeopathy to recognition by the Public 
Services. 1 

" The fact is that nurses have a great many things 
put upon them which either ought to be undone, or 
the doctors ought to do them for themselves. Many 
a medicine given to children is so chokingly horrible 
that a medical practitioner ought to be present to 
count the pulse and to watch the countenance ; just 
as is properly the case at a military flogging. In 
my old days I have seen a nurse resign the trembling 
spoon or cup to the doctor, and say in the boldness 
of humane terror : ' Sir, give it yourself.' My own 
conversion to homoeopathy was attended with one 
of these experiences. Our eldest child, a baby then, 
was attacked in the night with a sudden bronchitis, 
attended with great wheezing and oppression. My 
wife and I sat on end in bed in sanitary conjugal 
quorum. I ordered ipecacuanha wine as an emetic, 
and I went downstairs to the surgery and fetched it. 
There it stood by the bedside, and the question was, 
who should give it ? My wife said nothing, and I 
broke a short silence by observing that the medicine 
was there. She then said : c Well ! ' and another 
silence ensued. I too said ' Well ! ' and again we 
were silent. At length Mrs W. said : ' What are 
you going to do ? ' I said : c What are you going 
to do ? " she said she was not going to give the 
child that medicine. I felt indignant in all my 

1 " War, Cholera and the Ministry of Health," p. 27, 1854. 



248 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

professional frame, and I told her that the ordering 
of medicine was the doctor's department, that it 
was the business of mothers and nurses to give it. 
She replied that I was not only doctor here, but also 
father and nurse, and that I must do it or it would 
not be done ; and she added also, that she had no 
faith in that stuff ; and furthermore that she was 
glad now that I had seen at home what burdens were 
daily laid on parents and nurses when I went away 
from house to house, leaving such things to be trans- 
acted between my visits. I thought of the denuncia- 
tion in the Gospel against those who lay on grievous 
burdens, which themselves will not touch with one 
of their fingers ; and I could not but admire her 
disobedience. But she did not stop here, but told 
me that for long (she had hinted this before) she had 
felt a repugnance to my practice, and that this very 
occasion was sent, partly to oblige me to look into 
that new thing called Homoeopathy. The upshot 
of the particular case was that my wife gave a piece 
of ipecacuanha, such as would pass through the eye 
of a needle, to the child ; and a good and homoeo- 
pathic remedy it was ; after which, the oppression 
of the breathing passed away. The circumstance 
made an impression on my mind, and I now record 
it, being sure as day that, humble and simple as it 
is, it will leave a mark on the minds of mothers. 
Think, then, mothers, fathers and nurses, what 
a blessing it is to you to get rid at one blow of all 



HOMCEOPATHY 249 

these difficult and painful duties which the old 
practice enjoins upon you ! " 

In December 1850 he writes to his father of 
gradually introducing homoeopathy into his practice, 
and says that " nearly all the little success I have 
enjoyed has arisen from and in the new practice." 
In 1852 he writes more strongly on the subject. 

" My business increases beyond expectation : it 
seems going on rapidly for 2000 a year. Homoeo- 
pathy, into which Emma compelled me, has for the 
first time caused me really to love my noble Profes- 
sion. To me now there is no calling like it. It 
brings down not only riches, but, what is far more, 
blessings upon him that exercises it aright ; and as 
for intellectual advancement, which I have always 
loved, I have learned to be sure that a man's own 
business is the finest school in which his mind can 
be trained. The truths of Medicine are, then, those 
which above all others I pray God to show me 
in order that I may find healing on their wings. 

" Of course, with so large a practice, I require 
to undergo many expenses. . . . But practice 
increases far more rapidly than expense, and I am 
in great hopes of being able, after this year, to put 
by something handsome for a rainy day. 

" You will not be surprised to hear that I have no 
leisure for any avocations but those of my profession. 
It engages me morning, noon and night ; excepting 
on Sundays, when I never go out, if I can avoid it. 



250 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

However, in the course of my rides, I make many 
cursory but agreeable studies, particularly in Botany, 
respecting which I cherish some designs. Homoeo- 
pathy has led me to the study of the old Herbals of 
various countries, and I see in them an unlimited 
extension of the Homoeopathic medicine. England 
is particularly rich in this kind of lore, and it is 
only to be lamented that in our accredited 
books of Botany, this really useful department 
of knowledge of the vegetable world is either left 
out or treated with contempt. But all things will 
come in time. At present I am studying the 
Mistletoe, with a view to its medical use." 
In the same year he wrote to Mr James : x 
" My life now is for the most part a routine. 
Practice increases month by month ; and the prospects 
of income are good. The pleasures of skill also attend 
me, whenever God gives any of the skill. What is 
best, I take a leading interest in my dear Medicine, 
and especially in Homoeopathy : and I reckon myself 
truly fortunate to be able at length to connect my 
mind to my daily work ; and to see in the latter a 
most ample field for the exercise of my thoughts. 
I am even not without hopes that I may be able to 
improve practice somewhat. 

" If it please God to afford me the possibility, I 
shall take one summer holiday in New York, if only 
to shake you and yours by the hand. It is a part of 

1 Letter to Mr Henry James, November 14, 1852. 



HOMCEOPATHY 251 

my medical creed that a medical man cannot do 
justice to his year unless he recreates himself for a 
few weeks in the best season. This I shall act upon 
as soon as I can. And your country shall have one 
of my first fortnights. 1 

" My chief studies at present are Homoeopathy, 
Botany, as connected with the popular medical use 
of Plants, the Herbals of all nations and their avail- 
ability for practice ; lastly, the physical and physio- 
logical and the pathogenetic characters of substances, 
and the correspondence between these various 
characters. Thus, for example, I want to see in the 
growth and character of a plant the very double of 
the effects which it produces upon the animal body. 
Now this, with practice and Northern Languages, 
is what my little life is about." 

It is a scheme of pursuits large enough to occupy 
the mind of a busy man. Wilkinson had " found 
himself " medically, just as he had " found himself " 
theologically some years earlier ; and it is plain that 
the theology and the medicine have an essential 
connection. It is plain, too, that the stricter limits 
of homoeopathy, which demand that the drugs pre- 
scribed shall have been proved on the healthy body, 
were not entirely to his taste. In this, as in all 
things, Wilkinson was eclectic and transcendental, 
ready to advance beyond the letter of his master 
when he had himself assimilated the spirit. 

1 It was not until 1869, however, that Wilkinson visited the United 
States. 



252 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

1 " Do you know that I am going out of the bounds 
of Homoeopathy in the use of medicaments ? I 
find that the old Herbals give note of a number of 
plants and the like, useful for certain maladies ; 
and the use descended from ancient time and well 
attested. Now, what but pedantry should prevent 
anyone from curing by this prestige ? Why not pre- 
pare the herbs Homceopathically, and use them by 
tradition ? When they have been also proved upon 
the healthy body, so much the better; but why 
wait for that ? The fact of cure is just as scientific 
as, and more direct than, the fact of pathogenesy. 
Here is a matter that has been neglected, and that 
I must work, as being of import to human health." 

In the meantime, if Wilkinson proclaimed him- 
self unconcerned with strict orthodoxy towards the 
creed of his adoption, he was made conscious of his 
unorthodoxy towards the traditional practice of 
his profession ; and that too was a matter which 
troubled him little. 

2 " The medical profession is indeed bitter against 
Homoeopathy : and they are to be excused, for they 
are considerable losers by it. The Homoeopathic 
practitioners, on the other hand, are in a state of 
equanimity and good humour, and find it not very 
difficult to love their enemies, when the public and 
success are so markedly in their own favour. Here 

1 Letter to Mr Henry James, December 30, 1852. 

2 Letter to his Father, January 28, 1852. 



HOMCEOPATHY 

in this neighbourhood I have no competitors : the 
old practitioners do me no harm, but compete 
seriously with each other : and I, by sitting still, 
reap the benefit of their divisions. This is going on 
at an increased ratio every year, and must, in the 
end, work a vital alteration in the position of what 
now regards itself as Orthodox Medicine. Apropos, 
however, of which orthodoxy, it is as new in point 
of time, if not of truth, as Homoeopathy itself. For, 
were the Garths and the Boerhaves to peep down 
upon us now, they would never recognize the present 
Rulers of Medicine as their lineal descendants." 

His reply to his experience of the " Odium 
Medicum " was the delivery and publication of an 
Address on " Unlicensed Medicine." a whole-hearted 
attack on his own profession, wherein he charged it 
with narrowness of mind and self-interested policy, 
with neglect of progress and with surgical mutilation 
undertaken for the profit of the operator rather than 
that of the patient. He advocated reform by com- 
plete discharterment of medicine, leaving it free for 
all men to practise at their peril, subject to punish- 
ment for recklessness or culpable negligence. It 
was written, we may surmise, rather for the sake of 
the indictment than in any expectation of securing 
either conviction or reform. Concerning it, he 
wrote : x 

" I will send you the Address on * Unlicensed 

1 Letter to his Father, December 15, 1855. 



JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

Medicine ' when I get a copy : I have none by me, 
but have ordered a supply from the Publishers. 
In estimating the prudence of the Tract, it is to be 
borne in mind that I am not in a usual position ; 
but that the other school of Medicine already bans 
me and all similar persons. Did I belong to the 
established class, such an address would indeed be 
the height of imprudence." 

Upon the question of dose in treatment, Wilkinson 
was among what even the homoeopaths reckon 
" high dilutionists," prescribing almost always on a 
centesimal scale and usually far along it. In a 
" lay " consideration of his medical work, it will be 
enough to quote his opinion as given to a " lay " 
correspondent, and to add that his habitual use of 
drugs tended ever to become more and more im- 
material. 

1 " To what you say about small doses Homoeo- 
pathic and large doses ditto, I have only one thing 
to answer, that I find my minute potions do their 
work surely, swiftly, and sweetly. If others find 
bigger things do the same, there is not any quarrel 
between us. But I do aver and maintain my own 
position. Every day's practice confirms me in the 
thought that, if the right remedy is hit, the quantity 
is a secondary affair ; though also the quantity, 
in that case, by all the rules of causes, may be smaller 
than in the other case of inexacter skill. 

1 Letter to Mr Henry James, February 8, 1855. 



HOMOEOPATHY 255 

"But my object, my grand wish, in the little 
Book, 1 is to show that Medicine can be organized 
and applied to nations by Homeopathy, and as yet 
by no other claimant. This argument, if it be im- 
pregnable, casts back a powerful confirmation on 
Homeopathy itself, and thrills it through with 
public virtue. 

" You, more than any other man, led me into 
Homoeopathy, and if you are lapsing away from it, 
I shall think it my duty to take your Senility into 
custody and to keep you by me in an old man's 
chair of credulity, until you can start young again 
into faith." 

But the main point of interest in Wilkinson's 
adoption of Homoeopathy lies in the similarity which 
can be plainly seen in his theological and medical 
creed. The doctrine of correspondences is the 
working key of the New Church attitude toward 
God and conduct. In matters medical, the corres- 
pondence of drug effects and disease effects is the 
whole of the Homoeopathic practice. This similarity 
was a striking one to Wilkinson, whose attachment 
to medicine had never been strongly marked. The 
convinced and enthusiastic followers of Swedenborg 
found the system of Hahnemann a scientific state- 
ment of the doctrine of correspondences in terms 
of medicine. He did not, however, adopt it per 
saltum on purely theoretic grounds, but examined 

1 " War, Cholera and the Ministry of Health." 



256 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

it and tested it on his patients. By degrees he found 
himself leaning ever more toward the homoeopathic 
law, and ever less addicted to the routine practice 
of the time : patients flocked to him : he was for 
the first time happy in being " able to connect his 
mind to his work." Yet in this, as in other things, 
he stood alone. There were, he felt, possibilities of 
extension and development in Homoeopathy ; and 
he was characteristically eager to make the summit 
of Hahnemann's attainment the " jumping off place " 
into a new conquest over disease by a transcendental 
extension of the law of similars. But it was the 
doctrine of correspondences which made and kept 
him a Homceopathist ; and traces of the bond 
between his religious and medical creed are con- 
stantly cropping up in the letters and books which 
he wrote. It is much in evidence in the following 
quotation from " Swedenborg among the Doctors " 
an open letter to Dr Cooper at whose house Wilkinson 
had been invited to a medical symposium in 1895. 
He was unable to attend, but sent what he afterwards 
expanded into a tract to represent his views. 

"To command the country of the soul, that is, 
the human body, a military intellect, seeing the 
anarchy and disorder of scientism, its want of a 
Ruling Soul, could not but discern as a strategic 
necessity, that it was necessary to lay down new 
ways by which he might be led to such unrecognized 
Ruler, and gain access to her palace, and support 



HOMOEOPATHY 257 

and sanction from her power. Every march of 
humanity requires new roads if there are none laid 
down already. Hahnemann, coming into empirical 
and chaotic medicine, found an old disused road 
in Hippocrates, ' Similia similibus curenturj and 
following it resolutely, he founded a new medical 
Kingdom. Our Art, Homoeopathy, is thus, by 
virtue of having a mental highway through it, a 
stable possession of the rational faculty. Let this 
instance, familiar to us, show the importance, or 
rather indispensable necessity, of doctrinal Road- 
making ; we may say, of iron roads. 

" Under stress of this, Swedenborg gratified what 
was then his life's love, the prosecution of the quest 
of the soul by rational divination of her attributes 
from her faculties in the body. The new ways by 
which he must travel are not, however, easy to him 
to find. He has ' to discover, disengage and bring 
them forth, by the most intense application and 
study.' They are new doctrines, for doctrines always 
lead, guide and lead on and on : true doctrines 
namely. These might always be summed up in 
the injunction, ' Similia, similibus divinentur ' or 
' interpretenturS ' They are the doctrines of forms, 
of order and degrees, of series and society, of com- 
munication and influx, of correspondence and repre- 
sentation, and of modification.' These doctrines 
or teachings are the way to a Rational Psychology, 
or approximate knowledge of the Soul." 



258 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

The same view is expressed in a more practical 
connection in the following letter to an old friend : x 

44 DEAR FRIEND, I rejoice to hear that you are 
walking miles, and that you have a rest from news- 
papers and books. But I cannot divine why you 
should not cure yourself by homoeopathic coincid- 
ences which are natural and scientific correspond- 
ences, and which follow the divine way of ceasing 
medicinally first to do any evil, and then are gifted 
to do good. Were you to send to the homoeopathic 
chemist in Glasgow for a half-ounce bottle of Antim. 
Tart, pilules, and take three, night and morning, in 
a wineglassful of hot water, you would, in my belief, 
cease to be the slave of damp, and brain would 
animate, and lung would respire. Who can say 
that the Lord's arm is interfered with by using the 
vanishing point of medicine, when it becomes mental 
scientific correspondences ? Hot bricks, etc., etc., 
are means ; but so also is that practice which takes 
up deadly serpents, and forbids their harming and 
then does their good. For they have good. As 
E. S. says, they absorb malignities. Yours, 

" J. J. GARTH WILKINSON." 

Correspondences and homoeopathy are again cor- 
related in this letter to a friend whose daughter was 
in trouble with curvature of the spine. It is interest- 

1 Letter to Mr J. Thomson, June 7, 1898. 



HOMOEOPATHY 259 

ing, too, to see that the writer, at the age of 84, is 
ready to endorse the bicycle for the use of women. 

" I sympathize with you heartily in your per- 
plexity about your dear Daughter's treatment. You 
know I am a resolved Homoeopath, and so far 
as drugs go, I am confirmed in this name by the 
immeasurably greater harmlessness and success 
of the treatment by the science of correspond- 
ences intuitively and experimentally given through 
Hahnemann. So I should certainly advise medicine 
in that line in spinal curvature. Other treatment 
also. But without knowing the extent of the 
curvature, it is difficult to suggest or sanction. . . . 

" With respect to Cycling, I am not at all dis- 
posed to endorse her opinion that no woman should 
cycle. It is founded on no experience ; and against 
it there is the fact that women cycle better than men. 
Deprived of the masculine seat on the horse, why 
should not woman be bilateral on these terrene skates 
of steel ? My granddaughters, just returned from 
Coblenz, tell me that their brother, Captain Pertz, 
holds that the ladies beat the officers, their hus- 
bands, in cycling. But evidently in a young 
lady of 17 with a weak spine, fatigue should be 
avoided." 

Wilkinson's spiritualized and transcendal view 
of medicine, and the essential unity of his theological 
and medical outlook come out very clearly too in 
the following letter. 



260 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

1 " I received your fine volume, < The Twelve Tissue 
Remedies of Schussler,' soon after the arrival of your 
letter, and I have every reason to thank you for it. 
I have read Part I. with attention, and use the 
Body of the Book in my now small opportunities of 
practice. And later on, if my year of life be still 
prolonged, your Remarks may help me greatly in 
a few words which I desire to leave respecting 
Homoeopathy. 

" Schussler is vague both in his idea of the twelve 
salts in their existence in the blood, and also as 
regards the causation of the effects of the same salts 
as administered in his 6th triturations. Only one 
man that I know of propounded an organic view, 
which at last, with a vital end internal to it, must 
be the clear and central intuition. That one man 
was Swedenborg. His statement that the atom of 
common salt is the basement on which the blood- 
globule is built up the dead, useful, natural world 
of it assigns place and function to this cell-salt. 
And the further information that there are aerial 
and etherial salts corresponding and similarly basic 
in the higher blood-architectures is a higher stretch 
than any doctrine of dilutions. What may be the 
ultimate fate of this spiritually-ingenious theory ? 
At least it must stimulate thoughts. Whatever 
the bone of the blood, can it be diseased, so as to set 
up a crooked blood-spine, involving a weak nerve 

1 Letter to Dr Boericke, October 19, 1893. 



HOMOEOPATHY 

influx and dwarfish deformed nature in the atomic 
blood itself ? (One) such as a weak deformed spine 
may involve in the general body ? 

" And then how does an infinitesimal cell- salt 
correct aberrations of such salts in the organism ? 
Here we want a theory of Homoeopathy; for 
Schussler's salts all act by their likeness to their 
fellow-salts suffering and crying out in the body. 
Through my dear R. E. Dudgeon, I have just re- 
perused the * Organon,' translated by him ; but 
Hahnemann's explanation of Homreopathy is not a 
likely one, for how can the slight monition of an 
infinitesimal dose be a more powerful state than the 
diseased action which it fronts and routs ? David's 
pebble from the Brook which smote Goliath was not 
naturally stronger than he, but spiritually. So 
Homoeopathy needs a spiritual, or natural-spiritual, 
explanation. So also does Catalysis. A doctrine 
of regeneration is needed. That can alter things 
from the smallest beginnings, and rectify a salt that 
has lost its character, and make the blood upright. 
To follow out this Swedenborgian opening will be 
the work of future time. I want to think of it, if 
my time allows. 

" The salts in Plants must be prepared by and 
in organization for acting peculiarly on animal 
organization : and mineral salts themselves must 
have a peculiar field. 

" On the subject of plant-salts, I will mention that 



262 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

I have long used the silica which is deposited in the 
bottoms of the manifold cases of the large bamboos 
in India : and, having some, I will send you a 
specimen. I have used it with success where silica 
is indicated, but especially in acute, rather than in 
chronic, cases." 

Wilkinson's scientific contributions to the litera- 
ture of the school of medicine to which he belonged 
have been enumerated in the chapter which deals 
with his biography : they were marked by all his 
usual power of expression and definition of aim. 
He contributed also to the number of drugs used by 
the homoeopath. On one of his Icelandic journeys 
he was struck by the frequency of caries and necrosis 
among the natives living in the volcanic regions and 
attributed the prevalence of these diseases to the 
use of water which had percolated through lava. 
Recognizing the bearing of the homoeopathic law 
upon this observation, he was led to prepare and 
prescribe Hekla lava as a drug for similar cases 
otherwise induced ; and the drug has justified its 
selection and maintained its place in its own limited 
field. In 1857 he also introduced to use Glanderine 
and Farcine, two nosodes or products from Veterinary 
diseases. The use of such things was at that time 
vilified and derided by those who opposed homoeo- 
pathy, but Wilkinson lived to see the age of 
Koch's various tuberculins and of the antidiptheritic 
serum. The articles in which he advocated the use 



HOMOEOPATHY 263 

of these drugs may be found by the curious in " The 
British Journal of Homoeopathy." 

But, after all, the work of the practising physician 
can only be traced partially in the professional press. 
When once Wilkinson had embraced homoeopathy, 
he recognized himself and was speedily recognized 
by others as highly gifted in the treatment of disease. 
From that time forward his practice was assured, 
and he numbered people of influence and position 
among his patients. Indeed, to the time of his death, 
there were those who would not allow him to retire 
altogether from attending them : there was always 
a, residuum who refused to believe that he could not 
and would not help them in their bodily ailments. 
From 1850 to 1880 his practice was a large one : 
after the death of Mrs Wilkinson in 1886, he with- 
drew from it to a great extent. Reckoning from his 
qualification in 1834, he was actively engaged in 
medical work for fifty-two years : but to the end, as 
we have said, he was more or less in touch with the 
treatment of disease. 

Perhaps, however, there was never a practitioner 
of medicine who was less a member of the profession 
at heart. Almost from the first he would have dis- 
chartered that profession and have thrown the 
treatment of the sick open to all who chose to engage 
in it, holding them equally responsible whether 
formally qualified or not. Degrees and diplomas 
would have conveyed no privilege, had Wilkinson 



264 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

been allowed his way. Surgery was ever an abomina- 
tion to him. He not only abstained from practis- 
ing it himself ; but he would have surrounded its 
practice by others with narrow restrictions and 
have checked its development : its abuse, as he 
reckoned it, would have met with immediate and 
proportionate punishment. His quarrel with char- 
tered and licensed medicine gradually crystallized 
itself around three subjects, vaccination, vivisection 
and the working of the Contagious Diseases Act. 
It is necessary that we should deal briefly with 
Wilkinson's action with regard to each of these 
subjects. 

When his sister contracted smallpox in Wilkinson's 
bachelor establishment, in the early summer of 
1839, he wrote to his fiancee : " On Friday morning 
I procured some lymph, and vaccinated all the 
inmates, including myself ; and I am now most 
desirous that you should be placed in safety by the 
same process. How and when this is to be done we 
must endeavour to determine." So it is clear that 
at this time he was not opposed to either the theory 
or practice of Jenner's inoculation, which had then 
been before the world for some forty years. 

His aversion can be told in his own words : " The 
early history of my opposition to Vaccination is, 
briefly, this I had not considered Vaccination a 
question ; but practised it when required. About 
1865 the Countess de Noailles assailed my conscience 



HOMOEOPATHY 265 

on the subject, and her earnestness forced me to study 
it. She was backed by the late Mrs Gibbs, then Miss 
Griffiths. Through Miss Griffiths, I sent the follow- 
ing message to Madame de Noailles : ' Tell her 
Ladyship that the question is comparatively un- 
important. Vaccination is an infinitesimal affair. 
Its reform will come in with greater reforms.' I 
also wrote to Madame that the only short way of 
getting rid of the medical vested interest was by 
paying half a million or a million of money down 
to the Profession, and buying the slaves, the people, 
out, as the West Indian Blacks were brought out. 

" After-studies extending over eighteen years have 
convinced me that I was wrong in my estimate of 
the smallness of the Vaccination question compared 
with other Evils. As forced upon every British 
Cradle, I see it is a monster instead of as a Poisonous 
Midge ; a Devourer of Nations. As a Destroyer of 
the Honesty and Humanity of Medicine, which is 
through it a deeply degraded Profession. As a 
Tyrant which is the Parent of a brood of Tyrants, 
and through Pasteur and his like a Universal Pollu- 
tion Master. As a Ghoul which sits upon Parliament, 
and enforces Contamination by Law, and prepares 
the way for endless violations of personal liberty 
and sound sense at the bidding of cruel experts. 
Not denying other forms of Social Wickedness, I 
now, after careful study, regard Vaccination as one 
of the greatest and deepest forms, abolishing the 



266 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

last hope and resort of races, the new-born soundness 
of the Human Body." l 

The first trace of this fierce opposition discoverable 
in Wilkinson's private correspondence occurs in a 
letter to his wife, dated February 23, 1870. 

'' There is, I hear, no truth in what the Paper 
says about Government and the Vaccination Laws. 
A storm is brewing such as they little expect. The 
cases of dire injury from Vaccination are multiplying, 
and the cases of violated parents, who, rightly or 
wrongly it matters not, are agonized about their 

little ones. Yesterday, Mrs got Miss 

to ask me my opinion about Vaccination. They 
insist upon doing her children, not yet out of whoop- 
ing cough, or fining her ! The thing is too incon- 
ceivably abominable to last. Let whoso will be 
protected (?) by Vaccination be Vaccinated : but 
is it in this day that others, against their hearts' 
blood and their often terrible experiences and their 

convictions, should be compelled ? Mrs was 

moved to ask me by hearing such sad results from 
Vaccination in her own circle. I advised her not 
to have her child vaccinated." 

Wilkinson gives two cases in his essay on Com- 
pulsory Vaccination which may explain his attitude 
toward the practice. The first of these appears 
from the context to have occurred in 1863. 

" Miss Edith Hutchinson, of Kensington, was 

1 W. White, "The Story of a Great Delusion/' p. 549. 



HOMOEOPATHY 267 

vaccinated by the late eminent Dr Joseph Laurie. 
The arm swelled enormously, and was hard like wood. 
After a month it subsided, and then a putrid thrush 
occurred, which disappeared after some weeks. 
The disease was next transferred to the abdomen 
and its lymphatic system ; and she died of great 
purulent collections in its cellular tissues, the matter, 
putrescent, voided by the bowels. I attended 
the later stages of the case with Dr L. Vaccination, 
careful conscientious vaccination, did it, as plainly 
as fire burns. . . . Another case. My coachman's 
child was vaccinated, and took it with erysipelas, 
which overspread the body. The mother, who was 
nursing it, took the erysipelas, and both nearly 
died of it. I assert that this result of two long 
and all but fatal illnesses was, in a poor man's 
house, due to vaccination, and consequently due 
to Parliament." 

Wilkinson gave evidence before the House of 
Commons' Committee on Vaccination in 1871. He 
showed how, endowed and lucrative, the futility 
of vaccination was concealed and denied, and how 
reliance on its supposed efficacy paralyzed improve- 
ment in treatment. He wrote pamphlet after 
pamphlet against the evil as he saw it. A brief 
specimen of his plain speaking, from his " Human 
Science, good and evil, and its Works " (1876) will 
suffice. 

" This is blood assassination, and like a murderer's 



268 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

life. The point, however, here is that this amazing 
act is the homicidal insanity of a whole profession ; 
and the reader is requested to study the correlation 
of this sin with the horrible methods of acquiring 
physiology now in vogue, and which surely prepare 
the minds of men for similar darkness and its deeds 
in medical practice." 

But Wilkinson's zeal did not exhaust itself in his 
public writings. It constrained him also in many 
seemingly minor matters. 

In 1874 he is found writing to a candidate for 
the Coronership of his division of London as follows : 

" I am solicited to vote for you for Coroner. I 
do not vote for Dr H. (1) because a medical 
coroner is not desirable; and (2) because Dr H. is 
so identified with vaccination prosecutions that his 
impartiality in cases of death from vaccination 
could not be expected. How do you stand upon this 
question ? 

" Mr John Bright declares the Compulsory Vac- 
cination Law to be ' monstrous,' and that it ought 
to be repealed. One way of demonstrating its 
monstrosity to the world is by fairly recording 
its malfeasances in the verdicts of Coroners' juries 
impartially charged by Coroners. A public word 
from you on this point is desirable." 

He interrogated the parliamentary candidates 
in the same spirit, nor did his influential acquaint- 
ances escape. 



HOMCEOPATHY 269 

1 " DEAR MR BRIGHT, In earnest petition I 
address you on the Compulsory Vaccination question. 
On that subject you have expressed opinion twice, 
and your views have been circulated through the 
press. You said the first time, ' The law is monstrous, 
and ought to be repealed.' And you write to Mr 
Tebb, ' I think your case one of great hardship, but 
I fear I can do nothing to help you. These repeated 
penalties are, in my view, most unjust, and I wish 
the law were changed." 

" I cannot understand that your feeling against 
a ' monstrous ' law, with its ' most unjust ' penalties, 
should produce your last expression of opinion. 
You cannot help Mr Tebb personally, and he does 
not expect it. But what we do expect is that when 
John Bright finds a law monstrous and wishes its 
repeal, and when his little finger, stoutly raised, 
would encourage and help the whole of the persecuted 
against that law, justice and mercy, as of old, as for 
Ireland, as for India, should move him ; and silence, 
be it ever so much desired by him, should be greatly 
broken. 

"It is not by ' fearing that you can do nothing 
to help ' that you have been the friend of the poor 
and oppressed since first I heard you as a young 
man in the Anti-Corn-Law Agitation. It is not 
in the ignominous night- cap of such fearing 
that your great sword of words has slept when 

1 Letter to Mr John Bright, December 17, 1877. 



270 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

public evil was to be hewed down in the House of 
Commons. 

" Arise, and give us some of the fire of your true 
heart here, in the name of the Lord, and He will 
keep your heart young, and chase all fears in other 
needful contests for the people. Your friend, 

" J. J. GARTH WILKINSON." 

It is not clear what pronouncement by Mr Ruskin 
gave origin to this vigorous rejoinder from Wilkinson. 

1 " I have no right to rejoin to so masterful a 
dismissal as you give to the subject of vaccination. 
But pardon me for remarking that I care nothing for 
4 Codes of Lymph,' but abjure them ; and am only 
concerned to protect the prime stream of all, the 
blood of children, from pollution ; and the prime 
air of all, the liberty of affection and conscience 
in the home, from suffocation. 

" Your Art Temple will stand on legs and not on 
fantasies when you are not ashamed to take as 
alternate pillars the substantial foundations of 
human good. And you will rebuke the Circe of 
Art, instead of aiding and abetting her, and will 
teach artists to be men, when you traverse their 
Art with religious duties involving their care and 
attention to many unpleasant every-day disciplines, 
which are the only correctives of Art against worldli- 
ness, luxury and selfishness." 

1 Letter to Mr John Ruekin, July 1, 1878. 



HOMOEOPATHY 271 

Wilkinson made many lasting friendships among 
the enthusiastic opponents of Compulsory Vaccin- 
ation. Among these were Professor Siljestrom, 
writer of several Swedish tracts upon this subject, 
who died in 1892, and Mr William Young, whose 
work, as editor of the Vaccination Tracts, Wilkin- 
son took up after his death and concerning whom 
Wilkinson wrote the following biographical notice 
for an Anti- Vaccination journal : 

" THE LATE MR WILLIAM YOUNG. 

44 Excepting that new men are often sent when 
public exigency calls for them, it is difficult to 
imagine how the gap caused by the decease of 
William Young can be filled from the ranks of the 
opponents of vaccination. He has stood in the 
front, and if not the foremost of all, it was rather 
because of his social station than from any defect 
of quality as a leader. 

44 He was a chemist and druggist, and kept a 
shop. What did this imply when he joined the 
movement against vaccination ? I knew him well 
with a large and increasing family. It was 
a tolerably flourishing shop in the Harrow-road. 
It fell down from plain causes. The medical men 
in the neighbourhood refused to send their pre- 
scriptions to the counter of an anti-vaccinationist. 
They ' boycotted ' his shop. He was driven from 
it ; and was drifted along from neighbourhood to 



JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

neighbourhood partly by the same cause. His 
poverty compelled each act of movement. But he 
was a real nobleman in every shop, true as steel 
to his convictions. He lived the truths he knew, 
and made them good. He belonged to the new 
comity to the new order. 

" I was associated with him in the Vaccination 
Tracts. In the preparation of these he always 
furnished me with a draft plan of each tract, and 
suggested several of the pieces. But for him the 
series would not have been completed. His urgency 
moved it on and fed it with useful suggestions 
of matter. His gentleness and modesty eliminated 
differences of design, and produced equal authority 
between us. Though suffering from something like 
want all the time, he did the work with no expecta- 
tion of even common wage. 

" With a very frail body, he did not ask himself 
how he was, but what the day's work was ? So 
his industry was out of all proportion to his bodily 
strength, as the most of us equate the industry and 
the strength. He did not do more than he was 
able, because he knew the law that the ability 
is given in the doing. Every fresh occasion, and 
they were incessantly arising, called forth a wise 
and cogent word from him. Could the series of his 
articles and leaflets be collected, they would form a 
volume still useful to the cause, and displaying 
a heart full of sympathy with outraged fathers, 



HOMCEOPATHY 

mothers, and infants, and a head with a statesman- 
like vision of what would come to medical authority, 
and to Governments that aided and abetted it. 

" Nor was his attention or insight confined to 
the vaccination tyranny, but he saw the downward 
career of State-established medicine, and noted the 
steps of the ladder which it is preparing for itself 
into the abyss. He divined its alliance with Pasteur ; 
and it is only a few weeks since I had a communica- 
tion from him to make me acquainted with the 
New Youth recorded by Brown-Sequard for himself 
from the seed of dogs. 

" He died, upon the whole, a neglected man ; 
but not more neglected than in most cases where 
rare unselfishness, humility, and honesty are com- 
bined with poverty, in pleading, irrespective of all 
personal consequences, the destruction of aggressive 
tyranny, and the furthering of public good, especially 
for the voiceless and the wailing, for the poor and 
the needy. The monument of their emancipation 
and bettering will rise for him, nay, has risen for 
him, but not in these climates, and not in their 
cathedrals. 

" He has entered into his rest,' as they say. A 
man, however, of no hurry, making no over-estimate 
of what single human efforts can do in any age of 
visible self-will and its down-rush, he can help us 
from a higher ground to patience and perseverance 
through the yet long night, and to a new youth 



274, JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

of trust to God in ourselves, and to God and ourselves, 
rather than to the confirmed senility of Royal 
Commissions. Herein, we divine, will be a part 
of his Rest. 

' No flowers ' may well be underscored in such 
an obituary. His path was not a flowery one ; 
certainly not ' the primrose path to the everlasting 
bonfire.' He trod on thorns to make the way smooth 
and innocent for other people. If he can whisper 
now he might say, ' Not flowers, but everywhere 
Fruits.' And I will say what he never said, ' Ye 
who can, be personally fruitful here ; ye who have 
been with him in this holy cause of anti-vaccination, 
think of the home left desolate now ; think of 
his wife and children, in poverty now because of 
his life-long devotion to the interests of all homes and 
parental rights ; and of love and conscience conse- 
crate come part of your abundance, or your ' two 
mites,' to succour with money-offerings yes, with 
money those he loved, and who sorely need your 
assistance." 

" Honour be to the noble memory of William 
Young ! " 

Many will consider that the agitation against 
the Compulsory Vaccination of Infants was mis- 
guided and futile : but few will deny to those who 
took the leading part in it that they were thoroughly 
honest in their convictions and earnest in their 



HOMOEOPATHY 275 

efforts, or that the ultimate outcome of their work 
in the recognition of the " conscientious objector " 
transcended anything which might, in the early 
days, have been expected from it. Right or wrong 
in his contentions, Wilkinson's attitude was forth- 
right, insistent and uncompromising throughout ; 
and to his work may be credited no small share 
of the result attained. 

Remarks of somewhat the same character may be 
made concerning the share which Wilkinson took 
in opposing the practice and legal licence of experi- 
ments on living animals. His condemnation of 
vivisection was heart-felt and outspoken, as was 
his way, but we know of no instance where he 
perverted truth or imparted prejudice. He wrote 
some fugitive tracts on the subject, but his most 
reasoned pronouncement will be found running 
through " On Human Science, Good and Evil, and 
its Works ; and on Divine Revelation and its 
Works and Sciences," which appeared in 1876, the 
year in which the " Vivisection Act " became law. 
Wilkinson held strong views as to the limitations 
of science ; his tendency was to mistrust chemical 
and physical bases for vital processes ; and this 
for him discounted the value of the results of vivi- 
section. But had he held the general opinion of 
his profession as to the value of those results, he 
would still have regarded the processes by which 
they were attained as impious and profane in the 



276 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

deepest sense. It is not necessary to quote at length 
from his published writings upon the subject : it 
will suffice to give evidence of his feeling concerning 
it from his private correspondence. 

When Professor Tafel was bringing out his monu- 
mental edition of Swedenborg's work upon " The 
Brain," he received from Wilkinson hearty and 
ungrudging assistance which was, by Wilkinson's 
own wish, only acknowledged generally, without 
mention of its extent or scope. The following 
extracts from letters show Wilkinson's anxiety 
that Swedenborg's name should not be brought 
to bear in support of vivisection : 

1 " I have just received the enclosed, which I 
think you ought to read. I foresee that, without 
care be exercised, Swedenborg's citation of horribly 
cruel experiments on living animals will prejudice 
his name in a way that nothing else has done, with 
all those who uphold humanity to animals in this 
country ; which is the stronghold of the ever-increas- 
ing feeling against the atrocities of scientism. My 
belief is that Swedenborg gained nothing for his 
intuitions or inductions from the atrocious vivi- 
sections which he cites. He flung them down as 
a basis, but did not want them, except that they 
were so much ' experience.' The whole love of 
his writings is against the scientism of mere curiosity 
as regards living beings ; and his theology continually 

1 Letter to Dr Tafel, April 11, 1882. 



HOMCEOPATHY 277 

denounces the scientism of the Proprium as the 
greatest mental antagonist to true perception." 

1 " I have no intention of writing a Preface to 
your work. All I should wish to do, with your 
approval, is to give, in one paragraph, which you 
may describe as a private communication from me, 
my view of Swedenborg's possible standpoint with 
regard to vivisection. To state that what he has 
introduced into his work on the Brain does not show 
what his position would be in the Vivisection con- 
troversy of the present day. I do not think you would 
object to this. Also, in the same pages, you might 
confute it if you saw fit." 

2 " I want you to read carefully the enclosed 
pamphlet by Lawson Tait, which is the strongest 
professional attack that has yet been made on 
Vivisection. You once spoke to me of the ' abuse 
of Vivisection ' : this pamphlet goes all the way 
to show that there is no such thing in a good sense 
as the Use of Vivisection. . . . It is a most serious 
subject, and one may well hesitate before letting 
the inference go forth that Swedenborg would now, 
when the subject has been opened up, be reckoned 
among the Vivisectors." 

3 " I thank you very much for your letter on 
Vivisection as related to Swedenborg's work on the 
Brain. That letter alone might be sufficient, if it 

1 Letter to Dr Tafel, April 21, 1882. 

2 Letter to Dr Tafel, July 8, 1882. 

3 Letter to Dr Tafel, July 20, 1882. 



278 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

expressed any spiritual or moral horror of Vivi- 
section. The work will lie under a ban unless that 
is done, for the experiments recorded in it are 
atrocious. And if Swedenborg arrived at his results 
without such deeds, it would seem that he ought 
not to be assumed as countenancing Vivisection 
spiritually which is what it will ultimately come 
to without some other reason being given for it 
than his discoveries. If your work leads to the 
supposition that he would join the Vivisectors now 
that they are at the bar of Humanity, it will, I 
believe, mislead the Youth of the New Church, who 
are quite open to be misled ; as the recent discussion 
in your Church shows. 

" / should not like to be mentioned in connexion 
with the work unless the contrary position, on the 
humane ground, is clearly pointed out." 

Although he was keenly interested in all that 
went on around him, to the end of his long life, 
Wilkinson's active interests were too definitely 
predisposed to allow him to drift into " a party 
man " in politics. He had always certain questions 
which he wished to have ventilated, certain wrongs 
(always the wrongs of others) which he wished to 
have righted. Wherever he scented oppression, 
there he championed the oppressed, and was ready 
to range himself aside those who were like-minded. 
Early in his life, his keen sense of humour played 
in genial irony upon those with whom he differed. 



HOMCEOPATHY 279 

Later his unpopular predispositions brought about an 
isolation which he keenly felt but never bewailed ; 
and his method of attack was marked by stern but 
reasoned invective. This was nowhere more obvious 
than in the strong and public line which he took 
concerning the Contagious Diseases Prevention Acts 
of 1866 to 1869. These Acts provided for the 
compulsory examination of prostitutes in garrison 
towns by medical men, appointed for that purpose, 
and the segregation of those found dangerous to 
the community. This was regarded as state re- 
cognition of the evil which it was designed to check. 
Such measures had been common on the Continent, 
but their adoption in England was new, and it led 
to long and loud objection from many people and on 
many grounds. Wilkinson saw in it an outrage 
on womanhood at the instance of the medical pro- 
fession who, through the Royal Colleges of Physicians 
and Surgeons, had memorialized Government in 
favour of extension of the areas to be affected, in 
1869. He was soon characteristically busy, both 
publicly and privately, alone and in conjunction with 
others, in efforts to bring about the repeal of the 
laws in question. 

In 1870 he issued a pamphlet on "The forcible 
Introspection of Women for the Army and Navy, 
considered physically," of which some mention has 
been made in the first chapter. In it he spared 
no effort to inspire pity for those whom he regarded 



280 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

as oppressed, and disgust against those whom he saw 
as their oppressors. It is unnecessary to quote 
what was intentionally painful in its effect upon 
the reader. 

This pamphlet and another entitled " A Free State 
and Free Medicine " were t Wilkinson's contributions 
to the agitation for the repeal of the Contagious 
Diseases Acts. They were highly approved by 
the associations working to that end, as the following 
letter from Mrs Josephine Butler, one of the prime 
movers therein, will show : 

1 " I have read with great pleasure your tract, 
" A Free State and Free Medicine," and thank you 
with all my heart for your words. I wish we could 
have the pages relating to the C.D. Acts reprinted 
alone for our present purpose : they are so forcible. 

' Yes, you say truly, our reasons for opposing 
the Acts are reasons of fire which will burn up any 
House of Commons which has not its legislation 
founded on a rock. 

" 1 see the movement is beginning which I have 
long anticipated among the women of France. I 
should like to go over and help them to build 
barricades, if need be, and to roast alive in the 
Tuilerie Gardens the Inspectors of Women, with 
their implements, as the Women of the Great Revolu- 
tion roasted Lafayette's horse ! . . . 

" I wish I could tell you what I have lately seen 

1 Letter from Mrs Josephine Butler, April 24, ? 1871. 



HOMOEOPATHY 281 

and heard in Kent. I want to tell some good doctor 
what the women tell me of their bodily sufferings." 

An old friend and patient, Francis W. Newman, 
the brother of the Cardinal, also wrote, in the follow- 
ing terms : 

1 " Your pamphlet on ' Introspection, etc.,' reached 
me as I was starting for Manchester, to take part 
in meetings against this very matter and against 
Compulsory Vaccination. I read it in the train. 
On my return home, after staying with friends in 
two places, I found on my table your liberal parcel 
of twenty-five copies of the same pamphlet. My 
problem now is, how to distribute them judiciously. 
. . . But my immediate business is to express my 
thanks and my sense of the value of your brave 
contribution to truth, justice and mercy. As a 
man full grown in mind, you fearlessly assume your 
own style, which is neither mine nor that of any 
other man, but strictly yours ; and, as such, will 
give material for irrelevant attack to those who 
wince under the severity of your lash. But, in my 
full belief, you vindicate, by the weight and fulness 
of your matter, your right to assume your own 
manner : and when I get over the repulsiveness 
of the subject itself (doubly repulsive, when, with 
words so plain, you strip it of all disguise), I find 
in your treatment a lyrical and prophetic grandeur. 
Omitting here and there words which are not really 

1 Letter from Mr F. W. Newman, July 3, 1870. 



JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

needed, I have read out long portions to ladies, 
and find that they are felt to be beautiful as well 
as noble and valuable. My taste does require 
omissions of words which, nevertheless, may the 
better stab the dull senses of medical men stupefied 
by materialism. ... I find it hard to estimate 
conjecturally whether your style will more entice 
or repel : for I think that different men will be 
differently affected. But in my own name I heartily 
thank you for fulfilling a painful task with vigour 
and faithfulness so unshrinking, and with a spirit 
of holiness which I hope will be diffusive. ... I 
read two passages of your pamphlet to the Manchester 
meeting against the C.D. Acts." 

It will be remembered that the question of the 
repeal of these acts was fiercely agitated and as 
fiercely opposed. A Royal Commission was appointed 
in 1871 ; a Special Commission was appointed in 
1879. Though the majority of both reported in 
favour of a continuance of the Acts, a majority 
of the House of Commons condemned the principles 
of them in 1883, and the Acts themselves were 
repealed in 1886. 

There are few things less profitable than tracing 
movements through old controversies. The bitter- 
ness and misunderstanding on both sides are pain- 
fully apparent. As the footsteps crush the old 
ashes, the dust of such things is ungrateful and 
distressing ; the generous heat which once brought 



HOMOEOPATHY 283 

them about has died away with the brains and hearts 
which evoked it. The student is tempted to think 
that the world would have been none the worse 
had neither fire nor ashes ever been. But it is in such 
struggles that character is educated and displayed ; 
and to have faced unpopularity and disapproval 
for the sake of right, to have carried opposition 
on questions of principle through the evil days to 
success, is a discipline which strengthens and ennobles 
the man who has experienced it. 

Few will be found to share Wilkinson's judgment 
in all the controversies in which he engaged, but 
still fewer will fail to see in him a clean and a hard 
fighter, ever actuated by fear of wrong and love 
of right. To those who saw him most clearly he 
was revealed as most loving and universally bene- 
volent. His attacks upon what he thought evil 
were tremendous and unsparing ; his spirit of humble 
brotherhood to erring humanity was an essential 
part of his practical religion. 



CHAPTER IV 

APPRECIATIONS 

THIS chapter is devoted to estimations of Garth 
Wilkinson's character and work from divers pens. 
It contains, however, no letters addressed to him- 
self. When Bos well " presumed to animadvert " on 
Johnson's eulogy of Garrick in the " Lives of the 
Poets," Samuel defended himself by saying, " Why, 
sir, some exaggeration must be allowed " ; and, 
by a parity of postulation, it is scarcely fair to 
expose the words of one who acknowledges a 
presentation copy to cold print after the lapse of 
years. 

Robert Matheson, who himself wrote books too 
little known, under the pseudonym of " Corvichen," 
engaged for years in an intimate and candid corre- 
spondence with Garth Wilkinson. He wrote, on 
hearing of his friend's death : l 

" I had been thinking, some days before I received 
your note, of the Grand Old Man, and a vague feeling 
arose in me that he was away. Then I naturally 
thought of his wonderful vigour and his other great 
qualities hardly a man like him anywhere. And 

1 Letter to Miss Florence Pertz, December 1, 1899. 



284 



APPRECIATIONS 285 

so here is yet another Book published three days 
before his death ! 

" I have often tried to understand him, but always 
felt myself foiled in the attempt ; but one thing 
was and remains clear that he was a prophet, 
or National Teacher, by character and calling. 
Two very necessary characteristics of a prophet 
seemed strong in him heroic indignation and 
tenderness. 

" No doubt he was widely known ; but it is 
astonishing how comparatively few know about 
him. The worse for them ! Prophets are not 
popular characters." 

An old medical friend, upon the same occasion, 
wrote as follows : 

" I had the greatest possible admiration for 
Dr Wilkinson. I used often to say that I considered 
him, Dr Martineau and Ruskin the greatest masters 
of lucid, epigrammatic, terse, felicitous style in 
writing English, then living ; and that to those 
three I owed whatever facility in English composi- 
tion I possessed. He altered his style of writing 
very much in his later publications, and, as I told 
him, I missed the felicity, the wit and fantasy of 
the older style. He wrote, during his last days, 
under a deeper sense of obligation to the truths 
which he felt himself commissioned to declare 
and with less consciousness of his readers who could 
be either stirred or amused or excited by the force 



286 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

of his picturesque utterance. My knowledge of 
him dates from about the year 1851 or 2, when he 
became the medical attendant of my father and 
sister. I had known him by repute before that, 
as a friend also of my uncle, Dr Morell, and as a 
translator of Swedenborg. After that, I used often 
to see him, and always felt instructed and inspired 
by his conversation. 

" I remember calling on him soon after he 
published his little volume of inspirational poems, 
and he told me how he produced them putting 
his hand to paper and accepting any suggestion 
that rose in his mind. ' I will see what comes to 
my hand about you,' he said ; and as soon as his 
hand rested on the paper, he said : ' The first words 
are he stands,' and then the two following verses 
followed : 

He stands upon a hill of green, 
Where flowers are rare and sad ; 
But brighter things are near him seen 
And things to make him glad. 

The sky hath openings when the earth 
Hath closed her to some (?) drear : 
Then gird thyself for spirit birth, 
And choke the snakes of fear. 

"These verses accurately reflected the rather 
sad and sombre tinge of my mood and experiences 
at that time. 

" I think your grandfather was a little disappointed 



APPRECIATIONS 287 

in me because I did not sufficiently enter into all 
his theological and philosophical teachings. In fact, 
I found it rather difficult to do so : as he grew older, 
if his thoughts grew deeper and more solemn, they 
also became to me less distinct. I could not follow 
their track at all times : and, when I did, I often 
felt dissent. ... In fact I thought that the dear 
and venerable old Doctor was just a little intolerant, 
and standing aloof from some of the best tendencies 
of the time. But he was one of the grandest men 
I ever knew, and I shall always look back upon my 
friendship with him with pride and delight. I do 
not think Emerson's well-known eulogy was at all 
exaggerated." 

In Volume III. of a New Series of The University 
Magazine there appeared a course of " Contemporary 
Portraits " of the eighteenth, of which Wilkinson 
was the subject. This "portrait," which was 
unsigned, appeared in the number for June 1879. 
As the most thorough examination of Wilkinson's 
work with which we are acquainted, extracts from 
it will be interesting, but it must be borne in mind 
that the estimation appeared full twenty years 
before that work was completed. 

" Some there are who have burning things to say, 
and, avoiding the pitfalls that attend upon con- 
troversy, content themselves with saying their 
say, and, instead of bringing it by strenuous dis- 
semination before the general public, bequeath 



288 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

it to such as may be sympathisers, and leave it to 
make its way abroad in due time through its own 
force and vehemence. They are glad to do without 
the sweets and sufferings, the perils and powers 
of modern notoriety, and to follow in the road of 
the philosophers of old time, who spoke only to such 
as had ears. 

" The subject of the present sketch is known in 
one way or other to most of the bearers of the best- 
known names amongst us. In Mudie's Library 
there are probably next to no copies of any of his 
works ; we do not remember to have seen him 
reviewed in either the Daily Telegraph or the Saturday 
Review ; his books seem never to be advertised 
in the usual channels ; but if such as Carlyie, 
Browning, Tennyson, Emerson, Longfellow, 
Hawthorne, were to be asked dubiously about him 
by someone who should think him obscure, one 
might perhaps have replied, ' I travelled with him ' ; 
another, ' He was a friend of my youth ' ; another, 
c We have had long arguments together ' ; a fourth, 
' I have taken his medicine ' ; a fifth, ' When I was 
once in great doubt, I drew much from him.' 

" Without advertisement, our author's books 
find a public, and some to the extent of several 
editions. He has too broad and varied a field of 
work to be sectarian, but so far as he may go by 
that name, it is in connection with what is called 
the New Church, a body holding by the traditions 



APPRECIATIONS 289 

as interpreted by Swedenborg. This little Church 
contains a large proportion of men who move in 
higher realms of thought than the members of most 
other sects, and no doubt the works of so large a 
thinker as Dr Wilkinson are especially esteemed 
among them. . . . 

" At this early period of his life Dr Wilkinson 
showed that predilection for principles, whether 
as forming the basis of philosophy, or the guidance 
of physical research, which has shown itself so 
strongly in his later writings, and, coupled with the 
originality of his nature and force of his sympathies, 
has made him rather a religious political economist, 
than either a medical specialist or a Swedenborgian 
long and ardently though he has dwelt upon the 
works of the Swedish seer. . . . 

' The generality so prefer the trivial to the re- 
condite that it is probable that the subjects upon 
which Dr Wilkinson has chosen to discourse have 
prevented his having due literary recognition as 
a master of English prose. The following, from 
his introduction to the 'Economy of the Animal 
Kingdom,' may serve as a specimen of his style. 

" ' Accordingly he (Swedenborg) gives no bond 
to reconstruct society, nor professes to be able to 
drag the secrets of truth into day by an unerring 
or mechanical method; but having obtained a 
sufficiency of doctrinal implements for present use, 
and mindful that active life is the best lot of man 



290 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

and the finest means of improvement, he builds such 
an edifice as his materials and opportunities permit, 
and arrives at such an end as a good man may be 
satisfied with. The perfecting of instruments he 
knows must be successive, but that the use of them 
must not be postponed, and therefore he lays out 
his possessions to the best advantage, in the con- 
fidence that this is the truest way to benefit posterity.' 

" The following passages from the same work 
will instance both philosophy and style : 

" ' Reason is as the hand of man, but imagination 
is the palpus or tenaculum of human nature. Reason 
beholds the same surfaces as imagination, only it 
does not stop with the surface, but penetrates to 
the form and mechanism underlying the colour and 
shape of the object, being in fact that power which 
acknowledges the intrinsic solidity of nature. 

" 'Great confusion has undoubtedly been introduced 
by regarding body as the same with matter. For 
body is the necessary ultimatum of each plane 
of creation, and thus there is a spiritual body as well 
as a natural body, and by parity of fact, there is a 
spiritual world as well as a natural world : but 
matter is limited to the lowest plane, where alone 
it is identical with body. There is no matter in the 
spiritual world, but there is body notwithstanding, 
or an ultimate form, which is less living than the 
interior forms ; which is the solid in relation 
to the fluid, the fibre and the skin and the mem- 



APPRECIATIONS 

brane relatively to the living blood in its natural 
degrees. 

" ' It is wrong therefore to attempt to transcend 
the fact of embodiment ; the hope is mistaken 
that would lead us to endeavour thus after pure 
spirituality. The way to the pure spiritual is the 
moral, and the moral delights to exhibit itself in 
actions, and body is the theatre of actions, and 
by consequence the mirror and continent of the 
spiritual. . . .' 

" A large portion of Dr Wilkinson's later writings 
is devoted to special topics, and seems to arise out 
of a consciousness on his part that the public requires 
protection against specialism of all kinds, which is 
apt to become despotism. Society at large is prone 
to deride such chivalrous championship as chimerical, 
and to trust blindly in the virtues of a majority, 
and the practical unimpeachableness of things as 
they are. But Dr Wilkinson looks deeper and sees 
wickedness to the poor and oppression of the weak, 
in the unquestioned action of powerful legalized 
cliques. As poor humanity was once overridden 
by priesthood, he appears to think it is in danger 
of being subjected to an equal tyranny from the 
high-priests of medical orthodoxy. There no doubt 
is a tendency to make certain questions " strictly 
professional," and to shut out from general un- 
professional humanity any right of forming an 
opinion upon important matters in regard to which 



292 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

professional opinion insists upon being implicitly 
accepted as final. As a matter of principle, Dr 
Wilkinson is right, and he and his followers ought 
to be welcomed as the protectors of lazy and ignorant 
humanity. The majority of us have been vaccinated 
at an age when we were too young to rebel ; we are 
not of the class that is subjected to forcible intro- 
spection ; nor do we belong to the ranks of animals 
used for vivisection ; we are consequently inclined 
to leave such matters alone, as pot affecting 
ourselves : 

" Let the galled jade wince, our withers are 
un wrung. In politics alone we admit a majority to 
honour, and that perhaps only in proportion to its 
size. In matters that have to do with our bodies, we 
are wont to take refuge in blind faith, or equally blind 
distrust, in what is prescribed for us. Dr Wilkinson 
sees danger in such conventional acceptance, and 
finds in the governmental medical regime under 
which we live, the same principle in action as 
Le Sage saw in Dr Sangrado, the Hippocrates of 
Valladolid. . . . 

"This subject (compulsory vaccination) has 
aroused Dr Wilkinson to most unphilosophical 
wrath. We are so accustomed nowadays to writings 
from which feeling is eliminated, and which have 
a cold, and, so to speak, heartless regard to facts, 
that Dr Wilkinson must no doubt to many seem 
over-impetuous and lost in his own indignation. 



APPRECIATIONS 293 

The intellect by itself, when applied to the great 
problems of the world, and finding them hard to 
solve, is apt to become callous, and, leaving them 
alone, to busy itself with what it imagines it knows 
with certainty. We ought to be grateful to Dr 
Wilkinson for refusing to ignore even minor questions, 
or to treat them in any but the largest public light* 
In his philosophy, human life is integral, and to be 
reverenced in all its details, not for the sake of 
the details, but for the sacredness of the whole. 
Certain evils and compromises, despotisms of pro- 
fessional trades -unions, and callousness of licensed 
power, which press most heavily upon the poor, 
the weak and the obscure members of society, excite 
his indignation, as being violations of humanity. 
If he should found a school, it will be of those who 
are practical because they are first spiritual ; and 
it may be found that the most consistently, minutely 
and intensely practical will be those whose percep- 
tions are made keen and sensitive by marking the 
workings of spiritual laws, whereby the degradations 
of daily life impress the more distinctly, and stimulate 
them to a more earnest passion of effort to find 
the remedy. But to the sensual and slothful, the 
superficial and the selfish, it will at all times be 
difficult to distinguish the heightened insight and 
loving passion from fanaticism." 

In The Letters of Dante Gabriel Rosetti, edited by 
Dr George Birkbeck Hill (page 201), we have an 



294 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

interesting glimpse of Garth Wilkinson. Rosetti 
wrote to Mr Allingham [near the end of 1862]. 

" You will remember my troubling you once or 
twice about that Bogie poem book of Wilkinson's. 
I am wanting it now to mention in a passage on 
Blake's poetry which I am writing for the Life 
never quite completed. Could you kindly let me 
have the loan of yours as soon as you can." 

A note adds : 

" * That Bogie poem ' was Improvisations from the 
Spirit by Dr J. Garth Wilkinson, the homceopathist 
who was Miss Siddal's physician in 1854. Hawthorne, 
whose children he attended in December 1857, 
wrote of him : ' He is a homoeopathist, and is known 
in scientific and general literature ; at all events, 
a sensible and enlightened man, with an un-English 
freedom of mind on some points. For example, 
he is a Swedenborgian and a believer in modern 
Spiritualism. He showed me some drawings that 
had been made under the spiritual influence by a 
miniature painter who possesses no imaginative 
power of his own, and is merely a good mechanical 
and liberal copyist ; but these drawings, represent- 
ing angels and allegorical people were done by an 
influence which directed the artistic hand, he not 
knowing what his next touch would be, nor what 
the final result.' . . . According to W. B. Scott, 
6 Emerson said, " Wilkinson was most like Bacon of 
all men living."' Scott adds that 'Wilkinson was 



APPRECIATIONS 295 

as tall and as straight as a spear, and looked steadily 
at you from behind his spectacles as if he saw your 
thoughts as distinctly as your nose, while Tennyson 
cared little and noted little of either.' ' 

We conclude our account of Garth Wilkinson with 
three extracts from obituary notices which closely 
followed his death. A 

From the New Church Magazine, November 1879. 

" He was one of the most useful and ardent 
members of the Swedenborg Society. In the 
Society's rooms there is both a bust and a portrait 
of him. Kindly and genial, he won the affections 
of others. Keen in perception, he possessed a 
fluency enjoyed by very few. His later literary 
style was, in the opinion of some, a little too classic 
and ornate for modern taste, but none can doubt 
the vigour of his writing or the brilliancy of his 
illustrative power. 

" Students of the human body not unfre- 
quently become materialists or agnostics. With 
Dr Wilkinson the perception of spiritual realities 
was as a fire to his bones. His * Human Body 
and its Connection with Man ' is one of the most 
vigorous pleas we know for the recognition of the 
spiritual nature of man. 

6 When we remember that his literary work was 
done in the leisure left from the active and onerous 
duties of his profession, it is clear that he must have 
been surpassingly industrious. . . . 



296 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

" His influence has been widely felt ; not only 
in the New Church but throughout the literary and 
philosophical world. An able physician, a clear 
thinker, an original and exceedingly industrious 
writer, he had won the respect and affection of all 
who knew him, and of many more who had not been 
privileged to enjoy personal intercourse with him. 
It would be wrong for us to grieve over-much, for 
we know that his profound convictions about the 
spiritual life are now being verified by him, and he 
will have the reward of the good works that follow 
a life industrious, full of zeal for the truth and earnest, 
self-sacrificing labour for the spiritual advancement 
of the world. EDITOR." 

From the New Church Review, January 1900. 

In a review of " Isis and Osiris," under the title 
of " Dr Wilkinson's Last Book." 

. . . In his dedicatory letter to Professor 
Wiedemann, of the University of Bonn, our author 
affirms, ' I have been inclined to give my book the 
additional name of a Tract for the Times ' a tract, 
we may suppose, for ' these vivisecting heathen 
times ' to borrow a very Wilkinsonian phrase found 
on one of the last pages in the volume. And surely 
it is a noble and timely appeal to the present genera- 
tion, with dead ritual within the Church, and dead 
materialism both within and without, to open the 
lungs of intelligence to the Breath of the Lord of 



APPRECIATIONS 297 

Life. What we stand in need of to-day is a 
quickened sense of the Lord's presence as the life 
of this Universe and the soul of His Church. Dr 
Wilkinson's farewell word comes as an inspiration 
to a higher faith and larger trust. And now, having 
finished his work on earth, it is pleasant to think 
of his great and magnanimous soul in the fuller 
atmosphere of heavenly planes, where the Book 
of Respirations is open as the Book of the Lord's 
Life, and all the inhabitants are living breaths, 
animate with a divine influx. 

" Coming of an old Durham family, Dr Wilkinson 
had many of the rugged North of England qualities, 
among them the gift of laconic and vigorous speech. 
He has often reminded his readers of Carlyle, and 
Emerson likened his rhetoric to c the armoury of 
the invincible knights of old.' It is not easy, 
however, for everyone to read him. Many years 
ago, when 'The Human Body and its Connection 
with Man ' was published, Professor Bush praised 
the substance, but criticized what seemed to him 
the difficult and affected style. As a matter of fact, 
the book grew out of conversations which the author 
had with the late Henry James, who was then living 
in London, not far from the Doctor's office. A 
physician's life is exacting, and does not favour 
long periods of quiet composition and revision. 
The author of * The Human Body ' and its numerous 
successors, thought out between times the manifold 



298 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

points that commanded him and jotted them down 
at odd moments of leisure. This professional handi- 
cap, limiting his time of utterance, no doubt is largely 
responsible for the oracular character of many of 
his statements. Dr Wilkinson was simply surcharged 
with the thought that was in him. Mr James 
complained that Emerson's private thought and 
conversation were incomparably inferior to his 
public utterances. Dr Wilkinson exhibited most 
markedly the opposite trait. His personality was 
inspiring, and his private utterances on high themes 
were crammed with vital meaning, and wore a 
drapery of language that no polish of revision could 
make more fit or graceful. To those who have 
enjoyed this conversation, his books seem like the 
recurrence of personal visits. 

"The reader will get most from Dr Wilkinson's 
writings by reading them leisurely, and taking 
their thoughts as hints. The ideas are given as 
suggestions, and stimulate the reader to individual 
mental activity. There is a unity through all 
these notes and comments, dealing with apparently 
scattered topics, but the unity is not of literary 
form and consistency, but of honest devotion to 
truth and unimpeachable perception of spiritual 
and divine verities. 

" As a secular and lay student of spiritual things, 
Dr Wilkinson's work is of unique value to the church. 
He had no cheap antipathies to 6 ecclesiasticism,' 



APPRECIATIONS 299 

although he kept aloof from organizations. He 
pursued his studies and lived his life as a private 
English gentleman, with broad sympathies with 
his time and wide knowledge of the international 
world. Most of our New Church writers become 
accustomed to accommodating themselves to the 
state of mind of those who are supposed to know 
comparatively little of spiritual truth. Hence we 
rarely have the expression of thought that is the 
full measure of the mind. Our writers and speakers 
are tethered by their avocation. Dr Wilkinson 
writes neither professionally nor professorially. His 
mind strikes out to utter itself, and not to come 
down to primary school demonstration. His books 
are the true expressions of the best reaches of his 
own mind. Hence the deepest student finds them 
virile and fecund. There is intellectual exhilaration 
in understanding them, and their originality and 
vitality make it impossible to skip them." 

A notice of Garth Wilkinson's death appeared 
in the Daily News. Our extract betrays the 
practised and sympathetic hand of a dearly 
esteemed friend. 

" Emerson's description of him as a c startling 
re-appearance of Swedenbo^g after a hundred years * 
had a certain literal significance. His mind was of 
exactly the same cast. It naturally and without 
effort, saw in every external fact only an inner 
spiritual significance. Phenomena, in their merely 



300 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 

physical relations, seemed absolutely meaningless 
to him, and he moved amid ideas with a certainty 
that might have been envied by the most convinced 
materialist in his grasp of the ordinary facts of life. 
He was one of those born to believe. Personally 
he was a man of the sweetest and most winning nature 
and the gentlest disposition. He had survived 
nearly all his most eminent contemporaries, and, 
but for the care with which he was tended to the 
last by his own family, there would have been 
something of pathos in the solitude of his old age." 



INDEX 



ADAM and Eve, clothing of, 215 
America, impressions of, 110 
Animal magnetism, 32, 40, 43, 74 
Augustine, St, 172 

BACON, Francis, 181 

Berkeleyism, 190 

Blake, William, 25-31 

edition of Songs of Innocence, 

etc., 23 

Bright, Mr John, 269 
British Museum, 22 
Browning, Robert, sen., 32 
Browning, Robert, jun., 31, 206, 

288 
Butler, Mrs Josephine, 112, 280 

CARLYLE, Thomas, 33-38, 86, 205, 

288 

Catholicity, 239 
Clissold, Rev. A., 238 
Coleridge, S. T., 41 
Commerce, 221 
Contagious Diseases (Women) Act, 

112, 264, 279-282 
Correspondences, the doctrine of } 

211, 235, 255 
Crowds, 212 
Cycling for women, 259 

DARWIN, functions of, 241 
Depression, mental, 215 
Diary of Swedenborg, 169, 196 
Duties, humble, 231 

EARTHQUAKES, 214 

Editions, by J. J. G. W., of 
Blake's Songs of Innocence, etc., 
25-31 ; of Brereton's One 
Teacher, One Law, 121 ; of 
Swedenborg's Doctrine of 



Charity, 23 ; Opuscula, 46 ; 
(Economia Regni Animalis, 46 
Emerson, R. W., 50, 143, 150, 
153, 173, 203, 237, 288, 298 

FARCINB, 262 

Fiction, 242 

Fourier, 53-58, 226, 227 

Franco-Prussian War, 113 

GLANDBRINE, 262 

HARRIS, Thomas Lake, 102, 103 
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 288, 294 
Hekla Lava, 262 
Hell, torments of, 227 
Hjaltin, I. A., 85, 134 
Homoeopathy, 16, 79, 243-263; 

doctrine of correspondences in, 

256, 258, 259 
Hypnotism, 74 

INCARNATION, doctrine of The, 155 
"Infallibility" of Swedenborg, 

160 

Influx, 240, 241 
Intelligence, worship of, 208 

JAMES, Henry, sen., 41 

LECTURES, The Grouping o 
Animals, 45 ; Science for A 
47 ; Physics of Human Nature, 
66-73 ; Our Social Health, 104 

Lewis, Mrs G. H. ("George 
Eliot"), 103 

Livingstone, Dr, 239 

Longfellow, 110, 288 

MACREADT, 32 

Marston, Dr Westland, 99, 127 

801 



302 JAMES JOHN GARTH WILKINSON 



Martineau, Miss H., 205 
Matheson, Mr R, 284 
Montez, Lola, 103 

NEW CHURCH, Wilkinson's posi 

tion toward, 174 
Newman, Mr F. W., 112, 281 
Norse languages, 85 
Nourishment, spiritual and 

natural, 213 

OLIPHANT, Lawrence, 102 
Outram, General, 106 
Owen, Robert, 64 

PANTHEISM, 226 
Paris in 1848, 58-64 
Patmore, Mr Coventry, 206 

REED, Mr Sampson, 205, 209 
Revelations, successive, 130, 223 
Robinson, W. Crabb, 52 
Rosetti, D. G., 293 
Ruskin, John, 95, 270 
Rydberg, Professor V., 133, 173 

SCOTT, Mr W. B., 294 

Silica, 262 

Siljestrom, Rektor, 85, 271 

Spiritualism, 89 

Spiritual progress, understand- 
ing, 229 

Svedborg, Bishop Jasper, 128 

Swedenborg, Emanuel, Dreams 
of, 169 ; Diary of, 169, 196 ; 
writings of, 233 ; MSS. of, 233, 
235 ; and matrimony, 235 ; and 
vivisection, 276 ; his chemistry, 
235 ; translated into Icelandic, 
238 

TAFEL, Professor, 131, 197 

Teetotalism, 79 

Tennant, Mr Dillon, 74, 210 

Toasts, 118 

Translations by Wilkinson, from 
Swedish of Siljestrom, 120 ; 
from Latin of Swedenborg, 
Doctrine of Charity, 22 ; Last 
Judgment, 23 ; Fallo' ~ 



23 ; Regnum Animate, 24, 44 ; 
CEconomia Regni Animalis, 45, 
201 ; Posthumous Tracts, 46, 
Hieroglyphic Key, 46, 235 ; Out- 
lines of a Philosophical Argu- 
ment, 46 ; The Generative Organs, 
84, 203 ; Sapientia Angelica de 
Divino Amore, 122 
Tulk, Mr C. A., 25, 188, 234 

VACCINATION, 38, 116, 121, 264- 

275 
Vivisection, 121, 264, 296 

WHITEING, Mr R., 242 

Wilkinson, J. J. G., birth and 
family, 1 ; childhood, 2-13 ; 
schools, 5, 7, 13 ; apprentice- 
ship, 15 ; qualifications, 17 ; 
practice, 17, 21, 104, 263; in- 
troduction to Swedenborg's 
works, 18 ; betrothal, 19 ; 
marriage, 39 ; political views, 
91 : tours in Norway, 100, 117 ; 
in Algiers, 104 ; in Spain, 105 ; 
in Germany, 109, 115, 119 ; in 
Iceland, 109 ; in America, 110 ; 
death of Mrs Wilkinson, 124 ; 
personal appearance, 125, 294 ; 
death, 138 ; as a contro- 
versialist, 283. See also Trans- 
lations and Works. 

Works, original, by Wilkinson : 
A Sketch of Swedenborg, etc., 
39 ; Remarks on Swedenborg '* 
Economy of Animal Kingdom, 
46 ; Popular Sketch of Sweden- 
borg's Philosophy, 47 ; Life of 
Swedenborg, 76 ; Human Body 
and its Connection with Man, 
80, 182 ; Painting vrith Both 
Hands, 95 ; Improvisations from 
the Spirit, 95-100, 294 ; Un- 
licensed Medicine, 95 ; War, 
Cholera, and the Ministry of 
Health, 93 ; Use of Glanderine, 
etc., 100; Homoeopathic Principle 
applied to Insanity, 100 ; For- 
cible Introspection of Women, 
113 ; A Free State and Free 



INDEX 



308 



Medicine, 113 ; Swedenborg's 
Doctrines and the Translation of 
his Works, 120; Pasteur and 
Jenner, 121 ; Treatment of 
Smallpox, 121 ; Greater Origins 
and Issues of Life and Death, 
122 ; Medical Specialism, 122 ; 
Oannes according to Berosus, 

127 ; The Soul is Form, etc., 

128 ; The African and True 



Christian Religion, 130 ; Epi- 
demic Man and hi-s Visitations, 
130; The Affections of Armed 
Powers, 133; Voluspa, 134; 
Isis and Osiris, 137 ; Sweden- 
borg among the Doctors, 256 
Worlds, many inhabited, 218 

YOUNG, Mr W., 271 



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